Monday, March 06, 2017

Spring snowfall in Canmore.

This is spring in Canmore. The temperature still hovers anywhere between a low of -25ºC and a high of -11ºC on some days, or a high of 3ºC and a low of -7ºC on other days. I'm more an admirer of weather in the Rockies than I am of weather in Vancouver: give me cold, snow and sun vs. warm, rainy and grey any day. It's been mostly sunny nearly every day we've been here up until this weekend's snowfall: we got about 20cm in one day on Saturday, and it snowed consistently for the whole day.

That morning Martin and I went for a slow walk despite the flurries, on a trail not too far from home. Not more than a few minutes into our walk we found ourselves high enough to get great view of our whole valley town, sitting quietly at the foot of the mountains. We walked by house upon house with huge windows and I imagined what it would be like to live there, seeing the entire town from above, living almost as if one were in the woods. They were definitely causing an ache in my heart that felt as if it could only be soothed if I lived in these dream homes.

I watched as the clouds moved swiftly across the mountains; bright blue sky and sunlight on one side, and dark, thick grey clouds on the other, a sign of the snow about to hit the town in full swing. We walked carefully, slipping as our shoes moved fresh snow off ice. We made it home and sat down with some hot chocolates just in time before the snow started really coming down.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Winter in Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park.

An extension of our epic winter roadtrip story, here's a dedicated photo story from Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park. We decided to visit Maligne after winter highway closures changed our plans while we were on the road to Canmore, and we had absolutely no regrets. The canyon was like something out of Frozen—the waterfalls, creeks and riverbeds were solid and glass-like, and the rocks and trees were covered in fluffy, untouched snow. We even got to see a few ice-climbing groups (definitely on my to-do list for while I'm in Canada!).

We took ourselves on a self-guided tour (read: not on a marked trail with an experienced guide) into the canyon, and although we made it in and out just fine, I think next time we'll pack a pair of ice cleats, microspikes or crampons. Walking on ice even in decent winter hiking boots was treacherous at times and we went at a snail's pace. Given my ankle injury, my cousin and Martin suggested that I shouldn't enter the main canyon, as the surface leading to it was pure ice. Nevertheless, I got some great photos from where I was standing. I found taking photos to be quite challenging that day, as the white balance (the colour temperature of light) changed all the time depending on where I was in the canyon (thank goodness for editing). Now that I know what to expect, I look forward to returning, this time with those ice cleats, a tripod and maybe some hand-warmers.

An epic winter roadtrip story: Vancouver to Jasper to Canmore.

It's been three weeks since our first Canadian roadtrip and our journey from Vancouver. Even crazier still, it's been almost 3 exact months since we left Australia. The day-to-day looks and feels and smells so different, but better yet, it feels like home. Everything about it sits right with us.

As you may have read from my earlier blog posts, we got hit with some wild winter weather in Vancouver, with some serious and unexpected snowmageddon hitting British Columbia & Alberta the week before we moved to Canmore. What was meant to be a simple, scenic roadtrip to the Rockies turned into a pretty eventful journey.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Gastown with Megan (A Hint Of Vanilla).

I count myself extremely lucky to have come across people in my short life that I've instantly connected with. Megan is one of those people. We connected through Porsha, who is one of my long-time uni friends, and Megan's cousin. Creative talent clearly runs in the family, and I could not believe how quickly Megan and I bonded over food, photography, hiking, dogs, and other random topics. We ended up hanging out twice in the same week before I left for Canmore. In the summer, I'm hoping Megan can join me over in the Rockies for some beautiful backcountry adventures.

Megan, much like me, is at a bit of a crossroads in life, having just left her job as a professional pastry chef. She's just started experimenting with her photography, deviating from food and entering the realm of portraiture & adventure photography. I think you'll agree upon looking at her work that she's certainly one to keep an eye on! Head over to Megan's blog & Instagram to check out her work and most likely drool over her beautifully styled food photography & recipes.

Here are some photos from one of our days together, hanging around Gastown despite the forecast for flurries and “freezing rain”. Photos of me were taken by Megan.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Vancouver Snow.

The sound of white. A quick (lest we lose our extremities) adventure down the park to enjoy our Vancouver neighbourhood blanketed in snow—we got 6 days in a row of snowfall, which is unheard of in Vancouver. The locals said they hadn't seen snow in Vancouver (much less in February) in maybe 30 years. I think we were pretty lucky, although I will say that transport/commute becomes a bit of an issue especially in more suburban areas where snowplows aren't regularly cleaning up the streets.

Don't forget to keep an eye on my Instagram/Instagram-story for more regular, real-time updates.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Bowen Lookout: Cypress Mountain.

