Saturday, April 11, 2009

Award Time (!) and a Hoodoos Hike!

Hello everyone:

First things first - I received my first blogging awards!!! :o) Given that they were the first ever I wax particularly thrilled!

The lovely Marianne of From French Fries to Flax Seeds has gifted me with both the Sisterhood Award AND the Friends Award. Wohoo!!

Behold my beauties:




The Friends award carries the following description:

FRIENDS… comes with the following description to be added & passed along: "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.” It also says : "Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Both of these awards are supposed to be awarded to 10 bloggies but I've chosen 6 bloggies to give to receive both awards. There are tons of you that have awesome blogs that I love (!) to read; having said that I've chosen the following bloggies to receive these awards:

1. Abbie from Foods that Fit - she's challenged herself to eating tons of Raw meals in April. In large part due to her inspiration I'm going to pick up an Excalibur dehydrator!

2. Aron over at Runners Rambles - This girl is super hard-core and a fantastic cheerleader for all the runners out there in the blogging world! Plus she takes ice baths (!) after long runs! lol I still can't get over that one!

3. Leah at Simply Fabulous - she lives in Europe, she teaches, she works out, eats healthy, and she's planning a long distance wedding. So much on the go! And she does it all in simply fabulous style!

4. Sarah at Run Sarah: a blog - she's another bride-to-be who works out, eats well, and is a student too! Did I mention she's hired an awesome photographer for her wedding and I'm hoping she'll post pictures after the fact? :oP

5. Danica at Chic Runner - Always a fun read I love heading over to her blog! More often than not I end up laughing. Plus in April she's doing Adoption April - where she'll share her own experience being adopted and answer reader's questions. But right now she's in Hawaii and I'm kale green with envy! lol

6. Angela at Oh She Glows! - She's a Southern Ontario girl who has given up her job and launched head-first into what is sure to be a fantastic career as a whole foods baker and wellness expert. She has guts and for that she deserves these awards!

Now on to the eats . . . .


Friday

Friday morning I woke up early to post my giveaway post (keep the entries coming!!!) and then headed off to court. It has been warm enough here that I decided to have my summer tires with their shiny big rims put back on so the fiance drove me to court.

As he drove I reviewed some files and nibbled on a banana and an apple. No pictures due to privacy reasons - sorry!

After my morning in court we had planned to head to one of my favourite restaurants in the Rockies. Turns out it's closed!! And possibly for good! :o( Oh they had such awesome food bloggies. They would make these salads and top them with smoked Gouda . . . they were drool-worthy! But it seems the economic downturn (the restaurant is located in a ski resort town) was too much for them to bare.

Saddened we headed to find another place to eat and ended up in an unassuming looking diner. Imagine my surprise when I found the diner was owned by Chinese people and they had an ethnic menu too. Score!


For starters I ordered a won-ton soup. I was expecting it to be rather small but it was huge, freshly made, and full of veggies. It was yummers! To be perfectly honest I was pretty full by the time I finished my appetizer.

As a result I only had a tiny bit of the main dish we (the fiance and I) ordered to share:


The main dish was stir-fried chicken and veggies in a Thai red curry. Really delicious but I was just way too full to make any significant inroads into this dish. As a result the fiance had to eat most of it himself.

We drove back home through the Rocky Mountains. The weather here has been simply spectacular! In fact it has quickly gone from blizzards to what nearly feels like summer. It's like there is no springtime here. Mind you I've been told it gets crazy hot in the summer so this is what the mild weather is like. Either way, we've been loving the sunshine and clear mountain views!!

For dinner we decided to make steak on the stove top. Since we don't have charcoal yet this method stood in for the real thing:

We paired the steak with sauteed asparagus and tomatoes. The asparagus was a gift courtesy of one of my co-workers who was heading down to do some mountain biking in Utah during the long weekend. She unexpectedly burst into my office with a bag of organic greens and asparagus as a present. What made me laugh the most was she prefaced the gift with "You eat green stuff right!?" lol She's seen my funky Green Monsters in the morning!


Saturday

Yesterday we got to do something we'd been wanting to do for a very long time - go for a hike up the hoodoos!

According to Wikipedia a hoodoo is a tall long thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. According to me they're these crazy looking stone formations that appear out of nowhere in this one particular location of the Rockies. In fact the first time I saw them I blurted out "WOW!! Crazy!! They look like they should be in the middle of Australia!" Because of their location (parallel to the Rockies and adjacent to the headwaters of the Columbia River) they were bound to have awesome views from the top.

And yesterday we finally got to climb them!! :o)

But first things first - a Green Monster to start the day. No bananas again (and no time to go shopping for them before Good Friday service) so my Green Monster had to do without:


Want to see a blender shot? I love these because you can really appreciate all the lovely ingredients that go into my concoctions:


After a soul-strengthening morning service we changed an headed off to the Hoodoos! :o) I was SUPER excited!!!

On the way up to the Hoodoos we stopped at a scenic view point and goofed around taking pictures:


BTW this area of the Rockies is where the mighty Columbia River is born. True to form, the river in these parts is a sight to behold:


And what does a Hoodoo look like? Well something like this (the Hoodoos are hiding behind the bridge - I liked the contrast in the shot):


Before starting our hike we headed to a nearby grocery store and picked up some goods to call lunch. I ate a capicollo sandwich (I took off the tops of the sandwich which cut the carbs in half and got rid of the mayo) and shared a salad and soup with the fiance. Don't worry I left the croutons off of my salad serving.


