Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Are we really?

Wow is this a bizarre December so far. More ups and downs than a roller coaster as far as the weather goes. We have got a ton of rain yesterday and today again and the rivers have come up to flood stage for the 4th time this fall. That is a bit crazy. The only thing crazier is the state of our country's capital. What is happening in Ottawa? I am proudly Canadian, even in this time of economic hardship, but one thing I always like about our country is the leadership we demonstrated. We have never been scared of bucking the trends. Now however it seems that we are just another number in a long list of worriers.

As a people we have always been strong fighters, and I am sure that this time around will be no different. Those who have been suffering will continue to suffer through and hardly notice a difference, those who have been living high over the last while will now need to buckle down, quit bitching and put their nose back to the grind. Of course me, well I can't even tell if the economy is slow, so I have no sympathy for those who seem to be suffering. Maybe it is about time that the money makers start to appreciate the rest of us and maybe the economy would become more stable. You can only tip the scales to one side for so long before the scales break. I think that the breaking point is near, and I don't plan on standing underneath the falling debris, but as a good hardworking Canadian, I will help them put it back together after the pieces fall.

But really, are we at a time of economic crisis, or dare I say depression?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

First Snow

Last night we got our first little bit of snow. I woke up this morning and the windows were frosted and the house was chilled. I didn't want to step out of my bedroom into the bathroom as that meant leaving the warmth of the carpeted floor for the cold, chilling, tile floor. The snow fall amounted to nothing really but it got the anticipation level up there. The only bad thing about it is that we can no longer put off putting the winter tires on the car. We'll have to swallow the bill and find the cash somewhere. Merry Christmas I guess :(

This time of year is great because I think people start to anticipate winter and that gets even strangers talking. People become more social I think this time of year. Christmas may have a part to play in that as well.

I hope to get out soon on a good day hike or maybe even do an overnighter somewhere. I have to admit my life has been extremely busy and my time is committed to a great number of things, few of which allow me to get outside. Thank God for my wife and son as they are my biggest reason to play lately and nothing will take their place on the priority list.

I hope you are getting out there and wandering.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Redd Eye...

I often sit at work and think...."wow I got a great job." Lately I have been on the banks of the rivers assessing future restoration sites. This work though lends itself greatly to watching those rapids and riffles looking for salmon redds. It is an awe inspiring thing to see a salmon in its natural habitat and lately I have been keeping an eye out for them. Today brought rain and I was hoping to see one but as luck would have it I am stuck in the office today finalizing some project reports and preparing a funding proposal. Still I hope tomorrow to be back along the banks of the river and looking for redds.

I think with todays weather there is no doubt that winter and snow are not that far away. I know this is true because the deer have started to gather again in my back yard at night. I can usually expect them this time of year for a couple weeks and then they dissappear, only to return in December.

Well I hope you all are enjoying your fall. My family has been having a blast. We raked the leaves the other day and man what fun it is acting like a kid. All we needed was a big pile of leaves to jump in. My son must have ran circles around that pile 50 times. We had a blast and of course got some great pics. I have noticed too on FB that everyone must choose to have their family photos done in the fall because alot of my friends have their recent pics posted. I hope they don't get redd eye....get it? LOL what can I say I'm a dork.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

just rambling

I am sitting here at my job this morning stressing out about various little things. Do you ever do that? I don't particularly need stress in my life but for some reason this morning I am creating it. I am a bit hungry so maybe that is why. It is a bizarre sensation to feel one self creating un-needed stress. I do not think I am alone in this endeavor though. In fact, I bet just about everyone creates an un-needed stress in their life. We all tend to worry about money, relationships, food (did I mention I was hungry), etc. Stress, I think, is a fact of life. It is how we deal with stress that defines who we are. Today I am dealing by writing this blog. By getting my creative juices flowing, I often am able to create a sense of focus within myself. This focus allows me to get on with my job and finish the tasks at hand while not allowing my mind to wander to all those other little things, such as my stomach growling.
The other way I reduce stress is play. Now before you make any false assumptions about me, I have to state "I have a good work ethic (I think)." I make time to play. I go hiking or backpacking, I play with my son, I go fishing, or I just simply act a fool. All this keeps my stress level down. Since I have wrote about this issue once before (I think), it may not be working though??? I feel better though now that I have wrote this blog so thanks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Volunteer Dare

Volunteers are great people! If you volunteer for anything, thanks a bunch. Through my work recently we hosted a Shoreline Clean-up Day and were honored to have numerous people show up and volunteer their morning to clean up garbage along the local rivers. These folks braved cold water temperatures, whipping willow trees, disgusting smells, and my barbequed hot dogs, just to help make the local environment a bit cleaner. That is truly amazing and to those people I say thanks yet again.

