Reset. Refocus. Restart.

Fall

Well, the last few months have been somewhat of a write-off for a scheduled exercise regime. The good news is that although I remained active, it was nothing on a routine basis. The summer had me out hiking and Geocaching as well as out camping with the family. As the season progressed into fall, I was still out hiking and Geocaching. Now with winter settled in, my outings have dropped to negligible. The weather hasn’t been bad, but in my part of the country it’s snowed, melted, and then froze; then snowed melted and froze again. Walking anywhere became treacherous let alone trying to go for a run or hike. I thought about getting a membership at a local gym, but we were house hunting over a wide area at the time so “local” was relative, depending on what part of the city (or cities in our case) we may end up.

At the start of November my wife was laid off so my free space was taken up with a 4 year old at home who’s up at the crack of dawn taking over the TV… or at least that’s been my excuse, and I fully admit that I’ve used it as an excuse. I have those DDP Yoga DVD’s still staring me in the face as a blatant reminder that I need to be the parent and take the time I need. Half an hour away from the TV isn’t going to kill him. His toy minefield is another story and does make it a little more difficult to navigate though.

I’m surprised I survived the holiday season without a new onset diabetes. The problem with working as a nurse is often the nursing station is a sugar buffet due to the generosity of patient’s families (fruit and veggie platters everyone, PLEASE!). Healthy eating goes right out the door with enough temptation that would make the good Lord buckle.

The bad part about all of this time is that I really haven’t lost any weigh (according to the scale). The good news is that I also haven’t gained any weight! I actually find myself able to get back into clothes that I haven’t worn in years! I now wear a size 40 jeans properly; which means that it actually fits across my navel, instead of me squeezing into the jeans by fastening it up underneath my roll and letting it flop over the top of the jeans!

I’ve also been able to fit back into my Paintball pants, which I  haven’t worn in at least 7 years or more. Consequently, it gave me inspiration to perhaps get back into the game, which has turned into a full-blown explosion of my passion for the sport. Paintball was my physical and mental release, as well as my main social outlet for many years. It’s a connection I lost when I quit. I’m back in with my wife’s full encouragement.

So while things have been okay, they still could be a lot better. It’s now been over a year since I stopped eating from fast food outlets and I’ve managed to maintain that, however I still struggle to maintain an adequate eating program in other areas. I’ve been giving into temptations and treats more than I should be and it’s simply me not exercising my own will power. I should be somewhere in the advanced level of the DDP yoga by now instead of looking at starting from scratch again. The program is supposed to have a support structure built into that that I think I need to look at optimizing. I know what I need to do. I just need to get off my backside and start dong it!

This pause in the plans does NOT mean that I’ve failed! I don’t believe you’ve truly failed until you quit, and I’m nowhere near that point! This is a hiccup and I understand that they happen. While progress has been negligible, I haven’t slipped back. As I say, take the little victories. I recognize the need for me to get back on my game and step it up. I need to set some new goals and find something to shoot for. I’m still 20 to 25 pounds from my goal weight, and I’ll probably still adjust that goal when I get to it. But first, let’s achieve that one.

Also, I need my damn TV back…

start again

Ellison Park Geocaching

A quick note: I actually started this quite a while ago, and am just now getting around to finishing it. One of those projects that got pushed back and forgotten about, until now. Figure now is as good as a time as any to finish it!

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During the second weekend in June, we camped out at Ellison Provincial Park near Vernon, BC.

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This trip served a dual purpose as chance to try out the tent trailer we bought at the end of last season (my wife called it the “maiden voyage”, and I preferred to think of it as a “shakedown cruise”) and a chance to make a home-base for the weekend and try to find the roughly dozen or so Geocaches within the park boundaries. Friday was the day to find a spot and get setup while Jeanne was at work. Ellison Park has just over 70 camp sites (and two Yurt’s for rental), but 50 of them are reservable, meaning 20 were first-come first-served if they weren’t already occupied. And since when is leaving chair considered claiming a campsite? If I’ve got my trailer with me, I think that overrides your chair. When did this become a rule???. Anyway… When I got there just after noon, there was abut six spots still available. I found one to my liking (or easiest to back into) and got the trailer set up. Mission accomplished. Good thing too! By the time I left, there were only three sites that I could see still available. Now for a trip back home to get Jeanne and Liam once she was off of work. So no Geocaching Friday, but that’s what Saturday was for!

