Cross-Country Skiing.

These are just a few photos from when I attempted cross country skiing for the first time this winter. Overall it went pretty well. I found it was basically a mix between really fast snowshoeing and chill skiing. It is understandably a great way for people to get to point a to b, however who thought it was a good idea to ski uphill? Just so you know, it’s terribly exhausting.

Anyways, enjoy the photos and I’m kind of in a space right now where I want to redirect and focus all my hobbies and things I enjoy just down to the ones that are most helpful to other people.

Another Adventure Brought To You By Paul.

I'm a pretty strong believer that there should be people in your life who break your comfort zones on a frequent basis. Now the majority of my friends consistently create these scenarios in my life, and I’m not complaining, but Paul tends to do this more than most. The images below are from our 'short 2km hike to a gorgeous hot spring' that we did at the beginning of winter. Now if you’re familiar with any of my other escapades with Paul, you’ll know that his descriptions of difficulty and distance leave much to be desired. Immediately, I should have known to double the distance and maybe even triple it. In addition to the drastically undermined length of this hike, I should have really taken into consideration the difficulty when he was packing long rope and seemingly over preparing for a basic hike. I mean judging by his description of the end goal being a hot spring I just assumed any city girl wanting a new Instagram photo could easily navigate their way to this location. In one way it’s accurate because there is a pretty well-defined trail. It isn't until we reached the saddle between the two mountains where I really started to contemplate the simplicity of Paul’s description.

As we stoically stood, catching our breath, the arduous next few kilometres were right in from of us. Due to the immense amount of wind, the paths from previous people hiking to the hot spring were completely covered. We waited for a few fellow hikers on the trail to pass by so we could proceed along the uncomfortably steep trail that was sheltered from the wind. We wrapped around the corner that you can see Paul and Celine posing on when the wind really decided to escalate my trepidation. The four of us hesitantly made our way along the side of the snow-covered shale and then Sam (Paul's wife) slipped and began sliding down. She managed to dig her feet into the icy snow to slow her decent but we were all stunned. In the exact same spot Celine proceeded to do the exact same thing and then I think Paul might have just done it for fun. Regardless all three of them were not 50 feet further down the mountainside than I was and to their fortune, a little closer to our destination.

After walking a few more kilometres since the saddle, we arrived at the hot spring without any additional company. I didn't get in the water due to some sort of phobia of being wet for non-utilitarian purposes but it was exceptional being able to observe a serene and relatively unknown landscape. After everyone had time to soak in the warm waters and dry off in the relentlessly cold wind, we began hiking back for home.

Just this past long weekend we had the pleasure of hanging out with Paul and Sam again where more adventures occurred. I'll be posting about in the upcoming weeks so thanks again for reading and it would mean a lot if you shared any of my work with someone you think would enjoy joining in the journey.

Future & Contentment.

     The images this week are still from Troll Falls but they feature my wife Celine and our pup Aspen. An interesting thing occurs when you get married and have a dog (or for other people, kids); you have to increasingly be less and less selfish with your time and decisions. A lot of people might view that as being negative but in reality it forces you to mature and grow as an individual. You're not able to recklessly spend money on things you simply want but rather have to always be thinking about if that money could be used towards something that would make the lives of the ones you love better. Being selfless is never easy and my own selfishness was evident soon after getting married. Figuring out how to balance what you want and what someone else wants feels like an awkward dance at times and can really be uncomfortable. I think working through those sorts of instances brings growth for everyone involved, which creates a stronger relationship afterwards.

     I say all this because when it comes to important decisions, like where to live in the future, taking all things into consideration can be a struggle. Celine and I aren’t too sure where we want to end up but we know that friends our age need to be there and they mostly live south. I tend to have the problem of pondering so many ideas, or maybe even fantasies of different life paths, it’s easy for me to lose track of reality and the now. There are so many things I want to try, which makes me worried about attaining any sort of contentment. I could write an entirely separate post on that but I should conclude. I guess I’m saying I have no idea what the future has in store but I hope that we can spend it with friends and family in careers we find fulfillment in. I think my current dream is to live in a beautiful location with my work in a gallery, leading workshops or sharing my passion for photography with others to show how it can be used to create change in our world. Regardless of what I end up doing, I know I want Celine there with me and Aspen tagging along.

     Thanks for reading everyone; the next few weeks of posts will consist of a highlighted image with a description or back-story to it and then the rest of the outtakes from that particular trip. I hope you enjoy them and I’d love to hear any feedback or advice you have.

My Friend Nic.

     Well to say it bluntly, I never thought Nic and I would be friend at first. You’re probably thinking, “that’s an odd way to start a blog post,” and I agree. I can’t help but laugh to myself as I write that first sentence because it’s probably an unexpected first impression. Similar to your possible impression of this post, my first impression of Nic was one where I just didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately we somehow got to know each other a few months into my second year of college. We slowly became friends and two years later we’ve grown to know each other a lot better and made a lot of adventurous memories together. I appreciate Nic’s down to earth perspective on things along with his genuine personality when you get to know him. Not only do I find him hilarious in many regards but he’s also great to have on hikes when you want to be thinking about anything other than the burning in your lungs. I truly appreciate the process of Nic and I becoming friends and look forward to hanging out over the upcoming years.

     I hope you enjoy the photos from a hike at Troll Falls. Next week I’ll be sharing the other part with photos of Caleb and some things I kind of like about him! I’m planning to adjust how long I’m writing these so that I can be more consistent and sustainable in my posting frequency. If you haven’t yet, be sure to subscribe to my email list so you're notified every time I release a new post.

My Friend Michael.

     I’m really not too sure how many of my friends actually read my blog but I find it comical thinking that some of them do. I imagine them anxiously waiting to see if they get a post about them. Anyways, as you gathered from the title, this one is about Michael and will likely be the most difficult to write. Its not that I don’t have much to say about our friendship, rather I have plenty and don’t know how to articulate it all. I guess another part of it would be that he’s really well read and knows how to write infinitely better than I do. With that preface out of the way I want to just acknowledge how wonderful of a human Michael is.

     We haven’t been friends for that long in the grand scheme of life but already he is the one to blame, in the most positive sense of the word, for many of the things I’ve been rethinking over the past 3 years. One skill I admire most about people is their ability to remember things since I cant even remember the lyrics to my favorite song after listening to it over 600 times.  From what I’ve observed, Michael’s mind is like a sponge and the amount of reading he does on various ethical and theological topics is really impressive to me. It’s not just that he reads a lot but I see him trying to actively live out what he believes. For some people I think it can be uncomfortable because of how it starkly contrasts what the majority of society does. So often we intellectually claim that we believe something but then our actions have virtually no reflection of those claims. Even in my own life I’ve become aware of little cultural beliefs that are in tension with what the Christian tradition generally teaches. Anyways, every time I get to see Michael I look forward to it because of the meaningful conversations we might have and the laughter that inevitably ensues. I feel like I’m not fully expressing how much I appreciate our friendship in this post but I hope Michael knows how positively he’s influenced my life. Every message or conversation we share I’m overwhelmed with abundant joy and contentment for knowing that for some reason he choses to have me in his circle.

     The photos below are from our hike around Upper Kananaskis Lake and up to Rawson Lake. As you can see in some of them we decide to blaze our own trail through the thigh high snow. It was a blast not really knowing where we were going other than blindly following some snowshoe tracks. Thanks again for reading and I hope you don’t mind these semi personal posts. I like to keep the blog open to almost anything so if you don’t like my writing just check out the photos. haha