I often volunteer, and I have to say I always get something out of it. I learn a lesson, I meet a new friend, I gain respect, I feel proud of my community and myself. If you don't believe me then you should try volunteering sometime and see what I mean. I am not kidding. I challenge you to get out there and volunteer 2hours a month (which is nothing by the way). Chose an activity that you do already and teach someone else about it, pick trash up along a road you always drive, cook a meal at a soup kitchen, heck even start a soup kitchen in your area...I double dare you.

My pic for this blog is self explanatory with fall in the air.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Into the next Season

Well fishing season I am sad to say is over here. I am very dissappointed with myself this year. You would think that as someone who has a job working on the river that I would be able to get out fishing all the time. Sadly that is not the case. I was only able to get out about six times this year for a good full day of fishing. How did my life get so hectic? I am sure we have all asked ourselves this question at one time or another. It can be a depressing realization sometimes when we see how focused we are on work and the ragged pace of making a living. The worst part of it all is, it is unavoidable if we want to truly live.

I am a father of an adventurous three year old boy and in order to provide for him and my family I have to live a hectic life style that does not allow me to do some of those things I once did as a teenager or early twenty-something. Do I miss those days? Not really. My life is hectic now because I know that in the future I will be able to slow down some and enjoy it. I take pride in my family and love them all dearly and thus I choose to live this way. I have made choices that will hopefully result in a wonderful life for my son and my family now and into the future. Every now and then I need to remind myself of that so that I don't have any regrets. If I forget, my wife will remind me...if she forgets, our son reminds us.

I hope you have something that directs you to a balanced life, no matter your age, marriage status, dreams, or job. Live with no regrets because tomorrow will bring a new season.

I bet you didn't think this is what this blog was gonna be about :)
The pic for this blog is the sea caves in St. Martin's, New Brunswick. This is a great place to spend a full day exploring the ocean floor one hour and watching the waves crash at your feet the next. Talk about a quick change in the seasons. It is a truly amazing locale, with friendly people, good eating, and lots to explore.

See you all in the woods or on the water.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Well the Atlantic International Balloon Fiesta is now come and gone and I have to say I feel for all those people who drove from hundreds of miles away to see the colorful bags of hot air take flight. The must have been sorely dissappointed when they realized that the balloons can only fly in good weather. Many of the balloonists themselves must have been frustrated as they too came from great distances to grace our area with their presence. It is really to bad that we can not guarantee good weather for the weekend, if we could the area would make much more money on the fesitve tradition.

Despite having the tail end of Hurricane Hanna belt us with over 100mm of rain on Saturday night and Sunday I think the Fiesta was still a success. Town was alive with people and shops were humming with the sound of cash registers and debit machines were empty due to the high volume of requested cash. Personally I had a blast Friday and I had to work. Friday morning we saw the balloons from our backyard and my son, in his bare feet and pj's, ran around in circles in the backyard exclaiming "I can see Mr. Peanuts hat daddy!" and asking "Can we watch the balloons tonight too?"

That evening we were priviliged to have some of the balloons take off right next to our house. My son was as high as the highest balloon and unfortunately my wife had to work. She booked Saturday and Sunday though so no worries??? We had a wonderful time Friday night, my son and I and some family that we visited later that night as the balloons flew over their house.

My wife was so dissappointed when the winds kept the balloons on the ground Saturday and Sunday. She wasted a weekend from work for nothing...but we did have fun Saturday as we spent the evening with friends and family who has all already agreed to get together and who needs balloons for a party? (Get it?)

Well I hope if you came to Town this weekend you enjoyed the Balloon Fiesta despite the limited supply of Balloons.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A bit of humble pie

I grew up being very competitive and was graced with a modest amount of athletic ability which allowed me to sometimes excel at some sports activities. I played hockey, baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and golf at some stage in my life. I also was a bit of a daredevil on my old BMX bike, much to my Mother's dismay and worry. I was often late coming home for supper after wandering to far up a nearby brook in search of trout, and from time to time I just wandered to far into the hills in the evening to make it back before dark like I was supposed to. All this youthful adventure has shaped me to become what I am today, which I like to think is a upstanding, outdoor oriented, environmentally conscious citizen.

