There are some places in this world that hold special places in our hearts. A place that heals us, rejuvenates us and sets us free. These places seem to hold an energizing power over us like none other. Perhaps it is because we match the vibration of the land. Or, perhaps it has been such a part of our life that it seems to be ingrained in our being. Continue reading “Northwest Territories – The Land That Lures You”
If you want to take a short trip from Calgary and immerse yourself in an awe-inspiring beauty that can help make you feel totally disconnected from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then Kananaskis Country is the destination for you. Continue reading “7 Reasons To Visit Kananaskis Lodge”
Wood Buffalo National Park is one of the biggest parks on the planet, sprawling over 44, 807sq km of sheer natural beauty. It spreads between Northern Alberta and Southern Northwest Territories. The park was found in 1922 in order to protect the worlds largest free roaming wood bison, with the population believed to be over 5000 at this moment. The park is also home to a nesting site of whooping cranes.
I had toured around the park when I was taken there on a school trip in elementary, however that was quite some time ago now(not that you would ever guess). It had been on my adult bucket list to go and visit it once again for many years.
What amazed me was that some of the places that I remembered, looked exactly as I envisioned and recalled them. One could say, ‘Just as beautiful as I remembered’. There was that and the discovery of new places that I didn’t know existed.
The town of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories is known as the gateway to Wood Buffalo National Park. Located in Southern NWT, its a charming little town that is well worth exploring on its own. So in reality this is also on the list of top sights to see. You can’t really enter the park without entering Fort Smith.
Once your in, if you only have a day to tour around here are the top 5 sights to see that are easily accessible, and each uniquely beautiful.
- The Hamlet of Fort Fitzgerald
Fort Fitzgerald is literally a settlement, it is located on the NWT/Alberta border and is the most Northern hamlet in the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo. With only approximately 9 people residing there, it is for sure one of the smallest communities I have visited.
This little hamlet was a unexpected diamond waiting for me to discover it. The river is huge, and is basically the back yard of the community.
2. Mountain Portage Rapids
In the area of Fort Smith there are plenty of rapids to play in or just appreciate from a shoreline view. Of those, the Mountain Portage Rapids are some of the most easily accessible.
Just a little trip down a steep hill and you will arrive.
Whether you want to get in or enjoy the sandy shores which make for a beachy feel, it’s a fantastic spot to enjoy.
Although my visit was cut short due to a bear encounter. Not just A bear, but a mama bear and her three cubs. Let’s just say, the shore line became a distant memory pretty darn quick. A gentle reminder to always be bear aware in these areas. Made for some good adrenaline for the day.
3. Take A Dip In the Turquoise Water At Pine Lake
Located 60 km from Fort Smith in the middle of the Boreal Forest is a hidden gem called Pine Lake. The water is the bluest I have ever put my eyes on in the North.
It was created by a series of 3 sinkholes, and is a getaway destination for the residents of Fort Smith. There are campsites, cabin rentals and plenty of picnic spots in the area. You can also enjoy kayaking, canoeing, as well as swimming(watch out for leeches though).
This is a MUST visit spot if you are in the area. The campground is open from May long weekend to September labour day weekend. So get your wiener roasters ready and head on out.
4. Visit The Sea Of Salt Crusted Ground At The Salt Plains
When you stand on the crystal like ground looking to the vast flat expanse of the salt covered ground, you can’t help but be in awe.
At times you can see wood bison grazing on the plains, or even whooping cranes. When you look at the ground beneath you, you can observe the myriad of animal tracks left behind.
There is an energy to this place that is undeniable – you can run and frolic in the open air of the plains, and if if your feeling adventurous you can give the ground a little lick. Trust me – it’s salty.
5. Observe The Wood Bison In Their Natural Habitat
Clearly when you are in Wood Buffalo National Park, you must keep your eyes peeled to see the buffalo. I think that is a given. Although it’s not hard as they are all over the place and do tend to enjoy hanging out on and beside the highways.
These very large and majestic creatures are something to be appreciated, and seeing them up close and personal are something you won’t soon forget. It adds the extra magic to your unforgettable visit to the park.
It is amazing what you can accomplish in day in this park. Although a day just doesn’t seem like enough, it is more like a warm up for my next lengthy visit. Wood Buffalo National Park – Get it on your bucket list.
