Friday, October 30, 2009

Exciting News!

My Beautiful Bride and I have been invited down to Florida to visit a friend, outdoor survival practicioner, and fellow friend Molawns!

Next April, Molawns will be our guide to experience Florida's scenery, culture and history before we escape to Myakka River State Park to explore, hike, kayak, fish and practice a some subtropical bushcraft & survival skills.

As we face another long, cold winter, T. and I will take great comfort in researching, planning and preparing for this once in a lifetime adventure together, and we will be sure to share it with you upon our return next Spring.

It's really nice to have something to look forward to. 

Palm Forests at Myakka

Myakka River

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First Snow of Autumn

A mix of rain and snow fell last night, and this is what we woke up to this morning.

It's going to take some mental adjustment to accept the passing of autumn this year.  The way I see it, there are actually almost a dozen seasons in your average calendar year, and this snow marks the start of
"late autumn - the first snows"

Get out the winter kit now, Mr. B...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Camping in the Boreal Forest

Hello again!
This will be a shorter post than I wanted it to be, because I put alot of effort into making short video clips from our digital camera to share the experience, but I can't seem to upload the movies!
Tammylove and I took off after a hellacious Friday at work so we could do a bit of camping again...just to relax and do a bit more experimenting with kit and techniques. We went to Winagami Lake Provincial Park, about a half hour north of town, where camping in the Dry Mixedwood Boreal Forest can be experienced.  Aspen, Cottonwood, Paper Birch, Willow and the odd Spruce or Pine are the overstorey, and wild rose, sarsaparilla, highbush cranberry, and red-osier dogwood make up the understorey.
After the Labour Day long weekend, the park was practically empty, and we revelled in the peace and solitude.  Geese could be heard flying overhead with their distinctive honks, and woodpeckers hammered the trees around us to keep us company. As dusk deepend into night, the stars shone brilliantly above us, seeming close enough to touch.  We sat and spoke in appropriately hushed tones to the the flickering firelight that danced and reflected in the tree canopies overhead.
In the still, wee hours of the morning, the moon shone brilliantly, casting stark shadows across the campsite and forest floor.  All was absolutely still, silent and breathtaking.
We came home refreshed and recharged, and we're hoping to get out again in the next week or two, so we can capture and share with you the autumn colours at their peak.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Canadian Rockies

After an incredibly hectic summer, my beautiful bride and I decided to dump everything and run away for a week. Our initial plan was to hike Mount Robson (the world famous Berg Lake Trail) but bad weather encouraged us to change our minds.

Instead I decided to give T. a weeklong discovery of all the best parts of Jasper & Banff National Parks. T. had very little camping experience, so it would be a welcome "shakedown cruise" to sort ourselves out, as well as an opportunity to explore through the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

One thing new for me too...since I've always preplanned trips, I figured I'd throw caution to the wind and just wing it.

No preplanning.

No schedules.

No booking ahead.

We decided to just wake up each morning and ask each other "What do you want to do today, Darling?" Strangely enough, it actually worked! Every night we found a great place to sleep. Every day we found a new campsite, trail, hotspring or other activity to engage our minds and relax our hearts...

This photo essay is the chronicle of our adventures together.

Jasper Park's East Gate (from Hinton)
Rainy, windy, chilly day in Jasper
The getaway vehicle
These sheep almost caused a huge pileup.
Near the headwaters of the Athabasca River
Approaching the Columbia Icefields
The Columbia Icefields and the Athabasca River
Just entering the treeline again
"The Racetrack"
A huge sweeping switchback dropping down a steep sustained grade
More dropping down...
Towards Wenkchemna Pass
Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks.
This scene is famous in Canada as it was printed on the back of our old $20 bills
Valley of the Ten Peaks.
Tammylove admiring the view
Looking towards the Consolation Lakes and Paradise Valley
Moraine Lake
Hiking up the Rockpile
Beautiful Bride and me
Our Tacoma at Lake Louise town
Temple Mountain is the big mountain at left-centre and Victoria Glacier can be seen
just above the treed ridge in the distance
Mountain scenery at Bow Lake
Bow Lake
Headwaters of the Bow River
Johnston Canyon
Johnston Canyon
At the top of Johnston Canyon
Johnston Canyon
Some Mountain Freak
Johnston Canyon
The town of Banff
Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park (1885) that was
originally set aside to protect Cave and Basin Hot Springs
Tammylove's hand cooking supper at Two Jack Lake
Tammylove's campfire cooking experiments were a complete success!
Some weirdo that Tammylove lets hang around.
Proof that if you feed a stray, he'll come back.
Lake Minnewanka, near Banff
Banff Upper Hot Springs, Sulphur Mountain
The mountain in the left distance is Cascade Mountain that you saw before from downtown Banff. Tunnel Mountain is the low ridge just above the trees.
A slightly different view (turned to the right a bit) showing Mt. Rundle.
The valley heading off to the right is the Bow River Valley that leads to Calgary, about an hour's drive away from Banff.
Miette Hot Springs.
This little cabin was my treat to Tammylove for camping with me.
These cabins were built in 1938 and have had only minimal upgrades.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Our Son's Graduation

Jonah, our son, has now graduated from High School.

I have no way of expressing either the heights of my pride at his accomplishment or the depths of sadness at the pending loss of him from home as he pursues his dreams. Jonah is quite a talented drummer and loves playing heavy metal I cannot imagine how we'll manage to keep him in this tiny farm town we call home.

C'est la vie is such a civilized way of saying "Too bad, so sad, Dad." My loss is my son's freedom.

Here are a few pictures of his special day!