Thanksgiving Weekend Hike

Living across the country from my family means that I don’t always get to celebrate holidays in the typical way. Since moving out to Alberta, I have always tried to make my own traditions, or to commemorate holidays in some way, so as to feel like I am at least still celebrating them a little bit. Being as outdoorsy as I am, I have typically always tried to do something outside for holidays, and this Thanksgiving was no different.

With Friday being the best weather day, I picked it as my hiking day. Myself and my good friend/soon to be roomate decided to pack a picnic lunch and head up Wasootch Ridge.

The last of the fall colours in the Kananaskis Valley
Of course Dahl came along for the hike, although she was more interested in the picnic…
Dahlia is such a good adventure doggo, not much seems to phase her. As long as there are snacks LOL

Fall in the Rockies – 2020

Mt Kidd, Kananaskis
The Kananaskis Village Rim Trail
Hay Meadows trail, Kananaskis
Two Jack Lake, Banff
Hay Meadows trail, Kananaskis
Kananaskis Village Views
Looking towards Wedge Mountain
Lake Minnewanka, Banff
Lake Minnewanka, Banff
Barrier Lake, Kananaskis
Barrier Lake, Kananaskis
Troll Falls trail, Kananaskis
Barrier Lake Selfie, Kananaskis
Highway 40, Kananaskis
The Kananaskis River, Mt Wasootch in the background
Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka

Baughns Birthday

One of my favourite tiny humans is turning 3 in a couple of days, but his birthday party took place last weekend. Obviously with Covid still a factor, a real birthday party was out of the question, which is pretty hard to explain to a 3yo. But his mom and dad got a small group of their close friends together to show how much we love the birthday boy. I just wanted to share a couple of my favourite photos from a pretty amazing day:

Since B and I have birthdays so close together, his mom also got me cupcakes and we got to devour the cake together ❤
A kind RCMP officer heard there was a birthday boy, so he brought the car over for him to see
Baughns dad is a firefighter, but I think its safe to say he likes the police car 😉

Annnd I’m back

It has been a hot second since I wrote anything here.

Life has been incredibly busy, and ever changing and to be honest I was starting to feel like this blog didn’t reflect where I was in my life anymore. I contemplated starting over, writing a new one, but just couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I started scrolling through here, looking back on the things that I have written and couldn’t help smiling at most of it, so instead of starting over, I made the decision to work at changing things up on here.

You will notice there are some different pages on the blog now, reflecting things that have become important parts of my life, one of the big ones being a new health and wellness page.

I have struggled with my weight and mental health for years. My rising weight being a direct reflection of how I was doing emotionally. For the last year or so, I have been working hard to get my life back on track and to start taking better care of myself, in all aspects.

In January, I got an electronic body composition scale for Christmas, and after having not stepped on a scale in probably a year, was horrified to see that I was at the heaviest I have ever been in my life. On January third, I weighed in at 211lbs. Which at 5’8 in height…. it’s not great. Beyond just the number on the scale, I felt gross: I was low energy, low confidence, nothing I owned fit right anymore… in short I was incredibly unhappy. I was going to the gym regularly, but I wasn’t training with any intention, and to be brutally honest, I was eating like an asshole.

After the horrifying weigh in, where I could no longer lie to myself that ‘it wasn’t that bad’, I decided it was time to make a change. I started concentrating more on healthy eating, planning meals out in advance and counting calories. I was also becoming more conscious about training with intention in the gym. Over the month of January, I lost about 10lbs and was starting to feel better about myself. I was noticing better energy levels and just more awareness of self.

In February, I decided to do something a little more drastic, switched over to eating Keto. Now I know that keto isn’t for everyone, and there are upsides and downsides to every diet so I will keep this brief: keto worked well for me. I felt good on it, my energy levels were great, but I struggled to eat enough fat. I kept up strict keto for about 4 months and don’t regret having tried it. One of the biggest things that I learned through it was actuallt reading nutrition labels on food and portioning appropriately. I also learned to track macros, not just calories. Throughout keto, I kept working out, despite the fact that it got a little tricky when the world shut down due to Covid in March. I managed with home workouts, and running outside, all while still eating within my macros.

About 2 months ago now, I stopped following a strict keto diet. It can be incredibly difficult to feel like you are enjoying what you eat when you are missing out on a lot of treat foods, especially in the summer. So instead of cutting out absolutely ALL junk food, I am not concentrating on eating healthy, while accommodating the occasional treat, all while keeping up a steady gym schedule. I am definitely far more happy now, while still maintaining my weight, and still working at shedding a couple more lbs while toning up.

On that note, the current results of my health journey have me down a total of 48lbs. Yes, you read that right. 48lbs since January. All while building muscle and getting stronger and faster in the gym. Through all of this, I have learned the importance of setting goals to hold yourself accountable, but also the importance of loving the process, not just the end results. I am actually able to say that I am enjoying this, all of it. I eat good food, I love working out, and I love seeing the results. I no longer feel like I am missing out on things because I can’t eat them, I am just far more mindful of what I am eating, and choosing my treats carefully.

This has been my progress so far, I am excited to see how far I can go!

