Tagged Grey Owl’s Cabin

Life on the home front

I haven’t posted a lot lately but here is the latest in what is new on the home front.

  • Jordon’s leg keeps getting better and worse.  The ulcer on the bottom of his foot is getting better.  Originally he was supposed to go to the wound clinic daily several times a week but he would show up there every time with a different bandage on him as he showers at least once a day.  So they started sending him home with stuff and he changes the dressing as he needs to.  Anyways it is healing.
  • The bad part is the ankle and foot remain horribly swollen and painful.  Antibiotics aren’t doing anything although now they are wondering if it is a vascular problem.  So another specialist awaits.
  • After a whole semester of refusing to work hard, Mark has finally figured out how to work consistently hard at school and his grades are greatly improving.  That has been a big deal for all of us.  The one thing that he has never been taught is how to write.  Jordon has taught him this year the Anne Lamottmethod of writing.  A crappy first draft.  Fix the first draft in your second draft.  Then refine the second draft with your final draft.  It has made a big difference for him.
  • My father has advanced cancer.   Our relationship fell apart the night I told him I had been molested growing up.  He went from being caring and loving to despising me that night.  He has later put the blame on me for it happening.  It’s a weird thing to go through.  On one hand he is my father and we used to be close.  On the other hand he has become a mean and abusive person to me as I have become an adult.  He doesn’t know the boys and don’t know him at all.  He doesn’t like Jordon and he doesn’t like me either.  Yet at the same time for much of my life, he was a really good father and friend.   It’s been 17 years since we have had a relationship.  With the things the way they are and have been for years, I decided not to see him whatever the outcome.  It’s like the good person I called ‘Dad’ 17 years ago.  I wish Mark and Oliver could have gotten to know either one of my parents and extended family.  I don’t think that will ever happen. 
  • The doctor says that Jordon can carefully consider going up to Grey Owl’s Cabin in under two weeks.  We are going to evaluate how he feels as we go but I hope we can.  I am out buying the last of what we need (Gorilla Tape to Go, Zip Loc bags for meals and a couple of compression straps for the sleeping bags).  We also decided to take Marley with us on the hike.
  • My garden is in.  With Jordon sidelined for part of the spring, Mark and I have been doing some stuff we should have been doing for year.  One of them was build a second raised flower bed.  I now have two 8 foot by 4 foot gardens which is nothing compared to most of you but I am impressed that I have been able to keep up.  I procrastinated this year and didn’t start tomatoes which made me sad but it’s my own fault.
  • One of our juniper’s died over the winter (a moment of silence please) and Mark and I had to pull it out this weekend.  We pulled and pulled and cut and dug and pulled and finally we gave up.  Then Jordon chided Mark for being a wimp and then Mark got it out.  Let’s blame Mark for this.
  • Don’s Photo has a list of top Father’s Day gift ideas.  I need to get on this.
  • CCM rooftop bag and universal mounting kitI just discovered this rooftop bag by CCMwhich makes summer travelling way easier.  It is $700 for a Thule box and bars while it is $80 for one of these.
  • In two months we will be Calgary and Banff.  I can’t wait.  We already have a week of camping planned for 2016.  That will include an overnight hike to Glacier Lake, climbing Tunnel Mountain, hiking to the Inkpots at Johnston’s Canyon, and hiking to the Six Glacier, and Lake Agnes Tea Houses with the boys.
  • I am on Pinterest.  You can find my boards here.

Camping thoughts

This week Jordon posted about getting a couple of guidebooks to Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains.  We are heading to Banff for a day this summer in part to scout out a campground that we plan to spend a week in next year.  From there we will be taking a series of long day hikes into the mountains (and some local tea houses).

We have a lot of gear for our backcountry hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin but we don’t really have a lot of stuff to more traditionally camp with.   Today while I was in Wal-Mart, I saw some cook sets for the family that were reasonably priced but then I realized that we have travel mugs and some stainless steel beer mugs already.  So I bought a travel container and seven lightweight melamine plates for $5.  I then went to Dollarama and bought four melamine bowls for $2.  So rather than spending $49, I spent 7 and got exactly what I would have had to pay $50 for.  I’ll call that a win.

They won’t get used this year but they will be used a lot next year.  It feels good to have them checked off the to-do list.

While we were out today, we bought Jordon a pair of hiking boots.  That wasn’t that hard.  He just wanted 3/4 cut hikers which gave us a fair amount of options.

Happy Birthday Jordon!

