A Year Has Past

ImageWow!!!  It’s hard to believe but a whole year has past since we started this blog. It is so easy to get caught up in life and to stop giving this page the attention it deserves. Well we have been to a few places and had some fun along the way so as I sit here at my computer glancing longingly out my office window, i’ve set new goals to get back to writing and showing you, the reader, new and sometimes exciting adventures. So grab a coffee and enjoy  . . . .

Visiting Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory

I had the opportunity to visit an Edmonton Landmark this past week and write a short article about it. Here is the introduction to the article. The rest of the story will be posted shortly.

Edmonton is a beautiful city. It is the capital city in the province of Alberta, Canada.

Some people think that once summer is over and the festivals have all wrapped up, the city becomes grey with winter’s dark shadows and white with cold blowing snow and fridgid tempetures.

Not necessarily so. Winter is a joyous time in Edmonton with lot’s to see and do. One local attraction is The Muttart Conservatory and Greenhouse.

044    045 The “Tropical Pyramid”

Many weddings are held here each year.

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While I was visiting I discovered that the “Feature Pyramid” changes themes every three months. In fact it just changed from a “Harvest Moon” theme to “The Nut Cracker” theme.

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More of this article coming soon.  Come read more where I reveal some interesting facts not widely known to the public .  .  .  .

 

This is Cattle Country

It’s been about twenty five years since I last worked with cattle, but I always wanted to be part of another cattle drive.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to take part in a trail ride and got hooked on the excitement of the ride and camaraderie of meeting new people with similar interests in horses.

From my research on the internet I discovered several horse owners and ranches in Alberta that offered everything from beginer trail rides to full blown cattle drives on horseback.

One such place is Lakeview Guest Ranch Ltd located near Sangudo Alberta owned and operated by Diana and Eckhard Krah. They offer trail rides all summer long. They also offer cattle drives with their partner ranch Riverwood Ranch located near Evensburg Alberta owned and operated by Bruce Greenwood. Diana handles the marketing for Riverwood Ranch.

After exchanging a few emails with Diana, I signed on to join the last cattle drive of the season. For a nominal fee you can feel like a real cowboy or cowgirl.

This will be great, I thought to myself but I did have some reservations about being on a horse for several hours when I wasn’t used to it. I had visions of myself walking like an eighty year old man for the next few days due to the proverbial “saddle sore”.

Saturday September 29 was a beautiful day. The sun was out and the tempurture would be in the high teens.

I made the one and a half hour drive out to the ranch and arrived at about 9:30 am. Trail boss and owner, Bruce Greenwood was out saddling horses with his daughter and partner, Meagan and immediately came over and introduced himself. After a few minutes of exchanging pleasantries, he went back to continue getting things ready as several more guests started arriving.

After about forty five minutes all the guests had their horses saddled and we gathered around for a safety briefing.

Finally Meagan showed me the horse I’d be riding. A beautiful Belgian cross mare named Freya, with a strong body and a neck as thick as a Califorina Redwood. Bruce later jokingly said her nick name is Sherman as in Sherman Tank because she could plow through any type of bush or rough terrain.

We all headed out to look for the cattle as a group. There were twelve to fifteen riders in total and we all talked amongst ourselves as we rode along the road and across some fields to where the cattle whould be.

It was exciting to ride along, guiding cows, calves and a few bulls to where we wanted them to go. Some ran into thick bush and a few of us went in to rout them out. “I feel like a cowboy in the 1880′s” I jokingly said to one of my fellow riders.

We actually did three seperate cattle drives in all and we all had a blast. With a little direction from Bruce, Meagan or Jennifer ( a volunteer at the ranch) we successfully guided all of the cattle to where they needed to be.

About 1:30 pm we stopped for lunch at a little valley campsite nesstled amongst pine and birch trees. Cooking smokies over an open fire was wonderful but getting off my horse to stretch my legs, after a couple hours on the trails, was heavenly.

After filling our bellys, we once again mounted these wonderful creatures and continued to take a tour of Riverwood Ranch and surrounding land.

As the day wore on we found ourselves riding along the Pembina river. Slow moving water with steep sloped cliffs on the other side made me remember some old western movies with similar scenery.

We finally made our way to a cabin where we led the horses out into a shallow part of the river to get a drink and cool their hooves.

We then dismounted and settled down with a beer or soft drink as a wonderful meal of beans, corn and pineapple chunks blended together was served along with big juicy hamburgers with cheese and all the side dishes and fruit. I ate so much I could barely walk.

Everyone either gathered around the camp fire or mingled at the cabin veranda and talked, laughed or stretched out on lawn chairs.

This was an incredible adventure for a city boy with cowboy roots.

I can’t wait until next season when the trails open up and Lakeview Guest Ranch and Riverwood Ranch offer trail rides and cattle drives again.

If you want a cowboy adventure close to the city talk to Diana at www.lakeviewguestranch.com

Maybe I’ll see you on the trails in the spring time.

