Biggest News of the Year

IMG_1296It’s been a while- she’s already over 6 months old- but our first grandchild Rhys Anberlin Grace arrived in February. She has reorganized the life of my son and daughter in law, and is starting to affect our plans for the future! And here I naively thought that once our children had moved away we would be totally free an unencumbered. Now we are finding ourselves happily attached to this new family member. IMG_1291

It is hard to explain the differences between being a parent and a grand parent. Yes, there is the much celebrated “you get to spoil them and then give them back to their parents!” but it is much deeper than that. It is somewhat disorienting when your children- who were themselves infants only yesterday- now have their own children. It hasn’t made me feel old, but it sure has emphasized how quickly time passes.

A lot of other things have happened in our lives this year, but this news surpasses everything else.

Summer 2014 Paddles

Revelstoke Lake
Revelstoke Lake

Kristin and I got in a couple canoe trips this summer, in addition to the usual paddling in the local lakes.

The first was an attempt to paddle Goldstream north of Revelstoke. But the access road was washed out a ways from the takeout when we scouted it ahead of time, so we decided to camp on Lake Revelstoke instead, and just do paddles from our campsite. We were surprise by the beauty of this lake, given that it is a reservoir. However we were a fair ways north (roughly 90 km) so it was quite narrow and almost river-like. We agreed that we would go back again.

Lake Revelstoke
Lake Revelstoke

Later that same week we put in at Penticton, paddled to Commando Bay in Okanagan Park where there is one of the many little marine campsites. We camped there two nights, hiking up from the lake into Wildhorse Canyon one day. Then we paddled out to Bertram park where our daughter picked us up. It was quite hot all three days- mid thirties- and the final stretch home was into a very stiff headwind. We noted that it would have made sense to paddle a bit further to Cedar Creek Park where we wouldn’t have to carry our canoe and gear several hundred yards up to the vehicle.

Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake
Hiking above Okanagan Lake

Now we are up at Fort St John for a while so we are looking forward to paddling in the area and have already found some people who have paddled most of the rivers in the area. The Peace was looking pretty nice in low fall water when we got up here, so we hope to paddled the stretch from Hudson’s Hope to Taylor, just below FSJ, before the Site C dam is built.

In the meantime, we are getting the know the cross-country ski trails in the area, which are a mere 15 minutes away, making it easy to get out and stay in reasonable shape for paddling season.

Rattlesnake Island
Rattlesnake Island

Cross Country Ski Lessons

I was checking the weather and schedule up at Sovereign Lake last Saturday when I noticed that there were some classic lessons being offered. Since neither Kristin nor I had ever taken formal lessons, I thought it might be a good idea so called up and registered us. The receptionist asked “Are you beginners?” and I said “I don’t know.”

We’ve been back into cross country skiing for three years now, and Saturday was our 21st time out this season. While the skaters tend to fly by us for the most part, very few recreational level classic skiers do, so I felt like we weren’t really beginners, but I have learned from experience that “the basics” in any area are worth learning right. So we showed up as beginners and joined a class with two ladies who had only skied four times total.

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Night Skiing

Lit cross-country ski trail at Sovereign Lake.
Lit cross-country ski trail at Sovereign L.

Well, in our quest to get our twice a week, Kristin changed her shift so she gets off early a couple days a week, allowing us to get out night skiing at Sovereign Lake. We usually get there around dinner time, when no one else is out and leave just as others are arriving for their evening ski. As a result we often find the trails groomed and trackless as you can see in this picture. It’s like having your own private ski trail. As nice as the pic looks, it is hard to do justice to the beauty of this area whether in day or night- part of the awe is from the sheer scale of the whiteness.

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Canoeing vs Cross Country Skiing

Murltle Lake canoe tripWe finished our summer with just over 50 hours of paddling- less than we wanted but far more than recent years. The highlight was our Murtle Lake canoe trip in Wells Gray Provincial Park. We went in early June and beat the bugs- never saw any until the last night and the path out. The water was quite high so not all camp sites were accessible, but there were still plenty of places to camp. We ended up shore lining the entire lake, and would like to get back later in the year sometime when the water is low and all the beaches are fully exposed.Sovereign Lake cross country ski trails

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