Saturday Drive To Golden and Back

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Castle Mountain Junction, Banff National Park (Canada)

On Saturday we decided to drive to Golden, BC for the day. It is about a 4.5 hour drive one way for us, 4.5 hours of amazing scenery. We enjoy driving, plus I needed to get some knitting done (which I find works very well on road trips), so it seemed a great way to spend the day.

Coffee Sweaters being knit for a coffee shop in Banff.

Coffee Sweaters being knit for a coffee shop in Banff.

 

Driving on the Trans Canada Highway.

Driving on the Trans Canada Highway.

Over the last year and a half we have spent more and more time in this area. The scenery is stunning, yet it is less crowded than Jasper or Banff. We never knew what a gem this area was until one day we ventured off the main highway and started exploring the more rural areas and roads.

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Even with the weather rolling in the landscape is gorgeous.

Reflection Lake

Reflection Lake

Reflection Lake has become one of our stopping points. Located only minutes from Golden, it is a great place to view birds while surrounded by great mountain scenery.

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Fall leaves providedĀ  great foreground color as the Purcells turn to grey as the clouds cover the mountains.

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Little creeks are abundant in this area, creating amazing picturesque views.

Hoodoo Creek

Hoodoo Creek

Just before the sky opened up with torrential rain, we were able to get a last couple of mountain pictures featuring fall leaves.

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Photography by Debra Hunter
(just iPhone pics this time!)

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Garden to Table

Vegetable growing in watering troughs.

Vegetable growing in watering troughs.

Eating local is a hot topic nowadays. Buying organic, buying from Farmer’s Markets, and buying from local producers. However one of the easiest ways is to grow your own food. You know exactly how it has been grown, it couldn’t be fresher and it is conveniently located right out your door.

carrots and beets

carrots and beets

This is our first year growing in watering troughs and it has been a huge success. We have been able to turn an underused sidewalk into a garden. The three troughs are home to beets, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, onions, chard, and kale.

We have netted off the troughs as we have a healthy deer and squirrel population that have become quite brave.

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kale and chard

Last night we again incorporated the food we have grown into dinner. We were able to use chard, beet greens, onions and garlic (from another bed) all grown at home.

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beets

I have beenĀ  wanting to try filo wraps so last night we picked some ingredients from the garden, added in some mushrooms, and gave it a try.

blog filo 1The filling was sauteed mushrooms, onions, garlic, chard and beet greens seasoned with Worcestershire Sauce. My youngest was a trooper and cleaned a whole pack of mushrooms as I chopped. Our kids love helping in the kitchen.

blog filo 2We rolled up the filo parcels,

blog filo 3used an egg wash on top and sprinkled the filo rolls with sesame seeds.

blog filo 4Into the oven they went for about 20 minutes,

blog filo 5and out they came.

blog filo mushroom roll_5359The rolls were a great success. Everyone loved them and ate them up. Another vegetarian meal to add to our list of family meals, and another great way we can use the veggies we grow.

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Photography by Debra Hunter

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Summer Weekends – Big Hill Springs Provincial Park

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

The summers of 2015 and 2016 have been interesting for us, after years of spending every weekend at the cabin, we have now been challenged with learning how to reinvent how we “do” summer. Years of being on auto-pilot of going to the cabin Friday night, hanging out or hiking, then back home Sunday afternoon or evening, have been replaced with “What should we do this weekend?”.

We have discovered staying in the city isn’t an option; you can only go to the pool, walk on the city trails, or go shopping so many times…..plus that is what we do during the week, we want weekends to be different. So this summer has been THE summer of weekend road trips.

The weekend road trips are probably part to blame for this blog being so quiet. Half the time we are in areas with no cell phone service, and when we return home the hundreds of pictures taken are too daunting to go through to get a blog post up before we are off on another road trip.

The scale of the road trips has also been elevated, and have even been going into BC for the day (4.5-5 hour drive each way). Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Golden, Field and hiking areas near Calgary and Canmore have become our weekend backyard. That’s a pretty stunning “backyard” of world class scenery!

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

This weekend we opted for Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. We have driven past the entrance to this park dozens of times and have never stopped. In all that time we had never realized how stunning this area was.

The trail, a family friendly 2.3 km loop, spends the first part of the trail skirting alongside creeks and waterfalls. It is literally one fairy tale waterfall after another. Wildflowers dot the sides of the trails at low levels until you start a gentle and short climb up to a lovely view point. The trail then takes the hiker through a treed area rich with mushrooms and fungi until you come to the final descent.

Walking the trail in this direction means that you do not start the hike with a straight uphill, but rather a pleasant and gradual climb.

I have many more images of the hike to share in the future, but for now, a few more waterfalls……..

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta Canada

Directions to the park can be found by clicking HERE. A great spot to check out if you are in Central or Southern Alberta (Canada).

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Photography by Debra Hunter
http://www.debra-hunter.com

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Busy in the Background

Recently blogging has taken a backseat. It seems the more one has to blog about the less time there is to actually blog.

Today I will share just a few things happening in the background, some of which are on my other blogs.

