Prague Trip 2016

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mermaid Health and Wellness - Massage

I’ve been to dozens of massage therapists and chiropractors over the years.  One massage at Mermaid Health and Wellness fixed more of my pain that all of them put together.  Thanks for being there!  

If you are in Calgary, AB check out: 


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ace Curries New line at Spruce Meadows in Calgary

If you are going to be at Spruce Meadows this weekend check out Ace Curries booth in the tent on the right when you go in the main entrance. Jas will be there(Spruce Meadows) this weekend with their curries.  Vick will be at another venue(Telus Centre?) with his new line of spices. He had them at Spruce Meadows this weekend. Trust me, they are unbelievable.  I wish Vick had a cooking show. I would watch it. He is a god with spices.  (And a really nice guy!)


These are some of Vick and Jas's new spices. They rock.  I used the Egyptian and Jamaican with tonight's dinner.  So good. If you cannot make either of the shows then you need to order.

- Martin

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Still Some Fall Colour in Kananaskis Country

These are from last Wednesday.  We drove up past Elbow Falls to Forget-me-not Pond.  The park there.  Go past the parking for the pond and park in the small just across from the bridge before the campgrounds.  Just one or two of the pics are from the walk/hike.  Generally pretty flat where we went.  Walked out to the trail called, I think, Little Elbow.  It said 38 KM round trip and was pretty boring; maybe OK if you are horseback. So, we saw this trail through the pines that looked like it headed back in the general direction of the river. It did, sort of.  Some horses had used this trail as well.  Came to a large clearing and managed to find the trail on the other side - still generally heading toward the river but kinda parallel, still away from where we wanted to be.  After a while doing this we decided to cut through the woods as we could hear the river and didn't think it would be that far.  Took us a while but we kept following the sound.  Once we hit the river we were quite relieved and headed back to the bridge.

Was a beautiful day and we quite enjoyed it other than there were NO other people about.  I like to hike where there are at least a few people about as I assume(possibly incorrectly) that the bears will shy away from the noise.

Most of the pictures are from the road down from the pass to the Forget-Me-Not park.

One other thing of interest is that it was raining almost the whole drive from Calgary to the park.  When we got there it cleared right up.  And the clouds made for some great photos.

Here are some panoramic photos:






Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hiking 101

A friend asked me to write this(sort of).  We don’t hike as much as we would like and time would allow but we get out as often as we can.  All of our hikes are ‘day’ hikes.  Generally, a few hours.  And most within a couple of hours or so from Calgary.  It is nice being near some of the most spectacular hiking areas in the world. Hiking 101 basics will be the same for anywhere but there are certain points that will vary depending on where in the world you are, type of climate, terrain, etc.

