Sunday on the water

I headed out on Sunday with Braden, Devin, Jay and Colin for a bit of fun on the lake at Alberta Beach. Our original plan to go Kayaking this weekend went sideways due to work schedules, and Vic was going to be out of the country. We tried to head out to Long Lake but that soon changed to Pine Hurst when we could not get a site to camp. Then there were some more scheduling issues, so over lunch on Saturday, we decided Sunday was the last kick at the cat. We made it happen, and headed out around lunch.

The weather cooperated enough and we were able to get some awesome time on the water. I was rocking these new shades I picked up on Saturday, the kind you see old folks wearing so it was the day’s running joke. They worked like a charm though! Getting the boat in the water was a bit of a struggle due to receding water levels. We ended up pushing it through the sand near the boat launch to around where the buoys are before it was floating enough to fire up the engine.

 

From there we headed out and found some calm water to swim in before a few sessions on the Wakeskate. Braden made the first run, and Jay, who had never done it before got up straight away and showed us how it was done.

Dev decided to strap on some water skis and Colin was the man on the wakeboard. I ended up re-injuring my ribs in a rather unglamorous way last Monday, and didn’t want to aggravate the injury any further. I was more than content to take some photos, video and soak up the rays.

Joel ended up showing up rather late to the party. A storm had rolled in and there was a line to get off the lake, so while we waited we ate some Mozza burgers Joel was gracious enough to bring with him. All in all it was a great day, and I can’t wait to do it again!

Heres some photos I took.

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Dining in the Rockies

 

This past weekend we had an opportunity to sample some of the local cuisine that can be found in both Canmore and Banff.

In Canmore there are scores of shops, restaurants and pubs to frequent for whatever you fancy at the time. On Saturday afternoon Megan and I cruised down main street Canmore and after finding some rock star parking in front of The Grizzly Paw, we went in and enjoyed some of the local flavor.

The Grizzly Paw is a brew pub, meaning that they brew their own beer. There are daily brewery tours and one has a choice of where to sit, whether it is outside on the patio, inside in front of the bar and a flat screen or upstairs in the restaurant section. The World Cup was on so we opted for the pub area, which I welcomed considering we had been outside all morning and it was rather hot out. The menu had all your classic pub fair. Nachos, Burgers, Steaks, the list goes on. Megan went for the soup, which is changed daily. I made a game time decision right before I ordered and got a burger called “the Angry Burger”. Being that all their beers are brewed on site, most menu items have a suggested beer pairing, and most sauces are made with one of the beers. The Angry Burger was the hottest burger I had ever eaten, thanks to the Jalapenos piled on top of the patty.

Beer wise Megan and I both went for their Raspberry Ale. As fruit beers go, it was delish. Given that it was hotter than sin out, I found it quiet refreshing. The only downside was that all this food and drink made me sleepy so after lunch, naturally, it was nap time.

For anyone visiting Canmore I strongly recommend the Paw. Prices were reasonable, the beer was great and the atmosphere was awesome. A cool thing about The Grizzly Paw, is that there is a store out back that sells merchandise, beer, condiments, and their new menu item, sodas. We tried the grapefruit soda with Sunday’s lunch and it was very good. On a side note anyone getting the nachos should be quite hungry. If you have 2 or more in your party you will be fine.

Saturday night we headed into Banff and after a bit of walking around our appetites once again grew and a dining spot was found. It seemed that Grizzlies were the theme and we wandered into the Grizzly House for some Fondue. The Grizzly House is not your everyday joint and those who go should be prepared to spend $50-$60 dollars per person. Vegans and Vegetarians should go somewhere else. This place is for carnivores and there is so much meat on the menu that I’m pretty sure almost every animal out there is invited to the party.

There are many choices that are not listed on the menu so do not hesitate to ask the host or your server. We chose the 4 course meal, which included a soup or a salad to start. A cheese fondue to stoke your appetite. Main course which you cook on a piece of granite heated to 700 degrees. Finished off with a chocolate fondue. When I read this on the menu, I was totally convinced this would be much more food that I could handle. Turned out it was portioned almost perfectly and I left feeling very content.

 For our choice of meat we took the road less traveled and asked a few key questioned and ordered from the menu that wasn’t listed. Our first choice was your the “Alberta Platter”. It came with a selection of Beef, Bison, Elk and Venison. The Elk was my favorite. Our other order was a seafood platter which had Shrimp, Scallops, Swordfish, Salmon and Halibut. I steered clear of the Halibut, but the Swordfish was unreal. You also have your pick of a hot rock or hot oil. We tried both and found that each one worked well but if you didn’t have something cooking on the rock that it cooled quite quickly.

