K2inCanada's Blog

February 19, 2017

A more average winter weekend at home

Filed under: Canada, Kayak, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 6:34 PM

For once, no loppet. Nice to have a break. But off course we still went skiing – to prep for the Payak next weekend. 30km for me, 50km for Jeff. It was a warm, between 0C and 2C, and wet ski yesterday at Callaghan. The snow was quite slushy, the tracks soft. I tried my grip tape, no grip. My wax tech suggested klister, no grip, but I tried hard to make it work. Finally, after 11km of cursing I switched to my crowns. They worked just fine! And I managed to get 32kms of skiing in. The sun tried to come out but by the end it was raining/lightly snowing. I don’t think Jeff and John finished their goal of 50km, or at least I hope not, as they got back to the car before I did :-).

Today was an overcast, 7C day on the coast, light rain on and off. What did we do? Sleep in, watch humming birds and go for a paddle mid day. It was a bit breezy out in Deep Cove but Jeff was feeling much better than last weekend and we pushed a bit harder – well I pushed quite a bit harder. Only 6 weeks left till the first Tuesday Night Race :-).

It’s just nice to get out for a bit after a long short week at work!

February 14, 2017

A Perfect Winter Day at Home

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer, Kayak — K2 in Canada @ 6:55 AM

Family Day Holiday and it was a perfect, blue sky, sunny, warm (10C) day in Vancouver. Woke up rested after 9.5hrs of sleep. Called my parents to wish my Dad “Happy Birthday”. Jeff made an awesome breakfast skillet – not that I haven’t eaten enough over the last two days already.

We got the car washed – it was sooo dirty from driving the Coquihalla, it was crusted in sand and salt. Most of it came off but not all. We went flower shopping at the gardening store. We only stopped there to buy potting soil for our indoors plants but in the show room we met a most convincing sales “person”. A female Anna’s Hummingbird was cruising the flowering plants and we ended up buying the ones she spent the most time with. Maybe our hummer’s like those too? 🙂 Back home, while unloading the car, I played with our neighbour’s Sheppard and their 2.5 year old son Nick for a bit in the drive way.

We went for a 90min easy paddle out of Deep Cove – lots of boats were out, power and paddle crafts, but for the most part the ocean was nice and calm. Back home, I did some planting in the afternoon while Jeff washed the windows – first time ever I think, that those were cleaned from the outside. We watched Chatter and Lily, actually there are two Lilies now, as they came by lots of time in the late afternoon. I took a video of Chatter doing the evening clean – so cute – while Lily was resting. Jeff made dinner, I cut up the store bought apple pie for desert. Does it get any better than this? 🙂

February 12, 2017

Achieved my 2 goals

Filed under: Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 9:42 PM

Another loppet weekend, this time at Stake Lake, hosted by the Overlander Nordic club. They were trying a new race course this year. An 18km lap mostly along the trails Jeff and I really like. One could do one lap or two. This is a freestyle loppet and most people skate it since it is faster. My skating is in even worse shape than my classic skiing. Hence I only signed up for the half distance, not wanting the volunteers to have to stick around for an additional hour :-). And it was the right call. The course was in great conditions. The only unknown portion of it was also the hardest part with a big climb and a steep downhill. But I was able to pass some people, did not finish last, and I was not lapped by the 36km racers. Goals accomplished. On top of that, I came in first in my age class beating the only other person in my age class doing the 18. I think she classic-ed the course as well. There were 6 of us who did it classic and I came in 3rd. And I beat 2 skaters, mind you most of the skaters did it in half the time it took me :-). My double-poling felt strong today and I very much enjoyed the race pushing myself. Went for another 6km or so cool down after. Jeff and John also had good race – they both did the 36km. Jeff double-poled the whole thing and John skated. We were all happy with our ski.

