August 05, 2012

Wolf Cub–My Original Membership & Welcome Cards

Wow, I came across these today as I continue sorting through boxes of my late Mom's files in our garage. She kept so many cool items.

This is my 1968 membership card in the Boy Scouts of Canada, and the "Welcome Card" that came with it.

We were all well-scrubbed and wholesome back then!

Actually, I do remember being well-scrubbed, because I was a troop leader, and my troop often led the pack in clean fingernails and spiffy uniforms.

BTW, I also have a list of all of the members of our pack, their street addresses, and phone numbers, circa 1968. Of course I won't post that here for potential privacy reasons, but if there's anyone out there who is on that list, I'd be happy to share . . .


And, of course, not to forget Robert Baden-Powell . . . The cover of a father-son Scout dinner banquet program:


Now, let me be perfectly clear.

I do not in any way mean to disparage the Scouting program, if,
perchance, anyone should take my comments in that manner.

In my youth, it was wonderful. At a young age, it taught me
respect, many skills, and provided me with formative experiences
in leadership.

I am just showing how imaging and PR changes over time . . .

Posted by Paul at 09:55 PM

July 31, 2011

Mine’s Smaller than Yours ;–)


The 225' Attessa (foreground) and the 330' Attessa IV near Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.
Sure glad I've been married to a lovely woman for 18 years who has been just as happy with a 16' canoe as I have

Posted by Paul at 08:09 PM

July 10, 2010

Wonderful Day Doing Canoe Level 1 Cert Course

I'm a self-taught canoeist, and my wife Yumi has little boating experience of any kind. So we decided to take the Level 1 Lake Water canoeing course to increase our confidence, learn some skills, and get experience with water rescues for canoes, and swimmers.

The course was taught by Dave and Rick from Ridge Wilderness Adventures, a couple of great guys who are top-notch at what they do, have great teaching skills, and calmly lead folks with a deft combination of seriousness, fun, and when needed, a firm guiding hand.

The full-day course took place on a gorgeous Saturday on Pitt Lake and Widgeon Creek, launching from Grant Narrows Regional Park.

I thought we'd run into Ridge Wilderness before, but I wasn't sure until we arrived at the site and introduced ourselves to Dave and Rick. Sure enough, they'd led a Voyageur "Big Canoe" trip for streamkeepers down the mighty Fraser River that we took part in a year ago.

What are my revelations after a hard day with the professionals?

  • Practice, practice, practice all the strokes until you know them cold, and can make your canoe move where you want it to go, immediately. And this doesn't mean just forward and easy turns, it includes moving sideways, in circles "on a dime," and any combination thereof.
  • Canoeing is a weighty matter, and you'd better get your canoe trimmed properly if you want any semblance of manoeuvrability. The paddler in the stern (the back end) calls all the shots and does the steering. That much I knew. But Yumi had never had any stern paddling experience. As part of the course, she had to pull stern duty, and boy did she have trouble changing course, and maintaining course, with 100+kg of me in the bow, and 55kg of her in the stern! We moved all our packs to the stern, and finally Dave even filled a huge dry bag with water to further weigh down the stern.
  • On-water rescue is a crucial skill. Somehow I got through some 50 years of life never tipping a canoe. When asked to do it on purpose, I was amazed at how fast it happens! You see, actually we were supposed to try to gently sink our canoes by gradually tipping them just to the point where they'd slowly fill with water, and then our designated rescuers would practice rescuing first our canoe, and then us. I dunno if anyone accomplished the slow fill! In our case, twice, it was slowly tip. . . tip. . . and suddenly FLIP! Once that canoe reaches the rolling point, she just goes so fast you don't even have time to scream :-).
  • There are huge differences in canoe design. We got to try three models over the course of the day and again I was amazed, this time at the great variability in stability, tracking in a straight line, and ease of manoeuvring. And I discovered that at least to me, manoeuvrability is much more important than tracking. Proper stroke techniques will keep you on track, but in a heavy, low- or no-rocker canoe with a keel it's a real pain to get it pointed where you want it to go.

