Last weekend, we went out to Astotin Lake (basically our favourite spot at Elk Island!) for the sunset. I brought along my camera and tripod in hopes of getting some nice sunset shots. Unfortunately the clouds moved in and it wasn’t the sky I’d hoped for… but I have to say, I kind of love how these turned out anyway!

I also thought I’d mention that these shots were taken fully on manual mode! I had enough time to set my camera up properly without feeling stressed and with a little patience, trial and error, and (let’s be honest) a little help from google, I was able to get some shots I really like.

Astotin Lake Sunset | karendrakeblog.comAstotin Lake Sunset | karendrakeblog.comAstotin Lake Sunset | karendrakeblog.comAstotin Lake Sunset | karendrakeblog.com

By this time, the wind direction had changed and smoke from the campsites started to blow in over the lake. And the mosquitos were intense. I had repellant spray on so I wasn’t getting bitten, but they actually were making it difficult to shoot! I had to edit sooo many blurred bugs out of these photos. (I’m sure I missed some too. I kind of gave up after a while, ha!)

Astotin Lake Sunset | karendrakeblog.comAaand the last little bit of light before we decided to head home.

Astotin Lake Sunset | karendrakeblog.com

I definitely have a lot more practice to do when it comes to manual… it still stresses me out. But I’m good with small steps like these. I find that when I’m learning something new or trying to create a new habit, small steps are key… especially when they involve stepping out of my comfort zone. (out of auto!) These photos are a small step to shooting in manual. They aren’t perfect by any means but I’m proud of them nonetheless.

  • Kristi Jasik - Pretty epic pictures!!! The colors are just incredible! I have to admit I sat here LOOKING for the mosquitos you MAY have missed…sigh, I need to get out more! FYI I didn’t find any….I think these are terrific and I proud of you learning new techniques! The first picture of the canoe…we’ve been doing a church age study on Wednesday nights for a while and Bro Danny always starts with a picture of the people in a canoe saying its fellowship, two men in a ship…lol, then he shows it again at the end as he closes…your picture made me think of Bro Danny today…lol. He’s in Germany I think! Keep up the good work!!!ReplyCancel

  • Barb D - Wow….just simply wow!!! I have a bad habit I must simply find time and correct it….I check ur blog way too seldom and then when I do check in I am amazed and awed always always at ur unbelievable talent in photography!!! I am so proud of you.
    Ur pics are a pleasure to view and They make me feel like I have been there…..also it is such a treat to see ur beloved faces and smiles!!!
    Thank you for this blog and for sharing ur life in photos….we miss so much being apart from each other and at least this way you don’t feel so far away.
    One of ur biggest fans!!!!
    Love u
    Mom DReplyCancel

  • Susanna - I wanna say that I miss and hope you will be still write posts.ReplyCancel

Each year for our wedding anniversary, Levi and I have been able to go on some sort of getaway in the mountains for the weekend. For our first anniversary, we went to Fairmont Hot Springs in British Columbia. For our second, we stayed in Canmore. This year, we stayed near Jasper National Park. I’m so thankful for the opportunity we’ve had every year to be able to take these trips. I cherish the time spent together, especially since Levi’s job takes him out of town quite often. It can get very lonely being at home without him for a week or more at a time… but it makes weekends like this all the more special.

We drove to the mountains on the Friday evening after our anniversary and returned Sunday afternoon… it was short but sweet and oh, so wonderful. This year, thanks to some accumulated rewards points, our hotel stay was free… which is pretty awesome. And we had a beauuutiful view from our room.

(I’m gonna warn you before we go any farther… there are over 100 photos in this post! So grab a coffee or an energy drink… maybe a snack… this one’s a long one.)

