42 Things

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Category Archives: adventures

Drama Drama Drama, but no Llama… yet.

The ongoing saga of the ducks!

So Early this year we lost our chickens from a neighbour dog attack. The neighbours paid for us to renew our flock and I decided I wanted ducks as well as chickens with the money we got. I bought a breeding pair from another neighbour and 3 to eat, and drove to Nelson (about 2 hrs away) to get 6 more ducks, two females and 4 males from a different breeding stock, but the same breed, Muscovy.

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Out of the 6 we got from Nelson, all but two got killed by a bobcat and one of the remaining two died of… something, don’t know exactly what.   Just fell over dead one day.   The last one was a female, but boy, compared to the 2 that remained from the other batch, she was so timid, unhealthy looking and not strong.   She seemed happy enough by herself, swimming around and the male left her alone so I thought maybe she’ll just get healthy and strong and then start laying eggs or something.  No such luck.  I hadn’t seen her for a couple of days so I walked around the pond and there she was… just curled up dead.  She had either starved herself cause she didn’t want to make the 10 ft swim across to the bank to eat or something… who knows.

 

I had to leap in the pond, swim over to the island and fling her rotting carcass to the shore with the dog shadowing my every move and trying to roll in the dead duck carcass.   Fun and games.

 

Then last night our youngest cat, Georgie,  slipped outside and never came back.  She’s usually back by morning at the very latest, but usually within an hour she’s meowing at my bedroom window wanting to come in.  She doesn’t like being away from us for long.

This morning, no Georgie.  hmmm.

Then Kate comes out of her room in tears and bunched up in pain 😦  we had to take her to emerg when she threw up some streaks of blood.  yikes.  Of course, like always, people start feeling better on the way to the Hospital.   Anyway, the Dr. gave her a Gravol and reassured us that it was probably just a tummy bug of some sort.   We were there for 3 hours.

Come home, still no Georgie.   I called all over the property making she she wasn’t stuck anywhere or having a deep sleep.  I went up to the neighbours to see if she got trapped in any of their buildings or if they had seen her.   I went down to the other neighbours and no go there either.   I went across the road to another neighbours and hear “MEOW” MEW” “MAOOOWWWLLL” from waaaaaaayyyyy up high in a huge pine tree.  My guess is she got chased up by the dog and spent the night there.  The guy helped me get her down and she was panting and hot and when we got her home she drank water for about 5 min.

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Kate is sleeping and feeling okay.   I think I will pick her up some Gatorade while I’m in town having a birthday lunch with the girls.

 

Sigh!  At least the day doesn’t seem to be continuing in this weird disjointed fashion.

 

 

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It’s a Kid’s Life

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Rafting, Duck Eggs, Muskrats, Salamanders, Frogs, Turtles, Islands, Swimming….. There’s something magical about having a pond.

All I Want for Christmas is this Property Pt. 2

As the summer was waning we realized, we had to move for the winter.   Our summer house had windows that didn’t close and even doors that would not latch properly and only electric heat.   We would have easily been paying $4 – $5 a month for the electricity to heat that place.   Hoping against hope we waited for something to happen in our financial realm as Charlie (the guy who owns the property we want) had stated before he would not rent to us.

One morning he came over and had a crushing blow.  Someone had made an offer on the property and pretty much had it in the bag as he had the money already in hand.   We were so confused.   That was a difficult morning.   We knew that we had not just come here on a whim, however it may look to the rest of the world, but that we were lead here.   So after a few hours of crushing incredulous meanderings of thoughts and words, we realized, God MUST have something for us or he would not have brought us here.   I don’t know why we fell in love with Charlie’s place or why it feels like home to us but we have to move on.

The next morning we had found a 10 acre parcel with a tiny house to rent, great out buildings and it looked like we could eke through the winter there.   We could have chickens, there was lots of space to do stuff outside.  My office would have to be outside in one of the outbuildings but, we’d make it work.   It seemed impossible to get a hold of the owner, and he was slow in getting back to us.  But we were in a time crunch because the longer we waited we would have to be paying rent in two places for two months due to the rental agreement on the summer house.   Finally a week later with many emails, phone calls, meetings and the like we signed a year lease for the new rental thinking that perhaps this was the plan.  To just rent here and eventually we would be ready to make an offer on something better or more expensive than Charlie’s.