Twisted

Twisted

After breakfast on Saturday, we headed out for the most logical location for caches, which was along the hiking trail. The park has a hiking trail that loops around and is just over 2km in length. The trail entrance is near the Information Kiosk in the park. The first Geocache wasn’t far off from the start. This however, is where it pays to check the ratings of the cache before just following the pointer on the GPS! Where I figured it would be up on the hillside, turned out to be at the base of the hill. I figured this out while standing at the cliff edge and the GPS telling me to travel 10m over the edge. Crap. Well we could go down an find it, or keep going and come back later since it’s not far from the trail head. I saw a gentlemen come along the trail below with four other kids, thinking perhaps they were just on a hike until I heard one of the kids say “maybe it’s a micro”. Nope, fellow Geocachers. We opted to carry on and try again later. The next cache was a relatively easy find, and found a geocoin located is this cache that was listed as being in the previous cache! Good idea moving it newbs, but gotta learn how to log them! The next cache we weren’t so lucky with. The trail twists and bends, and the GPS gives you a direction in a straight line to your chosen coordinates. So while we thought we were going on the right past, turns out not so much. Such is the hazard of trails never before traveled. We could have got to the cache if we were willing to do a little bushwhacking, but dragging Liam and Jeanne through the terrain didn’t sound like a great idea at the time. Must be a trail we missed. Geocaching rule: the most direct route to the cache usually isn’t the easiest route. Carry on, and try again another time. The final cache took us to the top of a ridge and cliff face that would have taken the Looney Tunes expression  “Watch out for that last step! It’s a loo loo!” to a whole new meaning! Fortunately the cache wasn’t located anywhere near the edge, and a quick find using the cache’s name “Cone you see me?” as part of the hint. the next issue was where to go from here? The trail generally had some markers and a singular direction, but the trail along the edge of the cliff went in two directions. I checked out the one direction that would have taken us in the direction of another cache. However after discovering that this short section of trail had a drop off at the end of it that screamed “almost sudden death” (almost, because the fall would have taken a few seconds!), the other way seemed much more logical. This proved to be the better choice is it looped back to the campsite.

Getting the "log" out.

Getting the “log” out.

Before the dip...

Before the dip…

 

We stopped back at our campsite for a quick food break for us and the kid before carrying on to a few more caches down by the beach.

Darth Wimpy

Darth Wimpy

After refueling, we made our way down the winding trail to the beach area. There was a cache not to far away on a hillside in between the two coves that make up the beach areas. We decided to skip this one, and make our way to the one cache the furthest north on the beach, then work our way back to this one. Liam decided that he wanted to go into the water… naked. We decided that taking off his shoes and socks and wading out into his shorts would be good enough. Of course Liam being Liam, the height of the water on his legs got further and further up. We walked along the beach with Liam wading behind us, and we came to the point of a large bush that took up the beach space. We had to go around, but Liam could wade through the water around the bush. We ere half way around and heard a sploosh, then a “WAAAAAAAAAH”. Crap. Should have let him wade naked. Fortunately Jeanne had a towel in the backpack (for the camera) so we had something to dry off Liam as the clouds and some raindrops rolled in. We were close enough to the cache that I was able to grab it, then help dry off someone and wring out his clothes. With a towel wrapped around his waist, Jeanne’s dark hoody around him, one of this precious sticks and a droopy expression, I dubbed him “Darth Wimpy” (see photo). Although Jeanne and I would have liked to have got that other cache, Liam’s new wardrobe dictated otherwise. We went up another trail from the beach that we saw in the campground. Although not as steep as the first trail, this one went to a higher elevation and had more switchbacks in it. In the end it may have been longer than the first trail, but at least we now know which one to use! I had coordinates on a couple of other caches in this direction but both looked like they involved a little bush walking. Not a good idea at that time, but easy enough to get too. Back to the campsite to feed grumpy and give him a needed rest. Jeanne and Liam took a break, and Jeanne said I could go after some of the ones we missed. Not one to miss an opportunity to get a few more smileys, off I went!