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.com

Saturday morning, we did the Maligne Canyon hike. Being that it was a weekend and we didn’t arrive until 10am, I expected it to be fairly crowded. To my surprise, it wasn’t at all. We chose to start at the 5th bridge and we were actually the only vehicle in the parking lot when we headed out.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

The views were just stunning.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

The signs weren’t super informative (it looked like they used to be, but a lot of the information had faded) so we mistakenly took the “upper path” which took us away from the canyon on the hike up.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

Eventually, the path we were on connected to the one next to the canyon… and we were kind of amazed at just how deep it was. These photos just don’t capture the scale.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

Normally this water is a gorgeous icy aqua blue colour, but with the spring runoff it was very muddy.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

Can you see it? It’s the first bridge! Nearly there.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

Sap droplets on a tree… I thought this was pretty cool looking. And also a huge boulder lodged between the canyon walls. I think it looks like a heart!

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

Aaaand we made it to the first bridge! This was quite a feat for me. This was probably the most challenging hike I’ve ever done.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

Weird pose/facial expression photo to prove I made it.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

And selfie! Also a love lock! Not ours, but it made me smile to see it.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

On the way back down, we took the path by the canyon and came across a very Canadian tree, a waterfall, some beautiful blue pools, and a couple of fallen trees in the path.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

We ate the lunch we’d packed back at the car and headed for our next destination… Pyramid Island! We saw this cute creature on the way…

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Maligne Canyon Trail | karendrakeblog.com

Pyramid Lake amazed me. I would love to see this in the summer… but just look at how even the ice is that gorgeous aqua blue!

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Pyramid Lake | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Pyramid Lake | karendrakeblog.com

Fake smiles for daaayyys.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Pyramid Lake | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Pyramid Lake | karendrakeblog.com

The iconic view of the island. Obsessed. Also, on the left side of the island you can see a bench peeking out. I’ll get to that in just a second.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Pyramid Island | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Pyramid Island | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Pyramid Lake | karendrakeblog.comRemember that bench I mentioned? I turned a corner to see this. Embarrassing as it is, I gasped out loud. In front of strangers. This is one of the most beautiful ceremony locations I’ve ever seen… and I’m already making plans for a 10 year vow renewal here. ha. Just look at the view though!

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Pyramid Island | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Pyramid Island | karendrakeblog.com

We took a picture here… and as you can tell it was very cold and windy.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Pyramid Island | karendrakeblog.com

We stopped at Patricia Lake so I could grab a few photos. The aqua colour was even more intense. Like I said… I really want to come back in the summer! Camping trip in Jasper maybe?

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Patricia Lake | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Patricia Lake | karendrakeblog.com

Canadian roadblock…

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.com

And our last stop in the park for the day… Miette Hot Springs!

We’d been to both the Banff hot springs and the Fairmont hot springs and were a tiny bit disappointed in the Banff ones. These however were amazing! There were four different pools at four different temperatures (the natural spring water has to be cooled for even the hottest one!) The view was amazing and so was the water. It felt so good to soak our muscles after our hike. We’ll definitely be back again.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Miette Hot Springs | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Miette Hot Springs | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Miette Hot Springs | karendrakeblog.com

Sheep right outside the Miette cabins!

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Miette Hot Springs | karendrakeblog.com

And a grouse!

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) - Miette Hot Springs | karendrakeblog.com

And finally back to our hotel to freshen up and go for supper. We went to Mr. Mikes steakhouse… a favourite of ours!

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.com

The sunset back at the hotel was amazing. (All these photos taken through the window!)

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.com

The next morning we checked out of our hotel and drove through William A. Switzer Provincial Park just outside of Jasper. I was hoping to hike up to a lookout but the path was still under quite a bit of snow and we weren’t equipped for it. Next time! The view on our drive was still absolutely incredible though.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.com

More animal friends! I saw so many deer in this park.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.com

Gregg Lake!

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.com

These geese really made us laugh. The ice was very thin… but also very blue and they were very confused as to where the water was. And they kept trying to get up on the ice but as soon as the second one would follow, the ice would cave in and they would both sink again.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.com

Finally! They both made it! ha.

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.com

Exploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.comExploring Jasper (Anniversary Weekend Getaway) | karendrakeblog.com

And from here we made the drive back home. I’m so thankful for our adventures together and the ability we have to travel to as many beautiful places as we do. Weekends like this one leave me completely in awe of the fact that I get to call this beautiful place my home!

