Banff

Alright everyone, I have been missing for awhile. 

A lot has been going on.  Being a teacher means I live a life of exhaustion, highs and lows.  Love my job, but it has been taking me away from the outdoors. 

In the summer I have the pleasure of traveling to Banff, AB.  I haven’t been to Banff in a few years so this was a treat! 

Jumpingpound Summit

Before I even got to Banff, I wanted to do a solo hike.  This was terrifying!  I have never done a solo hike before so I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it. 

When I mentioned to a friend that I would be doing a hike though, she wanted to join.  While I wanted to do a solo hike, I also couldn’t help but think “This will be so much fun though!”.  I told her the hike I wanted to do (Jumpingpound Summit) and she agreed to meet me there with her partner. 

Let me start of by telling you, the drive to get to the trail head is not an easy one!  It is a little logging road with big trucks coming around tight corners.  It was definitely a scary start!  But, I didn’t let that stop me.  I kept thinking, “Just keep going, it can’t be that far away!”  It was.  But that is besides the point! 

Enjoying the quiet at Jumpingpound Summit trail head

I was waiting for a little bit for my friends to arrive.  But while I was waiting, I was enjoying the peace and quiet.  The day wasn’t too hot yet (15 degrees C or so) so I sat in the back of my vehicle, ate some trailmix, and enjoyed.  The wind in the trees, the occasional bird call, it was all relaxing and new and yet calming. 

We started up the trail head.  This trail was rated moderate.  It wasn’t very long (total of 6 km out and back) and an elevation gain of 413 m but it came fast!  The switch backs were an interesting start but the forest views and the company were awesome!  It was definitely a trail I would do again. 

My only problem was my feet.  I must not have laced up my hiking boots well enough because I ended up with two large blisters on both feet!  

View from part way up
View from the top
Us at the summit
What a view!

Conference views

I was in and out of a conference the entire time I was in Banff, but the views were spectacular.  It was held at the Banff Centre (which is beautiful) and the views were stellar!  Mind you, the views were great for only a few hours on one day as the smoke from the wildfires blew in and blocked it for three days straight after that.  I was just glad I got to see some of it! 

Bow River
Fairmont Banff Springs hotel
View from my conference window!

Grassi Lakes Trail

I was fortunate enough that one of my friends living in Calgary was able to come out and do a little hike with me one afternoon.  We didn’t want a long one but one with spectacular views.  Grassi Lake did not disappoint! 

This trail is an easy one (3.2 km loop, elevation gain of 173 m) but I am glad we took the “harder” path.  This path was a little more rocky and you did feel like you were crawling up a mini waterfall at one point (I was glad it was a fairly dry day, otherwise this part would have been very muddy and slippery).  But the lakes at the top were a wonderful teal color!  It was fenced off for construction but we didn’t let that stop us from enjoying the color and views. 

Waterfall view as you climb
One of the Grassi Lakes

FEnland trail 

By this point, my feet were sore and my mind was tired from the late days at the conference.  But another friend came out to enjoy the scenery so we decided to enjoy this little trail together.  This was by far the easiest trail of the trip (1.8 km loop, elevation gain of 55 m) but it was pretty forest walk.  Occasionally you would walk beside two creeks (lots of bugs!) which were a beautiful blue color.  Apparently you can canoe down those creeks (which we didn’t do)!  

I would recommend this trail if you need an easy forest walk close to Banff.  It was quick but my feet needed a rest.  Those blisters were not healing fast enough! 

Creek along the trail
My friend enjoying the trail!
The colors were stunning!

Have you been to Banff, AB?  What do you like to do while there?  I’d love to have new ideas for next time! 

New Orleans

Well, my little sister got married on Monday!  It was a wonderful ceremony and we had the opportunity to visit New Orleans in the process.

 

IMG_0038-01

We didn’t stay long.  It was a quick flight down, touristy things one day, wedding day, and fly back.  But, we saw some beautiful scenery.

 

20180325_145528-01

Even in the middle of the city, they had some green park areas.

Now, please keep in mind that we didn’t stay long.  There is so much to see and do, we didn’t even get a real chance to start!  It was a short stay but as you know, I love greenery.

 

20180325_154518-01

For my sisters wedding, we went to Auduborn Park where she got married under one of the trees.  Let me tell you, some of the oak trees in this park are about 240 years old.  It is still hard to image, something that old.  Imagine what those trees have been through!

 

20180325_154544-01

This is the Tree of Life.  This is the tree my sister got married under.  Isn’t it beautiful? It was old, reaching, and clearly well loved.  Lots of people would sit under it’s boughs and enjoy it’s  protection.  We were able to have the ceremony under it’s embrace.

 

20180325_154702-01

Look at those majestic boughs!  Where I live in Canada, we don’t have anything this grand.  I was in awe of how large the branches were and how they would reach the ground meters away.

Though my stay in New Orleans was short, I definitely would love to return.

 

Have you been to New Orleans?  What did you enjoy doing?  I need ideas for next time I go! 

Stanley Park

When my husband and I got married last year, it was wonderful.  We had a lovely ceremony in my grandfathers backyard.
For our honeymoon, we decided to explore Vancouver for a long weekend.  As the weather is once again freezing, I am reflecting on warmer weather and beautiful scenery!

20170821_133907a

It was a beautiful sunny day when we toured this iconic park.  So pretty in fact, we went twice!  Once to walk around, another time to take a boat tour around the bay.  It was stunning to believe that such a place existed in Vancouver!  It’s trail system was spectacular and the people all had one common purpose: to be outside, enjoying the sunshine!

IMG_2901a

The trees were stunning.  Tall, magnificent, and so very green.  You can feel the history and magnificence when you walk beneath their branches.  With the sun coming just between them, there is no other feeling like it on earth.  It is refreshing, energizing, and rejuvenating.

 

20170819_142343a

The views from some of the lookouts was also breathtaking.  It was surreal to look out and know that the ocean was a short distance away.  I was hoping to see whales, but no such luck!  Seeing the sailboats sail past and the big cargo ships off in the distance gave me the impression of vast networks all intertwining to connect people.  Much like nature connecting with other pieces to create a vast network.  All working together.

This trip truly was amazing.  J and I didn’t have much time or money to take a trip last year but this was one that will be treasured.  Stanley Park was definitely my favorite part of our trip.  It was heartwarming to see a place that was so full of nature and beauty being preserved in such a busy place.  And well used!  Lots of people were out enjoying it’s fresh air and views.

 

3 things to keep in mind:

  1. It gets busy! Try to visit in the morning.  This will ensure you get a parking spot (if you drive) and you will get to enjoy it without a lot of the crowds.  Earlier the better!
  2. Parking is not free. This was a bit of a shock to us but it makes sense.  There is little space on the island park so they want people to use other modes of transportation.  But there is a bit of a fee to park.  The nice thing is, once you park, you are good for as long as you need.
  3. It is a long way around.  We were optimistic about making it all the way around the park on foot.  This did not happen.  It is a long way around but it is doable.  Just budget your time wisely.  There is a trail that loops the entire island!

 

Tell me, what is your favorite place to visit in Vancouver?