Some great footage of Banff and Jasper National Park.
Professional daredevils Rex and Melissa Pemberton were drawn together by a mutual passion for risk and adrenaline. Now they have a marriage based on love, trust, and the strange, stoic acceptance that their life partner could die at any moment.
For the next five months, they jumped and climbed across Australia, scuba-dived on its reefs, and leaped off Malaysian skyscrapers. In September 2007, at Colorado’s Royal Gorge, where they spent three days among a tribe of fellow BASE jumpers hucking themselves from a 956-foot-high bridge, he told her he loved her. He told her right after he realized the downside of finding your perfect match—right after he first felt the fear that hasn’t left him since.
Their helmet cameras documented the moment, the last of their 5 jumps: Melissa goes first, with a whoop and two backflips. She free-falls for three seconds and at about 500 feet pulls her chute, which opens cockeyed. Her lines cross and send her into a spin, back toward the rock face. She struggles to untwist the lines, and the video bounces between flashes of rock face, sky, and red-and-white parachute canopy. Rex, still above, sees that she’s in trouble.
“Fuck!” Melissa yells. She kicks herself away from the wall and keeps falling. She slams into the cliff again, tries to kick away with her left leg, and snaps her tibia and fibula. Finally, she plunges toward the rocks below until her chute catches on a small outcropping. Pieces of rock torn loose by her parachute cascade in a shower around her. She hangs 200 feet off the ground, and Rex thinks he’s just watched her die.
“Ohhhh fuck! Fuck!” he yells, then shouts for the high-angle rescue climbers on standby above.
“Is she moving?” His voice is now a pained moan. “Is she moving?”
“She’s moving, Rex,” a friend says. “She’s OK.”
“I think I broke my leg,” Melissa yells. “I’m passing out.”
“Don’t pass out,” Rex shouts. “Are you bleeding?”
“No,” she says. “I’m going to pass out.”
“Did I tell you that I love you?” he yells.
Melissa laughs. “I love you, too,” she says.
I don’t mind shopping at Best Buy and have never really had a bad experience there but today was something else.
When we moved Jordon’s cell phone from Bell to Fido, we went to Best Buy and they really, really screwed it up. It took numerous phone calls to Fido tech support to get it fixed.
Today I went in there thinking it was a bad day for them back then and it would be better today. I wanted a Motorola Moto G 4th Generation cell phone. When I went in to the Best Buy at Circle Park Mall, the staff was incredibly rude, mocked Fido, and aggressively tried to keep me with Bell.
They didn’t have of the phones that I wanted so I drove to the other Best Buy where he kept trying to sell me an old Motorola G 2nd generation but kept trying to convince me it was the new phone. It was kind of surreal that something this stupid was happening to me. I asked him, “Is that the 4th Generation?” and he was almost panicked in trying to enter it into the computer and going, “It’s the Moto G!” Umm, that’s not what I was asking. Finally he got frustrated and angry when the computer would only sell it to me as a pre-paid phone. I just left at that point. It was clear he was trying to rip me off and send me out with a phone that wasn’t what I had asked for.
I left and talked to Jordon. I had some questions about the Fido home phone system so I just called Fido. The rep I talked to offered to courier out my phone to me immediately via UPS. She thought they would ship today but I suspect she was wrong and it will go out Monday. Either way I should have it by Wednesday.
I had no real issues with Bell but Fido has been exceptional.
Sheena Greer enlivened many of us with an essay about the potato.
I’m not sure if I can fully describe the obsession prairie farm folk have with potatoes. I know, everyone eats potatoes. But I don’t believe they do to the extent that stubborn farmers do.
My mother grew a massive crop of the ruddy bastards. As a child, I recall at least 5/7 meals a week being accompanied by some kind of potato. Boiled. Baked. Mashed. Smashed. Whipped. Chipped. Wedged. Grisped. Fried. Grilled. Roasted. Microwaved and covered with Cheese Wiz and shut up and finish your goddamn potatoes.
To say we were a “meat and potatoes” kind of family isn’t quite right. We were a potato family. Likely because they were cheap and plentiful. And simple.
To be honest, I fucking hated potatoes. A little part of me would die when, walking up to the front door after school, I could smell them on the stove.
Fucking potatoes. Again.
It’s not a great thought for a 7 year old to have on a regular basis, but I used to pray to a god I was never really sure existed that we’d get to have some fucking kraft dinner instead.
Even a goddamn tuna casserole.
Anything but potatoes.
Enough already with the fucky potatoes, Jayleen!
But suddenly, something changed. Maybe the awkward rite of passage that is puberty made me realise I longed for a simpler time when the only thing I had to worry about was whether or not I’d have to gag down a bastardly buttery starch hillock.
It was like being hit with a wave of nostalgic longing. Perhaps that’s what it meant to really become a woman in my family. You suddenly long for potatoes.
