Category Archives: Photography

Weekday Hike…

In May I was searching through Facebook one night and came across a group suggestion…it was a group of women that meet up and go for hikes. I thought to myself that sounded like a lot of fun, so I joined.  Then it didn’t work out with my work schedule to actually join a hike…and in the summer I was in Winnipeg and then in Lindsay.  Last week I saw that one of the hikes actually worked on a date and time I could attend….so I signed up. scotsdale-farm-_0002

The hike earlier this week was at Scotsdale Farm and had a 5:50 meet up–6pm start timing.  I got there right on time…paid my toonie and started to chat to some of the other women. Must admit felt a wee bit nervous…but trying new things is all about the butterflies and the unknowns.

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After all 19 of us were gathered…we started! It was a really cloudy night…and the air was crisp.  I was excited to get to wear one of my many winter hats…and felt ready to hit the trail. We did the 6km loop described here backwards…partly because we knew we would be ending the hike in the dark.  (oops! forgot my head lamp…good thing I have good night vision.)
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I started off the hike at the front of the pack…and had fun chatting with the women at the front…but then realized that I wouldn’t be able to stop and take photos as easy! scotsdale-farm-_0003

So I ended up at the back of the pack…bringing up the rear! Which was a-ok with me…

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Scotsdale Farm is such an awesome place…the property was bequeathed to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1982 by Stewart and Violet Bennett, owners of the farm for more than forty years. It’s left this awesome farm property and hiking trails that is open year round for people to hike, picnic and enjoy the outdoors. 

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Even though after the rain we had last week…the leaves were a wee bit past their peak but it was still gorgeous.  scotsdale-farm-_0008

The ground was littered with heaps of leaves…nothing like walking on a trail with the crunch of leaves under your feet. scotsdale-farm-_0009
“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow”.
~Henry David Thoreau

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Even at the back of the group…I still had some great conversations with some of the other women. scotsdale-farm-_0012

Winter is coming… scotsdale-farm-_0013

Half way through the hike it started to get darker an darker… scotsdale-farm-_0011

But the line of women had flashlights and some used their phones…. to help light up the trail! We also passed on messages…about ‘rocks’ under the leaves…in the rocky places so we wouldn’t trip. scotsdale-farm-_0014

The sky was so pretty…here the sun was just setting…but later the whole sky seemed to glow purple.
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Finally we ended back at the old farm…I need to go back in the daylight.  This was a really fun spot..and I can’t wait to go back and explore and take more photos. scotsdale-farm-_0016

One quick selfie with the help of my iPhone flashlight…all in all it was an awesome night! I had a lot of fun.  scotsdale-farm-_0017

Sometimes new things can be a good thing…and sometimes it only takes 6 months to join and move from a lurker online to a participant. Thanks for letting me join your hiking group.  I can’t wait to join for another hike in the future…and get to know more people as time goes on.

October Walks

This past weekend I went away to a Fall Retreat.  During Saturday afternoon there was some free time…before the scheduled ‘tea party’…I went off with two friends for a walk along the trails on the property. weekend-hike_0010

…the first time I came to Fair Havens I was in high school, and came with my youth group for a winter retreat in the winter! weekend-hike_0002

It was so much fun to walk and talk…and take some time to take photos…stopping along the trail.  weekend-hike_0001

It’s funny how a short walk…with my camera and me taking photos can make me feel so alive.  I really need to start adding this back into my life on a more regular basis. weekend-hike_0003

Always need to find me a RED maple leaf…Canadian at heart over here!

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We interrupted our hike and conversations…for a ‘selfie’ moment!

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“The true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk.” ~Mark Twain

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The colours and textures of the forest floor were so gorgeous… weekend-hike_0006

Just a wee bit of fungus on that tree stump….
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As we wandered past the camping spots and trailers that are on the property…we passed one trailer that had so MANY rocks…ALL over the picnic table…and lined up in plastic boxes all over the deck.  They had such an awesome rock collection—and I only snapped a few photos of it! weekend-hike_0008

It felt so good to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air…October is an awesome month because fall has arrived.

Taking the Wheel in Colorado…

Just to recap…this long weekend has been already pretty crazy awesome, a balloon ride, hike + dinner on a mountain and then a road trip.  What more could a person want to do on a long weekend getaway? Well how about driving…and getting yourself from point A to point B? Challenge accepted and taken!

Well Day 3… started off with an early start! Marathons start way early in the morning in the US… and the American Discovery Trail Marathon had a 6:30am start.  We made our way to the “American the Beautiful Park” where the Marathon was starting.

(Side Note: Keenan had me drive–just so I can get use to his car…it’s a Prius and I’ve never driven a hybrid before… add that factor to the fact that I’m really nervous about driving his car, and it was crazy early and I’m not a morning person…but did learn quickly that his brakes are TOUCHY…..lots of fun but I got us to the start line in one piece).