Well it’s official. It is mid October, and there is snow everywhere here in the Northwest Territories. Winter has come early this year. Not that I am complaining, I do love the snow. Especially when it’s accompanied by favorable temperatures. Although, the up and down, above and below zero game, makes things messy, wet, and slick. You never know what your going to get. Yes, the pro’s and con’s to everything in life.
Just before the snow flew, I went out on another day of adventuring. It’s just what I do. No matter where in the world I am. Trust me though, the snow ain’t gonna stop this lady from adventuring. It simply creates more various adventure opportunities. Particularly in the NWT.
The week prior to this I went to Twin Falls Gorge and enjoyed the epic ambiance of Alexandra Falls.
This time, we went the opposite direction. We cruised out to the little community of Kakisa, which is about 1.5 hours North of Hay River, NWT. With a population of about 45 people, I don’t mean little lightly.
The primary reason of driving out there was to visit Lady Evelyn Falls. Which is located just 5 km away from Kakisa. Obviously I had to take a little cruise through the quite little community since I was in the area. Lady Evelyn Falls are closed for the season. Well the campgrounds are.
You can still walk in and see the falls. It was quite cool being in the area when everything is totally shut for the winter. A completely empty campground. Not a soul to be found, other then a couple of birds that is. Funny enough though, I wouldn’t have any problem camping in that weather. Get a nice warm fire going, a couple extra layers of clothes, and your laughing. Or perhaps I am just a die hard?! Ahh well, next summer.
Don’t forget to heed the warning before you embark on your waterfall adventure.
It’s almost a calm feeling and smooth flowing energy when you are around them. As opposed to the powerful high energy feeling you get at the Twin Falls. It’s not hard to get down beside them, but we didn’t go for it that day. It was a beauty of a pit stop, and well worth the drive in itself.
After we took in our fill of Lady Evelyn Falls, it was time to start driving back in the direction of Hay River. Not without keeping our eyes peeled for more pit stop adventures to be had along the way. I absolutely love having no plans sometimes. I truly believe in the journey along the way, and when you are open to receive whatever awesomeness is out there, you get exactly that. More awesomeness. Not without a few bumps in the roads at times. I mean trust me when I was crossing Africa alone with that mentality, there were some bumps. However, it always turned out amazing or with a big ol’ forehead swipe of ‘phew’ , and definitely added to my story.
There was this awesome little lookout point that we pulled into. You stand tall on the rocks, and take in the spectacular Northern view.
It is so unique, and as you progress up North towards the Tundra, you have less and less plantation. The changes are dramatic, and the beauty just continually morphs, yet never becomes less. Looking into this bliss, makes a person want to bring a canvas and paint it. Maybe I will wait for warmer weather though.
Don’t forget to lick a tree while you are there.
Not far up the highway from that look out point, we pulled into McNallie Creek, where sit’s another one of mother natures dazzling gem’s.
There is a day use area, and once again, another set of little waterfalls flowing into a bowl shaped ravine. With the icicles forming on the edges of the water, you can see winter is well on it’s snowy and cold way. If you keep your eyes peeled when you are there, you can see cliff swallows nesting in the walls as well. Which we didn’t see that day…..
The depths of the water at the base does appear fairly deep. I have been told that people do enjoying jumping in there in the summer.
The paths around the area are great if you feel like frolicking in the bush.
The colors were magnificent, and even though there was a chill in the air, after a bit of walking you don’t even feel it. You get warmed up by the incredible setting. Nothing compares to being in nature, it gives you such an uplift and flow of awesome energy. And particularly in the North. It’s a very special place that I will never stop boasting about.
That was a whole day of absolute pure bliss. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in one day. The majestic Northwest Territories once again did not disappoint. It seems as though she is the land of endless waterfalls.
While you wait to check the NWT off of your bucket list, don’t forget to explore your own back yard. There are always beautiful places hidden around every corner – where you would least expect it.
The natural beauty in Northwest Territories is endless and enchanting. Each corner has it’s own unique splendor to be enjoyed. Even having grown up here, there are still so many places I have yet to discover in this vast territory. It’s full of culture, northern lights, midnight sun, incomparable landscapes and pristine natural beauty. Yes, mother nature does not skimp out on us up here.
The beauty surrounding the quaint little town of Hay River, NWT is no different. Every year I make sure to come and enjoy a few months back here, and no matter the season, it is always incredible. Although some seasons are faster then others.
Summer is amazing with the midnight sun, winter is long and a tad dark, however the majestic beauty of the snow covered landscape is one to remember, the cold is a small price to pay, and in between those two there is, Fall. I love fall. The colors are magnificent, and there is such an array of colorful beauty to be basked in.
