Monday, December 26, 2011

Heading Home Adventure

Our time in Golden was refreshing for body and soul. Our last day there was December 23rd. Stan came by on the skidoo to take Sarah and Amy for a ride. I took the time to take one more ski trip around the property.

We packed up our things very tightly in the Suburu and were on the road. We were excited to see the things we missed with the darkness heading north. One of the things we noticed this far north was how late it got light and how early it got dark. The first morning when Amy woke me up I was convinced it was still night :-)

We stopped at Radium Junction to enjoy the view but were not able to drive up the hill because we did not want to pay the national park fee. We still enjoyed seeing the Rockies and savoring our drive south through Canada.

We stopped for a break at the source of the Columbia River, completely frozen! Since we don't live too far from the end of the river where it meets the Pacific Ocean, it was fun to see where it started. We continued to be surprised at the large, frozen bodies of water everywhere.

We spent the night in Idaho with our friends Gar and Vicky. Their hospitality was wonderful. Amy was playing with the toys they have for their granddaughters and found toy lipstick and a toy hairdryer. She had to bring these up to show Sarah since Sarah has taught her that lipstick is the 11th essential of hiking and she became obsessed with Sarah's hairdryer on the trip. I am trying hard not to raise a girly girl but Sarah is determined to make her well rounded!

We headed home from Idaho on Christmas eve morning. When we got back toward home, we chose a Christmas tree and enjoyed putting this up and decorating it.

We lit the candles and told the Christmas story together using Amy's nativity finger puppets. Gil was the sheep who narrated the story and Amy passed out other characters as she saw fit.

On Christmas morning we opened some gifts and headed to Salem to visit my mom. Amy took stockings literally and decided they were for wearing on her feet. We enjoyed carols at the Methodist church with my mom and headed home to host some of Riversway for an evening gathering after a nice lunch and time with family. It was sad to say goodbye to Sarah after having her around for over a week. We are so blessed to have such amazing friends and family.

Our Kenyan student, Rich, moved in late Christmas night. Gil also went to pick up our friend Doug from Tacoma to spend the week after Christmas with us. The Christmas season continued past the day and our time in Golden really helped center us for the new adventures to come.

Sherbrooke Lake Kid Free Snowshoe

After visiting beautiful Lake Louise and taking a short snowshoe there, we still had lots of energy. The kids were at the B&B and we were up for a challenge. We left Banff National Park and headed back to Yoho National Park to the Sherbrooke Lake trailhead.

The snow was deep- we weren't blazing trail but were feeling the adventure of this trail as we headed up the hill. We took lots of breaks on our way up the hill.

It was nice to be able to move at a little faster pace than I can with Amy. On the way up the hill there were glimpses of mountain, but we were mostly hiking through a winter wonderland of snow covered trees.

The lake was so incredible! No tracks in the snow and frozen solid, Canadian Rockies all around! It was so still and peaceful.

Our way down was much quicker going and our friend Mike actually started trail running. None of the ladies wanted to move THAT fast but it was nice to head downhill after the climb to the lake.

At the bottom, we got to enjoy a beautiful sunset that made the perfect end to a lovely kid free day in the snow.

We headed back to Golden with that exercise induced endorphin rush and enjoyed an evening with our families.

Beautiful Lake Louise- Banff Nat Park Alberta

My friends and I headed out from Golden, BC just over the border to Alberta and Banff National Park to see Lake Louise. This was an adult adventure. The kids enjoyed themselves back at the Bed and Breakfast and cabin in Golden.There is a beautiful Chateau at Lake Louise with ice sculptures. We went on a snowshoe to a viewpoint above the lake and then headed back to check out the chateau.

Up the trail the view of the lake was so pretty. The parking lot to hike was quite empty but we did see people down at the chateau. It was a short snowshoe, but well worth the view.

After a little snowshoeing we went on an exploration of the Chateau. It was fun to see their Christmas tree and the beautiful Chandelier.

Behind the Chateau on the lake was an ice castle where you could ice skate. We had fun exploring the castle and sitting by the ice fire warming up :-)!

Near the castle there was a hockey rink with some people playing a little hockey. The frozen lake was so beautiful!

Inside the Chateau was some beautiful art work and architecture. We decided against high tea or wine and cheese and found a quiet corner to eat our sack lunches in the warm chateau.

It was fun to see a piece of high society nature. We still had plenty of energy left for snowshoeing, so we headed back to BC to a more challenging snowshoe.

Amazing Emerald Lake Ski- Yoho Nat Park, BC

A few days into our stay in Golden, the sun came out after a bit of snow had fallen and we headed to Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. On the way to the park we noticed the animal crossing over the TransCanada Highway and nearby some big horned sheep were ignoring the official crossing and creating their own. The view kept getting more and more beautiful (which I had not thought was possible), as we drove into the national park.

What an adventure awaited us at Emerald lake. The cold air and beautiful sunshine made me anxious to get going. The snow was pure white powder over a solid ice lake. The mountains were glistening and I was falling in love with the Canadian Rockies!

When we got to the lake, Amy was okay to put on her skis (and did not want to take them off for much of the afternoon!) We skied and snowshoed across the lake to a trail in the trees. Amy stopped to admire a snowman that someone else had made. Sarah stopped to make a snow angel.

Gil was okay to be in the snow since this was a flat and beautiful route. He was quite patient with Amy as she skied on, sometimes falling, but always remember to "get back up and try again" which was the mantra Sarah taught her.

The view across the lake was so amazing. There were several frozen waterfalls that we admired across the lake from us. It was a bright sunny day, and the view was spectacular!

For awhile, we went into the trees on a nice groomed trail. Amy kept plugging away with Gil pulling the sled. Sarah and I were going a bit faster. The oldest of the other three kids, Carolee, did an excellent job on skis and the two younger boys were happy to ride in the sled.

When we got to the far side of the lake, we took a break to take in the view and have a snack on a snow covered bench complete with shovel :-).

I headed back on an upper, skier only trail, and Sarah, Gil, and Amy hiked back across the lake in snowshoes and snow boots. At this point, Amy had skied two miles and was refusing to ride in a sled, so she walked on the way back to speed things up a bit. Walking on water has never been better!

When we got back to the car, our hosts had left hot cocoa and cups- such a nice thought. On the ride home, we got to enjoy a beautiful sunset. What an amazing way to end an amazing day! The beauty of the lake and the mountains took my breath away.