pole to pole with ME

Monday, February 26, 2007

I finally made it out to the Elizabeth Parker hut near Lake O'Hara. Everybody has been raving about this place for as long as I've been in the Rockies. So many people list it as their favorite location - I figured that there must be something to it! It didn't disappoint.

Well, as you can see from the photo above, there was plenty of snow! Our group of seven skiers followed the 11 km road up to this alpine paradise, carrying all of our food, sleeping bags, extra clothing, and any other necessities in backpacks. I packed in a small flask of Scotch, for medicinal purposes only, of course... Our gang took about four hours to struggle up the trail, since we had a number of novice skiers and one complete first-timer along for the trip. I think that it's either brave or totally insane to strap on skis for the first time in your life and commit to a full-on excursion. Our newbie did very well, and hardly complained at all, despite the numerous falls he took while a whole bunch of girls stood around and giggled at him. (Way to go, Steve!)

The hut was cozy and warm when we arrived, thanks to some other folks who'd arrived ahead of our party & lit a cheerful fire. We cooked a leisurely supper, played some Scrabble, took a bit of medicine and snuggled into our sleeping bags in the small bunk hut next door.

Unfortunately for the people on the top bunk, our efforts to stoke up the fire before bedtime made the cabin into a sauna. The lower bunk was perfectly comfortable, though. Besides, we didn't want to have to re-start a fire in the middle of the night or wake up to icicles on our pillows. By about one in the morning the fire had died down to a couple of embers anyway and it started to get chilly. Thinking that we were doing everybody a favour, we spent about half an hour coaxing the fire to life again - not a popular move with the folks on the top bunk that were just starting to cool down. Oh, well. Boy, I'm glad that we have central heating these days, y'know? In a draughty cabin, it's really hard to find a comfortable temperature using a wood stove.

In the end we all got a bit of sleep & I was able to test out my shiny new down sleeping bag (thanks Lorne & Karen! That's what I got with the MEC gift card - love it!!!) See?

The trek back to the cars the next day was through an extra six inches or so of snow that had fallen overnight. It was a perfect alpine experience. So quiet up there, with big fluffy flakes of fresh powder sifting out of the sky. Can't wait to go back!

Lunch on the trail. We're perched on the top of a picnic table that's submerged in snow!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sunset tonight in Banff National Park, as seen from the road to Johnson Lake.


Liz and I had to show off our amazing figure skating style last weekend on Lac Beauvert at the Jasper Park Lodge. Who knew - both of us from small Manitoba towns, both of Icelandic heritage, and both figure skating whiz kids in our youth. Unfortunately, it had been years since either of us had laced on the blades, so we had to keep the double-axels for another day. To her credit, Liz did a few wee jumps - but the place that rented us the skates at the JPL hadn't sharpened them since the last ice age. Mine were so bad that I couldn't hold an edge for a figure-eight - nevermind anything with any speed! Dull skates and rusty skills don't mix. And is it my imagination, or are they making ice harder these days?
Anyway, we had a fantastic time & took Izzy and Gemma for their first skate ever. Okay, so we put skates on their feet and shuffled them across the ice. It counts, right?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

When my brother and sister-in-law were visiting just after Christmas, we did the usual post-Christmas thing - sat around and played Scrabble. Of course, there was a considerable amount of red wine involved, which brought back memories of the time that my brother and I tried to beat Grandma at Scrabble by getting her tipsy (didn't work - she played even better than usual). Anyhoo... We coined a new word, which I want all of you to work into your daily lives: "Banfftastic" It works just like the word "fantastic" except that it applies to things that have to do with Banff. Being, as we are, the centre of the tourism universe, I think this term is long overdue. Let me help you start using the word with an example: "Q: How was the skiing on the weekend, Laurie? A: It was Banfftastic!!!" See how easy that is? Now you try...

Monday, January 08, 2007

See the entry from December 31 for the full story... but here I am with our erstwhile Environment Minister, Rona Ambrose, back before Christmas. She's tiiiiiny! (or I'm huge...) Mom, Dad - what were you feeding me?!? Posted by Picasa

My friend Wendy from Canmore has a team of horses & she's trained them to pull a sleigh. So last week she called me up and we donned fantastic historical Hudson's Bay coats to take the horses for some exercise before they are sent to pasture for the winter. I know it looks snowy, but it was actually about 4 degrees and raining while we took this tour.  Posted by Picasa

Here are some HOT MAMAS in my kitchen on New Year's Eve. I had a happy house-full with visitors from E-town and Montreal. Miss Kerri and Miss Reka and I had our 10-year reunion dinner on the 30th. There's nothing to make you feel old like celebrating a decade (except maybe the next 10-year reunion with these chicas). See Miss Nix's site for photos of our big day out skiing near Cascade Mountain: www.ninedoorsdesign.com/Banff/Site/Banff%20New%20Years.html After the snowy adventures we had a nice soak in the hot springs and mandatory nap time. Yes, I said NAP and it was FABULOUS. So there.
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Swedish meatball, anyone? I rang in the New Year with some of my best friends on this earth. To those of you who were not here for the party, I wish you a very happy 2007. (Photo credit: www.ninedoorsdesign.com )
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Sunday, December 31, 2006

I was summoned to Edmonton just before Christmas to be a Bear Guardian for a day. Our Environment Minister (also in charge of Parks Canada) was visiting several Edmonton elementary schools, and we were spreading the good word about National Parks. My job was to talk about bears and administer the "Bear Care Swear" - it was so cute! Each kid got a "Bear Guardian" badge for taking the oath. I absolutely loved talking to the kids. They probably know more about environmental issues than their parents!  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My cat will do anything for food. Just look at the belly on that one! I think she got a bit of finger in that bite...  Posted by Picasa