This weekend was one of the best in a while.
I had wanted to get together with Gerry Friday night, but he was going to start finishing his basement Saturday and wanted to get a good nights sleep so he passed. I have to say that Gerry's plan to complete his basement has me standing in the center of my unfinished cellar dreaming of what could be. I already have an almost completely finished bedroom there, but if I could finish the rest it would add so much more living space. Tanyia and I agree that the space would be perfect for a home theater...she is such a cool girl! Before I could do that though I would have to learn some basic framing...maybe between a trip to the library and some help from a good buddy this dream could be my big screen reality.
It is now one week before I re-start my marathon training and although the 2 month break has been good, I am looking forward to getting back to the heavy routine. Since my last half marathon I scaled back my running to 3-4 times per week, but increased the intensity/speed and at the same time continuing with my 3 days/week of weights. My diet I have let slip a bit during the break and put on 10 lbs of "unhelpful" weight. So yesterday I started my high protein/moderate carb/low fat training diet and feel better then I have in a while. For those that don't know me, I love ice cream and it is the only thing I miss when training. I can say no to everything else and don't care a bit, but I do miss having a daily helping of the cold stuff. So during my off training times I always indulge in obscene quantities of ice cream, while keeping the rest of my diet in check. Well for now, those days are over so have some for me...I highly recommend the Presidents Choice Candy Cane Ice cream...ummmm ice cream!
On Sunday I took the kids to the Newcastle Santa Clause Parade. It was great...even had fireworks! Below is a short clip of my kids seeing Santa.
Monday, November 27, 2006
This weekend was one of the best in a while.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Yes, I know ... you've always felt that wilderness canoeing is a healthy activity. The outdoor types who paddle our wilderness areas are all robust, strong, hearty types who are the very picture of good health. They spend long hours in the fresh air, getting above-average levels of exercise from paddling into headwinds and portaging heavy packs and canoes from lake to lake.
I hate to disillusion you. I've been doing some research and have found out the the potential for dangerous and serious medical conditions far outweighs any benefits that may result from the fresh air and exercise.
Impossible you say? I'm sorry, but my research has been detailed and meticulous. I have scoured back issues of the most prestigious medical journals and it is on the basis of this data that I have some surprising results.
Still doubtful? Read on and like me, you'll be discouraged to find out that we're killing ourselves by engaging in this activity. This is just a small sample of the serious medical conditions I've found that are directly attributable to canoeing.
GNS(Gawker's Neck Syndrome)
A potentially serious spinal problem caused by repetitive twisting of the neck. It is the result of the continual turning of the head while driving to gawk at every creek, lake and river that sits adjacent to the highway to gauge their potential as a possible canoe route. It is also worth noting that canoeists have a statistically higher than average incidence of involvement in head-on collisions, since they are always looking at water levels in waterways along the road instead of watching for oncoming traffic.
Caused by over-consumption of packaged dehydrated meals with high levels of beans and grains. There is also a theory (unproven) that this condition is exacerbated by the speed with which canoeists eat their meal, due in part to the fact that they are always hungry, and also because they have to wolf down their food before they are completely eaten by mosquitoes and blackflies.
CIIV(Chef Interference Induced Violence)
A psychological condition in which a normally peaceful person will suddenly snap and commit a violent act upon another. The condition seems to occur when a person is designated chef or food-preparer for the evening, and cannot cope with the persistent interference of the other paddlers, who hover around like vultures, asking over and over when supper will be ready. The worst cases seem to take place in situations where the paddlers are continually reaching over the shoulder of the chef and sneaking bites of the food during the preparation process.
FRC(Fear Related Constipation)A debilitating condition which affects those who are afraid to take the nighttime trek back in the bush to answer nature's call due to fear of being eaten by bears, wolves or other local wildlife.
BFICE(Blood Flow Induced Cranial Enlargement)
An serious condition manifested by gradual cranial (head) enlargement. The theorized cause of this problem is sleeping on sloping ground with the head at the low end of the Thermarest. Not seen much in the prairie provinces or the barren lands, where all ground is flat, but a common and serious affliction in other parts of the country.
