We’ve been in a deep cold snap for what feels like years. Calgary is no stranger to cold weather but it does feel rare to be so cold for so long, without a warm-weather chinook to give us a break, even just for a few days.
The temperatures have consistently hovered around -27 C (sometimes feeling like -36 C with windchill) and we received a record-breaking snowfall over the course of two days last week. Life around these parts has been made up of endless snow shovelling; air so cold it takes your breath away; toques and scarves and mitts and sweaters. Olive’s school doesn’t let the kids play outside when it’s below -15 C and we’ve been driving to school rather than walking in the frigid temperatures.
All of this has added up to both of us feeling stir crazy. Late last week found me pacing my house like a caged animal, eager for fresh air, sunlight, and a chance to stretch my legs. So on Friday when I picked Olive up from kindergarten we didn’t go home – instead, we headed to a little mountain town called Canmore about an hour away. I’d planned the whole thing as a surprise, booked a hotel with a pool and a waterslide – hoping that a few days out of the city would be just what we needed.
Click here to Read Skoki Part I: I’m Fucked, Aren’t I?
Same same but different. (They were flown in by helicopter along with a flush toilet, for one)
In retrospect, it should have been obvious to me that we’d be snowshoeing uphill.
I mean, I was aware we would be trekking through the Rocky Mountains, an area not exactly known for its wide expanses of flat terrain, and yet I was still somewhat shocked when we began our hike in and it was uphill. Very uphill. Uphill a lot and for a long time and then steeper uphill and more uphill and then the mother of all uphills just to really fuck with me.
I’m not even sure I was aware that snowshoes could go uphill, but I think that’s because I was envisioning those old wood tennis-racket looking things. In short, I had no fucking idea what I was getting myself into.
Here’s what happened.
We’ve been here a week, now, at this cottage of ours. It’s been bliss and love and family and, surprisingly, lots of work!
I am not a great short-haul traveler. Part of this is because I, like my Dad, tend to eschew modern conveniences out of some deranged loyalty to the good ole days.
You know, the good ole days where people broke their backs lugging heavy suitcases around before some genius came up with the idea to put wheels on them? Hahahaha! Right. Those ones.
Hence, when I travel, I’m usually packing around a vintage samsonite (like one of these) or the monogrammed duffle bag I’ve had since I was a kid. Olive has one, too, now. It makes our time at the baggage claim look like a Wes Andersen movie (#LifeGoals).
I like to pretend that this affinity for old suitcases stems from practicality (They’re so well-made! I’m shopping secondhand! I’ll never get my black wheeled suitcase mixed up with the other twenty-nine black wheeled suitcases tumbling off the conveyor belt!) but don’t be fooled. It’s pure vanity.
Occasionally this vanity punishes me. Like last Tuesday. Here we go, a story for this Monday evening.
(This is just a wee little post, a perfect snack-sized read for a Monday evening)
Early Saturday morning (and please remember you are on Madeleine time here, “Early” in this context means 8:30 am) my sister Lizzie, Olive, and I hopped in the car and drove to Edmonton. My mom had driven out from Victoria to spend her birthday with her two granddaughters so we were driving excitedly toward this little family reunion.
About an hour into the drive we tired of the smattering of music on my phone, and Lizzie started digging into an old CD case I had in my glovebox. This was vintage stuff guys. Some of these CD’s were mixes made for me by high school crushes, some were from early university days, and all were absolutely ridiculously awesome.