Whew! What a holiday! Somehow I’m finding myself exhausted these days…perhaps a result of all of the fun stuff that I did this holiday!
My last exam was on December 17th and after plowing through a bunch of spanish homework, the holidays began with pizza and beer with friends at a super cool little restaurant call HopNBrew. It was a great way to unwind and catch up with some friends before we all blasted off for our respective holidays.
My parents arrived on the 20th, followed by my brother late on the 22nd. After a bit of a hairy drive out to Canmore in a snowstorm after Michael’s flight was delayed, we arrived just after midnight and hit the hay in order to be ready for a big hike the next day.
The weather was quite cold, but we piled on the layers and headed out to tackle Ha Ling, a hike that is right on the outskirts of Canmore and the Spray Valley. We didn’t take snow shoes because this hike is predominantly tree covered and quite steep. It’s generally not long (in summer it’s probably under 3 hours round trip if you’re quick) but with the snow it slowed us down considerably. Of course we had our trusty trail breakers Michael and Keith who set out ahead while Mum, Dad and I followed up the rear in their tracks. Of course within about ten minutes all those layers that we piled on came piling off…except for Dad who left his parka on and managed to sweat right through it! Mum and dad called it quits just after the treeline where there was only a short scree left to the top, and the boys and I carried on. Instead of peaking Ha Ling, which we’ve done before, we decided to go right instead of left to the peak and check out a different part of the mountain. It was spectacular!!! Looking down on snowy Canmore with more mountains in the background is certainly breathtaking! Before we could get cold we started flying back down with the goal of catching mum and dad before the bottom.
Of course we couldn’t resist boot skiing on the way down and we made short work of the path…because we kept ditching the switchbacks in favour of sliding down the steep parts in between! It was so much fun, I could barely breath for laughing so hard! Before we knew it we caught my parents when they were on a particularly long switch back. As we were whooping our way down the middle we managed to pass them. Of course they couldn’t resist joining in so on the next good sliding spot we all had a turn!
The next day, after supper with old friends from Yellowknife we headed down the Spray Lake Road again, this time with two other Yellowknife families to Grummel Lake for some snowshoeing! It was great to get all of our families together again, we hadn’t had everyone together since about 1995! There was a lot of bushwacking through deep snow just for the heck of it and we reached the lake and then proceeded to jump off some snow
‘cliffs’ into more snow before heading back out. It was a lot of fun and an absolutely beautiful day.
For Christmas Eve we had a family night and had tourtiere (family tradition!) and played Wizard. Last year to Keith’s chagrin he lost in EVERY Wizard game that we played (and I think we played about five times!) but he turned things around this year and I think got second! What a champ! And lucky for us he wasn’t as grumpy as last year about the game (hehe 🙂 ).
Christmas morning followed more traditions…first we opened our stockings and then made a feast of a breakfast. Every year for as long as I can remember we have a Stolen made by family friends. The last two years my parents have brought it all the way from Yellowknife. Christmas morning just wouldn’t be the same without it! Along with that we had fruit salad, sausages, bacon and eggs. After a few more seconds then we all needed we hit the tree and once again Santa spoiled us rotten! I am so grateful that not only do I get to spend Christmas with my family in peace and safety, but Santa also spoils us every year.
Christmas dinner was spent with the Snowshoeing families which was both scrumptious and hilarious. It was great to reconnect with the kids that we grew up with way back when (and get to know them all grown up!) and see our parents (who ‘grew up’ together in the north a million years ago) all back together. Needless to say our kids against parents games got a little crazy (and maybe a little inappropriate – ahem parents!). Hilarious to say the least.
On Boxing Day Keith’s family came through for coffee and snacks before taking him off to Kimberley for some downhill skiing. Dad took Michael to the airport so he could get back to training before coming back for one last relaxing evening before I followed to Kimberley on the 27th!
After an uneventful but BEAUTIFUL drive through Banff and Kootenay National Parks, I made it in time for supper and a walk to scope out the cross country trails and ski hill, both of which were RIGHT outside our door. The next morning Keith hit the hills right at nine o’clock while I hit the cross country for a quick ski before joining him on the hill. I have to admit, while I don’t love downhill skiing (I’m a scaredy cat, I get cold easily, and I have trouble wrapping my head around sitting on a chair lift for MORE time than you actually get to ski), I had a fun first day and relished a little fearlessness (which for me is totally relative!).
The next day Keith and I pulled a pretty epic day of activities. We hit the hill right at nine so that we beat the rush for a few runs with no chairlift waits. At about 10:30 we headed back to the condo to switch to cross country for about two and a half hours with Keith’s family before heading back to the hill for another
two hours or so. After a quick break at four when the hill closed (which involved a nap in a pond of drool for me) we headed back out with Keith’s dad for another hour and half of night skiing! We were both SO beat that night that we could barely stay awake at dinner! My legs were totally exhausted I can’t even believe looking back that I didn’t crash on those night runs.
The next day was a bit of a drag for me, I woke up still quite tired and not really feeling like down hilling. Turns out I should have listened to my gut and not gone, but instead I headed out and didn’t have much fun, crashing a few times. I felt like I’d lost my ability to turn as my left leg just kept ignoring what my brain was telling it! I took a couple hours off (nothing like brooding on the couch with a book and tea!) before going out for
the last two runs of the day in order to “get back on the horse” aka get over my fear a bit so that I didn’t end the trip with a bad taste in my mouth. It worked as I had fun on those runs.
We capped the trip off with a delicious meal at a German restaurant in Kimberley where we all ate until we were stuffed! It was an awesome holiday, although definitely one that I needed a few days to recover from!
We drove back to Calgary on New Years just in time to host some friends that we had over last year. Unfortunately last year was a bit of a bust as two of the friends (ironically the two that brought cheese and chocolate fondue to share) went home with food poisoning about an hour after they got there (disclaimer…it was DEFINITELY from food they ate before coming over!) So we did New Years take two and thankfully no one went home sick!!!
Since then I have been laying low, unpacking, snowshoeing and visiting. Trying to rest up before heading back to school! I guess I realized (what perhaps all adults already know!) that holidays aren’t all that relaxing when you’re organizing, hosting, travelling and cooking! They are certainly fun and filled with friends and laughter, but when all is said and done they take a little bit of time to recover from them!!!
Happy New Year everyone! Cheers to 2013 – your best year ever!