Tuesday, November 11, 2014

9th Annual Remembrance Day hike (and canoe)

Back on track. After missing 2013 due to a work trip to DC, we managed to pull together a last minute plan for our annual Remembrance Day adventure. Kenmore and I mapped out an epic day alternating between canoeing and hiking in and around the Madawaska River.

Our first stop was short paddle from Cherry Point park on the Madawaska. Finally a chance to test out my new canoe. While my Old Town Tripper is a (nearly) untippable freighter, this Langford Prospector is as tippy as it is light. It will certainly take some getting used to but I'm already looking forward to the freedom it will give me in accessing some of those remote lakes that I see on my topo maps.

Back on land, we headed off down the road for some hiking on the old K&P Trail. I've only known this old railbed trail as the "Kick & Push" trail but apparently the correct title is the Kingston to Pembroke trail. Amazing what you can discover after reading signs that you took pictures of and finally pulled up on your computer screen. Lol.

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While we did enjoy our short hike along this old railbed we had other plans and decided to move along a little further down the road to the Eagle's Nest trail. Parking our cars at the trailhead we were greeted by a hunter strapping down his ATV. After some reassurance on the safety of the trail despite the many hunters lurking about he left us with the famous quote from American Werewolf in London... "Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors." Ok, maybe not the moors part but he did say to stay on the path. That said, Kenmore donned his blaze orange reflective vest while I opted to stay close to his side.

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After soaking in the view at the Eagle's Nest we headed back to our vehicles and upstream to Slate Falls on the Madawaska River. This was our main destination of the day and what better spot to have lunch and relax to the sound of waterfalls. Relaxing now sure, but some 130 years ago this area was far from relaxing as it was bustling with lumberjacks some of whom lost their lives at this very site. What a life that must have been - the thrill and rush of adrenaline as they danced from log to log all for a bucket of oatmeal and a $1 a day.

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A toast to the veterans who lost their lives serving their country.
A moment of silence to the loggers who drowned on this very spot.
And finally, cheers to Kenmore for joining me once again on this day of remembrance.

Here's a quick review of our Annual Remembrance Day hikes over the last few years.
2013... Alas, the streak was put on pause last year as my hiking was recorded solo in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wellesley Island camping trip

This year was our first time camping on Wellesley Island. The park is located on a large island in the St. Lawrence Seaway just off the Hill Island border crossing - conveniently located between Ottawa and our friends in Bowmanville.

We arrived to find our site located in a grass field well away from the river but also far enough away from the monster sized motorhomes with their patio lanterns and noisy air condition units. While a nice open field is great for soccer and frisbee it is not the best for setting up rain tarps. Luckily the McMullans were only a day behind us with their large dining tent but in hindsight we had nothing but sunshine for our entire stay.

We swam, we paddled (while the McMullans motored in their new "canoe"), we fished, we bbq'd, and we kept ourselves hydrated. We faired well with only one incident where Steve managed to hook his thumb after releasing a wee rock bass. Unfortunately the hook was buried deep and they opted to call the day short so they could boat back to the park and cross back over into Canada to go to the hospital. The fear of racking up a US medical bill is enough for any Canadian to make the slightly less-feared US-CAN (and then CAN-US) border crossing. Some hours, some freezing, and some stitches later, Steve and Rhonda rejoined our group for the late night fire.

Here are some pics of our week's adventures... oh, and as for the pic at the top? Well that has gone viral on Tumblr - no idea how it made it to Tumblr in the first place but such is this crazy Internet thing. For those of you interested, here is the background on the photo. We had just headed out for the day when we stopped to check out a view of the St. Lawrence. The spot also seemed to be a good time for a group photo for the annual McMullan-vanTol calendar so I set up my camera on the hood of the Jeep. I took a moment to level it out and after a couple of test shots I hit the timer and ran back to the group. As per usual there is always one in the group (or all) that opt to make a funny face or close their eyes so I quickly reviewed the shot only to find that somebody had lifted their leg and and and well the rest is history now. And no, for the record Rhonda had no clue what her husband Steve was doing when she kicked up her leg. That's what makes it priceless. Cheers folks.

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Sunday, June 09, 2013

Mountain Jam IX

After missing last year, Steve and I were pumped to head back down to the Catskills for the 9th Annual Mountain Jam Festival. The weather was wet at times but we managed to set up and tear down under warm sunny skies.

New this year was the option to get car camping in the VIP area. Sweet. This made an easy festival even easier.


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Monday, March 18, 2013

Cattail shenanigans

A snowshoe in the Ottawa greenbelt on a sunny winter's day quickly turned into an attack of the cattails.

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