Those who know us well will know that we are in Milton Keynes, UK to say goodbye to our dear sister in law Paula, who was taken from us aged just 45, and to provide some support to family where we can.
Paula fought like a wolverine against the numerous cancers that besieged her tiny frame. She never gave up and made that deplorable disease work so hard for every inch of ground even though she knew it was a battle that would ultimately end in the loss of her precious life. Paula was nursed in her final days by the exceptional staff at Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes, UK. Their professional, dedicated and genuinely caring approach, to what must be the most challenging of roles, helped Paula make the transition without pain and with great dignity. Their support also helped us all bear the emotional trauma of those final hours at her bedside. There is a 'JustGiving' page open in Paula's name for donations to Willen Hospice, I would ask that if you can donate anything at all, then please do, simply click THIS LINK and follow the instructions on the 'JustGiving' page, it would mean a great deal to all of the family members, and you would be helping others make that almost inconceivable transition at the most difficult of times.
There is a small gallery of shots showing a walk from Paula's house to Willen Lake below and I have also written up a full page with more images which can be found on the UK section of this website, alternatively you can go directly to the full write up by clicking here.
The rain and snow from yesterday finally abated this morning and a short weather window opened up. I decided I should get out there and try to grab a few more Canadian images before heading back to England again tomorrow. I decided to make the nice short hike (10km round trip with about 500m of ascent) to the low end of Nihahi Ridge. The snow was much more than I was expecting at such low levels with about 4inch of fresh heavy spring snow on previously clear areas. As I reached the ridge turning point the weather closed in with storms all around but I managed to get back to the truck again without a soaking.
Anyone interested making this trip can see full details of the entire route with directions and map from a previous hike by clicking here.
The glorious 15th of May is the day the winter gate opens on highway 66 this year, allowing vehicular access beyond Elbow Falls and along the Powderface Trail. About half way along the Powderface Trail is the hike to Jumpingpound Mountain, a nice little 7000 footer (2240m) which only requires around 1500 feet (449m) of ascent from the high starting point on Powderface Trail.
I've done this hike many times now and documented it a couple of times so there's no full write up for this today. If you want detailed information on access and a step by step guide you can click here for last years ascent with Sarah.
For todays surprisingly thigh busting slog through heavy spring snow you can follow the captioned gallery below. The main shot shows a storm rising over Moose Mountain from the summit of Jumpingpound Mountain, I didn't stay long as it was heading my way, though I stayed dry and caught the shower as I drove home.
I made a nice little 'out and back' hike today on the Tom Snow Trail (south) from Dawson Equestrian Campground. I had initially fancied something a bit more taxing but there's still plenty of snow on the summits and avalanche potential abounds. I picked out this easy going 16km (10 miles) just because I've never done it. The trail is all forest with just a few openings here and there, with 8km out and 8 km back you cover 240m (787 feet) of ascent so it's a nice little hike but the scenery leaves a little to be desired. Anyway, there's a gallery below with a few captions to join me on this easy spring trail.
I took a drive down to the South Ghost Wilderness area yesterday afternoon. I'd contemplated a good hike somewhere but there's still lots of snow and avalanche potential about up top and the ground level stuff didn't appeal today, so I headed to the South Ghost and explored a good way downstream before going upstream to Black Rock mountain. There's a new temporary bridge down there and some hefty trucks and equipment so I guess there's something going on, maybe rebuilding the eroded banks. Anyway, I enjoyed a long drive and a short hike (5km) in beautiful conditions and couldn't help but appreciate the wonderful silence and space after being in the UK for a few weeks.
So I've finally got through all the images from home, the last two posts show Carnaby street (via Chinatown) and Covent Garden and can be accessed by clicking the titled images below or you can find them and many more on our UK page. Below these two clickable images is a small captioned gallery of 'leftovers' that I like too much to abandon to the hard drive unseen.
The trip home has added 20 pages to the site and almost 800 images, it will be so nice to look back on these in years to come and remember every aspect of the trip. Now it's time to pick up the camera again and get out into the Canadian wilderness and back to those wonderful landscapes.
Another day another 6 offerings from London, how many more I hear you cry, just a couple I think and then we're done. It's been a great trip and has helped restock the memory banks (and the site) with images of home. More importantly it's kept a fresh flow of images for Paula to peruse from her hospital bed.
I'll soon be back to shooting Canada and shifting a few of those English bacon butties, fish and chips and curries from the belly as I do, but in the meantime here's a bit more of our incredible capital, London. As usual these pages are all accessible from the UK page on this site or you can click the individual images below.
I'm still working through all the images I made during my 3 week tour of home but I'm getting there now. Rather than put them all on one page I've made separate posts and put plenty of pictures in each. With Paula still hospitalised another collection of galleries might help her escape to a few places outside those 4 walls. The galleries can be accessed anytime via the UK page on this site or by clicking the individual images below.
London by night is a riot of colour around Westminster and tower bridges, Camden Market is a claustrophobic collection of everything imaginable, Southwark Cathedral brings 1000 years of history, Borough Market is a foodies delight, Springtime at St Pauls brings colourful flowers to the foreground of traditional shots and the Royal Observatory takes us to glorious Greenwich with the Cutty Sark, Prim Meridian and one of the best views in London.
I made a small circuit by the river today to shake off the jetlag and saw signs of spring arriving. It seems strange to have spent last week in blossom filled cities only to get home and find spring has yet to start, such is life in the northern latitudes.
After a great trip home I've spent a couple of days working through all the images I made during my 3 week tour. Rather than try and get them all on one page I've decided to make separate posts and put plenty of pictures in each.
I'm posting the first 6 pages today because it's Paulas birthday and she is poorly in hospital (what a rubbish way to spend your birthday) so hopefully these images will give her some bite sized galleries to work through and help her escape for a while. Happy Birthday Paula, I'll get more posted soon so get some rest....theres a lot of pictures to come ;)
You can reach the galleries by clicking each image below or from the UK page on this site.
We arrived in Calgary, Canada on 29th December 2011 to continue our journey. This blog is intended to keep our family and friends informed whilst we explore Canada.You can use the RSS feed below to stay updated.
The Shaman, West Texas