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White Water Rafting down the Bow River

Just like the title says, Megan and I headed out to Canmore this weekend to do a bit of whitewater rafting.

The weekend started as many others do, on the road right after work. Having packed the night before, we headed out of the city at around 5:30 and made our way to Canmore. The plan was to drive straight to Canmore, check into the hotel and then grab some dinner at a local pub.

Megan headed this adventure up and handled all the booking and such after she did some research. Her passion for whitewater is much like my passion for fishing so I was eager to have her show me how fun it was. The only thing was that we were pretty much guaranteed some rapids on the Bow; unfortunately the same can’t be said for my fishing as of late.

Megan found a super deal on the net which pretty much had a hotel night at the Ramada and a half day of rafting the Bow for 99 dollars per person. The regular rate for just the rafting tour was between 80 and 90 dollars alone so this sounded like a super deal to me. We booked an additional hotel night cost full rate but considering the other deal we got we were not about to start complaining.

Rafting was scheduled for one the next afternoon so we packed out bag with our dry clothes the night before and turned in after a few pints at the rose and crown in Canmore. The weather was super on Saturday and after the second best continental breakfast I have ever had we headed to the front desk to get everything sorted and figure out where we had to be. Megan looked at the tickets and they had given us the wrong ones. After a few phone calls to the Canadian Rockies Adventure Center we were sorted. They had had a problem with the people whose land they cross to get to the river and had to do some work renegotiating their agreement so we had to reschedule for Sunday morning at 8 am. This left us with the afternoon to do pretty much whatever.

Luckily I had brought my fishing gear and was more than happy to try my hand at fishing the local steams. The thing about the streams in Canmore is that they are not very easy to get to. The Bow River, Canmore Creek and Policeman’s Creek run directly through town but I just couldn’t seem to get to where I wanted, this was quite frustrating and the fact that I didn’t catch anything only compounded these feelings of mine. I did manage to get a line in the bow but after a few fly changes and two hungry stomachs we decided to head back into town to find somewhere local to eat.

After we were significantly fed we headed back to the hotel and napped a bit. Megan mentioned she wanted to go into Banff to walk around and do dinner and we were planning to go to the grizzly house for some famous fondue. We rolled into Banff around six or so and much of downtown was blocked off. Turned out there was a road race going on for Banff’s Bikefest and we were treated to some racing action for the evening. After parking the car and walking over to the first turn a guy promptly fell off his bike. It could have been that he just got some of my bad bike vibes care of Victor and lost it on the corner, or maybe he was just going to fast. Here is a video of the Men’s race, completing their first lap.

After walking around for a bit and grabbing a coffee we headed for some dinner and after a wonderful four course feast we headed back to the hotel.

Eight AM is a terrible time to get up for anything. I’m not really a morning guy so I was a touch crabby. We got to the Adventure Center and signed our lives away before being taken to the river. On the bus ride there Megan felt we were going the wrong way but once we got to the muster point and got wet-suited up it was all good.

Boats were organized into 8 people teams with one guide. On this expedition we had 4 boats in the group with around 40 people. After some safety instructions e set out down the river and our guide Kyle had us do some exercises and went over the commands. The whole time they were explaining things I kept looking up at the canyon walls, I kept expected lines of Indian braves watching us like in the movies but the braves never came so we set off. things were pretty choppy to start out with but he promised that things would get wet right around the next corner. Dubbed the “Oh-Shit Corner”, it was just that. It’s when you get your first look at what’s coming and I really didn’t know what was going to happen. We made it through and after a bit all four boats pulled over to a nice eddy and hiked up some cliffs to jump off. We both jumped off and got a real wake up as soon as we went under! it was really cold and “refreshing” as the guides put it. When we set off again there were a few more sections to go through. I really can’t describe it, cause it was a huge mix of nervous excitement, adrenaline and cold water, and defiantly something everyone should try. I didn’t get to take any photos so we did order some from the office when we got back.

The trip was closed out with Kyle telling us that Legends of the Fall was filmed in this area and we would see the rock Brad Pitt sits on in the end, which was a pretty cool bit of Alberta film trivia. I asked him where they dumped the car into the river but he couldn’t begin to imagine where it might be.

 

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The Real Alberta Canoe Project

A few weeks back Braden and I took Janet’s canoe down Whitemud Creek and it was a total blast.

Janet has had a few canoes on a rack beside her house for years, we took the green one out and it was great. The other one was an old yellow fiberglass boat, that had a lot of miles under its keel but had secume to too many years out of the water. I mentioned to Janet that I was interested in doing some work on it, if I could keep it at the end. Janet was cool with the idea and said she would have to double check with the Scouts who owned the canoe.

