Monday, August 14, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

This weekend's hike took place in Gros Morne, our amazingly beautiful national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Park is full of hiking trails, from flat, easy walks to Gros Morne mountain itself (which we have on our agenda for the fall)

After Marble Mountain last weekend, this time we choose 2 fairly easy hikes with only slight elevations, ate lunch in between and dinner together afterwards. 

The first leg of our hike was Lomand River. It was a lovely day, not too hot with a slight breeze. We walked 6 km (about 2 hr) along a very pretty woodland path surrounded by ferns, wildflowers and lots of berries. We saw moose footprints and bear droppings, but our chattering group of 7 kept them at bay. At one point, we walk along the Lomand River; and we stopped for a picture at the river with the mountains on the other side. 

The last leg of this 1st hike took us through a well-known children's camp (Killdevil) and down the road to Lomand Campgrounds and the trail for our 2nd hike Stanleyville. At the campgrounds, we stopped for lunch, much needed rest and, thankfully, flush toilets! Hurrah!
Hot, sweaty and happy!
What a view!

The 2nd leg of our hike was a fairly steep climb up, a little flat terrain and then down again (which was then repeated in reverse order for our return). And despite the warnings of a bear in the area, we didn't see any scat on this trail. Just more beautiful flora and fauna and, of course, the wonderful smell of spruce trees. 

The Stanleyville hike was 4 km (1.5 hr), and we were all a little slower on this leg, especially with the elevations. In the early 1900's, Stanleyville was a small logging town but has been deserted for more than 80 years. There was never a road into Stanleyville; everything happened by boat. Park authorities placed a couple of Adirondack chairs on the beach which changes every year due to winter storms; and because of a pool of standing water, the black flies were brutal! So, despite the beauty all around us, we didn't stay too long ...........

..... just long enough to have a rest, and dip our toes in the water. 

Once back at the cars, we said goodbye to two and the remaining five of us drove into the picturesque town of Woody Point for dinner on the deck at the Merchant Warehouse & Retro Cafe. The fish and chips were delicious and the beer ice cold. Ahhhhh!

It was a long day -- we left at 9:30 from Corner Brook and didn't return until just before 8 pm. But what a day it was. Another lovely hiking experience with the group. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The View from Marble

I'm in fairly good shape: a little overweight but fit enough to hike 8-10 km, run after my grandchild, and dance several hours (with or without music!) But at this stage in my life, I know that I'm slowly losing my agility and ability. So when my hiking group said they were hiking Marble Mountain, I thought "I must go! Heaven knows if my body can wait another year." 

The Mountain itself is a popular skiing resort, but hiking, zip lining and swimming above the falls are all popular summertime activities. The climb to the top of the ski hill's highest peak is about 1,800 ft ...... and we climbed further and higher to the radar doppler. AND wouldn't you know, it was a really, really hot day to climb. Oh dear! What a bunch of dorks!

There were about 11 of us who started together, everyone going at their own pace. Two of us (and our wobbly knees) acted as caboose, not reaching the summit for 30 min after the first long-legged ones got there -- our 2 hr to their 1.5 hr. But what a magnificant climb! The beginning was through the woods over rocks and tree roots, but the greater portion of it was done on a steep, rocky service road with narry a bit of shade to be found.

In no time, we were at the wooden stairs and the lookouts. There were people ziplining over the falls when we reached one of the lookoff points. Right at the top of the falls (your far right), there's a deep, recessed pool; and there must have been over a dozen young people swimming. It sure looked good to us on our way back down the mountain, hot and sweaty as we were!

And there was such an abundance of wild flowers -- Yarrow, Bog Orchids, Ox-Eye Daisies -- as well as wild strawberries (about 3-4 days from perfection), raspberries and these little dew berries -- tart and so refreshing. At one spot about 3/4 of the way up, there were butterflies everywhere. It was so beautiful.
Fire Weed & Devil's Paintbrush

My hiking companion and I took lots of water breaks and would often stand in the ditch to get out of the sun. Half way up at the top of a few of the ski trails, this was our view:
We are looking down towards Steady Brook along the Humber River heading north to Deer Lake.

"Hey! What took you so long?"

Finally .... after many more rest and water stops, we reached the top. What a feat for my feet! Our companions were waiting for us, already finished their lunch and some of them actually on their way back down. But there were a few of us to savor the view. 

Cheese and pickle on rye never tasted so good!

And here I am looking down on the Humber River andCorner Brook in the background. WOW!

The climb down was, of course, much easier. And the iced capp and honey crueller at Tim Horton's at the bottom helped revive our energies. Next time though, I think I'll wait until Autumn to climb so far.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Winsome Wednesday

  1. attractive or appealing in appearance or character.

    "a winsome smile"

Yes, I once was a somewhat shallow individual who judged people on their appearance before I'd even become aware of their character. Such is the folly of youth. But as I've aged, not only did I begin to learn that character is so much more desirable but it became more and more evident as I myself began to lose my looks, figure and agility. Aging is one of the greatest teachers of humility and living through the enviable hardships of life is one of the greatest builders of character.

Peace and serenity are the desires of my heart these days. I have found that I more quickly accept those enviable hardships when they come as being part of life and no longer rally about how unfair life can be. I forgive more quickly; I accept differences more readily; I seek out those places of calm during the storm that have sustained me in the past; and I'm constantly looking for new ways to maintain that peace of mind. (My Spidey senses tingle when I come across some new method to try, so I'm always open to what could be interesting, hopefully fun and sometimes even weird ways to cope and/or grow. Whatever works and doesn't hurt others!)

Physical health is deeply connected to mental health, and I want to achieve the best health I can at this time of my life. So, after the initial fear that I often feel when life's shit-storms happen, I'll say to myself: "No Sandy! You can do nothing about this right now, so put that worry aside and enjoy life." Does this pep talk work? Always! It's not always instantaneous, but through practice and prayer over many, many, many trials and tribulations, I can usually find the oasis in the desert. 

All that deep, contemplative stuff aside, this does NOT mean that I don't still try to look winsome aka appealing in appearance. (The vanity's not been entirely knocked out of me by life yet!) So, I put on my makeup, style my hair, color coordinate my outfits, and try to look as current as possible without being "mutton dressed as sheep" and while still letting ME shine through. 

Today is a lovely sunny, warm day again here in western Newfoundland. And I'm meeting old school buddies for an extended lunch, one of whom I haven't seen in 42 years! I'm so excited! 

We'll be sitting at an outside deck under an umbrella overlooking the beautiful Bay of Islands. 

I decided to wear my beige and navy cotton tunic from Papillion, navy 3/4 leggings, and navy Naot sandals. (Even my Dr Who phone cover is coordinated, hahaha!) 

I added a couple of bracelets and a pair of my favorite gifted earrings, handmade down to the blown-glass beads (Katherine Gordon of LaHave NS)

I'm comfortable, casual, coordinated and, I believe, age appropriate ..... for the mature weirdo that I am!

'Cause that's what it's all about: us being us! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Terrific Tuesday

What an influence the sun has on a person's outlook, huh! We've been enjoying lots of the hot, bright orb lately; and I feel so energetic and hopeful when this happens, especially given Newfoundland's harsh winter and the spring (or lack thereof) we've had. 

The way I dress also both reflects how I feel and/or how I want to feel. Today, it's a reflection of the gorgeous weather.
Comfortable and cool (cotton, don't ya know); bright, cheerful, and (best of all) cheap! I purchased it last spring from a thrift store in Halifax for all of $7.  And as I haven't quite fully developed my turkey-wattle upper arms yet, I can wear it with ease of mind. (The clock is ticking though!)

Other things that are making this Tuesday terrific are:

  • The green jello and fruit I had for dessert after my sandwich. Mine was not quite as cute and cheerful as this pic, but the taste was terrific; memories of childhood.
  • Quiet time at work is pretty terrific as well, especially when you're in the middle of a good book ..... like this one.  Have you ever read Louise Penny? She's a Canadian author who has written a series of detective novels centered around Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and the perfectly picturesque fictional little village of Three Pines, Quebec. I find her writing very easy to read and highly entertaining. Wonderful characters. 
  • The knowledge that dinner is all ready for me when I get home. The remains of my homemade mac 'n' cheese and a pre-packaged salad will be great outside on my lounger.
Ahhhhh!We Newfies really do need to soak up the sunshine when it comes our way. And the weatherman says that Terrific Tuesday will probably turn into Wonderful Wednesday and Tremendous Thursday. 


Monday, July 17, 2017

Things that Made Me Happy

Here are some of the things that fed my soul and made me happy this past week.

  • My amazing hike Saturday 
Just a short 25 min hike up the mountain and I have this view of my city, Blow Me Down Mountains in the distance, and the beautiful Bay of Islands.

 Back down the mountain and across to the Corner Brook Stream and Gorge Trail. The icy cold stream at the top of the falls was a great place to stop for lunch.

  • Making cherry jam:  Ahhhhh! So sweet and juicy with just a touch of lemon zest. 

  • Weeding and watering the Community Garden with a few of the group. There's something about dirt under my nails that just makes me happy, even if my back is aching.

  •  R 'n' R:  A fresh load of laundry on the line, a day with nothing ahead of me, and a cold Gin 'n' Tonic in the garden amidst the roses and birdsong.

  • The return of one of my favorite TV shows. 
    Yep! It's Ed Sheeran just  hangin' out with Arya.

This is what truly makes life rich -- joy in the simple, mundane things of life.