3 for 3 in 2006

slaDE~ in front of a frozen Sinclair Falls
I wonder if I should call this entry ‘Hot-tubbing Across Canada’ or rather ‘Hot-springing across Canada’ 🙂 !

What a delight today has been …. Our third hot-spring-ing session in 3 weeks here at Radium Hot Springs. Wow, wow, wow. The day started out luxuriously sleeping in and enjoying another day of R&R. We ate our breakfast and prepared our snacks rather quickly, as the day was starting to get away from us, with so much planned before the midnight hour. We had wanted to go hiking first thing and Slade discovered a trail that actually scooted beside the canyon up to the parking lot of the Radium Hot Pools. Bonus! When I say skirting, the canyon walls leading into the town were a couple of thousand feet higher than the road level. So this was predicative of the hike before us. Walking the short distance to the trailhead (the gates of the National Park) was the easy part. From there, switchbacks down to the Sinclair Falls gave us an inkling into the radical changes in altitude ahead of us.

Wow, the frozen configuration of ice patterns in both the falls and the rapidly running ice-covered stream was incredible. Here is my prize-winning photo from the falls. What I call as “A Canadian Goose: Frozen in Time”.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did upon it’s discovery!!!

A Canadian Goose, Frozen in Time

We must have climbed about 1000+ feet up the canyon wall. The hike was purely magical .. We didn’t come across another human in our 1.5+ hour trek. (30 minutes of that time was spent stopping to take photos and enjoy the views), with heavy snow puffs clotting the bows of the trees … And thousands of trees there were. Everywhere, tall thin pines with clumpy snow balls decorating every tree like a Christmas decoration. It was quite funny when I shook one of those, and the snow tumbled down upon me, leaving me looking like a snowwoman! Gently cleaning the snow from my brows and face, slaDE~ laughed, wishing that he could have caught my naiveté on video (a youTube contestant for sure!). Timing is everything, I guess ;).

slaDE~ braves the Spa Waters with the camera in order to capture this COOL photo!We arrived at the Radium Springs Lodge parking lot and crossed the road to our intended destination … Radium Hot Springs hot pools. With a 1.5 hour massage scheduled only an hour away, we hung out in the gorgeous wide expanse of the steaming sultry waters (I’d say 3 times as big as Banff’s pool). Boy, the waters were a plenty filled with people from all destinations savouring the healing benefits of the thermal water. We had the extra benefit of a kick-butt steam sauna in the Pleiades Spa to help melt away the aches and pains.

SlaDE~ and I had different experiences with our masseurs … I like the really deep tissue grind of a good massage but I tend to get the less experienced weaker of the two (perhaps they think that the man can tolerate more?).

After a quick dunk in the hot springs, we left to join the rest of the town in celebration of Radium’s 16th birthday incorporation. Free hot dogs and hot chocolate to wash down the sugary vanilla pudding cake made for a quick hunger fix before our 9pm dinner reservations. Not really the most healthy of meals (I can just hear you, Sandy, gasping in delight!), but hey, with us hiking, spa-ing and dehydrating our water reserves (a good massage and steaming hot pools will do that to ya!), the ‘food’ washed down really quite nicely, filling our hunger gap. Next we tackled the toboggan run. Kids of all ages (ourselves included) hijacked other kids with their crazy carpets and hitched a ride down Radium’s zippy little hill. I’d forgotten the speeds that one can carry when on plastic hits snow, and without brakes! Liken it to a projectile bullet really … anything in your path, watch out!

SlaDE~ proved that one …. he hitched a ride with Grey, a little 5 year old bundled up so cutely! They took the first run without incident. The second run, another little boy (4 years old?) had fallen off of his lone sled; he wasn’t really attuned to the traffic around him. Poor guy didn’t see them coming when he fell off of his peppy ride. SlaDE~ was aware enough to shield them all as best as he could, deflecting his leg off of the standing boy. Luckily, everyone was okay. The little one cried a few alligator tears, more from fright methinks, but quickly jumped into the spirit again :).

sKY braves the crazy carpet with Matty
Next up was my turn, with the lively Matty and her slick crazy carpet. I haven’t been on one of these rides since my teen years, on the farm. What fun! We hurtled down the hill, several times, much to my delight. A nice bit of excitement to round off the day. But before returning to the hot springs for one last evening soak (we bought a day pass to the springs), we watched the firework finale held at the local golf course. Phenomenal! Really a wonderful exhibition in the winter time, smoke lazily hanging and floating in the air long after the pyrotechnic remnants have extinguished.

Happy New Year Everyone!
Our return to the springs was different this time, with the dark sky enveloping us like a warm cosy blanket, steam and darkness masking the hodgepodge of people filling many a gap. I’d say there was an even number of adults and children alike … we were lucky enough to witness a large family with their 3 month baby there, so cute, the clan, all adorned in their winter hats in the water. I was amazed, truly, at how many kinsmen had the same idea as us to spending their New Year’s Eve here. Fabulous!

