Shangrila: A remote, beautiful, imaginary place where life approaches perfection!

Thursday 24 – Saturday 26 July 3014

In an attempt to relax after dealing with the strain of sorting out Libby’s mums house, which was a hoarders paradise even after a huge weekend garage sale, we found 2 nights to head up to Shangrila, the families old back country cabin from 1929. It’s technically a ski cabin so out of use for much of the summer apart from for maintenance. We were joined for the trip by a friend from Edmonton, Wendy and her friend Cindy. It was a blast, they’re both hilarious, great ladies.

The hike in was pretty dismal, it rained nearly all the way, with snow, sleet and hail at the highest points and battering wind across the meadows. The total hike staring from Maligne Lake to the alpine meadow the cabin occupies is 14km, reaching highest elevation of 2,223m, coming up Little Shovel Pass we had the questionable luxury of some toilets, see pictures below. The hike in took us 5.5 hours with only the smallest of water stops, it’s not a hard hike as there’s a lot of switch backs so never any steep parts that feel like they are too much. The hardest part for me was towards the end of the hike coming down a slippy steep slope to the creek with one arm in a sling. In the end I had to relinquish my pack and accept my fate, I was going down on my bum and my beige trousers were going to be covered! When the cabin finally came into sight across the bog meadow it is safe to say we were all pretty relieved to see it, having set of late, partly due to me not knowing if my arm would be up to it, we stepped through the door at 8.30 pm.

I’ve always had a bit of a problem with toilets and my first trip to Shangrila with the family in 2009 didn’t help this. It was a complete outhouse shack. I was very excited to learn that they now had a $50,000 brand new toilet on site aptly named Shangraloo. You can imagine my disappointment when none of the keys we have will open the god dam lock! And the old outhouse is no longer in a useable state, so we have to resort to digging a latrine in the woods. I never for I’d manage it so being an utter toilet princess this was a huge achievement. I’m just going to have to go back once more to give this toilet a try out.

Hiking back out on Saturday we had a complete contrast in weather, it was beautiful. You could see for miles and the mountains were spectacular. The trail was popular and we bumped into a number of people we already knew and a very friendly Marmot. Sunbathing on the ridge with lunch and wine was almost the epitome of glamping.


I almost managed to go the whole trip without any incident, but being me that was never going to be completely possible. After being so careful with my arm for three days I get back to the house and slip at the bottom of the stairs to my room, the dog Oz had decided to pee there whilst we were away. Oh my life. That’s another bruise to add to the collection.

For history of Shangrila, a back country ski cabin, or if you are interested in renting it for your own trip, please visit:


One Wedding and a Funeral

In the space of a month I went to two of the biggest occasions that result in the reunion of many families, especially those that are spread out across a country or across the world, a wedding and a funeral. Neither of which were actually for my direct family at all, but rather I was lucky enough to be allowed in on these special, very personal occasions.

Taking the time out to go for a long weekend in Germany for a close family friend just under 2 weeks before leaving the country was probably one of the most stressful occasions in the run up to leaving home. Having nightmare issues with my India visa and not feeling anywhere near confident that my passport was going to be back in time to even get to Germany my hair was starting to feel like it might turn grey very quickly. I’d also panicked in the back of my mind that it might be just a bit too much, too close, but I knew my mum was really keen to go and felt bad if I didn’t go with her. So despite my own misgivings about the dates I told my mum to sign me up and booked our flights! And despite a last minute stress at London Luton airport that we were going to miss our flight we made it on board and had a fantastic weekend. I’m glad I went despite my original misgivings, we had fun, drank too much and I got to spend some quality time with my mum!


On arriving in Canada the family friends I am staying with were in the process of organising a memorial, celebration of life, for Lib’s mum who had passed away 4 days after her grandmother. You can’t make these stories up. It’s fascinating to watch the scenarios that occur as all the members of the family descend for this one day. The stress of hoping it will turn out all right and the relief when no one says anything they’re not supposed to and it all goes relatively smoothly. As a friend of the family it was interesting to sit back and watch all the different dynamics and despite people saying they were fine and they didn’t need so and so on the day the realisation dawned that they actually did. It also reenforced the idea that no matter what ‘family is family’ you can’t always live with them but you can’t live without them.

It’s also made me gutted that I am not at home this summer for family weddings of my own that I am not able to attend. Being away for an extended period of times aloes you to createsome great memories and visit fantastic locations but you miss out on the memory making moments of those close to you. And I especially love a good wedding!