Last Thursday when I went down to K-Country I had a stop over for dinner and drink with Ryan in Calgary. On Friday morring I got the e-mail sent to me saying that the Scouts were working on four other Canoes and that they would not mind getting rid of the 5th!

At this point I’m going to have to take a look to see what kind of work will be involved. I know that it does not have seats or a stablizer bar and the wood trim needs to be refinished. Further to those repairs I forsee there may be some fiberglass work to do and a new paint job will be in order. I took the time and headed to the book store last night and ordered a book on repairing fiberglass Canoe and Kayaks and it should be here in a few weeks. Who knows I may even paint a mouth on the front.

My Plan is to pick the canoe up next week and get it on some sawhorses to work on it at my place. Hopefully this will work well with my paddle project!

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Logan’s Bachelor Party In Kananaskis

Into the wilderness, that was the theme of this weekend. It was Logan’s stag, and given the fact that we are all pretty outdoorsy this was the perfect way to spend a weekend with the boys. Now you might be staying, what about Vegas, what about the strippers and the gambling. Well that’s the stereotypical bachelor party that is glorified in many hilarious movies. But being that we love camping this was the perfect thing for the group to do.

Mike and Chris organized the whole trip and after a few e-mails I was notified that we would be traveling to K-country for the stag. We stayed at the Pocaterra campsite, which is a group site that can be rented for a period of time. So we rented the whole thing for the weekend. This turned out to be the best idea ever. Split between everyone who attended it was very affordable and a big benefit was that being a private site we didn’t have to worry about things like, quiet hours or drunkenness. Given these two facts we tore it up for 2 solid days and nights uninterrupted. During the weekend a few hikers and one mountain biker passed by the site but we were pretty much on our own.

The site was hike in only, and the hike was about 2 km. When I heard this, I figured I should get a proper backpack and decided to pick one up at Mountain Equipment Co-op. I drove down early to meet up with Ryan and do dinner and drinks on Thursday night; we ended up doing a little work on here as well so it was awesome. The following day I went to MEC with Dominika and purchased a Brio 70 backpack. The pack worked great, however when we got to the site we all drove our cars in, unloaded, drove out and parked them in the lot.

The walk back to site was super fun. I parked my car, along with Chris and Mike, and we headed down a path back to camp. It turned out it was the wrong path, and it ended in a small clearing. Did we turn around? Pffft, hell no, by deductive reasoning we decided as a group that walking back would be more time consuming than walking upstream along the creek. Luckily we each packed a few road beers for the walk back, so we were more than happy to do a bit of bushwhacking. After about 15 minutes we came to a section where the creek cut into the bank and we could not proceed. So we turned around and headed back to a log bridge that we had found. After making it across the creek without falling in, we came to another impassable section and decided to walk up the hill. After a short distance the hill became very steep in front of us and mike decided the best course of action would be to walk straight up till we hit the road. We made it back unscathed on the road and continued with the night.

The following day, nursing massive hangovers and soaking in some cosmic rays during breakfast, a plan was hatched to go fly fishing. Mike and I had briefly tried the night before but it got dark and we gave up. The lower lake in Kananaskis is rumored to have the bigger fish of the two and after a short drive we rolled in and began the walk to the shoreline. The water was pretty low in both lakes but we found where the Pocaterra Creek enters the lower lake and thought that was a great spot to start. Within about 15 minutes Eric had a Trout on the line and when he waded in to grab it, it got off. So now we knew there was fish in the lake (unlike the fishless McLeod River), but no one got anything more than a few bites for the next hour. Chris did managed to hook something big not to long after that. He was using his spinning rod and it was quite stiff but it was bent right over. The fish on the end of the line was really working to get off. Ben waded in to grab it and it got off as soon as he put his hand in! When this happened Chris managed to hook Ben in the hand, after which hilarity ensued. Ben said that to him it didn’t look like a rainbow, and he thought it was a Bull Trout. I really wish Chris could have pulled it in, because I’ve never seen a Bull, but it just wasn’t in the cards.

Not long before we decided to leave, Brad managed to net a BIG Rainbow. Eric swore it was the one he had on the hook when he saw it. Either way it was going to be good eating. Check out the video of the fish.

Ben did the honors and cut a few awesome filets that added to the feast of Saturday night. There is a video of that, and it can be found when you watch the one listed above.