After saying all this I have to point out that this youthful adventure (and sometimes misadventure) has had its drawbacks. I still feel young when I am out there doing my thing but lately my body has been telling me that I am getting older. My bumps and bruises no longer heal in a couple of days but rather now take a couple of weeks. When I wipeout on my mountain bike now it takes me a couple of minutes to get back on as opposed to a couple of seconds. Lately this reality has really been hitting home as I have struggled to recover from a wrist I broke this winter.

Recently I went on a mtn. bike trip where after a pretty solid collision with the rocky ground I had to eat some humble pie. I broke the de-railer on the bike and hobbled back to the trail head on foot. I don't know which hurt worse my pride or my arm. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a bit arrogant (the fact that I can state that here proves it) and therefore I had been confident about making this trip despite the fact I am relatively new to the sport. When I had to cut it very short, I was only about 3-4km into a 15km wilderness trail route, my pride took a kicking. But here is the funny thing. My body takes longer to heal now but my ego is just the opposite. Does that mean maybe, I am growing up?

My Mom would likely say "It's about time." But I don't know....I think I still have a few youthful adventures left in me before I settle into the endurance sports of triathalon and marathons. This may sound funny but seriously, alot of the things I've done in the past have been more rough and tumble than Tris and Maras and I think really training for the latter keep you in better shape maybe I'll make a lifestyle change. Oh to be older and wiser :)

Enjoy the new pics I've posted in honor of this weekends Balloon Fiesta in Sussex. I hope to see you in the woods.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Waiting and Hoping

Well I was out fishing last weekend...I know you're not surprised eh? My Dad and I ventured up to the headwaters of a nearby Creek and found an amazing scene of serenity. The water was cool and clear and when you think of a babbling brook this is what most of us think of. I work in watershed restoration and this is what we want all our streams to look like. There were waterfalls and chutes, boulders and bedrock, trees and shrubs, and most of all there was fish.

The fishing was great despite the fact that they were all a bit small. The best part about fishing an area like this is that you never know where that big catch might be lurking. Everytime you cast your line to a log you wait and hope. When the bait hits the bottom of a deep pool you wait and hope. As you reel through a back eddy you wait and hope. It is this anticipation that keeps you casting and plodding down the stream.

On this day we never caught what you would call a trophy, in fact we hardly caught anything of note. We sure found a new haven though and a stream that I will likely try again sometime just so I can see what it looks like. Just like when I cast my line into the stream I wait and hope, I now wait and hope to go back.

See you in the woods.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rewards Worth Working For

So wow...yeah...ahhh...been reeeaal busy and haven't been able to keep up on my blog the way I was hoping. Maybe I should set more realistic goals eh? Truthfully though my life has become very rewarding lately, but to get the rewards I have had to work for it. Any reward worth having is worth working for right. Just look at the Stanley Cup for instance, those guys bust ass all season long just to hold the coveted grail. The hardest hiking trails often have the best rewards too.

I have added a couple of pics that I snapped while hiking a couple of my favorite hiking trails in the Atlantic Provinces and Maine. Mt. Katahdin, in Maine, is a hike everyone should do just so you can say you did it. You will find new strenght within yourself and a new inner peace while struggling up this east coast mountain, no matter what your capabilities are. Keyhole Brook on the Cape Chignecto Trail in Nova Scotia has a evangillical sense to it as you approach it from the north side meadow. You feel smaller somehow as you sit on the cliffside bank above the waterfall and watch the waves crash through the hole. The Kenomee Canyon, also in Nova Scotia is an enjoyable overnighter with many small streams and waterfalls to see.
The last pic is of the White Lakes Wilderness area in Nova Scotia which is rocky, wind stunted, terrain that offers many lookouts and bald hills to climb and play on. I got to thank my buddy Greg for taking this pic of me looking out over the Musquodoboit River and Bayers Lake.

All of these hiking areas are challenging but all of them have amazing scenery and even an auroa about them that will speak to anyone if they are willing to listen. Even when I go over my pics I can still hear them calling to me to come back and visit. Which I will.
More pics to come and hopefully not so slowly this time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A good tent is a good friend

There are camping or backpacking trips where your tent is like your best roommate on a bad week. When you are trapped for a full day in a tent due to bad weather you want to make sure you have a well designed tent, or great roommate. So what makes a great tent on a bad week? Like all good roommates, your tent knows when to give you space. A well designed tent has lots of headroom and a spacious vestibule for gear storage. This will make your bad day seem a bit brighter.

I had a roommate once who was great at weathering my occasional rainstorms. My tent should do the same. A bad day can get worse if; when you open your door the rain gets in on your sleeping bag; or when your temper heats the tent and you get enough condensation to soak your last pair of dry socks. My best tent breathes well. It regulates the interior temperature without a lot of effort on my part and this reduces the amount of moisture build up. Most importantly though, it just does not leak, even during the heaviest rains.

