Backyard Adventures Canada

My 10 favorite things about Fall

October 30, 2014

Fall is without a doubt the best season. I can work through my brain fog of allergies to enjoy the gorgeous and breathtaking wonders of fall.

This fall, I have had the privilege of spending it on both sides of the country. Ontario still is #1 when it comes to the amazing colours.

Here is a list of my favourite things about Fall and a few pictures too look at along the way.

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Backyard Adventures Canada

What a show!

July 27, 2014

The Whitecourt Hometown Heroes Airshow just concluded.

I have no more words other than: IT. WAS. INCREDIBLE.

Here are some photos I took and you can find more on my flickr!

Backyard Adventures Canada

Up we GO!

July 15, 2014

I was invited to go flying and did aerobatics in a Pitts Special Biplane with pilot Stefan Trischuk at the Whitecourt Airport. We did some loopty-loops, barrel rolls, and even flew upside down. (Those are completely technical terms.) I think we got to 2.5 or 3 Gs.

It was awesome.

Also, FYI, I am not screaming in fright. I am WOOHOOing. It’s different.

The Whitecourt Hometown Heroes Air Show is July 26 and 27, 2014.

[vimeo 100771681 w=500 h=281]

Up we GO! from Olivia Rutt on Vimeo.


This Crazy, Addictive Rodeo Life

July 10, 2014

I recently wrote a features article about the ups and downs of being in a rodeo in the Whitecourt Press. I interviewed a number or rodeo competitors from the area and a rodeo announcer.

My article in the Whitecourt Press

My article in the Whitecourt Press

It’s a long read but here’s the article. I’ve also added in some photos from the Sangudo Rodeo.

This crazy addictive rodeo life

Your hand is secure. You can feel the muscles of the bull underneath your legs, hoping it will stay calm in the chute. You breathe. You clear your mind and nod.

The gate flies open and everything happened at once. The bull is out, bucking, as it takes everything in you to stay on. Those eight seconds are the longest and shortest eight seconds of your life. Then it’s over, whether you stay on or get bucked off, it is over.


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Backyard Adventures Canada

Doing things that make you proud: Climbing a 100ft fire tower

July 9, 2014

I woke up yesterday morning with a mixture of nervousness and excitement fighting within me. I was going to climb a 100-foot fire tower.

When I set up the climb with the Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, they told me not to worry if I can’t make it to the top. I shouldn’t be ashamed because not everyone can do it.

That made me more nervous. What if I couldn’t do it? I was more nervous about not being able to do it than the climb itself.



Arriving at the site was a bit of a struggle. I don’t have a 4×4 and driving those oil roads were a feat in themselves.

I received a brief orientation, was harnessed up, and clipped onto a metal cable. A clip the size of my fist and a cage surrounding the ladder were the only things stopping me from falling to my death.

I looked up ready to take my first step. My mind was filled with tips from orientation: take one step at a time, always have three points of contact, alternate between left and right, and most importantly, don’t be afraid of not going all the way.

I just told myself – okay I said it aloud – “Let’s do this!”


A little bit about the ladder: It is 100 ft straight up. It is surrounded by a metal cage. It is the only way to and from the lookout booth.

About 40 feet up, I’m at the tree line. It is my first real view of my surroundings. The first thing I notice is how tired my hands are. I have been gripping those ladder rails hard and my grip is going numb.

At 50 feet, I do the one thing I was told not to do: I look down. Thank goodness I am not afraid of heights. When I looked down, I smiled. Look how far I got. Then I look up. Oh god. I have so far to go.

At 80 feet, I am done. I can’t go on. My hands, my arms. I won’t be able to make it. But I made it that far. And there’s no way I’ll be able to climb down right away so I pushed myself 10 feet farther. As the hatch opened, I stumbled on the floor of the booth.

My arms were like noodles. My hands were forming into claws. My throat was dry. However, the best thing is I MADE IT.

The AMAZING view from above

The AMAZING view from above

I felt, literally and figuratively, on top of the world. So my advice: do those things that push you. As Babe Ruth said, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”  Maybe I should start this saying: “never let the fear of failure keep you from climbing the tower.”

