Sunday, October 29, 2006

Overdue Long Range Traverse pictures

Sorry, these have been up for a few weeks now but I neglected to let anyone know!

Here's our pictures from the Long Range Traverse, a ~40km wilderness hike (no trails!) through the back woods (bog!) of Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park.

My photos []
Taryn's photos []

Presenting Audrey!

This is Audrey, our new cute, fluffy and rather tiny dilute torbie or tabico or, well, just cat.

Thankfully Sunday shopping has just ended and I was able to go to Home Depot and procure the supplies necessary to build the contraption she's sitting on. Let's just hope she climbs it more often than she climbs the curtains. :)

The Halifact: Until a few weeks ago, Sunday shopping was illegal in Nova Scotia. Well, sort of illegal. IIt's rather difficult to explain, so instead I'll let the CBC do it: Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Back to School!

As we head back to school I realize we have been negligent in keeping you up to date. As a remedy, here is the rest of our summer in point form:
  • Hurricane Beryl nearly ruined our trip to Cape Breton for my birthday in late July. Instead of backpacking, we ended up car camping in the National Park, going for a few hikes and hitting Louisbourg decked out in rain pants.
  • I got paid to go hiking as part of a field course with work to get us certified as 'Leave No Trace' Wilderness Ethic trainers
  • At the beginning of August Greg and I headed to Newfoundland with some friends to do a 5 day off-trail hike. Highlights include amazing scenery, falling in mud holes, Greg getting chased by a moose and learning wilderness navigation the hard way in the pouring rain.
  • After getting out of the backcountry Greg and I headed out on our own across Newfoundland, hitting the major attractions and much more besides. We spent 2 weeks in Newfoundland altogether.
  • As soon as we got home we picked up Laurel from the airport (literally 2 hours after we got home). She was with us for fun times for a little over a week.
  • During her visit we moved to our fabulous new house closer to school. It is so much nicer and quieter than our old hole.
  • On Labour Day weekend we did something we have been wanting to do for 2 years: adopt a kitty from the SPCA. She hasn't come home yet because she is waiting to be spayed, but she is 2 years old, very pretty, and her (new) name is Audrey.
  • Greg and I went back to school last week. For Greg it was his first time back in a long time as he started his masters in computer science. He will also be working remotely on his old job. I headed into second year in law and will continue to work one day a week at MEC. We are also both volunteering more with CPAWS this year.
So that's the update. Here's a picture of Greg visiting Audrey at the shelter - I'm sure this will be the first of the many photos of her that end up here!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Can you believe summer is half over?

Emily and Bill were here for their visit last week. In 7 days we managed to drag them to every single known tourist site in southern Nova Scotia. We also managed to meet several of Emily's long-lost relatives who live in the area.

The best part though, was that Emily (with the assistance of Tudor) rounded up the best in Asian snack foods that Vancouver has to offer and delivered them to me in a massive carry-on tote-bag. A picture of the full spread is at left but almost none of that is left now.

Immediately after Em and Bill left Greg and I headed up to the Cobequid Hills (the part of Nova Scotia that is on the north side of the Bay of Fundy) for some Canada Day backpacking. We hiked an 18km wilderness standard loop trail on the Economy River. Economy is an Anglicization of Kenomee so the trail is called the Kenomee Canyon trail. What makes it a wilderness standard trail is little signage and few man-made structures such as bridges. That meant 5 creek crossings.

Another reason for going hiking was to try out my new tent. That's right... after contemplating it for two months I've used my discount to buy the MSR Hubba Hubba (it's called that because it is a single pole design with two hubs.) I feel it is an investment... in the same way that a great business suit is an investment. I love my new tent THIS much! Summer (for me) is half over so I'll have to get as much sleeping in my new tent in as possible before I head back to being the Hunchback of Quingate Place (or the Hunchback of Edward Street - doesn't have the same ring to it does it?)

Today's Halifact: The greater Halifax area has four Asian grocery stores (that I know of). They are all quite small and have the basics for Chinese cooking (except the one store that specializes in Korean and Japanese). Now, however, there is a new Asian grocery in town, bringing the total to five. The best part, though is that the new one is right down the street. I still can't buy coconut buns in this town though :(

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New home (sweet home this time)

Last Friday Greg and I finalized the lease on our new apartment. We move in on August 1st! Our new place is much, much, much better than our current apartment. It is a suite on the main floor of a house (this is known as a 'flat' to Haligonians). We have a two bedroom again. It has a nice modern kitchen and bathroom, a bay window in the living room, a little deck, a parking spot, a storage closet and unlimited laundry in the basement. It is on a quiet street with lots of trees two blocks from school. As well we can have pets there so there is talk of a kitty. On the right is the view out our new backdoor. (I hope we get to keep the hammock!)

Also last weekend Greg and I went hiking to Kejimkujik National Park in the interior of the southern part of Nova Scotia (locals call it Keji because its just so impossible to say the whole thing). The area is very popular with canoeists since it is a series of interconnected lakes but it was hiking we were after since we need to get prepped for our hiking trip to Newfoundland. We brought along Ritchie and Geniva who will also be hiking in Newfoundland with us, as well at Geniva's friend Yoko. We had a great time even if the hike was a little wet in places. The boardwalk in the picture is supposed to keep us out of the water! So far the scenery was some of the nicest we have seen in the backcountry out here (but we haven't been to Cape Breton or Newfoundland yet so we'll see).

