Ruthie’s Blog

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Former Hostel Managers

Seventeen of us, that included some spouses, got together at Castle Mountain Hostel last Saturday afternoon and had a wonderful time visiting and eating.Thank you Tony Chatham for making this happen again.

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The Rich Niece


Yes, she is rich as she has received all my backpacking gear. She is the woman on the far right with the big smile.


The Land of the Beaver

Yes, this is Canada, the land of the famous beaver and here to prove it is a beaver lodge in the Sibbald Region of Kananaskis Country. Every spring I take a drive through the Sibbald looking for bird life and other interesting things. Today I photographed this amazing beaver lodge. Click to enlarge the photo.


A new hiker strikes it Rich

DSC05006My dear niece Constance Ruth Oltmann has taken up hiking with the Brockville Hiking Club and is eager to start overnight hiking. e.g. backpacking. She has lucked out because at 82 years I can’t backpack any more so I’m sending her my gear I used for so many years and had so much fun using it It is still in good shape. All I have to do now is get a box big enough to put it in.


Books & more Books

I’m into cleaning up my book shelves and reorganizing the books. If you are interested in having one or more of my books you are welcome to come and check them out. 99% of them are non fiction and very good reading.


Parkinson’s & Friends are still hiking

Although we lack snow in the Bow Valley east of Banff townsite we have found that it makes for good hiking. Wednesday afternoons my Parkinson’s & Friends group gets out hiking and have been happy with the warmer weather. It doesn’t quite feel like winter yet even though there is some snow on the ground. This week three of us walked part way up Centennial Ridge Trail from the Pigeon Mountain parking lot. A couple of weeks ago we were hiking below Mount Yamnuska and came across this frozen pond.

Click on photos to enlarge.

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Old Skills

When I lived in the city (48 years ago) I used to make all my clothes, now I rarely do much sewing, however, I recently bought some fabric to make something, but found I didn’t need to, so I used the fabric to make 4 camisoles. I found some trim in my sewing box, so I was able to spruce them up a bit.

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CPR Holiday Train

Late this afternoon I sat in my van reading my mail I’d just picked up at the post office in Exshaw. I was waiting for the CPR Holiday Train. I had a front row seat as there was nothing between me and the train tracks. Unfortunately, it was rather windy so it was easier to take a photo while inside the van. Click on the photo to enlarge the image. Hopefully next year I’ll do better.

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My Friend Mary

It was a big shock not only to me, but also to many others when Mary Campbell took ill and died very suddenly in October. I first met Mary in 1967 in Calgary. She was part of the hostel group that I had joined. She had arrived in Calgary from London, England. That was the year she met Don Campbell who was also part of the group. (See Page 21 of my Ruthie’s Trails book.) Don was courting Mary that summer and they married the following year eventually having three children – Alison, Jocelyn and David – and later five grandchildren.

Mary and Don retired to Armstrong, B.C. about fifteen or so years ago. Mary’s death on October 18 really threw us all for a loop as she was always very healthy. This turned out to be some kind of blood infection. It was Don and Yvonne who had heart problems. The funeral was October 22, so the day before I drove to Armstrong and parked my van at Geoff & Yvonne Spedding’s home in Armstrong. I didn’t need a bed because my van is fitted out for camping year round. It was a very sad time. Geoff and Yvonne hosted some of their family and a very large group of hostel friends and their children and grandchildren dating back to those early days. It was wonderful to see these friends, but I found it difficult to not burst into tears as I tried to get my head around the loss of such a good friend. Fifty-one years is a long time.

When the Campbells and Speddings were still in Calgary four of us girls (?) would always get together every February or March to celebrate our birthdays although Mary’s birthday was in August. Once the two couples retired to Armstrong we all missed our birthday get togethers. Here we are: Jean Kensit and Mary standing and myself and Yvonne seated. That is myself and Mary in our cowgirl outfits in 1967.

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Enjoying Life

My Wednesday afternoon hikes really do help me to enjoy life. Lately I’ve had a sore foot and haven’t been too ambitious. An obscure little trail called Wildlife Viewing Trail at Lac Des Arcs across the Bow Valley from Exshaw is really very special. It is a great place to view migrating birds. My little hiking group friends had never heard of it so recently I introduced them to it. It was a chilly and rainy day, but since the trail is in the trees we managed to get to all four bird blinds before the heavy rain came. This photo shows us bundled up at one of the bird blinds.

It is a long time since I’ve been up Wind Valley, but I found out recently that the trail had been repaired since the flood of 2013. It has four bridges and one amazing stepping stones section above a little creek. Check it out. You start from the Pigeon Mountain parking near Dead Man’s Flats.

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