A day trip to the waterfalls is a must when you are in the area, during anytime of year really. There are actually three sets of waterfalls located about 45 minutes drive from town. The small ones at Escarpment Creek, and the two larger ones at Twin Falls Gorge, Louise Falls and Alexandra Falls. It’s amazing to see such impressive and grand falls and landscape so close to town. There is something about waterfalls, you can just feel the energy exuding from them when you are in their presence. It’s even more amazing to see them frozen over in the winter. Frozen beautifully in place. Not a sight you come across every day.
These ones in particular are Alexandra Falls. They are directly off the highway, so an easy pull off for a pit stop. There is a lookout point you can walk to, which gives you the perfect picturesque view.
Or you can very easily walk down along side of them at the top of the actual falls, where you can take in all the awe-inspiring natural brilliance and energy of the flow up close and personal.
Don’t be grabbing no barrels and trying to go over though. Probably wouldn’t be the best idea.
There is a fantastic path between Alexandra and Louise falls.
So if you are keen for a nice afternoon stroll between the two, it’s a perfect way to immerse yourself in the serenity of the Northern nature.
Make sure you bring a picnic as well, as there are picnic area’s where you can have a fire and a cook out, as well as endless laughs with some of your favorite companions.
You can keep it extra northern and local, by using fresh locally caught whitefish, and garden fresh veggies.
Keeping it local no matter where in the world I am, is exactly how I like it.
This area is timeless and rich in beauty. A feast for the eyes and a treat for the soul. If you have not already been, Northwest Territories is a must see destination, and so is the town of Hay River. This small place really is just the beginning, or one could say – the entrance to the ‘Spectacular NWT‘.
Recently I once again undertook the long ass drive from Calgary, Alberta to Northwest Territories. Having spent the most of year in Calgary, being awesome as planned, it’s coming to fall, which is one of my favorite times of year to be back home in Northwest Territories. The leaves start to change color, mother nature surrounds you like a beautiful painting full of stunning orange hues, and I can wear a few more layers of style. It’s just darn wonderful. Seeing as how it’s coming up time for me to head back to Mallorca, Spain, home time in the NWT is exactly where it’s at for me right now. How lucky am I to live this awesome life that I get to split up between my favorite places. Although, I created my life to be this way, and it’s possible for anyone.
Now usually the drive the from Calgary to my hometown in the Northwest Territories is about 14 hours, but I had decided to take my sweet ass time and stop to see any appealing sights along the way – so this time around it turned into a hard 22 hours. Hard, but enjoyable. I love my road trips, it’s the best time to have epic ‘me time‘, bask in my own awesome company and crank my tunes while taking in all the scenery. I just make the most of every situation life gives me.
I embarked on my journey at around 8:30AM, a tad later then planned, but only because I may have enjoyed an epic wine fueled laugh session with a couple of friends the previous evening. As if you can leave a place with out spending time with your peeps. It was way to much darn fun. Totally worth it. The late start and the sore head. I grabbed fuel for my car, and then fuel for myself from Starbucks, and I was on the road once again.
Calgary to Edmonton goes by pretty fast it’s only 3 hours, and with the highways being so busy between the two, it’s a breeze. Just outside Edmonton located by the little town of Devon, is the Devonian Gardens. I have driven by them for so many years with the intention of stopping, but previously when I tried it was always just out of season, and was closed. This time around, it was in season, and open! So I pulled on in and was ready for the ‘garden experience’ I had so long awaited.
I truly was blown away by this gem of a botanical gardens, they were much more then I expected.
They have loads of different area’s from wet lands, to rose gardens, a butterfly area,
All the way to Japanese zen gardens, just to name a few.
I was in heaven! I love nature, and this nature hideaway happened to be lush, immaculately maintained and smelled absolutely divine.
It was the best pit stop ever to fill my soul with awesomeness for the rest of the trip. Although I ended up spending a couple of hours there, so it absolutely lengthened my trip. Well worth it though! You could spend all day in there.
Seeing as how by time I left the botanical gardens it was already near 3 in the afternoon, there really weren’t a lot of other places to pull into as they would all be closing. I continued on my merry way cranking my tunes, and just taking it all in. I always have so much going on in my little imaginative mind, that rarely do I ever get bored.