Two hours after we signed the lease, Charlie drove up.

“The deal is off, the guy lost his job and I want you guys to rent from me until you are ready to purchase,”  he said.

I stood there in a daze wondering, what the heck is going on?

Obviously we figured things out and we now live up here and I hope I never have to leave.   I have so many dreams for this property.

Best scenario, someone drops $250K into our bank account, on our doorstop or in my mail box and we pay Charlie in cash.  Worst scenario, we can’t jump through the hoops for mortgages, bc laws regarding “mobile” homes (it’s as permanent of a structure as any house for the last 40 yrs) and we lose the place.   We know we can afford it, we know we can make the payments, but even if the bank agrees there are housing laws here that make it really really difficult to transfer titles because of the house (trailer).

Pray for me my friends.  This is sitting heavy on my heart.  I think of it every day and pray we don’t ever have to leave.   It’s hard to hold back on the things I want to do, I begin a thought, a dream and then remember, “right, it’s not mine yet”

 

I leave you with a couple pictures.

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Hurtin’ Albertan meets the Windy City – Chicago

The folks took us to see “the Bean” in Chicago.  At first walking up to it I was thinking, “Why does this exist?”  but then it was SO mesmerizing we could hardly tear ourselves away!

This was an interesting fountain, that wasn’t running at the moment… but the faces change every few minutes.

Tons of amazing old architecture with stonework.

and, really high skyscrapers with long long long fire escapes

Of course while there we HAD to have deep dish pizza at Gino’s in old town, even if it meant standing in the cold for 45 min to get in.  We left our marks.

And a couple of ducks.

What would a visit to Chicago be without a picture of the skyline.

Cabin/Aurora Lake

An actual backpacking adventure that was a success.

Lyle, at the resort, had told us about a 6 km hike up to a lake that the locals call Cabin Lake, on the continental divide.

He said we would be able to complete this hike in about 1/2 a day.  We had to park a little further away from the trail head since our little car is so low profile; so it was more like a 6.5 km trail for us.

The sky did look a little iffy but, the forecast had said it would be sunny with clouds and no rain.  Even though, I was thinking to myself, “why the heck are we doing this?”  We donned our now dry backpacking gear and set out for the lake.

The hike was pretty hard, ascending about 600 meters in 6 km; for a couple of overweight and out of shape adults with heavy packs, it was not easy, but it was the kind of challenge that was neither scary or detrimental to our immediate health.

Here’s some shots of our  camp from various vantages around the lake.

We hung our food in a dead tree about 300 meters away from our camp.

Anyway, it was so worth it as Sunday was a perfectly blue sky day.  A helicopter pilot doing tours saw us and landed her chopper to come for a little visit.

We did have one scare though.  I was being “bear”anoid the whole time, of course, and while we were taking a walk around the lake on Sunday, I thought I heard a snort/growl over the ridge behind us.  So while I was straining to hear more, or trees cracking or something large coming through the bush someone set off a bear banger!  It wasn’t us!  So, we’re thinking someone saw what made the noise and was scaring it towards us!  So we started calling out, blowing our whistles (once at a time for “where are you”), and with bear spray and bear bangers in hand we made our way back to our camp site… we heard their responsive whistles being blown… at some points they blew theirs 3 in a row (for “I need help”) !  Jeremy and I, our hearts racing and trying to stay calm and not freak out the kids while remaining alert and calling out and blowing our whistles once at a time to let them know we’re coming.  We finally see them coming out of the woods about 30 meters from our tent, just stretching by the lake and filtering some water, totally relaxed.  Huh?

We finally get over to them and they said,

“Oh, we were just making noise, we saw some bear poop.”

“well you sure scared the poop outta me!”  I said.  “was it fresh?”

“no, seemed to be a few days old,”  they said.

Well, without getting too worked up about it…. 3 whistles means “i need help”  and a bear banger is for if you actually need to scare a bear away, not for “just making noise”.

But look how amazing it was there.