Waterlogged we made our way to Helna’s Stube restaurant for a lovely European Gourmet dinner. However, the 70 minute wait for our food wasn’t so spectacular but, really, we were lucky to get in with reservations when we did, made only that morning.

Tired, satisfied and happy, we returned to our quaint Misty River Lodge room and rang in the New Year, drinking fizzy Aqua Libra and watching Dick Clark’s Rockin’ TV legacy.

PS. We’ve been loving the fact that we had a white Christmas in the Mountains! Quite different from last year’s sojourn to the desert. The question on our minds is, where will we spend the holiday season in 2007!

May You Find Your Peace on Earth in 2007

Trying to fit it all in

It’s been a great week … SlaDE~ spent the week back at work, wanting to take advantage of his daily travel supplement. He did however take a 1/2 day off to go see my Homeopathic Doctor …. Prolotherapy was on the menu, in the hopes to perhaps help his 18 year old knee injury. It was kinda neat to see the positive effect (in the form of a long-held release) for him. I’ve yet to experience such a relief on my shoulders in my 2 treatments. I’ll give it some time.

I was a busy bee trying to finesse our plans for our New Year’s weekend away. I had booked a room at the Misty River Lodge (slash Radium Youth Hostel) for 2 nights with the intention of us spending a day at the Radium Hot Springs Mineral Pools. The fact that we decided to stop in Banff on the way to Radium was a unexpected bonus. Last minute, I booked slaDE~ a hot stone massage at the Banff Hot Springs Pleiades Spa (mere feet aware from the actual pool) just before midday. We left early this morning hoping to hike up Sulphur Mountain, but getting away at 7:30am cut our time short for this climb (a 2-5 hour hike up and 30 minute gondola ride down), leaving us a bit short. Our next option was to wile away the time in the Hot Springs. While slaDE~ was enjoying a new-to-him type of massage, I became wrinkled like a prune, drinking in the crisp clean mountain air and savouring the spectacular view. I was quite surprised at how small the pool actually was, and it felt even more cramped with the large amount of people in and out during my time there.

The drive to Radium Hot Springs in kootenay National Park
After slaDE~s massage, we made our way to Radium Hot Springs. What a spectacular drive! Once we started our drive south of the Trans Canada, there really was no stopping (apart from the occasional scenic outcropping) amidst the vast expanse between the Banff and Kootenay National Parks. The scenery is some of the most breathtaking vistas that I have even witnessed. Driving through the Sinclair Canyon into Radium was awe-inspiring … Giant vast red cliffs which dominate with their glory.

We found our hotel and decided to shop for our dinner (the hostel has full cooking facilities!) at the local Supermarket. After check in to our lovely cosy room, we made a luscious dinner of KD and chicken and then settled in for the evening, a big day ahead of us tomorrow!

Boxers Unscathed

I had the ole dukes out and polished up especially for today. 🙂
Boxing Day: Canada’s most popular shopping day of the year. Can you say 1/2 price?!
I was quite surprised and delighted by slaDE~s enthusiasm to venture out with me (the first time I’ve been shopping on the 26th in many many years, and boy was I anxious to find us some deals!).

We spent 3/4 of the day walking around the city rather than face the jam-packed Malls. We discovered a treasure in London Drugs … A surprise haven for computer technology, especially with their vast selection and knowledge of MACs (of course I’m sold!). I was salivating over the gorgeous 17 inch MacBook Pro laptop … Apple’s latest and greatest. In due time … Want to wait a bit with Apple’s new Intel-based duo-core technology out on the market, for all the major glitches to be fixed (or at least subdued) before spending a couple or three grand.

We did however purchase a shiny new wireless Chinook Mall was next on our agenda. It was incredibly busy, but nothing that we couldn’t handle. In the end, a successful day was had by all (from what slaDE~ told me, Canadians spent 1.8 BILLION dollars on this day today. WoW!).

A day in Banff: Our White Christmas!

It had been a long time since my last visit to this small but touristy mountain village, and returning felt like a brand new experience. With my step-sister Lindsey having taken on a sales role with Discover Banff Tours (http://www.banfftours.com) a year ago, we were granted an extra special more-personalized tour of the Johnston Canyon Icewalk with this tour company.

What a way to spend Christmas Day! The temperatures were chilly but still comfortable (with the appropriate clothing — layers, hats, warm gloves and hiking boots made for a lovely afternoon ramble). The 4 km gradual hike through the Johnston Canyon was made interesting and educational by our Scottish guide Brian. The quick jaunts across narrow steel walkways (built into the canyon) made my heart skip a beat (yes, I am afraid/wary of heights, believe it or not); other than that, the tranquillity and beauty of this National Park was calming in witness to the scenic views of the lower falls and the breathtaking upper icefalls. This will be a special excursion I’ll not soon forget!
Rimrock HotelReservations were made for 7pm at the renowned and fabulous Rimrock Resort. We were indulgently treated to 5-star class with a swanky five-course sumptuous meal (slaDE was still hungry at the end of our ‘spensy meal, with the delectably designed small portions) in the Divas smoking lounge . Divas is the hotel’s glamorous new martini Jazz Lounge (the public can actually still smoke here in their Alberta pubs and bars, or at least they will be until January 1st, 2007) … the walls are lined with a splendid cinematic collection of Hollywood’s most recognized women, or Divas as we know them (yummy male diVAs entertain us females in the bathroom!).

