Glasgow Gallivanting: July 2017

Over the last few months, I’ve been taking part in a project at Glasgow Women’s Library to research the women associated with the Belvidere Fever Hospital in the East End of Glasgow around the time of the First World War. There isn’t much detail in the records, so the idea was to use our imaginations to create a series of dramatic monologues around our chosen women. On the 4th of July, this came to fruition with a performance and a book, both called Voices from the Belvidere, bringing to life fascinating stories of laundry maids who ran away, nurses who caught fever after fever, and the rare women doctors who followed their calling against all odds. My contribution was called The Zombie Ward: some day, with more time, I might tell you its story. In the meantime, here’s my protagonist, Nurse Watt, who caught my eye smiling in the centre of the picture above.

Happy birthday to me!

60th birthday in Jasper

My birthday is in July, and 2017 was a big one. 60! I can’t quite believe it. I celebrated on vacation in Canada, and here I am with some of my cards – from the three people who managed to send one in advance, and John who made me stand outside a shop in Canmore, Alberta, while he selected his.

Lake Louise

As I spent most of July in the Canadian Rockies, including Lake Louise as seen above, and I intend to blog much more about that later, it doesn’t leave a great deal of Glasgow Gallivanting to write about. So that’s it for this month – except to say that I hope you’ve had a great July too.

Canadian Rockies: Lake Louise

Saskatchewan Glacier
Saskatchewan Glacier

On the way down from Jasper to Lake Louise, we stopped off to hike the Parker’s Ridge trail which overlooks the Saskatchewan Glacier. The weather seems to have deserted us here, but I don’t remember that. It all looks very dramatic in the cloud.

By the time we got to Lake Louise, all was sunny again. On arrival, we climbed to a lookout over the Lake and the fabulous Chateau Lake Louise – and we had to do it twice!

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

On the map, it looked as though you could do a circular walk by taking a steep rocky path down from the Lookout to the Lake and following it round the water’s edge to the original starting point. However, when we got to the Lake it seemed that any previous path was long submerged. We paddled for a bit, but when it became wading we had to turn round. I got back up that steep rocky path PDQ and was glad that a) this was near the end of the holiday and I was much fitter than when we set out and b) we had a table booked for dinner which we would miss if we didn’t hurry. This was a huge incentive as you can imagine!

The next day, we hiked the Plain of the Six Glaciers and Lake Agnes trails. My main memories are that, despite my smile, I was very unhappy on the scree sections and (better) that there were two tea-houses on these trails. Unaccountably, we have no pictures of them, but I’ve checked the guidebook and my memory is correct. Scotland’s mountains need more tea-houses! 😉

On our final day, we ventured first to Moraine Lake:

Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake

Then we crossed the border into British Columbia. Many years before, we had a holiday in BC and the furthest east we ventured was Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park. So this time we ventured west to revisit them and our two holidays “met up”.

The following day, we drove back to Calgary for our flight home. I’ve really enjoyed writing this series – I remembered the Rockies being beautiful but they are even better in retrospect. I want to go again! If you read earlier posts, you might remember that this was my 50th birthday trip in 2007. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to work out that I have another big birthday coming up soon, so maybe I should celebrate in the same place? Especially as Canada also has a big birthday in 2017 (150th) and I’ve recently read that all National Parks will be free next year to celebrate. Watch this space….

In the meantime, our next Canadian trip will be to Toronto. Hints and tips from local bloggers welcome! And finally, this post is linked to Jo’s wonderful Monday Walks series. She has a lovely spring-time Algarve walk this week, which should cheer you up whatever your own weather is doing. Enjoy!

 

Canadian Rockies: Jasper and the Icefields Parkway

Along the Icefields Parkway
Along the Icefields Parkway
Heading north on the Icefields Parkway we stopped off at the Icefield Centre to take a tour of the Athabasca Glacier in an Ice Explorer, a vehicle with balloon tyres that can drive over the crevassed surface. There was also plenty of time to walk (slide) about on the ice and take pictures.

The next day (my 50th birthday) we hiked the Cavell Meadows trail. The snow-covered Mount Edith Cavell peeks out in the centre of the photo below – at 11000+ feet, no way were we ever going to hike all the way up that!

Mount Edith Cavell
Mount Edith Cavell
The Cavell Meadows trail took us to several viewpoints with good views of the mountain and Angel Glacier.

Day 2 saw us at Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake (though we also visited Medicine Lake, apparently, so I’m not 100% sure which lake that is below. Corrections welcome!)

On our final day in Jasper we took the Jasper Tramway 3280 feet up the steep north face of The Whistlers – named after the hoary marmots that live there – and we were lucky enough to see one. From the upper terminal, we hiked to the true summit.

The next day we headed back south to our last stop – Lake Louise. More next Monday!

Canadian Rockies: Num-ti-ja Lodge

Num-ti-jah Lodge
Num-ti-jah Lodge

Our original intention was to drive straight from Banff to Jasper, but friends recommended Num-ti-jah Lodge so we stayed there for a couple of nights. The Lodge, about 25 miles north of Lake Louise, was built in 1920 by pioneer guide and outfitter Jimmy Simpson. He wanted it to be large but only had short timbers, hence the unusual octagonal shape. We loved it.

The evening we arrived, we went straight out onto the Bow Glacier Falls Trail which left from the Lodge’s parking lot. That worked up an appetite for dinner!

The following day we tackled the Helen Lake Trail. I always find it weird to be so high that I’m standing in snow, yet wearing a short-sleeved shirt.

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walks. After Num-ti-jah, we headed for the Icefields Parkway and Jasper, so there will be more Rockies walking from there next week.

Canadian Rockies: around Banff

Canadian Rockies 2007
Canadian Rockies 2007

My birthday is in July, which is wonderful because it means I can usually spend it on holiday. In 2007 I turned 50 and chose to celebrate in the Canadian Rockies. What a great fortnight we had! It was also the start of a run of annual North American road-trips, only broken last summer when we went to Orkney and Shetland instead. Normal service will be resumed this year….

After flying into Calgary, our first stop was Banff, though we weren’t staying in the illustrious Banff Springs Hotel as shown in the gallery – we were somewhere much more lowly. We had a wonderful few days amongst the lakes and mountains, most of which I can no longer identify with any certainty so have helpfully labelled “Near Banff”. You can probably tell from my body language and general demeanour that kayaking wasn’t for me; I much preferred hiking.

From Banff, we headed north on the Bow Valley Parkway to our next stop – Num-ti-jah Lodge. Coming up soon!