The Turn for the better (non-backpacking portion of our backpacking trip)

Close to the bottom of the road there is a lovely little resort, Nipika, that we thought we’d take a quick peek at while we were driving home.  The temptation was far to great.  We decided to stay there for a couple nights.  We stayed 3 nights.

It’s run by Lyle, his wife and son too… but I mention Lyle because interestingly he was for years the cross country ski coach for the Canadian Olympic team.  He was a wealth of information on the area and had some literature on the trails we might be interested in for another time.  In one of the books, a very experienced couple of guys had written about the trail we had just tried up to Queen Mary Lake Cabin.  They called it a “horrific horse path” and stated that it had “11 dangerous fords”.   And offered an alternative route with no fords and a better footpath.  That would have been useful information to start out with, hey?  Anyway, enough about that already.

Our cabin was great.

The meadows beautiful.

Our time was fun.

We walked to the river.

Our packs lighter, our shoes dry again,  armed with a new plan from Lyle, with his honest and experienced opinion that we would make it, we headed off to our next destination.

Stay tuned for PT 3:  A completed adventure.

the Backpacking romance dies a little

This will be extra verbose for one of my blogs, my apologies in advance.  I didn’t take many pictures of this part of the event, I would say it was one of the last things on my mind, to take pictures.

So, we leave early Tuesday morning to get to our trail head on time to hike up to the cabin.  The area where we are going uses mostly old logging roads, and some current mining roads to get to the trail heads.  The signage is terrible and finding where we needed to be took us an extra 2.5 hours in wrong turns and bumpy roads.  Our poor little PT cruiser.  On this sojourn we actually ran into and talked to the ranger on duty for the area and he kindly told us to not stop at the sign for the trail head but that they’ve made the hiker’s trail head higher so the hike would only be 8 km instead of 12 km.

Sweet!

Jeremy said to the ranger, “awesome, maybe we’ll actually make it up there tonight since we’re running late”  to which the ranger changed the subject.

This happened a few times on the 3.6 up to the new trail head, making our starting time even later:

Fortunately, Jeremy had brought a saw.  Weirdly enough, he’s always prepared like that.

At the trail head (how many times can I use the words trail head?) we get ready, making sure everything is right and tight with our packs.  I am concerned with the weight of Jeremy’s pack, but say little.  He has already said that since it’s a one way trip (to the cabin, and then we were going to stay there 6 or so nights and eat a whole bunch to make our packs lighter on the way back) so it would be okay.

The sky looks ominous.

We are in the middle of nowhere.

Within the first km we get soaked, no time to get our rain gear out, it just dumped on us like a bucket of water.  We got our rain gear out anyway and put it on.  At which point we got hailed upon.  Also, we didn’t account for the extra weight of everything being soaking wet.  Add 10 pounds each.

We hop over our first creek crossing successfully.

We come to our next “creek” crossing.  

And then the next:

It’s up to Jeremy’s thighs.  We decide to go for it.   He crossed it a total of 8 times with both the deeper crossings, ferrying everyone’s pack back and forth and helping each of us.  The water was so strong!  He carried PJ across and helped Kate and I.  I would have just gotten pushed over and carried away; the stream was so strong.

Then we came to a spot where the trail was completely obliterated by a winter avalanche, covered in trees and still piles of snow.  We picked our way across it and get to the next creek crossing, at which point I try not to cry.

I knew there would have to be at least one more after this one since this 3rd major crossing would bring us to the wrong side of the creek.  Who knows how many more?   Besides, this one looked scarier than the other two.   And it’s getting later and later and darker and darker.

Jeremy tests the depth of the water.  It would be above his waist.  We have seen NO where to camp on the trail.  Our only choice is to turn back.  Me, still trying not to cry and scare the kids.  We need to get back out and back to our car before total darkness sets in.  After convincing PJ that this is our only choice, the kids, like the total awesome troopers that they are, dig in and really do awesome hiking back!

Jeremy tells me later that while there was no bear sign (tracks, poop) on the way there, on the way back he saw tracks and poop right on the trail we had traveled.  So he started shouting out “WOOO”  to which we would answer “PONG” and we played very loud games of “I spy” on the way back to the car.