We are really looking forward to some visitors in a few days. Bill is coming, as is Emily thanks to an awesome seat sale from a new airline called Sunwing. I'm sure we'll have some adventures to post about from their visit.

Today's Halifact: We just had a provincial election here in Nova Scotia. We previously had a Conservative minority government and now we have one again. Rodney McDonald is still premier. During the election one of the opposition parties ran "Rodney's Believe it or Not" attack ads that were quite humorous. The Green Party also ran a full slate of candidates and ended up with a few thousand votes. The low voter turn-out and lack of general interest meant it was a pretty uneventful election.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Today's Weather

From this article on the CBC,

"The Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission warned drivers of high-sided vehicles to be careful crossing the two bridges spanning Halifax harbour."

That's just how windy it is. :)

I feel sorry for the cyclists!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Summertime in the Muggy City

It is finally summertime here in Halifax! The leaves are finally on the trees, there are flowers in everyone's garden, the muggy weather has returned, and it is BUG season (as you can see by the photo at left).

The warm weather comes a little later to Halifax than it does to Vancouver, and technically it is still more like spring here so the cooler weather and rain mean that we haven't been out hiking and backpacking as much as we would like. When it isn't busy raining and being cold it is very muggy here which takes a lot of getting used to for me.

I've also been really busy at work in the past few weeks doing my 2 weeks of intensive product knowledge training. It was pretty cool to get paid to run around an orienteering course, set up multiple tents inside each other (Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 inside MSR Hubba Hubba inside MEC Wanderer 4 inside MEC Funhouse 6), and taste test the various freeze-dried backpacking foods on a variety of stove models (I recommend the Black Bart Chili or the Kung Fu Chicken with Rice but definitely NOT the Cashew Curry Chicken with Rice).

So far we have only been on one overnight backpacking trip. We took my friend Lori, a Newfoundlander from school, on her first backpacking trip to the Bluff trail, a wilderness trail only 15 minutes from our house. Greg wrote up a trip report for that outing and posted it on here if you want to check it out. I am really itching to get out backpacking again after that trip. (Although despite the headnet I was literally itching after that trip as well.)

We are also planning one big trip for our summer vacation: we are going to Newfoundland! We plan to take the ferry to the western side and then drive up to Gros Morne National Park to do some backcountry hiking. Then we'll drive up to see the Viking site at L'Anse-aux-Meadows, then we'll drive east across the Island to St. John's and take the ferry back to Nova Scotia from Argentia. Our whole trip will be two weeks long and we'll stop lots of other places as well. We're both very excited. I've even been learning the additional verses to "I's the B'y". (Did you know there is one about maggoty fish AND one about maggoty butter? Good stuff.) As well, they have actual mountains in Newfoundland... up to 815m worth of mountains!

Also, we are expecting a visitor at the end of the month! Bill, Greg's dad has the honour of being our second houseguest ever. We're looking forward to showing him around Halifax during the short 4 month window when it is green!

Today's Halifact: The local franchise of the Simmons Mattress Gallery is owned by three crazy Brits who do their own low buget and cheesy commercials. During the winter they had some sort of tropical promotion going on where they were all wearing Hawaiian shirts in the ad. We just saw their new one today. For their 10 year anniversary (or something) they are having a Thank-You Nova Scotia Sale. To celebrate they all dressed up in fishermen's bright yellow rain slickers and promised that you get free lobster with your mattress purchase. That's right, FREE LOBSTER! They were each waving around a live one during the ad!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Much More Hiking to Come.... Thanks to Taryn's New Job

Last Sunday Greg and I headed out on yet another hike. This time we were aiming to hike a trail on the Salmon River in nearby Dartmouth that was made by fisherman hiking upstream. We had heard that there was still lots of blowdown from Hurricane Juan in 2003 and that the trail was in rough shape. Within the first 10m we found this to be very true. The trail detoured almost into the lake to get around the blowdown and the bridge had been hit hard. It had been pushed downstream a few meters and turned sideways. The piece of decking Greg is standing on is actually perpendicular to the stream flow. This made for one of the more challenging bridge crossings I've ever done!

Once we made it over the bridge, however, we found that the trail was very clean, recently brushed out, and very well marked. Strange since the entrance seemed to be in such bad shape. We eventually ran into some trail builders who explained that we were on part of a new and expanded trail system that was not yet open and that the old trailhead was closed so they wouldn't be brushing it out.

Instead of following the northern portion of the unmaintained Salmon River trail over a sketchy half underwater bridge we got to follow the beautiful new trail system over a ridge then down to West Lake. We think this will become our new favourite place to hike. And with a 30 minute driving time, it's somewhere we can go quite often. Next time we plan to start from the east trailhead (at the top right of the map) instead of the now closed Salmon River trailhead on River Road (bottom left of the map). That way we'll get to see the other half of the trail system that we haven't seen yet.

We'll get to do lots of hiking because I have a new job for the summer in retail, which means flexible hours. My new job is also at my favourite outdoor store in the world, wait... make that my favourite store in the world, so my staff discount means I can afford some sweet new gear, even on my limited budget. I'm excited!