Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring Break Sunshine

We had a lovely opportunity to run away for my spring break this year. A wonderful invite, from my in-laws, provided us the opportunity visit somewhere new, soak up some long-missed warm sunshine, and take a break. It was great to see a bit of where they have been visiting for the past few years and spend some time together. I took (as per usual) way too many photos. I've been trying to thin them down - as my computer keeps informing me it is short on space, but it's hard. I think I'll need to break up my Portugal posts or this will be forever long.

Day one really doesn't require recording as it involved sitting on a plane, more sitting on a plane, and then some more... eventually we switched to a train to take us from Lisbon to Carvoeiro where the fam-jam was. While we missed most of the scenery due to night - the train station in Lisbon was pretty and it felt wonderful to arrive, wash my face properly, and sleep while lying down!

Following a much needed sleep in - the adventuring could begin.

We were told that we must missed the most awful storm anyone could remember for awhile. We must have been extra lucky as it was beautiful for pretty much all of our journey. In the morning we went for a wander down into town.

Fam-Jam thanks to the random person walking

Typically - I wouldn't take photos of garbage bins - but they were so fun!
On the path (I thought it was a shell, but in trying to pick it up for a look -
it was firmly attached to the sidewalk)
Tiny Sallie and Richard down near the cave 

I don't really know what these are - but they looked to me like miniature irises.
They're probably 8cm high - and everywhere.

After lunch we went for a wander to one of Sallie and Richard's favourite close beaches. It was a slightly humorous moment once we got there and discovered that perhaps we should check tides if we wanted to guarantee walk-ability.

This, to me, looked like a perfect pirate ship!

Apparently it is unheard of for Richard to reveal his calves but the
ocean is a powerful force and the threat of waves won out. 

These tiny plants were growing on the top of a rock that was also covered in sand. Super hearty! 

The rock was filled with shells and coral and other 'stuff'. 

Tourist selfies :) 
Just following smacking her head on the rock. Can't stop her from climbing.

These looked so much like our wild rose - but they didn't smell the same
or have the same leaves, or thorns...

Making Sallie nervous, sitting on the edge.
It was a great beginning to the journey. Wishing you well, wherever you are in the world.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Winter Wonderland

A few weeks ago - we went for a mountain adventure. The weather was perfect: the snow was fluffy and the sun was shining. Often when we make it to the mountains, we go skiing. This time however, we just adventured. Hot springs, some hikes, dog sledding. I really like skiing, but it was really nice to spend some time doing other things instead.

The great weather also made it perfect for some picture taking. Day one we did a hike up by Cave and Basin Historic Site. In retrospect we probably should have gone into the interpretive centre first - as it was closing by the time we were done our wander... but that can happen next time. As we walked every so often new snowflakes would start to come down - and then it would clear again for awhile and then some more snow. It was beautiful.

This made me think of a song from Brownies -
"if all of the snowflakes were hershey bars and milkshakes, oh what a snow it would be..."
Sometimes I wonder why all these songs are still in my head. I think Carly questions this too.

We saw this little bird, splashing away and diving in the river. We couldn't quite figure out what kind of bird it was - but it seemed to be having a great time!

The best part of the journey was the trip with Kingmik Dogsled Tours. It was such an incredible experience. We did the tour called the Great Divide that leaves from right by the Lake Louise Lodge and goes to the border of Yoho National park. Carly voiced that she thinks I've become a dog person. I think she may be right. Some still make me nervous, for sure, but my 4 1/2 years with Sitka has changed my pup-perspectives. The dogs that were 'working' on our trip were lovely. It was fun to watch their joy and enthusiasm.

 We started with a meet and greet of the teams working that day. They're so very different from the sled dogs I saw up North. These dogs are not only working dogs, but also part of a people community. They love to snuggle and are super friendly.

After we'd had orientation and the pup's had their "soup" the packed us into a sled and started to get the dogs tied in. It was crazy the shift in energy. The calm pups that had been soaking up the loving turned into a chorus as they eagerly waited to get set up, bouncing, barking, leaping... it was fun to watch.

And then we were off! It snowed the throughout the previous night and the dogs made it look effortless as we glided along the track.

Half way through the journey we reached the "great divide" which was a time to hop out and cuddle up the hard workers.

Meet Bow and Chaos - our lead dogs for the day. 

I loved the "it's hot out here" attempts to roll in the snow while tethered to everyone else. 

On the way back we each got a chance to "drive". Claiming that task seems a bit of an exaggeration but it was still fun to get to stand up at the back and see a different perspective.

On the way back we also detoured through the route that is part of the "Narnia" tour. I can see why it had that name - I half expected to see the snow queen or a fawn. Especially as the sun shone through the tree tops. No lamp posts detected though (or Lions for that matter).

I loved that Froom really wanted to bound through the snow drifts and did a face plant every time there was a pause.  
 At the end the pups looked super pleased with themselves and chilled while waiting for their frozen snacks.

This is Stef - our Guide for the day - and the pup crew. She was great.
Sharing interesting information and life stories. 

That afternoon, before heading back to Edmonton, we went for a wander up to the lookout by the Lodge. It felt like a magical winter day, the fresh snow had that diamond sparkle which was great. With the snow and the trees all other sounds sort of disappeared. Winter Wonderland just for us.

My favourite winter gnome. 

Moss pondering 
And hoping that this stuff doesn't house the small creatures we heard about in New Orleans.
(reasons to be thankful for a deep cold winter?)

The joys of shadowy spaces and trying to take pictures with a timer... Of the 15 pictures - this is the only one that gives away that we were actually near a mountain. If you look carefully. 

Snow cushion! 
Don't you also want to dive in? 
It was a lovely journey.