Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday Hike

Yesterday morning we took the dogs up to the summit of Black Knight Mountain, described in this link as a moderate 11.5 km hike on a gravel road.  The description is slightly dated as we discovered the first part of the hike  was paved not too long ago - I'm thinking during the last roadwork season.  I would have said our last time taking this hike was two summers ago.  When I did a search of this blog I learned it was in the Fall of 2011.  On that day, due to concerns about the setting sun we didn't make it to the top but promised we'd return soon.

My how time flies.  I was shocked to realize it's taken almost four years to get back.  I'm very pleased to report that today we did the return trip in three hours.  The photos included here were taken by my hubby with his Panasonic DMC-G2.

It's any easy to moderate hike, on a gravel trail with nothing too steep. In this case it's not the journey, it's the view.

South views

North view

We saw lots of deer tracks,  some larger prints that might have been cow or moose or a moose cow.  On the way back we found the steeply paved road challenging on sore muscles and ending up cutting across the cow pasture, dodging composting cow patties, deer pellets and marmot poop. The dogs were thrilled and considered it a buffet until they tired of us shouting "leave it!" and trotted down the hill chasing birds and grinning happily.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Vacation Summary and a Book

This is not a typical post for me, but I had to share an excerpt with you, my book lover friends.  It's much too long for Facebook so I thought I'd blog about it, and give you a brief summary of our trip while I'm at it.  We recently returned from three weeks in the Lesser Antilles, visiting Antigua, Guadeloupe and Dominica. I've chosen three fairly random photos to post to pique your interest a little.

Valley Church Beach, Antigua

The market in Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe

Red Rocks in Calibishe, Dominica

In the meantime, to summarize our trip... there was hiking, swimming, mountains, waterfalls, rivers, Mermaid Secrets, lakes, the Atlantic ocean, and the Caribbean Sea, the green scent of rain forests, the pungent aroma of marijuana, annoying cigarette smoke, and the massacring of the French language.  There was driving and more driving and then some more driving.  Driving on smooth, well marked asphalt roads and driving on joint jarring asphalt, concrete and dirt roads reminiscent of turbulent plane rides, careening around hairpin turns, through arches of vines and bowed branches, up and down 20 degree slopes.  Honking horns that sang "thank you", "your welcome" and "We're coming around the mountain..." 

There was tongue sizzling jerk chicken, columbo chicken, Caribbean curry, pumpkin, coconut, taro, acrass, grilled fish avec les eyeballs, Mahina's pizza, squat glasses of 'T punch, green bottles of Caribe, skinny tins of coke light, excellent French wine at affordable prices.  We saw snakes, geckos, hummingbirds, parrots, gopher-squirrels, goats, Pumpkin the donkey, crowing roosters, dogs, cats, crabs, coral, and fishies a plenty. There were steel drums, a ukelele, French caribbean guitars that sounded like something from West Africa, then a piano, then a trumpet, pop and reggae and cuban latin singers.  Much repeated phrases were "This map is frickin' useless", "Cheap like Dings!" "Our LIAT flight has been delayed." "Parlez vous Anglais?" "Deux cafe au lait, s'il vous plait" "Do you have Caribe?", "Wow!" and "Gorgeous!" and "When we come back..."  

We saw bougenvilla, bananas in many sizes, pineapple, orchids, hibiscus, and ginger, ficus, ferns and palm trees of every sort, cactus, calla lilies, sugar cane and sugar mills, ports, cannons and churches.  There was diving, snorkelling,  sunshine, sunsets and five minute torrents of rain, wind on a mountain top that nearly blew my t-shirt off, smiling, friendly people, there was laughing, snorting and giggling, and there were many, many beaches.  

Along with lounging on the beach, there was reading.  I read four books, which has me in reading mode once more.  Back home, (once I got caught up on my laundry and uploaded my photos), I picked up a book that's been waiting on my shelf for years despite the fact that I fell in love with it on page one.  "If On A Winter's Night a Traveller" by Italo Calvino is one of the most original books I've read, already my favourite book so far and I'm only on page 7.  All you book lovers out there will see him as a kindred spirit once you read the following passage I had to share. 

"In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven't Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn't Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You'll Wait Till They're Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out In Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too. Eluding these assaults, you come up beneath the towers of the fortress, where other troops are holding out:

the Books You've Been Planning To Read For Ages,
the Books You've Been Hunting For Years Without Success,
the Books Dealing With Something You're Working On At The Moment,
the Books You Want To Own So They'll Be Handy Just In Case,
the Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer,
the Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves,
the Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified,
Now you have been able to reduce the countless embattled troops to an array that is, to be sure, very large but still calculable in a finite number; but this relative relief is then undermined by the ambush of the Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time To Reread and the Books You've Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It's Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them.
All this simply means that, having rapidly glanced over the titles of the volumes displayed in the bookshop, you have turned toward a stack of If on a Winter's Night a Traveler fresh off the press, you have grasped a copy, and you have carried it to the cashier so that your right to own it can be established.  

With a zigzag dash you shake them off and leap straight into the citadel of the New Books Whose Author Or Subject Appeals To You. Even inside this stronghold you can make some breaches in the ranks of the defenders, dividing them into New Books By Authors Or On Subjects Not New (for you or in general) and New Books By Authors Or On Subjects Completely Unknown (at least to you), and defining the attraction they have for you on the basis of your desires and needs for the new and the not new (for the new you seek in the not new and for the not new you seek in the new)."

How can you resist?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Forever Youngs

Just had to capture three generations of Youngs together while Grandpa was visiting.  Reg will be 97 next month and is still fairly independent and crochety. This was taken shortly before his son drove him to the airport at the end of our visit.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Snow Day!

I was wandering around in my long-johns this morning, waiting for it to get light so I could pull on my snow pants and frolic with the dogs in that pristine snow that fell yesterday.  I decided to kill some time on the computer and discovered a new post on my daughter's blog.  Winterlust was its title; a new word she coined, defining it as "Similar to wanderlust, it is a strong desire to romp around in a winter wonderland." Yup, I've definitely got a taste of winterlust this morning.  Turns out we got quite a dump of snow last night and it shows no signs of stopping.

I needed my snowshoes to make it up to the hill this morning.  It was quite a struggle to go as far as we did and the snow was coming down so heavily I decided not to bother trying to make it to the ridge, we just had a good slog through the snow and turned ourselves around not far past the first bench.  Hope you are enjoying some winterlust wherever you are.

I wore my snowshoes which I'm excited to say I've used twice in the past eight days.  The dogs and I took turns breaking trail.  It was little more challenging for petite Pitou.


Later in the afternoon, I went outside to clean off the car ...for the second time. I believe it's been snowing since yesterday afternoon and finally stopped at 4:00 today.  Let's hope they're wrong about the snow pellets.