24 August 2014

A Moose Jaw Gem: Wakamow Valley

So much happened in Wakamow Valley while we lived here.  Long walks, longer runs, winter picnics, and play-dates with friends.  It's been cold, it's flooded, the colours explode in the fall and the humidity sticks to the foliage in the summer.  

It's where we go to calm our senses and take in the changing of the seasons.  

I'm really going to miss Wakamow Valley...it's such a gem in Moose Jaw.














22 August 2014

Moose Jaw Main Street

Few things were as striking to me as Moose Jaw's Main Street when I first moved to town.  I mean, really!  There is the cobbler, the coffee shops, the Mae Wilson Theatre.  At Christmas they string lights across the road (think "It's a Wonderful Life" come to life) and in the summer they shut it down for Sidewalk Days and small town parades.  While some things have changed, much has stayed the same for a number of years.

Main Street in Moose Jaw is where you see the tourists pop in for the Underground Tunnel tours and where locals sit out on benches to watch the world go by.  You see more people meeting and greeting on Main Street than anywhere else in the Jaw.  In the winter you might see someone skiing down the middle of the road and in the summer, people strolling by shop windows.

My good friend Daniel visited a few weeks ago and he marvelled at how many people were walking from place to place.  That's the thing about a small town with a Main Street like this...you can walk and talk and slow down and breathe and notice things you just don't when you are whizzing by the miles of strip malls prevalent in so many cities these days.

At one end, Main Street is flanked by the old Train Station, now a Saskatachewan Liquor store, but still maintaining its grace and stature at the end of the road.  The other way leads up, up and away toward Diefenbaker Lake or Saskatoon, depending on your mood.

Main Streets are passing fancies in most places...relics of times gone by.  I'm happy to know that Moose Jaw's continues to thrive and create spaces for the people who live and visit to enjoy their town just that much more.




11 August 2014

Moving Time!

Friends, it's been a hectic summer.  No lie.

Dave and I were in the midst of decision making.  At the beginning of the summer, we were deciding what direction we were going to move in next and then the military, during the first week of July, made that decision for us...

Winnipeg, here we come!

[source]

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of cleaning our condo in Moose Jaw, putting it on the market, selling it (including all furniture), visiting Winnipeg for a week for a house-hunting trip, finding a condo there, squaring away paperwork, hosting a friend of our from the States who came to visit...and...just keeping up with life!

We will be moving to our new home at the end of this month.

The change of scenery will be good and lucky for us, we have amazing friends family in Winnipeg that will help make our transition that much easier.

One of the benefits of being in the military...you have friends everywhere!

We are savouring our last couple of weeks here in the Jaw.  We will be doing some things we've always wanted to do...camping at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, visiting the Western Development Museum, taking pictures of murals and enjoying the last little bit of summer with our friends family here in Moose Jaw.

It is a bittersweet time as Dave has been here for almost a decade and this is where we began our life as a married couple.  While we are excited for the change, we are sad to be leaving such incredible people and this friendly community.

Stay tuned.  Lots of updates over the next few weeks.  I plan on being a tourist in this little prairie city...will you join me?

02 July 2014

Canada Day Weekend


Happy belated Canada Day!

Dave and I took off for the Canadian Rockies to enjoy some time in the great outdoors.  For this trip, we decided to make our way up to Abbot Pass Hut, Canada's second oldest mountaineering hut (and location of Canada's supposed highest outhouse!).

I knew going into the trip that the ascent would be fine; however, I was (and always have been) a bit nervy about the descent.  Let's just say I don't like the second half of the saying, "What goes up..."

We drove out on Friday afternoon following my yoga class.  We drove 8 hours, listening to Canada Day special broadcasts on CBC Radio, chatting and noshing on snacks we packed up before we headed out of Moose Jaw.  Our destination was just over the Alberta border, near Field, British Columbia to The Great Divide Lodge where we hoped to catch a few hours of sleep before catching the 8:30 AM bus to Lake O'Hara, where we would begin our hike up to Abbot Pass and hut.

We arrived at the lodge at 2:00 AM, just before they closed the registration desk for the night and quickly made our way to our room to jump in bed and get some shut-eye.  We woke the next morning feeling groggy and chowed down on some tortilla wraps full of bananas and almond butter to fuel us for our ascent.

The nice thing about the Lodge is that it was literally a three-minute drive from where we needed to catch the bus.  We drove over, parked our car and queued up with other hikers to jump on the school bus that would drive us the 20 minutes up to Lake O'Hara.  Some on the bus were doing the same climb as we were while others were just going to up to O'Hara to enjoy the day trails that are there.

The bus rattled and rolled over the rocky road and people were in good spirits as we headed up.  Dave and I chatted and yawned attempting to wake ourselves up.  When we reached the lake, we off-loaded our packs and prepared ourselves for the day ahead.  We had asked about the conditions on the climb and were told that there were a number of snowy sections and that novice hikers had been turned around by the amount of snow that remained at higher altitudes.  Dave and I were determined not to turn around!