The only thing that tainted a great weekend was the drive up Saturday morning. When we got up, the Coquihalla HWY, which we have to take to get to Merritt, was actually closed, scheduled to re-open by 9AM. We left at 9:30AM with the hwy still closed. The “DriveBC” website now said the hwy was scheduled to re-open at 10AM. But we were already past Chilliwack when we found out at the gas station that the hwy had just re-opened. Puh! When we got to the start of the Coquihalla,  we had to stop. There was still a line up as far as we could see, cars in the left lane and trucks in the right lane. Lucky for us, after only a 5-10min wait we started moving again. Just the cars though. The Hwy people were only letting trucks through in small groups. The road was quite bad. Compact snow turned to ice and rained on – probably the most slick combo you can get – all the way to the summit. After the summit the road was in better shape and by the time we got to Merritt the sun was out. We had a nice afternoon ski at Overlander to check out the course. But since they had just been dumped on the previous night, not all the trails were groomed yet. We did sidewinder in deep powder!! It was almost hot in the sun, even though the car said -3C when we arrived around 2PM. No moose again.

February 9, 2017

Pick up

Filed under: Canada, Home, Ski, work — K2 in Canada @ 10:50 PM

Last night Jeff picked me up from work 🙂

Today we were back to rain. I should have used a boat to get to work. The bike path along Kent was turned into Kent Canal. And all the snow is just starting to melt…

February 7, 2017

Snow can stay

Filed under: Canada, Home, Ski, work — K2 in Canada @ 11:04 PM

Well, most people almost had enough of the white stuff here in Vancouver. And I was close to thinking the same. Last Friday we broke a record for the most snow, 12cm, breaking the 1946 record of 10.7. Does not sound much, definitely not for anybody living in the rest of Canada, but for us softies it was/is.


My bike commute to/from work was even more treacherous yesterday than it was last Friday. Roads were quite icy in the AM and I had to use the sidewalk on and off. It was slow going and I had to walk for parts of it as the frozen snow was just too bumpy to ride on. It started snowing again mid morning and did not stop till later that evening. We got another 10cm or so. On the way home, the roads were even more icy and there was much more traffic still when I left than I am used to. No way I could ride on the roads and I ended up partially walking, partially riding my bike home on the sidewalk. In some areas the snow was too deep to ride on, while sections where people had walked on were fine. Turned a 20min commute into 40-45min. In a way it was nice though with all this fresh snow. But when I got home that evening I told Jeff that the snow better stays so that I can ski into work.

I always thought I may paddle into work one day since both home and work are within easy walking distance of the river but it’s a bit of a hassle to get out near work and where to store the boat. I never figured I would ski to work. Just joked about it whenever we saw some snow. Usually we don’t have snow stick around long enough but this winter is different. And when I woke up to -1C and a clear sky this morning I thought I turn my joke into reality. I put on my crowns and started skiing right below our complex. So cool. The sun was coming up as I skied along the river trail. The snow was fluffy and nice to ski on. It was mostly striding since the snow was deep and not many people had walked through it yet. I even saw some other ski tracks further down the trail. It was so cool. Took longer than usual but was well worth it. It was a gorgeous sunny day all day, of which I didn’t see much of while at work. I was afraid the sun would melt too much of the snow and make for a very icy or even mushy return trip. But it did not. More people had walked the trails and just compacted the snow down enough to have a nice solid surface and I could double pole most of the way home under the moon. Almost like groomed trails. I had even remembered to bring my headlamp :-). Now that I have figured out the best winter commute the snow can stay. There is one more dump in the forecast for tomorrow late afternoon. Bring it on!!!

