Puppy Love

Meet Tess..
A Charcoal Labrador
The newest member to the Pack


She is 12 weeks of age and has been with us for a month already. 
She is sweet and cuddly and very much a typical Labrador at heart. 
The day we brought her home was an exciting day for all for many different reasons. 
Honorable mention … 
The terrible weather I endured. Sun, Rain, freezing rain, snow. The drive which is typically an 8 hr round trip turned into 14, partially due to my must stop at Costco in the city. 
But we could not be anymore blessed than we are with this little girl. She loves her crate, has only had the occasional accident in the house (mainly our fault for not paying attention) and loves her toys. 
She loves our daughter and the other dogs. 
Sam is indifferent with her, hes too old to care, and just wants to know when she will grow up  
Mya has taken on a mother roll with her and Tess is learning quickly
She joins us for walks but by next summer she will joining us  on all of our adventures!
Welcome home Tess

Trial & Error = Lessons Learned

With training for next years summer Hiking season already well underway, today was a day full of lessons learned.

I pack up my bag, load up the pups into the truck and pick up my friend Sarah Burns over at Stop Nothing But Time for our first hike into the WillmoreI have been up here before hiking into Jasper National Park instead. 

Its not long into our hike before I start to realize this will not only be an absolutely beauty of a day but I will learn a lot.


Wild Hay River
Lesson 1: Always remember your trekking poles
This is the one item that I have been on the fence about for some time now. I currently own a cheaper set of poles that I have used periodically along the hikes closer to home. With today being the first real hike of the winter season with approx. 4″ of snow on the ground and a couple of nice inclines and declines carrying a pack at 18lbs (remember I mentioned in training) poles would have been a great tool to have along.
Lesson 2: Remember a ball for crazy brown dog
Seems a bit strange.. I know to say having a ball would be a lesson learned. For those of you who know me already will understand this statement. For those of you who do not,  you soon will. Mya affectionately known as Crazy Brown Dog is my 2.5 year old Chocolate Lab. Like most Labs out there she is full of Spunk and even after a good long hike will want to play fetch when we stop. A good ball (Kong Extreme Ball is one of our favorites) is the best way to keep her occupied while I prepare lunch. Whether it is for fetch or to just have a good chew session with. 


Lesson 3: When reheating Mocha pay attention
Do I really need to explain this one!
I boiled it over and made a huge mess 
Lesson 4: Bring blanket for The Old Boy 
This one is another dog related lesson. Sam my black Lab is officially a Senior. At the age of 11 years young he refuses to stay home. Granted he wont be tagging along on heavy hiking days but can easily still handle 10 kms a day. He does deserve a nice blanket to call his own and to help keep him comfortable. Even if he is camera shy and refuses to give me any pictures! 
Will I always take my dogs?
 YOU BET….Having them with me even if it means I have to carry a little extra is well worth it. Their company and antics are something that I do not ever want to be without.
I am sure that there will be more lessons to be learned and I will happily learn them as long as it means getting outdoors and enjoying my time away to rejuvenate my soul.

Who ever said change was bad

It was back in August that I managed to take some serious time off work! 
During this time my family and I came to realize that me being home for after school and supper time was important. 
This was always something that I had dreamed about but always said “we cant afford it” But really the question was what was I willing to sacrifice for this? The more I looked at it and analysed it the more I came to realize that it was actually easier than I thought!
Armed with my new found desire and knowledge I took that plunge to be home more! I still work outside the home but I was fortunate enough to find something that would allow me to be home with my family after school and on weekends! This change is something that is both a blessing and a challenge.
 The Challenge?
Adjusting to finally having what I refer to as my happy balance point between personal and professional life.  
So no more take out, Tim Hortons and spur of the moment shopping adventures for me! 
This doesn’t mean I can not still do the things that make me happy. Just means I have to be more careful about how I go about it…that’s all. 
Can I still plan my backpacking trips for 2015 …You Bet! 
Can I still hike with my dogs, friends and Family….Absolutely
To all of those out there with a desire and a dream 
Sometimes in life we just have to take the leap, with some careful planning of course!


Vacation… Not for this gal!

So people all around me are always taking vacation….
So what do I do?  I plan a staycation!

After a few years of no extended time off work I was overdue 
and looking forward to the time at home

I get my time booked off and start my planning 

The list I have created for myself was much longer than I was expecting.

Finish cleaning out the junk left in the yard (I had started this a couple weeks prior)

Tear off back section of the deck



Build Garden boxes

Fix fencing

and the list goes on…but you get the idea!

And just like that …. Garden boxes

Will I plan another Staycation? 