It’s Jordon’s 41st birthday today.  To celebrate I got Mark and Oliver up early and we gave him his gift which was a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Lens for his Pentax camera.

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Lens

He will use it to shoot Mark’s football this fall with and maybe some wildlife.  I hope he likes it.  Of course Mark is super excited as it means that he gets Jordon’s older Sigma 70-210 lens.  He sees it as a win-win.

Mark gave him a new Starbucks Travel Mug

Starbucks Travel Mug

Oliver gave him Saskatoon’s Electric Transit: the Story of Saskatoon’s Streetcars and Trolley Buses by Easten Wayman

Saskatoon's Electric Transit by Easten Wayman

It’s a used book from Westgate Books.

They also ordered Jordon a 65 litre backpack for our trip to Grey Owl’s cabin.  It’s big enough that we can pack Oliver in it and have room to spare.

North 49 - 55 litre backpack

It is Jordon’s day off today.  I took it off to hang out with him.  After the boys were off to school, we went for coffee at City Perk and then grabbed lunch at the Spring Roll on 33rd.  This afternoon we are  off for a long walk as Jordon tried out his new lens and then to Broadcast House where Jordon does his 5:15 roundtable with David Kirton and Cynthia Block.

Gear Check

With the hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin feeling a little closer, we picked up some gear for it this week.

  • Jordon and I both got some toques to sleep in.  It will get down to 6 degrees at night so we needed some toques and glove to sleep in.  Jordon has a couple pair of lightweight gloves but I still need a pair of those.
  • We got some travel containers for liquids.  I have bio-degradable soap but I needed some bottles to carry it in.  I can also pack up some bio-degradable shampoo.  We all like clean hair.
  • Along with some containers for the liquids, Jordon picked up some pot scrubbers.  I wasn’t even thinking of those but since we are cooking out of the same pots and don’t want to carry dirty ones, the couple of ounces it weighs will be worth it.
  • Dawgs has an outlet store in Circle Centre Mall so we picked up a pair of their men’s Spirit Shoes for Mark.  Jordon and I have a pair and they will be comfortable to slip into at the end of a day of hiking.  We picked up a pair for Oliver as well.  At $8, the price can’t be beat.
  • Finally we picked up what will the start of our First Aid Kit.  It has the essentials but I am going to put them in a larger hard plastic waterproof case that will hold some Extra Strength Advil and Tylenol, some moleskin and other things that will come in helpful if we need it.

It’s freezing out, time to escape

With it being so cold this January, we couldn’t help but plan out a summer getaway.

We have two trips planned for this summer.  One is our long delayed micro adventure to Grey Owl’s Cabin.  We are doing that in June just after Mark’s 15th birthday (Jordon has the gear guide for the hike here)

The second is a summer vacation to Calgary at the end of July.  Jordon was born in Edmonton but still considers Calgary his hometown despite only living there for less than a decade as a kid.  I think it is a combination of childhood experiences and memories combined with his one way bromance with Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi.  Oh yeah, the Rocky Mountains.

When we started to think about a trip this summer, I realized that we have a lot of AirMiles accumulated.  AirMiles are the only reason why we continue to be treated poorly by the Bank of Montreal (which took a year to fix Jordon’s debit card so it would not randomly lock him out of his account).  We are using the AirMiles to pay for our hotel which makes for a really cheap trip.  

I just booked our hotel rooms at the Best Western Plus Calgary Centre Inn on Macleod Trail.  We have stayed there before and liked it.  It’s not the Delta Bessborough or anything but it’s new, clean and is in easy walking distance of a C-Train station, is just down from Chinook Centre and has a pool, hot tub, and pool for small children.  It also has an early morning breakfast buffet that the kids like.  It is the definition of a family hotel which is great for us as we are a family.

The plan is to take off in the early morning of a Friday and let the kids sleep in the back of the car.  We will take the leisurely drive to Drumheller and take some photographs of their rather scenic downtown and give the kids some time to stretch their legs.   Hopefully be in Calgary by early afternoon and book into our hotel.  As soon as we get settled in, we will grab our cameras and head downtown on the LRT and explore downtown Calgary, find the Peace Bridge, check out The Bow, and wander around downtown Calgary.  If I know us, we will be right back down there to do some night photography.

The Peace Bridge in Calgary an HDR photo

Mark Cooper in downtown Calgary

The next morning the plan is to get up early and take the scenic route to Banff and then head straight to Johnston’s Canyon Trail and walk the trail along the seven waterfalls.  Knowing us, we will have cameras in tow and I am really looking forward to doing this again and with the boys.  It’s about a two hour hike which will leave us lots of time to explore Banff later on in the day.