February 5, 2017

Spring is in the air, or it should be…

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 5:44 PM

At least for our hummer it is. Chatter seemed to have picked up girl friend :-). We are calling her Lily. He is allowing her to use his feeders. We now have two installed since we know there are more hummers around the area and an online article said that one has a better chance to get multiple hummingbirds if one has multiple feeders. I don’t think Chatter read that article. I am sure he hasn’t because he is now guarding both feeders. Well, on and off some others do manage to sneak in. There are at least 2 females and one other male around we think. Anyhow, I took a picture of one of the females a couple weekends ago. Chatter wasn’t around at that time, or at least I didn’t see him. Since then, Jeff has seen her and Chatter multiple times together. She drinks and he sits and watches over her and his feeders, still chasing away any other hummer that tries. Chatter and Lily make such a cute couple. It’s a privilege to watch them. Although they seem to spend less time in our tree now and are more off exploring. Maybe we’ll be grandparents this spring?

Well but spring seems far away right now. We were hit by another snow storm on Friday. The forecast was for maybe 5cm of snow turning into rain in the morning. When I left home at 7:20AM it just started to snow. And by the time I left work at 6:30PM 10-15cm had accumulated. It snowed all day. Traffic was a mess. I managed okay to get home on my mountain bike but it was tough going through 15cm of deep snow on the bike path. And I was lucky that there were hardly any cars on the roads I ride.

Saturday morning was an early start for us to get to the Cascade Cup Loppet in Manning. Even earlier than usual because of the snow. The highway was a mess trying to get our of town. We almost got stuck in a snow pile as Jeff tried to pass all those slow pokes on the road getting into the wrong lane. It went from slushy deep stuff in Langley/Abbortsford to blowing snow and whiteouts towards Chilliwack. I would have turned around but Jeff stoically pushed the car through it. Only one SUV, a cop, K9 unit, ever passed us. We got stuck behind 3 snow plows from Chilliwack to the Agassiz turn off. It was compact snow all the way to Manning. The last bit, Hwy 3, was the easiest part. They had gotten less snow than us. Nevertheless, the normally 2hrs 15min drive took us 3hrs 15min. Lots of cars, even one of the snow plows, were off in the ditch on Hwy #1. Worst condition I ever remember for that stretch of highway. One car flipped on it’s side not too long before we went by. We had to stop to get gas and when we entered back onto the highway, there it was. I was just glad we made it in one piece. And Jeff and John were happy that we made it in time, 45min before the start of the loppet. The course was in pretty nice shape although fresh snow had accumulated in the tracks. It was snowing the whole time, -9 to -8C and windy. I used my crowns but could get no grip up North Gibsons and I was going quite slow. Didn’t have much energy – felt sluggish already when we went to Cypress on Wed night which was a very icy ski. Jeff double-poled the whole thing -CRAZY! – and finished more than an hour before I did. I still enjoyed the race but did not push myself at all until the last 2 km when I finally caught up to the guy in front of me and passed him. Otherwise I hardly saw a soul the whole race – other than the fast people that missed the start and then came blasting by me :-).  Loppet number 4 done – not last :-). The drive home was still messy but not quite as bad.

Today was a rest day. Sleeping in, blogging, 2hr walk in the snow along the river and a lot of snacking. Oh well. Chatter was around till 5:40PM today, sitting on the upper feeder for 10min straight. Lily made a very short appearance only.

Up and around

Filed under: Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 5:03 PM

Two more weekends away in Jan, two more loppets.

Jan 21/22 weekend saw us staying in Manning. This is the first time we ever stayed there overnight rather than doing a day trip. It was the weekend of the Blackwall Bash, a 16km uphill “race” to the end of the road up on Blackwall Peak. To get down, it is advisable to have some extra clothes especially if you sweated a lot on the way up -not me but Jeff does :-). And those had to be dropped off by 7:30AM. No way we would get there in time leaving from Vancouver in the AM. Hence we booked a room at the lodge, sharing it with buddy John to save some money. It was well worth it!!! We had a leisure 9AM start on Sat morning to get to Manning for an afternoon ski. It was sunny and -2C. Perfect! Skied for about 1hr45min, then went to the hot tub and pool for another hour, then went to the pub for beers and food and then met up with friends of ours who happened to be there at the same time than us. Krista, Fred and the kids were at Manning for a downhill skiing long weekend. We ran into them returning from the pub in the early evening and headed to the games room together to play table tennis and do some gymnastics with Anouk and Lukas. It was really fun!

