Saturday, July 31, 2010

Moraine Lake

I have 65 "good" pictures from Moraine Lake.
They're all on Flickr now, but I'll take a couple days to show them all to you here.
No better time than the weekend, while I'm away on another mini-vacation. (It's a long weekend so I went home.)
More on that when I get back though, first: Moraine Lake.
The most beautiful lake I have ever seen. And that's no hyperbole.
The blue-green of the water was incredible. I know it would have been even more breathtaking if the weather had been nicer.
Still, we had a great time & got some great pictures. Here are a few mosaics to prove my point:
It was chilly - I was glad to have my hat, scarf & sweatshirt.
These logs had accumulated at the mouth of a stream, right beside the main lakeside observation "deck".
Tomorrow I'll show you some pictures of the surrounding area - there were some great hiking trails I wish we had time to explore.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Five

Well, I can't let it be all trip, all the time around here. You must be tired of seeing pictures of Western Canada. No?

I hope not actually, because I have lots more to show - and the best still to come! But first, here's what I was up to this week:
  1. After being gone so long, I needed to catch up on some baking. There's just nothing quite as good as homemade cookies, right? I made muffins (banana topped with blackberries) on Monday & cookies (oatmeal pecan chocolate chip) on Tuesday. They're all gone now of course.
  2. Everyone has been on vacation at some point recently - so there's been a lot of catching up at work. Not only with people, but with actual work too. I need to make a decision on my PhD position soon ... I hate making decisions.
  3. I picked up a new book right before I left - Journal Spilling by Diana Trout. I grabbed some cheap watercolour paints & started going through some of the techniques & prompts. It's been a lot of fun!
  4. I've been slowly updating some things online. The recipe section on my website. Item titles in my paper shop. The blog layout. Fun, fun!
  5. I've been trying to list something new every day this week. Here's a favourite from each shop:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

On the way to Moraine

Yesterday I gave you a small preview of Moraine Lake - the bluest body of water I've ever seen. But first, I have some pictures to show you of the drive up to the lake. It was very picturesque - though the road was fairly twisty & steep.
All the road in Banff & Jasper National Parks are made with tons of places to stop. Most of these stops are strategically placed to afford the best view (& pictures).
We saw a huge deer on our way up! Too bad my camera wasn't at the ready... something I definitely should have done that day. Between Banff & Jasper (well, Pocahontas cabins, which are just outside of Jasper), we saw 2 elk, 2 deer & 2 bear! No wildlife pictures though... but lots of wildflowers:
These orange ones were all over Alberta, adding colour to the side of the road.
Don't worry - plenty more flowers (& lichen) when I show you pictures from Moraine Lake!
Only a couple more shots to show you. We didn't have the best weather when we drove through here - the sky is a muted dirty white & there are lots of low-hanging clouds.
Still, the weather couldn't eclipse the beauty of this place.
We were simply blown away.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Our first stop in the mountains was in Canmore for lunch. We did a little shopping, checking out a whimsical book store, Café Books, for some reading material & a souvenir (a ceramic rattle in the shape of a mountain / cone) & Rocky Mountain Soaps for some handmade soap & sugar scrub. Here I am holding the rattle in our room in Banff, with evidence of our purchases & my trip scrapbook on the table.
We didn't stop to take any pictures because it was raining pretty hard. On to Banff & our fabulous room at The Fox. The hotel is built around an inner courtyard - and in that courtyard, there's an opening to "the cave" - the hot spring pool in the basement of the hotel.
Our room was amazing! We upgraded to a loft when we got there & I'm so glad we did! (Check out the fun wallpaper!)
We had a fireplace & kitchenette downstairs - and a lovely view from our balcony:
As you can see, the city of Banff is quaint, straight out of a fairytale.
A fairytale set in a tiny mountain village.
After checking out our room & taking a quick dip in the cave, we put on our warmest clothes (it was around 10C - very chilly!) & went for a walk downtown Banff.
All the buildings, houses & stores have an alpine-chalet style (wood & stone abound), just like in Canmore - these towns were built for tourism! Even the street names in Banff are geared for the tourists: they're all animal names, like Lynx, Elk, Buffalo & Beaver.
Everywhere you look: mountains.
We even found a signpost pointing out all the peaks & their elevations:
We walked by the art installation by Susan Detwiler: Mountain Camp.
I couldn't resist the photo-op.
That evening, we dressed up & went out for a fancy dinner at The Evergreen. We tried the game platter, with elk, quail & duck. I've had both birds before, but the elk was a first - it was delicious! Not gamey at all!
We went the wrong way on our way out of town the next day & turned around at a beautiful little campground overlooking the Bow river.
I got in a few great shots before we left for Moraine Lake & Lake Louise. The Bow was almost the same blue as Lake Louise - and the clouds on the mountain foreshadowed our sight-seeing for the day. But you'll have to wait for tomorrow to see that!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mosaic Monday

Heading into the Rockies! You can just see them in the distance.
Watch out for rain on the left...
Can you spot the train?
And there they are:
We're in the Rockies!

Not much of a mosaic today - I wanted to show these pictures in full size!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

First Stop: Calgary

After splitting with my family in Regina, Pat & I made our way towards Calgary. It was late & Pat had been driving a long time, so we stopped in Medicine Hat Saturday night. We continued on to Calgary, refreshed, the next day. Our hotel there, Hotel Arts, was stunning! The lobby was incredibly beautiful, with original mixed-media artwork & glass walls facing an inner courtyard with a shallow swimming pool. The hallway upstairs had colourful blown-glass light fixtures (unfortunately, I didn't write down the artist's name). Our room was modern & sophisticated:
I really liked the colour palette. I also liked how the carpeting matched well with the tiles in the bathroom. The beds & pillows were super comfy too.
A great sink & fixtures in the bathroom:
The bedside tables were really neat. The top was glass with strips of bamboo & inside there was a light. A nice warm glow really set the mood:
We had a great view from our balcony - you can just see the Calgary tower peaking over the buildings:
We didn't do much sight-seeing while we were in Calgary: we were only there for a night. One of my University friends is in Calgary for Med school, so I met up with her at the Stampede.
Yep, we were in Calgary for the Stampede. We saw a free concert Sunday night (the Barenaked Ladies - surprisingly good!) & had free pancakes for breakfast the next morning. It was great to catch up with my friend & see what the Stampede is all about. I even picked up a cowboy hat for the evening:
Ha! No, I didn't wear the hat when I went horseback riding a few days later - but more on that in a future post!