Year: 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.
Posted by faffyrd007 in alberta, hiking, oregon, rattle snake, rockies, smith rock, 0 comments

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.  

Posted by faffyrd007 in #saddleback; #fairview moutain; #lake louise; #hiking; #rockies; #banff; #alberta;, 0 comments

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.  

Posted by faffyrd007 in #fire #forestfire #bc #britishcolumbia #fraservalley #yyc #helicopter #chopper #water #firemen, 1 comment

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.

Posted by faffyrd007 in #alberta #ptarmigancirque #highwoodpass #yyc #highway40 #hiking #mountains #mountainpass, 0 comments

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.

Posted by faffyrd007 in #horse, bareback, bronc riding, cowboy, Dogpound, horses, keith pengelly, rodeo, rope, water valley, 0 comments

Gun Control vs Deaths in USA and Australia

When one reads statistics one must not look at too broad or too narrow an area.

I recently watched a comedian online (who was quite funny by the way) talking about gun control and violence in Australia vs the USA.  He pointed out that in 1996 there was a violent shooting in Australia that prompted laws to be put in place to remove guns from the people of that country.  This action is believed to have resulted in a 50% decline in gun deaths in the 15 years following. 

More details on that event here:
Australia and gun control

I thought that maybe I should compare the same period in the United States.  That makes sense right.  The above article assumes that gun violence is rampant and increasing and pretty much out of control in the States. 

Well, lo and behold, lookey here… This surprised even me: From 1993 to 2010 the gun homicide rate is down 49% in the United States of America.  (In the same period of time non-fatal firearm crimes are down over 70%.)
Here is an article with some of these stats:
Trends in homicide rates USA

So, I’m thinking that there may be some other reason for the decline in gun violence in both places.  It might not have anything to do with guns.  Or not guns.  But it may not be controversial enough for the media. 

Would it not be better to find what is actually lowering these rates and reinforce that than bandy about one’s own version of the stats.  Maybe by actually figuring out why we could reduce this violence even more. 

Posted by Martin Jones in australia, gun control, gun violence, guns, statistics, trends, usa, 0 comments
Recipe: Pork Tenderloin Stuffed With Prosciutto

Recipe: Pork Tenderloin Stuffed With Prosciutto

One pound piece of pork tenderloin
A bunch of fresh basil leaves
2-8 tablespoons of hard cheese grated(I use Asiago or Grana Padano – I have them handy for my gnocchi recipe)
2-8 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato paste
6 -10 slices of prosciutto ham
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Olive paste
2/3 cup pitted black olives
2-3 garlic cloves
4 tablespoon olive oil

1. Trim away excess fat(if you want – I have always found that fat increases the taste – so trim after cooked if there is too much)
Slice the pork lengthwise being careful not to go all the way through.
2. Open out the pork and salt and pepper inside
3. Lay a bed of basil leaves inside
4. Mix the sun dried tomato paste and grated cheese together and lay on top of the basil. (The original recipe on this called for a couple of tablespoons of each but this was not nearly enough.  I used quite a bit more and was glad I did.  It really adds to the overall flavours.)
5. Press the pork back together and wrap with the ham.  Start with one over each end and hold those in place with the other pieces.  Don’t be shy with the ham.
6. Place in a pan/dish – I used a glass baking dish – seamside down.  Brush with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Place in the oven preheated to 375F.  30-40 minutes. 
7. For the olive paste: you can blend the olives, garlic and olive oil or finely chop the garlic and olives and just mix in a bowl with the oil. 
8. Cut the cooked pork thinly and serve.
9. We served with sliced tomato and avocado sprinkled with salt, pepper, basil and olive oil.
Note: try different stuffings.  I’ll probably add a bit of spinach next time or maybe some dried fruit.

Posted by Martin Jones in asiago, garlic, grana padano, grated cheese, ham, olive oil, olives, pork, prosciutto, recipe, sun dried tomato paste, tenderloin, 0 comments

Hike along Prairie Creek Trail – Elbow Falls

Here are a few pictures from yesterday’s (short) hike along Prairie Creek Trail just past Elbow Falls.  The weather was perfect – a couple of degrees below freezing and plenty of sunshine.  No snow to speak of.  A bit of ice but the trail has been so walked upon that lots of dirt over the ice so it wasn’t at all slippery.  There was even a bit of mud in places.  We didn’t go all that far in – only a couple of kilometers.  Great going on a Tuesday – we didn’t see another hiker at all.

Posted by faffyrd007 in bragg creek, elbow falls, hiking, kananaskis, prairie creek trail, 1 comment

More Snowshoeing – Station Flats

We had so much fun out at West Bragg Creek the day before we decided to go out again.  We headed out to Station Flats along the way to Elbow Falls.  The ‘Flats’ part was a little misleading – thought it would be a nice easy hike around the mountain – not over.  Wasn’t really that tough but we were new to snowshoes and were looking forward to an easy few hours after our slogging the previous day.  Got a few pics with my iPad.  One of me half way up one of the hills. There was not that much snow higher up and for a short bit we took our snowshoes off. Right now though(mid Feb 2015 I expect there is little or no snow at either location.)

Posted by faffyrd007 in alberta, bragg creek, elbow falls, snowshoeing, station flats, winter, 0 comments

West Bragg Creek Trails – Snowshoeing

About three weeks ago on a Tuesday we went here to do some snowshoeing.  We had been told Snowshoe Hare Trail was a decent trail and set aside specifically for snowshoes not cross country skis.  We had only been out a couple of times on snowshoes and loved and the temperature being perfect for us  – a couple of degrees below freezing.  We are not hard core – going outside at -20.

You get to this park by going through Bragg Creek, over the bridge and making a left on West Bragg Creek Road.  You will eventually come to a parking lot on the right when you cannot continue on the road anymore. 

We hiked some of the trails here in warmer weather – there are lots.

There was decent snow on the trail.  We went in about 1-2 km and then went off trail.  Something we would not have wanted to do with just boots or skis.  After a while we did wander back to another trail and eventually found our way to the parking lot before dark.  We were out for about three hours which was perfect for not having done this all that much. A few newly worked muscles.

Here are a few of the pics.  One or two with my camera but most taken with my iPad.

Distance: 5.4km Return
Elevation Gain: 124 m
Total Elevation Gain: 173 m
Physical Difficulty: 2/5
Technical Difficulty: 2/5
Time: 1.25 – 2 Hrs

Posted by faffyrd007 in bragg creek, cross county, hiking, kananaskis, snowshoe hare trail, snowshoeing, trails, west bragg creek, 0 comments