Tag Archives: expeditions

Caving Adventures

Caving Adventures-16At the beginning of June, I had my company retreat. (That’s only 2 months ago… I’m doing well!) The second day we had “team building” activities and I chose to go caving.

At the beginning, I was wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into.

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It was dark. We had to clip into a rope. It was a bit slippery.

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It was only until I successfully went through the first practise “squeeze” that I started to enjoy myself. It’s funny how doing something successfully boosts your confidence enough to give you the boost to continue on and enjoy yourself!

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It was kind of crazy going through the “big squeeze”, where you had to riggle through a tiny hole that the helmet barely fit through, pushing yourself a few inches at a time with your feet and hands.

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It ended up being really awesome – slithering through holes, climbing up and down rocks to get between “rooms” and generally getting very dirty. Totally worth it!

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At the end of our adventure, we went to the Grotto. So pretty!

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Soda straws from the ceiling

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After a while we all turned off our headlamps and it was dark. I know I shouldn’t be surprised at that, but even when you’re in a dark room at night, there’s still a little light that your eyes can adjust to. Nope. Obviously not in a cave.

The happiest thing was this mushroom growing.

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All clean at the beginning…

 

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All dirty at the end!

Have you ever done something that pushed your comfort levels but ended up enjoying it?

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Quebec Travels – Architecture

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The other weekend Mr. Bean and I had a whirlwind trip to Quebec, where we spent a few days in Montreal, visited my sister and spent a day in Quebec City.

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I’ve always wanted to go to the old city in Quebec City as I love that style of architecture from the 1700′s with stone buildings and colourful wooden windows. Let’s just say that my inner 14-year-old was incredibly happy the entire time we wandered around.

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Architecture-4My favourite thing to do when visiting a new city or place is walk around and look at stuff. Then I get to see everything up close and I can pretend that I’m a local (plus, the exercise helps even out all the tasty food I inevitably eat. Priorities!)

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Chateau Frontenac

Another one of the things I wanted to see was the Plains of Abraham, where the Battle of Abraham took place in 1759 where the British defeated the French, essentially setting Canada up to be an English-speaking county. Not that I’m a nerd or anything. :)

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360° view at Dusk

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View from the Citadel

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We stayed in a really sweet hotel called the “Chateau des Tourelles“. It’s a pretty sweet setup as the hotel is a bunch of adjacent flats combined and renovated. We had one of the studio rooms, which was on the top floor (our bathroom window is the mini pseudo circular window under the gable – how cool is that?). They even had a deck on their roof, which looked over the newer parts of Quebec city. I would definitely recommend this place if you’re ever going to go to Quebec City!

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Where have you always wanted to visit?

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Winter Adventures!

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(Clockwise) Cross Country Skiing at Moraine Lake, Kananaskis and Snowshoeing at Emerald Lake

Winter is really much more enjoyable when you do something to enjoy it. I know, it’s May so winter should be the last thing on my mind, but it’s still winter-y here. Maybe it’s the snow today or I finally feel slightly organized for the first time in a long time, but I thought it was the right time to share pictures from my winter adventures with you!

I haven’t really shared here that I started doing something last year that I used to think I would NEVER do: I tried downhill skiing and I LOVE it. Like “I-sometimes-take-days-off-in-the-middle-of-the-week-to-go-skiing” love it.  Add in some cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and I can say that this (long) winter definitely wasn’t too bad!

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Snowshoeing up to the Fire Lookout in Peter Lougheed Park.

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Downhill Skiing at Sunshine and Nakiska

I even participated in this year’s work ski trip to Whitefish! It was a really fun trip despite a few adventures due to poor visibility and splitting up with the people I was skiing with.

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The best visibility that we had in Whitefish!

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Fun Times at Whitefish! The picture on the bottom left corner is the best visibility we had on the second day!

One day Mr. Bean and I decided that we were going to try going cross-country skiing, not realizing that it was too warm for any of the waxes that we had and that the snow was so bizarre it really wasn’t worth it. It was the “longest” trip we’ve ever had – about 50m of skiing. So we went for a walk at Kananakis Village instead. The sun even came out!

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View from Kananakis Village

I’ve met some pretty entertaining people on the ski lift – from the American guy in Whitefish who chewed us out for trying to put down the bar and then tried to make up for it by calling us “cute Canadian girls,” to the guy who asked me if I took selfies because it was my birthday to the old guys who were complaining how powder was horrible and they hated it.

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Skiing Nakiska & Travels Home

I’d have to say that my favourite day of skiing was my birthday! I took my flex day and you couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was sunny, warm and the snow was decent! By the end of the day the snow had really softened up, which was kind of fun as skiing through slush makes you feel like a hero!

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Birthday Skiing at Sunshine – Pretty much the best day ever! Look at Mount Assiniboine in the background!

Even though, as much as I love skiing, I am ready for spring to finally come!

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Final Trip of 2013: Field!

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Where does time go? It’s hard to believe that Christmas break ended over a week ago. Thankfully, I had a really good Christmas break (unlike last year where I got sick) with lots of family, skiing and good food! Mr. Bean and I even managed to get away for a few days to the cabin we had our honeymoon at in Field, BC. We wanted to improve on our last trip out two years ago, where we were both very grumpy and didn’t have much fun, so this time we were both determined to enjoy ourselves – apparently it helps if you have the mindset of “it’s not the end of the world”! We went cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tromping, enjoyed good food and hung out in front of the fire. Mr. Bean was a champion and skied 16km (10 miles) up Moraine Lake Road despite not having gone skiing in over a year!