We spent 3 hours luxuriating over our dinner, enjoying comfortable conversation and funny stories of our families, reminiscing of past Christmases and turkey dinners (I really enjoyed my organic turkey entrée). A few photos were taken and lots of hugs were given around the giant fireplace and lovely Christmas tree, before heading back to Calgary, a quiet and starry-filled drive ahead of us.

Zoolights

Originally, we had planned to go to the zoo on New Year’s Eve, but I thought that if we had a long weekend to ring in the New Year, why not leave the city and kick in 2007 with style?! So suggestions were made and a blueprint was established for our ideal New Year’s celebration. This meant giving away the spontaneously-bought tickets for the fireworks at the zoo. I still had it in my mind though that I wanted to see this amazing spectacle of lights, a Calgary holiday tradition, that has been so widely acclaimed and praised. Hence from this came our Christmas Eve plans to go visit the zoo in the winter!

Christmas carriage

Slade and I bundled up for what we expected to be about an hour tour … but in the end, we spent over 2 hours revelling in the beauty and splendour of over 2.5 million twinkling lights. I was really surprised at how quickly it put both of us in the holiday spirit — faster than you can say Bah Humbug!

From what I’ve been told this is the only interactive light show in the city that immerses you in the spirit of the season with sight, smell and sound. Along with moving ‘animal’ figures, a choreographed music light display delighted us both with its creativity. It was quite fun watching the kids play with inflatable exercise balls and Styrofoam snow cones throughout the park. I think my favourite displays were the ever-popular Candy Cane and Lover’s Lane. Intriguing were the few glimpses of animals that we saw scattered in the dark alleys of the park (camels, flamingos, mountain goats) and warming were the firepits dispersed throughout the grounds.

Moving, shifting and challenges

The better part of the past 2 days has been spent packing up Jean’s belongings in a tighter and more efficient manner so that we could store them downstairs in the apartment’s storage locker. We find it important to make this 1 bedroom corner suite “our home” and that means effectively communicating what our desires and needs are. Not always easy and definitely a challenge, but we’re slowly moving through it. And at this moment, we have managed to organize ‘our’ apartment (not certain yet on this particular detail as the landlord isn’t quite clear on how we will proceed) quite decoratively and with a feng shui style that pleases us both. I’m trying really hard not to become too attached to this lovely well-lit space that we call our own, for the moment, but it is proving to be difficult … we love the colours (orange and yellow and red!), the space, the proximity to everything (we’re practically downtown) and the view.

One day at a time, flow and jive …. ohmmmmmmmm.

The Harry Potter Final Installment

Okay, I admit it. I am a HUGE fan of Harry Potter and I am itching to see the next movie out in July and read the final novel …. In the interim, however, I’ll have to hang onto the knowledge that JK Rowling is currently in the process of writing that final book in her series!

Want to know what the title is?? Here’s a bit of a treasure hunt for you!

Go to jkrowling.com, click on the eraser and you will be taken to a room – – you’ll see a window, a door and a mirror. In the mirror, you’ll see a hallway. Click on the farthest doorknob and look for the Christmas tree. Then click on the center of the door next to the mirror and a wreath appears. Then click on the top of the mirror and you’ll see a garland. Look for a cobweb next to the door. Click on it, and it will disappear. Now, look at the chimes in the window. Click on the second chime to the right, and hold it down. The chime will turn into the key, which opens the door. Click on the wrapped gift behind the door, then click on it again and figure out the title yourself by playing a game of hangman.

Too difficult? Rollover this link to see what the final epithet is for the long-awaited final novel in the Harry Potter book series.

Yoga Fusion

Yoga twice today … What a treat! Both very different styles of class. The morning session involved a routine of stretching & flowing movement and quiet, whereas the evening class breathed Ashtanga (similar to my own self-practice). Truly, a lovely balance. And that’s what Yoga is ALL about.

Whenever I exit the Talisman Centre at night, I am completely taken aback by the sheer beauty and closeness of Calgary’s vibrant skyline, all alit and glorious in the calm clean air that surrounds me. Ahhhhh ….

MMMMMMassage … Simple Luxuries

Tonight, slaDE~ is in for a treat … preceded by a warming body hot steam bath, slaDE~ is booked in to see an RMT at the Sport Physiotherapy Centre across from the Talisman Centre (that I have so come to love). Lucky for slaDE~, I’m well educated on the therapeutic benefits of massage, and because of this wonderment, he too is discovering the joys and beauty of a Professional rubdown (especially this month). Having not been accustomed to this simple pleasure of visceral manipulation, slaDE~ would surely physically reap the rewards of my mission to book him into as many appointments as possible, making positive use of his health benefits through his Union.

My thoughts are: a happy and healthy body allows for an active balanced lifestyle.
If I could afford it, I’d surely get 4-5 therapeutic massages a week! Wistful dreaming …