The American Rockies Meets The Canadian Rockies…

This past weekend I also got to meet my blogging friend– Keenan in person.  Just over 4 years ago we first started exchanging emails…I was living in Pangnirtung and he had recently moved to Colorado.  He totally had switched up his life and had taken on a 52 hike challenge for the year!

We became friends over the years as we exchanged info on the how to’s of blogging and just random stuff happening in our lives. At the time we started talking Keenan was just setting up his blog. I think we exchanged emails for almost two years before becoming Facebook friends.  He’s even done a guest post here on Sarah on the Road when my mum and I went to El Salvador.

Back up to the middle of May, we had a random FB chat about him coming to Ontario to do a marathon… but he had committed to one in Banff and one in New Brunswick this year. (He just has completed running marathons in the 50 states (in just under 3 years!) and now is working on the 10 Canadian Provinces…plus some other international destinations…) So Ontario wasn’t in his plans for 2016.

I asked him when he was going to Banff for the marathon…and luck would have it that it happened to be the SAME weekend I was in Canmore for Meghan and Todd’s Wedding so we decided to meet in real life!

Friday night when he got into Canmore we met up over his dinner to discuss our plan of attack for the next day.  Our mission was to explore and have fun in Banff National Park—see as much as we could! (I had to duck out around 12ish to get ready for the wedding…and he had to pick up his marathon bib for the following day…but he met up with me later for the reception!)
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We got on the road extremely early—anyone who knows me knows I am NOT a morning person.  But here I was Saturday morning of my holidays getting out of bed at 5:30am–quick shower then drove over to Keenan’s hotel to head out onto the road leaving by 6am.

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As much as I grumble about early morning starts…I totally learned something Saturday morning… early mornings are awesome, because the lakes were less crowded and the sunlight was FANTASTIC!

We headed towards Lake Louise…with a stop a Moraine Lake before getting there… it was so peaceful and gorgeous.  A few hikers in the parking lot getting ready for a serious day’s hike… and a few photographers catching the morning calmness of the lake.
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A much different scene from when I was there with my mum the day before around 11! Alberta_0035

Look at that view  the perfect reward for an early start to the day. Alberta_0036

Our next stop was Lake Louise…such a calm & wind free day (not like the day before!) No clouds on the mountains… reflections perfectly clear… and the colour of that water– breath taking!  Alberta_0037 Alberta_0038

So when I was there with my mum I heard about the Lake Agnes Tea House. It’s been serving tea since 1905…at an altitude of 2,135 m… and about a 3 1/2 km hike from Lake Louise.  I was like…I’d love to go there, but knew mum wasn’t up for that kind of hike.  So I put that idea in the background.  Fast forward to Saturday morning–I suggested to Keenan we head there.  Alberta_0039

Almost immediately as I started sucking air heavily I regretted the choice.  But I continued on… laughing and chatting all the way up that bloody mountain to the tea house.  Sometimes just rambling nonsense—and wondering in my head —are we there yet?  Actually this might have been out loud and not always in my head!

It’s a really well maintained path–and only the last little bit is shared with horses (so have to watch out for the horse poop!) A perfect hiking trail. Alberta_0040

I’m so glad we started hiking early…because there wasn’t many people on the path.  By the time we were coming down—the path was full of groups! Honestly, it was so much nicer of a climb because at times it was just Keenan and I on the path, rather than a HUGE group of people in front and behind us! Alberta_0041

We finally arrived at Lake Agnes…and saw the tea house! I was so shocked I actually made it up that bloody mountain but then again, sometimes it’s the company you are with that makes the time fly! Alberta_0042

My view from the tea house… gorgeous lake and mountains and SNOW!
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So many tea choices… I had the Lady Agnes *something* berry… and honestly, I can’t remember what Keenan had–Though it was the first on the list! LOL We also had soup to warm us up. Alberta_0066

The view toward Lake Louise—it’s in the clearing around my elbow! Alberta_0068

Isn’t Lake Agnes pretty? Alberta_0069Here’s a view towards Lake Louise. (—the Chateau Lake Louise can be seen just to the left below my water mark on the photo!)

