Monday, 27 August 2012

Galatea Lakes hike ...

Up, up, up!

Shortly after Mum left for Australia, I decided that the best way to lift myself out of the 'blue' period I was experiencing since her departure was to go for a scenic and strenuous hike in the Canadian Rockies.  It was the perfect anti-depressant - 16 kilometres of beautiful scenery along the Galatea Lakes hike.  The hike took us through the woods alongside a fast-flowing stream and up to Lillian Lake where we stopped for lunch.  We then decided to take the short 1.5 kilometre hike up to Lower Galatea Lake ... short but strenuous.  The effort was worth it though and we spent some time at Lower Galatea Lake soaking our feet in the cold water (Abbey was even brave enough to take a swim) before heading back down to the trailhead.  Galatea Lakes was the perfect hike for a homesick girl ... it reminded me of why I live in this beautiful place and of all the wonderful things in life.  (But, I still do miss my family and homeland!)

Looking back to where we've come from

First glimpse of Lillian Lake

Lovely Lillian Lake

Lunch spot view

Resting on the way up

Lower Galatea Lake

Smiles for having made it to the top!

On the scree looking back at Lillian Lake

Cooling off hot feet at the end of the hike (sorry about the dot on the picture!)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Grassi Lakes hike ...

Which way to go?  (we decided on the 'more difficult' way up and the 'easy' way down)

Mum's last day in Canada (for this trip at least) was grey and miserable, which kind of suited our glum moods as we realised that the end of our mother/daughter holiday was near.  Nevertheless, we headed to the mountains so Mum could experience the Rockies once more and also have a chance to stretch her legs before the long flight back to Australia.

Admiring the drizzly view

The third (or first?!) sister of the Three Sisters

Since it was raining when we arrived in Canmore, we stopped for a bagel and a coffee before deciding on the short hike to Grassi Lakes nestled underneath the Three Sisters at the back of Canmore.  It's a short hike up (the 'more difficult' route up is not very difficult but worth it for the lovely views) to two beautiful, clear lakes.  The 'easy' route down is uneventful and quick ... especially when you can hear the thunder and see the storm clouds rolling in!

Cuddles in the rain

The 'difficult' part of the 'most difficult' route to the top

And so, another mother/daughter trip in Canada came to an end, a very teary and emotional end.  It was wonderful sharing some of 'my' Canada with Mum as well as exploring new places with her.  Saying goodbye made me realise just how far away from home I actually am.  One day (soonish) I know I will be ready to return home but until then, I will keep exploring this beautiful country as well taking regular trips back to Australia of course!

At the top of the waterfall

We saw several signs advising hikers of the recent outhouse installation ...

... so I thought that I should give it a go!

First glimpse of the first lake

Crazy colours in the lake

Beautiful reflections

The mossy stream reminded me of Tasmania

... as did this (although Tasmania doesn't have mountains like these!)

Can you spot the rock climbers?

Can you see him now?!

Abbey was about to have a dip when she spotted (and was a little wary of) the climbers

Lawrence Grassi, the Italian 'Master Trailmaker' (what a great title!)

(Now, I am up to date with Mum's adventures but I will need to take a break before I blog about the many adventures I've had since she left because early tomorrow morning, C and I are heading off to Osoyoos for some fun in the sun before I go back to work!)

Friday, 17 August 2012

Floating down the Bow River ...

Canmore Rockies Rafting company (with the Three Sisters in the background)

During our time hanging out in Calgary, we saw several groups of people floating down the Bow River on rafts, which is a common summer time activity.  Mum decided that this was something she wanted to do while she was here, so I began investigating how to go about it.  Since the river was flowing quite quickly (thanks to the big June rains and the mountain run off), I wasn't comfortable just jumping into a raft and setting off.  So, we chose the safer (and more expensive) option of going with a guided group in nearby Canmore.  We were still going to be floating down the Bow, admiring the sights but in a slightly more relaxed fashion. 