A seamless relationship between you and your roommate depends on how well you blend together. Again, a good tent needs well blended seams to be effective. Stitching is crucial in providing a durable, waterproof tent. Even better, would be no seams but then where would you put your poles? Strong stitching around your pole loops is important and light weight poles make that wet tent a bit more bearable when lugging it back to the trail head.

A good roommate knows when to cover for you just like a good tent has a tarp that provides that extra cover when you need it. I like a tent that has a full tarp with a large vestibule. The tarp should also have a large door for easy entry and exit this will also allow the tent to be aired out on warmer days. If you can tie your tarp out from the tent frame it will allow it to breathe better as well. I’m sure you have wished you could tie up a roommate once or twice on a bad day.

Now, I know your tent isn’t a roommate but rather a room. Trust me though, on a cold, rainy, day you will get more intimate with your tent than you wish. Like I said about boots, you need to know what your needs are when tenting. If you are a car camper, I would go with a larger, heavier tent. If you are a backpacker, then you need to strongly consider weight and may want to sacrifice space to minimize the weight you have to carry from campsite to campsite.

A tent also needs maintenance in order to keep you happy and live a long life, again a lot like a good roommate. It is important to dry your tent out and clean off the floor and tent walls after every trip. This will prevent build up of damaging fungus on the tent materials so that the tent can more readily withstand the next stretch of bad weather. It would be terrible if a pole snapped in a wind storm and ripped your tarp and let the rain in on your sleeping bag.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rainy Day Blues??

As much as people often gripe about the rain, deep down we all have a deep appreciation of it. Most people now don't live in a metal roofed house, at least not here. Metal roofs are making a come back though and everyone will tell you they love the sound of rain on a tin roof. Me, I love the rain on my tent. It is a calming sound that often lulls me to sleep while I read the latest trail guide or bird id book. I don't even mind having to wander out of my tent to pee in the rain. I love the feel of cool drops on a dry thin t-shirt. The cold drops seem to touch my inner body and sooth the aches I developed through my long hike, and it seems to happen in slow motion. The smell of the rain on the ferns permeates everything around me and makes its way into my stuffy tent even. This scent of renewal even overpowers the smell of my sweaty socks which I have hanging in my gear loft and makes my tent more bearable. I battle to break camp and carry on my way as I just want to sit in this scene of serenity and literally soak it all in.

I finally pack up and start my day off in the constant drip of the woods. Each step takes on the rythym of the rain and before long I am singing in my head..."I'm singing in the rain, oh I'm singing in the rain..." On a day where most people are griping about the weather I am out here living it up and enjoying it. Rainy days like this prove to me that backpacking, and outdoor adventure takes a special mind set, and am I ever glad I'm crazy.
My picture this week was taken after a rainy day along the Fundy Footpath. When the sky cleared just before sundown it revealed a double rainbow extending straight up off the Bay. It was a surreal moment when the earth seemed right and all those worries of work, economics, and environmental struggle just faded away.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A tribute to spring blooms

I have been a bit slack on posting my pics of the week, so lucky you, I am gonna post two this week. If I am not careful I will soon be out of good pics to post or I'll accidently post a pic a second time. Or at least I'll pretend it was an accident :) You'd never know. Ha ha.
These pics are to celebrate the arrival of all the spring flowers. I took a stroll along a nearby creek here and found these last summer. In a little while we should be seeing these again. Since I am not a botanist I am not sure what the proper names of these wonderful plants are. I do know however, that they are a great addition to the landscape around the rivers as they added some vibrant eye catching color. Maybe some one can identify them for me. Enjoy the pics and hope to see you in the woods or on the water.

Well I seem to be in a bit of a mood to rant this morning so this could get a bit winded. I am not even sure exactly what it is I am upset about. I just have this feeling of uneasiness in my gut. This feeling usually appears after I have a discussion about self-sufficiency, gas rates, mining, and big industry. Why is it that big industry continues to win the political battles in the war on envrionmental degradation? Why does our government continue to roll over to big industry just for the sake of a dollar or two when in reality they could be making tens of dollars if they were to take a firmer stance?

We have moved to a global economy and this has meant a greater environmental impact and a greater gap between middle and upper class society. Is this healthy for anyone? Really someone tell me? Why do we have to buy a 2x4 from another country when we have hundreds of mills that make them in our own? Why is it cheaper for us to buy that 2x4 from somewhere else? Can someone explain this market to me? What impact is this having on the environment? A company cuts a log 2km from my door, ships it to a mill 200km away, the mill packages it and sends it to a HomeDepot 2000km away. I go to a building supply store 5 km up the road and buy 2x4s that were cut down 5000km away. WTF???? I just don't get it.