The next morning wasn’t sunny. The mountains were hiding in low clouds and it snowed lightly. The race up to Blackwall Peak was LONG and hard. 16km long, 760m up. Much harder than the 8km race up to the lookout we did the previous year (shortened race because of avalanche risk). I stayed ahead of Peter again, who is a much better skier than I but also older, and managed to pass one person near the end. Mike a newbie skier but ultra fit. But all the 8km course skiers, who started 5min after us, passed me :-(. My grip tape skis worked great and I had pretty good grip and glide. Overall I was happy with how it went as I actually did push myself the whole time expecting Peter to pass me any minute. The first 8km are the steepest part, then it levels out a bit for the next 6km. The last 2km though are the killer were the trail gets steeper again and I was dead tired. If not for Mike in my sight I would have slowed down to a crawl. It was about -4C that day at the lodge but the wind was blowing at the top. Luckily they had cleared the small nature hut and put a heater and hot chocolate inside. So Silke, Peter’s wife, and Jeff were able to wait for us in comfort. They finished about 30min before us. The ski down wasn’t too bad bundled up in lots of extra clothes. The Manning marketing director was braving the cold and took tons of pictures of the races.

Jan 28/29 weekend was spent in the Okanagan, skiing at Telemark and visiting Keith and Mary in Peachland. Jeff had hurt his back the week before and was unable to race that weekend. We almost canceled the trip because I thought he wouldn’t even be able to sit in the car for the drive. But he still wanted to go. I ended up driving for a change. It was sunny and the roads were fine for the most part. Except near the end, we ran into heavy fog at Brenda Mine on the Okanagan Connector. Visibility was down to the end of the hood of the car! Luckily it only lasted for about 10min of driving. The temperature dropped from +4.5C in the sun at the top to -7.5C in the fog to rise again to -2C below the clouds near the lake! We skied at Telemark that afternoon. I didn’t think Jeff would be able to but he put on his skies and we went out together. I beat him up the first climb having reasonable good grip using grip tape while Jeff’s wax didn’t work all that well. But after fixing his wax, he flew by me and ended up being the one waiting for me all the time. Sigh, even when he is injured he skies faster than I. Nevertheless, after swallowing my pride, we had a really nice ski together up Panorama Ridge trail. It was overcast but there were some views of the valley and the lake below. All the trees were covered in long ice needles, evidently the fog had been here as some point.Very pretty!

We spent the Sat evening at Keith and Mary’s eating appetizers and then went out for dinner at a new restaurant in Peachland, “91 Restaurant”. It was good food but somewhat on the fancy side. It’s always nice though to spend time with our good old friends Keith and Mary. They managed to find space for Jeff, John and I in their small condo as well and we were treated to a phenomenal good breakfast the next morning after a restful night. Too bad I can’t eat too much before racing. As always, the time we were able to spend with Keith and Mary was too short as we had to leave early for the race. Sunday was the Apple Loppet, a pursuit race of 15km classic and 15km skate, where I teamed up with a friend of a friend of mine I had never met before. Kit was from Ontario, staying in Vernon for a month of skiing. So we teamed up as Team KitKat with me doing the classic and Kit doing the skate leg. John, who had been partnered with Jeff, had to do the whole thing on his own since Jeff was in no shape to race. I had good grip with my grip tape but my glide seemed to be significantly less than the skiers around me. I always got close on the hills only to drop way back every time it was flat and time to double pole, never mind on the downhill. Hence Peter beat me :-). Him and Silke had signed up as a team last minute after we talked them into it the week before. I was near last but I managed to stay close to Peggy’s partner, Peggy is the friend who teamed up Kit and I. Last year Peggy was my partner. Kit ended up pushing herself trying to catch Peggy on the skate leg. She almost succeeded :-). Kit and I came in 2nd after Peggy’s team in the combined age class of 110-120. Well, there was no other team in that class but who needs to know that :-). Overall a great weekend. I drove home again. Weather change from overcast in the Okanagan to the sunny, blue skies and sparkling white hills at the top of the connector into Merritt, to light snow and rain on the Coquihalla to pitch dark by the time we got home. It was a tiring drive, more so than the skiing. But we mad it home in one piece.

