Jasper in Summer

Ten friends followed the Trail Boss up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper recently. We made a few stops along the way to enjoy the wonder of the Canadian Rockies – the most spectacular drive in Canada. We spent four days taking in some of the sights and hikes and enjoying great food. Parker Ridge Trail is always a huge highlight with marvelous flowers and the view of Saskatchewan Glacier and Mount Castleguard. (I had climbed it many years ago.) Three of the group took the boat ride on Maligne Lake to Spirit Island; the most photographed island in Jasper National Park, while the others wore themselves out hiking the Opal Hills Trail. The Maligne Canyon hike with breakfast at the Fifth Bridge picnic site were part of the itinerary, and Athabasca Falls and the three falls at Sunwapta were particularly awesome due to high water levels. The American dipper bird perched on a big rock on Utopia Creek delighted us as we hiked Utopia Pass Trail at Miette. All in all it was a terrific trip with super weather and great companions.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

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A Visit with Steve

A couple of weeks ago Steve Herrero met me at the Barrier Lake Visitor Centre in Kananaskis and we hiked to my bench in Hay Meadow. Since Steve had never been on the Village Rim Trail at Kananaskis Village we wandered up there and enjoyed the view.


Munchkins & Wild Flowers

Shiloh is the most enthusiastic child I know who loves wild flowers. We had been talking about taking a walk to see the flowers for some time. Finally yesterday, together with three mothers and six children, we went to Bow Valley Provincial Park and walked Many Springs Trail and saw a lot of flowers. I just love the enthusiasm the children exhibited over identifying wild flowers. Munchkin botanists in the making.

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Canadian Youth Hostel Association Plaque Ceremony

Today Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada held an unveiling ceremony of a plaque in honour of the first youth hostel in Canada that was in Bragg Creek in 1933. I was lucky to be invited to attend. I go back 51 years with the hostel association as a member and as a hostel (houseparent) manager.

The people in this photo with the plaque have a long history with the hostel association too. On the left of the plaque are Sharon Kelly (nee McLennan), Tom Galeski, Lynda Galeski (nee McLennan). They often went to Ribbon Creek Hostel as teenagers when I was manager there as part of the Bragg Creek Junior Forest Wardens program. The program was run by Jackie McLennan, (now 87 with the big hat) and her late husband. Avril Derbyshire (in the light blue jacket) was the first houseparent (manager) of the new West Bragg Creek Hostel that was built by volunteers, but unfortunately burned down. The event today was an unexpected pleasure. It was wonderful to visit with Avril whom I rarely see,  but still exchange Christmas cards with; to visit with Sharon whom I have not seen since she was a teenager, and Tom & Lynda who I do see two or three times a year. (They hiked the Chilkoot Trail with me in 2003). All these people live in Bragg Creek. The McLennan family have a long history of living in Bragg Creek. I was also privileged to meet Liz Ferguson of the hostel association in Edmonton and others.

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A Blast from the Past

While checking my emails the other day I didn’t recognize one of the senders, but the subject Hiking 1967 rang a bell. This is the story I received from Randy:

“In 1967, I had a summer job in Calgary. I met Hildo Hoek and he introduced me to mountain hiking with the Youth Hostel organization. I remember you on many of the weekend hikes.  You had a car and I paid you the Youth Hostel rate of 1¢ per mile to get a ride. I think we were both neophytes in mountain hiking at that time. I see that the mountains became an important part of your life.

I came across your website while looking for something else, and thought “I recognize that name”.  Even if you don’t remember me, you contributed to a great summer and my introduction to hiking in the mountains.  Thank you.”

When I checked my book Ruthie’s Trails there on page 22 I found a photo of Randy and I and others on top of Castle Mountain (at that time it was called Mount Eisenhower) on a hostel group weekend trip. We have been chatting back and forth on the email now and in one of them Randy said “Without the rides that you and others offered that summer, I would never have been on those hikes.  I had no car and not much money so I would have been stuck in Calgary.  So there is the lesson of the day.”

Fifty-one years is a long time for someone to come out of the wood work, but it always amazes me that they do.

Randy hiking 1967Sulphur Ridge

Here is Randy in 2010 on Sulphur Ridge above Miette Hot Springs. It is nice to know that he has continued hiking and the athletic life. Click to enlarge the photo.


Randy scanned this old photo of us on top of Castle Mountain in 1967. Randy is on the left. We have changed a lot since then, but we still love the mountains.

And here is me about the same time, 2011, at Honeymoon Lake in Jasper National Park.



Spring Flowers

Yes, spring has sprung and the way I know that is because the crocuses are out in great numbers. Bow Valley Provincial Park is a good place to see them. I found these near Middle Lake.



I’m visiting Ruthie!

The twin boys who own me are off to Calgary for coaching ski lessons and then to Sunshine for a different type of ski lesson and their parents are going to Sunshine too, so I get to visit Ruthie. That is something that makes me purrrrr like crazy.


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My Pretty Neighbour

He drops around on sunny days just to say hello, have a few pats, and a snack.

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Click to enlarge

Looking Back in Time

This evening I’ve been looking at some old photos that have been digitized and decided to put them here as just a few days ago Mary C. and I said “We were cute then.” She has been digitizing all her slides – an amazing job. More power to her. So, here are some photos to look at. Click to enlarge.

Myself on Bow Summit, with my late sister-in-law Irene, my parents in their garden in Ottawa, my brothers Brian & Phill on Horetzke Trail out of Kemano, B.C. on a backpack hike with me, my mother and siblings from the 1940s (I’m the one in the middle with curly hair, and on the left in the next photo, and with Uncle Henry Johnsrud – me on the right. This last one must have been just after WWII.

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Old Hostel Friends

Recently I attended the memorial service for Bernie Summerscales and enjoyed seeing many of my hostel friends, some I had not seen for a very long time. In particular Ray Blanchard. We, of course, will miss Bernie he was such a talented, amazing person, but I guess it is that time of life when we say goodbye to long time friends. There were a lot more people at the service, but I didn’t take my camera. Check page 29 of my Ruthie’s Trails book for a photo of Bernie, myself and Ron Hopf on top of Mount Castleguard.

Here are Yvonne & Geoff, Ray and myself, and Jean, Kate, David, Alison, Mary & Don. Click on the photos to enlarge.

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