  1. Water. Always take some with you. Even if it is a short hike.  I don’t drink much while I’m hiking, mostly before and after but hate not having it when thirsty.  And if you are for some reason longer than you planned…
  2. Bring your garbage back.  This seems pretty obvious but there are some hikes/walks that get pretty bad.  If you don’t want to carry a lot of stuff but need water, use a disposable plastic bottle and crunch it up and put in a pocket when you are done. We will, more often than not, bring bits of someone else’s garbage back.  If you really want to see how bad it can get, hike Johnson Canyon near Banff.  
  3. Proper footwear. This is going to be personal.  Some can get through a good hike with a good pair of rugged sandals.  I like a sturdy pair of hiking boots.  Sometimes I wear a good pair of sneakers as they can be cooler if it is hot.  Extra pair of socks.
  4. Clothing. I almost always bring an extra shirt, particularly when doing a long or strenuous hike - and this is not always easy to predict.  My son Spencer and I hiked Ha Ling near Canmore a couple of years ago in the middle of July.  I was pouring sweat when I reached the top(I’m not sure Spencer was even breathing hard) and even though is was quite hot at the start of the hike it was snowing and chilly at the top.  If I had not had a dry shirt to change into, I would have gotten quite chilly. And that can sap your energy.
  5. Clothing 2. Dress or bring clothes for the weather and potential weather.  Here in the mountains, the weather can change dramatically in a very short period.  I tend to dress in layers so when hot, I can remove a layer.  And in this climate a light rain jacket is important to have.
  6. Clothing 3. A hat. Bring or wear a hat. 
  7. Food. Bring some.  Even if it is some energy bars.  I hate them but bring something.  Some hikes we will plan a small picnic at the top.  
  8. Do a bit of research on the area you are going to hike.  When I hiked in Oregon and California there was poison oak. I react to it pretty badly but I like hiking so was able to find some poison oak honey when I lived in Oregon. As long as I taking this pretty regularly, I didn’t have a problem with it.  In Alberta one needs to be aware that there are bears about.  Carrying some bear spray is not such a bad idea. 
  9. Obey signs.  I’ll let you use your judgement on this one but here is a story when I didn’t: I was hiking at Smith Rock park in eastern Oregon some years ago.  The signs all over near the river and lower part said to stay on the trail.  I was taking some pictures along the trail and when done thought rather than go around, I’d take the short cut across the grass and stuff. My second step I heard this rattle a few inches from my left foot - I moved like Ben Johnson off the starting block!  I tend to obey certain signs more now.
I will add to this later but this is good for now. If you have something you deem important enough to put on here, please email me. 
Here is a pic of me atop Smith Rock in Oregon:This was before 'selfies' - I had to get someone else to shoot this.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hiking up to Saddle and Fairview Mountain at Lake Louise

Headed up to Lake Louise for a hike yesterday.  Normally, if we go up there it is in September when it is not so busy.  It was pretty packed but we arrived around 2:30 so people were beginning to leave so there were a few spots available in the parking lot and we didn’t have to walk a mile to the trailhead.  Suspecting that the trail to the Teahouse may be busy we decided to go up the one on the other side of Lake Louise (to the left when you are facing the lake).  I think it said it was about 4km or so to the top from where you had a choice: up to the top of Fairview or Saddle or the third choice being a longer trail to Moraine Lake. The signs to that trail(photo below) require a minimum group of four due to the presence of bears.  We did meet one couple that had hiked from Moraine Lake - they looked pretty beat.  Mom, dad and a young child.  Still alive though - not chased by bears.  

The trail up take an hour or two depending on whether you are walking or running.  One young fellow ran up and as we found out later took 54  minutes to get from the bottom at the lake to the top of Fairview Mountain.  Took us quite a bit longer.  The path is a pretty steady climb - not too gruelling.   And great views.  










Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Forest Fire British Columbia 2015 - Fraser Valley

Last month(June 2015) on our way to the coast we were traveling Highway 1, through the Fraser Valley.  Much prettier than the Coquihalla.  We saw smoke for miles before we came across the actual fire.  The helicopters were dropping water gotten from a river close by. I watched for a while thinking that there efforts were noble but such a small amount of water against such a massive fire.  I thought it would evaporate before it hit the ground.  Such beauty at the expense of such beauty.  










Hiking Ptarmigan Cirque - Highwood Pass, Alberta

This is one of our favourite spots.  It is not a terribly difficult hike.  The pass is 7200 feet and the hike starts there.  It is about another 700 feet to the meadow.  If you want to go a bit higher, you can go back up the rocks - I did yesterday - another couple hundred feet. 

Took us about an hour and 20 minutes from Signal Hill area in Calgary to get there.  Highway #1 to #40 then south.  There is a parking area and washrooms at the trail head on the opposite side of the road.  Take your camera.  Usually lots of mountain sheep - they will ask you for food.

















Sunday, July 19, 2015

Great Alberta horseman - Rodeo pickup man

I've been shooting Rodeos in the general Calgary area for the last few years. One of the things I particularly enjoy watching and am fascinated by is the pickup guys.  These are the horsemen that catch the bucking bronc after he has thrown his rider.  They will, at a full gallop be laughing and chatting while catching the runaway horse.  This is Keith Pengelly.  I have lots of shots of him from previous years but here are a few from Dogpound Rodeo the other day and Water Valley rodeo in June of this year.