April 28, 2013

Alice Lake Spring Stroll

To take the edge off of my increasing wanderlust as spring progresses and the roads and trails call, we headed up to Alice Lake Provincial Park just north of Squamish, BC, today. We had only a few hours, but it was enough to get out of town for a bit, and take a stroll around the lake. From June through September this park is crowded, and sometimes the road is closed when the parking lots fill up. But in April we saw only half a dozen other people on the lake trail.

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Posted by Paul at 08:05 PM

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 . . .

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

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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

May 06, 2012

Walking BMO Vancouver Half Marathon 2012

I set a goal earlier this year to walk the BMO Vancouver marathon - more precisely the half. The other part of the goal was to lose 10kg, or 22lb, in training for the event. I used to do a fair bit of running, but haven't for nearly ten years due to a fused spine with limited lower back mobility that has resulted in some painful nerve/muscle spasms and lockups when attempting too bouncy exercise. Walking is fine, though.

I missed my weight-loss goal by a kilo, but still lost 9 kilos, or nearly 20 pounds, which ain't bad.

The marathon took place on a gorgeous sunny morning. Here are a few shots taken along the way:

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Waiting in Coral 5, the last coral for the slowest runner/walkers

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Me with a few of the hundreds of porta-potties. Note to organizers - please ensure
that potties are installed on level ground - one bunch was very rocky resulting in
trepidation, and admittedly, some hilarity!

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And, half an hour after the lead runners left, our group is finally off and moving
toward the start line!

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The newly re-roofed BC Place

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Heading into Chinatown

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Beautiful views

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Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who cheered us on!

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A quick peek at the Lion's Gate Bridge

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Musical entertainment along the route

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Brockton Point

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Looking back at the finish line.

I walked the half (21km) in 3:23. When I got home and got my shoes off, I found massive blisters on the balls and heels of my feet. No wonder my feet hurt! Dunno what happened, as I'd trained with the same sock/shoe combo for distances up to around 10K. Perhaps I tied them too tight, not allowing for the natural swelling.

But it was a great experience, and I may do it again. I could still stand to lose another 10 kilos : -)!

Posted by Paul at 07:50 PM

January 15, 2012

Trusty Taiga Gore-Tex Jacket Gets Deserved Wash

After some three months of patrolling Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby for spawning salmon, I gave my Taiga Gore-Tex jacket a thankful wash today. It was muddy, it was, um, a tish rank, but it's served me well for at least six or seven years now, if not longer.

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Posted by Paul at 09:01 PM

March 18, 2011

Circles Within Circles

I have yet to write about the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The last week has been a blur, and I'll get around to it eventually. Immediately following the tragedy, after we eventually tracked down my wife Yumi's family and ascertained that they were OK, we decided we needed to refresh our quake kit here on the west coast of Canada where we've been living for the last 12 years or so.

We hauled it out of the front closet, and as I made my way through it, I realized that I'd bought the backpack that it was contained in around 1987 or 1988 while I was living in Japan. It's literally beginning to fall apart - signs of that hot, humid Asian climate that seems to eventually permeate backpacks with some impossible-to-get-rid-of mould that always rears its head eventually.

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Posted by Paul at 09:14 PM

August 28, 2010

Buntzen Lake Hike

We hiked around Buntzen Lake today for the first time in several years. It was not crowded at all, and we met fewer than a dozen people on the loop around the lake.

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Posted by Paul at 08:05 PM

August 02, 2010

Wondering About a Canada Flag Pin

I was looking back at some recent entries on this blog, and the one on Lowe hiking and camera gear evoked a wonderful memory. It was one of those fragments that may have changed a life, perhaps nudged it a bit. I wonder what, if anything, came of that day when I literally reached out and touched another life?

It was a sweltering summer day in Japan nearly twenty years ago, give or take a few years. My good buddy Michael and I were heading home on a train after a long day hiking in the mountains west of Tokyo. Though we'd changed into fresh Ts and sandals from our sweat-soaked hiking clothing and heavy leather boots, we, and our steaming boots, still presented an assault on the olfactory senses of those on the crowded commuter train around us. I'm not a small guy, and Michael, who was then working toward his second-degree black belt in karate and regularly training with weights, was also imposing.

It was impossible not to be aware of us because of our race, our size and our big packs.

