Golden adventures, around Golden BC!

Golden, BC. I love Golden! It is a small town, set in beautiful pristine settings, with a green river(yes green) flowing threw it, and a lush mountainous landscape surrounding it.

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The people are as golden as the name itself, and it just has one of those energies to it, the kind that pulls you in and engulfs you.  Like a nice warm blanket that you never want to leave. Not to mention, there are endless adventure activities for the outdoor enthusiast(i.e. ME).

I decided to stay in a hostel this time around. The Dreamcatcher Hostel. It was massive, beautiful and didn’t feel like a hostel. The service and helpfulness of the owners was impeccable. I made a new friend, whom had a very interesting story. His name is Robert and he was walking across Canada. It’s always fantastic to meet people on their individual journeys, and I so appreciate when people are doing things out of the ordinary. With some good company and conversation, night 1 was spent just enjoying what the town has to offer. We checked out the local watering holes, and enjoyed some Vino(of course), and then finished the night off enjoying an impromptu wine a cheese dinner back at the hostel – playing music on the jute box. My kinda night!

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Day 2, and I was super stoked for a jam packed day full of adventure! First off, I headed to Kicking Horse Mountain.  I took the chair lift up to see Boo the bear at the Grizzly Bear Refuge.

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Boo was a rescued bear, and his refuge was fit for a king. Apparently he is also an escape artist.

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Not only was it massive, he has everything he would have in the wild and more. They even built a little log house for him to hibernate in during the winters. Not a bad life if you ask me. I am such an animal lover, and that also goes for bears.  I am not one to watch animals in cages on display, however in this cirsumstance, since Boo was a rescue-ee, this situation was for his own wellness, he has an epic set up, and you can see he is one happy bear – I was excited to be so up close and personal with him.

Back down the chair lift and onto the Gondola back up the mountain.

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I was so looking forward to some hiking! Now I don’t suggest you go off hiking in the Mountains alone, as this is bear country, and hiking alone is not the best idea. Even though that has to be said and beared in mind; It wasn’t stopping me – and in order to take some safety precautions, I didn’t go too remote, and I stuck to trails that I could see other people hiking in the not too far off distance.

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The hiking trails around the kicking horse mountain range are what seem endless, and I could easily spend a week or two just hiking and camping, and being awesome in nature.

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The following photo is my ‘I feel super successful, as I just hiked the heck outta these mountains like a solo rockstar selfie‘. It had to be done. Celebrate your successes! It only serves to create more success in your life. Even when your just celebrating solo.

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For a week or two of hiking and being one with nature I would leave the heels at home, and also take a companion.There are so many endlessly awesome cycling trails, and I happen to LOVE cycling, it was so temping to just go rent a bike and head off. Alas, not this time around.

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That was hard. Hard to watch and not have a bike with me!! Watching the other cyclists only made me think, ‘I must go back and do some cycling! There is no other way‘ and that I will indeed. Golden is a place I intend on spending loads more time at.

After working up a good sweat hiking my little heart out, I was more than ready to find some hot springs to have some RnR and some soul soothing rejuvenation. There are absolutely loads of hot springs around BC. The only unfortunate thing is that most of them have been made into swimming pools. Swimming pools with spring water in them. That wasn’t the picture I had in my imagination. I was thinking something more natural , rural, and in nature. I asked back at the hostel, and they knew exactly what I had in mind, and kindly pointed me in the right direction.  2.5 hours later of cruising and cranking my tunes(oh and a wee bit of singing, come on now, you know you do it too). There they were. Lussier River Hot Springs.

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Fine, fine. No vino(since it is prohibited), and I will wear my swim suit(since nudity is also prohibited). So, chilling in your birthday suit with a bottle of wine is a definite no.

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It seems as though it is off the beaten track, but it definitely is not unknown.

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There were constantly people coming and going. It wasn’t crowded by any means, just surprisingly busier than I expected. Amazing though! None the freaken less. It was just what I was looking for. 3 different temperature pools, on the banks of a river, surrounded by pure lush nature. Oh heck yes!!

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My heart was singing with joy. Seriously, if you would have been there, and put your ear to my chest, you would have heard a sweet sweet song. Something far sweeter then my vocal cords could produce.

Immediately upon entering my silver jewelry turned copper. A clear indication of the minerals flowing in the water. My body, mind and soul, were soaking it all up. I was loving life – as per always.

I spent a couple hours loving life there, before making the journey back to Golden, where I slept like a baby after that beauty of a day.

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Having been on the road for 2 weeks days at this point, I was really torn between saying ‘screw it, I am moving to Golden right now!’, or hitting the road and finding a different place to stay another night or two, or to just spend the day venturing around and then head to Calgary for a late evening arrival. I decided to just take the day as it comes. Which ended up being sightseeing, and a late Calgary arrival.  Not to worry Golden, our story isn’t over. Being in Yoho NaIMG_2770tional Park, there were a couple things I had to check off my long time bucket list. First stop, get your park pass! I didn’t realize I needed one and had to turn around and go find the office to get one. Woops.
Then! It was onto the extremely majestic Takakkaw Falls.

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I could visit every waterfalls in the world, and never have them lose their luster. They always feel so powerful, and full of energy. Being around them just brings an inner peace like none other. There were loads of tourists there!. That didn’t change the experience though, not in the slightest. I hiked around, and stood in the mist, and took some selfies rocking my new hat that I had made in Golden.

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As you do on solo adventures. I think considering I travel alone alot, a selfie stick wouldn’t be a bad investment.

I hit the highway, and was ready for the next big check off my bucket list.

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To bask in the beauty of Emerald Lake. Woah!!!! Is all I have to say. I was blown away.

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Pictures don’t do it justice. The color of the water is insanely blue. The mountains hanging in the backdrop are like the cherry on top. My eyes were oozing with delight. I did the walk around the lake, wich took a couple of hours, and just enjoyed my surroundings.  It was incredible. There is a restaurant and lodge there, but this time around I didn’t go into either.

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Rest assured though, I will also be going back there to spend a weekend – and I will write the heck out of it.