January 15, 2017

First Loppet 2017

Filed under: Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 8:25 PM

I survived the first loppet of the season – barely. 34km at the Reino Keiski Salmi Loppet at Larch Hills in Salmon Arm. Since I had a cold over the Christmas ski trip I didn’t get nearly as much skiing in as I would usually do and I felt in. Mind you we did get one night ski in at Cypress on Jan 5 and one long ski last weekend, Jan 7, at Callaghan in the bright sun which was nice. Finally they had all the trails groomed and Brandywine View and Mountain View were quite nice.

On top of this loppet being long, it was also very cold!!! Nice and sunny but -17C in the morning when we drove up. Might have warmed up to -15C when the loppet started. I wore the most clothes I have ever worn in a loppet and felt sluggish and slow – well, I was sluggish and slow. The 70 year olds passed me right at the start. I caught up to them again near the top in the sun and we traded places a few time, only to find out that those 2 only did the 17km and not the 34km. So I was on my own for the 2nd lap and slowed down even more. 3hrs23min. My worst time EVER!!! Skis worked well though – thanks to my wax tech Jeff. He did the whole loppet double poling – crazy as it is not all flat – and beat me by an hour:-). You can tell who the skier is in this family.

We spent the night in Kamloops with a nice Souvlaki dinner at Harolds and then going to the movies. “Passengers”, a SiFi love story but good entertaining and some nice special effects. Worth going I think. We finished up the evening with hot chocolate and rum in our cozy motel room.

Today on the way home we stopped in at Overlander. Temperatures had improved to a balmy -9C. I thought I would be more tired but the ski was quiet nice – most trails were in the sun and it felt much warmer. I kept my eyes open for moose or bobcat or hermine but saw none. Lost of tracks though on the trails. And again, my wax tech picked the right wax for me. Thanks!




Heat and Gravel

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer — K2 in Canada @ 8:24 PM

Despite the title, this post is not about a beach vacation but about the two things that are helping me survive this unusual cold winter in Vancouver. Most days are nice and sunny but dry cold feels just as cold as wet cold! Daily highs never got above 3C, mostly hovered around zero and most nights temps went down to -7/-8C. Not sure how our hummer is surviving this but the hummingbird feeder heater is on every day and night. We still see him show up some days at first light, most days I leave too early to see him, and he is hanging around on the weekends as well – sitting in our tree, huffing and puffing: https://youtu.be/e8u2OBSDL1M

My HEAT story: One of the bad worst things about it being this cold is getting into a freezing cold bed every night. We never turn up the heat in the bedroom and we sleep with an open window all the time. We got enough covers to stay warm but one still needs to warm them up first. Before Christmas I had dug up a small heat mat that I thought might be useful as hummingbird heater but that decided it would be even more useful as a bed heater. But this bum size heater mat only heats up a small portion of the bed. If I remembered to turn it on early enough I good move it around a bit which helped. But it was far from perfect. So Jeff got me a twin size heated blanket for Christmas. Unfortunately they sold him a blanket without the controls and I was not able to use it until we got back from our ski trip. Jan 4th is when we went to The Bay and picked up a control and I have been using it every night ever since. Is it ever nice to crawl into a warm bed!!!