You bet. I was finally able to have the time to tackle some of those yard plans I had been thinking about for over a year. Which in the end made me realize that all the things I didn’t like about my yard where just things that I had not had the time to change. Its amazing how life gets away from us with the demands of day to day life. 

Staycation 2015….wonder what I will tackle next

Where did the princess dresses go?

I hear parents all the time talk about how things change drastically with their children as they come into what we call the preteen years. I always told myself this won’t happen to us.

Boy was I wrong!!

At age 11, I get those moments when I look at her and realize to myself she is not a little child anymore, but turning into a young women.

Where did the princess dress go?

Where did all the princess dresses go ~ Family ~ Teenager ~ Tweens

Photo Courtesty of Portraiture by Leanne

Back in June she took her babysitting course and while at the beach one night she walked herself into a babysitting job watching over a little boy from time to time so that mom can get some of her errands done! Next thing I know another mom I know is asking if she can babysit her little one.

So we pack up a few items she will need while babysitting and off we go.

Feeling a little nervous but keeping my cool, I reassure her that she’s got this and I am never very far if she needs me.

Meanwhile …


I am about to leave my baby with someone else’s baby!

Where the days of princess are dresses while fishing?

Where did all the princess dresses go ~ Family ~ Teenager ~ Tweens

Let me poke you with this stick mom!

Or the Days when she liked to be in the outdoors with me?

Where did all the princess dresses go ~ Family ~ Teenager ~ Tweens

Hiking Maligne Canyon ~ Age 5

Or even something as small as a genuine smile for the camera?

Where did all the princess dresses go ~ Family ~ Teenager ~ Tweens

Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia 2009

Now all I get is MOM DONT!!

Where did all the princess dresses go ~ Family ~ Teenager ~ Tweens

The now famous Scowl!

So it’s with the knowledge and words of advice from other empty nesters that eventually you do get the little girl back that I arm myself with lots of patience and understanding to get thru the next few years


Beauty Creek to Stanley Falls

A moderate yet short hike at approx. 4kms to Stanley Falls and back, with no shortage of breathtaking views.
 The trail starts at a road side turn out approximately 88km south of Jasper, Alberta along hwy 93.
Watch for the two large culverts going under the road in the Flats coming from Jasper you will pass by the Beauty Creek Hostel before arriving at the Trail Head.
Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada


Follow the berm across the flats and thru the trees where you will connect with the old section of Hwy. The Hwy here was rerouted back in the 1960’s before the relocation of the Icefields Parkway and until the relocation this trail would have been a roadside attraction.
Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada
Old Hwy
Continue along the old Hwy till you get to the end where the trail turns off to the left and you start up the canyon, if your not sure just watch for the arrow made of rocks pointing you in the right direction. If you miss the arrow no worries you don’t go far to where the road ends and the bridge is no longer there to get across Beauty Creek.
Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada
Sarah Burns from Stop Nothing But Time taking a moment to enjoy the view
Almost immediately you can hear and see the picturesque beauty that makes this hike well worth the time it took us to get here.
Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada


There are no barriers here and to get some of the best views of the falls you must get very close to the edge of the rock.
Always use appropriate caution


Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada
Jax taking in the view
Even though this is a short hike allow yourself lots of time to explore and stop to just enjoy. At any given moment you could see anyone of us exploring different areas with such joy that it reminded me of a bunch of teenage girls!


Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada
Chris enjoying everything this hike has to offer.
Her smile says it all



Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada
The official Trail ends at the unmarked Stanley Falls.
Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada
Stanley Falls
The trail does continue past Stanley Falls to another waterfall that we had seen pictures of. This section of trail is not for the faint of heart, it turns into a very narrow and sometimes almost completely washed out goat trail. After traveling a short distance down the trail we realized that we did not have the comfort level or equipment to attempt going any farther.
So we found ourselves a nice spot along the waters edge had some lunch and began the trek back.
This is definitely a place that will be on my yearly list. I am already planning my next visit back there to take my family, as this is a definite must for anyone in the area. It never fails to amaze me how lucky I am to live in an area that provides you with such natural beauty.

Wild Sculpture Trail ~ Part 1 Hoodoo Trail, Hinton Alberta

Why have I not taken advantage of this place before? On a whim I decide that today is the day to get off the couch and hit the trail. With two preteen girls, a friend and three dogs all loaded into the truck we hit the road for the almost hour long drive to check out the hoodoos along the Wild Scripture Trail
 So what makes me want to do this trail …. the Hoodoos of course! But after further investigation of the map I realize that this trail can offer so much more than just a spectacular view, Which is the plan for another day!
The Lake Trail : takes you along the valley below the hoodoos and is the longest at almost 10 kms with three back country campsites (I have not traveled into any of these locations)
The Hoodoo Trail : takes you along the base of the hoodoos and provides you with great views of  the  hoodoos, but does cut off a portion of the hoodoos themselves.
The Skyline Trail : takes you along the entire ridge of the hoodoos with breathtaking views.

