Thursday, August 30, 2012

Not Just Hiking - August 2012

Want to see what I am reading and have read before I post my complete list at the end of the month? Want to know when I read a book or what I am going to read? Check out my Goodreads page. Want to see a list of every physical book in this house? Want to know what my husband read? Want to know what my kids own? Visit LibraryThing.


A Thousand Cuts by Simon Lelic
Mrs. Mental-Multivitamin rarely lets me down, and her recommendation of this book was quite possibly, the best yet.  The experience of reading this was like my experience reading The Handmaid's Tale.  I had to go slowly.  I was compelled to read the book, but I often found myself so agitated and angry that I would have to put it down to give myself a little breathing room.  It was fascinating and terrifying and so beautifully conceived and written.   It challenged me ... how many books can say that these days?

Really. ONE book finished in the entire month of August.  Just One.  

Ah, but the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder and the kids are back in school and I am piling up books and recommendations for the Fall and Winter reading seasons. 

Books in August: 1
Books in 2012: 55

Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm in Shock ...

because a woman actually said to me that I didn't understand what Todd Akin meant.  She said he was right and that sometimes people say they are raped when they aren't and that I don't understand the difference between real rape and statutory rape.  And apparently she believes that one can lead to pregnancy and one can't.

The Republicans deserve to lose if this is what people think.  I've been a Republican all my life.  I actually worked in Missouri for the Republican party many years ago.  I can't stand Claire McCaskil.  If I were still in Missouri, she would have my vote and, if Akin doesn't get out of the race, she will have my money as well.

You can't fix stupid.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jasper/Wilcox Pass

I may have mentioned that we went to Jasper.  I was prepared to be impressed, but all I really remember is how crowded it was.  Most of the trails were closed (tsunamis caused by glaciers breaking apart, rockslides, grizzly bears and flooded trails) and there were more tourists in Jasper than I have seen any place else in the Rockies.  By the end of the weekend - after I had taken only one photo worth publishing -

Medicine Lake

I wanted - no I needed to get back into the mountains.  I needed not to be near them.  I needed to be in them.  So on the drive home we stopped and strolled up Wilcox Pass.  This is a highly recommended trail from my favorite guide book that I absolutely ... did not love.

I think I am getting spoiled.  I hike so often and see such amazing things on a weekly basis that I no longer am impressed by things like glaciers viewed from 7500 feet.  It wasn't an awful hike ... it was nice and pretty simple.  Very little serious elevation gain.  Views of the Columbia Icefields.  And People.  Lots of people.  And views of the highway.  It is billed as a 4 star hike, but I would give it only three.

Columbia Icefield fromWilcox Pass

Mary Schaffer Loop/Maligne Lake/Jasper NP:
Distance: 2 miles
Elevation: negligible
Miles hiked in 2012: 61
Miles hiked since arrival in Canada: 130

Wilcox Pass:
Distance: 5 miles
Elevation: 1100 feet
Miles hiked in 2012: 65
Miles hiked since arrival in Canada: 135

Visitors and Fish

You've heard the saying haven't you ... visitors, like fish, stink after three days.

Well, I have had both.  And they didn't stink.  I have to admit, that I may have enjoyed my fish more!

Yes, I did.  I caught this fish.  On a fly line.  On the Bow River.  Patting myself on the back.

Besides the fishing trip on the Bow, my brother and sister-in-law have visited, we took a weekend trip to Jasper (I know I was supposed to be impressed), and my parents came with my nephew.  We have been busy and will continue to be busy with backpacking trips planned for this weekend and next.  School starts a week from today.  Life in Canada in the summer if packed with adventure and we have been taking it all in ... because it is supposed to snow in the mountains on Thursday.  Winter is coming!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Helen Lake

Superlative.  Spectacular.  Beautiful. Satisfying. Amazing. Breathtaking.

This is why we hike the Canadian Rockies.  This hike.  I don't need to hike any other trails.  Ever.  Again.