Lower fall johnston Canyon

After the hike, the plan is to continue up the Bow Valley Parkway to the Chateau Lake Louise where we will grab lunch and head back to Banff.  Hopefully we will see some wildlife along this section of the park.

 On the way back to Banff, we will grab lunch at a wonderful picnic spot at the start of the Sawback Trail.  It has some quiet picnic tables, a babbling brook, and amazing scenery.  The first time Jordon took me there, a large herd of elk surrounded our car and licked all of the salt off it.  It was covered in Elk saliva, even under the door handles.  Gross.  I hope that doesn’t happen again.  If it does, I’ll get the boys to open my door.

The brook in Sawback and water running off the canyon walls of Johnston’s Canyon have a rich history with Jordon.  He has drank both of them and gotten really sick from Giardia as a kid.  Hopefully he has learned something since then but it’s Jordon so expect him to be hospitalized in Calgary.

After Johnston’s Canyon, we are off to Cave and Basin National Historical Site which in all of my trips to Banff, I have never been to.  The last time we were in Banff it was being renovated and updated.  It’s now open, improved, and dirt cheap to explore.  Jordon loves it and can’t wait to take the boys and myself into the cave and see the glowing water.  It should be amazing.  Since we are there on a Saturday, we may stay late and return there for a lantern tour of the caves.

If we have time, it will be up the Banff Gondola again.  I have been up a few times in winter but never in the summer.  It will be a long day but there is always time for the Bow Falls in Banff.  July weather will mean a little more green than in this photo Jordon took in 2010.

Bow Falls in Banff

To end the day, Mark suggested we will head to the Upper Banff Hot Springs for a hot soak in the pool before heading back to Calgary.

After soaking in the hot tub that night, the next morning should find us at Heritage Park.  I have never been but it looks amazing and a lot of fun.  Jordon won’t tell me why but he says to bring some extra small change along when we go.

Finally on our last day there we will take in the Calgary Zoo.  I’m not worried about Jordon in Banff, downtown Calgary, or even in Drumheller but he has this fear of birds.  Calgary Zoo has a bird house.  Jordon kind of freaked out the last time he was there.  We’ll have our cameras out this time.

As always we will connect with some friends, family, and MEC and since it is right next door, The Camera Store.

I can’t wait.

Resolved, 2015

Here is a list of things I have resolved to do better in 2015.  Wish me luck.

Invest in better pens

I like to write things on paper. Paper smells good, I like the way my hand feels moving across the page, I like how my handwriting unfurls while I think. And I particularly like to write with a uni-ball® Vision Needle™ Rollerball Pen. Anyway, this is not a crazy expensive pen. Why do I own anything else? I hereby refuse to purchase any other pen. Up yours, inferior pens. 

uni-ball® Vision Needle™ Rollerball Pen

Carry less crap.

They make enormous purses now, which is convenient if you need to transport a giant canned ham or a human head. But do I need a mirrorless camera, a book, a notepad, and three kinds of lip balm to grab a cup of coffee?  I need to cut back on the stuff I am carrying and stop being a pack horse for Mark and Oliver (who are old enough to carry their own crap around).

Of course that may mean I will need to upgrade to a new MEC shoulder bag.

MEC Globetrotter Shoulder Bag

Light more candles.

Mason Jar Candle Holders

I’m writing this by candle light. You feel sexier just reading that. Candles in 2015.

Listen to More Music

I love music, but in the past I rarely made time for it. I can’t get much done if there’s music playing, because I stop what I’m doing to listen. So lately, I’ve just been listening to music and failing to get stuff done. Worth it.  Here is to getting less done in 2015.

Sennheisser HD201 Headphones

Hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin

Hike to Grey Owl's Cabin

We were going to do this in 2013 but with Jordon quitting his job at The Lighthouse and trying to figure out what we wanted to do when we grew up, it got cancelled.  In 2014 I wasn’t feeling that great so here we are, 2015 the year that Mark, Jordon, and I walk the back country trails to Grey Owl’s Cabin.  It’s not quite the same as Wild but it will be fun.


I have some great friends that I do a horrible job of reaching out to.  It’s been a long term failing of mine and it sucks but I am going to be a better friend in 2015 than I have before.


So what are you resolved to do better in 2015?

Jordon posted his resolutions here and Mark posted his over here.