K2inCanada's Blog

December 12, 2017

Stunningly Beautiful!

Filed under: Bears, Canada — K2 in Canada @ 9:53 PM

I know, I am way behind with my posts but I had to share this. Stunningly beautiful images of bears – black or white both amazing. I just love bears!

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October 21, 2017

The rain is back

Filed under: Canada, Home, Paddle — K2 in Canada @ 8:03 PM

Heavy at times. Well, we have been asking for it :-). Jeff is happy because his Coho fishing spots are finally getting enough water that the fish are coming in. Tomorrow will be my first day out this fall. Today though was a bit miserable with not just rain but also quite a bit of wind. Nevertheless, I needed to get outside for a bit after being stuck indoors all week. I walked my surfski down to the river. It was just about low tide but I still had the current plus the wind nicely pushing me down river. At that point there was hardly any rain too. All the tugs slowed down for me and it was a really nice paddle despite the weather. By the time I turned around though, half a kilometer down from the Arthur Liang Bridge, the current had turned and push me up the river but the wind also had picked up and it started to rain hard again. Now all into my face. It was a tough slog back up river and it was cold. I am glad though I went out.

What’s the chance…

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Home — K2 in Canada @ 7:54 PM

…to run into not just one but two skunks on my ride home from work last week. And I am came out of both encounters without smelling any worse than before we met.

It was a rainy, dark night. Between 7 and 8PM. I was riding on the bike path along no longer existing East Kent, now a construction site, when I spotted something ahead of me running along the fence in the same direction I was going – a skunk. Now the path is about 1.5m wide and I figured blasting by that guy and scaring him may not work so well. There was a tailwind. So I tried my usual trick, slowed down and talked to the guy staying a couple meters behind the animal. First he sped up a bit, than the tail went straight up in the air. Oh oh, I thought but nothing happened. Tail came down again. The skunk crossed to the other side of the path, still running the same direction I was going. Tail come up again. I slowed down further but again, lucky me, it came down right away without any bad smells starting to hit me. And then the skunk ran of the trail by another meter, stopped and looked at me. I took that as a sign to slowly bike by him and say thanks. It worked.

I get home 5 or so minutes later. Jeff had already turned on the outside light. As I approach the door I see something scoot away into the bushes to my right. A cat I thought and started looking. And there he was, another skunk was looking for stuff below the truck. he didn’t even acknowledge me being there :-).

So cool!!! Too bad it was too dark for pictures. I know these guys are in the area – usually we can smell them late at night when something scarred them below our open bedroom window – but I don’t get to see them very often at all.

October 13, 2017

Hunting Season

Filed under: Animals, Canada — K2 in Canada @ 6:51 AM

Lucky for this guy, I only hunt with my camera. Three days of bush walking this past Thanksgiving weekend and I got this super lucky to spot a moose despite gun shots going off all around me. Honestly I was more afraid of getting shot at than stumbling into wildlife that weekend. But again, all ended well :-). I hope that moose will make it through unscathed as well. Mind you, moose is tasty meat and I do not fault people that hunt for food. Each his/her own. More on the trip to come soon.

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Bear encounters

Filed under: Animals, Bears, Canada — K2 in Canada @ 6:41 AM

This story takes place a couple weekends ago. Naturally, after seeing a bear up at Cypress on my birthday I had to go back the next weekend. A beautiful sunny day. I didn’t really expect to see the bear. Near the top I hung out with 3 grouse that tried to “hide” in the fall colours right off the trail. Pretty cool.

 