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Then we were heading back down the mountain… that was a fun it was all downhill! The first groups of people that came up via horseback had arrived—so it was fun to see the horses!
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Some of the people that were hiking had all the gear—I prefer to hike in the Rockies with my jean jacket and black pashmina scarf… gotta have a bit of style! Alberta_0046

It was a perfect idea–thanks Keenan for joining me on that adventure…and sorry if I did grumble a wee bit on the way up!  We left the day for hiking at this point…with me rushing back to Canmore to get ready for the wedding–and Keenan picking up his race bib for the race the next day!

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Sunday morning I headed up to Banff to see Keenan start his 65th Marathon…and his FIRST in CANADA!
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While Keenan was running… I headed back to Canmore to pack up & get mum so we could come and do some exploring around Banff! It’s so touristy–and so many fun shops to window shop in.
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Keenan was so focused on the end…didn’t even see me waiting at the finish line! (The plan was he was going to text me when he was done….and I’d come pick him up and take him back to his hotel for a shower before he headed to the airport!)

However, there’s something so fun about a race and watching the runners come in… I had to wait to and cheer on everyone! Alberta_0061 Alberta_0062

…Congrats on your first Canadian Marathon!!! It was fun to be able to see you cross the finish line.
Alberta_0064 Keenan it was so nice to finally meet you in person! Keep on having your amazing adventures–you inspire me to have my own.
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The rest of the day was spent driving…first back to Canmore to drop off Keenan at his hotel. Then onto Calgary to the airport….where I joined my Gramma & Bart, Aunt Anne & Uncle Andrew, Aunt Marie & Uncle Chris and Clayton, Cody, Charlotte and Caroline for the flight back to Toronto…. I got the middle seat between mum and Clayton!
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It was the end to the perfect weekend away…looking forward to my summer and new adventures!

Happily Ever After…

Even though Saturday morning started out bright blue skies and sunny… at 2pm it was a wee bit cloudy! However, a little cloudy skies and threat of rain did not put a damper on the celebrations.   Meghan and Todd choose an amazing venue to get married- Canmore is gorgeous. Alberta_0054It was a truly awesome day… Meghan you were a stunning bride!

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“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ~Dr. Seuss

Alberta_0049 Alberta_0050 Alberta_0055Alberta_0056Alberta_0057Alberta_0051 I ended up catching the bouquet…it’s actually the 2nd one I’ve caught at a family wedding! The first one was at my mum’s 1st cousin’s wedding (Marnie and Hugh) the summer I was 17. This time I’ve caught one at my 1st cousin’s wedding… so I suppose my relationship to the bride and groom is getting closer—but I wouldn’t hold your breathe for me getting married any time soon! Alberta_0052 Thanks for inviting me and letting me share in the celebration of your special day.

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Meghan and Todd I send my wishes for a life time of happiness and love and once more I’d like to offer my Congrats!  See you at the Lake next time you are in Ontario!

Heading West…

This past weekend my mum and I travelled out to Canmore, Alberta for my cousin’s wedding. It has been a few years since our last mother-daughter trip...it was time to hit the road…and see what trouble  fun we could get into!

(I must admit—this is a PHOTO heavy post, but I’m totally not apologizing for that…it felt good to be out there shooting again!) Alberta_0001

It was an early morning flight–tea was necessary once we got all checked in.  I settled in for our flight to Calgary…I marked a few papers on my way! (Life a prof…sometimes the marking doesn’t end, however…a long flight is a great time to get through some papers!) Alberta_0003

After we picked up the rental we took the road…I just used Google and I ended up not on the the Trans Canada Highway 1 to Lake Louise—but ended up on the 1A…it was a really fun route!
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Stopping to smell the wild roses along the way…and excited to see fresh lakes and mountains!! Alberta_0004

This was the first time I’ve been on a plane in 11 months…which is a long time especially after my life and amount of flights I did in the 12 months prior! It was fun to be on an adventure again…travelling, taking photos and laughing with my mum.
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…I’m glad I argued with the rental car place and didn’t accept the ‘mini-van’ they wanted to give me…but ended up with a Jeep Patriot.  I felt a wee bit guilty like I was having a secret affair on Milo…but OH did I LOVE driving that JEEP! (It was loaded…leather seats, sun roof (which we never used bc it was soooo chilly!) and satellite radio! Alberta_0006