Wow. That was the road trip of a life time. It was unplanned, unexpected, and one of the most invigorating experiences of my life. I love road trips, I love my own company, I love spontaneous adventures, and I love British Columbia. To sum it all up, I had the best time ever, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Even thinking back to it brings a massive smile of happiness and gratitude to my face. Next time I know exactly where I want to go back to, or the places I missed that I want to go to. Take your self on a road trip! It’s nothing less than incredibly epic and amazing! Just you, and the open road of adventure. Happy road tripping days!

Cheese tasting, drive in movies, and serious classy camping. All in a days road trip.

Even though being immersed in all those British Columbia winery’s was absorbing my attention. I still was up for checking out anything and everything else that popped up along the way and peaked my interest. So, needless to say, in my world that leaves the options pretty wide open – as I can find entertainment in almost anything. I absolutely feel lucky in that sense, as I am not easily bored. I can make an adventure outta thin air if need be.

Being such an avid wine lover, you can only guess what else I love. It pairs perfectly with vino, and I admit it – I am a self proclaimed addict……. Cheese. Glorious freaken cheese. I love it. Except for blue cheese. I know, I know, it’s known for being a refined tasting cheese. Sorry though. I may be a classy lady with refined taste buds, yet, I have tried to acquire the taste for it on numerous occasions. Alas, it still just tastes pungent and moldy to me. Who knows maybe one day my taste buds will change, as they get older, they will also like older cheese perhaps.

However, that aside, the Salmon Arm area also has some excellent cheese farms! Among plenty of other things. I absolutely love the Salmon Arm area, almost as much as cheese. This was my first time back since I went house boating in the Shuswap when I was 13.

Well I do believe with all that being said it’s pretty obvious there is no possible way I could pass up a cheese farm tour. I was in need of something to cleanse my palette between all that vino sampling as it was.

I ended up choosing Grass Roots Dairy Farm to venture off too.  Not for any particular reason, it’s just the one I decided to pull into. OK, well that isn’t entirely true…. I remembered reading a pamphlet about it, and the fact that it said they pride themselves on their grass fed cow’s, really is what peaked my interest. Long behold I was cruising down the highway and stumbled across the sign for Grass Roots. The sign said cheese farm, and I said GO! For some reason I kept missing the darn turn off though, so 2 U-turns later, and I finally got er!

What??? It was a small turnoff. You would have done the same. Trust me. Once off the highway and onto the little dirt roads, I easily found it.

IMG_1655 IMG_1646 IMG_1616 You can see how eager she was for me to sample some of that queso.

It’s a quaint little farm, with some top notch cheese production. Mainly producing various types of Gouda, they have also incorporated Maasdammer into their array, which is a Dutch Swiss style of cheese.  I sampled them all. One by one.

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They had loads of other products on offer as well, from milks, to preserves, and on wards.

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Every little cheese morsel I tasted was divine, literally, not simply because I love cheese. They were really really good – and fresh!

After my sample sesh, I got all settled in on a chair in the back room and sat to watch a little 10 minute informational video about how their cheese comes into production – while at the same time getting a prime view of the guys working hard creating the good stuff. If your there you mine as well take it all in. I was like a little sponge, eager to absorb all the cheesy info.

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After a stunner of a day wining and dining myself in true taste tester fashion, there was only one way to finish off my ‘take yourself on a date day‘ and that was to take myself to the drive in movies! The Starlight Drive-in Movies, in Enderby, BC, approximately 20 minutes outside Salmon Arm. It’s one of the very few drive in movie theaters in Canada, so there is no way I couldn’t go.

IMG_1780 IMG_1778                                     I got there nice and early so I could get a prime spot and got all settled it. Literally, like 2 hours early. Tick tock, tick tock.

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You can either sit in your car and listen to the movie tuning in over the radio, or you can bring some chairs and sit outside your car where you can hear it over the loud audio system.  It get’s jam packed! So getting there early is a good plan. They play two movies a night, both are included in the one price, and this night it was Minions, and Jurassic Park. It was actually super enjoyable, and one of those novelty activities to partake in. Fun for the whole family.

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Gosh I am good at taking myself on the best dates ever. Not to boast. I just happen to nail it every darn time.

So that being a long day of epic and random adventures, it was time to find a place to get my beauty sleep. Instead of picking a Bed & Breakfast this time, I remembered I had seen there just so happen to be a random tent in the trunk of my car. No idea where it came from – a mystery tent. Didn’t matter though, I figured I would switch up my accommodations and book a campsite. I do love camping. I picked up some supplies and then was off the pitch my tent at the campgrounds I booked into.

Was I ever in for a treat.

Note to self: the next time you decide to book a campsite and use a random tent that is sitting in your trunk, DO first open it up to check it out and make sure it has all its proper pieces, and is possibly made of some nice and quality material, not your everyday dollar store disposable tent.

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So after some struggling, and wondering if I was going to be able to even make anything out of this pile. Not to mention, almost diving under the picnic table out of sheer embarrassment anytime people came by and seen my ball of mess(and me looking like a total novice), I was able to Jimmy rig it to as luxurious of a tent as I possibly could.

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Barefoot & High heeled, prepared for a little bit of everything and more. I did sleep pretty darn good though. Although I was happy to ditch the tent for a nice bed in Revelstoke the next night after I did some hiking at Herold Provincial Park, where I checked out their wonderful little waterfalls. Being in the forest is also my kinda stomping grounds, most of my childhood was spent out in the bush, so I feel so at peace when I am in it. The waterfalls may be small, but they were big in beauty.

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And let’s not forget the pit stop I made at the Crazy Creek Suspension Bridge, where there was also some sweet little waterfalls with stunning green water flowing down them. Also located there is a resort if you feel as though you want to kick back for a couple days.

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Oh, and there were a couple more random unplanned wine tastings thrown into the mix. It’s not my fault there are vineyards everywhere. Twist my rubber wine loving arm why don’t yah?!

Next destination on my list was one of my favorite places EVER. Golden, BC. Are you ready?

Cimo’s Mediterranean Grill, a truely local experience.