1233954_10151638409012765_562591473_nThe first one we missed was easy, and I backtracked to the campground to try the other two on the hillside we didn’t get on the way back from the beach. I found a better route to the one called “Belay Station” (This area is known for it’s rappelling and rock climbing.) that offered a beautiful view of one of the coves. Despite the coordinates being off and leading me to some sketchy terrain that didn’t match the rating or hint (and a drop off that would have ended in a “sploosh” instead of a “splat”), the find was easy enough to make, and picked up a Travel Bug to move along. A little bit of bushwhacking was required to get the next cache named “Lichen Moss and Ferns”. Glad I was wearing my jeans at the time! I figured I’d try looking for the next cache without using the hint. I got to where the cache was supposed to be by the coordinates, which was smack on top of a rocky hillside. Hmm… Well lets try looking around. This spot looks like it could be hiding something. Let’s see what under this ro… <then something moved> SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!! Considering that I’m in an area known for rattlesnakes, I dropped the rock. Taking a moment to collect myself, my “maleness” kicked in; meaning my curiosity overrode any sense of danger I had at that moment. “I know it’s a snake” I though, “but I wonder what kind of snake?” Carefully lifting up the rock, I was greeted by a small tan body twisted around, and two pairs of legs. Oops. Okay, since this was the only obvious spot and I don’t see it, lets check the hint, Hint said “hidden 14m NW of coordinates”. Well crap. Turns out the old cache site was “muggled” so the Geocachers who found it, moved it to a new location for the Cache owner. Following the new direction made it an easy find. I took a new set of coordinates and pictures of the cache site for the cache owner so they could find it again themselves. Time to return to home base!

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Another later trip to the beach at the far end of the campground for a swim and a couple more geocaches to finish they day. In total, around 8km hiked that day. A bit long winded, but this is what a day of Geocaching adventures is like for us, and why we love it as much as we do. Funny how most of our trips all revolve around Geocaching now!

Daddy Time.

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Last week, it was a holiday Monday here in BC.

I had just got off a night shift. I was tired and hungry. My wife was telling me that she and Liam were planning on going up to Davidson Orchards in Vernon; his favourite place in the world! They had corn on special that day, for taking home and ready to eat. I had wished I could have gone with them. With work, I had barely seen either of them that weekend, but I was feeling the effects of two nights, bad sleep, and crappy sleep patterns. As we were discussing this, Liam walked up to me, pointed his finger at my head and loudly proclaimed: “Daddy! You come to the farm with us!“.

Apparently I’m not going to be sleeping for a bit…

Times like this I need to relish while they last. Right now, he wants me around. Someday there will be a time where he’ll be to cool to hang out with his old man. I might as well enjoy this while it lasts!

A "Smile" cookie, a tractor ride, and life is complete!

A “Smile” cookie, a tractor ride, and life is complete!

I don't know why he always looks so angry eating corn?

I don’t know why he always looks so angry eating corn?

"I splash you Daddy!"

“I splash you Daddy!”

 

 

 

Educating the Unedjumakated.

I firmly believe in gay marriage. Why should we be the only one’s to suffer? – Eric Idle

Now, it’s currently almost midnight my time, but I couldn’t wait to get back and start writing about this. This happened earlier this morning so some details might be a bit sketchy.