Lake Louise is beautiful…and I got to see SNOW in June again! (Yes, it snowed briefly the first night we were there…) The last time I was here I was 12…on a road trip across Canada with my Gramma and Grandpa & two brothers! It was nice to return with my mum…Alberta_0007

The food during our trip was amazing…I decided to randomly put together a collage of some of our awesome meals! Alberta_0008

The first night it was pretty cloudy and overcast at the lake…and it was WINDY!
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We had dinner at the Chateau Lake Louise. A brief history of the Chateau… The hotel was first conceived by the railway at the end of the 19th century, as a vacation destination to lure moneyed travellers into taking trains and heading West. It has burned down not once but 2 times in it’s history… it is now part of the Fairmont Hotel Family.  Alberta_0011

The grounds outside of the hotel are so amazing! Mum was very patient with me…letting me run around and take random photos while she sat and enjoyed the scenery and people watching of other tourists! Alberta_0012

We stayed overnight at Deer Lodge…just a 5 minute walk from the lake.  It was such a cool older resort…had so much character! I LOVED it… think squeeky floors, high ceilings, comfortable beds…and old school lodge! Alberta_0014 Alberta_0013 Alberta_0019 Alberta_0015

The next morning before we left we went back to the Lake to see what we could see…but the clouds were pretty low on the mountains, but the lake was oh so amazing in colour! Alberta_0020 Alberta_0016

Our next stop was Moraine Lake…it was SO cold!! I snapped a few photos of the lake–but honestly, it was crawling with people…and hard to get the shots I wanted to get! Alberta_0017

Mum and I stopped in the gift shop to look around…and to warm up! (I didn’t really realize how cold it would be this time of year–I had checked the weather before going, but honestly you’d think a girl that had lived in the Arctic for 5 years would have been better prepared…but I wasn’t…thankfully I did bring a jean jacket!) Alberta_0021 Alberta_0018

The views along the road to Moraine Lake were so amazing! Alberta_0022

The German tourists…saw me taking the selfie on the right.. and offered to take my photo on the left. (mum was safe in the car—she wasn’t a fan of the cliff on the side of the road…) Alberta_0023

We had lunch at the historic railway station in Lake Louise—such great food… mum had the ‘dirty mac and cheese’ (with pulled pork in it)….I must admit I was a wee bit jealous!
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Stops along the road between Lake Louise and Banff… Mountains take my breath away! There’s always time for a mountain selfie!!!
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Once we got to Canmore…mum and I decided to try to figure out were the wedding and the reception were going to be held.  The Reception was easy… Got that one down.  However, the wedding address when put into google maps—was a bit more interesting.  I told mum this looks wrong… it’s a 45min drive from Canmore…but she said, “Let’s just try it…” I tried to caution her again…but said, “ok…” Alberta_0032

Our little ‘road trip’ took us high above the town of Canmore…on a twisty road up behind town…then into the wild! Mum and I were surprised to see 3 Elk…a Bear and a small furry animal (which I didn’t get a photo of)…and oh did we laugh… Alberta_0029

The laughter started when google lady said “you have arrived!” we looked at each other…and we were like… it’s a dirt road with TREES on either side… probably not the best place to have a wedding. Alberta_0031

But honestly… that 2 hour return trek (in search of the wedding)…was one of the highlights of my long weekend away! So much laughter.. and fun and the trees, mountains and wildlife = perfect end to a crazy day!
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The weekend was just beginning…with a whole lot of surprises and more fun in store! I suppose I’m going to have to blog about that soon!

Happy 60th Birthday Mum!!!

Happy Birthday to you…
Happy BIRTHDAY to YOU!
HaPpY BiRtHdAy Dear MUM…
Happy Birthday to you!!!! mum

If you were not my mom already,
then I would be absolutely jealous of whoever was your daughter.
You’re awesome, Mum.
So excited to celebrate this ‘milestone’ with you…
and excited for our next mother-daughter trip next weekend!