While in Prince George I had the pleasure of experiencing the wonderful dining experience at Cimo’s Italian Restaurant. It was thanks to my sister and brother in-law that I was able to go and enjoy it, as they had boasted about it as being their favorite restaurant in Prince George.  I myself was happy to go where ever they wanted to take me, in which case also left me completely open with no expectations. I always find in most cases if you go into something without expectations – that it leave no room for disappointment, yet, loads of room to be more impressed then anticipated.  This was that such case, I was very impressed.

IMG_0816Careful though, summer also means glorious little bee’s trying to photo bomb. Shooo bee, I love you, not your sting though, and this was our moment.

IMG_0817 It has been under renovations recently, but I do have to say they have created a very nice and warm atmosphere.

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You can see right off the hop it is a popular place, and in no time after our arrival it was filling up.  The manager was kind enough to take the time out to come over and give us a very in depth description of Cimo‘s and its values as a fine dining establishment.

I was instantly thrilled to learn that it prizes itself on being a Green restaurant, and not only do they use recycled to-go containers, and recycle and compose the majority of their waste, BUT, they also use mainly locally grown handpicked ingredients from British Columbia. You can imagine, my eye’s lit up so fast it almost blinded everyone around me. We all know, my motto is to drink and eat as locally as possible everywhere in the globe I happen to be. With those fresh ingredients, they hand make their pasta daily, with fresh farmed eggs, and all preservative free. A restaurant after my own heart.

Just when I didn’t think it could get better, they also have a fabulous selection of local British Columbia wine. Are you freaken kidding me?! These are the experiences I live for. Local all the way. Not to mention, in my own Country, and right down to everything being local from the same province. That I appreciate even more. It’s far too often, every thing nowadays is chain restaurants, shipped in from far away, mass produced etc.  You know what I mean. So to find little gem’s like this one, where you can taste and see the quality – is special indeed.

We chose to order their feature wine, which was from the Northern Lights Estate Winery right there in Prince George. We ordered 2 different types. You can’t be there and try just one. That would be selling yourself short, seize the moment! The one on the left is Bumbleberry, and beautiful blend of Saskatoon, Blueberry, and Raspberry. Unique, and divinely refreshing. On the right we have, Seduction, a strawberry rhubarb blend. As a young girl I used to love when my grandma would make rhubarb pie and rhubarb jam, it was my favorite. The rhubarb plant is absolutely underrated, and I was very intrigued when I seen it was blended in this fine wine. Light, refreshing, summery. My taste buds were seduced, that was absolutely on point.

IMG_0769 IMG_0774 IMG_0794                              They have a fabulous Italian menu.  Seeing as how I have spent the better of the last 4 years living in the Mediterranean, I am used to the freshest, most authentic Mediterranean and Italian food there is. This can make me a little harder to impress when being over seas and ordering it. However, it was as fresh, authentic(as authentic as you can get not being in Italy that is) and delicious as they promised it to be. Each of us ordered different entree’s, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meals -down to the last bite.

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Let’s not forget about dessert. You can’t not try their desserts while you are there too. Creme Brulee, and Tiramisu. Traditionally awesome.

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So I would have to say, I enjoyed an exceptional dining experience at Cimo’s. Fabulous food, wine, service, atmosphere, and incredible company. As local as it get’s, unless you were on a farm that is. I recommend it to anyone and everyone who finds themselves in the Prince George area. Keeping it local no matter where in the world I am.

 

My Top 3 British Columbia Winery’s:)

Wine Tours. Glorious wine tours. One of the best past times of my life. I have had the privilege of doing wine tours all over the globe. This time around, I had the pleasure of doing wine touring in my own spectacular Country. It’s often we forget what we have in our own back yard – and this was the perfect opportunity to remind myself of the incredible things we have right here in Canada. Not to mention the incredible vineyards Canada boast’s.

Trust me, seeing as how I was road tripping like a solo rock star, it was only fitting that I wine tasted like a solo rock star.  I took full advantage of being in wine Country while in beautiful British Columbia. Wine is an art, and here in BC wine Country, they take their art seriously. There were so many too choose from, I couldn’t get them all in, but made a massively good effort – if I do say so myself. I was blown away at the beauty of pretty much all of the vineyards I visited. I mean this is British Columbia, it’s over flowing with endless beauty. I also really appreciated the fact that all the winery’s I visited are family run – it definitely adds to their charm.

The wine touring I partook in was between Kamloop’s, Salmon Arm, and Vernon. That being said, as much as I would love to write about every winery I visited, I can’t. That would be very long, and I have so much to tell about at the moment – that I have to narrow it down and tell you about my favorites. So here are my top 3 wineries of this trip.

Monte Creek Ranch just a 10 minute drive outside Kamloops. An area rich in history – the family whom began Monte Creek Ranch, wanted to maintain and cultivate the land. Livestock share the ranch with grape vines and wild stock. They have two IMG_1464vineyards, Lion’s Head Vineyard, and Monte Creek Ranch Vineyard(where the tasting room is located). Everything they grow on the farm and vineyard is organic and chemical free. Just the way I like to live my life. Not to mention, every person working there, was very knowledgeable about about the ranch, and happily shared as much information about it as I could take in. Customer service at it’s finest.

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They have quite the array of wines, and I love their labeling, just as much as their wine. IMG_1600 The view from the tasting room, is as salivating for the senses as is their wine. With majestic mountains sprawling around you for your viewing pleasure.IMG_1961You can sit and enjoy some incredible vino and canape’s while taking it all in. Before you go, don’t forget to top up on all their farm fresh products, including grass fed beef, all the way to honey.  I am happy to say I enjoyed every wine that I sampled, it was hard to choose just one to purchase, as I could have taken a couple cases, but in the end settled on a bottle of the Rose.

Sunnybrae Vineyards & Winery Nestled at the base of the Bastion Mountain and on the shores of the Shuswap Lake, you will find the radiant and meticulously groomed vineyard of Sunnybrae. The staff were also very welcoming and friendly. Sunnybrae has also received awards for their finely crafted wine’s.

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From the tasting room you have an exquisite view of the lake and Mount Ida.IMG_1877When you step out to the Vineyard, you can not help but be blown away by the picturesque beauty. I had to just stand there and take a hard 10 of basking and taking it all in. When I say it is meticulously groomed, that is no exaggeration. IMG_1957 IMG_1917 IMG_1902

They proudly offer wines made from their Kerner, Ortega, Siegerrebe, Schonburger, and Marchel Foch grapes. Once again, not one of their wines I sampled disappointed. However my palette fell head over heels for the Ortega, and the Siegerrebe, and I ended up having to get a couple bottles of each(they had a sale).  What classy lady can say no to a sale?!