I am going to leave it at this for now, but I am planning on doing a bunch more writing on my health and wellness journey. I will also be taking some time to touch on mental health and a bit of what I am working on there. But for today, this will have to do 😉

Camping with Doggo

Both Zach and I are incredibly outdoorsy and we knew that we wanted whatever dog we adopted to be adventurous too. But that is unfortunately not something you can exactly screen when you’re looking for a dog to adopt. With Dahlia, we got lucky. So, so lucky. She seems to take everything in stride and is happy as long as she is with us.

Long car rides? No problem. We have converted the back seat of the truck into a giant dog bed and she alternates between napping in the back or hanging out with us by leaning on the center console.

Within our first month of getting her, we took her on her first camping trip. Since it was October in the rockies, the conditions were a mix of sun and snow, with overnight temperatures dropping down to 0.

We had a pretty awesome set up with one big mattress and a huge pile of blankets, and Dahl slept pretty peacefully snuggled inbetween the two of us all night. I can’t wait to get her out for more camping trips next year!

Below are some of my favourite pictures from the camping trip. Drop any ‘camping with dogs’ tips you happen to have in the comments 🙂

This was our campsite in Kananaskis ❤

39 Days on the Chuckegg Creek Wildfire

This summer was an incredibly active fire season for Northern Alberta, one that I got to see up close and personal. I spent almost 40 days working on the Chuckegg Creek fire near High Level. The entire experience was incredible, mind blowing, life changing… I don’t even know how to explain it. I learned so much, met so many incredible people and so saw many incredible things. There is no way that I can even touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to writing about what it was like to be deployed to that fire, but I would like to share some of my favourite photos from the experience. I will caption each one to give you a glimpse into what it was like to be there.

I found out I was headed to High Level only a couple of hours before I left. Of course I knew about the fire, but it didn’t look like it was in the cards that I would go. Then all of a sudden I was asked how soon I could be ready. My partner for the trip up left Calgary around midnight and picked me up in Edmonton at ~3am,
We stopped in Whitecourt on our way up, fueling the truck up as the sun rose.
I made it to High Level on the day that my fiance was leaving on days off. He did come back while I was still up there, so we actually got to work on the same fire, however many many kilometers apart.
I spent my first day in High Level hot spotting around the town of High Level
By the point that I got up to the fire, the threat had shifted from High Level to a small town called La Crete, so to La Crete we went to set up structural protection on threatened homes there.
For the first week that I was in La Crete, the town was under an evacuation order, so it was inhabited basically just by police and firefighters
A large portion of our days in La Crete were spent patrolling our area, and during our patrols we fed and watered the animals left behind by the evacuees.
The evacuation order for La Crete was lifted just before Canada Day, so the Canada Day parade was a celebration for many reasons. The fire crews working to protect the town were invited to participate in the parade, so we decorated our trucks accordingly.
I got to see and work with some incredible equipment, like these bad boys.
I even got to drive this one!
I was blown away by how beautiful the area was up around La Crete and High Level.
This is the Peace River
Hot spotting is the art of locating deep burning fires and dousing them so they don’t pop up unexpectedly, re-igniting the fire. It is messy, messy work.
Did I mention it was messy?
The smokey sunsets were incredible
Helicopters were our eyes and ears for fire behavior
Due to the catastrophically dry conditions, and some crazy weather, we got to see some very extreme fire behaviors, including fire whirls and raining chunks of embers, and even charred debris, like this leaf.
Our very last day in High Level, it finally started to rain. After months with nothing, the raid felt incredible.

Visiting the Bomber Command Museum

Back in June, I was lucky enough to go on a little road trip with my grandfather and his good friend Jack.

My grandfather spent most of his working life in the Canadian Military. Back in the day, when he went to flight school, Jack was actually his teacher. Together they worked on the Lancaster aircraft. Decades later, after both working and living all over the world, the two men re-connected when they both found themselves living in Edmonton. The two now meet every Sunday morning for breakfast at a restaurant called Alberts, trading stories and news with eachother.

The opportunity to travel with these two men, along with my uncle, to visit a museum that housed one of the few remaining planes that they had worked on decades ago was too good to pass up.

Here are some of my favourite photos from our trip to the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton, AB.

Watching these two men, who both served their country for most of their lives, walk around and take it all in, was an incredible moment. Both men remembered so so much about these planes. Not many people can say that they got to tour the museum with people who lived the history.

Things I Should Have Written About a Long Time Ago: Part Two

My absolute favourite charity event of the year is the Calgary Firefighters Stairclimb. It takes place every spring: ~500 firefighters fund raise and then climb the Bow Tower in Calgary in full firefighting gear and all the money is donated to Wellspring Calgary, a charity that helps cancer patients and their families.

Myself and some of my fellow awesome ambassadors

This year was a special year of the climb for me for a couple of reasons: I was chosen as one of the stairclimb ambassadors AND I got to do the climb with my fiance.

Here are some of my favourite photos from the 2019 Stairclimb:

This year I wanted to do something special with my race gear, so I added my last name in glittery pink letters on the name plate portion of my jacket.
The morning of the stairclimb, snow was falling in Calgary and surrounding area!
My collection of Stair climb race bibs and challenge coins from my 4 years of participating in the Stair climb