Hike #2 – Still in Grand Teton

I am very much looking forward to hiking in Grand Teton.

Last year, I missed out on any form of hiking as grizzly bear 399 and 610 kept my boyfriend and I occupied with our cameras snapping every 2 seconds. I have never taken so many photos in my life!

Hiking among the majestic Teton backdrop has been a dream, ever since I laid eyes on them one year ago.

Here is the description of the second hike I will attempt in Grand Teton, after the Pacific Creek trail:

Glade Creek (from the book Best Easy Hikes – Grand Teton, by Bill Schneider)

Description: A short, easy hike in the northernmost section of the park (7 miles round trip)

Trailhead: Hwy 89, 4.4 miles west of Flagg Ranch on the Grassy Lake Road (on the left).

The hike: Most people don’t think about this section of Grand Teton National Park, so pan on having Glade Creek and most of the north-trails section mostly to yourself. This hike actually starts outside the park in the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, a 24,000-acre area that is more wild than many parts of the park. The trailhead sign says that it’s 3.5 miles to the park boundary, but this is probably exaggerated by at least a half mile and perhaps more.

The trail starts out through a mature lodgepole forest. After about a mile and a half, you cross Glade Creek on a footbridge. Shortly thereafter, you drop down a fairly steep hill to a huge meadow. To the left, you can see the Snake River flowing into Jackson Lake and a huge freshwater marsh, one of two large freshwater marshes found in the park. You can also see Jackson Lake off to the south. This is a wildlife-rich area, so take your time before retracing your steps to the trailhead. You may be able to see some moose, swans, and other wildlife, especially in the early morning or near sunset. Even the mighty grizzly bear frequently roams through this rich habitat. But be forewarned. There is one wildlife species you will see and not enjoy. This is the only section of trail in the park where we had to stop and get out the mosquito repellent and netting.

Yikes. I loved the sound of this hike until the last few sentences. I will be sure to pile on the layers of clothing, bug spray and wear a mosquito net. HATE those little buggers!

Photo of the Day – Moooose!

Not the crispest photo I have taken, but this brings back memories from Kananaskis, Alberta last summer.

This shy little gal seemed so awkward and nervous every time my camera clicked. Those long gangly legs looked as though she would trip over her own hooves at any moment!

Can’t wait to see these silly creatures again this summer!

The countdown is ON!

Hike #1 for the summer

It’s almost time for me to pack up and leave for the summer…2.5 months of relaxation and celebrating my time off from teaching.

(I can hear all my friends cursing at me right now by the way).

This year, I am much more excited to explore various US and Canadian national parks, beyond the road.

Last year, I was just in warm up mode. It was the hiking in Yellowstone that really got me pumped up for leaving the paved areas and creating adventures beyond a sea of parked cars.

I really missed being around nature, ever since growing up in a small town, surrounded by greenery and wildlife every day. Since moving to Toronto 7 years ago, I forgot how peaceful and invigorating nature was.

So to help divert my energy from just bouncing up and down in my condo, and actually do something a bit more useful toward my months away, I thought a bit of research involving unique hiking trips would help me both daydream, and plan for adventures this summer.

Welcome to hike #1 that is planned for this summer:

Pacific Creek Hike

For the experienced survivalist and hiker, hiking the Pacific Creek Area trails in the Grand Teton National Park is worth the effort. The hike on one of the three trails requires skill and endurance, providing access to varied lakes and views of incredible mountain peaks.

The first hike is about nine miles (roundtrip), heading towards Emma Matilda Lake. It heads through the forest towards the lake and circles around the lake for good views of the Teton Range.

The second hike is about thirteen miles (roundtrip), heading towards Emma Matilda Lake and Two Ocean Lake. It starts around the Two Ocean, climbing up towards Grand View Point, where the scenery is breathtaking. Then it heads through the forest towards the southern end of Emma Matilda Lake.

