Thursday, December 23, 2010

Being Canadian: Curling, Snowshoeing and a Lunar Eclipse in a Fuzzy Robe

Hurrrrrry, HARD!

Curling is so Canadian. If you visit any small towns in rural Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba or Ontario and they are bound to have a curling rink. It's a social sport. I love curling, but curling sober is kind of like ice-fishing sober. :) Either way, it's a heckuva' lot of fun - but seriously, it took me 5 days to recover from 1 hour of curling. For a girl who can seldom even get close to touching her toes, curling was a major stretch. Maybe I need to drink more to be good at this sport. But I digress.

Getting outside when it's cold outside is a Canadian thing. Skating, tobogganing, building forts in the snow, throwing snowballs, cross country skiing and ice fishing are all the fun kind of things that I did as a kid and I was a city kid. Once, I even had an "accidental drunk" when I was ice fishing with my dad - but that's another story. All I can say is: Tia Maria and Coffee sure do taste good when your toes are frozen. This past week, I did my duty as a good Canadian and embraced winter in a variety of different ways.

After a hard afternoon of curling, we headed up to Lake Louise for our company Christmas Party and a great night at Deer Lodge. It was a pleasure to wake up in Lake Louise and have a long slow breakfast and coffee at the lodge before beginning our day. Decadent in fact. Hey, Guys Out There! If you want a romantic night with your lady, take her to Deer Lodge for a night in winter. It's historic, charming and aaaaawesome. After many cups of coffee, we headed out into a frigid, clear and cold Lake Louise morning. Man, no matter how many times I visit Lake Louise - it still blows my socks off. On this day, we were surprised when we woke up to see such a perfect day.

BAM! Hello, Lake Louise

On this fine, beautiful cold Friday in December - there were only 2 other cars in the parking lot at Lake Louise. If you've ever been to Lake Louise in the summer months - you will find 3 football field sized parking lots that are usually FULL. For a crowd intolerant person like me, it was sweet bliss.

How lucky is this kid?

Keith and I put our snowshoes on our backs and set out past the Chateau Lake Louise. We wanted to check out the condition of the Lake Agnes trail and see if we even needed our snowshoes. As we thought, the snow up the trail was well packed, so we opted to walk.

Keith, Mirror Lake and the Big Beehive

Just past Mirror Lake, we put on our snowshoes to try a little bonus loop to the Little Beehive. We didn't make it far before we hit an avalanche chute full of snow and debris that had recently slid, so we turned around. The avalanche conditions were high and we didn't have our Avi Gear with us. It was the end of the road for us. We did make it up to Lake Agnes - that trail was a much safer option on this particular day and as always, it was gorgeous.

Lake Agnes in Winter

Jagged peaks

We made it back to the house just in for a quick hot-tub before our weekend guests rolled in. Erin Fields-Delude (a member of our extended Trans-Rockies Run family) came for a weekend visit and brought the whole family. It was an awesome weekend spent running and hangin' with Erin, Donovan and Drake. This family rocks! We went for a couple of great runs - but the cold temperatures meant my camera wasn't cooperating for taking pictures. So, no sexy photos of Erin and I bundled up in multitudes of wooly layers running with the speed and grace of wooly mammoths. After the run, we warmed up with a trip up to the Banff Upper Hot Springs - a must-do for the family on a cold winter day.

In retrospect, I think Erin and her family should be honorary Canadians. They like to play outside when it's cold and they practically live on the border in Northern Idaho. Heck, both of them were raised in North and South Dakota and that's got to count for something. I reckon, they might as well be Canadians! It was a fun weekend spent in good company.

Finally, this past Tuesday night was Winter Solstice (thank Gaaawd, the days will be getting longer!) and the lunar eclipse. Evidently, the next one isn't for another 84 years! I was trying to convince myself to get up in the middle of the night, but it was really cold out. I went to bed without setting my alarm. Fortunately I woke up to pee in the middle of the night - and when I looked at the clock it was 1:15. The peak of the red color of this Eclipse was supposed to be at 1:15!! Woohoo!

I ran downstairs in my fuzzy bathrobe, put on my fuzzy boots and topped it all off with my ridiculous full length hooded puffy jacket. I was naked underneath it all, but I was surprisingly cozy on this -25C winter's night. First, I went out in to my backyard - but no such luck - the tall trees were obstructing my view of the moon. So, now I was awake and determined. I went out the front door, down the block, through the woods and out to my favorite view point in Middle Springs. It's really only minutes out the door, but it felt pretty hilarious running around the neighborhood, in my fuzzy robe. As I walked down the boardwalk, the first thing that caught my attention was Mount Rundle glowing white and snowy under the moonlight. When I finally glanced skyward, there it was: glowing red under the freezing night sky and a milky way of a million stars the moon was shining brightly red. It was worth every moment of my naked, fuzzy robed sprint on this freezing cold evening.

Thank-you Mother Nature for delivering my the the Goods this week - you never cease to amaze me. And heck yeah, I'm a proud Canadian. Now go take your kids outside to play. Even if it's cold outside.