It was mostly like this:

Our packs were extra heavy from being wet and our hips, calves and my bunions are BURNING!  The last 1/2 km was so difficult.  I took a stuff sack that had my camera and some food in it off Jeremy’s pack and carried it to alleviate some of the weight off him.  It probably weighed about 10 pounds… but wow… did it feel very heavy.

We made it back to the car, just as there was really no twilight left.  Praise God.  We thanked Him for keeping us safe from our many silly choices.  Starting too late, not being aware of our own limitations, getting our kids into this situation.  I was however, very proud of our children for not whining and complaining the ENTIRE time.  And just taking things as they came.

At one point Jeremy stated that he was so proud of PJ for not complaining, at which PJ replied,

“My shoulder hurts”

We all laughed very hard!  Thank you PJ for that levity.  9 yo with a quick wit 🙂

We had to camp since it was too dark to drive down the road.  An old, not quite washed out, logging road.  Our little car being a low rise type vehicle would not be able to withstand the abuse of trying to avoid HUGE holes and rocks, and failing, in the dark.

In the morning, stiff, very sore, and grumpy… we pack up our wet muddy gear and decide that our only choice is to go home, dry out, and try for something else in a couple days.  Being as miserable as we were we were not looking forward to the drive home.  ‘Lo and behold, don’t we run into the ranger as we are driving out.

Jeremy told him of our experiences and the ranger says, “yeah, I didn’t want to poop on your parade when you said you thought you could make it up there last night”  WHAT?  WHAT?  I don’t even….  WHAT?

Isn’t that your JOB?  to tell people that the trail is really hard and to not try to make it in 4 hours since it will probably take 6?  What the heck kind of ranger are you?

As it was, looking on the map we made it about 5 km in and back in about 5.5 hrs.  So a total of about 10 km.  Pretty impressive actually for the state of the trail and the crossings.

We were very depressed, yet thankful at this point.  Depressed to be going home, thankful that we weren’t hurt, or worse.

Camping on a mucky road, raining all night, in damp gear.  Not fun.

Learning a valuable lesson, or in this case, many lessons.  Priceless.

PT 2:  Impending.  In which things take a turn for the better.

Laughing Falls Campground

There are a total of 8 tent spaces in this campground.  8.  😀

 

Jeremy and PJ’s tent was right on a little side stream about 100 meters down from the falls

 

Kate’s and mine was a little further inland; this whole campground is on a sort of island.

 

Shortly after this picture the whole butt of my pants ripped out.

 

There were no campfires allowed here, just stoves.  We had to eat about 100 meters away from the tents and hang anything with a scent up in this huge pole thing.  I didn’t get a picture of it.  But here’s our dining quarters.

 

Of course it had a great view to the west:

 

and to the east:

 

Here’s a shot of when we walked up to the base of Laughing Falls.

 

it’s kind of surreal up there.

Getting There, the backpacking saga continues

Yes, you will indeed need to suffer through a whole summer of backpacking and camping tales.

It’s a several hour drive to the Rockies, so our first glimpse of them is hugely rewarding after the rigours of the QE2 highway.

 

Taking the ring road around Calgary has decent scenery looking to the west.  I’m not one for cityscapes and man made structures, but this bridge is really neat how it curves over the river valley.

 

 

So we finally get to the Trans Canada Hwy 1 and it’s a parking lot.  We were in this traffic for almost an hour.  Look, the mountains are right there!  I just want to get there!

 

 

Finally we took a detour and there had been an accident.  I don’t know what happened and I never heard about it.  I hope everyone was okay.

 

Yay, we’re finally here and on our way to our campsite, something like 4.5 km up into Yoho Valley.

As you can tell, PJ is not super happy with the fit of his pack.  I don’t know why we thought that ancient beast would work for him.

He also had a bruised ankle so eventually this happened:

Yes, Jeremy is carrying both his and PJ’s backpack.  Combined total weight of approx 70lbs!

A cool part in the trail overlooking part of the river, and the smooth rocks carved out on either side.

 

We made it!

Some Flowers and Creatures Along the Way