Tagged Prince Albert National Park

First trip north of 2016

With the boys off of school, I decided to take the week off of work and spend it with them.

On Wednesday Jordon told the boys to get their go-bags and get into the car.  We then went to Don’s Photo where Jordon ran in and bought a Ricoh WG-4 camera to replace his WG-10 and then we went north to Waskesiu for the day.

We knew it would be sloppy and a mess so we tooled around a bit and then took Highway #263 to the Height of Land Lookout Tower.  At the top of the 15 metre tower you are 100 metres higher than Waskesiu; you can see King Island, Shady Lake and Beartrap Creek.

Height of Land Lookout Tower in Prince Albert National Park

Once navigating the nightmare that is the rest of that highway to Highway #2, we were back in Prince Albert and then home.

Prince Albert National Park is so gorgeous and quiet this time of year.  Without leaves or more than a handful of people in the park, it is an amazing time to visit.

Getting ready for summer

So Jordon and I were having this casual conversation about this summer and he said, “both of us need to start getting in better shape”.  I just glared at him and was silent.  I had hoped he would see the disgust and anger in my eyes and move on but he was right.  Both of us need to get in better shape for some of these hikes we have planned.

I am taking the week after Easter off of work to spend some time with the kids.  Part of that will be walking miles of the Meewasin trail system as I work back some cardio and get back in shape.  The plan is to walk from home, down through always pleasant Caswell Hill and Riversdale and along Victoria Park until I get to the Grand Trunk Train Bridge.  Then I will walk along the east side of the river through Exhibition Park, Saskatchewan Crescent, the University of Saskatchewan until I get to the CP Rail Bridge where then I will walk (crawl) up 33rd Street until I get home.  I plan to do that every day and I will be cursing Jordon each and every step of it.

Our first short hike will be in the hills around Fort Carlton on Mother’s Day.  Then a couple weeks later we are doing the Spruce River Highlands Trail in Prince Albert National Park.  A couple of weeks after that, we are walking 40 kms to Grey Owl’s Cabin and back.  In July we are doing several hikes in the Rocky Mountains.  It’s coming sooner than I want to think about.

So today Jordon and I went out to Atmosphere and Sport Chek to see what I needed to be comfortable this summer.  In the end I bought a pair of spandex tights and some shorts and I figured out what kind of shirts I need to get.  While we were out, we picked Jordon up a lightweight rain jacket that is light enough to easily pack in a day pack.  Once Mark decides what color he wants to get, we’ll get him one as well.

Later in the day Jordon got me some scrubs which will be fine for lounging around the fire or chilling out in the campground when it cools down at night.   He also got Mark some wind pants in case the weather is bad while we are there.  If you don’t like the weather in Alberta, wait five minutes and it will change.  Of course that goes both ways.

We have most of what we need.  Other than a Therm-a-rest for myself, we are set for all of the big items.  Basically it is just the small stuff and getting into better shape is all I need to focus on. 

Exploring the Kingsmere Lake Trail in Prince Albert National Park

On Sunday, Jordon and I decided to take the boys (and dog) for one last hike.  We checked the weather and it said that Waskesiu would be about 6 degrees above zero so we decided to go for it.  I don’t think it ever got that warm but it was nice enough to hike and explore the Kingsmere Lake Trail which goes between the north part of Waskesiu Lake to Kingsmere Lake.

As you start, you go 500m down the trail towards Grey Owl’s cabin until you come to a long flight of stairs to the stream below.  After crossing a bridge you follow the portage rail track until you get to the Southend Campground before heading back.  It wasn’t the longest hike but it was a nice way to end the season and the boys had a great time exploring one more trail in Prince Albert National Park.

For those of you who noticed the ridiculous socks that Jordon is wearing, they are compression socks and are supposed to help his leg heal.  For the record, they aren’t working.