And when I got down to the meadows where birthday bear was last weekend, I counted myself very lucky to actually see him again. At least I think it was the same bear in pretty much the same spot as the birthday bear! This time I had a bit better view of him too. He was munching away on berries probably not even noticing me standing 100m away watching him. Unfortunately, it did not take long until more hikers were coming down the trail behind me, talking. The bear did not care. I pointed the bear out to the group of 3 guys but instead of peacefully continue on their way, they started to make a lot of noise while passing me. Clapping their hands, talking even louder. Yeah, I know, folklore says you should make noise in bear country. Personally I hate bear bells. I rather keep my eyes and ears open. And this bear was far off the trail, not paying too much attention to his surrounding other than the blueberries in front of him, putting on fat for the winter. The loud noise though got his attention pretty quick and he bolted into the bush. Idiots, I thought. Idiot, they probably thought for me watching the bear silently. Off they disappear down the trail ahead of me. Shortly after I hear the guys yelling “watch out, there is another bear right here” and they made even more noise and, stupid, started running. I carefully continued down the trail expecting that that other bear would have left because of the noise as well. But not so. I came face to face with a quite agitated looking mama bear and her young cub not wanting to surrender their nice blueberry patch whatsoever. And that patch was right along the trail – 20m distance between us. I stopped to analyze the situation in plain view. The cub was up the tree when I first saw them and mama was looking back and forth between me and the 3 noisy guys I could no longer see. Great I thought. Not only did they scare away the friendly bear, no they left me with a quite pissed off mama bear. The cub climbed down the tree while I tried to figure out what to do. I expected them to walk off into the bush. But then mama bear took a charge back at the tree, huffing, in the direction off where the 3 guys disappeared. The little guy didn’t know what to do other than staying close to mom and go up that tree again. It was a bit scary for a moment but neither bear showed aggression towards me. I calmly talked to them. Mama bear was watching me and obviously listening to me telling her no good would come out of her chasing a hiker up here. She finally relaxed and after a few more seconds relented the area and walked off into the bush. Her cub close behind. It took a couple minute for my heart rate to come down again.

 

I do see black bears on my hikes and walks quite frequently but this was definitely the closest encounter I have had to date. Most other times the bears take off as soon as they hear, see or smell me. This was different. My read on this, the bear became agitated because of the extensive noise and the running of those 3 guys ahead of me. If they would have just walked by her, she probably would have stayed calm and continued eating. If I wouldn’t have alerted them to the first bear, they might have walked right by the 2nd without noticing it. But that’s all speculation off course. Female bears with cubs can be quite protective and I usually do not hang around to watch them this close. I guess I could have backed off rather than stand my ground but my gut feel told me to stay put. I am glad this turned out the way it did. I neither want to endanger myself or the bears!

You can judge me all you want but I will continue sharing nature with all the wildlife there is. I will stick to my philosophy to watch my surrounding, observe but not threaten any animals I see. I get just as excited about seeing deer or grouse or chipmunks as I do about seeing a bear or bobcat. I was back doing the same hike again the next weekend. Mostly sunny after a rainy Saturday and even busier with people but I again got to see a bear. I felt extremely lucky. This time I think it was a different bear, higher up at the top of the mountain. He saw me coming from a long way off and meandered slowly into the trees, stopping here and there to nibble on a few more blueberries along the way. None of us felt threatened – both of us continued on with what we love. Me enjoying a beautiful fall hike – the colours are just short of amazing and no pictures do them justice. Him eating to prepare for winter.

Most bear encounters end like mine. You just very rarely hear about those – not sensational enough I guess. Here is another story that ended well for all: https://blog.thedyrt.com/adventure/survive-a-grizzly-bear/

September 23, 2017

Birthday Bear

Filed under: Canada — K2 in Canada @ 5:05 PM

P1170671 (Medium)

How to better spent your birthday… Went hiking at Cypress Provincial Park. It was a cool misty morning. Smoke seemed to be in the air a bit and clouds were starting to move in. But I had the trail up Mount Strachan to myself. And on the way down, I saw the bear. Other than waking up to the person I love in the morning, seeing a bear on my birthday was the best thing!!! A few more pictures from the hike below. There were tons of blueberries, hence I saw a bear. And they have so much more flavour than the commercially grown one, just amazing. I mad it back to the car just before the rain started.

 

 