The climb begins with a gorgeous trail that hugs the shore of Lake O'Hara.  You are surrounded by pines and can ogle the cabins that rent out there for between $300-$400 per night (much more gucci than the hut we would be calling home for the next two nights!).  We continued on the well-marked trail that would take us to the halfway point - Lake Oesa.  We passed through forest and hugged a river rich with water from melting snow.  We climbed through rocks and boulders left by glaciers long gone and finally saw the icy surface of Oesa in front of us.  We took a brief pause to have a little bite to eat, put on our gaiters and helmets and assess the ascent route up to the hut.

It was clear spring has been slow in coming.  Snow covered the majority of the route and we knew it would be slow going as the snow surface seemed to crumble around our feet with every step.  The snow surface covered slippery scree underfoot and each step had to be made with careful consideration.  I discovered that quickly when, at one point, I placed my right foot, only to have it keep going.  I slid a good body length and when I finally stopped, looked up the slope with tears in my eyes at Dave - scared out of my mind!

After my slip and slide, we continued up - slowly picking our steps and assessing our path along the way.  We followed in the footsteps of those who went before us, relying on their toe holds and matching their ascent plan.  When we finally summited, it was the biggest feeling of relief!

We made our way into the hut which is just...awesome.  There are two large communal tables, a kitchen stocked with pots and pans, a wood-burning stove and an upstairs bunk area that sleeps 24.  The hut itself is made out of huge stones...all of this was brought up by both horse and man and provides mountaineers a wonderful space to get warm, grab a bite and put their feet up.

When we summited, the weather was fairly good, but it quickly turned wintry as blizzard-like conditions set in.  Horizontal snow, cold temperatures and howling winds surrounded the hut for the next two days.  None of the mountaineers who came to summit the two peaks on either side of the hut - Mount Lefroy and Mount Victoria, were able to make their ascents due to the conditions.  Dave and I prepared the food we brought up, enjoyed nips of Scotch and kept the fire burning to keep us warm and dry.  We kept our fingers crossed for better conditions on Monday when we would be making our descent.

Monday dawned and we rose at 3:45 AM with a group of gentlemen who were hoping to summit Lefroy.  Unfortunately, while it didn't work out for them, the weather improved and we all began picking our way down from the hut around 7:00 AM.  While it took us five hours to summit, the downhill only took us two!  We slid our way down and carefully heel-stepped ensuring we weren't going too fast to be unsafe.  I am terrified of going downhill, so Dave's guidance and reassurance were much needed and appreciated during this time!

We made it down and marvelled at how gorgeous the weather was...sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted us as we once again boarded the school bus to take us back to the car.  That night, we celebrated our achievement with pizza at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company in Canmore and a couple of pints of Grizzly Paw Brewing Company's best brews.

These trips are needed.  They give us time to reconnect...to ourselves, to each other and to nature.  Now, on to our next adventure!

For a little taste, check out this video below!


23 June 2014

Today's Letter (inspired by...)

Every day, I send Dave a little love via email in the form of a photo or quote or story.  It's my way of letting him know that I am thinking about him as he starts his day.

While that is OUR thing, I'm pretty excited about the inspiration I find over at Today's Letters.  

I mean...seriously.  Have you ever seen anything so awesome?!?!  
And all because it's true.  
A few words can change a person's day.   
I know a few words have changed mine.

So, here is my go at a letter...

Dear Dave...thanks for thinking so much about our future together.  It means everything to me that you think through each step thoroughly and strive for success with every thought, word and deed.  

Dear Mother Nature...thanks for bringing out the heat and sun yesterday afternoon to provide sunshine for a little impromptu barbecue.  Your rays are the best.  

Dear Port-o-John...thanks for being by the baseball diamond at just the right time on my run yesterday.  Home run.  

Dear patience...thanks for all the lessons you are teaching me these days.  I know we aren't always the best of friends, but you are there when tough decisions are being made and for that, I am grateful.  

Dear Mr. S...we cleaned a lot yesterday and I know it isn't the most fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but look at all we got accomplished!  Clean house for the win!

How do send your love to those you love?

Go check out Today's Letters...just click on the link below!


Today's Letters

13 June 2014

A Friday Virtual Vacation

Friends of mine are currently in Europe.

They enjoyed Paris and Normandy and now they are soaking in the lovely German atmosphere.

M+P...have a little brötchen for me!

In honour of their trip (and because I am always ready for a little travel myself),
I am sharing a little Friday Virtual Vacation.

For your viewing pleasure...a little Paris.



This weekend will be full of gardening, running, yoga, biking and dreaming of baguettes.

Happy Weekend!