Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NS Adventure 2014

Our family recently went on a trip to the Halifax Regional Municipality to visit my brother and sister in-law.  It was an awesome adventure which included some down time, great eats, and awesome scenery.  Peggy's Cove is worth the hype and when you finish it off with a stop at the White Sails Bakery and Deli, the day trip can't be beat.  The kids can no longer go to Halifax without stopping at what our daughter calls the "Bubble Factory" better known as the "Discovery Center."
In Dartmouth we enjoyed Shubie Park which is an awesomely designed green space not far from our hosts home. 
All in all, an awesome adventure.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kayak Fishing on Kennedy Lake

The lake was incredibly flat.  Dead trees scattered the edge of the lake and were reflecting off the calm surface along with the light clouds.  The air was still with only an odd light breeze rustling the leaves of the nearby alders.  Oddly I was disappointed there were no flies.  Yes I said I was disappointed there were no flies as I was hoping to fly fish for trout on Kennedy Lake.  No flies meant my choice of artificial fly was limited.

Nerves built up as we unloaded the kayaks and gear.  Fly fishing from a kayak was a new endeavor and for a novice paddler this can be slightly intimidating.  We laughed it off and pushed our kayaks out into the narrow, shallow, channel that led to the lake.  I should stress shallow as it was difficult to float the kayak to the main part of the lake, but entertaining if you had of witnessed it.  Using a combination of hip shuffles and poling we managed to make the lake.

With little to no wind and no flies, the first thing that hit me as I paddled into the lake was the quietness.  My Dad and I could easily converse while prepping our rods despite being over 50m apart.  The silence made me feel small and as I looked across the lake I grew infinitely smaller again.  Our voices echoed off the far hills and we could easily talk to ourselves and think we were responding.

Cautiously I let the first couple of casts leave my rod tip.  Once I was comfortable, I started doling out more line and before long I was confident in my casting and my boat.  I could use the intermittent breeze to drift my kayak strategically towards the areas I wished to cast to.  In this way I was able to efficiently cover a good portion of the lake.  That was not difficult however as the lake is only about 5ha in size.  It was an ideal setting for this first attempt at fly fishing from a kayak.

Patiently I laid out cast after cast and slowly stripped my "green machine" in.  There were no fish breaking the surface and it was hard to determine if I had a good fly and presentation or if I should change my fly and approach.  After 20 minutes and only raising one trout, I decided I should switch.  I moved to a "wooly bugger" and then to a mosquito pattern.  No matter, I never hooked a trout, but no matter the evening was more about the paddling in any event.

We easily loaded the kayaks and gear as we debated the merits of kayaks over canoes.  The drive to the main road was slow and symbolic of the pace of the evening.  Since there was still daylight left we explored some options for a similar trip in the future.  Crow Lake appeared to be a great candidate.  Both of us didn't want the day to end as we had thrived on the silence and relished in the sense of aloneness.  Being on the lake allowed us to leave worries and responsibilities on the shore and as we got closer to home those issues crept back in.  Regardless it was a great evening and kayak fishing has proven to be a new way to enjoy a favorite past time.

If you want to introduce some children to fishing then check out the upcoming "Youth Angling Day Camps" in Apohaqui and Waterford on August 20th and 26th respectively.  You can find more information on these events by looking up the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Grindstone Island 2014

Grindstone Island was not just about the destination, it was about the whole trip there.  Our boat left from Alma, NB, just outside of Fundy National Park just before 11am.  Nature Trust New Brunswick used the island as a highlight of the work they are doing in New Brunswick.  They are are always seeking volunteer stewards to help maintain and monitor the health of their properties.  If you have some time you should consider helping them. Check out the video of my trip.  It was a great day for a boat trip and the entire trip was incredible.  The coast line was incredibly rugged but so scenic and it offered something different on every wave.  Seriously take a look at the NTNB website.

My travel companion for the day was Don Dow who sits on the Kennebecasis Naturalist Society.  They are one of the oldest Naturalists clubs in Canada and are in need of new members.  If you have any interest in outings similar to this one, check them out too.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Full Moon Walking

Some people have a way of being able to organize events and get people out.  Go Train Fitness in Sussex is organizing a "Go Full Moon Walking" event this Sunday, August 10th.  It sounds like a cool event geared towards families.  Yours truly will be there to share some stories about the local waterway and ecosystems and Outdoor Elements will be there and owner John McNair will host a marshmellow roast after the Moon walk, not to be confused with Michael Jackson's famous dance style.  If you want to join the walk meet at the bandstand at Burton Park in Sussex at 9:00pm and bring a flashlight.

I might have some extra head lamps or lights if you don't have one.  My family is looking forward to this evening hike.  I've always liked hiking at night and this is a great way to help people get over their fear of the night.  Hope to see lots of people out.

See you in the woods or on the water.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pedaling Backwards

I had this published in a recent edition of the Kings County Record.  Obviously July is now over but this could happen when ever I hop on a bike.  As someone who is learning to enjoy a slower pace, it is a blessing to find that I can find it on a bike.  I hope you enjoy the read and that you have a chance to get out to find a pace that suits you.

July is more than half over and I am already wondering where summer went.  Time just seems to fly by at times.  That is why it is good to simply slow the pace down.  How do you slow down time?  I have a couple of key ways to recharge and slow down time.  Sometimes I can even do a couple of them at the same time. 

You've heard me ramble about fishing and for sure that is one way to slow things down.  I've written about camping, hiking, and kayaking and extolled how relaxing they can be.  One activity that I don't participate in or write about nearly enough is cycling.  For many biking is not something they would perceive as relaxing or has a manner of slowing down.  When you watch the "Tour de France" and local Christian Meier, they sure aren't going slow and they are racing against time. 

I admit, when I go biking I don't always relax or slow things down.  I love to see how fast I can go and I don't just coast down hill, I like to pedal to gain more speed.  Even with the speed involved time, or maybe more appropriately, aging, is slowed down.  My mind races back to when I was a kid and I'd race down the Mill Brook Road at a dangerous pace. I remember the jumps we'd build and the trails we created simply to get somewhere we couldn't previous pedal to.

A short time ago I was out biking with my son.  The evening was hot with very little breeze and as we slowly pedaled along the trail, the light breeze kept us cool.  The pace was slow and I was able to take in a lot of the scenery around me.  I wondered why we didn't do this more often.  The trail in Sussex and Sussex Corner is a great way to enjoy our community, exercise, and slow time down.  The slow pace, the church picnic atmosphere, the urban setting, it all led my mind to an earlier time when things were simpler and slower. 

That evening I almost felt like I was pedaling backwards.  As I watched my son I saw myself on my old black and yellow BMX.  Our band of buddies used to bike to "Mac's Grocery" and buy a bag of chips, a chocolate bar, and a pop for under a dollar.  We'd then bike to a nearby hayfield and find a place to sit and watch the road below as we indulged on our treat.  It was a slower time and the memory slowed my mind and suddenly the faster pace of my hectic adult lifestyle slowed as well.

As we age we gain perspective on various things.  In the past I have always been very competitive and that drove me to do things at a fast pace.  I didn't just compete against others but against time and against myself as well.  The lesson learned over this biking exercise has been that I don't always need to compete against the clock or against myself.  Through my youth I may have missed out on some important lessons simply because I thought I had something to prove or had to compete.  Now I realize that biking isn't always a race and that it can be a joy ride.