Friday, January 17, 2014

2014 Resolutions

I guess it's a few days later than most people write up their New Years Resolutions, but to be honest I wasn't going to actually make any this year.  Then I started thinking about it, and decided I should.

So let's get the cliche one out of the way.  I want to get into shape.  Yes I want to look better in a bikini, and yes, I'd love to fit into the size 6 "goal pants" I bought on the clearance rack at Old Navy.  But my real reason is so that I can handle the longer hikes, portages and steep hills without falling into a huffing, panting mess at the end.  I don't need to be able to sprint up the hills like Chris, but I'd at least like to make it up them without feeling like my knees aren't going to give out.

The whole family has a goal of doing more canoe camping this year.  As much as we love our Boler, we are really eager to get away from the crowds and noise of front country camping.  Last year, Bubbie brought her friend along for a quick one night trip to Balsam Lake PP.  She was a bit embarrassed because her friend goes crown land camping with her dad, and let's face it, Balsam Lake isn't exactly on the same level.

Shoot Video!  I go on every trip planning to shoot video so I can make trip logs, but I just always forget, or only remember a few times and end up with not enough footage to make it worth while.

Explore new places!  We tend to go to a spot, have a great time, and then go back over and over again, I'd especially like to check out Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands PP and the Noganosh/Island Lake areas.

Train the dog!  Ugh!  When we got him, I'd already read that Australian Cattle Dogs were for experienced dog owners, but we've had dogs all our life so I figured no problem.  He's a stubborn little brat though and tests me on everything daily.  I still haven't taught him not to drag me down the road, not to chase cars and he barks at me for no reason that I can figure out...all friggin' day.  So, yes, training Biscuit is a goal.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Day Trip: Algonquin Provincial Park - November 16, 2013

With some decent weather finally making a day of hiking possible, we headed up to Algonquin on Saturday hoping to do the Whiskey Rapids trail.  This trail suffered damage during the flooding this spring, and only opened a week ago.  We were really curious about how much the trail had changed, and if there would be any signs of just how high water had gotten.

The plan was to hit the visitor centre first, ket the kids spend their gift certificates, then hit the Tea lake Dam picnic area, cook up some hot dogs on mum's BioStove.  She'd bought this in the early summer and hadn't had a chance to try it out.  Then we'd do the trail and head home.

Unfortunately, when we were paying for our things at the gift shop, the lady working there told us Whiskey Rapids was closed again because of flooding.

What?  We couldn't believe it!  After all summer of wanting to check this out, it closes again after only a week.  We couldn't help but laugh.  Unsure what to do, and with the trails having a bit of ice on them, we decided to play it safe and just do the Spruce Bog Boardwalk trail.  Kind of a a let down, but it was better than sitting at home watching the kids play video games.

On the way to Tea Lake Dam, we saw two moose!  We hadn't expected to see much in the way of wildlife.  It was a cow and her baby.  On the way through the park earlier in the day we saw a six point buck.  Biscuit barked a few times, not crazy barking but the little woofs he let out made the moose raise their heads, giving us better photo opportunities.  I should say it gave everyone else photo opportunities.  I was seating in the middle of the back seat, holding the dog.  No matter where I tried to move, there was either

Once we got to Tea Lake Dam, we hunted for dry sticks, which wasn't easy.  Thankfully, the BioStove lights easily and it takes hardly any time to get enough heat going to cook some hot dogs on the grill attachment.

All in all, it was a great day.  The temperature dropped pretty low by the time we ate, but otherwise, it was a great day.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas Holiday Fun

Yikes!  Has it really been more than a month since I last posted?  I know every year I always feel like Christmas has snuck up on me, but this year was way worse than usual.  Between the kids school projects, after school activities, baking for school parties and everyone getting a nasty cold, we didn't even start our holiday shopping until last week.

Usually by mid November I've got a list of holiday baking I want to do, at least some gifts bought, and a list of things to do while the kids are home from school.  This year I got nothing done.  No planning, no lists, and no ideas.  Of course it didn't help that the kids wouldn't tell me what they wanted.  It's a sad thing when they've reached the age where nothing in the Sears Christmas Catalogue appeals to them.

I had also hoped to have a list of outdoor related gifts to write about, but the truth is, it's kind of depressing for the kids to get gifts they can't use for five months, so the hammock tents I wanted to get them, while cool, wouldn't have been all that fun for Christmas morning.  Plus, I just get a little panicky when I think of them not being in the tent with me...

So, while I had hoped to be able to buy lots of camping related gifts, I didn't.  We got the kids new inflatable camp pillows from MEC, and they got nice sleeping pads from MEC from Chris's sister.  My parents got me a reflector oven, which I'm so excited to try.  I almost came directly home from their house and started a fire in the driveway but it was -20 and all the wood we had was buried under 2 feet of snow.  I guess I'll settle for watching videos and searching up recipe ideas.

And as for planning fun stuff over the holiday?  After two days of freezing rain, it's not looking like we'll be going anywhere.  Chris didn't really get any extra days off either, and lets face it, it's been pretty darn cold to be out on long hikes or flying down the hill on a snowboard. There's free public skating at the local rec centre for at least one hour a day (except christmas day and new years day) We took advantage of that a few times and are hoping to get up to Algonquin for a day before school starts up again.