Keenan found some friends at the start line.  When you marathon as much as he has… you get to know people that also love running!  colorado-springs_0030

Off he goes on his 69th marathon…can you see him cross the start line?

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Hello sun…and gorgeous light.  (I maybe need to get up early just to capture the light in photos….it’s so pretty at dawn…)

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Luckily Keenan let me drive his car while he was running…so I went back to the motel I went…to have breakfast and shower! (..first time using one of those WAFFLE MACHINES in the continental breakfast room at the motel…how AWESOME is that?)

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I decided to head back to the “Garden of the Gods” to explore a bit more on my own….

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..it was a wee bit less crowded and parking wasn’t an issue.  Self-portraits with timers also weren’t an issue!

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…it was so gorgeous, and quiet…like I had the place to myself…perfect time to soak up the silence and to think.  colorado-springs_0033

Look deep into nature,
and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

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I’m glad I went back to the Garden of the Gods, it was nice to get out of the car and walk a little…and just take in the spectacular views everywhere I looked.   This is totally a spot I’d stop again to walk/hike and enjoy…. one visit just isn’t enough!

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Just living is not enough…
one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
Hans Christian Andersen

These flowers are EVERYWHERE this time of year in Colorado… Keenan tells me they are a weed, but I call them gorgeous! They remind me of my favourite flowers…sunflowers!

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The next thing I did… was head back into Manitou Springs… there happened to be a Art Festival happening in the park.  (Totally something up my alley!) Really cute ‘tree-house’….or should I say… somewhere kids can sit!)

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I added to my Children’s Book Collection… with two books by Mark Ludy. I picked up a copy of the Flower Man and Paper Monsters.    Mark was a totally awesome guy…even though there was a bit of a line, he stopped to talk to everyone… greet children by names and really focus on who was in front of him! So great to meet him… and his stories are pretty cool!

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I made it back to the American the Beautiful Park… in time to see Keenan finish strong in his 69th marathon!

(Funny Story:  Something I never even did tell Keenan, that I forgot the name of the park where I had to pick him up…and wasn’t sure what to type into my google app to figure out how to get back to him.  After a quick moment of panic and mini-freak out… I realized that I had taken a photo of him at 6:15am…. with the name of the park…luckily I did that, or I might still be in Colorado Springs looking for him!) colorado-springs_0043

Congrats Keenan…you are one to inspire…you set goals and have dreams and then you go out to get them!colorado-springs_0039After a detour back to our motel to sneak Keenan back into our room (check out was 12noon and we got there 12:30…but he still was able to shower!) I took the wheel and drove us back to Louisville… which was a pretty crazy, fun experience.  Keenan’s speedometre is digital so just shows miles…(which is ok, because I followed the signs and stayed in the speed limits). However, it was the most un-nerving thing to do…because I literally had NO CLUE how fast I was driving without a reference to KMs.  After finding the switch button I realized that 75miles =120kms…so mystery solved it was all good!

We stopped at Rosie’s Diner a really cool retro diner.. such good food and really amazing milkshakes.  (Chocolate-mint…definitely worth the stop!)
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The rest of the day was about getting back to Louisville…heading to a movie (my choice) and really wasn’t a good choice…next time we go to a movie…Keenan you get to choose ok? Then dinner and packing up my bags getting ready for my crazy early flight home!

In life, all good things must come to an end! Thanks so much for an awesome weekend Keenan and showing me around your beautiful Colorado.  From the glimpses I’ve seen this long weekend I totally need to come back to explore some more.

Road Trippin’ Colorado Style

So already on Day 1 there has been ballooning, hiking and a dinner on top of a mountain! Was pretty excited to see what Day 2 of my long weekend in Colorado would bring!

I got to sleep in a bit! (Which was so nice… I actually slept…AND I woke up feeling a lot better…looks like my body was adjusting to the altitude.) We did a bit of running around, dropped Ro off at doggie daycare…and then headed south to Colorado Springs!

Colorado Springs—were random deer run across the street to do their Sunday shopping at the grocery store?

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We had to stop in to pick up Keenan’s race bib for the marathon tomorrow. The pick up was this really cool brewery… it was an old school that had been converted!

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SO MUCH FUN…. we had already had lunch…or we would have stopped in the cafe for what looked like awesome food! colorado-springs_0020

Originally an elementary school built in 1916, Ivywild School was closed in 2009. It was shortly thereafter that the wheels started turning and the idea to move the 18-year old Bristol Brewery over to the space, along with a bakery, espresso/cocktail bar, delicatessen and office space, started to take shape. It was a unique and bold proposition that would take years of planning and a lot of great minds to achieve but it was just what the neighbourhood needed. {Source}

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Next up…. when in Colorado Springs you definitely need to go visit the Garden of the Gods! colorado-springs_0004

The Garden of the Gods has been designated as a National Natural Landmark. The Park is a unique biological melting pot where the grasslands of the Great Plains meet the pinon-juniper woodlands characteristic of the American Southwest, and merge with the mountain forest of the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain. The 300 million years of geological history of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs reveal one of the most extensive pictures of earth history found anywhere in the United States. It is a true geological wonder. {Source}

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So why was it named the “Garden of the Gods”?

