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The lady I met outside Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco.

On January 9, 2017, I visited the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It was a nice cool day. The average temperature in Morocco in January on any given day hovers around 13 degrees Celsius.  With an average low of 7 degrees and a high of 18 degrees Celsius. The Mosque was beautiful!

But there was one thing that happened on that day that I will never forget. After the tour of the Mosque, I had some time to walk around the Mosque outside and take photos. While I was wandering around admiring the art and detail of the building, I noticed a women all by herself staring out to the sea. I looked at her for a couple of seconds, I thought to my myself “she’s probably thinking about her life and enjoying the view”. I quickly took a photo of her (I plan on framing the photo and hanging it up). I made my way to the fence where she was standing because I wanted to check out the view of the sea as well. When I got closer to her, I noticed she was crying out loud. I immediately felt sorry for her. Here she is staring out to the sea and crying loudly. I took a step back and kept my distance from her. As much as I wanted to leave her alone and give her space, I had the urge to console her. But how could I ? I had a feeling she didn’t know how to speak English and I for sure didn’t know how to speak Arabic. But I just wanted to let her know somehow that things were going to be ok. I had to think and think fast to come up with a solution. I knew if I left Casablanca without reaching out to this women I would regret it. I finally came up with an idea, I reached into my side bag and pulled out a tissue. My plan was to walk over to her and give her a tissue and give her a sign of “don’t worry, everything will be ok”. So I made my way over to her with my tissue in hand. When I walk up to her, she immediately turned her head to the side and looked at me. Her eyes were full of pain and sorrow. It made me want to cry. I lifted my hand and handed her the tissue. She looked at me with gratitude and she smiled. She placed her hand on my shoulder and said something in Arabic. I also placed my hand on her shoulder and in English I said “everything is going to alright”. I left the Mosque that afternoon feeling satisfied knowing that I somewhat helped her out and made her feel loved. I wish her all the best in her life.

I want my readers to realize that everyone in this world goes through something in their lives and everyone in this world needs help and needs a sign of comfort, kindness and love. No matter where in the world you are from and what nationality you are, we all need kindness. We should be there for each other, for family, friends and even strangers!

Thank you for reading my post.

Jessica Costa

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Ptarmigan Cirque Trail

Sunday morning, I woke up early and met up with my friend Amanda and her two dogs Ryder and Rufus. We headed out to Ptarmigan Cirque in Highwood Pass in Kananaskis Country. This hike is 5 kms and about 3 hours long. The weather was beautiful, not too cold and not too hot. Just perfect for a hike. Amanda and I met up with our friend Nikki and her dog Odin at the trailhead.

The trialhead started at the parking area on the west side of the road at Highwood Pass. The trailhead is north about 100m and then across the highway (watch for passing cars)! Well into the hike, I noticed it was a very well-marked trail. The trial was marked with trial stops which I found to be pretty neat. There were 12 stops leading all the way up to the cirque.

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When reaching the cirque, the trial levels out considerably. The landscape in the cirque was breathtaking. With wide open hills and wildflowers EVERYWHERE. It reminded me of the moving “The Sound of Music”. I had an urge to run through the flowers and sing “The Hills are Alive”. I couldn’t stop taking photos of all the wildflowers. There were Western Anemone flowers, Moss Campion, Alpine Forgetmenot flowers, Western Seed Head and many more!

We immediately noticed tons of cute Columbian Ground Squirrels and Pikas. We could hear their shrill squeaks from far. We even came across not one, but two Hoary Marmots!!

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Did I mention WATERFALLS! The trail took us to a couple of beautiful waterfalls.

After stopping and taking photos of the waterfalls, Amanda and Nikki adventured up to the start of the Mount Rae scramble, while I stayed back with the dogs. After waiting for them to return, we made our way down to the parking lot.

I would recommend this hike to all skill levels and it’s a perfect hike for families. It’s a nice and short hike.

Thanks for reading my post.

Happy Hiking!
Jessica Costa