I could just drive back to Helen Lake week after week.  I will traverse the side of this mountain.  I can stroll through those alpine meadows.  I should linger by the lake.  I can ascend to that ridge.  I can wonder at the beauty of God's creation.

And I will thank Him for giving me chance to see this view while I live in Canada.  For my health, for the family that I get to spend time with.  For my (almost) teenage son who loves this as much as I do and who exhibits no teenage behavior on these trails.  For my younger son whose small frame carries him as far as it does everyone else despite the fact that he has to take twice as many steps as the rest of us.  For my husband who comes alive again after a crappy week at work.  Thank you.  Thank you.

This was on the way up.  Will you believe me if I tell you the photo does not do it justice?  I was almost in tears contemplating the beauty of this place.  

Because these filled the alpine meadows.  Well, these and it seems like a million other flowers.

This was the view from the ridge.  No one wanted to leave.

So we built this.  

So what is it?  Our very first inukshuk!  We had never built one before, but we finally found a place that was worthy of leaving a piece of ourselves behind.

What does it mean?  The mysterious stone figures known as inuksuit can be found throughout the circumpolar world. Inukshuk, the singular of inuksuit, means "in the likeness of a human" in the Inuit language. They are monuments made of unworked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is "Someone was here" or "You are on the right path."

Even the way down was wonderful.

Helen Lake:
Distance: 9.5 miles
Elevation: 1800 feet
Miles hiked in 2012: 59
Miles hiked since arrival in Canada: 128

Thursday, August 9, 2012

West Wind Pass

This one will be short.  If the name of the hike is West Wind Pass and the peak above it is Windtower you might be uncomfortable on a breezy day.  We were miserable.  The views ...

were really not worth the straight up and down.  Or the constant cold wind (in July?).  Or the rocky loose terrain.

West Wind Pass:
Distance: 3 miles (wait - check out that next number)
Elevation: 1500 feet (yes in 1.5 miles - brutal)
Miles hiked in 2012: 49
Miles hiked since arrival in Canada: 118

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Yellowknife, NWT

I am trying to catch up on our summer adventures so everyone will know why I have not been reading.

It is so spectacularly beautiful here in the summer that I just don't spend any time inside. Highs in the upper 70s to low 80s.  Blue skies.  Sun.  Mountain vistas.  Even when I am at home, I make an effort to just sit on my back porch and look at the mountains.  I look at the mountains in the winter as well, but it is too cold to sit outside and just contemplate them.  Then I have to be inside by the fire, and what better place to curl up with a book.  But I digress ...

A few weeks ago we headed up - with a group of about 15 other planes - to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for an airshow.  This, by the way, was my husband's idea.  He hasn't gotten a lot of flight time in this year, and here was a great opportunity to get to know some of the flying club members, see an airshow, and see another part of Canada.

O.K.  That is how I would describe the weekend.  Nice, that is another good word.  Well, those and incredibly expensive.  On a good day in the US, flying is a pricey hobby.  Here in Canada, where general aviation is almost dead, the price of a weekend doubles.

I guess we are a little jaded ... we have seen the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds countless times.  We have watched vintage WWII fighters race around cones in Reno.  We have visited the monument to Beechcraft.  An airshow with 6 planes on static display, one F-18, and the Snowbirds didn't do much for me.  I'm happy all of the people in Yellowknife got to see these, but I would have rather been hiking.

The highlight of the weekend (besides coming home) was visiting the headquarters of Buffalo Aviation.  Do you ever watch Ice Pilots?  Yeah, we met those guys.  My youngest son was in heaven.

So, I just reread this post.  The weekend wasn't that bad.  I think if it had been just the four of us, we might have had a better time.  But we were in a group.  I don't do well traveling in large groups.  Especially a group that includes arrogant SOBs and cheap old men who try to stiff waitresses.  Enough ... when were together just a a family, it was lovely and the people of Yellowknife were kind and welcoming. 

By the way - post 100 since arriving in Canada a little over a year ago.