Archive for the ‘Outdoor Adventure’ Category

August and Everything After

The west, so far, has been very good to me.

I’m slowly piecing myself back together, feeling my heart begin to heal and I finally feel alive again. The haze has lifted and the sun in beginning to shine brightly.

I’ve found a job at a great bar filled with the most amazing people who have embraced me as part of their big, crazy family. They really, REALLY care about each other and after such a short time here, I am secure in knowing there are good people who have my back. I’m spending my time with people who make me feel things again, who make me laugh, who are helping patch up my bangs and bruises, defrost my heart, challenging me and supporting me as I begin to define life under my own terms. I’m settling into a new apartment and making it into my own little home. Every single day I’m mountain climbing, running, biking and camping and letting the mountains work their magic to soothe my soul.

There are moments when I miss my old life like crazy. Moments when I cry thinking about my pups and how desperately I wish I could cuddle with them, have them underfoot, have to sweep 10X each day. There are moments when my family is all together, and my nieces and nephews are giggling, that I would give anything to be with them all. Moments when I miss the familiarity of “my people” and Paisley. But this fresh start and new scenery are what I needed and this trip that has turned into a move (Temporary? Permanent? I’m still operating with no plan…) is proving to have been the best thing I could have done. I’m slowly beginning to figure myself out and enjoying getting lost in exploration along the way.

Nihahi Ridge

Stampede Night Out


The Girls

View from the Summit of Temple Mountain


Temple Mountain Summit (exhausted, cold, exhilirated and proud!)

Kananaskis Lake

Fernie, BC



Arrived (for now)

Well, I’ve arrived, for now. Saturday night I pulled into Calgary after driving 3600 km in 4 days.

At the last minute (literally only a few hours before I left), a friend decided to come along for the drive. Having the company of such a great person made the trip west an adventure and altered it, in a positive way, considerably. My friend flew home bright and early Sunday morning and left me to continue this journey I am embarking on.

The trip was long but incredible. I saw some very cool things along the way, laughed a ton and felt the choking grip on my heart and soul loosen with the passing of every kilometer. Those 3600 km did a lot to put me into a position where I am ready to start healing and moving and growing. They were so freeing. I feel more alive than I have in a long time. I am excited at this new adventure that I have only just begun!































Heading West

Trip is AMAZING so far! As soon as I get back into Canada I will post stories and photos.



Beginning of Chapter Three

On Wednesday I will be hitting the road, solo, to drive 3500 kms west to the mountains. I’ve got my mountain bike, camping gear and a backpack full of clothes packed away into my little car. I’m heading out in that direction with no clear direction or plan and have no idea where I will land, what I will do or for how long. What I am hoping is that with each passing kilometre I will be able to breathe deeper, think more clearly, and slowly begin to put the pieces of my heart back together again. Some say I’m running away. I say I’m running forward; towards healing, growth and peace.

Wish me luck as I embark on this new adventure!

Embrace the Fear

One month ago yesterday, I grew wings. On the courage of those wings, I jumped out of a plane from 15,000 feet and I flew. I felt absolute exhiliration, freedom and joy. And when I landed…the adrenaline!! Can’t even describe it but it lasted for hours and hours and even just thinking about the jump brings a bit of it back. What a rush! It was the most amazing feeling and I loved every single second of it! Since that jump, I have been dreaming of my next one…

During the 1 minute (10,000 foot) free fall, the wind is roaring past your ears and it is very loud. The second the parachute is pulled, you are surrounded by the most profound silence. Complete peace and quiet. It was actually a very serene experience (I know, you can’t fathom how jumping out of a plane could POSSIBLY be even remotely serene…but it was!).

Check out the views…honestly, absolutely breathtaking!


Flying! Well, technically falling...but I felt like I was flying!

Coming in for a landing...

Maybe this will be the next thing to try?!?!