My GRAVEL story: This winter has been particular tough on us bike commuters. Since the snow and cold started in early Dec I have been using my mountain bike with the big knobby tires and low tire pressure for my commute every day (usually I may use it for a week). Works pretty well when it is snow and not just ice. But on January 2nd, after some fresh snow on New Years Eve, the roads had turned to ice. It was -8C in the AM when it was time to go back to work. But the roads weren’t just icy but also very narrow due to lots of ice and snow along the edges. No room to share the road and I did not want to get into a fight with the car commuters. So Jeff and I drove that week. Those were the most consecutive days I ever drove to work since working for Alpha. Actually I was back on my bike by Friday, Jan 6. Some section of the bike trail I take past the large construction site on Kent was still pretty icy but since it is flat and straight I did not crash. When I road home that same night, the construction company, Wesgroup, had spread a nice layer of fine gravel along the path and it was very save to ride on again. Not sure who made them do it but I am VERY grateful for what they did. When we had the early snow in December they had cleared off most of the path as well. I am not used to Vancouver taking care of bikes like that. Pretty awesome! I have been back to biking all of last week. And next week we are supposed to be back to rain – heavy at times, +50mm for 3 days. I think I said once or twice that I would rather have the rain back than all this ice and snow. We’ll see how I think about that on Thursday 🙂


January 9, 2017

5th Annual BC Ski Trip

Filed under: Animals, BC Ski Trip 2016, Canada, Ski, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 9:30 PM

Despite having all this snow in town this December Jeff and I were gong-ho to ski Alberta on our 5th annual BC ski trip. Peter Lougheed, Kananaskis, is one of our favourite places to ski and there have been lots of moose sightings in the park recently. Reports of moose licking the salt of the side of cars. A big male moose! I was stoked!! But then Jeff happened to check the grooming reports on Christmas Eve and it turned out that the eastern Rockies had very little snow and conditions for cross-country skiing at Canmore and Kananaskis were poor. Didn’t quite make sense to drive an extra couple hundred kilometers to do some rock skiing while we have one of the better snow years in BC. Even if there was a chance to see THE moose. Hence we changed our plans last minute and added Manning and China Ridge back in on the drive out east instead of doing a first long day of driving to get into the Kootenays. Actually, we started skiing on Christmas Day already going up to Cypress before heading out to Jeff’s parents for dinner. I kinda call that day 1 of skiing. It has been a while since we ski Cypress in the day time.

Below is the trip map (Ski/Sleep).


We left town quite late on Boxing Day and the ski in Manning wasn’t that long, about 1hr45min. It was lightly snowing the whole time but conditions were MUCH better than during the last ski at Manning (first ski of the season) and I got one loop around South and North Gibsons and Campground Loop in starting from Strawberry Flats. We spent the first night in Princeton eating at the Irish Pub, staying in the usual place.

It was sunny in Princeton on day 3 and we headed up to ski China Ridge. I was disappointed since we did not see any deer on the drive up but was quickly appeased when Jeff spotted a small herd of 4 elk when we arrived at the China Ridge cabin. We were the 2nd car in the lot. The elk weren’t close but ran across the open ridge in plain view. Sure beat seeing deer :-). And the ski also was awesome. They had plenty of snow, the grooming was fresh, there were more animal tracks than ski pole tracks along the trails. The -7C didn’t feel too bad under the blue sky and bright sun. Great start to the trip so far. We skied for almost 3hrs. Jeff rescued me from going down the big hill only to have to come it back up near the end which would have added at least another 30min. Mind you it was nice enough but we also had the long drive to Grand Forks ahead of us. The drive is pretty enough although it started to cloud over as we got past Keremeos. And in Midway I finally got to see my deer. They were crossing the highway right in front of our car. I think they did the same thing last year! We got to stay in the same place we stayed at the very first BC ski trip although the cost has gone up since. Still worth it. Cozy and quiet and in walking distance of “downtown” Grand Forks. We had dinner at Clydes Pub – which was good – and then spotted the movie theater featuring “The Arrival”. Jeff had heard that this would be a good movie. So instead of going for a walk in the cold to digest the food we sat in an old fashion small movie theater. Movie was good but also left more questions than answers. As I was watching the movie I started sneezing. By the time we got back to the motel a couple hrs later my head was stuffed up and I felt like crap. Didn’t sleep at all that night, tossing back and forth with tissues stuck up my nose to prevent the constant leaking.