And oh yeah, have yourselves a Merry little Christmas!

Walking to work on Tuesday: Mount Rundle and the Bow River


Derrick said...

Great post Leslie and amazing photos.

A little more snow at Lake Louise then when we were there last year. Send some this way! We have very little in Eastern Ontario.

Have a great Christmas!

Mary said...

OMG! Must go to Lake Louise! Can you skate all winter? Doesn't it get packed later on in winter?

Unknown said...

You are such a fabulous blogger Leslie. I can picture you running around the neighbourhood in your robe! Have a very merry xmas and a glorious 2011. Lisa Houle

Leslie said...

Hi Derrick and Merry Christmas to you and your fine lady. Bummer for you, because YOU are Mr.Canada! With your pack of sled dogs in the backyard (I'm not kidding people!) and your fleet of snowshoes, that must be making you bonkers. Wishing you a *whiter* Christmas, poor Canadian boy!

Hi Ms. Mary.
Heck yeah, put it on your list. One of the best hiking destinations in the world. Best time to hike in the area is in fall when the larch change. Right around Keith's birthday which is Sept. 21. Check out the 2008 photos and posts from Sept.21 and Sept.28. All of them are in the Lake Louise area! It's heaven on earth. Merry Christmas!

Thanks Lisa! You're the best. Hope you get a fuzzy robe for Christmas.:) Everyone needs one!

Anne Frantz said...

Always good to read your stuff Leslie. I hear ya on the "bundle up and go outside". We had fun Christmas tree hunting the other day with the kiddos. Hope you have a great Christmas, and I promise not to miss out on seeing your smiley face the next time we make it to Banff. Zach and I are still nor sure why we even live in this flat part of the province!

Leslie said...

....the Chateau clears a rink for skating in winter. It's magic when there's nobody there!

Leslie said...

...and I love Anne Frantz! Miss you honey, time for a visit!

Backofpack said...

Beautiful pictures Leslie! It's fun to see Lake Louise full of snow - after all, we were there when the football fields were full!

Have a Merry, Merry Christmas!

JeffO said...

Wow, you have a LOT of snow! Denver is dry as a bone, but the western side of the Divide is getting royally dumped on. Good thing I can drive to it. New Years in Leadville again!
Lake Louise sounds nice. Maybe I can find a Canadian woman to rent for a weekend.

Leslie said...

Welcome back, Michelle! Great to hear from you. That's right - you visited Lake Louise in the height of the mayhem of a busy summer's day! OMG - what a difference. You'll be back soon enough I suspect...

Leslie said...

You crack me up JeffO. The problem is Canadian women are downright furry at this time of year. Keeps you warm you know. ;)

Deanna Stoppler said...

Very nice photos Leslie. You and Keith are so cute. We used to curl for our phys ed class in high school. That and figure skating. Canada rules!

Unknown said...

Hi, Leslie. Just read your LL/Lunar article. Excellent reading! Hope you and Keith have a great time over the holiday week! Pictures are terrific ! Much love from the New Jersey Brodskys !

Carolyn said...

This is one of my new favorite blogs! Two of my favorite things in one day - curling and Lake Agnes! Totally jealous of you Leslie, you are so lucky to live and play where you do! May you and yours have a very Blessed Christmas!

Leslie said...

Hi Deanna - I think that was the last time I curled: in high school P.E. Back when my spine was a little more flexible than it currently is. RESPECT to all you curlers out there!
Happy frosty winter Holidays from us in Banff to you in Vermont!

HA! I should've known that you'd like this Post Carolyn. I imagine you buried in snow, relaxing over the holidays, sipping a boozy-hot beverage of some sort. I'm sure there will also be time spent curling and running your way in to the New Year!
Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Speaking of family, Hi Steven and Laura! We've missed you this year. Enjoy a relaxing holiday and some well earned time off. You deserve it!

Kaz said...

Thanks for the Xmas wishes! Hope you enjoy my ramblings as much as I do yours! Do you work with your hubby - is that why there is a photo of the 2 of you at the lodge? V cool! The scenery is awesome. I love the outdoors attitude - so want to instill that in Murray.

Merry merry Chrimbo!

Helen said...

Christmas morning here and we've woken to a very damp but warm day. Leslie thank you again for enriching my morning with this wonderful blog and magical photography. You make me feel I am right there with you. Had to laugh at your eclipse chasing. Here it occurred at the 'sensible' hour of 7 pm but sadly hidden behind watery cloud. The papers stated that it would reoccur 10th Dec next year.
Happy, happy Christmas!

Sarah Ridgway said...

gorgeous pics as usual !!! Have a great Xmas - cheers from Snowy snowdonia xxx

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous photos of gorgeous landscapes! I was just there--my first and only time--in June. I wouldn't have recognized Lake Louise and environs from your pix. Makes me want to get another trip Banff in the books...winter hiking is snow much fun :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JackJohnson said...

Snowshoeing Banff

A truly Canadian experience. Enjoy an afternoon guided snowshoeing tour and admire the dramatic colours of Marble Canyon located in Kootenay National Park.

to get more -

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