We all have heroes in our lives and my friend Bryce Jones is one of mine. You can bet if I’ve been wondering into the back country I’ve been most confident doing so the times Jones has been at my side. He is super human fit, strong like a gondola cable and he knows more about Alberta’s back country terrain (in any season) than anyone I know. Here’s a little story and recipe from my family’s most recent adventures with our dear “Jonesy”.
Category Archives: Travel
Savour life – time in nature – the Canadian Rocky Mountain back country lodge experience at Mt. Assiniboine Lodge
Mt. Assiniboine Lodge opened in 1928. It was the first ski-touring lodge in North America. It seems that the people who have worked there have fallen so deeply in love with it that they have spent most of their lives devoted to it.
This blog will give some of the history, talk about current and past owners and use pictures to show you what a few days of living and hiking at the lodge is like. I’ve described the wildflowers food and and some recipes in other posts. I hope you will explore those as well.
I’m just back from a luxurious 2 day trip to Mt. Assiniboine Lodge. I’ve stayed at Skoki Lodge in winter three times. I’ve camped at Lake O’Hara in summer and skied into the ACC Elizabeth Parker Hut there in winter.
Time in nature, whether in a tent or in a comfy bed with a cozy duvet – it’s all good and it always helps me savour my life. I hope this post with a long list of lodges and huts (in every price range) will be of use to you as you explore what helps you savour your own life.
Each morning at Mt. Assiniboine Lodge you will hear a friendly voice just outside your cabin door softly saying (really almost singing in an angelic voice), “Good morning, I’ve brought you some hot water – see you at breakfast” and then they are gone and only the birdsong is left in their wake. The cabin and feather duvet you are lying under are toasty warm. There is very cold running water at the sink by the window where light has been drifting in and nudging you for an hour already but it is only this sweet act of truly warm care that will induce you to finally stretch your monumentally tired hiking musculature from such cozy bliss.
A quick trip to the biffy and back to that hot pail of water and then it is off to the main lodge for part one of breakfast. There will be teas and fresh coffee and a buffet of Swiss muesli, hot cereal, fruit salad, orange and cinnamon stewed prunes,homemade granola and yogurt. That is only the first course of a Mt. Assiniboine Lodge hiker/skier’s breakfast. There is always a second course straight from the ovens of this truly remote lodge nestled deep in the Canadian Rockies on the border of British Columbia and Alberta.
After breakfast the daily hiker’s lunch-to-go bounty is laid out on a table for DIY back packing nourishment. Meats, cheeses, vegetables, spreads, an assortment of freshly made rustic breads, cookies, fruits, nuts and little treats are on offer. Guests pick and choose and build a lunch that will fuel the challenge they are about to undertake.
The hosts, Andre Brenner or Claude Duchesne, announce the two guided hikes of the day and groups form based on ability and desire. At 0930 hours they go their separate ways for some serious sojourning. When they return at about 1600 hours there will be lots of fluids, fresh cheeses, fruits and vegetables waiting to help them recover and tide them over till the 1830 hours dinner bell is rung.
What follows are some pictures of the glorious meals one can expect in the most unexpected of all places – deep in the back country of Canada’s pristine Rocky Mountain wilderness.
I love these videos that Travel Alberta makes. They remind me of what I love most about living in Alberta – time in nature.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m loving life in my city this week. I’m experiencing all the hustle and bustle of the Calgary Stampede this week. I’m really proud of the hospitality our city displays not only at Stampede but always. It’s a great place to live all year but this is when we really kick back and have a good time.
But next week…I’m going in to Mount Assiniboine next week to spend a little quiet time up closer to the sky.
We are blessed to have many amazing choices to help us savour each day of our lives in Alberta. All we have to do is “remember to breathe”.
Savour Food – Cool things no. 12 – @offthebeatenpal – coming June 6th – a PBS TV show about Alberta cuisine and culture
Off the Beaten Palate is a fun TV show that I got to work on in September 2012. I was hired by Travel Alberta to act as scout, guide and production assistant for a TV crew based out of New York and Toronto. We spent a week visiting ranches, farms, restaurants and some of Alberta’s most iconic tourism destinations exploring the link between our cuisine and our culture. Travel Alberta’s whiz kid Jessica Harcombe-Fleming had worked on the project for several months and I just had to come in and put some icing on the big fat cake she had baked. She’s amazing.
Basically, from 5:30 a.m. to about 11 p.m. for a week straight, I drove the crew around, acted as their schedule “fixer”, props specialist, food stylist, caterer, photographer, social media coordinator and story consultant. It was a great privilege to find myself in this role and the crew headed by host Michael-Ann Rowe were amazing to work with. I loved my time with them and I loved introducing them to all my friends here in Alberta. I even got to be in the show. How fun is that? Pretty fun!
I hope you will all tune it to the broadcast. It will be on Detroit Public Television (DPTV) on June 6th at 7:30 ET. That’s Channel 81 on Shaw TV in Calgary. You can get more details here. You can watch lots of fun promo reels here.
I’d like to thank everyone who made this beautiful show possible and who bent over backwards to help us show the world how great Alberta’s Cuisine and Culture truly are. We had a week of perfect weather and every time I look at the rough cuts of the show or the promo reels I feel incredibly blessed to live in such a beautiful part of Canada. The Alberta show is part of a three-part Discover Canada series especially filmed for American Public Television. I hope all our southern neighbours will in the words of Mae West, come on up and see us sometime!
Of course, the best part of all for me is that being involved in this project has just made me Savour Food and Savour Life in Alberta more than I already do! Here’s a few more photos I took last fall just to give you a sample of what’s going to be served up in this fantastic Taste Award Nominated show.
So many people look for food to enrich their travel. Exploring a city or country’s food is a great way to really get inside a culture and understand it. Food and culture have always been intricately linked.
Calgary Food Tours allows me to share my insights on how Calgary’s culture and food are linked with both local guests and visitors from around the globe. The culinary tours I’ve designed will help our guests discover all facets of Calgary’s culture. Here’s a dozen examples of how the links between our culture and cuisine play out in my business, life and city as follows:
Culinary Tourism and my trip to the 2013 Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop (@OKFWWWorkshop) in Kelowna, British Columbia were the topics of my most recent food column on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon . You can catch that podcast here. My column starts at the 17:53 mark in the show.
Albertans (and people from around the globe) love to visit British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley each summer. Kelowna alone receives 1.5 million visitors. I’ve been visiting regularly since I first went with my husband in 1987. We spend at least two weeks every year there now with our family. I never tire of going so I was naturally drawn to the @OKFWWWorkshop. My writing can always be improved and the whole area acts as a muse for me. It consistently inspires me to write.
This post will add more depth to my radio column’s outline of recent developments in culinary tourism in the Okanagan. I’ll also share some photos of the food, wine and general good spirits brought about by exploring the farm to table agri-tourism offerings in Kelowna. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed being there. Better yet, go and savour a little of the Okanagan good life for yourself.