Johnston Canyon in January

Every season has its beauty.  A canyon in summer is quite another thing than those same rock walls and water in a deep freeze. 


Now we come well-bundled and walk gingerly wearing ice grippers, very glad of the fresh snow to give traction to the icy pavement underneath. (pictured: Jim and his sister)



Frozen waterfalls inspire different responses in different folks; I am content with snapping pictures.


Others must climb them!




 But though a weekend outing is lovely, my best days are home-body days.

With winter’s progress the sun’s ascent has shifted so that the light slants in through one little window for just a bit in the morning. I time taking out the garbage to catch its rays while it crosses the dip in the mountains that otherwise block its radiance…  

And I find that there is nothing quite so exquisite in winter as sunshine on the eyelids–it is balm to the soul!


Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. Eccl.11:7 ESV

Upward and Onward

By the weekend I had sufficiently recovered from my bout with shingles to attempt a real hike…

We started in Johnston Canyon (in Banff) with the lower and upper falls…IMG_20160514_142759917_HDR

And then traipsed onward and upward along a lovely forest trail…


to the Inkpots—an area of natural thermal pools, reminiscent in a very small way of Yellowstone’s wonders.


We munched our lunch and caught some shut-eye on the rocky shores of a beautiful creek before heading home. Our feet were ready to get out of boots seven and a half miles later!

Got a photo shoot of some bighorn sheep nibbling at the roadside along the way home… Is it winter’s leftover salt they’re after?


It’s great to be feeling better, and to get to hike on such a lovely day!


The mountains will bring peace to the people,
And the little hills, by righteousness.
Ps. 72:3 NKJV


(Banff in bloom)





UPs and DOWNs…

{Subtitle:  New Boots do not a Mountain Climber Make}


We took two hikes this week: one tough, one easy.

First,  Ha Ling Peak…It’s the big bump to the right. (In the foreground, our drinking water!)IMG_20160503_132932886
The specs are:
Scramble: Class 1 – Steep Hiking
Altitude: 2,408m (7,898 ft)
Elevation Gain: 700m (2,296 ft)
Ascent Time: 2 Hours

Lots of people do it; couldn’t be too tough, right?…But I was hiking with my husband and fitness coach who sets a brisk pace and… unbeknownst to either of us I was incubating a case of the shingles…(At least that is now my excuse for getting left far behind in no time!)

Fortunately he conceded to let me find my own pace as his pace got him to the top in under an hour!!

Mine was more about catching my breath and looking around with short bursts of breathlessness in between!

The trail zigged and zagged rising steeply up through the forest floor…



The advantage of a slower pace is that you get to see the wildlife exhibits along the way!P1200593P1200593P1200597P1200597

But eventually the scramble begins and my eyes are on my feet.  I don’t like this part.  My boots are brand new, untried.  And my respect of heights is not new!  I’m on my own to make my way along, wishing I’d planned ahead and brought poles…


I make the mistake once I reach the ridge of popping my head over the top, hoping there’ll be some sort of level place to walk along toward the peak.  No such!  Instead, just a rocky razor edge and a dizzying descent to the valley below.P1200602


I am stuck to my seat for a while figuring out how I got into this predicament and how I shall ever have courage to make my way back down.  P1200607

Meanwhile Jim is at the top of the actual peak, taking pictures….


I text him: “I’ve gone far enough.”

(I’m) On the ridge.”


He responds:  “OK, coming down.” 

“Sickening x2 up here.”

And we make our way down as fast as we dare, quads trembling and threatening never to let us forget this climb.  Mine still haven’t; they are sore!

P1200612We did not grow up in the Rockies.  This hike is considered child’s play for some locals…So we go home, have a quick nap in the sunshine and get on our preferred mode of transportation to work out all that tension—and pedal to Banff and back just for fun. Ahhhh, now that’s more like it!


The following day’s hike is made for non-mountain climbers.  Johnston Canyon.  Paved trail all the way.  Scenic. Safe. Short.  We will come back with the grandkids sometime ( :  No hiking poles needed.  (Though I’ve brought one along this time, just in case…)


And that has been my week in hikes.  For now I’m recuperating…Till next time.


God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
Ps.46:1-5 NKJV