Larch Hills Winery A farm winery located at the Northern end of the Okanagan growing region, not far outside of Salmon Arm. There is a nice little drive up the mountain to reach this little stunner, and also warm welcome awaiting you in the tasting room.

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Larch Hills has some phenomenal wines, and as you can see, have received numerous awards.

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Specializing in cool climate grape growing, they offer wines made from Ortega, Madeleine Angevine, Madeleine Sylvaner, Siegerrebe, and Agria grapes, grown right there on their vineyard. Also Foch, Merlot, and Pinot Noir grapes outsourced from contract vineyards. I ended  up getting a couple bottles of the Lemberger, as they were so kind enough as to give me one as a gift too.  Being ridiculously good, and very limited due to the fact that there were only so many bottles made from what they yielded from the crop, and its popularity was very large – so they were down to their last few cases.  IMG_2005 Now I have more stop that needs to be mentioned. It’s not wine that is produced from what they grow, however it is something even more unique that comes from their crop, that being – Haskap Liqueur.

High Mountain Farm located in Salmon Arm, BC, is the first commercial grower in the North Okanagan of the marvelous haskap berry. Up until this point in my life, I had never even heard of the haskap berry, let alone Haskap Liqueur. However, thank’s to my lovely sister’s recommendation of visiting this particular farm, a whole new world opened up to me. Run by the most lovely family ever, they were more then happy to give me a tour of the 108 year old farm – and teach me everything I needed to know about the wondrous little haskap berry. I learned that not only does the haskap berry contain 3 times more antioxidants then blueberries, there are also various types. Here at the High Mountain Farm they proudly grow, Indigo Yum, Indigo Gem, and Aurora, all grown naturally and pesticide free.

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Let me tell you, these little berries pack a punch of flavor! Axel and Doris were so amazingly hospitable during my visit, I had the best time ever just visiting with them. Not only did I get to sample some of their delicious berries on ice cream, and some refreshing frozen haskaps.

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We also cracked open a bottle of the Haskap Liqueur that is not made on the premises, but is made directly from their lovingly grown haskaps.

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Careful though, haskap’s do stain the fingers. IMG_1707Stopping here was one of the highlights of my trip. Thank you so much High Mountain Farm! Well I can’t wait to go back to BC for round two of my wine tasting adventures. I will happily re-visit any of these places, and can’t wait to check out some new ones. With all my goodies, I was able to share some tasting’s of these fine wines with some other special people along the way of my adventures.

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Happy wine tasting days!

Road Tripping BC like a Solo Rockstar.

One of the best parts of a completely unplanned and unexpected solo road trip, is that it is literally just about you, and the open road of adventure. Seeing as how I was in Northern British Columbia anyway’s, and was on route to Calgary from there, I just decided – ‘Why the heck not make an adventure out of it?!’ I had no time frame, and I love BC, so I seized the freaken moment. There is something liberating about just cruising, and ending up wherever you end up. Sheer freedom.

After having an epic time around Quesnel, I hit the highway, cranked my tunes, and enjoyed my own awesome company. Finding myself in the Cariboo area, not to long down the road. Of course as soon as I seen a fruit stand, especially one that appealed to my eyes instantaneously – I had to stop to check it out, and stock up on some fresh road tripping goodies.

IMG_1236 IMG_1257-0 IMG_1240-0 IMG_1245I was digging the decor, very bright and inviting. It did make me slam on my breaks after all! I absolutely love how you can get all the fresh food your little heart could desire when in BC(among many other things that I love about BC).

IMG_1241-0 IMG_1244 IMG_1242-0I was digging the decor, very bright and inviting. It did make me slam on my breaks after all! I ended up having a very nice chat with the super lovely owner, who was eager to tell me places I need to check out on my journey’s. I so appreciate when you can feel that someone loves what they do, and it in turn show’s in what they produce. Life is that much more amazing when you strive to do things you love.

IMG_1253-0 Purchase made! A basket of cherry’s and a basket of rasberries, she even gave me an apple for the road. Happy days! I love apples(true story) – and parting gifts. It’s just a sweet gesture. IMG_1256-0The scenic beauty of BC grows and grows the deeper you get into it. As I was time frame free, I would stop at any place I found that had a little feast for the eyes on offer – bask in it for a few moments, snap some shots, and then on to the next.  It’s amazing watching the landscape change as you get closer and closer to the mountains. British Columbia definitely does not lack in the beauty department. IMG_1306

After quite a few pit stops I wound up in radiant Kamloops, where I decided it would be a good idea to spend the night.  It was already 8 pm, and I like to relax and enjoy my evenings, no need to push the peddle to the medal too late. It was chill time.  After pulling over and googling Bed & Breakfasts in the area, I decided on one that looked pretty pristine.  It was called Riverside Bed & Breakfast.

It is set on the banks of a beauty of a little river, and the owner Cynthia, was very welcoming and accommodating. Especially considering how last minute I booked in.IMG_1365 I was amazed at the stunning property. They have it set up so beautifully, with a fire pit, and hot tub. Very chic, clean comfortable rooms.IMG_1362 IMG_1361 IMG_1371 IMG_1331Exactly what the doctor ordered after a long day of adventuring like a solo rock star. I made sure to chill by the fire with a bit of vino before I retired to the comfort of my room. Which also comes stocked with Vino. You know what that made me….. And yes I mean happy! Not tipsy. I like to keep it classy. 

IMG_1309 IMG_1313 IMG_1317Upon awaking from my sleeping beauty induced coma in the morning from that ridiculously comfortable bed, I opened the curtains, so I could just lie in my bed and take in the view. Good morning world!IMG_1367Now that’s the view a lady likes to wake up to. My kinda morning. Breakfast was served up at 8:30 bells, and it did not disappoint. Freshly prepared and exquisitely presented Egg’s Benedict, with orange juice, coffee and fruit, accompanied with a view to match. That B&B was a total gem, and I will be going back there for sure. 

