Hiking Johnson Canyon

I first hiked Johnson Canyon, one of the most popular day hikes in Banff National Park, as a university student in 1974 and I’ve been wanting to do it again ever since. On Sunday, I finally did!

The parking lot was already full by mid morning when we arrived and the trail was packed with tourists. Catwalks affixed to the limestone cliffs make the canyon easily accessible to everyone and the 1.1 km trail to the lower falls involves very little change in elevation.


At the lower falls, a bridge crosses the creek allowing both an excellent spot from which to view the falls and access to a water-formed tunnel through the rock to a closer viewing platform.




IMG_2402 - Version 2

The crowd thinned out a little as we moved on toward the upper falls, another 1.5 km up the trail. Spectacular views continued to surround us as we followed the crystal clear creek.



There is significantly more change in elevation on the way to the upper falls and by the time we arrived at the bottom our two little grandsons decided that their legs had hiked far enough. Our son and daughter-in-law took them back to camp while Richard and I pushed on. It was a short climb to the top of the falls where we enjoyed great views of the falls themselves and the deep pool at the bottom.


Beyond the upper falls, the trail leaves Johnson Canyon behind and climbs another 3.1 km to the Ink Pots, seven cold mineral springs that bubble to the surface forming small pools in an open meadow. These springs are unique in that they have a constant year round temperature of 4ºC and their basins are composed of quicksand.

I had not hiked beyond the upper falls in the past and wasn’t expecting the steep climb that was involved. Once we’d set out, however, I was determined to finish! The trail seemed to go on forever, climbing higher and higher. Younger legs passed us by, but we pushed onward and eventually reached our goal!






My old knees were a bit achy the next morning, but a soak in Banff’s Upper Hot Springs was all they needed to recuperate!

Chokers are back!

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.07.24 PM 3

Last week’s 70s girl post got me thinking about another favourite style from that era that has returned in recent months. Chokers are back! Or did they ever really go away? They were popular in the 70s, again in the 90s, and now they’re being seen yet again.

One of my favourite chokers of the 70s was a cameo on a wide velvet ribbon. Another was a leather cord with wooden beads. Those were pretty typical of the era and looked good with the flowing tops and dresses of the day.

The choker of the 90s often had an edgier, gothic look. I think my daughter was in junior high when she wore one that looked exactly like a shiny black dog collar. I’d post a picture, but I suspect she’d hate me for it!

Today’s chokers are more reminiscent of the 70s. Here are a few examples:

While I’m definitely not a proponent of age related fashion rules, it’s my personal opinion that chokers usually look best on the young. Because the skin on our necks is thinner than elsewhere, it tends to loosen and wrinkle earlier. As a result, our necks may look older than the rest of our bodies. Why draw attention to that?

On the other hand, I recently found this one in my jewelry box and I’ve decided to wear it again. Made of pewter and gold plate, it was a gift from a good friend back in the late 70s. It’s a bit longer than most chokers and it’s shape tends to draw the eye down, away from my 63 year old neck. IMG_20160825_171601778

Do you have any favourite fashions from days gone by? Would you wear them today?

Robin’s ride

After our day of dinosaur fun at Drumheller, we moved on to Banff where we camped at the beautiful Two Jack Lakeside campground. The main reason for choosing that destination was our daughter-in-law’s participation in the Banff Gran Fondo, a 150 km bike race/ride on Saturday morning.

Our grandson’s, Sam and Nate, slept in the trailer with us on Friday night so that Mom could get a good night’s sleep before her big ride. Before any of us were out of bed in the morning, she was already on her bike! At 7:15 am, we headed over to the campground entrance to watch and cheer her on. As the first wave of riders rounded the curve and came into view, excitement built and it was an emotional moment for all of us when Robin rode by. We are so proud of her!


IMG_2352 - Version 2

It takes a lot of determination for any young mom to prepare for something like this and even more so when she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis! She is definitely one of my heroes!

In addition to offering us a front row view of Robin’s ride, Two Jack Lakeside campground, just minutes away from Banff itself, was a perfect spot for us to explore the area from and just down the path from our campsite were the most stunning views imaginable.







Dinosaur fun!

It’s very rare that we ever have all five of our grandchildren together in one place. Three of them live in Calgary and the other two in Vancouver. Last Thursday was just such a day, however, and I was one happy Gram! We were camping at Drumheller, Alberta with our son, daughter-in-law and grandsons from the coast and our daughter’s family came out from Calgary to spend the day with us.

IMG_2223 - Version 2

The Drumheller Valley is known internationally for its rich abundance of dinosaur fossils and what can capture the imagination of children more than dinosaurs? Our day began at the world-renowned Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology where life sized skeletons abound.

My five littles are hardly any bigger than five giant dinosaur toes!


After our morning at the museum, it was time to visit the world’s largest dinosaur, an enormous statue at the downtown Visitor’s Centre.


Climbing the stairs inside and viewing the town from within the monster’s mouth 86 feet above the ground was fun, but so was clambering over its enormous feet!