People really need to start educating themselves on environmental, social, and econoimic issues and letting their appropriate government officials know their opinions. We have to start putting the environmental and social aspects, before the economic ones.

Well that is my rant...I need a trip to the wilderness where I can just ignore all the issues. Then again that is not a good solution either. Ignorance is not bliss, but sometimes it is a nice vacation.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life Changes

It is funny how quickly your life can change, or maybe flow is a more appropriate term. One day you are having a rough go of it and you wonder if you'll ever make it the next sees blue skies and evening fires and things are great. In a few days time life is hellish again and you're scared to answer the phone. The last telemarketer that called probably reported you to the CIA as a potential terrorist just because he caught you on a bad day.

Recently my life has been great and it has been fun. My relationship with my family is continually growing while I continue to develop myself as a community leader, but I can't help but have this nagging feeling that the higher I reach the further I will fall. I keep myself grounded by getting out to the wilderness and tasting simple things again. This reminds me that no matter how far I fall, I will be able to survive and start my climb again. I have learned through my simplistic approach while exploring the wilderness, that life in the social world can be just as simple, and just as rewarding as long as I don't overthink things. Sometimes it is just as good to survive as thrive, or at least I think it is.

Here is my weekly pic, its a bit late but I've been busy surviving, and through that effort actually thriving.

See you in the woods.

Monday, May 5, 2008

2nd look

I am one of those people who needs to step away from things from time to time to get some clarity on it. I am sure that alot of us are that way, even if we don't know it. I can be writing a report and then come to a block, I step away for an hour or so and then I can hammer the rest of the report off and even touch up places I didn't like the first or second time through. Want another example? How about when you walk beside a rushing river with a fishing pole in your hand; you're fishing downstream and you think your hitting all the holes with atleast one cast and then you turn and look upstream and there it is a back eddy formed by a large boulder with a log jammed on it. You had casted to the upstream side of it but failed to hit the downstream side and so you lay out some line and let it slide gently against the breeze and as it hits the surface the rainbow trout you've been chasing all morning takes the hook.

There, for most who might read this blog, that should sum up the "second look" idea I have been contemplating lately. I have been real busy with work, and life in general so I haven't had time to take that second look. Then I realized something. The longer it is before looks, the more you notice differently. So what is the point of this rambling, well it had been a while since I looked over some pics that I took while backpacking the Fundy Coast and I realized that some of them are better than I thought, while some of them are more mediocre than I thought. Here is one (for my pic of the week) that I thought at first was only mediocre and now that I look at it, well....maybe it is still only mediocre, but it evokes something in me. Bringing me to my second point. Outlook depends so much on mood and mindset. Keep a positive mind set and things tend to look better and now that I am older (and supposedly more mature) I can more readily understand that.
The pic for this week is along the shore on one of the many streams that empties into the Bay of Fundy. I wouldn't normally consider this one of the best areas along the trail but this pic makes it look great. Then again, if I take a second view on it the whole trail is great.
Keep smiling and get out there. See you in the woods or on the water.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Respect the land

Why is it that some people can't simply enjoy something without destroying it. There are numerous walking and hiking trails, and parks near where I live and for some reason people need to litter, cut trees, make new trails, or burn things. Some of these trails are on private property and we are only allowed on there thanks to the generosity of the landowners. I thank them for their patience and stewardship, but I wouldn't blame them either if they decided to stop people from using their land for recreation.

I know that a fire is a great thing when outdoors, but please be smart when lighting a fire. Take a look at where you are. If you are on a wind blown, well drained, dry rock escarpment with no water then figure it best not to light a fire. When lighting a fire too, be sure that if a fire pit already exists to use it, if it is a mess, clean it up and then use it.

"Pack in, pack out." This simple mantra should be used by anyone venturing into the wilderness, no matter your mode of transportation. I try not only to pack out my waste, but if I see other waste I do my best to handle it as well. Those of you on four wheelers, this would be a great way to expend your fuel, a remote wilderness trail clean up. Don't burn the garbage either, unless that is the last option or you just can't carry it another five days. This tends to leave the fire pit in a mess for the next people who come along. Paper waste of course is good to burn as is cardboard, but cans, and plastics should definitely be carried out.

If we want to continue to use our woods then lets respect them and all that they have to offer.