I’ll be there .  .  .

Writen by

Martin Blair

Travel Writer

Riding The Trails

I love riding horses. Unfortunately I don’t own any and haven’t been on one in many years.

So recently I started thinking that there must be local stables or ranches that would let a person ride for a few dollars.  I began to search online and happily discovered several local horse owners with ranches, stables or farms where anyone could be a cowboy or cowgirl for a small fee. Everything from trail rides to cattle drives is available. Gosh I love the internet.

One such place is Longriders RV Park just outside of Gibbons Alberta. They have a large park where folks living or camping in recreational vehicles can stay for a few days or a few weeks. Longriders also has over fourty horses and a lot of land with open fields, narrow trails carved through thick bush and bodies of water to cross on horseback.

So I called the number listed and talked to a wonderful woman named Gwen. She informed me that there was a trail ride coming up the following Saturday so I signed up on the spot.

The week went by very slowly as I was excited and looking forward to this fun event. I did have some apprehension though as I had riden alot when I was much younger and had been bucked off several times. I thought maybe there is a reason why I hadn’t riden in so many years.

Finally the day came and I drove the twenty minute jaunt out to the ranch where I drove along gravel roads through the rv park to the correls where the horses were tied. I was greeted by Gwen and handed a waiver to sign. I guess if I fell off and got trampled they wouldn’t be responsible. I hope you can tell I’m kidding. I paid my $30.00 and eagerly took a look at the horses.

I discovered that there were nine riders in all for this trail ride.

The horses were lined up and in the process of being saddled.

I quickly discovered the horse they had for me. A sixteen year old Clydesdale cross  mare. This horse was huge! So big infact that I couldn’t reach the stirups. I had to use a stool to get on the thing. How embarrassing.

Once I was back in the saddle it felt natural and seemed like it had only been yesterday since I rode last. What a wonderful feeling.

The group I was apart of consisted of some children about ten or twelve years of age, their parents and a young couple who had never been on a horse before. This would be interesting.

We started to ride in single file. Our guide was a young girl of about twelve and another girl of about sixteen, Nicole brought up the rear.

At first we rode across a large open field in single file.

Then we rode onto some trails that led into thick bush.  These trails weaved in and out through muddy patches and up some steep hills then down a trail past a stream. My horse, named Tee Pee, had a nasty habit of trying to brush me off by walking close to the trees. I felt in complete control and Tee Pee soon knew I was the boss.

One hour went by fast but I knew my backside would be sore the next day so I was content to call it a day.

Would I recommend Longriders for trail rides? Absolutely. A one hour trail ride plus travel time is only a couple hours out of your day if you are coming from Edmonton. In fact I have booked another trail ride for next week and have a cattle drive booked for the end of the month.

I would strongly suggest anyone who has never riden a horse come out to Longriders and experience some cowboy fun.

Happy trails to you . . . .

Martin Blair – Travel Writer

New adventures coming soon

It’s been a few days since we’ve posted any of our adventures. Since we live in the beautiful city of Edmonton Alberta Canada we decided to act like tourists and take in and see alot of interesting sights that we haven’t been to ourselves. A Helicopter ride, a Hot Air Balloon ride, Edmonton Ghost Tours, the River Boat Paddle Wheeler, Farmers Markets, World Water Park, the Mind Bender Roller Coaster and lot’s more.

 

So hang tight and there will be lots of adventures to come as we show case our beautiful city.

 

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Enjoying the river . . . .

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A beautiful summer morning . . .  river city

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Breakfast at Uncle Albert’s . . . getting out to enjoy the day

 

Adventures coming soon . . . . .

 

Martin

Originally posted on authenticallyannamarie:

Grand Canal, VeniceI didn’t love Venice the first time I visited, 20 years ago.  Don’t get me wrong – I thought the city was spectacular and beautiful in so many ways and I was grateful that I was able to see the city at the time, but I didn’t love it.  It was another city to mark off my list during a backpacking trip through Europe. So when we put Venice on our itinerary during our recent trip to Italy, it was mostly because MOO wanted to visit this world heritage site rather than any personal desire on my part to see Venice again.

So I couldn’t have been more surprised when I realized that I had fallen in love with Venice this second time around. It  wasn’t your typical love at first sight.  I wasn’t struck with a cupid’s arrow or lightening bolt.   Rather, it was a slow-growing sense of…

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Grand Pacific Hotel Victoria BC

Originally posted on Hotels in Victoria BC:

Hotel Grand Pacific

Grand Pacific Hotel Victoria BC
463 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC
TOLL FREE 1-866-676-7078 Promo Code: HBC 3386

Guest Review
Superb hotel, tasteful, fabulously located on the harbour but opposite the noise of the boardwalk so much more pleasant than the Empresses location. All the staff were so pleasant, unpretentious and helpful. The food was excellent and the sport/ health facilities great . Top notch…a wonderful stay. We do intend to return.. … more

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