I stop for tea and coffee quite often too, I usually always like to have a tea on the go. I was in absolutely no rush, I was literally just going with the awesome flow. After driving North for the rest of the day, past plenty of farm land, rain storms, and quaint little towns, I finally arrived to High Level, Alberta at around midnight.
High Level is the last little town in Northern Alberta before you arrive to the NWT, and from there it is about a 3 hour drive to my home town. It’s the home stretch from then on in. Seriously though, all this dilly dallying around was starting to catch up, and 2 hours away from home I decided to pull over and take a power nap. I don’t believe in forcing yourself to stay awake, it only brings on accidents if you happen to fall asleep at the wheel. If your on a road trip and you get tired, just freaken pull over. Not to mention, it was a full moon out and it was looking ridiculously appealing. My windshield offered the perfect front row seat to bask in the glow of the full moon. I always have a blanket and pillow with me, so I am fully prepared in case I need a nap.
Cozy as heck, I ended up snoozing for 4 hours! I clearly needed it though. I woke up and it was light out, so I hit the highway. It wasn’t long before I made it to the NWT border.
Between High Level, and Hay River(where I was heading) there is a place called Indian Cabins. A random shop in the middle of nowhere that sells off sale liquor, gas, snacks.
I was hoping for coffee, but it wasn’t open yet. I was able to have a good laugh at myself though, because the last time I was there, I got locked in this very outhouse at -30 degree Celsius weather.
Not the most amazing experience of my life. Trust me though, I learned some very valuable lessons and even wrote an article about it.
3 Steps To Take When Your Locked In An Out House. Only me, only freaken me…..
Have a peak at the video blog I posted about my road trippin’ adventures while your here.
Not gonna lie, I was pretty darn excited when I finally arrived home! I loved every minute of that road trip, but I was also ready for it to be done 22 hours later.
So ladies and gentlemen, if your looking to be awesome on a long ass drive, may I suggest to stop and smell the flowers, just go with the awesome flow of it all, crank your tunes, sing your little heart out, and be open to whatever may come your way. As they say(still trying to figure out who they are?!) – It’s not always about the destination, it’s the journey along the way.
Sign up to my email list to come on more random pursuit’s of life with me. I would love to have you.
If you have been on an endless search for a serene mountain oasis, where you are surrounded by lush enchanting nature, in an ultra chic cabin on a hill with a view to boast about, and impeccable service by people whom genuinely love there job. Then I have found the place for you.
Nestled between Golden BC, and Revelstoke BC, is Heather Mountain Lodge.
Recently I had the pleasure of experiencing what its like to stay and be pampered at this gem.
From the minute I arrived I was already taken by it.
I received a very warm welcome by Becky whom is the manager, and has been with Heather Mountain Lodge for 6 years.
She provided me with a wealth of information about the Lodge and surrounding area, and got me all booked in for dinner. I was booked into the King cabin, which is one of the two newly built cabins on the hill above the lodge.
I didn’t know exactly what to expect, and was completely blown away by the ultra-chic cabin. It’s the perfect combination of luxury and nature.
Each cabin is equipped with in floor heating – which would be perfect on those chilly nights in the winter after an epic day of heli-skiing, a wood burning stove, king size bed, a very large bathroom with both a beautiful tub, and separate shower. I was loving the decor and amenities.
Although as soon as I pulled up to the cabin and seen the view I was in for, my soul was already feeling soothed. I zoned in on the little deck, and knew I was going to be spending some chill time basking in that view.
This trip was also serving as a reunion with my sister, so as I was taking in my surroundings, I was also impatiently awaiting her arrival.
Once she arrived, and we enjoyed some catching up on our little deck, it was hard to tear ourselves away from the cabin to go for dinner, but, we were about to be treated to a culinary experience that heightened all of our senses.
The patio where we chose to dine rather then in the dining room has picturesque views of the mountains and property. The property is conveniently located just off the highway, but when your immersed in Heather Mountain Lodge’s environment, you feel as though you are far away from the hustle and bustle of life.
Muzza was our server, and he was exceptional from the get go.
Full of personality, and he more then happy to recommend or describe anything about the menu, or even anything off the ‘hiking menu’ if you were already trying to figure out how you would wear off this fine food.
He is extremely knowledgeable about the area, and any hiking excursions you could want to take.
Our dinner experience began with cocktails(would you expect any less really), while we read through the menu trying to narrow it down to actual choices.
Everything sounded wonderful, so it was hard to choose. Although in the end we were so spoiled we were able to sample a variety of things.