IMG_1354 IMG_1351Heck yes to that experience. I was rested, fueled and ready to rock again.  Not long down the road I came across Kamploops BC Wildlife Park.  Hmmmm, check out some local Canadian wildlife?! Why the heck not. Keeping my experiences local no matter where in the world I find myself.

IMG_1429 IMG_1404 IMG_1406 IMG_1400It was pretty interesting, nothing too crazy, the animals were as chill as I am. I think my favorite part of the experience was taking a goat selfie.

IMG_1428Me and my cheap thrills. But seriously, who doesn’t want a goat selfie? Goats are awesome, and he was a total poser, and loved it just as much as I did. 

So far this road trippin’ like a solo rock star was shaping up to be pretty freaken awesome –  and it was about to get better. I suddenly found myself in wine country! Let’s not forget, next to water, and green juice, I am a total wine lover. This was about to get real! Real freaken next level epic that is! Let’s go get our wine on.

Beautiful Quesnel, and my Barkerville top 10.

After road tripping for 13 hours like a solo rock star from the spectacular Northwest Territories to beautiful British Columbia, I first spent the weekend in Prince George with family, and then we ventured on to their home turf, being Quesnel, BC. This was all leading up to my epic day at Barkerville. Having never have really thought to visit Quesnel, I was pleasantly surprised at all this little gem has to offer. It is a little city that is built in pristine natural settings, and boast’s a very well preserved cultural heritage. There is more then 30 heritage sight’s in the area, and you can enjoy loads of hiking trails, as well as camping, or you can even just knock back a few cold ones at the Barkerville Brewery.

It also just so happens to have the longest wooden truss walking bridge in the whole world! ‘The Old Fraser River Bridge’ proudly stretching 831 feet in length. IMG_0894 Obviously with that kind of history and status, you can’t not pay a visit to it while in the area. So we were off to do just that. Not before making a pit stop for some coffee. I needed to get the good morning swift kick in the ass kinda jolt, so I was ready to take on the day and all its awesome activities.

My sister and brother in law, being the best tour guides ever, knew just where to take me for only the most fab experiences. We popped over to super funky Granville Coffee shop to fill up our cups with the good stuff.

IMG_0854 IMG_0850They had some epic little ambiance going on.IMG_0879IMG_0882  IMG_0869Accompanied with humorous cups(coffee and a knee-slapper, happy days!), and the coffee itself was quite tasty too.IMG_0874                   After we got some liquid energy we ventured off to check out the bridge. No wait, first I had to stop and admire the fire hydrant. Quesnel has very artistic fire hydrants all over the city. IMG_0920-0                    Then it was off to the bridge. IMG_0903Yup, it was wooden, walk able, and with a very scenic river view. Very well kept, and mighty fine looking for what it is.IMG_0905When we were finished basking in the view, and grabbing a selfie(it has to be done when you are there with your awesome sister).IMG_0911

It was en route to Barkerville!! IMG_0922Ok, yes, you could say I was a little bit excited. Like a kid a in a candy shop. I knew I was gonna have fun! And that WE all definitely did.

Barkerville is the largest living-history museum in western North America.  Its a completely preserved gold mining town built around ‘Williams Creek’, where Billy Barker(whom Barkerville is named in honor of) and his crew ‘struck the lead’ in 1862. So in other words, he and his crewnailed it, and found a ridiculous amount of gold. Activities such as this, are right up my alley! And this just happened to be on the grandest historical scale I have experienced to date. It did not disappoint, they really go above and beyond to bring the town alive and bring you back on a little time travel to the gold rush days.

So here are the top 10 things I did in Barkerville.

1. Take part in the festive spirit of Barkerville and get dressed up for the day. Oh, and I was all over that! You had me at get dressed up. I am always down for a good dress up party. They have loads of awesome outfits to choose from, and such fab people working there to help get you all geared up. IMG_0945

IMG_0969IMG_0968Just checking the ol’ pocket watch. Well yes, a pocket watch disguised as an iphone. IMG_0978                 And seeing as how you are in your finest apparel, stop by the L.A.Blanc Photography Studio and have one of the very talented ladies will capture your lovely essence.

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2. Take in a show at the ‘Theater Royal’. A theater rich in history, the Cariboo Amateur Dramatic Assosication began putting on shows in Barkerville in 1865, and in this particular building in 1868. It’s a great live little show, with Barkerville’s finest actors and singers, putting on a very entertaining and fun little show.

IMG_0983IMG_0985 IMG_0986IMG_1003 IMG_0998 IMG_10073. Have a pint and play the piano at ‘The House Hotel Coffee Saloon’. What would a visit to the local brewery be without pumping the tunes and getting the whole room up and dancing?! Well if your capable of that. I’m not though, my piano skills are a bit rusty. I did a better job of getting photo’s sitting at it.

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IMG_1032 IMG_1211 And if after that pint you need to stop at the ladies room, it’s not hard to recognize.

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4. Grind some coffee at ‘C.Strouss Drygoods and Provisions’. I mean why the heck not?! That is what it is there for, and its cleary fun. Look at the sheer enjoyment exuding from her face. My sister partook in the Barkerville’s amazing race last year, and this was one of the things she had to do. So she had pro written all over her.

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5. Have a coffee, and do some socializing while your at ‘C.Strouss’.  I mean your dressed for the occasion, you just ground all that coffee – I think you earned it! Not to mention it gives you a chance to meet some new locals, catch up on the town chat, and drink some exceptionally good coffee.

IMG_1105IMG_1012 IMG_0981 IMG_1086 IMG_1109 Don’t forget your etiquette.

6. Flash your pantaloons. Don’t blame me! Trust me, you put on a pair of Pantaloons and try to keep those bad boys under wraps. Not everyday your wearing an undergarment the size of pants. Ahhhh, its the small things in life that produce the most thrills.

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7. Pan for gold at ‘Eldorado Gold Panning and Gift Shop’. It is a gold mining town, so why not try your skills at finding the shiny stuff. We were privileged enough to get lessons from Scott, a 7 time world champion gold panner. And boy was he a gold panning machine.   He knew his stuff. I like to think I was pretty good at it too…. Possibly just because I had a world champion instructor – but I got my gold!

