A Brief Stop

Backyard Bomber

The calendar is running my life these days.

Sonja's relatives made a brief stopover and we did our best to show them a good time. Hitting up some tourist destinations and a few places to look over some views of Calgary, it seems like they had just arrived and they were leaving.

The week in the middle collapsed into catching up around the house, getting some stuff set up, and of course the fiftyish hours a week I spend at the hands of TheManĀ®. It felt like the day after our guests left, we were packing up for a May Long Weekend camping trip

We had a nice car camping trip out to Handhills Highcountry Hideaway. The weather was very nice and sunny save for a freak thundershower with gusting winds on Sunday. The storm came and went on the inside of two hours, but those two hours happened to straddle the time we were making dinner. On Saturday, a group of us went out Geocaching and had a very productive day finding a grand total of six geocaches around the badlands. I forced myself to spend some time, laying on the grass, thinking about the present. Trying not to let the usual cacophony of thoughts roll about in my head, I watched my friends engage in several games of testie-toss. Sooner than anyone wished, our time spent sitting in the sun, and chit chatting by the fire had come to and end.

The hump day for my three day work week is only hours away, and on Thursday straight after work, we're going to make the long trek to a resort by Osoyoos for a wedding. It's going to be a very fun time, and I'm sure I'll have a yarn to spin upon my return.


Out and About

Go Get it Ginny

I was fortunate enough to get out of the city this weekend, and kick off the camping season. Easing into the year meant that we were car camping, and mother nature co-operated to make a very enjoyable weekend. As soon as the weekend had started, we made our way out to Sibbald Flats. The drive was nice, as it's a very short distance from Calgary and we managed to get out of town without being caught up in the weekend rush. Shortly upon arrival we had set up shelter and were sitting around the campfire talking with our company for the weekend. The campground was virtually empty, with our group sharing the loop with only another two other parties.

On Saturday we fired up a campfire breakfast, and after much deliberation, set out to find a Geocache. The trek towards the cache was about as straight as we could manage, which unfortunately took us straight up a respectable incline. We moseyed around the ridge and down by the lake, where the dogs were played out in the water.

Sunday a late morning and tasty breakfast set us in motion of clearing up the camp. All morning, as the whiskey jacks and chickadees yelled at me, I went out of my way to be in the moment. No thoughts of the day-to-day, what needed to get done, what was coming, what was had past or anything else that would ripple my pond of Zen. I took in the air, tainted with the smoke of deadfall, and loved every minute of it.




My thirtieth trip around the sun was market on the calendar for last week.

Despite my desire for a lack of drama, my automobile would not have anything of the sort. The cold snap on Monday prevented some normally functioning part from performing its duties. The land yacht encountered some type of transmission problems, and would require twice as many rotations per minute from the engine to get the same speed out of the wheels. I engaged Ninth Ave Auto to find me a vehicle and they did not disappoint. Delivered on my birthday proper was a silver 2003 Nissan Pathfinder. So far it has met or exceeded all expectations, including how much fuel it consumes. This summer, more offroadish camping adventures await in Bragg Creek, and I'm very happy to have something with four wheel drive again.

My celebratory occasion in time was not without some windfall. Sonja bought Rockband for us, and it is the most fun I've had in a long time. The drums, I imagine, are everyone's favorite, as they are a great break from the general idea of a video game. I've lost myself a few times bashing away at the electronic pads, trying frantically to put together the little rhythm that I have to get through some songs. If you think I'm crazy, then you haven't tried it.

I also received some credit at some of my favorite stores. Although I haven't unloaded on electronics, or outdoor gear YET; however, I did have to pull the trigger on some dead tree carcass. I couldn't help but wonder, as I stood surrounded by wonderful pieces of fiction, great literary history, personal biographies, compilations of comics and more reference than one can comprehend why I would pick up the equivalent of a text book. Again, I realized that the last bit of fiction that I consumed was a good book devoured in a single sitting. When I handed over the massive tome, I had to wonder if many people spend their windfall on what others would consider torturous.