My pic this week is one that I enjoy. I love tenting along the ocean and this place is heaven by the Bay. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gas and Self Sufficiency

Here where I live the government has been talking a great deal about becoming self-sufficient. They have tossed around plenty of ideas on how to do that. Some of them very appealing but most I have come to find are not truly about becoming self-sufficient but rather about increasing our revenue. These are not the same. A week or so ago, I read in the local paper that it has been suggested that we need to triple our population by 2026 in order to become self-sufficient. WHAT? HELLO! If we triple our population we triple our needs and decrease the space in which to meet those needs. I think my government and I strongly disagree with the way self-sufficiency should be attained. I believe we need to quit looking at import and export markets but rather produce and buy locally. We are a resource rich area so there is no need for us to import energy, food, fuel, furniture, wood, and on and on. We need to start helping those within our area who need it before we start helping those from outside our area. We need to decrease the gap between low incomes and high incomes and this shared wealth will increase the tax base and thus provide us with the revenue to provide those services needed most, education and health care. But that is just me rambling this morning because I got upset at the gas pumps.

I thought ahead last night and filled my gas tank on our Ford Escort (A domestic car by the way.) and it was a good thing I did. I was shocked when I drove by the gas station today and read that the price had shot up 5cents since last night. 5CENTS! So much for gas price regulation halting price shock at the pumps as they said it would. Now I am ignorant when it comes to fuel prices, I have no idea how they are set, but really come on. You can't tell me that the gas I pumped last night cost 5cents less than that pumped by someone this morning? Someone is making a great deal of money. Can someone please explain how this system works to me?

Well that is my little rant this morning. I gotta head to the woods to clear my head. When I am there at least I feel self-sufficient. Hey maybe that is it? Maybe we should all go back to leading a simpler, more physical type of lifestyle where we walk everywhere not drive. This would increase public health, decreasing health costs, reduce pollution, reduce fuel and energy demands, and just make everything least for me.

See you in the woods.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Water logged

"Man the water is cold!" That was my first reaction after I hauled myself out of the Trout Creek. A bit embarassed, very wet, cold, but smiling. I had just rolled my kayak while on a morning paddle down through Town and was loving every minute of it. I admit I had never before this been in a white water kayak, I had only ever done flat water kayaking. I was very nervous about even making this trip since I am still in therapy for a recently healed broken wrist but I could not pass up the chance to try something new.

The best part of this trip was that I was doing it through work and therefore getting paid to kayak down the Creek. Now in the summer time you would have a hard time kayaking down due to low water and you would likely portage more than paddle, but in the spring wow, it flows fast and furious. These spring conditions can make it a bit of a challenge, especially for an inexperienced paddler like me (insert snicker here.) We started just below a set of rapids and getting in the kayak was a challenge, but with no incident the trip got under way.

For the first hour we floated and paddled down stream with a relaxed rhythm. The sun getting higher in the sky and the air around us getting warmer. I took note of all the little things about the Creek as I was searching for a project site for work and evaluating past projects as well. Mallards continually moved off ahead of us and I would stop in an eddy from time to time to take pictures. As we moved into Town people would watch with a bit of awe and bewilderment as we passed by and we would give a friendly wave and say "Great day isn't it?"

Finally we reached a set of rapids that I was anticipating. These are newly formed rapids and there are quite a few trees layed into the Creek, making them even more difficult to navigate. I made it through the chute to a eddy where I pulled out. From there I had to go across the Creek to get around a downed tree and here is where I made my "rookie" mistake. I left the eddy paddling hard with my nose upstream a bit to get across, but in this instance you can't paddle on both sides you must paddle on the downstream side only. This keeps your nose pointed upstream and also moves you across the current....oops...I forgot and over I went.

I clambered out of the Creek, pumped out my kayak, portaged around the tree, and happily carried on my way for another hour and a half until we reached our destination. Oh and I guess I should say after another portage for trees, I fell in again trying to get into my kayak. Go ahead and laugh, I did.

Unfortunately my digital camera got waterlogged despite being double bagged in ziplock and I don't have any pics to show but I still will post a pic of the week. This pic is titled "I'm Gonna Get Wet" so I thought it appropriate. I took it along the Fundy Footpath at the mouth of Wolfe Brook, where the brook meets the Bay of Fundy. It was a great trip, and I did get a bit wet.