Thanks to George Takei’s Facebook page, I had an idea that something big happened here in the US (where I’m writing this from at the moment) for marriage equality, however the details I didn’t know since I’m not being a resident. I just knew it was something big for them. Congrats.

As we’re getting ready to leave for the day in our hotel parking lot, an older gentleman a couple of cars down said to us “Did you watch the news this morning?” Did I miss something? I thought to myself. “No” I replied. “So you didn’t hear about what happened there?” he asked. Dude, could you get an more vague? What’s this guy’s angle? I thought. “You didn’t hear about them repealing DOMA and allowing gay marriage?” DOMA? Isn’t that… oh wait… oh no way… this isn’t seriously happening! I played stupid (I do it well!). To skip some of the conversation and get to the point, he then said “They say this is an issue between adults, but my concern is for the children!” Um… what? What do children have to do with this? I’m going to guess he’s concerned about how the children would be raised? I still haven’t completely figured out his angle, and mostly because I was flabbergasted that this was actually happening!

Jeanne replied to him “So does that mean when someone commits a crime, they shouldn’t go to jail so it doesn’t affect the child or the family?”

That’s my girl! One for her.

He hangs his head. “Hmm.Yes. I see your point.”

Then he raises his head and said “I’m just concerned that a man and a woman makes a child, two men and two women can’t make a child.” So the world population is going to suddenly drop? I said “There’s plenty of children being born and in need of homes. It doesn’t matter where the love comes from, a child just needs to know the love.”

He hangs his head. “Hmm.Yes. I see your point.”

My wife closed the hatch of our SUV and he noticed out license plate. “Ah, you’re from Canada” he said, because apparently the Vancouver Canucks t-shirt I was wearing wasn’t enough of a giveaway. “You guys don’t have a problem like this up there I imagine?” I said “No, we’ve had gay marriage for a while now and have had no problems.”

At this point I’m pretty sure I heard his bubble burst. He hangs his head. “Hmm.Yes. I see…”

He then raised his head again and said “well you see, I’m just praying…” Ah, NOW I get the angle! “.. for a good outcome. I just don’t know what the outcome of all this will be”

I’m sure the expression on his face changed as the scowl crossed mine, I can only take so much ignorance. “Outcome?” I said, “The only outcome is going to be less ignorance and more tolerance being taught to a new generation who knows only love, and not a love only on conditions. Again, it’s not going to matter if the love is from a man and woman, a man and man, or a woman and woman, LOVE IS LOVE!”.

I thought of it later, but I should have reminded him that Jesus said to “Love each other as I have loved you”. Last time I read a Bible, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t an “unless…” after it.

He was silent and nodding his head. He was kind enough to shake my hand and introduced himself, and asked my name in return. “Jason” I said. He nodded and said “A good strong name”. This is the moment where I wish I could turn back time, tell him my name was “Francis” or “I’m the boy named Sue” just to see if I would get the same reaction. He wished us the best and we did in return and parted ways. I don’t know if what I said got through or he decided to gently part as he did not find the kindred spirit in me he was looking for.

I honestly had to later look up DOMA to see what exactly it was about. As I had heard someone say before, complaining about gay marriage is like complaining about a pizza that someone else had ordered for themselves.

I have to admit that in my younger days, I too was anti-gay. Once I lost the belief system that fueled that prejudice, I lost my reason to dislike. It seems silly that with all the troubles in the world, we have to legislate and constrain two people who want to commit themselves to each other. Our energy is far better focused elsewhere than to stop someone from loving another. Silly, isn’t it?

Gorge Creek Trail Loop

Not all those who wonder are lost – J.R.R. Tolkein

Despite the many years I’ve lived in this province, I’m continually amazed by the places I never knew existed, or may have driven past a thousand times without stopping. This location is a little of both (more the former), and discovered – in a roundabout way – thanks to Geocaching.

I’ve been to Craigellachie multiple times. It’s usually a common rest stop when I used to travel back and forth from AB, however I’ve never ventured much further than the flats. I had no reason to.