Stay Curious,


Watch for my article in the Whitecourt Press out on Tuesday

Backyard Adventures Canada

Summer Solstice

June 22, 2014

Yesterday was the Summer Solstice. June 21, 2014. It is the beginning of summer and the longest day of the year (although scientifically it is not the day with the earliest sunrise or latest sunset, but I won’t get into that)

For millennium, different civilizations held great significance to the summer solstice. For me, it coincides with my mother’s birthday (Happy birthday Mom).

One of the items on my bucket list* is seeing the sun never set above the Arctic Circle. Although this wasn’t exactly what happened this year, I am farthest North I have ever been. Whitecourt sits at the 54th parallel, compared to home at the 43rd parallel. The farther North you travel, the longer the day is. For instance, today I had 17 hours and 10 minutes of daylight; compared to home that had 15 hours and 26 minutes.

It was a busy day for me running and covering so many events. I stuck around and watched the beautiful traditional dancers at Rotary Park for National Aboriginal Day. Also, bad on me for not wearing sunscreen, I’m a little bit crispy. So here are a few photos from the longest day of the year.

People practicing yoga for the Summer Solstice in Hard Luck Canyon

People practicing yoga for the Summer Solstice in Hard Luck Canyon

Traditional Dancer at Rotary Park for National Aboriginal Day

Traditional Dancer at Rotary Park for National Aboriginal Day

This little Caterpillar is so happy that it is finally summer.

This little Caterpillar is so happy that it is finally summer.

Sun will be up at 5:09 am tomorrow morning and as my dad would say, “The days are getting shorter as we head toward winter.”

Or as Ned Stark would say, “Winter is coming”

Canada Wandering

10 things you need to know about taking a cross country trip

May 31, 2014

So I left a couple of days ago for my third cross Canada trip, but the first one where I drove. Compared to being a kid when your parents make all the decisions, I learned a few things about the long haul that I would like to pass on.

1. Make sure to get your car serviced before you make the trip. My car needed an oil change at 16,000 km and it was going to hit that mark on my trip, so I got it serviced early to avoid the headache. My service person checks everything out for me, they topped up all my fluids, rotated the tires and even changed my wipers.

2. Have a good idea of an itinerary. Knowing where you want to stop for the day, stops along the way, and other breaks will help you stay on track and on time.

3. Don’t be afraid of breaking the itinerary. Our unexpected delay outside of Sudbury, caused us to change our itinerary. It was a great move, as the motel in Wawa was a lot nicer that the one we were going to stay at.

4. Snacks are your best friend. We were able to save money by buying one lump of food and not buying breakfast, lunch and dinner.  A cooler with protein shakes, carrots, pepperoni sticks, cheese, and water and a bag full of crackers, bread, wafers, bananas, chocolate almonds, and veggie stix were sufficient for our whole trip.

5. It’s good to stop every 400 kms or so. Stop for the bathroom, for a point of interest, or even just to stretch your legs. It was pretty easy to break up the trip between towns or points on interest

6. When packing your car make sure you are not cramped in the seat and have all your necessities within arms reach.

7. Podcasts. Even music gets boring after a while. Dad and I have a similar interest in history, so I downloaded the Stuff you Missed in History class podcast. It is quite interesting and most of them are only half an hour long.

8. It’s a great idea to stop at the first information kiosk when you pull over. We found ourselves on a new road that was not on the outdated map that we had, or on the garmin. Stopping at information will give you the most update maps and it can give you some ideas of where to stop in the province.

9. Keep your eye out for the roadside information attractions. There are some neat attraction stops along the highway and you get to learn a little bit of history on the way. Some of the ones we passed by are: the halfway point of the TransCanada hwy, the Arctic/Atlantic watershed divide, the longitudinal centre of Canada,  the provincial boarders, and the boarder of where Northwest Territories was in 1877.

10. Keep your camera up front. There are so many amazing photo opportunities on the side of a highway, and you never know when you might come across wildlife. They could run away before you get that camera out.