The final hike is about seven miles (roundtrip), heading to the northern section of Two Ocean Lake. It covers fairly easy terrain, through forests and meadows.

Should I pick #1, #2, or #3 this summer?

It will be my first hike, so perhaps #1 or #3.

Who am I kidding, I am sure my boyfriend will pick #2.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…(not)

Classes are done.

Warm sunny days are here.

Ice Cream truck is rolling around.

Kids are studying.

Teachers are drowning.

Yes – I am drowning. Drowning in PAPERS!

Final projects….can’t wait for the exams, you can triple that pile!

I just received final projects from my 5 geography classes and had quite the workout lugging them home to mark.

Pretty sure that my breaks, in between marking lovely research projects, will consist of me dreaming about my summer plans. And I am pretty sure that it will be the theme of my posts for the next few weeks.

Come onnnnn summer!!!!!

Quote for Sunday – The beach is THAT way

Another thing I like to do is sit back and take in nature. To look at the birds, listen to their singing, go hiking, camping and jogging and running, walking along the beach, playing games and sometimes being alone with the great outdoors. It’s very special to me.
Sauble Beach

Savory Saturday – Headin to the Beach

Since I have been dreaming about heading to the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario for a few days now, I close my eyes and picture myself relaxing on the beach after a long day hike, exploring caves, encountering wildlife, and drinking in beautiful cliffs and lake scenery.

What is the perfect beachy/picknicky food in my opinion?

Potato salad, sandwiches and chips!

Here is a deeeelicious potato salad recipe I can’t wait to try.

Red Potato and Roasted Pepper Salad with Mustard-Caper Vinaigrette

8 small red creamer potatoes, quartered
1/4 small red onion, diced
3 T. capers, drained
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped
4 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 T. chopped fresh basil leaves
2 T. coarse grained dijon mustard
1 t. sugar
1 T. champagne vinegar
2 T. lemon juice
zest of one lemon
3/4 t. salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup plus 2 T.extra virgin olive oil

Place potatoes in a pan to boil. Meanwhile place red onion, capers, bell pepper and parsley into a medium size bowl. Place all remaining ingredients except olive oil and capers in the bowl of a food processor. Turn machine on to blend ingredients. While machine is running, slowly add the oil until all is incorporated. Stop machine. When potatoes are tender, drain, then place in the bowl with the onion mixture. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss gently until completely mixed. Refrigerate.

Ohhhh yah – and I would have wine!

As for the sandwich – all I would do is bring rye, whole grain and white bread, an assortment of lunch meats (I love spicy salami and prosciutto), some mustard and perhaps tomatoes and lettuce and make my own, and eat as many as I WANT!

Finally, my favorite chips always depend on my mood. Sometimes I love BBQ Lays chips, other days I crave sun chips, many a time I love the salt and vinegar flavour, and occasionally dill pickle. Oh and once in a blue moon – cheetos! Those were my ‘chips’ of choice when camping last summer.

Mmmmm I am starving now. Anyone want to join?

Fantasy Friday – Bruce Peninsula

I’ve heard so much about “The Bruce” from many cottagers in the Toronto area.

Growing up near London, Ontario, our beach/cottage get-aways always consisted of going south instead of north to beaches such as Long Point, Port Dover and Turkey Point.

I really feel like I missed out on some gorgeous northern/ish landscapes by not visiting the Bruce Peninsula, aside from Sauble Beach once upon a time. I barely remember anything about it, except that the water was freeeeezing!

So a little fantasy about an area very close to where I am right now: the Bruce Peninsula.

Here’s my agenda:

1. Hiking in Bruce Peninsula National Park of Canada for this:

The Niagara Escarpment runs from Niagara Falls to Tobermory. It forms the backbone of the Peninsula and shapes the northern boundary of most of the park, providing our new park with some of its most spectacular scenery. The rock of the Escarpment is very old.