So thanks Dave and Rick! We're exhausted, but we had a hugely enjoyable experience, learned a lot, and will practice our strokes.

A few photos:


Now does that look like a perfect day to take a canoe course?


A few of our fellow students.


Yumi in the stern learning to call the shots!


Paul enjoying lunch :-)


Working on canoe rescue.


More rescue practice.

Posted by Paul at 09:00 PM

May 30, 2010

Camping, Canoeing, Bears at Birkenhead Lake


The first camping trip of the year was met with rainy weather, but we forged on regardless and had a great time. We headed up to Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park, one of our favourite parks because it's only about a 3-hour drive from Vancouver, yet it's remote enough that it tends to be fairly quiet, especially early in the season.


And quiet it was! Of the nearly 100 sites in the campground, several walkabouts over the weekend showed only a few dozen were occupied. We had reserved a nice site up against Phelix Creek,  and the sound of the rushing water also helped to muffle any human noise.

Rain regardless, we put our canoe in the water on Friday afternoon and paddled for several hours until we were soaked and tired. Trolling a line behind produced a single bite, and no catch.


Fortunately we had been able to set up the tent and rope up a tarp over the table before the rain hit, so were fairly comfortable on Friday evening with a cosy fire.


A 15-minute shot of sun through the clouds!


Saturday resulted in more rain off and on, and blasts of wind. We headed out in the canoe again, but there can be substantial winds with occasional heart-quickening, canoe-heeling and spinning  gusts on the  mountain lake, so we headed back in after only an hour or so out on the water.

The next bit of entertainment came as Yumi was washing some of the mud off our trusty '98 Outback at our campsite (15km of access road to the park is "gravel," or in other words, potholed, stony washboard, packed dirt :-). As she went to refresh her pail of water from a pool just off the edge of the tent pad, I saw a black shape silently lumber past through the woods just a few meters beyond her.

"Yumi, get back! Back to the car, right now! There's a bear!"

Poor Yumi didn't see a thing, but scampered back nonetheless. It was amazing how silently, and how fast, that black bear rambled by.

I immediately ran out into the road because I knew some kids had been bicycling up and down the campground, and sure enough a wide-eyed little boy zoomed off to his dad as I barked at him, "look sharp, there's a bear right in there!"

The father spotted the bear, policed his family, and then the two of us monitored the beast, while spreading the word to other campers, blowing our car horns, etc. The fellow said he'd heard from park staff that the bear had recently gotten into a cooler that some irresponsible camper had left unattended. The word was to make as much noise and be as uninviting to the little bruin as possible, in the hope that it would move on, and not get itself shot.

The bear moved back down the campground between tent sites and the creek, and disappeared. Half an hour later as Yumi and I set out to hike up to the Goat Trail Lookout, the bear burst out of the bush, ran across the road, and hightailed it into the forest on the other side with park staff in a truck hot on its heels, horn blaring madly. The attendant got out, hollered he was going to set off a bear banger, and, BOOM!

We saw no more of the bear, but we sure made a lot of noise as we climbed up to the Goat Trail Lookout!


Crossing high, fast, Phelix Creek on the Goat Trail


Now that's some head banging!


The lookout


Yumi scoping the lake and mountains


An hour of sunshine, wow!


There is canoe rental at the lake now, but we're glad we
have our own


A red-breasted sapsucker that let me get to within two meters
or so to get this shot with my teeny Canon SD780 pocket camera

Instead of canoeing the choppy lake, we decided to try the trail on the north side to where the wilderness campground used to be (now shut down due to hazard trees).

Not far down the trail we ran across a big pile of fresh green scat - OK, at least the bear's a vegetarian. Another dozen meters and lots more fresh scat, dark in colour, but at least no bear bells in it :-).

We ventured a bit further, but as our pace slackened and doubts increased, we decided that common sense outweighed valour, and turned back.


It still being cloudy and drizzly, we packed up in the morning, thought about another jaunt in the canoe, took one look at the cold, choppy lake and decided to head south. Coffee in Pemberton, a walkabout at Alice Lake, lunch in Squamish, and a leisurely drive home.

