Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons

Winter is my least favorite season, but it is a long, cold reality in Canada. I find fresh snow beautiful when it covers the trees and landscape around me, but I still struggle to enjoy this season.

It is snowing again!

It is snowing again!

This winter I have made an effort to appreciate it by cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing. When I force myself out the door to go for a walk, a run or go skiing my mood immediately improves. However, when it doesn’t snow and the temperatures dip below zero I look out the window and see the dull, dirty snow in the yard I simply want to hibernate in my cabin and wait for spring. Golden Tips also likes lounging in the cabin rather than going out with his new scarf to enjoy the winter.

Tips wearing his new scarf.

Tips wearing his new scarf.

The positive news is that the deer are hanging out around our place and this is a sign that spring is just around the corner.

I spotted these deer yesterday.

I spotted these deer yesterday.

Another deer going for a stroll in the afternoon.

Another deer going for a stroll in the afternoon.

This is my take on the weekly photo challenge, and now Golden Tips is going out with me for a walk in the snow before it changes to rain – another sign that spring is on its way. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Time

There is never enough time to do all the things that I set out to do some days. Yesterday was a prime example. I wanted to post something for the weekly photo challenge, but I didn’t find the time in my busy day of shoveling snow, grooming a cross-country ski trail, and skiing.

Today, I have time to share photos of how I used my time yesterday. During the night, we got a fresh snowfall of about 20 centimeters (8 inches). Here is a view of the snow in my driveway at 7 in the morning.

View from the veranda.

View from the veranda.

It took a little over an hour to clean off the vehicles, and clear the snow out of the driveway.

After the clean up.

After the clean up.

Fresh, clean snow.

Fresh, clean snow.

While I was shoveling  I asked my brother to use his snowmobile and sled to make a path for skiing on a road that is not used during the winter. All he had to do was ride to the end of the road, make a loop and come back through the woods. I figured this would take him about ten minutes, but save me a ton of time. (This is my new method to groom a cross-country ski trail.)

Previously, this winter I spent two or three days making a trail with my skis and very little time actually skiing. Why didn’t I think of this earlier? Anyhow, I started from my yard and broke a path to the start of the trail.

Where is the groomed trail?

Where is the groomed trail?

Fifteen minutes later, I reached the groomed section and I was able to enjoy the winter wonderland of rural Canada.

Finally, the groomed trail, straight ahead.

Finally, the groomed trail, straight ahead.

The route continues.

The route continues.

I love zooming down this little hill.

I love zooming down this little hill.

Turn around point.

Turn-around point.

Through the woods and eventually back to the starting pint.

Through the woods and eventually back to the starting point.

After two hours of cross-country skiing, I returned home  and used the rest of my time yesterday to recover.

Enough exercise for today!

Time to call it a day!

Now, it is time for me to go skiing!

 

Al Baleed Archaeological Site

Last October after visiting the Dhofar region of Oman  I got sidetracked with life in my cubicle, office duties and some unexpected events that pulled me away from this cubicle and blog. Now, things are getting back to normal and today I have some free time in my cubicle to reminisce about my trip.

After a couple of hectic day of sightseeing and visiting Marneef Cave, Mughsayl Beach and Al-Shaat Sinkhole we decided to stay in Salalah to visit the Al-Beleed area, do some shopping and enjoy a day relaxing without anything major on the agenda. We spent the morning visiting the park and frankincense museum.

The history of Al-Baleed goes back to pre-Islamic times. It was an important settlement during the late Iron Age (2000 B.C.) and it became a prosperous city during the Islamic era. Today Al-Baleed serves as a quiet and peaceful park to relax and watch birds. This is what we did for about an hour or so before heading to the shopping mall to escape the hot and humid weather.

The Al-Baleed Archaeological Site (The Land of Frankincense)  is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Marneef Cave, Mughsayl Beach and Al-Shaat Sinkhole

Finally, some free time in my cubicle to reflect on my trip to Salalah. After the little fender bender and exhausting drive from Nizwa to Salalah on the first day I woke up much later than usual, had breakfast and got ready for a day of sightseeing in Salalah. Our first destination was Al-Marneef Cave, located about 45 kilometers away at Al-Mughsayl Beach. It took a little over an hour to get there and by noon the temperature was unbearably hot. It is supposed to be cooler in this part of Oman but the temperature approached  40°C (104°F) by noon. With the humidity it seemed even hotter.

The cave is not that interesting but the surrounding area offered some gorgeous scenes. The blowhole at Al-Mughsayl Beach is an awesome attraction for youngsters. Although it was hot I didn’t feel inclined to stand over the hole and get sprayed with smelly sea water.

The visitor’s center across the street from the cave was closed. It appeared abandoned until next Khareef (main tourist season that takes place in July and August). Then we discovered a small shop selling tea nearby and we decided to stop and have our packed lunches away from the crowds and the heat of the midday sun.

In the afternoon, we visited the sinkhole located in Al-Shaat, another 50 kilometers of winding roads though the Dhofar Mountains.

The sinkhole itself was not that exciting but the journey to it offered some spectacular views of the Arabian Sea.

I had better end this post here and get back to my job in my cubicle.

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

On the weekend when I have a break from my cubicle I like to explore some of the local sights and escape into the mountains away from the noise and chaos of Nizwa, a city under construction.

This past week temperatures have climbed to 40 degrees Celsius (over 100°F) by noon which means that doing anything outdoors becomes uncomfortably hot. The only  way to escape the heat is to head for higher ground. So, yesterday I joined some friends hiking in the Al Hajar Mountains in Oman. After driving upwards into the mountains for an hour we came to a dirt road and continued for about thirty minutes before parking the vehicle and hiking to the top of one of the peaks in the Al Hajar Mountain Range. At the top, we were welcomed by a friendly goat who posed on top of the ridge for a photo with us.

To participate or to view more interpretations of this week’s photo challenge head over to the Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Three

My interpretation of this week’s photo challenge at the Daily Post.

One of the greatest things about living in a rural setting is the nature that surrounds you. I love watching the deer wander around my yard even when they nibble on my cedar trees and tramp up my lawn in the spring.

Living in an industrial city in the Middle East provides few opportunities to see wildlife in its natural environment. The only animals I see are stray cats. Lately, as the weather starts to change to hotter days I find myself thinking about home. If I was at home I would be able to look out my window and see at least three deer hanging out in my yard, looking for something to munch on after a long cold winter. (My husband sent me these photos this morning.)

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