Obviously not a disease or syndrome, but still a serious risk factor for paddlers. Statistics compiled by life-insurance companies show a 30% higher risk of death by homicide among tent partners where one person snores and the other doesn't. Watch for a question about this to appear soon on life insurance medical questionnaires.
Posted by Jim at 10:43 AM
If it smells good to you..it smells GREAT to them!
Animals will do anything to get to your food or to get into a place that smells like food. Take wildlife seriously. In Algonquin, hang all food and food-related items to protect your food against bears, mice, skunks, porcupines and other hungry critters.
Outsmart mice and other small critters
Mice can scale walls and climb down the rope that leads to your hanging food bag. Put in their path an obstacle they can't get around; a tin can or plastic lid usually works. Cut a small hole in the bottom of an empty can or in a plastic coffee-can lid and thread stringor rope through the hole. Tie a knot in the string so the can or lid rests on the knot. Attach your food bag to a stick on the bottom of the string. Most mice cannot get around the lid or can. You should also leave zippers and pockets on your backpack open so the critters can explore without chewing holes through your pack.
Posted by Jim at 7:49 AM
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
After much editing and re-editing here is the final version of the CC 2006 video. Basically, this is a compilation of the best pictures taken by Gerry and myself, put to a fantastic music soundtrack.
I am very proud of how this one turned out, especially how the music blends so well with the photos. It really captures the mood and feeling of being there. I also made a real effort to have most of the changes timed with the music...I think it makes it much more dramatic. One of the best examples is in the first minute when the pictures change from the blurry "old film" affect, too the crisp digital pictures and at the same time, the tempo of the music changes...very effective in my opinion.
1)Guster - Keep it together
2)Ottis Redding - Siting on the Dock of the Bay
3)Jack Johnson - Upside Down
4)Alexi Murdock - Blue Mind
I think it is pretty good, but I want to know what you think! You can check it out by clicking below and PLEASE don't forget to leave your comments!
...and Turn on your speakers!
Posted by Jim at 8:12 AM
Monday, November 13, 2006
I have been looking at these bent paddles for a while and have decided that I am going to have to get one before our next trip.
There are some big advantages ..mostly the increase in the forward motion on the power stroke. When used on flat water (as Gerry and I do) this can make long distance paddling easier as the paddle does more of the work and at the same time, you move much quicker through the water. All of the details are explained better then I ever could HERE
For Gerry and I this means you end up taking shorter strokes at a slightly faster pace. Add up thousands of faster, more efficient strokes over a day, and we will cover more ground with less effort.
As luck would have it, one of the largest producers of paddles in Ontario is located about 30 minutes from my home. They are called Red Tail Paddles and are sold everywhere...even our beloved MEC carries there entire line. You can check out there site by clicking HERE
Everything I have read has said, that when comparing straight to bent shaft paddles,it is no contest.....the bent paddle wins every time. The best comparison is the one I read in "The Wilderness Paddler's Handbook",so I have included it below.
The first canoe trip I took using bent-shaft paddles was in northern Quebec. They were light, a little strange at first, shorter than I was used to, and I wasn't entirely sure which way the blade should face.
We like the paddles almost right away. They seemed efficient, and our backs and shoulders felt less fatigued at the end of a long day on the water. We didn't know how truly great they were until we met a couple of guys from Montreal and traveled with them for several days.
"You ever use these bent-shaft paddles before?" I asked them one afternoon.
"We heard about them, I guess, but they didn't seem worth it."
"Want to trade for a bit?" I asked.
We handle over the light, short bent paddles in exchange for he heavy straight-shaft boards they were using. They took a few strokes. With-in half a minute they suddenly stopped.
"We have to give these back now," the stern paddler said.
"If we don't, you'll have to fight us for them."
Posted by Jim at 7:52 AM
Monday, November 06, 2006
So I am on lunch at work reading the Wilderness Paddlers Handbook, by Allan Kesselheim...specifically, a chapter about little things you can do to make any down time on a canoe trip fun. One of the suggestions really strikes a cord with me.
So much so, that I even find myself saying aloud ..."what a great idea" and the person in another office responds "are you talking to me?"Anyway here is the idea...