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Hiking the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National Park

On Thanksgiving Weekend Jordon, Mark, Oliver, Marley and I went up to Prince Albert National Park and hiked the Treebeard Trail.  The trail is a short 1.2 km loop that takes you through one of the oldest forest of Prince Albert National Park.  You find yourself surrounded by enormous whitespruce and balsam fir trees making up the boreal forest. 

To get there, ascend the steep, winding trail through a white spruce and balsam fir forest. The trees along this path are among the oldest and largest in the park. As you descend, watch for a spur trail to the right. It leads to a small, fern-edged creek, dark and cool.

To access the trail, enter the Prince Albert National Park and then drive 17.6 km down the Narrows Road.  After you are done the hike, make sure you check out the beach at the Narrows Marina or Paighton Beach.

These were the first bunch of photos I took with the new Olympus OM-D E-M10 II from Don’s Photo.  The big difference is that I had Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens on it.  I hadn’t had a lot of time to play with the camera as of then (or now) but I am really happy with it.

Mark, Oliver, and Marley at the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkMark, Oliver, and Marley at the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkTreebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver, Jordon, Mark, and Marley on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver, Jordon, Mark, and Marley on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkTreebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkJordon and Oliver on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and his Nikon S31 camera on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and his Nikon S31 camera on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and his Nikon S31 camera on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and his Nikon S31 camera on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and his Nikon S31 camera on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkMark on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Oliver on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver, Mark. and Marley on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver, Mark. Jordon and Marley on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National Park

The Trailbeard Trail is close to the Narrows Marina and Paignton Beach.  After the hike we went back to Paighton Beach where we had a picnic lunch.  Jordon made a fire for the smokies while I used Mark’s stove to cook up some Knorr Sidekicks. 

The day was gorgeous so Jordon managed to talk Mark, Oliver, Marley and myself to take a quick wade into the icy cold water of Waskesiu Lake.  Jordon somehow managed to avoid wading into the lake.

Jordon, Mark, and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkPaignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National Park

Thanksgiving Weekend

It was a quiet weekend around here.

I brought home some smokies and buns on Friday evening where Jordon, Mark, and Oliver already had a fire going in the firepit.  Mark had mowed the raked and mowed the leaves and lawn and broke apart some branches for the fire. By the time I was home, the fire was roaring which gave me some time to get changed and get some supper prepped while the fire burned down into some hot coals.

We roasted the smokies on the fire while relaxing outside. After the smokies and hot dogs were eaten, we all went inside and packed up our go-bags for a trip to Waskesiu and Prince Albert National Park on Saturday morning.

The goal was to get some wildlife shots but since we brought Marley, we hiked the Trail Beard Trail which is 17 km up the the Narrows Road (which always confused me because the Narrows Trail is on the other side of Waskesiu Lake).  The trail is nice but is different than all of the other trails up there.  First of all, the trees are old and massive (in part because of the boggy soil).  There is cleared deadfall everywhere that is there to rot back into the soil over decades.  The trail is considered “moderate” because of the climbing but I found it an easy walk.  We took some landscape photos and then kept going further north and checked out the Narrows MarinaJordon decided to head back down the Narrows Road where we stopped on at Paignton Beach, made a fire, cooked some food, and had a picnic lunch. Since it was in bear country, we actually had a picinic lunch while Oliver watched out for Yogi and Boo Boo.  If you are up in Prince Albert National Park and want to get away from the crowds on the main beach, it is a gorgeous place to chill out and relax.

Since it was so nice, we all waded into the lake.  So let me get this straight.  The weather was gorgeous, the lake was freezing.

We used Mark’s backcountry stove to cook up some Knorr Side Kicks.  The stove worked well but like most back country cookware, the pots were really thin and were prone to burning the food.  I also brought along some polish sausages which were cooked on the fire pit so we had some burnt pasta as a side.  Since it is me, I forgot the bags of chips but that was a minor thing.