If it wasn’t for this kiosk…

If it wasn’t for Geocaching, I would have had no reason to venture up the small hillside to look for a cache. I would have never gone past the small kiosk with pictures and info about the Gorge Creek trail. I wouldn’t have taken a picture of the sign (so I didn’t forget) and shown it to my wife.

Almost a year later of “we should go there sometime”, it became the destination of a family hike on Mother’s Day of 2013. Finding some directions online, it turned out to be easier of a find than expected. Craigellachie is about 1 1/2 hour drive from Winfield (including fuel stop). Plenty of parking is available in the “Last Spike” rest stop. Once past the bathrooms, there’s a short paved path going up the hill, follow this to the kiosk. Once there, look to your right and there’s a short path to the highway. If you look west across the highway, the sign to the trail head is clearly marked (Unless you’re driving on the highway! Can’t read it going North, and it’s angled wrong to read it travelling south.).

Being a coastal boy I fell in love with the area, which I can simply describe as “lush”. Much of the area is covered in a thick layer of green moss. The day was cloudy with the occasional short shower, but we were dressed for it and I enjoyed the cooler weather.

Fir Falls

Upon coming to Fir Falls – the first of the three – my first impression was nothing short of awestruck. While not the largest falls I’ve seen, the deafening thunder of rushing water with the spring runoff, and the thick mist in the air which felt like we were in a cool shower was nothing short of amazing. The view was even more impressive on the bridge which crossed in front of the falls, and had a small falls of it’s own. Log rails are in the area to help define boundary but I wouldn’t count on them to resist much weight on them.

Cedar Falls

This location at Fir Falls is where the trail branches off across the bridge to the trail on the other side of the creek, or continue going west on the trail to the other falls (personally, go this route). Whatever route you take, this is the spot you’ll return to on the loop.

Cedar falls is next on the loop. The mail trail will continue on with a short trail that will take you to the falls. Not a great view when first approaching the falls, but another short trail that follows the creek will give you a better view of the falls. There’s also a small (and I do mean small) bench in the area to have a seat and enjoy the view. return to the mail trail to carry on. From here the trail does get steeper in parts and while not a must, hiking (walking?) poles are an asset.
Hemlock Falls

Hemlock Falls in the final falls on the trail – and in my opinion – the tallest of the
three falls. View of the falls from this spot is at a bit of a distance, but when the water flow is high, you can understand why you wouldn’t want to be too close! It sure doesn’t’ detract from the beauty. From here, the loop carries on above Hemlock Falls to a bridge that crosses the creek and carries on the south bank of the creek. My son took a liking to a couple of stumps that someone took the time to carve into chairs (you’ll see them just before crossing)! Once across the bridge, a picnic table is close by to stop and enjoy a snack before finishing the loop.

Hemlock Falls

The south bank of the trail offers a closer (and nicer) view of Hemlock Falls from this location. Please exercise caution on this side of the trail, as the trail significantly narrows with a sharp drop to the river in a few locations. My highly-distracted almost 4-year-old gave us a couple of heart attacks on this side of the creek with the occasional slip by not watching his footing; damn him and his lack of fear. Also, there’s a couple of steep spots while descending where poles would be handy. Now to cross the bridge near the base of Fir Falls with a thunderous roar of water underneath you. Once crossed over, trail markers guide you back to your starting location.

Below Fir Falls bridge.

Now… part of the idea of Geocaching  is to place caches in interesting locations to bring people to areas they may not normally find on their own. Did we place any? Well of course! However I’ve entered these caches as part of the BC Geocaching Association’s 2013 Blitz, which should start on May 25. I’m actually surprised no one has placed any caches in this spot after all this time? Hopefully they get approved. Kind of a distance to maintain, but as my wife said, this spot will easily be a yearly venture anyway.

Edit: Caches are approved! GC4C89Q, GC4C8A5, and GC4C8AQ.