Both Gerry and I allocate...hmmm...let say $10, to a secret treat and bring it on the trip. Now neither of us will know what the other has brought until actually there! It could be anything...liquor, pastry, gag gifts...you get the idea. I want to try this next year, provided Gerry is cool with it.
- We can not tell each other what we are bringing
- It has to be something we can both have, use or wear
What do you think?
Posted by Jim at 12:38 PM
Posted by Jim at 9:25 AM
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
On C.C 2006 we brought WAY too much food. After it was over we calculated we had taken over 10 lbs of food, we did not eat on a 5 day tour of Algonquin. A great vacation for the food, but it made a tough trip a little harder then it had to be for the two guys lugging it around. The flaw in last years meal plan was how we overestimated how hungry we would be...of all the things we learned last year, this might be the most important.
For this year our meals will be less fuss, but very good and filling. After taking a quick look at the food, I would guess that we have about half the food we brought last year...but I am sure we will add to it over the next 10 months.
C.C 2007 Five Day Meal Plan
- Breakfast- ON THE ROAD
- Lunch- Bagels with deli meat, cheese, tomato
- Dinner- Spicy Sausage on a bun, Red wine, carrot cake
- Breakfast- English Muffin, eggs, bacon, hash browns, coffee
- Lunch- Bagel, bacon, tomato, cheese
- Dinner- Ham Steaks, instant mashed potatoes, Red wine
- Breakfast- Pancakes, maple syrup, coffee
- Lunch- Tuna Wraps, Soup
- Dinner- Steak Rice
- Breakfast- Protein/Oatmeal , coffee
- Lunch- English Muffin, Bacon
- Dinner- Outback Oven Pizza
- Breakfast- Protein/Oatmeal
- Lunch- ON THE ROAD
- Dehydrated Mango, Watermelon
- Granola Bars ( the ones Gerry brought last year were the best..can't remember the name)
- 1 Brownie , Outback Oven
- Gatorade Crystals
Posted by Jim at 8:24 AM
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I read the book again and after doing so, have decided to post the best tips from the book. There is a tone of info. packed into it's 320 pages, so don't think that this is all the book has to offer, but these are the things that I found insightful and hope you do as well...
The Best Tips:
1)Things to include in your trip Log:
Ever read a trip log and after finishing you know more about the person the the trip? The tips below will give a great balance of information and personality.
- Where you camped
- How you like the Site
- Wildlife Sited
- Unique features visited
- Fishing success
- Difficulty finding portage/ camp sites
- Condition and difficulty of portages
- Approximate times from point to point
- Funny stuff, mistakes made , laughs shared
- Description of events and feelings they evoked...the best ones always have you feeling like you are experiencing it with the writer.
2)Clean stove with carburetor cleaner before winter storage:
- Fill tank to the brim with fuel and add one cap full of carburetor cleaner
- Burn tank dry
- This will do a great job cleaning the fuel jet on most MSR stoves
3) Don't Use Old fuel:
- In the spring don't use that old white gas that has been sitting in the garage all winter. Buy some new stuff and dispose of the old gas at a recycling center, as using the old fuel could cause your stove to fail, when you need it the most. So don't be cheap!!
4) Tent Zipper Maintenance:
- Rub the zippers with a bar of soap before a trip. This lubricates the teeth and avoids decreases the likelihood of having a problem while in the interior.
5) Bring "On the way Home" clothes:
- After days in the bush, you no longer smell yourself...but trust me, the people at Tim Horton's will, so always bring a change of clothes for the drive home and just leave them in the car.
6) Colour coded food Bags:
- This is another one I liked. Instead of digging around in the food bag for that elusive last flakie, be sure to separate food into 4 different bags: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks. At least you only have to look through a quarter of the food!
7) Keep Meat fresh:
- Bring Sausage/bacon, as they will last much longer then other meats 'cause they are loaded with preservatives.
- Ask you grocery store too vacuum seal you meats. This has them last 4 times longer then normal and most will do it for free.
- Meat can be kept bacteria free for up to 4 days by wrapping it in cheese cloth that has been soaked in vinegar. The vinegar taste/smell vanish the second the meat is cooked!
Posted by Jim at 7:15 AM