Mum surveys the Bow River from the raft

Beaver lodge

It was an evening trip which meant that C could join us as well.  It was a perfect evening with a pleasant temperature, a little cloud cover and the sun peeking out frequently.  We were on the river for about an hour and a half and during that time, we floated at a pace that seemed about half the speed of the fairly fast flowing river, which was surprising.  Along the way, we kept our eyes peeled for wildlife and our group was lucky enough to spot several beavers (my first ever beaver sighting ... they kind of look like water wombats!) and a few bald headed eagles perched up high in the trees.

The second boat behind us with the mountains behind Canmore in the background

C and Mum watch out for wildlife

Our guide, a young guy from Chile, was super knowledgeable and a lot of fun.  If you are looking for a unique way to see the Rockies and have some time one summer evening after work, I can highly recommend a trip with the Canmore Rockies Rafting Company.  The next Canadian water activity on my list is whitewater rafting, but I'll have to wait until next spring because right now, the water levels are at their lowest, which makes for smaller and less fun (less scary too?!) rapids!

My first ever beaver sighting!

Coming up for air (and so that I can get a better look at him!)

... and there he goes!

Beautiful light on the Bow River

The second boat in the beautiful light

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Calgary Folk Fest ...

Calgary Folk Fest ... third time around

The Calgary Folk Festival is always a highlight on the summer event calendar here in Calgary and as soon as I found out that Mum was going to be here for it, I jumped online and bought us a couple of 4-day passes for the event.  The festival is always a great place to discover new musical artists as well as enjoy some quirky artists whose music you wouldn't necessarily purchase.  This year was no exception ... over two evenings and two full days/nights, we saw a grand total of 39 bands play!  Some more than once and some more than twice.  What great value for $130 each!  If you're interested in discovering some new music (and have similar tastes to mine), here were our favourites of the festival ... Reuben and the Dark (Reuben looked identical to and had the same mannerisms as my little brother, Rob ... it was quite unbelieveable and made me a little homesick), Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three, John Doe, Mark Beirube, Gillian Welch (already a favourite), Lindi Ortega and of course there were many more great artists too.  A highlight of the first night was seeing Chris Isaak live ... wow, does that man have some sex appeal or what?!  Especially in a red rhinestone suit!  Each day, Mum and I had a lot of fun hanging out at the smaller stages during the day before making our way to our tarp (which was in a prime spot thanks to C and his volunteer friends) at the main stage for the evening entertainment.  It was my third Calgary Folk Fest and Mum's first ever festival and it certainly didn't disappoint either of us!

Us on our tarp ... we were lucky to get such a great spot on the lawn

Gourmet salted caramel donuts ... possibly the only time I have ever eaten a whole donut (and definitely the last!)

Rob?!  This guy (Reuben Bollock) looked absolutely identical to my little bro Rob!

... and there he is again!  This time with Lindi Ortega

Reuben and his band ... Reuben and the Dark ... definitely the favourites of the festival

Another favourite ... Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three

One of Mum's favourites, John Doe

Another favourite, Mark Beirube

Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three in a workshop

Reuben and the Dark

     John Doe (check out that leg move!)

Mark Beirube

Gillian Welch

Matching Calgary Folk Fest caps ... it was great to share the folk fest experience with Mum

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Hanging around in Calgary ...

An appropriate seat for Cowtown

Calgary is definitely not a city I would ever choose to live in but it is growing on me and there are some pockets of the city that I really enjoy spending time in.  The best part about where C and I live is the proximity to the river, downtown Calgary and the lovely little neighbourhood of Kensington, where shock, horror ... you can find a coffee shop that isn't Starbucks (there also is a Starbucks too)!  It was here, at Higher Ground, that Mum and I went each day for her daily caffeine fix.  We also spent time wandering around my other favourite area, Inglewood, as well as downtown Calgary where we did a spot of shopping and enjoyed a boozy lunch on a pub patio.  It's not a fabulous city, but I am enjoying exploring some of the more unique areas and it was fun to share these with Mum.

The Peace Bridge

Boozy lunch in downtown Calgary

Mum's 'local' while she was here, Higher Ground in Kensington

Enjoying the flowers in Riley Park, Kensington

More coffee!