Hiking: Owl’s Head

More hiking was set for us on that week of staycation we had. With a little research, we found our second location which is rather nearby to Montreal also at a offseason ski resort, Owl’s Head. I’ve only ever heard of it before. Owl’s Head, just like most ski locations but hiking spots in the summer/fall, are really another type of beast. They have some designated paths but mostly, its a free walk uphill. Owl’s Head was no different. In fact, the trek up was pretty intense. it was incredibly steep and pretty tiring for such a short walk. We didn’t make it all the way but we did get almost there except for a winding path that went up to a booth or ski station or something. However, the view along the way opened up over a lake and with the leaves changing colors, it was really breathtaking.

Here are some shots of what we saw. It gives an idea of how steep it was and also the views we saw. On our way down, we actually encountered a cute little fellow and I took a little video of it.

Owl's Head

Owl's Head

Owl's Head

And for our little porcupine encounter. This porcupine is definitely not full grown but then I’m not a porcupine expert. It was adorable as heck as it walked around forward and in circles and forward more and then went up the hill. It was a slightly windy day so sorry about all the windy  noises.

A lovely  little location for a short but challenging hike. It was getting cooler that day and on the hills near where we saw the porcupine, there was frost forming on the grass. Still, we enjoyed it a lot. Sometimes, hiking can really get to us and we want to give up but when we turn around and see all the natural beauty around us, it gets us all pumped up again to go higher and makes it all worth it!

Hiking: Parc Regionale des Sept-Chutes

It has become a tradition to go for a hike on Thanksgiving Day to hopefully catch the last bit of fall colors that October has to offer. This year’s prolonged summer helped the leaves change colors later and stay on the leaves longer. This year, we also took a beautiful staycation to just relax and take care of stuff and spend some time together while also celebrating our first year wedding anniversary. We particularly wanted to do more hiking to bask in the quiet time. Last year this time was tons of fun but it was also crazy busy for last minute wedding preparation. This year is much different and one that we enjoyed a lot. Regardless, the first little trip out was perhaps two hours out of Montreal. It turned out to be quite the hot spot because we almost didn’t have anywhere to park and had to turn around. Luckily, things worked out in the end and after registering at the office, we set off for the hike.

This is actually a pretty challenging trail because its part of climbing up rocks and lots of up and down slopes. There are waterfalls along the way to see and the view at the top is absolutely worth it as you will see. Here is a few shots I thought turned out really nice!

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

Parc Regional des Sept Chutes

The trail was pretty long. It took us about 3 to 4 hours to go through the entire hike. It actually was a lot of fun as well to have to climb up and down. There are various trails here and we took a little shortcut to make it back down a little faster as we started out on the hike only in early afternoon and we needed to make it back before it got dark. The summit is the shot with all the trees and the road going through it. In the other side, you see the lake from up top. As we go down, we hit another waterfall and lots of water pictures which are my personal faves. Plus, there was that whole area with the yellow trees that was captivating to walk through.

This is really something and definitely a trail I’d want to go back to explore eventually! If you are in the area and enjoy some fun and challenging hikes, this one is a great choice! 🙂

Vancouver & Kelowna: Vancouver Aquarium & Lynn Canyon Park

We’re finally here! The recap of the final day of vacation over on the Canadian West Coast. For this one, we took up our courage and headed to the Vancouver city central towards Stanley Park to go to Vancouver Aquarium and get an indoor activity before heading out to Lynn Canyon Park & Suspension Bridge. We talked with some of the locals there (my mom’s friends) and they told us that Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is almost as pretty as Capilano Suspension Bridge which charges more and is higher. This is a great choice for it being free and having just a lower canyon but still really  nice to walk through.

Vancouver Aquarium

As you can see, Vancouver Aquarium has all sorts of stuff, its not just fishes and rays and giant turtles and sharks. It also has monkeys and birds, etc. It is a pretty cool experience. Something else I like is that they don’t do a lot of shows with the animals. Only the dolphins are in these shows. The porpoises and belugas up top are actually in a training session which is like the trainer talks about these animals and how they came here and their story while giving them a little workout explaining why certain moves helps them to make sure they are healthy. In other cases, they also talk about the wildlife preservation centre that people can call if they ever believe that a marine animal is in danger and needs their assistance so that they can get them healthy and send them back to the wild. While I haven’t seen the documentary on Blackfish, I like the fact that it may be because of things like that documentary which make aquariums more aware about their transparency on how they are treating the animals with them.

