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Boom Lake

Boom Lake

Boom Lake

Quadra Mountain and Bident Mountain at the end of the lake

Yesterday Rolf and I hiked the five kilometre (3.2 mile) trail to Boom Lake in Banff National Park. There’s an elevation gain of about 175 metres (575 feet) and it’s nice, gradual climb.

mushrooms on the trail to Boom Lake

We’ve had a wet summer this year, so the trail was muddy in places, but nothing serious.

flowers along the way

The rain has provided lots of moisture for the vegetation.

Boom Mountain

We had lunch sitting beside the lake and looking up at Boom Mountain.

Suzanne and Rolf

Here are Suzanne and Rolf. They play minor characters in my next book THE THURSTON HEIRLOOM which will be released on November 24th.

clear cold water of Boom Lake

Boom Lake has clear cold water and good fishing.

the "boom" for Boom Lake

“the boom”

Near its east end, the lake flows over an old moraine that barely touches the surface. The crescent-shaped moraine extends just beneath the water and catches the driftwood floating down the lake, thus creating what looks like a lumber boom. For this reason, the lake is called Boom Lake.

I love hiking, especially in the Rocky Mountains. I love the views and the quiet and the way the air smells. Hiking is one of the best ways I have found to relax, rejuvenate and reorganize my mind. Plus, it’s pretty good exercise.

Autumn in Banff

Autumn in Banff

Yesterday was officially the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, a time referred to as the Autumnal Equinox. An equinox occurs about March 20 and about September 22. On this date, day and night are each about 12 hours long. This is an approximation because it depends on where you are on the planet.

The word equinox comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night).

To celebrate the equinox, and just because we wanted to, we spent the day in Banff.

After all the snow we had in the second week of September, the Indian Summer is beautiful. Nights are cool, days are warm, there is no wind and the sky has that haziness of autumn. We drove the hour and a half to Banff townsite and parked by Central Park. Walking along the trail by the Bow River, we passed the canoe docks.

boat house beside the Bow River in Banff

boat house beside the Bow River in Banff

 At this time of year, all the silt has dropped out of the river and the waters are green and sparkling.

The path links with the Fenland Trail, a 2 Km loop that winds through a forest of white spruce along Forty Mile Creek.

autumn in Banff

Forty Mile Creek

Forty Mile Creek

Forty Mile Creek

Forty Mile Creek

Vermillion Lakes, Banff

Vermillion Lakes, Banff

When we reached the creek, we crossed over and followed Vermillion Lakes Drive to the dock.

Vermillion Lakes, Banff

Vermillion Lakes, Banff

Perfect weather. Not too hot, not too cool. No bugs, since we are past the first frost.

Vermillion Lakes

Here I am, at the Vermillion Lakes

We relaxed, watched the ducks getting ready to migrate and enjoyed the sun and sparkling water.

Vermillion Lakes BanffReturning the way we came, we finished off the Fenland Loop.

We completed the day with a stroll along Banff Avenue, had a salad at McDonald’s and then—to make it a balanced diet—we had ice cream at Cow’s, Canada’s best ice cream. They make it in Prince Edward Island and my current favourite flavour is Moo Henry.

I love Banff any day, but on a Monday, it is relatively quiet. There are still lots of tourists, but no crowds for the in between seasons of Summertime and Skiing.

Autumn in Banff

Bow River by Banff townsite

Today, I am back at my desk, refreshed and renewed, and ready to open the Work in Progress.

Head Mya 6 – My New Skis!

Head Mya 6 – My New Skis!

Last Friday was our first day of skiing for the season. We drove the hour and a half to Sunshine Village, rode up the gondola and stepped out into a perfect winter day: sunny with the temperature hovering right around zero Celsius.

I love January snow. It’s soft and creamy, and often referred to as Hero Snow, because you can do no wrong in this kind of snow.

This year I have new skis. Head Mya 6. Every time I get new skis, they are lighter and shorter and wider than my old ones. At the rate skiing technology is going, skiers will soon be skiing with a snowboard on each foot. 😉

Sunshine VillageWhat I mostly noticed was that I was going very fast. My first two runs were from the top of the Angel to the lift, without stopping—which is unusual for me. In fact, I was faster than Rolf, but he was taking harder runs. I stayed with green all day, except for up on Divide where it’s black but I can do black as long as there are no bumps. And with these new skis, my hubby says I’m carving better than ever.

After those first few runs, I started to get tired and needed to take more breaks on the way down. By lunch time, I was definitely ready for food. We always eat at the Chimney Corner Lounge and I had the gluten free pizza with roasted zucchini and Portobello mushrooms.

gluten free pizza with roasted zucchini and Portobello mushroomsThen I skied another hour and came in for a mocha latte. After all, half the fun of skiing is eating. Rolf stayed out longer but even he was getting tired by four o’clock. Neither of us had the energy for the ski-out so we hopped on a purple gondola and got carried down.

I’m already looking forward to our next trip.

How’s your winter going?

A trip to Banff with my sister

A trip to Banff with my sister

My sister Rolie touched down at the Calgary International Airport at about 1:30 on Friday afternoon. She’d been traveling for 30 hours, coming from Saudi Arabia via Amsterdam, but no problem, she wanted to go directly to the Mountain Equipment Co-op because, well, she’s a traveller, and she needed to top up her supplies.

After two hours of checking out tents, bike carriers and various articles of clothing, we headed for Starbucks and a caffeine boost. I finally got her home after seven, and she crashed about eight.

She was ready to go again early the next morning. We headed for Banff National Park where our first stop was the Bow Falls.


Rolie and Suzanne at Bow Falls

Of course, we got our picture taken, like all the other tourists. She wants to come back to this spot sometime, and canoe from here to Canmore. It’s doable. A popular beginner trip.

From Bow Falls, we walked to the Banff Springs Hotel where we had reservations for their famous brunch. We ate for two hours, sampling just about everything. Here are a few of the offerings.2013-10-15-P1040623adjSFW


Then it was on to the Sulphur Mountain Gondola for a trip up the mountain and a stroll along the boardwalk to the Cosmic Ray Station. Sounds like the set for a great fantasy, right?


Suzanne & Rolie on top of Sulphur Mountain

Since we were so high, there was snow, and Rolie was excited to see snow. (No snow in Saudi Arabia.) We sat up there for a long time drinking hot chocolate and catching up.

Then we headed down the gondola and Rolie paid for the standard tourist picture of us suspended over the Rockies. We cruised Banff Avenue for a couple hours, picked up a few souvenirs, and then even though it was only 5 degrees Celsius , we sat outside for lattes and people watching.


A perfect October day in the mountains.

Have you seen snow lately?


Rocky Mountain High

Rocky Mountain High

~ from the top of Goat’s Eye Mountain looking down at the Village ~

A few days ago I was coming home from the mountains in a spring snowstorm. I hate driving on roads like that. Snow belongs on the mountain tops, not on the roads.


Sunshine Village

~ Sunshine Village ~

Yesterday the roads were clear. We were skiing at Sunshine Village in the best conditions of the year. Blue sky, perfect light, soft snow. Spring is here and I love spring skiing.
Here I am at the top of the Great Divide at Sunshine Village

Here I am at the top of the Great Divide.

Do you live in a snowy climate? Do like winter sports? Or do you move south for the winter?