Sunday, January 27, 2008

Skating season hits Ottawa

Public skate

Last weekend they officially opened the Rideau Canal skateway - well at least part of it. The 2 km section between Somerset and Bank St is ready for skating. Click here for an update on ice conditions.

Or click here to take the virtual tour of the Rideau skateway. It's pretty cool.

Personally I'm waiting for the entire 7.8 km stretch to open up before I head all the way down there. In the meantime the family and I are warming up in the nearby arenas and the old Nepean City Hall outdoor rink (which even has it's own Zamboni doing maintenance).

Click here for a list of all the outdoor rinks and puddles and click here for a list of public arena skate times.

Public skate

Hopefully by the time the opening of Winterlude rolls around this Friday the canal will be nothing but green flags.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

75th Whig Standard Bonspiel (Kingston, ON)

For the third year in a row I was invited back to the Kingston Whig. This year marked the 75th Whig and if I guess right there were a few fellas there that tossed a rock or two in the grand opening. Ok, maybe not but there were some old lads there as well as some young filling up the ranks.

This year we had to call up one of the many that have been following our adventures over the last couple of years to fill the hole left by our 3rd who decided to coach his daughter's competitive ringette team. Unfortunately our spare took a bad tumble on the ice in the second game leaving us to curl a man short for the remaining two games.

The setback just seemed to make us work harder and once again we kept our streak alive and pulled off another win. And not just a win but a 7-2 thrashing that had us shaking hands after the sixth end (games at the Whig are 8 ends).

As was the case last year, the win came in our third match on the Friday night. We hit ice at 10:20pm and it was all over by 12:30am.

Our 4th game was Saturday at noon and it was a nail biter. We managed to jump out in front by 4 points after the first end but then they came back one point at a time to tie it up. We then scored another 2 making it 6-4 going into the sixth. They quickly tied it up again forcing us to play for the win in the 8th. Finally it all came down to the last rock, aka the hammer. Our skip threw for the draw and missed by less than an inch giving them the point. We lost. But how can one really call it a loss when the winners buy you a round of beers? Combine that with the late lunch chili on rice and homemade butter tarts and we were feeling like winners once again.

Bellies full, spirits high (bodies stiff and sore) we decided to skip the supper and entertainment and head back home to Ottawa.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A trip to Burnstown

Winter along the Mad

This weekend we headed up to see our friends in Burnstown. It's only an hour away but for one reason or another time seems to fly by between visits. Nevertheless we always have a great time when we get together and this was no exception.

Bonfire in Burnstown Tracks in the snow
Boiled deer head Mikey and his dog Phantom

For the most part our time was spent catching up on stories and each other's lives. Mix this with good food, drink, and the great outdoors and you have a recipe for a nice relaxing weekend.

Hiking the snowmobile trail

Sunday morning we hiked some of the snowmobile trails and then jutted off into the woods to follow some deer tracks. The weather was chilly but thankfully we had a bright winter sun to keep us plenty warm.

Winter hike

Our goal now is to make the effort to get together again for Winterlude and a skate on the Rideau Canal. Cheers guys and thanks again for a fun weekend.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thin Ice

WARNING: Do not try this at home.

Out geocaching with the family and grizzlyG.

After watching a few family friendly episodes of "Man vs. Wild" and learning some tricks from Bear Grylls, I just knew I was up to the task. Mission successful. (luckily the real misadventures never seem to get caught on video)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Family ski off Corkstown Rd.

Group shot

The weatherman claims that this will be the last good ski day for at least a week as temperatures climb into the double digits so we decided to take advantage of it as best we could.

We did a small but entertaining loop from P6 off Corkstown Rd. The trail is a multi-use trail and not really ideal for x-c skiing with all the dog walkers and toboggan pullers strolling though (not to mention the bumps and dips and half frozen creeks). But we made the best of it and managed to thoroughly enjoy ourselves.

We spotted a pileated woodpecker and a downy woodpecker, 12 deer, and the usual starving squirrels and birds.

Pileated Woodpecker

Now it's back to school and back to work for all of us. Yuck. Let's just hope the cold weather returns soon bringing more snow and maybe even an early opening of the canal for skating. Fingers crossed everyone...

Skiing ahead

Friday, January 04, 2008

GAT ski to McKinstry

Tripper skiing to McKinstry

Gatineau Park: P12 to McKinstry (20 km)
P12 Meech Lake: N45 32.221 W75 53.968
McKinstry: N45 33.218 W75 58.387

In an attempt to purge myself of a Christmas cold I decided to head up to Gatineau for a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise. It turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.

Mike and I arrived at P12 around 10:30am and as per usual in the GAT we skied up up and up until we hit Ridge Road. From there we hung a hard right down Trail 1 towards the Luskville fire tower and the McKinstry cabin.

Creek under snow

With a fresh 5-10cm of snow and temperatures hovering around -5°C, the ski conditions were excellent. Cross your fingers that next week's forecast for rain and 10°C proves to be off the mark.


By the time we arrived at McKinstry we were well hungry for lunch and a chance to relax by the warm woodstove. We managed to rest up here for about 45 minutes before deciding that we best start heading back down the trail before darkness settled in.

Action shot

The ski back was mostly downhill and was much easier going even though we made it more difficult than necessary by skiing one-handed while taking some great video with our cameras. We sure did get some strange looks from the fellow skiers we passed.

Side note...

Having just hiked the Wolf Trail last October, there were a couple of opportunities to snap a photo of the same area now covered in snow. Check them out.

Fall and Winter
Bench at the crossroads Bench and sign by the Wolf Trail
Rust fringed swamp Snowed in swamp

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!!

Random holiday photos...

Snow!! Snow fort

Christmas morning

Drawing for Santa Dear Santa... Dear Santa...

Christmas dinner

Patrick Christmas cookie Christmas cookies

Making Christmas cookies

Guitar Hero Rockin' on with Guitar Hero

Walking Lake Ontario's shoreline

Bird watching deck

Making winter smores

Hope everybody had a fun filled holiday. Health and happiness in 2008.