Rapids, Waterfalls and Geothermal Wonderlands

Aratiatia Rapids – Taupo

Aratiatia Rapids releases water from the Waikato River into Lake Okahuri. Mighty River Power releases water down the rapids several times a day and people flood the bridge to watch it happen.

Aratiatia Rapids (before the dam was opened) - Taupo

Aratiatia Rapids (2 minutes after the dam was opened) - Taupo

Just down the road from Aratiatia Rapids…

Huka Falls – Taupo

Huka Falls

The geothermal area of New Zealand is interesting…you feel as though you’ve stepped into Jurassic Park!

Craters of the Moon – Taupo

Craters of the Moon - Taupo

Craters of the Moon - Taupo

Whakarewarewa Village – Rotorua

There is a village within Rotorua where a small group of Maori people still live. They guide visitors through their village (guiding is a longstanding tradition for the Maori women) and show how they have historically used the geothermal activity in the area to live (cook, bath, etc.) and still do. It was very interesting. Imagine having a natural hot spring in your backyard to use as your bath and for cooking in; electricity bills would be significantly cheaper…

Whakarewarewa Thermal Village

Hangi (earth over) where they cook meat, vegetables and pudding

Cook corn, green veggies, etc. in this pool

Wharenui (Maori meeting house)

Pohutu Geyser

Lady Knox Geyser – Rotorua

Lady Knox Geyser was discovered by some prison inmates when they were out clearing bush and decided to take a bath in the natural hot spring that runs through here. The geyser erupted when one of the inmates dropped the soap…

Lady Knox Geyser before eruption

Lady Knox Geyser - after the soap has been dropped...

Geothermal Wonderland – Rotorua

Devil's Bath

Mud Pool – Rotorua

Bubbling, spurting, gurgling mud…hilarious!

Mud Pool

We arrived on the south island yesterday by way of Wanganui, where we had spent two days on a new friend’s sheep farm. Stories and photos from our time there next time I can find unlimited internet access to upload some photos!

Wellington to Auckland via Hastings, Napier, Taupo, Rotorua and a load of small towns and villages

Too much to do, not nearly enough time to write. I have spent more time in McDonalds so far on this trip than ever in my life. McD’s here are nice, clean and offer free Wifi!! And their coffee is good…

I’m falling more in love with New Zealand the longer I’m here. We’ve done some good back-road tours and have also hit all the big cities on the north island. This weekend we’re heading to Auckland for the weekend to visit a highschool friend of Noah’s, catch the England vs. France quarter-final game (we have sweet seats!) and check out the city. Next week, we’re south island bound by way of Waitomo caves to do some caving under the light of the glow worms (riverfloat but underground, lit by glow worms? Paisley gang – I’ll be thinking of you all!).

Camper van living is hilarious and must be the best way to explore. We’ve mostly been doing freedom camping and staying in free spots. There are public bathrooms and showers everywhere here making it very easy to survive with just our little van.


They really know how to do museums here. Both the Wellington Museum and Te Papa (New Zealand National Museum – crazy high-tech, loads of fun and free!)

Te Papa

And because we’re both geeks, we spent a good part of a day at the New Zealand Parliament. They built an addition to the building and call it the beehive. This building mostly houses offices but we weren’t allowed cameras actually inside the Parliament buildings. Their debating chamber is considerably smaller than ours but generally laid out the same way. They also have beautiful committee rooms (The Maori affairs one is stunning!).

Beehive - New Zealand Parliament

East coast of the north island is cool; we got off the main route and drove a load of back roads and found some beautiful scenery and random locations.

Longest Place Name - Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu

Crazy winding highway through a canyon (posted speed limit was 100 km/h!! We definitely drove slower than that in our old van...)

In Rotorua, we rolled down a hill in a big inflatable ball filled with warm water. Again, very random but it was hilarious and fun!

Rolled down the hill is this thing. Ogo - giant inflatable ball filled with water.

Yup - pretty random

I’ve run out of data in three different locations now…free wifi only gets you so far. I’ll post more pictures tonight!