Since the last Ice Age, water levels in the region have undergone great changes. Softer limestone has been eroded away by water action, leaving magnificent overhanging cliffs at various points along the shore. These are the big attraction of the Cyprus Lake trails.

Where erosion has cut more deeply, caves have been formed, like the Grotto on the shore between Marr Lake and Georgian Bay Trails. Great blocks of dolomite, undercut by wave action, have tumbled from the cliffs above and can be clearlyseen below the surface of the deep, clean waters of Georgian Bay.

Commonly seen wildlife on The Bruce Peninsula includes chipmunk, squirrel, raccoon, porcupine, snowshoe hare, skunk, white-tailed deer, snakes and frogs. Black bear, fox, fisher, martin and the Massasauga rattlesnake are not as commonly seen.

2. Greig’s Cave to experience this:

Enjoy a one hour hike through the rugged forested trails and explore the natural limestone caves where part of the movie Quest for Fire was filmed, but come prepared with good hiking shoes with a good tread, as the rocks may be slippery. You will also need a flashlight for some parts of the cave.

3. Sauble Beach (again) to watch the gorgeous sunset, walk along the softest sand, and star-gaze at night, like so:

Lake Huron shoreline is where you’ll find 11 km of the softest sand and most pristine waters in Ontario: SAUBLE BEACH. Sounds like paradise? While the beach is the main attraction for many visitors, there are plenty of activities as well as a vibrant commercial sector. As evening falls, Sauble Beach offers perfect views of the world’s most spectacular sunsets over Lake Huron. Star gazing in Sauble Beach is an astron-omer’s dream come true. The lack of urban lighting allow for amazing views of the heavens!

The beautiful sand dunes of Sauble Beach are part of an ecosystem that has evolved over thousands of years. The dunes provide natural shore protection, and are home to many rare and unique plants and grasses. Please respect our beach and use the boardwalks to protect the dunes and their plant life. We all want to enjoy our world-class beach for generations to come.

4. Hike the Singing Sands Trail at Dorcas Bay:

This trail crosses a small stream, then turns left following a two-track path through the woods. In the spring, many wildflowers can be seen along the way. At the end of the trail, one can loop back following the rocky shoreline of Dorcas Bay, ending back at the sandy beach of the starting point.

5. Visit Devil’s Monument and marvel in the physical forces that shaped this ‘flowerpot’:

Devil’s Monument is a 44′ “flowerpot” formation located inshore on the coast of Georgian Bay. This large inland flowerpot or stack was formed by wave action from a post-glacial lake 5,500 years ago. It is directly on the Bruce Trail – accessible from the end of Cape Chin North Road on the Bruce peninsula.

It’s unique formation makes this a true wonder of the earth and should not be missed on your trip “Down Cape Chin North Rd Tourist Area” The Niagara Escarpment represents a “driftless area” in Southern Ontario, where the rock outcrops and landforms are exposed.

Photo of the Day – Golden!

I’m sure many of you recognize the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

This photo was taken while on the ferry around Alcatraz (hey – did you hear the tv show Alcatraz was cancelled?! Oh well…).

I passed just below the bridge and decided to look up and snap this shot.

Can’t wait to go back!

Nature Trails in Downtown Toronto – Part 2

Last week, I rediscovered a trail I enjoyed jogging along in downtown Toronto.

It’s always nice to know there is a place where I am surrounded by green trees and shrubs, twittering birds and a few squirrel to encounter (and a cow!).

I tried a new route yesterday, and it involved touring by Riverdale Farm where it is possible to see farm animals such as cow, pig, and donkey among high rises and hazy downtown scenes.

Cow at Riverdale Farm

Don River below the Don Valley Parkway

Don Valley Parkway and a secret/unused off ramp

Back home through Cabbagetown

This is a must do trail again. The air is ALMOST fresh 🙂

PS – I actually DID do some jogging aside from taking a million pictures, in case you were wondering…