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Birthdays are like chocolate. It’s best not to keep count of how many you have, and just enjoy them instead. Happy birthday to the sweetest mum I know.

Luv you, Sarah

 

Montreal Mayhem: Bagels & Jazz

This past weekend I had a blast visiting family in Montreal.  I went to visit Sarah and Craig and their boys in December of 2009…it was a stop in Montreal on my way back up to Sanikiluaq, Nunavut. However, that wasn’t the last I had visited them…I saw them a few summers ago at the cottage on Haliburton Lake.  I went up to spend a night with them while they were there.

Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0014 Needless to say, I was pretty excited to go and spend the weekend with them… and catch up!  I decided to take train from Toronto to Montreal.  Then when I was looking at the ticket prices…it wasn’t that much more to splurge and go ‘business class’.  So I must say, when you travel business you have this fantastic lounge to wait in at Union Station.

Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0001…it was a HOT Friday night. I’ve been slowly adjusting to the ‘summer’ temps after my years in the Arctic but honestly am struggling.  Leaving Toronto it was a bit rough for the first 2 hours or so…(until just after Kingston) our train didn’t have any AC. It was a HOT sticky mess…I was so thankful that they got it working as we left Kingston!  It is fun travelling in that first class car–because they feed you…and the food is actually really yummy.
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I arrived around 10:45pm…and Sarah came to pick me up.  We hurried off to a pub where Craig was playing a gig with one of the jazz bands he is in. (He plays in quite a few bands–one is a corporate band that has done gigs around the world). But tonight it was a gig at a fantastic Irish Pub.  I was so excited to finally see him play live!

Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0004Years ago when I was a kid, I remember listening to him practice at the cottage… sometimes my little brother and I would sit outside the window and look into his cottage to watch him play. It was a totally different and amazing experience sitting in an Irish pub listening to him play enjoying an ‘adult’ beverage! This was one of the best parts of my trip to Montreal to FINALLY get him to see him play. Craig you are so talented…thanks for sharing your gift of music with me! Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0003When you have a household of 5 boys…there’s always something interesting going on in… (I didn’t have any set plans for the weekend other than to hang out and catch up with everyone…sometimes the best visits and adventures happen without any plans!–and this trip I totally wasn’t disappointed).

On Saturday, I ended up going to see Alec play hockey…it was fun to see him play! It was totally easy to spot him with his yellow helmet! When I visited before he was too young to play but saw his older brothers play instead.
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Overall the theme of the weekend was studying… Noah, Caleb and Liam…all were studying for their finals.  Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0013

So while Sarah stayed home to help make sure studying time was ‘focused’…Craig, Ethan and Alec & I went into Old Montreal to explore and see what we could find.  Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0006

As we were walking by Craig pointed out this spot where he FIRST played Jazz when he started doing gigs…it has long since closed…but the windows in the lower unit still had the signs!

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Second cousins having fun…wandering the streets…waiting for me to randomly take photos! (Thanks Craig for snapping this awesome shot of us…) Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0008

I know I shouldn’t be so juvenile–but when I saw this delivery car for fast food chicken…it made me laugh! (I had to snap a photo…) Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0009

…having fun exploring and enjoying some ice cream.  (It was the BEST ice cream…I can’t remember the name but it had maple sugar bits and carmel in it…OMG—I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0010

Had to stop to take a selfie of all of us… honestly this one hour walk was a highlight of my trip. It was awesome to spend some time walking and talking with you Craig! Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0011

…they still have horse drawn carriage rides in Old Montreal.  My first visit to Old Montreal with my friends Erin and Amanda we decided to take a ride in one.  Montreal-Sarah & Craig_0012

Sarah and Craig…it was so awesome to visit your family.  Our conversations over the weekend have left me thinking about so many different things…and one thing I know I’m blessed to have such a large family that you are part of.  I also have come to realize that nobody will understand the craziness of your family better than your cousins!!

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I promise my next visit will be sooner than the last 6 1/2 year gap of this visit…especially now that I’m living back in Southern Canada! Enjoy your summer…and keep on smiling.

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