Regardless of that, I like going to aquariums quite a bit and Vancouver Aquarium isn’t exceptionally different but they have their forte and is a rather educational process. They have a few different species of animals. My favorite is always the jellyfish tank and also seeing the porpoises and also going to the touch tank and getting to touch rays.

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

As I mentioned above, we indeed skipped the really well known Capilano suspension bridge. I have been there before when I was around eight years old. However, in my mind, Lynn Canyon Park was really beautiful. It was a rainy day but everything was absolutely lovely just with the rainforest and the tall trees towering over us. It was a great place to go. And a nice way to round up our vacation with a nice light hike around. It didn’t  take too long but was good enough to give us time and energy to head back to the hotel and pack up for our trip home the next day.

Overall, the Vancouver and Kelowna trip was a lot of fun. We had some fantastic scenery and we had an enjoyable time seeing all the relatives. We got to hike and eat some great food and even fangirl over Storybrooke. There are still a ton of activities we didn’t get to do because of time and hopefully we will return again eventually.

This vacation’s post is done now but as we speak I just got back to work this week after a week off for a lovely staycation where did also went out to do some hiking so that will follow for what seems like Vacation Tuesdays here. 😉 We do have some day trips planned before winter hits so hopefully this segment will go on for at least another few weeks.

Vancouver & Kelowna: Hiking in Whistler & Squamish!

How fast does vacation go by, right? We’re looking back at Day 6 of vacation over at Kelowna and Vancouver this year. It is funny because I am on a staycation as this post goes up and just taking it easy. Still, looking back  at this vacation still makes my heart flutter with joy. We went to some amazing places especially Kelowna having some incredible scenery. Day 6 of vacation that we are recapping today is also one of our most emotional and awesome days of the trip. We headed out to Whistler and Squamish but not before forgetting my coat at the breakfast place we went to and realizing an hour or so into the trip. Luckily, we were heading to Whistler village so at least there would be a possibly of finding something to wear if it got chilly and man, did it get chilly!

Whistler Village

After the shopping priority and picking up a North Face Sweater and Eddie Bauer cap to fight the rain and cold, we walked a little more around Whistler Village.

Whister Village

Whistler Village

Whistler Village reminded us heavily of Mont Tremblant village near Montreal.

Lost Lake Park

With that done, we headed off for a hike. Actually Lost Lake Park was more of a walking trail with a little bit of hills here and there. A part of the path was blocked off to preserve wildlife, aka toad migration. So we took a detour, got a little turned around, the rain got heavier and then we finally figured it all out and went back to our car for the next spot.

Lost Lake Park

Lost Lake Park

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish

Next stop is heading back towards Vancouver where we pass through Squamish and took the Sea to Sky Gondola. Note to all of you is that my husband is REALLY not comfortable with heights. I am also and gondolas make a little nervous especially at the steepness of this one at the beginning portion so we both picked up all our courage to do this and let us just say that it was extremely worth it even with some heavy rain and fog. Plus, we somewhat got stranded there as they investigated a potential issue which turned out all good thankfully. I like these companies being safe so it didn’t bother me too much when they told us they had to stop it for a while.

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola is so worth it. I didn’t really put a lot of the trail but it is really fun to walk through it and the plants and trees are cool. Plus, there are a few lookout points. We encountered a lot of fog as you saw that came in really thick and dispersed later on but it was still fantastic scenery. I totally recommend it. Its a little pricey but really worth it.

That’s it for Day 6 of vacation!
Check back next week for the last day of vacation in Vancouver! 🙂 

Vancouver & Kelowna: Redwood Park & Iona Jetty Regional Park

Welcome to Day 5 of my vacation this year in Vancouver and Kelowna! We are done with the Kelowna portion at this time but head over to Travel on the menu on top and it will go to the previous posts.

Day 5 is the first full day in Vancouver. We ended up doing two walking trails and going for some shopping.

No day starts without breakfast. Next door to us was IHOP. We both have never tried it so we went to give it a go.

IHOP Richmond

After that, we headed out to Redwood Park. My husband’s goal for this trip was to see sequoia trees and we heard there was in this park. It was a rainy day but had a break when we got there so it was a nice cool walk through the woods. The trails were a bit confusing but we ended up figuring out where everything was. It isn’t particularly a huge park but it was a pretty forest and we enjoyed it.

redwood park

redwood park
redwood park

redwood park

When we left, it started to rain really hard. You will see in the next few days, we won’t care as much and still pack up the days but seeing as we still had time, we made a stop at Mall Metropolis at Metrotown to try to find a raincoat for my husband since he didn’t have a jacket to better prepare for the next few days and ended up with the majority of the stuff on the shopping haul post HERE! Still, what captured me was this awesome Nintendo booth!