Long Weekend at the Lake

Scenic Morning

The Civic Holiday added an additional day without work to the last weekend, and we made the most of it by backpacking up to Ribbon Lake. We wanted to get in a backpacking tour to try out our new camping equipment out before we needed to rely upon it on the other side of the Atlantic. The weekend was very demanding on the body, but the escape from the city and the scenic vistas doubled rewards back on our efforts.

We left Saturday morning with full knowledge that photographic habits would turn the ten and change kilometer hike into a half day affair. Sure enough stops were made to take pictures of various water features, critters and landscapes. The hike to the falls is quite easy, with over eight kilometers knocked off on a very level path with little in the way of serious inclines. Soon after the falls, you start switchbacking up the <delete>hill</delete> mountain, until after over 300 meters of vertical in a single kilometer, you come to the chains. The final leg of the journey does sap the strength, but it wasn't long after the crux of the hike an we were at the campsite. We soon set up our site and were ready to dig into some dehydrated food. A meal of beef jerky and mushroom alfredo filled up the gas tank, and we were sleeping before the sun set.

Sunday morning we knew immediately why we put ourselves through the effort of climbing up here just to sleep on the ground. We had a nice breakfast before we scampered about the lake taking pictures and exploring weird rock covered in colourful fungus. We returned to camp for some lunch, and were pleasantly surprised by the arrival of Colin and Jessica. Colin was even man enough to add a couple of cans worth of weight to his pack just so I could enjoy a cold beer. After that kind of effort I think I owe him some fingers or something. We all went back to the previously explored falls for some lounging and goofing around. On our way back to camp we mentioned to Wayne that if he managed to catch anything with his duct-tape repaired fishing rod that we love some trout for dinner, and he delivered two good sized cut throat for us to fry up. Soon after, Colin and Jess were pretty tuckered from their trek so they retired early while we played a few rounds of crib to make use of the remaining daylight.

On holiday Monday the campsite was abuzz with people trying to hawk off the last of their food, and pack up every little bit waste that was generated over the last few days. Nobody was leaving anything behind, but no one wanted to carry down any more than was absolutely necessary. We seemed to be the only people that were not in a hurry to leave, as it wasn't even eleven and we had the campsite to ourselves. With the new found calm in the campsite we had a couple of visitors while we waited for our gear to dry in the sun. But, all good things eventually come to an end, so we slung up our packs and climbed back down to start the trek back home. We were back in the parking lot by four and in Calgary by half past five, which left us with the perfect amount of time to enjoy running water, refrigeration and plush Lay-Z-Boys before retiring to a very comfortable sleep.


A Beauty of a Weekend

Cute or What?

Rarely does a weekend come across where the balance between work and play can be struck so perfectly. A great deal was accomplished, and time was still found to play.

Saturday morning we went around town and picked up a new tent and sleeping bags to help facilitate our backpacking adventures, and our upcoming trip to Europe. No longer will we need to hump a tent with double digit mass up a mountain, the new tent weighs in at less than five pounds everything included. The sleeping bags are duck down, and compress reasonably well, so no longer will half my pack be half filled with bedding. Instead, perhaps I can bring some more luxury items, like food.

The afternoon was spent fixing a chunk of fence that has been in disrepair since I dropped the bobcat bucket on it last year. The gate was falling apart and skewed to a degree where it took three hands, two feet and an elbow to open or close it. It took very little time to rip out the old gate and section of fence, and as expected, considerably longer to put it back together. I went away from the original manufacturer's nail fastening and put the equivalent of another gate of screws into the aging woods. I splurged on a gate latch that is self adjusting, and now have a wonderfully greased, functional gate.

After the work was completed, we went out to take in Pixar's newest movie: Ratatouille. I really enjoyed the tale and would recommend it to anyone, young or old. Not to let the fun stop, we spent Sunday afternoon floating down the Elbow River. It was a wonderful way to spend a hot afternoon, but it wasn't without it's perils. It appears that if you raft down the Elbow without a life preserver you face receiving a $500 fine. Funny, because if you walk down the river, knee deep in the water, you are no longer rafting so you are no longer eligible for the fine.

Now, I'm just waiting for the 204th day of the year to roll in and I return to the grind.