30 June 2013

Canada Wine Country & Mountain Anniversary - Part Three

From pizza in Kelowna and back to the open road.  We were outta there in order to tackle the mountains we love so much.  The original plan was to backcountry camp for the remainder of the week outside Canmore at Ribbon Falls, but, alas...due to poor time and a lot of snow up at elevation, our dreams were dashed.  

We located another backcountry camping spot, but again, due to poor timing, we weren't able to secure a permit in time.  And so, we pitched our tent at a drive-in site between the Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes (shudder) and made the best of it.  There was almost no one there due to poor weather conditions in Canmore at the time (Canada's May long weekend).

Needless to say, we had a great time.  We cooked with our new outdoor stove - the Trangia - we hiked the entire way around the Upper Lake, talked and just reconnected.  

In essence, we did what we set out to do.

I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

I will say this, I love traveling with my husband.  He's an amazing human being and I'm so lucky I get to spend times like this with him.

In addition, we are thinking of those in Canmore, Calgary and the High River areas.  Mother Nature packed a one-two punch and reminded all of us just who is in control.  May the clean-up be speedy and may all get the help and assistance they need to make it through this challenging time.

23 June 2013

Canada Wine Country & Mountain Anniversary - Part Two

So we had just downed breakfast at the B&B we were staying at and it was time to hit the road once again.  From Golden it was on to Kelowna, but not before taking in some more breathtaking scenery and enjoying a stop in the awesome mountain town of Revelstoke.

Let's just say this...I loved Revelstoke.
I could spend a lot of time there.
Beautiful scenery, lots of cafes and shops, and a lovely spot for Dave and I to take a break from driving and stretch our legs a bit.  We walked the neighbourhoods and just enjoyed being outside in the fresh mountain air.  
Revelstoke, I hope to see you again soon!

We pushed on from Revelstoke into Kelowna, passing mountains and then fields along the way.  At one point, we came to this awesome road-side market where "Dave's Goats" reside.  We had to stop.  You could feed the goats by putting some feed in a tin can.  When the goats hear you filling up the tin can, they pull up the can by pushing a pedal with one of their hooves.  It was a sight to see!  The market was full of all sorts of goodies including fresh-baked pies, salsas and chutneys.  It took a lot of self control not to purchase any of the goods on display!

A little further and we found ourselves arriving at our VRBO locale and heading straight out into town to do a bit of grocery shopping and planning for our dinner that night.  As readers of the blog know, Dave and I like to rent apartments in the places we go as opposed to staying in hotels.  This way, we can cook what we want, save a bit of money along the way and enjoy spending some quality time in the kitchen together (one of our favourite things).

We made dinner, ate it up and then headed out for a walk.  Kelowna is a lovely little town that sits right on this amazing lake.  It was a little chilly (still early in the season), but we enjoyed our time out and about.

Our first day out we toured a couple of wineries and did some tasting.  We purchased a few bottles and had a lovely lunch out on the deck of the Quails Gate winery.  We feasted on a lovely lunch of a light vegetable soup and some yam fries.  It was warm and breezy out and our service was fantastic.  

That evening, we headed up a steep hill near our rental with our new camping stove and gave it a first try by boiling some water for tea.  From the top of the hill, you could look out and far down the valley.  We also read about the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park fire that burned for many days (a read that would prep us for one of our next adventures in town).

For a special anniversary dinner, we dressed ourselves up and headed out to RauDZ Regional Table - a local restaurant that focuses on farm to table dining.  We had an amazing sample of their food and felt overly sated by the end!

For our anniversary, we always like to re-create a little bit of our special day.  As such, the next day we drove to a spot where we hoped to rent kayaks, but alas, there were none to be found.  Instead, we drove down to Penticton (site of the Ironman in Canada) and then up the other side of the lake.  We drove through little towns and passed vineyards, all the while enjoying each others company.  When at last we got to the end of the road (literally...we could not go any further), we had to figure out how to get back to town.

And so began our crazy adventure.  There are no pictures from this day as we were not expecting to be driving as much as we did (we didn't want to bring the camera on the kayaks).  We decided to take this other route over Kelowna Mountain.  The dirt path that ensued through tons of burned acreage was something out of a Tim Burton film.  Twisted and charred remains of old trees poked their way into the sky.  Swaths of land remained barren and just the faintest of life returning was visible.  It was a fascinating drive and our little old Chevy Cavalier did quite well...we certainly thanked her when we made our way back down the mountain.

Needless to say, after a long, unexpected day in the car, we were hungry and Dave wanted to take me to a place that had great pizzas so off it was to Mama Rosa's.  The pizza was delicious and we ate more than our fill!

I'll leave with thoughts of pizza and will be back with more soon!