We ended up starting with Caramelized Tomato & Juniper Soup
The flavor of the aromatic soup was enough to wake up our palettes immediately. That way they were on full form for what was next.
The Triple Creamed Brie.
Cheese is an addiction of mine, one that I don’t give into very often, usually only when I am out. So, clearly this was one of those occasions. Baked in phyllo pastry until molten, accompanied with pickled Okanagan peaches, apple mint jelly, reduced blueberry balsamic, and black pepper crackers. It was exactly as amazing as it sounds. When you dug a cracker into it, the perfectly backed brie, spilled out, begging to be enjoyed.
A glass of Pinot Noir was a must to compliment our mains. They have a very elaborate wine list to choose from. I was pleasantly surprised. My little wine loving heart could have been happy there for weeks with a list such as that.
For my main I went for the Alberta Rack of Lamb, served with fondant fingerling potatoes, grilled summer squash and roasted chipolini Jus.
My sister tucked into the BC Farmer’s Game Hen, which was slowly braised in white wine and herbs, accompanied with potato gnocchi, baby spinach, golden beets, toasted almonds with roasted garlic Gorgonzola Cream.
It’s not very often I can say that every dish I tried at a restaurant was amazing, but literally, everything was amazing. The love and passion that was put into creating these dishes was very apparent! We had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know the Chef, Josh Gaudet.
I was so impressed to learn that he creates all the menu items himself. Not only is he a fantastic person, but he really is very skilled at his craft. We enjoyed some very good chat throughout the evening with him.
We were absolutely out of room(where the heck did I put those sweat pants?!), but we couldn’t not try the amazing desserts created by their in house pastry chef, Ryan Doggart.
We went for the Rhubarb Crumble and Creme Brulee.
Both were absolutely divine, and tasted as fresh as you can get. It was obvious that Ryan also know’s his skill very well, and his passion shows in his creations.
This was a feast fit for a couple of queen’s, that’s a certainty.
Before we weren’t able to move anymore, we had to answer the beckoning’s from the hot tub and sauna. The hot tub is out doors but also enclosed, which is great, as I love having the best of both worlds. It was so relaxing.
Now being an avid sauna lover, and having grown up with one in my back yard – you could say I was very excited for that experience.
Let’s be real here though, I sipped on vino(personality in a bottle) for quite sometime before hand(obviously like a classy lady), I am pretty sure that the only thing detoxing out of this ladies pores was fine wine.
After an amazing afternoon/evening, the king size bed in the cabin swallowed me right up. I can’t even tell you how comfy that bed was, like probably the most comfy mattress ever! I didn’t want to leave it in the morning. I bet its even better in the winter. I could envision myself all wrapped up on those chilly winters nights on the mattress sent from mountain lodge heaven. Bliss!
Coffee on the little deck was the best way to get the day rolling the next morning.
Basking in the view and taking it all in. I could get used to that. I was contemplating just buying the cabin and becoming a permanent resident of the lodge. Alas, not this time around. That cabin was rocking our world, but at some point we had to head down for breakfast…..
Thank goodness we did! The beautiful breakfast surprise that awaited us, was nothing less then amazing.
Seeing as how we were fashionably late, they had so graciously set up a table for us on the patio(which we had all to ourselves), and Josh & Ryan, treated us to some more incredible culinary delights.
Seriously, however Josh cooked those eggs, I am telling you, for sure the best scrambled eggs I have ever had.
Between the view, and the spectacular breakfast it was hard for me to put my camera down and just enjoy the moment. This was something that had to be shared. Oh the life of a blogger. Before we continued on our adventures and ‘tore’ ourselves away from this amazing piece of heaven we had to take one last walk around the area to get the last feel for it all.
There is a very comfy little lounging area upstairs that is more so used in the winter.
But the property is pretty amazing in and of itself.
All I could think of was how badly I wanted to climb up to those mountain peaks. Being such a short and whirlwind trip this time, it only means that I have to return.
You can check out my Video Blog about the experience.
There are so many reasons that Heather Mountain Lodge is so special, but one of the main things that stand out is how the staff treat it as their own, and welcome people as if welcoming them into their own home. They love what they do, and they love the lodge, and it creates an environment that you feel warm, welcomed and pampered. I want to give huge thanks to the phenomenal people at Heather Mountain Lodge that made this such an unforgettable experience.
This lodge, is not a place to be missed if you find yourself in the area. Heck, even if you don’t find yourself in the area, plan a trip there. You will not soon regret it.