I noticed a small boy clutching his mother's hand and staring at us. He couldn't keep his eyes off us, despite his mother's embarrassment and hushed admonitions to look away.

What was going through his formative mind? He was obviously entranced by these two huge, hairy, foreign men. We must have looked like strange gods to him, albeit tired, sweaty, gods.

I smiled at the boy, which only made him grip his mother's hand harder, but he didn't lose eye contact. I wanted to do or say something, but what?

I recalled that I often kept a bunch of tiny Canadian flag pins arrayed on my backpack to share with hikers. I still had one left.

I unpinned it, and slowly stretched out my hand toward the little boy with the flag resting in my open palm. He looked up at his mother with a questioning glance, and she hesitated, then nodded and gave me a nervous, blushing smile, so he slowly stretched out his hand, and the pass was made.

I wonder if that little boy, who must be a man in his mid-twenties by now, also occasionally remembers that moment? Does he still have that pin in a dusty drawer somewhere?

Or perhaps he hikes the lovely mountain trails of Japan with that pin on his backpack.

I'd like that.

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Posted by Paul at 08:59 PM

July 04, 2010

Lovely Afternoon at West Vancouver’s Lighthouse Park

It was a gorgeous day to explore parts of Lighthouse Park that we hadn't checked out before. It had been several years since our last visit, and we'll certainly have to go more often.

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Posted by Paul at 08:59 PM

May 22, 2010

23 Years of Changes

Ran across this photo today:

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I've added about 1kg, or 2. 2 pounds per year on average since!

I can't run any more due to lower back problems, but I would certainly feel better back at my 1987 weight. . . The pool in our complex is open for the season. Better get splashing!

Posted by Paul at 09:03 PM

May 15, 2010

Rice Lake, Lynn Canyon, Newts

We hiked around Rice Lake in North Vancouver this afternoon, followed by another loop to the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. We were enchanted by dozens of rough-skinned newts in Rice Lake. We'd never noticed them before, but today we watched them for nearly an hour. They're so cute!

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They sit on rocks under the water and come up to
the surface every few minutes

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Posted by Paul at 08:09 PM

April 12, 2010

Physical Activity Too Far Down the Priority List for Most of Us

The other day there was an article in the newspaper about exercise. Something about women needing to vigorously work out at least an hour a day to stay fit and healthy. It included quotations on the "impossibility" of taking an hour a day to exercise in the modern world.

Huh?

Our bodies have not changed much in hundreds or thousands of years. Sure, we've grown in stature and especially in weight, but our basic physiology has not developed much. If anything, I would say that the average person has become physically weaker, albeit longer-lived due to medical and sanitary advances.  If you doubt me, try growing and raising all of your food with your own manual labor, building your own shelter, washing your clothes by hand, etc. 

Humans didn't have to work out not too long ago because hard physical labour day in and day out was par for the course for the vast majority of us.

Now people complain because after they've microwaved dinner and dropped the dishes in the dishwasher they have to work out.

I've been slowed by lower back problems for the last couple of weeks, but that hasn't dented my appetite, and in this modern world, my easy access to copious amounts of food. Result? Nearly a five-pound gain per week.  Sure glad I'm starting to walk more again!

Posted by Paul at 10:17 PM

September 08, 2007

Lynn Peak Teaches Fitness Lesson

Lynn Peak on the north shore of Vancouver taught me a lesson today -- I'm not in very good shape! I tend to think that my three or four rambles a week around Byrne Creek keep my legs pretty strong, but a three-and-a-half hour hike up and down the Lynn Peak trail told me something else...

It took us just over two hours to the 921-meter top of Lynn Peak from the parking lot near the new water treatment plant that is under construction. By the time we were 3/4 of the way up, I knew my legs would be sore going down. I was packing more stuff and more water than I usually do on my Byrne Creek rambles, and the spare tire wasn't helping much either :-).

The view from the top was amazing, but the slog back down was tough -- I have a bad back and am paranoid about bouncing too much, or sliding and landing on my butt (which I did once despite my care anyway). Keeping my legs under strict control all the way down proved my muscles and stamina need some work!

So I've added a new "hiking" category to this blog, and aim to get out there on the longer, tougher trails more often to rid myself of those extra pounds and build up my legs.

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The lower mainland from Lynn Peak.

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Another view with Burrard Inlet in the foreground.

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Yumi at the top.

Posted by Paul at 08:16 PM