When we got back to camp Eric started to cook the best camp meal I have ever had. The spread included Steak, Trout, Pork tenderloin, corn on the cob, potatoes with carrots and onions, maple beans and garlic bread. After the feast, the Beersbee Championships started. It was a doubles tourney and teams were picked by a deck of cards. I drew a diamond and so did Brad so we named our team “Diamonds are Forever” with hopes of making the finals. After an intense round robin tournament we made it to the semi-final and after destroying Ben’s team, we made it into the finals to face Chris and Eric. They finished us in 3 pole hits and we started to drink.

The rest of the trip was pretty unreal. Great friends, amazing scenery and a few good stories told around a campfire made for a very memorable weekend. I can’t say too much more, except it was a lot of fun and I can’t wait for the next one. Enjoy the photos

-Tom

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New Layout!

Ryan and I just re-skinned the website as you guys can see. These changes should increase readability and make navigation much easier. I’ve also added Facebook “Like”, and Twitter “ReTweet” buttons, so make use of ’em! I’m looking to change a few other things in the next few weeks so watch for those as well.

What does all that mean for you? No more scrolling down endless pages to find what you want. Just click the preview for the picture or text you want to read. Or if you’re looking for something specific, type it into the search bar, it works like a charm.

Tell me what you think of the new layout as well. Leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Rules of Beersbee

As of late I’ve extended an olive branch to a few of my good buddies to write on the site here. I was quite excited for this article, and when I read it, I knew it would be perfect for the site. Beersbee is a big part of the camping season for us, and you will find out its quite fun and a great way to spend some time getting a little competitive with your friends. In the May Long update I neglected to mention Beersbee, but did ask Dave Waddell to draft up some rules so that everyone would get a good feel for the game.

Enjoy!

We’re not sure who “invented” beersbee. We’re pretty sure that the sport is a Western Canadian thing – surely invented by bored/drunk campers at some lake in the Alberta wilderness.

These rules were developed over the past few years by myself and some of my best friends,
and anyone else who’s ever played with us on a long weekend or during a Sasquatch.

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SETUP:

You need:
(2) long, narrow poles, about 5 ft in height. Broken hockey sticks, electrical conduit, and rebar all seem to work well.
(2) hockey pucks
(1) frisbee
(1) field
(a shitload of) beer – cans are required

Affix the pucks to the top of the poles and jam em into the ground, about 10-12 yards apart. There’s no “set” distance – you can go longer or shorter if you want.

Grab two empty cans and place them on top of the pucks.

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OBJECT OF THE GAME:

Throw the frisbee at your opponent’s pole and knock off the can.

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RULES:
*The GOLDEN RULE: You must play with a beer in your hand at all times.
*Each player must stand behind their own pole when throwing and catching the frisbee.
*The play is dead when the frisbee hits the ground.
*If you make a really shitty throw (uncatchable)… you take a drink.
*If you miss a really easy catch… you take a drink.
*If the frisbee goes through your legs (fivehole)… you take a drink.
*If you throw the frisbee and it hits the ground before your opponent’s pole… you take a drink AND your opponent gets to throw their next shot from the point where the frisbee hit the ground.

SCORING:
*If you hit the pole and the can falls and hits the ground – it’s worth one point.
*If you hit the can DIRECTLY and it hits the ground – it’s worth two points.
*First person to three points wins the game.
*If you get scored on… you chug your beer.
*You switch sides after every point.

DEFENCE:
So let’s say your opponent makes a throw and it’s heading directly for your pole. You’ve got two options – the CAN CATCH or the BLOCK.

CAN CATCH: After the can is knocked off… try and catch the can before it hits the ground.
OR
BLOCK: Get out in front of the pole and block the frisbee.

You can catch and block as many times as you’d like during the game… but there are consequences:

CATCHES: If you make three can catches … your opponent scores a point.
The “catch count” goes back to zero every time a point is scored.

BLOCKS: You get one free block per game. If you make a second block, your opponent gets a free penalty shot from half the distance (which means no defence allowed).

For every successive block you make – your opponent gets another penalty shot and the distance is halved again.

THE HAMMER THROW:
The Hammer Throw Issue is the most controversial issue in the world of professional sport.

The basic rule – as we’ve kind of agreed to – is: don’t be a dick.
If it’s dark, don’t be whipping hammer throws at people’s heads.
If you’re five yards away, or if your opponent is bombed and has no motor skills left, same thing. Otherwise… have at ‘er.
We’d like everybody to keep their teeth.

DOUBLES MATCHES:
Same rules as regular matches – except that players must alternate throws AND the frisbee must be passed in the air from player to player. (ie no handoffs)

  • May 2012 Ammendment – All doubles matches will now be scored to 5 points.

-Dave W.