Saturday Pancakes and a Walk in the Woods

It's Saturday, and we had pancakes for breakfast. Coffee that tasted like cigarettes was replaced with water, and the morning passed well - no more work week days for a couple of days.

We had planned to drive out to Oakville, a 30 minute drive, but Spring was feeling a little run down and so I drove in around lunch time. Saw my parents, had some lunch and then Dad and I drove up to Lion's Valley about 10km north of the lake.

We got to the top of the hill and realized that the access road was closed because of the ice and snow, so we scooted and walked down the steep road through the snow until we reached the bottom of the valley, and passed under the tall bridge.

The brown winter trees lined the valley, and the river was frozen over. A hole in the ice revealed the river running beneath and fish probably swam beneath.

We walked straight through to an entrance to a side valley and passed by a frozen waterfall - really a place of exit for an underground stream that came out of the sandstone strata.

Maple and elm and sumach lined the valley walls and we walked along through a wooded section until we found a flat region above the creek bed.

I cleared a section so I could lay down a mat of dried sticks while Dad searched about for firewood.

He called me over to see a rather gruesome winter sight - a raccoon had died and the carcass was eaten away by something.

My mora knife scraped against the firesteel and it rained sparks on a piece of cotton pad I carried in my pocket as tinder, and after the second attempt, lit the tinder and twigs and soon the fire had given up smoke and burned bright and clean.

We sat on a log and chatted for a while, and the ashes burned down.

We trudged back up the road to the top of the valley and returned home, smokey and satified.

We returned to the car after a while as the snow dropped down around us. Canadian geese flew over head, high above us.

Three red-tailed hawks circled around, the first being chased by the other two - probably an argument over a piece of food.

I drove home and we spent the rest of the day reading and watching television. All in all, a nice Saturday - a break from the anxious doings and comings and goings of the previous few days.

Changes, Survival in the Wilderness, Bad Teaching

Alright, it has been entirely too long since I posted something here - in my defense I have been preoccupied with looking for a new position as mine is winding down in 8 weeks due to some really exciting and some really aggravating circumstances. Take your pick. Also we are going to look for a new lean-to, something out of the trees, and lower to the ground. Preferably with some Spruce trees around and maybe even some chipmunks.

The temperature here in Toronto of late has been so cold - in the minus 20s Celsius - that I've had to carry Monty out to the back area of the building, plonk him down, encourage him to fertilize and water the snow/grass and then hoist him back up so he has a nice view as I carry him back in. All the salt the enthusiastic grounds people pour onto the laneways is painful to him, plus the cold. Plus I think he rather enjoys being carried. I enjoy carrying him, it has made my arms stronger.

As I am overseeing a project at work, involving a late-night event taking place out in the west coast, I time-shifted work today - in at 3:00 PM and I'll start on my way home around 11:00 PM. I decided to watch a show by a guy named Bear Grylls. He's an ex-SAS special forces guy, and has climbed Everest.

In the episode, he was to play the role of a stranded heli-skier, dropped at the peak of an Alaskan Mountain, and had to make his way out. Now, I'm only an armchair survivalist, but boy the mistakes and crazy crap he did I think was irresponsible. Some of the most blatant stupidities he committed were:

1. Climbing through an ice-tunnel under a glacier, instead of taking an additional kilometer of a walk around the glacier. Stupid risky move.

2. Forded a river without a walking stick, and without checking downstream first for obstacles or problems.

3. Climbed down the face of a waterfall, allowing himself to get totally soaked. I could go on and on but boy what an irresponsible show for showing this kind of crap. He could still do the show well, if only he took adequate and reasonable precautions, and could probably be a little more educational in his approach too. It seems more like a self-satisfying show for him, but doesn't really do anything for the audience.

I suppose this show got me ticked off, because in part I have this dream that I could open a school for survival skills, and back country camping expeditions etc... and would teach responsible environmentalism and primitive skills and cater to the artistic community, underprivileged youth, and even the corporate world. And I wouldn't bring any of the students into a glacier tunnel, across a stream without carefully scouting it out, or down a waterfall.

I'm sleepy and my brain has shut down so I will now stop writing - thank you for reading my words here. More soon.

Waves and Camping

When I am canoeing, I like to head either straight into, or slight askew and away from large waves - so that I am not swamped.

While camping, waves in the middle of the night can rattle stones and make you think a big bear is just outside your tent.

The sound of waves can be very relaxing and soothing. When the sun begins to rise in the morning sky, it heats the air, and drives columns of air to form wind, and in turn this forms waves.

I like to make camp on the lee side of an island, so that the waves don't disrupt the site.

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