Note To Self

Inspiration, Travel
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Mount Peter, Kamloops, British Columbia (October 2017)

“I am going to be that girl who wakes up with purpose and intent. I am going to be that girl who shows up and never gives up. That girl who believes anything is possible and is willing to work for it.”
– Unknown

That’s Why We Dare

Inspiration, Travel
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Mount Paul, Kamloops, British Columbia (September 2017)

“We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains, or swim in oceans – because we can. We have some impulse in us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. That’s why we dare to paint, why we dare to love someone – because we have the impulse to explain who we are.”
– Maya Angelou

New Heights

News
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Graduation Ceremony, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia (June 2017)

I’m not sure what to say. Graduating from university with my second credential was a mixture of emotions that has left me jumping for joy.

I would describe my university career as if I have been hiking up a very tall mountain. There have been some strenuous patches of loose gravel where I felt like I was gripping on for dear life. There were moments of pure exhaustion and some filled with much needed rest. I had moments of pure elation and celebration, with my heart bursting with pride, joy, and happiness. I have learned so much both in the classroom and beyond the walls of this great post-secondary institution. I’ve made incredible friends from around the world who climbed most of the way, or all of the trail with me. I have travelled across North America and in Europe throughout my studies as well, which has given me the most amazing life experiences. As I stand here at the top of the mountain that I worked so hard to climb, I am incredibly grateful for every experience that has brought me here today. It is quite the view from up here – Wow! On my first day of university, I never would have guessed that I could push myself this far. And here I am, a completely different person than I was five years ago.

Thank you to my family, friends, mentors, professors, employers, and colleagues who helped me to reach this new height. Without your support, I would not be where I am today.

Now, I do believe it is time for another adventure! Cheers!

Last First Day Of School

Events
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Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia (September 2016)

“Don’t let your anchor hold you down forever. Eventually, you will have to sail to a new adventure.”
– Unknown

Growth Happens In The Valleys

Inspiration, Study Abroad, Travel
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Eygelshoven, The Netherlands (June 2016)

“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.” 
– Robin Sharma

Change is a beautiful thing. Really, it was a scary thing for me when I boarded a plane and moved to a country that I’ve never been to by myself last August. As my time is slowly winding down here, I can see such dramatic changes in who I am right now compared to who I was. It is a beautiful transformation to reflect upon. Now, not only am I totally content to not bathe for three days and go camping with people I’ve only just met… (see the post camping/music festival selfie from above), but I have learned how to love myself, make healthy choices in my lifestyle, find balance, look at everything from different points of view, and thrive in saying yes to new experiences. I’ve travelled, mostly alone, to ten different countries in the past ten months. I’ve seen beautiful works of art, both in museums and in the natural world, experienced many other cultures through food, language, art, landscapes, and mostly importantly, by meeting new people. When I first arrived in Amsterdam, I had never stayed in a hostel before. Looking back, I had no expectations on what was to come, but I am grateful for every moment and I wouldn’t change a single thing. Change, it’s a crazy, beautiful thing.

Paul Lake Provincial Park

Travel

 

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Paul Lake Provincial Park (August 2015)

There is nothing like a day spent in the trees, listening to nature and marvelling at Mother Nature. Paul Lake Provincial Park offers a short hike (only 2km) up to Gibraltar Rock. It has astonishingly beautiful views of the lake below.

“One touch of nature makes all the world akin.”
– William Shakespeare

 

Sun Peaks Resort

Travel

Sun Peaks, British Columbia (August 2015)

My Experience:

I have always wanted to check out the wildflowers festival at Sun Peaks Resort – and I finally made it up there! This is a great hiking activity that can take up an hour, a morning/afternoon or even a full day. I found that by checking it out earlier on in the day limited the amount of people I saw on the trails.

The alpine wildflowers are in full bloom during mid July to late August. There is a wide range of colourful flowers, including Alpine Pussytoes, Arctic Lupine, Fireweed, Indian Paint Brush, Larkspur, and much more!

It is absolutely beautiful all around this area. I had so much fun photographing flowers and taking a couple selfies. I made it up to the “Top Of The World” trail in under two hours. This alpine area offered incredible 360 views of the Monashee Mountains, Mount Robson, and even the Coastal Mountains way off in the distance.

Know Before You Go:

  • Be prepared to see bears, deer and other wildlife on the trails.
  • Do not forget your camera! Collect moments, not things!
  • The Sunburst Chair is only operational for limited hours daily and seasonally.
  • If you bring up food or drinks, remember to pack it out. Don’t litter in this gorgeous area!

Related Links: 

Sun Peaks Resort 
Flora and Fauna Guide
Things To Do At Sun Peaks Resort
Hiking Ethics

Kenna Cartwright Nature Park

Travel
 The view from the top of the mountain is spectacular and overlooks Kamloops Lake and the Lac Du Bois Grasslands.

Sunset Trail, Kamloops, British Columbia (June 2015)

My Experience:

I have been eager to find this beautiful look out point as I saw many photos on Instagram of this incredible space. I was referred to this trail route by a friend and last week, on my birthday, I finally made it!

I parked near the Kamloops Regional Correction Centre at the trail head and grabbed a map from the information station. It was very easy to navigate my way, as I was told to find the Sunset Trail, which I found was connected to Ponderosa and a few other short trails. All in all, this was only an hour and ten minutes (both ways) with a break to look at the view.

This park was established in 1996 and encompasses almost 800 hectacres of Mount Dufferin in Kamloops, British Columbia. It is the largest municipal park in the province and named in honour of Kenna Cartwright, former Councillor and Mayor of Kamloops and long time supporter of parkland preservation.