Stay tuned and I will see you in the woods or on the water

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Well it is finally here. Fishing season opens today. Yes! Unfortunately I am working today and will not be able to get out. That is not that big of a deal though because the waters are still high and the trout won't be taking a whole lot yet. Can't wait though to cast a line. There is nothing better than hearing that whizzzzz of a cast on a crisp quite morning, well wait....maybe the splashing of a lunker as it takes the bait and you set the hook is better. Then again the sound of a trout frying over an open fire sounds even better again, and it smells incredible to boot. Okay lets face it there is nothing better than a day out fishing, even when the weather is bad.

When you go fishing things can be going terrible but somehow you always end up enjoying yourself. I can remember forgetting the bait for a weekend trip we had planned and not having a shovel to dig more. We looked like a bunch of ravenous bears scrounging for bugs as we used anything we could to dig for worms. Why is it that this trip stays in my head even though it occurred many years ago? The trials and tribulations make it all that much more rewarding and thus memorable.

Fishing is a sport for all to enjoy. No matter your societal status, race, gender, or age, you can enjoy fishing. Some fish out of necessity while others fish purely for the joy of catching that huge trophy. I fish just to be out there in the woods. I love wandering up small streams, down boulder havens with wild currents. I love the game of hide and seek and trying to guess where a fish might actually be. "Are they under that overhang? or in the deep pool next to the bank? I wonder if that back eddy would serve as a resting area? Come out, come out, wherever you are. Even on days where I don't catch anything, I still enjoy being out there. I hope you all enjoy the fishing season. Fish by the rules though.

If your thinking about fishing in New Brunswick check out this site:

My pic this week is of one of my favorite fishing rivers. Of course I won't tell you where it is but I will say this: "The fish are always there and there are plenty of them."

Happy fishing everyone.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring, Family, Friends, and Fun

The last two days have finally given hope that spring may have finally reached us here in the Maritimes. I got my fingers crossed. Fishing season is just over a week away and the woods are calling me and my tent.

My wife's family had a get together this weekend and I spent a great deal of time entertaining the kids. The best part about that is they can be so easily entertained, oh and so too am I. We spent a half hour or more blowing big bubbles, little bubbles, and multiple bubbles, and of course you can't blow them without chasing them down. Once they grew bored of the bubbles it was onto flying a kite. I was a bit apprehensive at first because it was a Barbie kite, but I quickly got over my insecurities when the kids did. Do you know that 2-5 year olds have no such insecurities, wouldn't it be great if we were all like that.

The kite only got away on us once or twice. We always managed to catch it before it got to far. Thankfully it was not windy enough to blow it to fast or high that we could not get it. Each kid got a turn and then we secured the kite to the ground using a stick while we moved on to eat popsicles. Nothing beats a popsicle on a sunny day, even if it was only 7*C.

It was a wonderful Sunday, blessed by God, family, friends, and fun. Here is hoping the rest of the summer is as adventurous.

My pic this week is a true sign of spring. This freshet was photgraphed during a backpacking trip last spring along the Dobson Trail. I love running water, big or small, and this small freshet flowed powerfully down a deep ravine and was impressive the whole way.

See you in the woods.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Small Talk

Last night I had the privilege of presenting some of my photos and stories with the Kennebecasis Naturalist Society. This was my first public speaking engagement as Ben Whalen writer/adventurer and I have to say thanks to the KNS for the great opportunity. I learned a great deal about myself through preparing for that presentation. I truly am passionate about being outdoors and our part of NB. I much prefer presenting stuff about my life as opposed to what I present through my day to day work. My life stories of adventures and outdoor mishaps can be entertaining, at least to some.

So my pic this week is dedicated to those who attended last nights KNS meeting and embraced my stories and made me feel like I have accomplished something, and that I may even have more to offer in regards to outdoor pursuits. Many thanks to you all and I will see you at meetings to come.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sunshine, spring, and driving

Well, obviously I am not one of those people who can maintain a daily blog. Come on I have a full time job, I write a column for a local paper, and I have a family...I just don't always have the time. When I finally find the time though, I must say I enjoy this style of writing. It is a bit more liberating than writing for a deadlines, no word limits, no topic barriers...just freedom.

Easter weekend here was incredible. My wife over did it on the purchase of treats and toys, so we will be broke for the month of April but oh well, we had a really enjoyable weekend and that is worth all the money in a month. Really it is.

We travelled to a nearby city by car and I remember how I enjoy driving on sunny days. It is like being a kid again and getting your bike out for the first ride of spring. The snow isn't quite gone so you pretend you're a four wheeler and ride the hard snow along the snowmobile trails. Every now and then you fall through and are sent sprawling across the ground. You and your biking buddies are laughing it up in the sun so it doesn't hurt a bit. Thankfully, in my car, I don't fall through the road, although there are some wild pot holes out there.