From there, we drove back into Waskesiu and saw the Hawood Inn was packed with people up for the Thanksgiving weekend.  With Waskesiu and the entire park so quiet, I understand why people would go up there.  If the weather holds, we may camp up there next Thanksgiving.

Jordon cleaned the kitchen and house so we could relax on Sunday morning before I descended into the kitchen to make the Thanksgiving meal. To keep the kids busy, I bought Oliver The Lego Movie which he showed to Jordon (who had never seen it).  Oliver is a living spoiler.  He managed to tell Jordon what was going to happen just before it happened through the whole movie.

Thanksgiving Dinner was pretty uneventful and basic.

I made up a roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamed turnips (lots of turnips), green bean casserole, seven layer salad, and a vegetable dip. Of course we had pumpkin pie for dessert.

After dinner, we had some tea and chilled out.

Hope your weekend was a great one as well.  I’m back at work tomorrow where it will be insane with people doing last minute shopping and getting angry when we are out of stuff.  You know, because it is my fault we are out of stuff.

Hiking the Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

On the Sunday before Victoria Day, Jordon, Mark, Oliver, and I hiked the 3 kilometre Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park.

The start and end of the trail features these steps.

The Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Jordon, Oliver, and Mark at the start of the trail.

The start of the Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Mark is ready to go

Mark and Oliver at the start of The Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Oliver had just fallen but was okay.

Oliver on The Narrows Trail

Jordon and Mark on the trail.

Jordon Cooper and Mark Cooper walking The Narrows Trail

Mark showing off his new sunglasses that we bought for him as an early birthday gift.

Mark Cooper on The Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Oliver checking out Waskesiu Lake.

Oliver Cooper exploring the Narrows Trail at Prince Albert National Park

Lake Waskesiu from The Narrows Trail

Jordon and Mark explore the trail.

Jordon Cooper and Mark Cooper hike the Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Down by the boardwalk on The Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Two ducks swimming near the shore.  Well not that near, I was using an M.Zuiko 75-300mm lens which means that I was shooting at a 600mm equivalence.

Ducks on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National Park

Here is Oliver exploring the dark underbelly of The Narrows Trail.

Oliver exploring the dark underside of The Narrow Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Tree on The Narrows Trail in Prince Albert National Park

Jordon and Oliver hiking The Narrows Trail

Waskesiu Lake

Waskesiu Lake

If you ever have a chance to explore some of Prince Albert National Park’s trails, make sure you do.  It was my first hike like this and I had a blast.  We explored the Waskesiu River Trail later that day and of course are heading back up to hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin later this summer.

Mark is 15

Mark turns 15 today.  For his birthday Jordon got him a stove and fuel canister.  Since he is a teen and therefore occasionally clumsy, we also gave him a Jet Boil stand for his canister and stove.  It makes the base wider and less likely to hurt himself.

Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo Ignition 3.9oz

and a one person mess kit.  If he is going to have a stove, he will want to cook up something.  We tossed in a pot scrubber so he can do his own dishes.  Mark instantly realized what that mean for him and was more than a little sad.

One Person Mess Kit

Those (along with a lighter) were his early gifts as we went to Prince Albert National Park on Sunday for a day of hiking (we hiked the Narrows and Waskesiu River trails before Oliver ran out of gas) and photography.

This morning we got up early and Jordon and I got him an Altec Lansing Soundblade Bluetooth Speaker

Altec Lansing Soundblade Bluetooth SpeakerOliver gave him a set of frisbee golf discs.    They are the same that the boys gave me for Mother’s Day.

Frisbee Disc Golf Set

Since Oliver didn’t have any discs, Jordon bought three Frisbees for a $1 each for him.  This way he can join us when we play.

We also gave him a hacky sack.  Every teen needs a hacky sack to kick around, even if they aren’t really good at it.

Happy Birthday Mark!

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.

Friends

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.

Friendship

So what are you resolved to do better in 2015?

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