In August, 1859, two surveyors started out from Denver to begin a town site called Colorado City. While exploring locations, they came upon a beautiful area of sandstone formations. M.S. Beach suggested that it would be “a capital place for a beer garden,” when the country grew up. His companion, Rufus Cable, exclaimed, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.” The name stuck. {Source}

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It was so gorgeous…like breath taking awesome… we ended up here about mid-afternoon; with probably EVERYONE else that was in Colorado Springs! (Yahoo for long weekends… and people…but why not visit the most gorgeous spot on a long weekend?) colorado-springs_0005

We didn’t let the crowds stop us…but we decided to only stop at the ‘balanced rock’….
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Hence all the ‘from’ the car shots… with the car roof in the bottom. (I may or may not have been wearing my seatbelt…and may or may not have been stretching my hand out a window.. and randomly snapping photos… ) colorado-springs_0006

…and sometimes that drive-by shooting turns out pretty darn perfect! colorado-springs_0008 colorado-springs_0009

Just enjoying the ‘Balanced Rock’ with a few of our new friends…. colorado-springs_0010

In the 1890s, photographer Paul Goerke shrewdly purchased the land around Balanced Rock. Goerke and his son, Curt, snapped photos of tourists for .25 cents each. The Goerkes then developed the plates in their shop at Steamboat Rock.  They use to take photos of people in front of the balanced rock, he brought donkeys for them to sit on.
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Keenan managed to get the got-the-whole-holding-up-the-rock pose a lot better than I did!!!
colorado-springs_0011 What do do next? We decided to go check out the “Cliff Dwelling Museum”… about 5 miles west of Manitou Springs.
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After escaping the gift shop that was like a maze…many different levels, random rooms and never seemed to end! We went to walk through the cliff dwellings.
colorado-springs_0013 This site is a privately owned site.
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The history of the site was a wee bit lacking at the museum–or maybe we didn’t really take the time to read all of the history!
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RELOCATING THE CLIFF DWELLINGS

The 40 room site was originally located in McElmo Canyon, which is in the southwest corner of Colorado near Mesa Verde and Dolores. The process of relocating these cliff dwellings began in 1904 and was completed in 1907 when the preserve was opened to the public. Virginia McClurg, the original founder of the Colorado Cliff Dwellers Association, hired William Crosby and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Ruins Company to begin this process. They wanted to preserve and protect these dwellings from looters and relic pot-hunters. (Source)

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Keenan did have so much fun randomly climbing and exploring all the nooks and rooms!
colorado-springs_0017 It was the perfect time of day to visit…the light was so pretty! Overall, it was kind of a bust…but way fun to walk around the site, maybe just not worth the cash to get in…
colorado-springs_0018 Thanks Keenan for snapping this photo… i think it is my new fav shot of myself!
colorado-springs_0019 Next we headed to check into our motel for the night… we had a room with a view! (Snapped just outside of our door… hello, Garden of the Gods!
colorado-springs_0023 We ditched our stuff and headed into Manitou Springs to walk around and find a spot for dinner.  colorado-springs_0027We ended up eating on a patio that was right beside this river! (seen in the photo…)
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Manitou Springs was an area that the Native Americans held sacred and would visit to drink and soak in water from the mineral springs to bring on healing. We stopped to look at the Shoshone Spring’s spring house…

Shoshone Spring’s spring house, built in the 1890s, is located on Manitou Avenue. It has the “greatest amount of deep-seated water from the karstaquifer system and the highest mineral content of the town’s springs, and particularly high content of chloride, calcium, alkalinity, lithium, manganese and zinc. Because of its high mineral content, it was considered the most “medicinal” of Manitou’s springs, partly because of its sulphur content. The spring house was constructed of red sandstone from the nearby Kenmuir Quarry, which is now the Red Rock Canyon Open Space (Source)

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While there…another group of 3 people came close to the springs…I really don’t know what happened, but and all of a sudden this Sugar Glider jumped onto Keenan… I might have screamed! Then got some photos…. of him hanging out, and climbing across his back onto his shoulder. Then the man claimed his pet…. it was a totally random, but pretty cool! (The funny thing was that the woman in the group had another sugar glider… but it was in her t-shirt pocket…not as social.) colorado-springs_0029 Another action-packed awesome fun day!!!! But have no fear–there’s still one more day of this holiday to get through… and that will be a story for another day!

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