Here in the Maritimes we are still waiting for spring to truly arrive and soon the fishing will start. I can't wait. My son is old enough this summer that I think I can take him out once or twice to some small streams and holes to enjoy the outdoors. Till next time enjoy the pic of the week. This one will get all you folks out there dreaming of that big one.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pic of the week for March 15 08

For my pic this week I have chosen a fall sunset viewed from my backyard. The wheat gives the whole pic a golden aura and really creates a sense of wonder. I also really like the way the timothy frames the right hand side of the photo. It is one of my favorite pics. I truly appreciate my backyard when I look at this pic, but everyone should learn to appreciate what is in their own backyard. Enjoy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Picture of the week

Well the weather didn't cooperate this weekend at all. I don't mind hiking in rain or snow, but a freezing rain that is pelting down and making everything slippery is no fun at all. Needless to say, I didn't get our for a hike and to rub salt in the wound, today is a beautiful day and I have to work. Isn't that always the way? Maybe tonight I can go for a walk with my son and wife. Until I get out again I will give you this pic to ponder over. The pic was taken on a great day hike I did last winter. A great day in February where I walked in a t-shirt and I could hear the music playing on the slopes of Poley. Where I am standing is just in front of a rock escarpment that drops about 150' to the river valley below. Behind me is a lush mixed forest with beech, pine, hemlock, spruce, maple, and birch. Truly a great day for hiking and photography, I couldn't take a bad pic.

Friday, March 7, 2008

One day

"What a difference a day makes." I often can be heard saying this. I have no idea why, I just picked it up somewhere. Today though it rings of truth. The other day we had freezing rain, snow, freezing rain, rain, then back to freezing rain. It was a mess. The next day was bitter cold, then today it was a warm March day. I was out at lunch with a t-shirt on and, get this, I was comfortable.

Days like today though make me ache to get out even more. I should have some free time tomorrow and Sunday so I am definitely gonna get out for a hike somewhere this weekend. Oh I gotta itch and I gotta scratch it. I'll keep ya posted.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tired of snow??

As much as I hate to say it, I'm getting tired of winter. We just received another huge dump of snow and now they are calling for more. My shoulders ache with the thought of having to shovel my driveway again. I am longing for a nice night out in my tent where I don't have to bank the snow up and throw down a ground sheet. Alas it is only March though and we likely still have at least a month and a half before I can leave the ground sheet at home. I definitely have cabin fever even though I have been out snowshoing a few times this winter. Having broke my wrist this winter though has kept me hemmed in a bit more than I am used to, and it is getting to me.

Stayed tuned as I will be posting my pic of the week and some other new additions like a trail of the month, and gear lists.

Friday, February 29, 2008

My Picture of the Week

I truly enjoy photography, especially nature scapes. This is mainly due to my love of hiking and "National Geographic". Being outdoors a great deal also puts me in great locations to take some nice pics. I want to share these with you here, so what I've decided to do is post a weekly picture, my favorite at that time shall we say. I hope you like them. I will include the title and a brief description of each one. Feel free to let me know what you think.

This weeks pic is "A Wintery Bluff" and it was taken shortly after a light snowfall. The Bluff is one of my favorite places for day hiking, no matter the time of year. On this day though I was simply visiting my folks and playing with my son in the backyard. The grays in this pic are inspiring and illustrate in color how color is not always needed to make a great picture. The pic and the time with my son made for a great day.

Starting Off

Well, here I go. I am off on my journey into bloggerdom. I have been trying to find a way to improve my writing skills and increase my audience and everyone tells me this is how to do it. I am not the most advanced computer user around that is for sure, so starting this was as intimidating as taking that first leap off the bridge at Silver Hill. For you readers in southern NB you likely know what I mean. (Like I really have any readers yet, hahaha)

In this blog you'll find stories about day hikes, backpacking trips, outdoor adventures and mishaps. From time to time I may even write about other things, such as environmental issues, family life, my work, etc. I hope I don't disrepect anyone, but let me say in advance if I do, I apologize, I don't mean too. If that is not good enough....well...suck it up and get over it.

So who am I? Nobody really, I enjoy hiking and backpacking, climbing, kayaking, and canoeing. My playground is the Atlantic Provinces where I have spent at least a night camping in all of them and have done some multi-day backpackin g trips in all but PEI. Sorry Islanders, I just haven't had the chance, and I'm not sure of any good multi-day trips over there. If you know of one I'd love to hear about it.

Well this is getting to long for a blog.

See you in the woods.