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8.  Pay a visit to ‘China town’. Who would have thought that even back in the mid 1800’s that they had China town’s in their cities. I wouldn’t have, that’s for darn sure. Pretty cool fact though. I didn’t get to see as much of it as I would have liked, as the day was flying by! But apparently there is also a great little Chinese restaurant called ‘Lung Duck Tong’ to eat at. Just another reason to go back.

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9. Go shopping and grab a treat from the bakery ‘Goldfield Bakery’. Honestly when a lady is out on the town, obviously she is gonna do some shopping. Isn’t that a given? Especially when there are loads of cool things to buy. I made sure to pop into ‘Mason and Daly General Store’ where I was kindly assisted in trying on hats. And you can’t not stop in at the bakery when it was once upon a time owned by my brother in law’s great grandmother. Go on, treat yourself.

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10. Check out ‘The Waterwheel Show’. This is where you get to learn about deep shaft placer mining, through a lively demonstration of this 1870’s technology, using nothing less than an authentic wooden cornish waterwheel. The two guys are very comical and provide some good chuckles while involving the audience. Even in the rain, the show went on. Not to be missed!

IMG_1162 IMG_1153 IMG_1171IMG_1168IMG_1181One other thing I didn’t have time for this particular visit was to go on a stage coach ride. IMG_1183Although it seemed as though it would be more then fitting, seeing as how I was dressed for the occasion.

Well I would say I had a pretty kick ass day at Barkerville, and would like to extend a huge thank you to all the lovely people there who made my day so memorable. Every person I encountered were so friendly and they are totally in it for you to have the best possible experience. I would visit again any day! It is one of those places, that there is so much to do, you can’t really get it all in, in one day.

Before I bid adieu to Quesnel and all its greatness to continue on my road trippin’ like a solo rockstar adventures, I once again needed a coffee. What can I say?? Coffee and morning go so well together. So I made another one of those pit stops, at Edgewood Farm. IMG_1220My lovely sister told me it was a must stop destination. She is always full of such great advice, I knew should wouldn’t steer me wrong now.

It was a beautiful farm just on the outskirts of town, where they sold lots of things I wanted – yet didn’t need, fresh local produce, and delicious Phil & Sebastian coffee.

IMG_1215 IMG_1218 IMG_1219 IMG_1227Very stunning little place to stop. Once I came to the decision that I should just buy a coffee and run(before I gave into all the lovely things), I did just that. I cranked my tunes, and hit the open road of adventure and was off to see what BC had for me next.

DIY-Amazingly functional hairstyle for travel and everyday life.

Are you on that endless search for a quick, easy and maintainable hairstyle while on the go? I know I’ve been there, and I have tried many in my 10 years of globe trotting. SO after years of trying different styles, I finally narrowed it down one. My little nomad blood was in need of a versatile and classy nomadic hairstyle. Something I could wear Barefoot & High Heeled. I am all about functionality. Not to mention I don’t like having to do my hair from scratch everyday, so by doing this, my hair style lasts for a good 3 days. That is my kinda DO!

Seeing as how I continually have people asking me the very question of, ‘How do you style your hair like that?‘ I decided instead of rehearsing it to people all the time, I would simply write it out for everyone to take a gander at.

So here is my super simple step-by-step guide for the classy hippy on the go.

All you need is:

– Wet hair

– A blow dryer and brush

– Oil/Serum for your hair

– A big happy smile

Let’s do this!

1) After I wash it, or wet it(possibly you just had a swim), I grab my blow dryer, and giver a good blow, till my hair is about 70 – 80% dry, 90%frizz(the lovely look a blow dry gives me). The reason I blow dry it, is because if I don’t, and I just braid it when it is full on wet, it comes out more crimpy then wavy – And for myself I prefer wavy.IMG_2133-0

2) Once it is at that 80% point, I apply either Avocado oil, Coconut oil, or in this case, just some good ol’ Hair Serum.

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3) Now that I have evenly distributed that throughout my hair, I throw it in a loose braid with no hair tie. If your hair is too dry it will fall out quite a lot, however, if it is a wee bit damp, it will hold the braid in better. If it does fall out, I just re-braid it.  After about 20 – 30 min, I undo the braid and put in a bit more oil, and then braid it back up.  With my braid in, I am set to head off on my adventures for the day – Whatever they may be. Work, play, both.IMG_1269

4) Now it’s totally up to you how long you want to have it in the braid for. Sometimes I keep it in an hour, other times I am loving it back, so I leave it in, until whenever my little heart desires. When you are ready to show case to the world your luscious wavy locks, you just pull the braid out and giver a shake. Voila! We have a natural smart hairdo that you can take anywhere and everywhere. IMG_1294 From road trippin’, to wine tasting at vineyards. IMG_1600 And from vineyards, to hiking and crossing suspension bridges. This hairstyle withstands it all. Tried, tested and true.IMG_2128 It’s even great if you decided to wear your best dress from the 1800’s(oh come on now, we all do it), because you can easily throw your hair back into a braid and pin it up under your hat.IMG_1032                    Only to be taken down afterward, and shaken out to retrieve that beautifully wavy look once again. The best part is, you can pop in back into a braid before bed, so when you wake up, all you have to do is shake it out once again.

Ahhh, the joys of a simple, versatile, rugged to chic hairstyle. Makes life so much easier.

 

 

 

 

 

Sports fishing like a rockstar at a remote NWT fishing lodge.

So what do you do when you are invited on a fishing trip of a lifetime up high in Northern Canada?! Well….. YOU GO! You freaken go. So off I went. The destination was Sandy Point Fishing Lodge on Gordon Lake, NWT. A wonderful place full of lake Trout just waiting to be reeled in. The adventure began in Yellowknife, NWT – Where we we were to hop on an Air Tindi float plane and hit the skies en route to the lake.

IMG_0464After packing my bags, and having a late night of live tunes on the beach back in Hay River, NWT, I packed up my car and cruised on outta there at 6 am to undertake the 5 hour drive to Yellowknife to get to the Air Tindi airport for our 12:30pm departure. Tired? Yes extremely. Was the love music worth it?! Heck yes! Missing this trip of a lifetime?! I think not!