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One thing I did get to partake in that I really haven’t in a while, was night photography. Luckily, we had fairly mild weather despite it being mostly cloudy and a new moon (so no sweet moonlight on the mountain photos like a few years ago.) Oh well, I tried to make the best of it with decent results and lots of fun had. I first tromped all over field:

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One interesting thing you can especially see when the moon isn’t around is the colour of various light sources:

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Going right after Christmas with all the coloured lights probably help as well.

We were there for two nights – the first night when I went out, no trains came around, so I was stuck playing with textures, shadows and light in different kinds of motion:

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However, on the second night, a train showed up! (I’m sure my dad would be proud of my excitement).

Field by Night-17Random fact: Did you know that the drivers exit the train from a door on the very front of the locomotive? That makes me incredibly happy.

Maybe it makes me a complete nerd, but it made this photographer very happy to play with motion. Also, I think I provided some amusement for various people as I ran from one side of the village to the other to capture some shots.

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I think I probably spent almost four hours outside and both nights Mr. Bean was already in bed by the time I finally got in. Oh well, totally worth it!

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To make good on the 2013 word of the year: here’s my selfie!

What was the favourite thing that you did over Christmas?

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Trip to Quebec: Food!

As I mentioned in my September SRC post, Mr Bean and I went to Montreal mid-September for a work conference for him. It was a bit of a hit and run trip – we arrived on Tuesday evening, the conference ran from Wednesday morning to Saturday afternoon and we left on Sunday morning. Definitely worth it though!

My sister lives in Quebec, so I took the time to visit with her while Mr. Bean was otherwise occupied. Both of us love food, so we knew the time we were going to spend together would revolve around it. Not terribly surprising, but very delicious!

On the Wednesday morning, my sister picked me up from the hotel and we went and picked apples.

imageIt was quite fun! The ladders were a bit bizarre and part way through the orchard was invaded by 4 or 5 bus loads of school children. We ended up with two large bags of apples, which we then put to good use throughout the rest of the trip!

We planned to spend lots of time making food together and we definitely did! Here’s what we made (over 2 1/2 days):

  • Swiss Hazelnut Macaroons – we made these while having dinner with a family my sister works with. We also had the most amazing Maple Sugar ice cream – I try not to eat a lot of dairy, but it was definitely worth it!Here is the closest recipe I can find for the macaroons based on ingredients – but instead you beat the egg whites until stiff, add the sugar and beat until glossy, then gently fold in the hazelnut meal. Spoon the macaroons onto lined cookie sheets and put a whole hazelnut on each macaroon. Bake until firm but still a bit soft. Let cool down and enjoy!
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Please Excuse the Gross Phone Shot

  • 2 batches of Applesauce – we sweetened it with maple syrup and made it spiced – so good!

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  • Coconut Macaroons

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  • Apple Pie – I used a combination of lard & shortening and I didn’t really like the taste of the crust so much. Plus, since I used a glass pan, I could see the fat bubbling away as it cooked (ick!). Has anyone else had this issue with GF pie crusts?

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  • Butternut Squash Soup - I’m not a huge fan of squash, so I was a bit apprehensive when my sister said that she was going to make this soup. I was wrong to doubt as it was delicious – so delicious that I’ve made it since I’ve come back.

My sister then dropped me off in Montreal on the Friday afternoon for a conference event and then re-joined us on Saturday morning for some sight-seeing and food adventures.

For lunch, we had Poutine at La Banquise. Poutine is a french Canadian dish that consists of fries, cheese curds and gravy, but this place also had many different variations with various additions.

Mr. Bean had the “La Trois Viandes” – ground beef, pepperoni and bacon,

Poutine-4My sister’s had “La Miam” – ground beef, sausage, onions, tomatoes and swiss cheese.

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I had the “La Matty” – bacon, onions, peppers and mushrooms without the gravy as it’s definitely not gluten free. I also ordered a salad so that I wouldn’t feel as gross and heavy. Definitely a wise move!

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To be honest, I didn’t really like it that much as I thought it was kind of greasy and it probably wasn’t as good as if it were slathered in gravy. Oh well. We decided that we would try to make it ourselves with gluten free gravy and not as greasy fries when my sister is coming to visit for my cousin’s wedding in October.

They pretty much have the most awesome tables ever. I’m sad that we weren’t sitting closer to a window so that the light would have been better.

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We also went to a restaurant called Zero8. Everything on their menu is made without the top 8 allergens – gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame and shellfish. It’s a great place for people with allergies (obviously) and has some pretty tasty food!

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We started off the with the Bruschetta, then Mr. Bean had the Duck Confit and both my sister and I had lamb burgers.

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The only thing I was disappointed in was the dessert as I had a spice cake that was like cardboard. Apparently, they baked it too much. The Chocolate ganache was the only thing that made it worthwhile…

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My sister and I also found a gluten free bakery called “Cookie Stefanie“, which was pretty delicious. Their Orange Cranberry muffin made a good breakfast for our early travel day home.

I would really like to go back to Quebec to explore the food side of things more (there are at least a few other GF bakeries that we didn’t visit), plus visit Quebec City!

Have you had any Culinary Adventures lately?

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