Sunday, August 2, 2009

How the time Flies!

Hello! We're not too sure how it all happened, but all of a sudden we've been home for nearly 15 months, and haven't updated a single picture nor blog in that entire time. Obviously we had our fill while traveling! Now that it's Summer and we supposedly have time to do these things, we are going to endeavour to catch you up on our year that was with a few photo albums. The link to our albums can be found on the right hand side of this blog under 'Family and Friends'. We've started with our one-month stay in South Korea in April 2008, and will soon have our Canadian pictures of Summer 2008 and Winter 2008-2009 up. Also, we'll have photos of our new house up in the coming weeks!

As a quick update, Emily and I have bought a house (on June 6th) just outside of Salmon Arm, B.C. It has 5 acres of forest and meadow around it, with plenty of wildlife, birds and bugs to keep us happy. We both taught for the whole year, Emily teaching Grades 3, 4 and Kindergarten in the French Immersion school in Salmon Arm and me in a Grade 4 class in Enderby. Things for the Fall are locked up for Emily, and she just landed a permanent teaching job at that French Immersion school (Bastion Elementary) teaching French Kindergarten!!! We are pumped:) As for me over in the English camp, it will be a wait-and-see up to early September I'm guessing.

We've loved being back in Canada, and were blasted with a heavy winter - tons of snow and really cold temperatures - to remind us that we really do have 4 seasons here. And they all count. Currently we're looking forward to heading back to those low temperatures as it's been 30 degrees or more for the past 2 weeks with no end in sight. We have enjoyed getting your emails and photos of what you're all up to, and it's been really great to see those of you who we haven't seen for, um, over 4 years!

We're not too sure how we're going to use this blog (or if we're going to use it) now that we're back, but we will be posting photos and stories from our hiking trip into Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park in the Rocky Mountains, which we're heading to on July 30th. Hope to hear from you soon, and in the meantime enjoy your summer (or winter) months!

Lake O'Hara Hiking Trip

Melanie and Sean joined us from Calgary, and with my parents the six of us headed off into the countless peaks of Yoho National Park in the Rocky Mountains. Among all the park's jewels, Lake O'Hara must shine the brightest. Adorned with thick forests, breathtaking peaks and valleys, and the turquoise waters of the lake itself almost always within view, hiking here is sheer pleasure!

Lake O'Hara seen through the trees from the jumping off point to all the day hikes, and us six at the campground where we spent our nights.

Another great advantage to this area is that the number of hikers actually hiking around and in the campground are limited, as everyone has to bus in to the area and book 3 months ahead. It works, as on our first day, we encountered 3 people on our 8-hour hike! From the campground, there are a myriad of day-hikes that you can take leading up hillsides and above the treeline to 'saddles' from where you can look into new valleys below. The camp sits at 2000 feet, while our highest height we hiked to was at Wiwaxy Gap, just over 2500 feet. We had excellent weather, though the mornings were a bit cool at 4 degrees!

The majestic 'hanging gardens' of Opabin plateau and a lunch-spot view into another valley from Wiwaxy Gap.

Although Sean and I wanted to see bears (both Grizzly and Black around the area), we didn't get the chance, although close looks at 10 Mountain Goats made us feel very fortunate. It is amazing how much ground you can cover in one day up here, traversing ledges, valleys and mountain sides, all the while having the splendour of Lake O'Hara below you. Some patches are extremely steep, as seen below on the left, and the best advice is to just not look back, as there isn't much to stop you from tumbling all the way back down to the bottom. Other places, however, are a leisurely stroll.

Emily and Sean navigate the steepest part of our 2 days' hiking, while Sean joins Melanie taking in the view during a short rest on our first day.

It was fantastic to spend these 3 days all together, as living 6 hours apart doesn't lend itself well to joint visits! Melanie and Sean now look forward to moving into their new house on August 19th in Calgary, while my parents and us are heading south to Oliver to join Emily's parents, brother and aunt and uncle in some biking and wine-tasting! More photos of our trip, including some of the local wildlife, can be seen in our web albums, the link to which you'll find on the right side of this page under 'Family and Friends'.