14 June 2013

Canon 6D Love

This year, Dave and I invested in a great camera...the Canon EOS 6D.  A nice, new camera had been on our list since my Canon point-and-shoot gave out last year and the iPhone photos just weren't cutting it.  It was something we had been talking about for a while and this year, we were able to make it happen.

We love it.
It is our new pet that we take everywhere with us.
We may or may not have given the camera a nickname.
The photos are awesome without us trying.
We still have a lot to learn.

I wanted to share a Friday Photo Post with you so you can see some of our adventures and take a look at what this camera can do!

Cheers and Happy Friday!

13 June 2013

Canada Wine Country & Mountain Anniversary - Part One

Dave and I opted to spend our 3rd anniversary in the mountains...again!  Our first anniversary was spent on the shores of Tofino, our second in the mountains of Colorado and our third in the mountains and wine country of British Columbia.

After Dave high-fived me at the finish line of the Rocky Mountain Soap Company run in Canmore, we stopped off for a quick lunch at Communitea.  We needed to fill our bellies before heading deeper into the mountains!  After a delicious quinoa salad and some lovely mugs of tea, we hit the road...heading north past Banff before heading west toward Golden where we would spend the first night of our journey.

The mountains were absolutely spectacular!  There is nothing I love more than marveling at these giant pieces of earth jutting into the sky!  The sharp ridge lines slashed against the clouds and created the perfect panorama for a road trip.  With CBC on the radio and long conversations at hand, we cruised through the mountains pointing out waterfalls and rock formations along the way.

Golden is an awesome (and at this time of year, sleepy!) little town.  We headed to the Canyon Ridge Lodge, a bed and breakfast we stayed at for the night and were greeted by the most amazing owner ever!  The accommodations were cozy and warm and the hot tub out back promised a relaxing dip later that evening.  After a brief snooze in our comfy bed, we headed out to fill our bellies once again and did just that at the Whitetooth Mountain Bistro where we had the place to ourselves.  With a clink of our wine glasses we dug into our dinners and savoured the fact that we were on vacation.

The next morning, we rose early and joined others at the breakfast table for a spread of fruit, cereals and eggs made to order (if you wanted them!).  I munched on fruit and Dave had an english muffin.  The conversation with the other two couples around the table varied from our travels to gardening tips.  In all, it was a fantastic experience and we definitely would stay there again! 

After that, we got back on the road to continue from Golden on to Kelowna...but that will be the next post!

10 June 2013

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Trail Run

It was a weekend with good friends, good food, great weather and even better running.  About a month ago now, I tackled the Rocky Mountain Soap Company Run by doing the half marathon the first day on my own and then toe-ing the starting line of the 10K the next day with friends of mine from Moose Jaw.  

We fueled up for our weekend by heading out to Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company...which, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know this is a Canmore staple.  The food was delicious, the restaurant warm and buzzing with activity, our service was fantastic (as always) and the company was awesome!

In order to get ourselves going the next morning, we headed over to Beamers Coffee to fuel up and get warm before heading up to the Canmore Nordic Center for the start of the run.  I downed an amazing granola bar and decaf latte and thanked my cheerleaders for hanging with me during the morning.  Their support really calmed me as I pondered the challenge of my first trail run ahead.

The first day's run was an unexpected blast with the trail riding up and down a lot more than my muscles are used to.  Saskatchewan's flat prairie trails offered no preparation for this hilly course.  I did well on the first half and was surprised to see just how fast I had rolled down the hill and into town after six miles.  I knew I needed to pace myself as the water stops weren't frequent and I knew that the mantra here would be "what goes down, must come up."  My friends G and A were on the sidelines cheering me on as I *slowly* crested the hill back up to the Canmore Nordic Center where we started from.  With burning calves and thighs I crossed the finish with my second fastest half marathon time ever!

Following the run, the three of us headed out to tackle a trail hike.  We tramped through mud and lots of snow and even heard the avalanches going off in the distance.  The weather was perfect for it though and stoked my already growing appetite.  In order to finish up our day, we headed to Tapas for dinner and managed to take down nearly three quarters of the menu in one go...I think the bartender was a little afraid of us after watching us polish off dish after dish.

We headed back to our abode at the Hostel Bear and got cozy for the night so we could rest up for our 10K challenge the next day.  The three of us met up with another friend of ours, A, at the start of the 10K the next morning (after another stop at Beamers, of course) and we were off.  I ran with G for a while and we chatted and tried to keep our breath even as we navigated the ups and downs of the course.  G and I parted ways just before the halfway point and as I made my way past the first turn, I was clipped by another runner and took a nasty tumble.  G came up and checked to see if I was all right and even ran with me for a bit before she sent me ahead and on my way.  I crossed the finish line bloody and bruised, but no worse for wear.  Even better, Dave was there to greet as he drove out to Canmore so we could get our vacation started the next week!

The race was great and even better because it was shared with friends.  I'm looking forward to heading back next year to take on the mountains again!