20160831_135724

Upon leaving the mall, the rain had died down a little more and we had eaten a quick lunch in the food court. We finally decided to head back to Richmond which is where our hotel is and decided to make a stop at Iona Jetty Regional Park.

Iona Jetty Regional Park

Iona Jetty Regional Park

Iona Jetty Regional Park

Iona Jetty Regional Park

Iona Jetty is a long walkway stretching out like a pier. It is right next to the landing strip at the airport so you can see planes landing in front of you all the time. There is a small beach there and wildlife to observe. However, most people go for the walk to whatever distance. We did a few kilometers and decided to turn around mostly because we had a family dinner later that night and had to freshen up and head out.

Unfortunately, my phone went crazy and we didn’t take any pictures of the dinner.

This wraps up Day 5 of vacation! 🙂
Day 6 is going to be a bit different because we went to a lot of picturesque places.

Vancouver & Kelowna: Vancouver & Visiting Storybrooke!

It is time to leave the beautiful Kelowna and the wonderful Okanagan Valley. With an early start to hit the road, we got Vancouver at a decent time. There was a lot of dropping off everyone at different locations. My mom stayed with her high school friend to chat and have fun and ended having lunch with them. My aunt and cousin went to their friends’ place before heading back home. We all said our goodbyes and it was officially the start of our belated honeymoon (since we didn’t have one last year when we got married)

The first stop was the lunch mentioned before which was at this wonton joint in a sketchy-looking place that drove my husband crazy with our parking story when a lady would not budge after he signaled to park. The joys of a big city, my friends. That is pretty much what we got from the entire trip which was not great especially driving a giant car like a  Ford Explorer, tight parking spots, unknown places and lots of traffic. It is one of the reasons why we usually don’t vacation in mega cities much just because we already live in one. So you’ll notice in the next few days that we actually don’t stay in Vancouver a lot but head out into the outskirts. That’s for the next few posts.

Lunch

20160830_131145

Steveston (aka Storybrooke)

Steveston

Steveston

Steveston

Steveston

Steveston

Steveston

Dinner at Moxie’s

Moxie's

Moxie's

Moxie's

Moxie's

That’s it for Day 4 of the trip! Not a lot really happened. The meals were decent. Steveston was really nice and gorgeous. It was relaxing and comfortable to walk around the town and by the waterfront. The highlight was definitely Steveston! I totally fangirled in Storybrooke. I will be getting back on track with Once Upon a Time soon!

Vinyard Terrace Restaurant (Kelowna, Canada)

We talked about lunch in the last vacation post. It was a classy lunch at the Cedar Creek Winery Estate. The restaurant is called Vineyard Terrace Restaurant (or some spots say Terrace Restaurant).

Cedar Creek Winery Estate is absolutely gorgeous. You can see the pictures on the day recap HERE. To sit on their outdoor terrace to look out at the vineyard with a little bit of breeze and eat a delicious meal was really a fantastic experience. Especially with great company.

Let’s check out the food! 🙂

Wines

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

We only had 3oz-6oz glasses, not the entire three bottles.

Appetizers

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Wise Earth Carrot Salad

20160829_115039

Can’t find this one’s name but I think something to do with heirloom tomatoes or something….

I’m not sure if you’ve ever had those nantes carrots variety but we love it at our place. We recently started eating the multicolor ones and they are so good. This one with a little bit of spices to aid the taste but not overpower the actual carrots’ natural deliciousness was awesome!

Main Dish

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Wild Moon Organic Pork

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Seared B.C. Albacore Tuna

Dessert

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Maple Apple Tart

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Callebaut Chocolate Mousse

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Okanagan Fruit

Okay, I’m guessing you all can figure out that I got the Okanagan Fruit. I always complain about how the alternative for lactose-intolerance is either sorbet or fruits. I’ve never honestly enjoyed a fruit cup more than this one. Okanagan fruits are so good. The peaches and berries. This fruit cup was with sabayon which they described as a sweet hollandaise sauce. I only learned then that hollandaise sauce is just egg whites, same as sabayon, which is why I could have it and it is a really good balance.

Overall, this was a great restaurant experience. We all enjoyed the mains as well. The dessert was delicious as well as the appetizers. The wine was quite good as well. I had the 2014 Riesling. My cousin has the 2015 Senator’s White. My husband, my mom and my aunt shared a bottle of 2014 Gewurztraminer. I guess I should have mentioned it up with the wines.

Have you ever eaten at a winery restaurant? If so, where?