Some scenes from my weekend walk around Gilbert’s Crossing.  Every time I catch a glimpse of the mountain view, I am stunned by their beauty.  I never get tired of looking.  These pictures simply can’t show the true quality of this natural beauty.  The prairies creeping up on the rolling hills, overshadowed by the snow-covered looming rocky peaks of the Castle Wilderness area.  Right now the place is lush and green, as we just had a rain and snow shower go through.  When I look at these sites, i am momentarily grateful for all I have, for the opportunity to take in these views, and breathe the fresh, pungent mountain air.

This week the Wolf Willow are in bloom. Their sweet smell belies their modest origins – a spindly bush  covered in small, waxy, sturdy leaves can’t possible emit such a perfume. But it does.  I recall the book Wolf Willow by Wallace Stegner, the 20th century writer and social geographer who so profoundly captured the simple beauty of the prairies and foothills.  I think of W.O. Mitchell’s “Who has seen the wind” and his powerful descriptions of our scenery as told through the eyes of a young boy.  The smell of wolf willow permeated his story, weaving its way into a Canadian classic.   For years I tried to grow some on the farm, hoping to capture that part of the Canadian experience.  Alas, I have a brown thumb and couldn’t keep the twigs alive.   But now, the hillsides at Gilbert’s Crossing are loaded with them.  When I walk by them, I stop, take a deep breath, savour the smell and realize that just for a moment,  I have become part of the penultimate Canadian experience.  I, like thousands of other outdoor enthusiasts,  have  had the opportunity to simply savour the beauty of our countryside. My bucket list is slowly being complete.

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Continue reading “Somethings just never become boring”


Rowe Lake, Waterton

IMG_2729This peaceful view is of Rowe Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park.  Last week Val and I hiked to this peaceful hidden gem in Waterton.  The hike was relatively easy, and could be done in an afternoon.  I can’t believe it has taken me this many years to actually get there. I have visited the park often, but for some reason never considered hiking this trail.  It is an absolute treasure, and well worth checking out.

North to Alaska…

I can’t believe I am finally doing it!  I am leaving “on a jet plane” tomorrow, July 14, for Whitehorse. Once there I will take the historic White Pass and Yukon Railway to Skagway, and travel toward the beginning of the infamous Chilkook Trail.  I will finally venture forth on an extended hike, staying 5 nights and 6 days on the trail.  I am a little nervous about packing. My pack is already feeling quite heavy, but I don’t know what I can omit.  I know from experience on the outdoor ed trips that I get very cold at night, so I need layers.  But, I also don’t want to over-pack.  Every ounce truly does make a difference.  I still have to pack my share of food and supplies.

Nevertheless, I am thrilled that I am finally going north. I have wanted to visit the Yukon since my early 20’s, when I really started to love my Canadian history.   I know I am only going to experience a tiny taste of the north, but it’s a start.   If this trip works out, maybe I can find another adventure a little further north or in the Yellowknife area next year.     Yahoo,…. here I go!

This photo, of the thousands of gold-seekers, to me is one of the most poignant pictures in Canadian history.  I have felt a strong sense of compassion for the thousands of unprepared dreamers who risked everything for the dream of gold and adventure.  This  picture represents the many stories I heard of the profiteers who made a fortune off these naive trekkers, selling them goods at unworldly prices, and tricking them into buying products they would never use.  These stories are what I remember most about the Chilkook Trail, or the Yukon Gold Rush Trail as I recall it being named.  In just a few short days I too will stand on the peak of the Golden Staircase.  I can hardly wait! check one more item off my bucket list!Image

Another one bits the dust

Well,check another one off my bucket list. Ever since I was a young woman, working as an immigration officer at the border, I have wanted to hike in the sweet grass hills. Jutting out int e
The middle of the prairie wasteland, they look like coulees belched out and flipped upsides down. Actually, they are ancient volcanoes rising out of the flat landscape. When I moved to grassy I ad a perfect view of the hills.

Finally I did it. Cathy, carrie and I drove to West Butte Montana and hiked up the hill. What has always looked like an easy walk in the lark absolutely fooled me. I think it was one of the mos arduous hikes I have been on. Continue reading “Another one bits the dust”

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