September 17, 2017

Last week at 48

Filed under: Canada, Hummer, Kayak, Other sports — K2 in Canada @ 9:04 AM

Well, it was a bit of an up and down week. It started quite fun. We had the third annual 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament going on at work – a truncated version with all the games in one week rather than over 3 weeks. And we had 12 teams signed up even though the announcement came out only a week before. I put in my team from last year, team members Alex, David and Michael as sub. We won the first game against the HR girls on the first day :-). Not a 100% fair match up but we made it a fun game nonetheless. And the crowd loved it too. Our 2nd match, on Tuesday, was against Jeff’s team. Not only did I have to play against my Jeff, but his team outranked us by skill and weight and height. Nevertheless, we didn’t make total fools of ourselves and gave them a decent match. In the last 30 sec of the game, I tried to push the ball away from Jeff so that he could not score on us again. I succeeded but awkwardly hit my finger on my left hand and I felt this sharp pain. The middle finger was bend backwards at the centre joint. I tried to pull it back myself but didn’t make it. Off to the hospital we went after filling out the first aid paperwork at work. Darn, this was also the day of the last TNR kayak race followed by the season end party. I figured we’ll have to spent all night at the hospital before I even get to see a doctor and would miss out on all the fun. I almost didn’t want to go but Jeff was quite insistent. We took a taxi to Burnaby General Hospital in rush hour which took forever. The ice pack I got at work by now was piss warm. The check in at the hospital though was quick – no line up. Even the initial triage was done in less than 5min and they sent me for x-ray. Now I thought that will take some time, but nope. I was through again in less than 5min. Cool. Waiting for the doctor took the longest. Maybe 20-30min which, given previous experiences at this very same hospital, was still quick. They call it “Super Fast Track” now, I guess they mean it. The doc showed me the x-ray and yes, the middle finger was properly dislocated. He froze the finger, the needle was the most painful part, and pop the joint back in. Put on a small splint and said I should be good to go in a couple of days again. Just no basketball for a few days.

77_AlphaBasketball_0912 (Medium)

Just like that and in less than an hour we were on our way back home. Plenty of time to get to at least the TNR season end party and drink plenty of beer. The funny thing, even though the finger was puffed up like crazy, it never really hurt much even when the freezing came off. Or maybe the beer help :-).

I was back in the gym the Wednesday morning. I notice then, that the left index finger also took a bit of a hit – just bruised though. Since I could not bend two fingers I did only go for a core and legs workout. Good thing I never learnt to type with all fingers – so my work day wasn’t impacted at all. Except for all the people coming by wanting to see above picture of the dislocated joint. The splint came off Thursday evening and I was back to the regular weight circuit routine on Friday morning – took it easy on the weights mind you. Too make up for that, we did 10 stations instead of the usual 8.

The basketball tournament continued without me. Unfortunately my team lost the next game too which meant we were out. I would have made NO difference to the outcome whatsoever but it was tough to be watching it from the sideline :-(. Jeff’s team mind you made it all the way to last day. 4 team’s were left to compete for the trophy. Jeff’s team eliminated one. But then got beat in the next game by 1 point – I did see no foul :-). Both games were super exciting.

IMG_0761_crop (Medium)

Today, Jeff and I went paddling in Indian Arm. Nice sunny, calm day. We only had to fight the current but my finger was fine. Both fingers are still swollen and have a bit of an ugly colour to them but I could bend them enough to hold the paddle. YEAH!!! How is that for recovery from an injury at almost 50! Now I just need to get some strength back in those two fingers. Few pictures from today:

And that’s a wrap for 48!

August 7, 2017

I want some rain!

Filed under: Canada — K2 in Canada @ 9:45 PM

Never thought I would ever say that after this wet spring we had. But we only had 1.8mm of rain in all of July – that’s one day with a few sprinkles early in July. Temperatures have been around 25 almost every day – or more. I have had to water my wild flowers every 2nd day since we are back from Newfoundland. They are still doing okay although the garden does look a bit wild :-).

This hot dry summer has other much more devastating effects on the province – other than me having to water my plants. Wildfires. Apparently, it’s the worst season for wildfires in 60 years. And even though none of the fires are close to Vancouver, we have been effected. Unusual offshore winds have driven the smoke into the lower mainland and we have been under smoky skies for a week. Air quality is poor – on a scale from 1-10 we are at 7. I don’t feel it as much but still this can’t be good. It’s less severe than 2 years ago but this smoke has been hanging around for much longer. I can’t even imagine how bad it is for the people in the interior though. Most of the fires are in the Cariboo region – one of our favourite fishing destinations. Williams Lake (30,000 people) had to be evacuated for over a week. That same fire is also threatening Forest Lake, which we spent the last two May long weekends at. I hope my bears, like the people up there, are save!

But there is always beauty in disasters. The smoky skies produced some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone and the pictures didn’t turn out that well. Blood red sun – you can look right at it without shades.

Mind you, we still do our workouts. I have been paddling almost every day, finally, for the last 2 weeks. Made it to BBY lake for short K1 paddles three times after work each week. And on weekends we are putting in long hours and lots of kilometers. Training for a 3 day stage race covering 120km coming up in 2 weeks – my bum is not ready :-). See next post.