Wild Sculpture Trail ~ Part 1 The Hoodoo Trail


I decided that this trip we would hike The Hoodoo Trail it is easy to follow and has been well used. Once we branched off from the Lake Trail onto the Hoodoos Trail the trail continued to be easy to follow but I would suggest long pants or gators as the brush was starting to overgrow in some sections and rubs against your legs. The Hoodoo trail takes you along the base of the hoodoos and is narrow and a bit sandy in some sections which during the wet season can cause for some slippery areas. There were signs that were posted at the “Y” ‘s to allow you to choose which trail you wanted to take, which I really liked.


Wild Sculpture Trail ~ Part 1 The Hoodoo Trail
So what did I like most about this Hike?
What wasn’t there to like?
Fresh air, Beautiful views, knowing your in a place that is virtually untouched by humans and best of all quality time with my daughter and niece
 Wild Sculpture Trail ~ Part 1 The Hoodoo Trail
 Even the dogs took a moment to relax and enjoy the surroundings. 
 Wild Sculpture Trail ~ Part 1 The Hoodoo Trail


 A glimpse of the view advantage from the Skyline trail
Wild Sculpture Trail ~ Part 1 The Hoodoo Trail
Everyone is Happy and Tired

Wild Sculpture Trail ~ Part 1 The Hoodoo Trail

I am definitely looking forward to going back here to explore the other trails!
And remember ….
Always be prepared before heading out into the woods.
More information can be found at Alberta Parks

Stay safe and Have fun!!!!

Happy Hiking!

Wild Sculpture Trail ~ Hoodoos

Happy Creek Trail ~ Hinton, AB

Spend the morning with two fabulous and inspirational women, Sarah from Stop Nothing but Time and Jax  with her trusted companion Raya.

I decided to leave my entourage at home!

So what did we tackle …

Happy Creek Trail

This popular local trail is part of the Hinton Mountain  Bike Association (HMBA) Trail system that connects directly to the Beaver Boardwalk.

At close to 6km from the parking lot for the Beaver boardwalk this is a great hike to use for conditioning yourself for the longer more challenging hikes. Which we plan on doing a few times through out the season,
Sign in the Parking Lot
We chose to start the hike at the west trail head, there are two access points within a couple hundred feet of each other.
Liked the distance signage along the way
With no shortage of orange tin trail markers along the trail I never felt like we were heading the wrong directions. Km signs along the route was a nice added touch especially if you are using this as a training trail.
Looks like a nice place to test out our camp stoves for lunch!


As this is primarily a Bike trail please use respect and yield to the bikers as they pass by

Trail Etiquette (taken from HMBA)

  • Respect other trail users, pass with care and yield to pedestrians
  • Leave no trace and pack out any litter
  • Respect wildlife
  • All terrain vehicles (ATVs) and motor bikes are not permitted on singletrack trails
  • Stay on existing trails
  • Dogs are permitted on trails but should be kept under control
  • Avoid muddy trails to prevent trail widening and erosion
  • Respect private land > Ask permission, leave gates as they are found
There are a few well constructed bridges and boardwalks to allow you to cross creeks and swampy areas without getting your feet soaked.
I am truly blessed to be able to live in an area that you can literally leave your house
and hit any number of trails, whether you want to bike, hike, walk or run.I will definitely be using this trail to help me build up my strength and endurance for those bigger, longer hikes that are on my bucket list!

Happy Hiking

A Hiking we will go!

With the spring finally set in means more time spent outside enjoying the beauty I get to call home.
I’m a little late getting this blog put together but I finally got it done. This past Long Weekend I got the pleasure of Hiking Valley of the Five Lake in Jasper, Alberta with a wonderful group of women and one brave Husband
And were off!!


So what happens when you go on a hike with not one but three Photographers….A whole lot of picture taking!!
The three photographers all taking in the view
Determined to get that photo of one of the first wild flowers of the season
Make sure you stop by fellow bloggers
For all the details for this hike.
Will this be a hike I do again this season … You bet it is
Only next time I will be dragging the preteen girl along with me… Kicking and screaming of course, that is until we get there and out on the trail.

In the Beginning

Into the great big world of Blogging I have finally decided to plunge!! After years of asking myself .. Do I have what it takes? I’ve given into the desire to try. Only time will tell now if I really do!

Here is where you will join me along my journey. I am a mother, wife, friend and work full time! I Love to be in the outdoors with my dogs and family exploring the beautiful surroundings I get the privilege to call home!

I look forward to seeing where this new journey of mine will take me!