  • Kristi jasik - I have looked at these pictures 2 times now…all I can say is “OH MY GOODNESS” just such beautify…the trees, the rocks, bridges, mountains water and waterfalls, just EVERYTHING! I want to come back and go to Jasper again, the animals are adorable! I’m so glad you posted these, brings back my wonderful memories spent with you two. So glad you were able to get away again! Thank you for the post…and the wonderful memories of my time with you too…a bonus! Wish I could have seen the geese…LOL, I can imagine it tho!ReplyCancel

    • Karen - hahaha “oh my goodness”. yes it was definitely an oh my goodness trip. you definitely would have been giggling at the geese. we will definitely do Jasper again! we barely scratched the surface of everything there is to see.ReplyCancel

  • Kira - WOW! These photos are amazing. I have got to drag Chris out there to visit!!
    What a great anniversary get away 💕ReplyCancel

  • Jeannette - These photos are absolutely gorgeous!! I would love to travel there someday. Karen you have an awesome gift in photography.ReplyCancel

    • Karen - thank you so much! :) I hope you get the chance to someday! Jasper is truly incredible and leaves me in awe every time we visit.ReplyCancel

  • Susanna - I am so impressed. Those photos are great…everything is so beautiful. You made great job. The best way to spend anniversary you choose. Your photos remind me how great God we have got, he made everything so amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - Hi, Karen! I love your photography – you have been given a great gift! I agree about the natural chapel for a renewal of vows. How gorgeous! what better place to covenant before God than surrounded by the work of is Hands? Thank you for sharing.. You are missed! <3ReplyCancel

weekly goals on karendrakeblog.com

Last week’s goals:

1. Track My Points: A+
I tracked every food I ate, measured out my portions properly, and by the end of the week used a little over half of my extra weekly points. I feel so much better overall, my clothes feel more comfortable, and I lost three pounds! I’d call that a successful first week.

2. Workouts: A+
4 times this week! I hit my workout goal for the first time in a while. Aaaand I realized something pretty cool. When I started out with this upper body workout four-ish weeks ago, I was doing 10 moves and 10 reps of each of those moves for a total of 100 reps. And I was dying by the end of it. Now I’m doing 15 (or more depending on my energy level) moves and 15 reps of each… which means I’m doing 225+ reps each workout! I’ve more than doubled what I was doing at the start and I’m kinda proud of that.

3. Finish Jasper Photos: A+ 
They’re finished, uploaded to my site, and are waiting to be published tomorrow!

This week’s goals:

1. Workouts
Upper body and squats again. I’d like to make it to 2 sets of 10 reps of each move by the last workout this week. That might be a bit of a lofty goal but I think I can push myself and do it!

2. Edit Photos on Camera
Well, technically they’re not on my camera anymore- I just uploaded them to my computer. But I have a few photos to edit and post hopefully sometime this week.

3. Backup + Cleanup Computer
My computer desktop is a mess and it’s driving me a little crazy. Also I have a video I’d like to edit, but I can’t download the video editor until I update my computer OS. Which I can’t do until my computer is properly backed up in case something goes wrong.

4. Go Through Camping Gear
Levi and I are hoping to go camping this weekend if the weather forecast looks okay so I need to go through our gear and sort out what’s what and just do some general organization.

. . .

I also need to do some general housework and yard work- tidying, cleaning, laundry, weeding, watering, etc. And figure out how to fix my coffee machine that stopped working this morning. Happy Monday to me, right? ha. At least I have my french press. And Starbucks right down the road if necessary.

I’m off now to drink another cup of coffee and tackle some of this to-do list of mine. What are you guys hoping to get accomplished this week? Leave a comment below and let me know!

  • Kristi Jasik - Good job!!!! Keep up the great work! Oh a broken coffee maker is NOT the best way to start a day….sigh. Hope you fixed it!ReplyCancel