Especially freshly dug, still covered in wet earth potatoes.
She also includes this amazing recipe. I call it amazing not because of how it tastes (although I do intend to make it) but because how it is written.
You don’t need to be camping to eat these. But I do suggest you make them – whether on a fire, a BBQ, or in the oven – in one of those shitty aluminium dollar store pans. Preferably one that you’ve used at least a dozen times before and permanently smells like burning. If it’s brand new and you happen to have a torch of some kind, I highly recommend scorching it a bit first, but only if you’re sober.
- 6-12 baby potatoes, sliced thin
- 1 onion, cut how you like it
- Margarine or butter, as much as your preferred deity allows you
- Salt and pepper
- That’s all, bitches
Layer that shit in the pan. Cover it with tinfoil. Shut up and eat it. Preferably outside. Surrounded by tall trees. With a can of beer. While someone tells you an off-colour joke. While loons call. And northern lights dance.
Read the entire essay, check out the recipe, and then grab yourself a potato and make a side dish or something.
An amazing recipe compliments of Gear Patrol that will give you the energy to get through the next day. I wish I had seen this recipe before we went to Banff but I’ll definitely try it on the trail in Prince Albert National Park this fall.
- 1 tsp. dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup tomato powder
- 1/2 cup dehydrated veggies
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- pinch of salt
- pinch of ground pepper
- 4 slices summer sausage
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- Mix yeast, warm water, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add flour, continue mixing until you have a thick ball of dough, then put the dough in a small container or baggie. Store the dough in a warm place (like the inside of your jacket) for 10-30 minutes to allow for it to rise.
- Coat the frying pan with olive oil. Knead and spread the dough in the pan until it forms a circular crust.
- Cover and bake, on low heat, for 3-5 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
- Flip the crust, apply the sauce and toppings. Cover and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. (To speed things up, add a splash of water in the last minute or two of baking).
- Remove the cover and let the pizza sit for a minute or two. Cut into slices and serve. (Serves 3-4 people.)
Jordon, Mark, and I have been working on plans for next year in the mountains.
The trip was split into two because:
- We can’t take the dog on the bus to Lake O’Hara. Also, she hates heights and some of the rock ledges make me nervous, I don’t want to fight a dog on those staircases carved into mountains. We are going to try to hike the Lake O’Hara circuit as a family.
- The trip was going to be too long and too jam packed to do it in one extended trip.
So the plan is to pick up Mark on his last day of school and drive out to Calgary and then Lake Louise for the night. Camp and then head to Lake O’Hara for the first bus at 8:00 a.m. We will camp up there and spend two nights and get in three solid days of hiking up there. Jordon and I really want to complete the Lake O’Hara Circuit.
Then in August we will be a little more comfortable and start at Lake Louise again as a base camp and spend some time hiking around Lake Louise and Yoho before heading towards Jasper, hiking as we go.
So today was supposed to be a fun trip up to Waskesiu and Prince Albert National Park. Mark had to work and so it was just going to be Oliver, Jordon and I. We got to just past Rosthern and Jordon goes, “Umm, did you grab the Parks Canada pass?” Doh! No I had forgotten. I did grab my camera strap though. I’m not saying forgetting the Parks Canada pass was my fault but I am the one that has a special spot for it in a special envelope and always says, “I’m responsible for the Park pass.” So let’s blame Jordon for this one.
So we turned around and headed back and then debated do we wait until Mark is done at 3:30 p.m. and then go for dinner or go next Sunday. Since the Angry Taco is now closed and for sale, we just decided to get up early next Sunday and then the four of us go then. Also, after reading several reviews that say that the Angry Taco is a horrible place to eat, I am starting to think I idealized in my memories how good it was.
For those of you who don’t know, Jordon and I vacationed in Waskesiu a year after I we were married. This is when Jordon told me the big lie. He told me that Lake Waskesiu is warm like a tropical lake and to jump right in. It’s not. It is a northern lake that is deep and cold and did I mention it is cold. I almost killed him.
Last Thanksgiving when we had an amazing picnic on a secluded beach in Waskesiu, we all waded into the water. It was beyond cold and brought back all sorts of cold memories. Hopefully it is nice next weekend and if it is, I’ll brave it.
Also Jordon one time told Mark that he had an older brother Dad who was eaten by the Loch Ness Monster’s Canadian cousin, “Lockie” while on the breakwater at Waskesiu. Mark didn’t buy it but when he came home and asked his Uncle Lee if had an older brother who had been eaten by a monster and Lee said, “Dan. We miss him a lot.” So Dan is kind of like Kenny from South Park. He has died a lot of different ways on a lot of family trips. The guys are so weird.
So with some suddenly free time, we came home and finalized our Christmas gifts. The bad news is with Mark reading this blog daily (Hi Mark!) and Oliver being able to read, I can’t blog about what I am going to get them. Well bad for Mark and Oliver that is.