After a filling and surprisingly yummy lunch we headed up towards the Hoodoos! The views on the way up were postcard perfect. I was a delighted hiker indeed!


Now I'm not going to pretend. Although I love beautiful and natural sights I'm a city-slicker at heart. I'm not really hard-core - not like pretty much everyone out here! The fiance says that's why I love the U.S. National Park system. You drive to a location, the trails are ridiculously well groomed, you enjoy nature, and then you get to stay in a rustically luxurious lodge! HA! He's right! :oP

The trails in this are aren't quite like that. In fact to reach most of them you have to go off-road (4x4 vehicles with high clearance are a must) through treacherous terrain and for many many miles. That's before you even begin your hike!

The hoodoos hike was thankfully much more accessible; which is why it was perfect for a Good Friday activity. Mind you I did have one moment of fear and realization that my surroundings were very much wild:


Do you see what I see!?!?! A skeleton of a dead animal!!!!!!!! Okay dead animals I can handle. But really people? Why do those bones look like they were licked clean!?!? And what licked them clean!??!

I did my best to push the thoughts of wild crazed hungry animals away (I live in cougar, bobcat, lynx, black bear, and grizzly territory) and continued on with our hike. I'm absolutely thrilled I kept going because at the top I found a crazy arid landscape. The soil beneath our feet had turned completely to sand. And the views made it all worthwhile!!!

The fiance and I explored the top for a good long while, took in the sun, and of course took some more pictures.


I rather like this shot! :o) I know we're both serious but I think it came out quite well. Because of our height differences it's often hard to get good shots with each other.

After a good long time we headed back down the Hoodoos. For the sake of disclosure I will confess that we had originally planned on also heading to some natural hot springs. We found the entrance to the area and started our journey (in my non 4x4 Mazda3 with all sorts of panels to give it a lowered look - yikes). After about 17 miles I called it quits for the both of us!!

The road had gotten increasingly treacherous. We were basically on the side of a mountain a thin little road with no barrier and lots of lose gravel. It was starting to get late and we didn't really know how much longer we had to go to reach the springs. When we encountered six big horned mountain goats on the tiny freaky road I took it as my cue to bail. They didn't look like they were going to move and I didn't want to tempt them to use their big horns.

I promised the boy we could go back next weekend but with a much earlier start, armed with bear spray (lol), a packed lunch, and his truck. Look for those adventures next weekend! :o)

After a long day exploring the Rockies we arrived home to eat our Easter dinner. But that bloggies is another story for another day . . . .

16 comments:

Run Sarah said...

Gorgeous photos!! You and your fiance are too cute. I need to visit the Rockies. Thanks so much for the award, it made my morning! Oh and there is no way I could run 12km that fast, it was a bike ride! Thanks for the heads up about pepper spray, I remember hearng it was illegal now.

A Toronto girl out West said...

Sarah,

LOL I must have somehow missed it was a bike ride in my astonishment! Hahhaha!

Happy to know you are so pleased with the award. It's well deserved!

Oh and bear spray is not prohibited. But they make them too huge to carry on runs. Basically the law is supposed to prevent you from being able to conceal a "weapon" and then sneak up someone.

meloncauliflower said...

thanks for checking out my blog :) i have family in british columbia - it's gorgeous out there!

A Toronto girl out West said...

meloncauliflower,

Thank-YOU for dropping by! I hope you'll come back again! :o)

Krista said...

GREAT pictures!! WOW! That skeleton woulda freaked me out, too!!!

Sharon said...

Oh wow, totally love the picture of you two. That is so cute with the height differeences!

A Toronto girl out West said...

Krista,

lol Glad to see I'm not the only one! The fiance kept on insisting I was probably the only one on the trail that actually noticed the skeleton!

Sharon,

LOL Yeah to be honest in my head I'm taller than I really am! :oP It's only when I see pictures like this one that I really notice the difference!

Erin said...

Absolutely lovely pics. What a fabulous day. I'm a little jeally!

I could tell you what ate that dead animal, but I'm guessing you already know. :)

Very cute pic of you and the fiance.

A Toronto girl out West said...

Erin,

LOL Yeah I think I prefer to live in denial about what ate the animal. It's the only way I'll go back out on those crazy trails and the even crazier one to get to the hot springs! :oP

And thanks for the compliment on the pic! :o)

aron said...

ohhh thank you for the award :)

love the pics!!!

Meghann said...

OMG what some BEAUTIFUL pictures! You definitely don't get shots like that in FL :)

A Toronto girl out West said...

aron,

You're most welcome! :o)

Meghann,

lol Yes but while you guys were talking about marathon season coming to an end (due to the heat), I was driving through blizzards! :o)

I wouldn't mind some of your lovely beaches sometimes! Although the mountains are gorgeous too!

Andrea (Off Her Cork) said...

What views! So amazing and beautiful! :)

A Toronto girl out West said...

Andrea,

It was a day full of spectacular views! The weather definitely cooperated! :o)

Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) said...

I haven't been up to the Rockies in so long. We used to have family vacations (aka car trips) that always took us through the mountains, but alas, that was years ago.

A Toronto girl out West said...

Marianne,

You should come back sometime - the scenery is spectacular! In fact I think I'm quite going to like it out here now that the weather is better! :o)