Awaiting my arrival at the Air Tindi float base was my fabulous friend Michelle. Just as eager and excited for the fishing excursion as I was. We were exuding it completely.

The float plane ride itself was something I was looking forward to.  Having only been on a float plane once before in my life, and that was about 20 years ago, it’s still quite the novelty. So that being said, it was like a first time all over again.

IMG_0476 IMG_0472 IMG_0477                                                     Like a kid in a candy store. It was fun though, and I loved every second of it.  The flight was only about 30 minutes. 30 minutes of pure bliss on the ol’ eyeballs.

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Any of you who read my posts previously, know that I have a massive soft spot for my home turf of Northwest Territories – It has an untouched beauty like none other.  An endless feast for the eyes.

As per usual, I went on this trip with no expectations, nor even a small mental picture of what this lodge was going to look like like. That didn’t matter though, I already knew in my gut that it was going to be absolutely incredible. I love adventures like that. When you have no expectations, because it always turns out even that much better then you could have ever imagined anyways.

Hello Sandy Point Lodge!!

IMG_0496Serene, tranquil, stunning, and blissful, are just a few words I would use to describe my initial feel and impression of the spectacular place. Ok, and let’s not forget, undeniably freaken amazing!!! This trip was already rocking my world.

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The Cabins are very well put together, super clean, welcoming, and comfortable. All the luxuries and amenities you could want while in the middle of the real rugged North Country, and a little more.

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Just up the beach is the main lodge, where you can hang out, bask in the view, and enjoy all the delectable home cooked meals that are prepared and served by the on site chef.

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He really did create some darn delicious eats and treats. And had an array of them awaiting us when we got there.

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After we all had to sign our waivers and listened to the orientation of how we were to undertake navigating the lake, and catching our prized lake trout, we were ready for action.

Accompanied by Brandon, our incredibly helpful and knowledgeable guide for the afternoon, we got geared up and onto the boat.

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Once we were good to go, we cruised out to find a prime location where they knew there would be fish, enjoying the stunning scenery along the way.

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Received a run down of how to do everything.

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Then it was our turn. We attached our bait, and dropped our lines.

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Oh and let’s not forget – it was a MUST to crack a cold one.

IMG_1594Well I suppose we didn’t really drop our lines, more like pulled out line 40 arm lengths of line, and let it go into the depths.

For some reason lake trout love me?! And I was getting bite after bite. Well I can’t blame them, I do drop some mighty fine bait.

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But seriously, every time I dropped my line, within minutes I had another bit. I was loving life!!! A fisher women’s dream.

It’s not out of the ordinary to catch 25 pounders plus!

IMG_0646This time around though we were only getting the 5 pounders. Although they were still little beauty’s. Sometimes though, these cheeky little lake Trout, would just nibble on our bait! Leaving there little jaw’s of life marks. 

IMG_0550                         After hours of fishing like rock stars, we went back to the lodge for dinner with the crew, and then decided it was time to hot tub! As if things couldn’t get more epic… We had a hot tub that had a 360 degree view of pure paradise.

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Michelle and I made a few towel wrapped runs to top up on Vino. Just when you think you grabbed enough – it was suddenly all gone! Hot tub party rockers, and we made good use of the hot tub until we were all pruned up. It was one of those times when you just never want to get out. Until you realize it’s almost 3 am.

Day 2 started off just ridiculously awesome. Baileys and coffee back in the Lodge with a spectacular view. A treat for the eyes, and a party in our mouths.

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Being trained up so well by Brandon the day before, our confidence was at its max, and Michelle and I took out our own boat for some rock star fishing adventures.

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Things were motoring along quite amazingly, and then I had a bite!! Oh heck yes!

After proudly reeling in my prize and deciding he was a beauty to keep – all my excitement turned in to sheer horror upon realizing we forgot the wacking tool, and the paddles were too long and awkward, and my little fish friend was suffering. That’s exactly the moment my animal loving instincts kicked in(I even let spiders out of my house), and I started panicking. ‘Oh my god, he is suffering!’ as I jumped around the boat looking for something to get the job done swiftly and quickly. ‘This is inhumane!’, ‘I love animals!’, ‘I can’t watch him suffer!’, ‘ I am sorry fish! I meant for this to be a lot quicker!’, were just some of the things I was borderline squeezing, in an on the edge of hysterical tone. In the mean time everyone on the other boats could only see two ladies freaking out with their catch, and each one of them grabbing the radio’s to say, ‘Come on girls, use the paddle!!’ Finally, Michelle was able to get the job done with a paddle.

Horrified and relieved at the same time, we thought maybe our fishing was finished for the day and decided to slowly make our way back to the lodge. I couldn’t help but laugh my ass off at myself, and my nature loving instinct reaction. After the fact it provided some good laughs! Too bad I didn’t have that on camera. Would have been a knee slapper for freaken sure.

Soooo, let’s just head back and get ready for dinner shall we?!

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Back at the lodge after dinner, one of the guests notice a bear across the water. It was all alarms sounding. Time to be ‘Bear-aware’. It was only going to be a matter of time before the bear made his way over. He would absolutely follow his nose. With that, it meant – no hot tubbin’. Dang! Oh well, plan B it was then. Time for a good ol’ shindig around the bonfire.

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The whole group of us were out there, endlessly laughing, and also playing some campfire games. Who doesn’t love a campfire game?

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Todd was on bear watch to protect the camp.

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And yes, later on into the evening the bear did show up, but was spotted right away, and Troy was able to scare him off, and the party continued.

Feeing pretty spent by day 3 we didn’t end up making it out for a last fishing excursion. Instead we just enjoyed the beautiful day at camp until our afternoon flight back to YK.

The scenery on the flight back to Yellowknife, was equally as breath taking as the way there.

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That trip was not only a massive check off my list in life, as I always wanted to goto a remote fishing lodge, but Sandy Point Lodge gets 5 stars from me for sure. With incredible staff, outstanding amenities, world class fishing, and stunning scenery, I would book another trip there in a heartbeat and recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for a trip of a lifetime experience.