Over forty kilometers of gentle nature trails meander through the park. Trail difficulty ratings (largely influenced by elevation change) are indicated on the park map and at trail junctions in the park.

Know Before You Go: 

  • Be wary of ticks on yourself, your children, and pets.
  • Wear lots of sunscreen and bring a bottle of water.
  • Don’t forget your camera or you’ll be sorry!

Related Links: 

Kenna Cartwright Nature Park Map
Information on Tourism Kamloops’ Website

The Centre of The Universe

Travel
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Vedette Lake, British Columbia (July 2015)

My Experience:

I have been longing to travel here for years, although I really needed to wait until the right time to have friends with me who own a truck and knew the way to Lonely Planet’s number one Kamloops attraction, the Centre of the Universe. I am not a religious person by any means, and I still appreciated this experience with an open mind and heart.

Take it from me, this is an incredible adventure! It is a beautiful drive up through two provincial parks filled with beautiful landscapes of caves, volcanic areas, hoodoos, wildlife and several forestry recreation sites.

Upon arrival, my friends and I met with Mr. Ray Stad, the present owner of this area and the Vidette Lake Resort or Gold Mine (now known as Vidette Lake Spiritual Retreat). He was a great host and invited in his home for a cup of birch bagga tea. One of my friends with us is a cancer survivor; Ray recommended this tea that he made from fungus of a dying birch tree that has been said to cure many different ailments. While the colour of the drink looked daunting, it actually tasted quite neutral! What I loved most about this adventure was that Ray joined us in exploring the area and offered such great insight, stories, and genuine love for the natural outdoors.

Upon entering an area marked “No Trespassing”, Ray introduced our group to the concept of dowsing for water by using two metal prongs the same way some people use pendulums.

We visited “The Healing Tree” along the path, filled with semi-precious stones, sage, crystals and messages tucked into its bark. We followed tradition as Buddhists do and walked around the tree clockwise in a full circle before placing our left hands onto the tree and leaving our right hands to release our negative energy.

The trail was filled with neat tree formations and rocks that are all naturally found as they were. Without Ray to point out a ‘Sasquatch foot’ or the ‘two headed snake’, I may have missed them! All in all, the trail only takes about fifteen minutes to walk along. It is not considered intensive, although it is not accessible for those unable to walk well.

Once we were atop of the hill seen in this photo, we were greeted by a grassy knoll, a rock and juniper tree decorated in prayer flags. As a Buddhist custom, we walked around the rock in a clockwise circle three times before entering the sacred space. Our bodies gently brushed up against the juniper tree budding with berries. The tree is adorned with tattered prayer flags of various colours. Ray informed us that is a Buddhist belief that every strand that falls off a prayer flag and is released into the wind, a prayer is shared with the universe.

Other highlights included the beautiful view of Vidette Lake and the surrounding mountainside, the Turtle Rock, and a simple, yet beautiful altar. Turtle Rock is a rock (of course) found a short ways down the hill and is said to be the place to release all of one’s prayers. One must do so barefoot. It is a place of silence, contemplation, and prayer. This natural rock has comfortable space for all feet sizes to stand on. It is called the Turtle Rock as it looks like a tortoise or turtle shell.

The altar is a simple circle of rocks filled with treasures and tokens left from other visitors over the years. Many people feel the need to leave a homage behind to pay respect to the universe, Mother Nature, and this space. I had told a friend of mine who is currently abroad in the United Kingdom that we would come here one day. I hadn’t thought of leaving something behind before leaving my house that morning, but it felt like the right thing to do when I left my London key chain in honour of my friend.

Everyone will experience something different when they visit this gorgeous, treasured area. Some say that they have seen the tips of grass light on fire or hear beautiful voices singing in the wind. Others say that it is too emotional to even step into this space. Perhaps, you will just enjoy the stories and the gorgeous view. Keep in mind that everyone (humans and animals) are welcome to visit the Centre of the Universe.

It is also important to remember that natural spaces like this need to be cared for, respected, and most of all, not over-used. In my opinion, visiting the Centre of the Universe was an incredible experience, but it is an alternative tourism product that is hard to truly convey to future visitors. Ray’s ‘guided tour’ is completely organic and can not be experienced in the same way twice. This is one of those adventures that you just need to experience for yourself!

Directions:

According to the Vidette Lake Spiritual Retreat’s website, travel north on Deadman Creek Road from Hwy 97 for 54 km (33.5 mile), where you will reach Vidette Lake. At the north tip of the lake you’ll see the entrance to Vidette Lake Gold Mine Resort veering to the left. Deadman Creek Road continues very steep up the hill and makes a sharp turn to the right. The road continues a little further towards Deadman Falls. After that you’ll need a four wheel drive to continue. The elevation is approximately 2,500 feet. The shoreline is approximately 22,590 feet.

Know Before You Go: 

  • Call ahead to ensure that Ray Stad is available before heading out.
  • It’s highly recommended to drive up in a four wheel drive vehicle.
  • There is an entrance fee of $20.00. Bring cash.
  • From March to November, be aware of tick season.
  • Bring your own lunch, water, camera, and proper hiking gear.
  • Prepare for warm and cool temperatures.

Related Links: 

Vidette Lake Spiritual Retreat (Official Website)
Tourism Kamloops Information
The Globe And Mail Article (2013)
Great Canadian Bucket List Blog
Vancouver Sun Article (2007)