 

 

BC Day – Training weekend

Filed under: Canada — K2 in Canada @ 9:45 PM

As mentioned in the previous post, Jeff and I are trying to get ready for a 3 day stage race, 120km total, with a couple short portages each day. We decided to take the double surfski, even though it is heavier on the portages but it will be more versatile in varies conditions. The race is on Lake Revelstoke from Mica Dam to just before Revestoke and it could be flat calm or wind could funnel down the valley. We have been putting in a few long paddles each weekend since we are back from Newfoundland. Well, we did a few before that as well. But none of them were anywhere close to 40km in distance. Until this weekend.

Paddle #1 on Aug 5: With all this smoke, Indian Arm was one smoke filled fjord. And driving to the North Shore has been a bit of a slow drive lately, so much traffic. So we decided to not drive anywhere but walk the double down to the river and paddles up and down the North Arm of the Fraser. I had forgotten how far that is to go around the airport – 45km. Lucky for us we had current help us down and up the river and it “only” took 4hrs10min. Not the most scenic of a paddle and visibility was quite low but it’s something different to paddle on a runway, sharing the water with float planes and the Coast Guard’s hovercraft.

Paddle #2 on Aug 6: Still low vis. We took the singles that and met up with buddy John to paddle along Crescent Beach to White Rock. We launched at Stuart Farm on the Nicomekl. The tide was way out and we had to launch from the dock. Not used to that with the surfskis but no drama. Not much to see on that paddle either. We saw a few immature bald eagles a;long the river bank and could get surprisingly close. The bay was quite calm, just a little bit of light chop on the way out. With the low tide though we had to paddle way off shore. Almost crossed into the US :-). Again the paddle was longer than we thought. Got out of the boats a bit at White Rock to rest the bum. Everything else was fine. The way back was shorter as the tide had come up and we could paddle closer to shore. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there is a lot of eel grass that likes to wrap itself to my rudder and slow me down. It also hosts a ton of tiny fish though and is vital as a nursery for a number of species. Hence, I did not complain. Just stopped, backed up, moved on to the next patch. Jeff did practice re-mount to get the stuff off his rudder. Another 29km and 3hr20min paddle. Good thing we had invited ourselves for dinner at Jeff’s parents :-).

Paddle #3 on Aug 7: Another smokey day. The last paddle this long weekend was not till the afternoon and I just took the K1 (Super Lancer) out for a couple laps around the lake, 9.9km, 67min. The lake is quite weedy and I was tired. Jeff did not want to paddle today as he had a sore elbow. Hence we went up Cypress instead. Jeff roller skied up. I drove up and hiked Mount Strachnan, a 2hr round trip, ~500m elevation gain. Haven’t done much hiking this year yet – other than in Newfoundland – and I could feel my legs turning to rubber crawling up the chute. I was quite surprised to still see quite a bit of snow along the trail. First blueberries were also ready. And lots of flowers. I pretty much had the trail to myself. Maybe it was the smoke that kept people away. or maybe our theory that the best weekend to stay in town is the BC long weekend since everyone else hits the road 🙂

And yes, one of these days I will post about Newfoundland and maybe even our spring fishing adventures. Have been quite a lazy blogger this year so far despite having so many cool things to talk about. Stay tuned.

July 23, 2017

Life Savers

Filed under: Canada — K2 in Canada @ 8:18 PM

PFDs or Personal Flotation Devices are supposed to save lives. When we started sea kayaking I was always wearing my full PFD. When we started racing kayaks, the full PFD was in the way of going fast and we switch to a small, inflatable one that goes around the waist only and all the bulk is behind you. We did lots of remounts in our surfskis during TNRs, and never had problems getting back in. Over the last couple years our paddling has decreased, I switch back to a full PFD for “safety”. Used it all winter long in the surfskis and we did go out into some big winds and waves. I always felt safe with my “big” PFD. We never fell in. Last Tuesday, during the TNR, they made us remount for the first time this season. Jeff and I were in the double, both wearing the full PFD. We were cocky too and started 1min behind the field as all the fast people were down in Oregon for a big race. We almost caught up to the front as we got to the remount at Jug. We got out fine but had a really hard time getting back in. It was flat calm. My chest kept getting stuck in the cockpit and I could not move far enough over the boat to get my ass in. We eventually made it, but it took two attempts. Pretty bad in calm conditions. I was embarrassed! Tried again one more time after the race and it was not much better. We finished way back!

Today, we took the double out into English Bay. It was blowing 15knots and whitecaps were out. Both of us were wearing our inflatable PFDs again around the waist….I felt safe! But I do need to practice with the big PFD!

 

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