Photography has been busy recently. Head shots, grads, families and babies. Many an hour past midnight has been spent on the computer editing away. ( http://www.debra-hunter.com or http://www.hunterphotographics.wordpress.com )

With the blooming of wildflowers natural dyeing is a daily event. (www.handmade-canada.com)

 

Plus I have been knitting items for Talisman Books and Gallery on Pender Island and the Bear’s paw Bakery in Jasper. In addition to these two retailers I have been completing custom orders like the hats below…….

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and making hats to be posted on the website. ( http://www.handmade-canada.com )

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With tree pruning there has also been spoon carving. We won’t discuss the scale of this one, it is rather ambitious!

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Our land search has taken us to the mountains multiple times, allowing us to enjoy many hikes.

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The thing that keeps us busiest of all are our trips back and forth to the coast. After all, who can resist ocean kayaking? ( http://www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com )

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I do find I am able to keep more up-to-date on Instagram. I can be found at @debramhunter , @handmadeincanada, and at @hunterphotographics ……..social media is almost a full time job!

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Path Side Wonders – Wapta Falls, BC, Canada

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This spring we have spent our fair share of time exploring the mountain parks of Alberta and British Columbia. Our family is finally at the stage where everyone is able to hike, and excited about it too. Last weekend we explored the area around Golden, BC, and on the return trip stopped for an enjoyable hike to Wapta Falls.

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As there had been quite a bit of rain, the sides of the path were lush with flowers and mushrooms. Admittedly, the constant stopping left my family standing and waiting (perhaps arms crossed and toes tapping by our oldest two!), while I crawled around for mushroom pictures.

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The younger three got in the spirit of looking at the wildflowers. This did however lead to a discussion where my eight year old just would not accept that the beautiful flower she had discovered was a dandelion. She was certain it was a rare wildflower (her siblings also chimed in that what she had found was a dandelion which certainly didn’t help matters!).

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Now there is an amusing story from the day we did this hike. My husband and I were certain we had both walked to Wapta Falls a few years ago, we were sure of it. We were so sure of it we described the walk to tourists parked next to us; we had also read the distance, time and elevation gain the night before so we passed on that information. I remembered it being a grey drizzly day. As we walked along the path I thought something was “different”, but I wasn’t about to say anything. We get to the first lookout and at that point my husband and I are saying the hike and falls are different than we remember. By the time we hit the base of the falls we both looked at each other and said “We’ve never been here before!”. And then we twigged. We were thinking Sunwapta Falls……..in Jasper National Park…..we were only a couple of national parks out. Then, we had to come clean with the kids.

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The view from the bottom of the falls was quite lovely. The forest wildflowers gave way to Indian Paintbrush, one of my favorites. We stopped and admired the falls for a while, made a quick sketch, and then returned down the path we had just walked.

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Photography by Debra Hunter

http://www.debra-hunter.com

http://www.htheblog.wordpress.com

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A River Runs Through It (and more) – land shopping

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We are currently on a quest looking for land to rebuild our cabin on. Just across the Alberta border and into BC has caught our eye. We want more space than before, but are willing to forfeit being 100 meters from a lake. We also know that to make the project work we will have to do a lot of the construction, especially interior finishing, ourselves.

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Before we even get into talking about the build, our first task is finding some land. This is our second look at this plot. It has realistically one snug building spot as seen in the picture above . A snug building spot with beautiful views. However the piece of land also has some weird features too. Firstly, it is almost entirely on a steep incline. Secondly, a disused highway runs through it.

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And then train tracks run through it…..

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And a river too.

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Yes, a very strange property. But it is beautiful. There are lots of logistics to work out on this property before moving forward, it isn’t straight forward. Working out developing this piece of land is going to take a bit of imagination.

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June Garden

I thought it was time for a lighthearted post, and with the garden growing beautifully, I thought it was the perfect subject matter.

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Much of our flower garden consists of perennials. Each year, in our back garden, we are treated to the returning blooms of columbine, lupine,chives, poppies, peonies, daisies and lily of the valley.

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We have expanded our growing of vegetables this year with four wooden raised beds, three galvanized troughs and multiple pots for growing strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes ( we also have potatoes in the ground).

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Vegetables being grown include kale, chard, lettuce, cabbage, beets, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, peas, beans, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini.

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The front garden and beds grow naturally and only need the odd weeding and very little water. Here we have hardy roses, fern, peonies, lily of the valley, and delphinium.

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And last but not least we have a few planters filled with flowers for a splash of color.

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So far everything is looking great. It will be interesting to do a similar post in July to see what is blooming then. Perhaps by then we will have some vegetables to eat.

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Road Trips and IPhone Pics

This last week and a half allowed us to see some amazing scenery while on the road. Oddly, much of the time we were faced with patchy 3G and poor WiFi on all of our family phones. When even Instagram was failing all the time (losing connection part way through the upload), and I was excited to see two bars on my phone (one seemed to be the norm), I knew that there was no way putting up a blog post would work. So now, sitting at home with a good Internet connection, I can finally share iPhone pics from the road.

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