Posted by Paul at 06:41 PM

July 05, 2009

Bugs, Mink on Deer Lake Canoeing Afternoon

We got the canoe out for an afternoon on Burnaby's Deer Lake. It was a great day and we did three or four circuits of the small lake, often stopping in the lily pads to check out the wildlife. We saw lots of dragonflies, damselflies, moths, fish, waterfowl, and even a young mink bopping along the shore.

Metrotown towers to the southwest.

A flotilla of Canada Geese.






A dead stickleback?

Sure looks like a mink -- I had to severely crop this photo taken from a distance with my teeny Canon SD780IS - wish I'd had my S5IS or my DSLR!


Posted by Paul at 08:58 PM

May 17, 2009

Canoing Fraser River at SEP 2009 Workshop

About 70 streamkeepers signed up for a canoe trip down the Fraser River to cap the SEP 2009 (BC Streamkeeper) Workshop, out of around 300 people attending. It was a gorgeous day for a paddle and we had a great time. We put in near the Mission bridge, and took out up Kanaka Creek, with a stop for lunch along the way.

sep_2009_ canoe_fraser_1.jpg
The putting-in point near the Mission bridge.

sep_2009_ canoe_fraser_2.jpg
Me in front, with my wife Yumi behind me, and Naomi from Campbell River.

sep_2009_ canoe_fraser_3.jpg
Heading downstream.

sep_2009_ canoe_fraser_4.jpg
Catching up in a bit of friendly competition...

sep_2009_ canoe_fraser_5.jpg
Cool water, blue skies - a gorgeous day for a paddle.

sep_2009_ canoe_fraser_6.jpg
Working up a sweat!

sep_2009_ canoe_fraser_7.jpg
Looking east down one of most productive salmon rivers in the world, with Mt. Baker barely visible on the horizon.

sep_2009_ canoe_fraser_8.jpg
Heading up Kanaka Creek to the landing site.

It was a great day with a fantastic outing with wonderful people. Thanks to all of the organizers and sponsors!

Posted by Paul at 07:00 PM

September 07, 2008

Canoeing, Camping Lightning Lake

We finally got away for our first camping trip this year! I'm zonked so I'll add to this later, but here are a few photos....

Osprey on a perch.

Osprey in flight.

Loon in the morning mist.

The above shots were taken hand-held in a moving canoe at my Canon S5 IS's maximum telephoto of 432mm (35mm equivalent). Not bad, though I wouldn't want to blow them up to 8 X 10s :-). They were taken within about 30 minutes of each other, showing how fast the light can change in the morning in the mountains.






Posted by Paul at 07:38 PM

September 01, 2008

Canoeing Deer Lake

We didn't get away this Labour Day weekend, but today we did at least get the canoe over to Deer Lake, just a ten-minute drive from our place in Burnaby. As we were paddling along something was bothering me, and it wasn't until we got to the far end that I figured it out -- we'd forgotten our life jackets! Dangerous and illegal....

We got back to the beach, and I zipped home to pick up the jackets. Then we did two more laps of the small lake -- I guess it was good we hadn't gone too far from home :-).


The lillies were covered with thousands of little insects.


Posted by Paul at 07:18 PM

June 22, 2007

Canoe Shakedown Cruise

53 weeks -- yes, over a year -- since we got our canoe, we finally took it out on a shakedown cruise on Burnaby's Deer Lake. It's hard to believe where that year went. I was so busy with work and school, and it just sat in the garage gathering dust.

Today we cranked on the roof rack, strapped the canoe on, and drove the ten minutes to Deer Lake. When we got there the sunny blue sky was overshadowed with ominous black clouds, but it's a small lake so we headed out anyway. It was great fun slipping along watching the wildlife -- so much more approachable in a canoe than on foot.

Three-quarters of the way around the lake the wind began to rise, so we headed back to the beach and called it a day after less than an hour on the water. It was probably best to take it easy anyway, as I'm sure we used muscles that haven't been in action for years.

I'm looking forward to getting out on the water more often!

Getting set up on the goose-poop strewn beach.

Yumi in the prow.

And me in the stern.

Posted by Paul at 07:14 PM