And that’s how day 4 started for me – heavy head, sore body, no sleep, running nose. Yep, I got the cold that had been hovering around the office for month. Jeff had it, his parent had it and I guess now was my turn. Not the best of timing but what the hell. Today was Paulson day – another one of our favourite places to classic ski. It was cloudy in Grant Forks but by the time we got up to Paulson Pass we were above the clouds. They just had gotten a whole bunch of fresh snow and only a few trails had been re-groomed. So we weren’t able to do our usual big loop. Probably a blessing for me because despite the nice sunshine and great conditions I felt like crap. I could breathe BUT had absolute no energy. Jeff, the trooper, stuck with me the whole time. Took an hour and a half to do the small loop that was groomed – barely 10km in distance – and I was done. Actually I was done after half the distance. I figured Jeff would go for a 2nd loop to work out the kinks going so slow on lap 1 but he didn’t. Said he would do a hard workout the next day at Kimberley and that we should just hit the road to make our way to Cranbrook in the daylight and maybe spot some more wildlife. We did get to see more elk but I had my eyes closed for most of the drive :-). Despite leaving early it was long dark by the time we got to Cranbrook. The roads were quite icy along the way and there was an accident just before Moyie Lake. As per “DriveBC” only one lane was closed and they were letting alternating traffic through but we sat there for 2hrs hardly ever moving while opposite traffic seemed to be able to get through in batches. When we finally started moving around 8PM it still took a long time till we got to the lace of the accident and when we passed it, there was ONE car waiting in line to go the other way. I guess, alternating could mean one way only as well. They never said alternating both ways. We stayed in the usual place but the restaurant we planned to go to was no longer in operation. So we drove downtown to find some pub food, sliding along the icy roads in town. I had no appetite at all. We ended up at dewey’s and I ordered Quesadilla and a salad but hardly took a bite of either. Rats!!! I never lose my appetite no matter how sick I am. Another restless night curled up in my fleece blanket underneath the regular covers.

Day 5 and it was overcast and snowing lightly. We, meaning I, was slow to get up. Barely managed to eat some oatmeal that morning. When leaving town we hit the same spot of black icy as the previous night and almost slid into the pickup ahead of us. Good thing there was nobody in the lane beside him as Jeff was able to redirect our slide into that lane somehow. It was a  close call but the only one on the trip despite pretty tricky road conditions everywhere. It was still lightly snowing in Kimberley and temperature was around -6C. I was starting to feel a bit better than the day before and decided to put on my skates. Skating to me always feels much harder but the 6km loop at Kimberley is an easy one with only a few gentle, short climbs. The first lap felt hard, the 2nd one not too bad but by the third lap I felt like I was ready to collapse. The last “hill” took a lot of stopping to get over it. But overall I felt satisfied with the first skate ski in a while and being still weak from little food and lack of sleep. And I felt ready for tonight’s food – pizza at Peppe’s Italian Fuel in Invermere. Something I could not miss out on and didn’t. Well, we skipped the salad this time to leave more room for the pizza – who needs greens in the winter? I managed to almost eat all of my share. Just left 1 slice for the next day. But we were stuffed and went for a short night walk down to the lake. For the first time we saw the skate and ski tracks on Windermere Lake. We had read about the tracking they do around the lake when conditions are right – Windermere Lake Whiteway put in by the Toby Creek Nordics – but never really seen it. Some day we have to try it.