Now it was time to haul ass back to Hay River to pack up for my next adventure. Road trippin’ across British Columbia. Let’s go!!

Tunes, Culture and Community fun at Aboriginal Days.

It was a beauty of a long weekend. On Saturday we headed over to the Hay River Dene Reserve for the Aboriginal Day festivities, to enjoy some cultural fun. It was such a stunning day with loads of sunshine, perfect for the events. It’s so awesome to go and check out these community events, it always ends up being a fabulous little social adventure, and it’s just so nice to see and connect with people out enjoying themselves.

We went straight in to check out the live music that was happening. I love any sort of jam session or live music events, no matter where in the world I am, so this was no different. Having the opportunity to hear some of my favorite local musicians was just another reason I wanted to go to the Aboriginal days. Nothing like some good tunes and local talent to get the ol’ toe tapping going. IMG_5427 After swayin my hips and tappin’ my toes for a bit, we made our way out to get some fresh fire cooked bannock.You can’t go to the reserve and not have Bannock?! It’s a traditional aboriginal staple, and something I grew up on as a child, not to mention – of course they will have the best bannock out here, made by someone who has lifelong experience making it. Celine was a little rockstar! IMG_5455 We had to dig right in, it looked way to darn good; and it was way too darn good! IMG_5433                                            As did everyone else. Just look at that sheer bannock happiness exuding from his face. IMG_5461 Delicious and greasy though(as any good bannock is), but this was not the opportune moment for this dilemma…. IMG_4478 Nope, not when there is no napkins on or near me and no place to wash my hands. Dang, I was a bit greasy, and it made picture taking difficult. Long behold though, there was the lake! The Great Slave Lake to be exact. IMG_4460 And it worked like a water filled lake charm. Back in business. None sticky business that is – No one is a fan of sticky business. It was worth every bite though!

Out back they had some canoe races going on – and one heck of scenic view. IMG_5446 IMG_5442 It needed a basking in. So I did just that. I basked in it, and it was awesome. IMG_5439 I so love the Native paintings and art work, they are absolutely beautiful, I could have easily bought one of those. IMG_5447 However, it was this little stunner of a purse that caught my eye. IMG_5450 It literally reeled me right in and hooked me. I didn’t even think twice about it. When you know, you know. Not only was it beautifully hand crafted, but Georgina the women who made it was a beauty herself. It had Petrena written all over it! IMG_4450 IMG_5500You could see the love that went into it, and I love supporting the locals everywhere I am. It checked all the boxes. The best purchase ever! Well one of them, that’s for darn sure.

We made sure to grab some Zen in the tee-pee while we were out and about as well. When in rome! Or in this case, ‘When on the reserve’. How can you not? IMG_5479

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Every time I went past the bannock table, they were cooking something new on the fire. It was amazing, and all just for anyone and everyone who wanted to enjoy it. That is true community event style. IMG_5465 IMG_5489 It was shaping up to be a pretty awesome day. Got to chat with loads of people, get to know more of the locals, enjoy some local eats and treats, and take home a piece of art that also has cultural history.

Wait! I forget to mention something.

I wouldn’t be me, if I wasn’t forever prepared for anything and a little more. So, obviously I would never leave home without my backstage pass. IMG_4527So I figured I would flash that bad boy and see where it got me. IMG_5498 Yup it worked like a dream. I was right back there with the band. No big deal, it’s just how I roll. IMG_5492 Culture, Community, History, and Art all in one day. Don’t you just love when you find everything your looking for all in one place?

Wining and dining on the deck.

Do you ever just get the urge to prepare a beautiful, healthy, love filled dinner at home? Well I know I do. As it often does – the mood to hang out with my little inner chef struck me. So I did what any person would do in that situation; I voyaged straight to the grocery store to stock up on some goodies to wow myself with.

Nothing too fancy and crazy. Just a nice veggie dish is what I was feelin’. In my mind I had decided I would make a Veggie Lasagna, accompanied with a Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa side dish. Once I was done perusing the store I ended up with Zucchini, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Eggplant, Spaghetti Squash, Ricotta, and some Tomato paste.  Upon returning to my little Zen pad, I opened the deep freeze and took out some northern mushrooms, that were literally picked in my back yard. Ummmm, did I mention – they are darn delicious!! Every time I return to Northern Canada, I always look forward to chowing on some delectable local mushies. I Grabbed the quinoa from the cupboard, and was ready to rock and roll. In order to do that though I needed music, so I got some toe tappin’ tunes going. Music always makes things more fun. I can’t imagine my every day life without it.

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There is nothing like eating healthy. It just makes your mind, body, and soul, so freaken happy and rejuvenated. Fueling my body to be it’s best.

Prior to my prep work I cut the Spaghetti Squash in half, drizzled olive oil on it and a wee bit of sea salt, and put er’ in the oven to roast, while also getting the quinoa cooking. I sliced up all the veggie’s, after which I salted the zucchini slices to get some of the water out of them. Otherwise it all comes out when it’s baking, and then you have to drain it, and well, with that also drains flavor…. So yes, I salted those bad boys and let them sit for a bit before I dried them with paper towel. 

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I spread tomato paste on the bottom of the baking dish, and started to layer the vegetables, adding a nice layer of ricotta cheese in the middle.

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I made two layers of each veg, drizzled it with olive oil and topped it with a bit of grated marble cheese.

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Swapped out the squash from the oven with the veggie dish.

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Baked it at 400 degrees for about an hour – and Voila!! Behold a veggie lasagna.

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I was having issues getting the sweet potato to stay on the top as the dish wasn’t quite deep enough. I pulled it together the best I could though. As you do.

Front deck ambiance? Or back deck ambiance? Decisions, decisions. After a coin toss with myself, it was front deck action that was in order. I checked my watch, and it just so happened to be Wine O’clock. Well look what time it is?? Being known for always being prepared for anything, I had a wine for exactly that time. The wine of choice was of course Canadian, as I always drink locally no matter where in the world I am.

The wine was a delightful Pinot Grigio, with notes of peach and apple, and the name was literally Wine O’clock. One of the best times, if I do say so myself.

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I set the table, and it was show time!

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Who needs to go for dinner when you got it all in your own yard. What time are you coming over?