This is definitely one of my favourite experiences in Vancouver to date: backcountry hiking in Cypress Mountain. Martin, my cousin Julien and I had made a plan to visit Cypress after a week of good weather and our trip to Grouse. Unfortunately at the last minute Martin came down with a cold after weeks of us feeling rundown and exhausted, so Julien and I went alone.

The drive to Cypress takes about 40 minutes from where we are in the greater Vancouver area. It wasn't a particularly sunny day at the start, but as you'll see in the photos, that certainly changed (and with a maximum of 11ºC that day, it truly was a pleasant day for it).

Hiking in snow is unfamiliar terrain for my feet as it is let alone with my recent ankle surgery, so Julien picked an easy, but no less beautiful track: the Bowen Lookout trail. A relatively easy 5km return, the Bowen Lookout trail rewarded us with stunning, clear views of Howe Sound, Bowen Island & the Gulf Islands, not to mention boundless beauty along the way. I can just imagine having a little picnic at the lookout during the summer (although you'll see the snow certainly didn't deter a group of four from sitting down to share some Earl Grey tea during theirs, I overheard).

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Capilano Suspension Bridge.

From a grey and rainy day, two weeks ago at Capilano Suspension Bridge. It was beautiful being amongst the treetops, although I will admit the main bridge was sometimes too crowded for my liking. Even for a rainy day many were out to marvel at the scenery (with good reason), but it meant that walking was slow and taking photos was difficult at times, especially as the bridge sways. Nonetheless, Capilano is worth the trip. I have yet to visit its sister, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, which is meant to be quieter and far less “touristy” (perhaps not any more after one too many blog posts from people like me!).

Friday, February 03, 2017

Grouse Mountain.

Vancouver welcomed us with day-after-day-after-day of rain in our first week here (just standard west coast life I guess). Just as I thought it would never end, on the Friday of that week we were gifted with a beautifully sunny day to break up the grey. We spontaneously decided to head to the mountains to make the most of it, and paid our first visit to Grouse Mountain.

Keeping in theme with our week of firsts, we hired out snowshoes to explore the trails. As both of us have leg injuries, we can't ski, snowboard or ice skate, so snowshoeing or hiking will be the way for us to explore the mountains. On Grouse, we spent most of our time on the Light Walk, which was a pretty easy and short circuit, but one that took us about an hour simply because I kept stopping to take photos. As the name suggests, this trail was full of light displays (and was probably meant for a romantic evening walk/first date material). It made us feel like we were in a fairytale, but you'll note I haven't put too many photos of the lights here seeing as they were harder to capture in the daytime. Perhaps next time we'll stay for dusk to truly enjoy the Light Walk, and maybe even do some tobogganing or explore the longer trails.

In the summer, when all this snow melts, some people do the Grouse Grind. With a 2.9-km (1.8-mile) ascent and an elevation gain of 853 metres (2,800 feet), it's not for the faint-hearted (and I don't just mean metaphorically-speaking).

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Moments from: Vancouver, British Columbia.

Some highlights from the first two-and-a-half weeks in our new home city of Vancouver. For the first 10 days, we stayed at a lovely Airbnb in Strathcona. It helped us ease into Canadian life and really sink into the rhythm of the city. We took our first week “off”, exploring the neighbourhood together, ignoring our phones, avoiding turning on our laptops, and reclaiming a lot of lost time. The last 8 months leading up to this move felt like were definitely absolute turmoil, with many an unexpected change and challenge, and it took its toll on our relationship. We were not in the best place when we left, and it made us both really question whether we were making the “right” choice.

Upon arriving, we left that stress behind us and took some time to soak in the reality of what we'd done. Together, we had made a conscious choice to leave our life as we knew it behind, and leap into a couple of years of adventure. To live with a bit more intention, observing all the while what works for us and what doesn't; what aligns with us and what doesn't. It's liberating to have been able to do this, but as you can imagine, difficult, and I'm sure this road is paved with more challenges (what would life be without them?).

Next Friday, life changes once again, as we embark on a small road-trip to our new home in the Canadian Rockies. We're excited about the stories we have yet to tell, and the stories we'll walk away with. Keep an eye on my Instagram/Instagram story for updates along the way.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The year of change: 2016.

I never wanted to be one of those people who said “the year has gone by so fast!”, because well, of course it does, and it will do so every year. But the more time passes, the more I become startled by how much I seem to do within a year (which becomes all the more apparent every time I look back).

This year was the year of transition. That was always clear to me. I just had no idea how much change I was actually in for. There was even change within the change.

Let's recap. In November last year, I was travelling through Tasmania with Martin. In December, we flew to Canada, celebrating the New Year amongst the snow and helping my little brother get settled into Montréal. After falling in love with Canada, and feeling the need for a change for many months last year, we decided: 2017 would be the year we would move overseas together.