Our third stop for the day was the hoodoos, natural columns of rock composed of sand and clay. Formed by thousands of years of erosion, their solid, strong capstones protect the softer, underlying bases creating their unique mushroom-like shape.


The surrounding badlands are a surreal landscape that just begs to be climbed and explored.

While some of our group climbed to the very top of the valley, the littlest one was sad to be left behind!


He was happier when we returned to the campground for some time on the playground though!


Our day ended around the campfire with hot dogs and s’mores.


It will be Christmas time before we’re all together again, but until then we’ll enjoy our memories of a great day of dinosaur fun!

70s girl

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.07.24 PM 3When we lived in Japan in 2008 and 2009, lightweight, loose-fitting tops made of almost sheer fabric were very popular amongst the Japanese women. Many of them had floral patterns. I bought this one at a tiny, hole-in-the-wall shop around the corner from one of our main schools. It usually had a rack of clothing on the sidewalk out front and I often stopped to take a look on my way by.

Until this week, I hadn’t worn this in a long time, but I couldn’t quite make myself part with it as it was one of many reminders of the wonderful time we had in Japan. In keeping with my commitment not to keep things that I don’t wear, however, I pulled it out of the closet earlier this week and put it on. I was immediately glad that I’d kept it. Worn over a neutral camisole, it was cool and comfortable in the summer heat which doesn’t come close to the heat and humidity we endured at this time of year in Japan.


Rather than transporting me back to Japan, it took me all the way back to the peasant tops I was so fond of in the early 1970s! I know I’m dating myself, but I really don’t mind. I’ve worn some things over the years that would make me cringe now, but I really liked the comfortable boho chic style that I wore in the 70s and I guess I still do!

I sewed most of my own clothes back then. I wish I had some pictures to share, but here are a few of the Simplicity patterns that I might have chosen.

Yes, I guess I’m still a 70s girl at heart!



Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.07.24 PM 3 Today seems like a perfect time to write about what I wear to play my favourite sport. After all, I won the ladies side of the Viking Golf Club seniors tournament yesterday!

Let’s ignore the fact that there were only four ladies entered in the tournament, shall we?

Weather permitting, my golf attire usually consists of a sleeveless, collared golf shirt worn with either capri pants or long shorts.


Though my wardrobe is made up largely of neutrals, golfing is a fun time to add a splash of colour, so I have several bright shirts to choose from.

I always wear a ball cap when I’m golfing to shade my eyes and keep my often unruly hair under control. I have a variety of them in several different colours to coordinate with my shirts.



Though I most often golf in a comfortable and supportive pair of golf shoes, I also have a pair of golf sandals that are especially nice on hot days.

Regardless of what I wear, I’ll never look as elegant on the golf course as my Mom did! Here she is back in the 1940s. I doubt if there’s a course anywhere in the world today that would let you on the greens in those shoes, but aren’t they adorable?


When no news is good news

It’s been quite awhile since I wrote anything about my health as there really hasn’t been anything new to report. That in itself is good news!

As many of you are aware, I was diagnosed with two completely separate and unrelated cancers in late 2013 and early 2014. Yesterday, I finally received the results of CT and PET scans and other tests done three weeks ago. The first good news was that there has been no significant change in my incurable neuroendocrine cancer (NETS) over the last year. I have only had two radioisotope (Lutetium) treatments during that time, one last October and one in April, but that has been enough to keep things stable. The tumours have not grown or spread.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 4.34.33 PMSource

Neuroendocrine tumours (NETS) produce serotonin which is sometimes referred to as a happiness hormone because a deficit can to lead to depression. An excess, however, can result in carcinoid syndrome which, as in my case, results in symptoms that include abdominal cramping and diarrhea, skin flushing, and periods of rapid heart rate. It can also lead to heart disease and other complications. A 24 hour urine test is used to measure the amount of serotonin in the body. Though I don’t know what units are used to measure serotonin, at the time of diagnosis, the level in my body was 150. Now, it’s down to 40. Though still above average, it is considered borderline and indicates that my tumours, if not completely dormant, are barely functioning. Monthly injections of Sandostatin, meant to suppress this serotonin production, are obviously working and I have had none of the above listed symptoms for the past couple of years.

More good news was the fact that there is absolutely no sign of recurrence of my second cancer which was an acinic cell tumour in one of my saliva glands. It was removed surgically followed by six weeks of radiation treatments, thirty in all. I have now been free of that cancer for over two years!

The best news, however, is the fact that I feel 100% healthy! My energy level is normal and except for the monthly injections, which are given by a nurse who comes to the house, and a treatment requiring an overnight stay in hospital in Edmonton once every six months, I’m able to lead a completely normal life. We haven’t gone on any long hikes yet this summer, but I’m quite certain that I could.

If things continue to go this well over the next year, treatments will then be reduced to one every nine months. I have no idea what the long term outlook is, but then, who really does know what their future holds? I know who holds my future and that is good enough for me!

“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”                                      Jeremiah 29:11

Previous Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 825 other followers

%d bloggers like this: