Posts Tagged ‘Life List’

Another early start today – we headed over to Yoho National Park and our first stop was at the Natural Bridge. What a pretty place! After so many years of the water of the Kicking Horse River eroding the rock, it formed a bridge. Gorgeous in the morning sun.


Our next stop was Emerald Lake – got there at 7:30am and only a few folks were in the lot. We were alone on the trail for the most part but started seeing others about midway through. Serenity personified. We started the Emerald Lake loop (trail around the lake) on the left/north side which is paved, then halfway through it becomes a dirt trail (slightly muddy when we went). The different types of flowers were really interesting and we got to see lots of birds.

We stopped at the cafe on the lake for a snack and coffee after the trail. There’s a lodge as well where you can stay. Amazingly quiet and peaceful.


Next we stopped at a couple of viewpoints to see the spiral tunnels (tunnels carved into the mountain for trains to pass through) and the spot where the Kicking Horse and Yoho Rivers converge. Impressive!

Our next stop was at Takakkaw Falls. The road to get there is very twisty with a fairly tight section but we managed it fine. The views were incredible. You can get very close to the falls, enough to feel the mist/spray. 🙂 It’s a short walk from the parking lot and the views to and from the falls are very nice as well.


We returned to Lake Louise for lunch and ate at the old converted Train Station for bison burgers. The food was good and the ambiance of sitting in a train station turned restaurant was really cool. We even got to see a couple of freight trains pass by on the still-functional tracks outside!

Back to the cabin for a g;lass of wine and a nap, then off to dinner at the Juniper Bistro in Banff. It was sensational – we both had the wild boar loin with buttered fingerling potatoes with bourbon apple sauce, lemon and thyme charred broccolini, a BC Merlot and the black forest mousse cake with torched marshmallow, praline and berries for dessert. The whole meal was delicious and the view was fantastic. Highly recommended for a special dinner out.

Juniper bistro

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We got an early start again today to beat the crowds to the parking lots at Lake Moraine and Lake Louise. Our cabin was on the same road as Lake Louise (and 4 mins away!) which came in handy. We got to Moraine at 6:30am and the lot was already half full.

We saw the lake from the shore and climbed the rockpile for amazing views. Turquoise blue like all the photos and postcards – it’s really that color! Just gorgeous. I still can’t believe my eyes have seen the gorgeous things we saw on this trip! From the water to the mountains to the trees…absolutely beautiful.

Lake Moraine:


Our next stop was Lake Louise – there’s more parking available there and we got a spot in the lot. Lake Louise is a classic ice blue lake as well but I personally preferred Moraine more. We took a few photos, then located our goal for the day: The trailhead up to the Lake Agnes Teahouse. It was a 3.8km hike uphill. All the way. Brutal. 1,300 ft elevation gain. We had to stop several times but once we got a good rhythm going, it became less painful LOL The trail was a set of switchbacks up the mountain to Mirror Lake, then 1km further to Lake Agnes and the famed Teahouse where you could enjoy a snack and hot beverage with amazing views to boot. There is no running water and the staff hikes up supplies every morning. Kudos – they must have quads of steel!

We stopped at Mirror Lake first, then at Lake Agnes and the views were spectacular. We had lunch at a picnic table but it got quite chilly. The hike down was FANTASTIC! Downhill, easy peasy. At the bottom, we rested on a bench facing Lake Louise and rested our legs. We drove to the Lake Louise village to pick up some goodies at Laggan’s Bakery then back to our cabin, all before 1pm!

Lake Louise:


Mirror Lake:


Views from the trail:


Lake Agnes and Teahouse:


Teahouse – we had lunch on the picnic table at the back, to the left of the teahouse midway down the ramp in the photo:


Back down again. Chris is sitting on the bench. I hobbled over to the lake for a pic. 🙂


Took a shower, took a nap, played gin rummy, drank our ciders and relaxed for the rest of the day.


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We were still on Eastern Time so we were up early, had breakfast then headed out to Johnston Canyon – we were the second car in the lot. 🙂 What a gorgeous place. We hiked to the Lower Falls then to the Upper Falls. The waterfalls and canyon were really beautiful and I’m still trying to figure out how they built the catwalks / bridges along the canyon walls.


We finished in about 2 hours and had stopped for a snack at the Upper Falls. We drove back to Banff and parked, then explored the town and did some shopping. We found our ornament at the Xmas store. We stopped for a cafe mocha and ginger cookie at Evelyn’s and ate outside on a bench. I picked up a cozy fleece hoodie and some more dishtowels. We stopped in the cutest Hudson Bay store I’ve ever seen and Chris liked the caribou blankets and we saw that we could order them online so we’ll do that once we get back. I liked the canoe in the window but it wouldn’t fit in our suitcase. LOL


We drove back to our cabin, stopped at the Lake Louise grocery store (fruit) and liquor store (cider), then enjoyed wine on our deck and took a long nap (naps were to become the norm between our morning hikes / before dinner).

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We have been wanting to visit the Rocky Mountains for a while and this year was the year! Instead of staying in regular hotels, we chose to book 4 nights in a cabin in Lake Louise, then 3 nights in a cottage in Jasper and used those two towns as our base for visiting so many amazing places. I’m still awestruck at the scenery, nature and wildlife we got to see. Here we go!

Our flight into Calgary was uneventful, we picked up our rental car at the airport and headed to Banff as a pit stop to pick up groceries before checking into our cabin in Lake Louise at Paradise Lodge and Bungalows. As we drove closer to Banff National Park, the views were increasingly amazing. The mountains, the waterfalls, the trees, just gorgeous.

We arrived at our cabin and we both got out of the car, breathed in and looked at each other with delight – OMG the smell of PINE!!! I wish I could have packed it in my suitcase to carry with me everywhere. I loved our cabin (#11, Cooper style Cabin) and you can see why:


We unpacked, settled in, made dinner, then went to bed, ready for our Rocky Mountain Adventure to begin!


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I’m starting the year on the right foot. I’ve already watched a couple of movies to start my annual tally, as well as tried a few new recipes and it’s only the first week of January! 🙂

I have always had “make fresh pasta” on my life list. Ever since our trip to Italy two years ago, and our return trip last year (love Italia!!!), it’s bumped up on the priorities.

I figured since I don’t own a pasta machine or a stand mixer with pasta attachment, the easiest noodle to make would be ravioli. So I scoured cookbooks and online recipes until I found a recipe that would suit a first timer and had a lot of good reviews.

I ended up following the dough from here, and tweaked the pesto sauce to accommodate what I had on hand and reduce the recipe to 2 servings for my husband and I.

I admit to being a bit nervous. Homemade pasta just seemed so intimidating. But I persevered through my little well of flour and egg mixture, then through the rolling (and rolling and rolling) trying to get the dough as thin as possible. Then adding the filling in little piles on the first sheet of dough, brush with egg wash, cover with second sheet and I used a ravioli cutter but you could easily use a knife or a pizza cutter. Boiled them, then baked them for 4 mins to turn brown.

The filling was delicious with four cheeses: mozzarella, provolone, cream cheese and ricotta. For the sauce, I heated olive oil, added a fresh crushed garlic clove (from my garden last year), a 1/4 cup of my Genovese basil pesto that I froze last summer (and thawed overnight), about a half cup of heavy cream and 1/4 cup of parmesan. It turned out great (albeit the color was off because I didn’t blanch my basil when I prepared the pesto last summer..serves me right). 🙂

I was relieved it all turned out and the little pillows were delicious. Wonder what I’ll make next!

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So here we are – it’s time to plan what I’ll be tackling from my Life List next year. Since we already know where we’ll be traveling to, those will likely get crossed off in 2019. I also have some food-related and skills I want to tackle.

This is the list for next year:

  • Stay in a cabin or lodge in the woods
  • See Lake Louise in Alberta
  • Stargaze in a dark sky reserve (Jasper)
  • Visit Banff, Alberta
  • Visit Jasper, Alberta
  • Drive the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
  • Hike in the Rockies
  • Hike to one of the tea houses in the Rockies
  • Learn to crochet
  • Knit a pair of stockings
  • Knit a shawl
  • Grow a fruit tree
  • Attend a paint & wine class
  • Make yogurt
  • Make cheese
  • Make homemade pita bread
  • Try canning
  • Make fresh pasta

I’ll be keeping my usual “annual” goals but have adjusted (greatly lowered) my reading one since I’ve been spending a lot more time doing other things:

  • Watch 50 movies
  • Cook 30 new recipes
  • Read 10 books

Can’t wait!!


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I can’t believe it’s the end of another year. It feels like I was just figuring out what I wanted to tackle in 2018 and here we are already at the end of it!

Here’s the summary of what I was able to tackle this year – most were related to our travels:

  • Celebrate 15 year anniversary (2018)
  • Go on a cruise in Europe
  • Visit Santorini, Greece
  • See King’s Landing (Croatia)
  • Visit Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Visit St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy
  • Travel to Venice, Italy
  • See Phantom of the Opera
  • Make my own herbal tea

Also increased the counts for these:

  • Go on 10 cruises (9 down, 1 to go)
  • Travel to 50 countries (22 done, 28 to go)

I focused quite a bit on food preservation skills and was able to complete the following:

  • Make freezer jam (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, peach)
  • Make and freeze apple and caramelized onion chutney
  • Make pickles (refrigerator and freezer): dill, sweet, bread and butter
  • Grow and dry herbs for tea (chamomile and mint)
  • Make and freeze pesto (genovese basil pesto, thai peanut pesto)
  • Dried sweet potato slices for chips (meh)
  • Planted, harvested and cured my own garlic
  • Bake my own bread – this is now part of my weekly tasks. I make 2 loaves (one whole wheat, one whole wheat cinnamon raisin) and we e joy homemade bread daily for breakfast,
  • Make my own hummus – again, now part of my weekly tasks (we like hummus)

And of my usual annual counts, I completed 2 of 3 – I really need to reevaluate my commitment to reading :):

  • Watch 50 movies: I’m currently at 66 with a few days to go til the end of December
  • Cook 30 new recipes: I cooked 36 and have a couple more planned before New Years
  • Read 30 books: Total failure – not even close – I’m still only on my 4th book this year!!

I removed a few items from the list:

  • Ride an elephant
  • Ride a camel
  • Eat Belgian chocolate in Belgium
  • Eat a beignet in New Orleans
  • Own an All Clad pan

And added a few:

  • Learn to crochet
  • Knit a pair of stockings
  • Knit a shawl
  • Make homemade pita bread
  • Make yogurt
  • Make cheese

I’m currently at 319 completed of 470 – good progress!! I’m really pleased with what I managed to cross off this year, especially in the food skills – I’m excited to keep learning.

Next up – what I’m planing for 2019.


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