Day 6, was spent skiing Nipika. Located just outside of Yoho National Park along the Kootenay River, it is for sure one of the more scenic places to ski. Their trail system is extensive and a good mix of flat and hills, some of them quite steep. They got a big dump of snow at Christmas and the trails were in excellent conditions. An almost perfect day at -5C and with a mix of sun and clouds. I was out there for over 2.5hrs, my cold almost forgotten, stopping lots to take pictures or wipe my runny nose dry. The latter was a lost cause, really. Originally we had planned to stay the night in Canmore but there were no cheap places to stay to be found and so we backtracked a bit and drove up the Columbia Valley to stay in Golden for 2 nights. Always a nice scenic drive with more deer and elk sightings along the way. It was dark when we reached Golden but we had pre-booked Mary’s motel right in downtown Golden, not the cheapest but great for location. We walked to the Island Restaurant for dinner, less than 10mins away. I almost finished another meal! Instead of our usual evening walk we headed straight across the road to the movie theater. They were showing “Star Wars – Rogue One”, in 3D and the show was just about to start as we left the restaurant. Great timing,eh!?  The movie was really good entertainment, although the screen could have been bigger :-).

We kicked off New Years Eve, Day 7 , with a great breakfast at the “Big Bend Cafe” in Golden, a 3min walk from the motel. It was cold in town (-10C) and overcast. For today’s ski we drove back into the Rockies, our only ski in Alberta at Lake Louise. It’s only an hour drive through scenic mountains – mind you, it was pretty cloudy on the drive this year. Cross-Country skiing at Lake Louise is free. Grooming is excellent but no shelters anywhere I know off to warm up or to meet at. Moraine Lake Rd is our favourite, not that we have done many of the others yet. It is only tacked till km 9, pretty much the high point, and from there a single track, skier made, usually leads down to the lake. I like taking the single track while Jeff likes going up and down the groomed road a couple of time. I have never made it to the actual lake since I never knew how long it is. This year I met someone at the top who just came back up and he said it is about 45min one way. Darn, like every year, I did not have enough time left to make it before Jeff would be looking for me. Next time. I still went down for about 20min and back up as this is the part where the greatest views are. The sun tried to poke through the clouds but never fully succeeded but it was still nice. Another great time out in the snow. Back in Golden we had dinner reservations at the Island restaurant again. They had a nice “New Year’s Eve” 3 course special which Jeff had. I didn’t trust myself yet with too much food. Afterwards we went for a “short” walk along the Kicking Horse River which turned into a 2hr walk in the cold and dark since the trail we started on didn’t go where we expected it to and then just dead ended. Oh well, Jeff wasn’t very pleased with me since his legs had been tired from racing up and down Moraine Lake Rd twice earlier. Needless to say, we never made it to midnight that night but fell asleep around 10:30PM :-).

New Year’s Day, started out overcast in Golden and still cold. We headed up the local mountains to ski at Dawn Mountain at -11C. It felt cold. The trails system was in great conditions and skiing was good but I also felt getting tired early. Every hill felt like a mountain. It was our 8th day of skiing in a row. I managed to get another 2+hrs in but it felt more like a chore than enjoyable skiing. So when we left Dawn Mountain we had to make a decision to stop in Sicamous or Kamloops for one more night and ski Overlander the last day or just head straight home – at least an 8hr drive from Golden as long as there are no issues along the way. The weather had cleared up quite a bit when we left the mountain and “DriveBC” said all is clear (well that could mean anything now could it). We decided to listen to our tired bodies and just go home. It was a beautiful drive and roads were pretty good till Kamloops where we made a quick stop at Subway for our New Year dinner around 5:45PM. They were just about closing and selection was limited, oh well. After Kamloops there roads were more snow-covered and it was lightly snowing on and off. Jeff the trooper drove the whole way and we made it home in almost exactly 8hrs. Not bad. There was fresh snow everywhere when we arrived back home and the side streets were a mess – worst than anywhere along the trip!

It was nice to be home a day early before we had to go back to work on Jan 3. We did NOTHING that day other than went for an hour long slippery walk along the river in the cold bright sunshine (also see post from Jan 2).

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