Jasper’s Big Weekend

Erin and I had a pretty crazy weekend, it appeared we were double booked, plus we wanted to go hiking. Naturally, there was no compromise. First, we took our young Jasper to the Vermillion fair where we learned that he doesnt mind crowds, but has a real problem with heavy draft horses… I think its the bells that make him go so crazy. I also came to the realization the a fairway is dog heaven.. its covered in food and interesting smells.

After the fair we went to the farm where he just ran and ran to his heart’s content. The following day we went on a four hour drive to meet up with some friends to go camping. Again, Jasper was in his own version of heaven, the campsite was full of dogs and people willing to feed him.

The following day we drove another three hours to the town of Jasper. I giggled most of the way at the thought of taking Jasper to Jasper. We arrived late in the day and scrambled to find a campsite, as we pulled in there was a big no vacancy sign. I decided to go ask if they knew about the other camp grounds.. it turns out that sign was lying and they had a site we could take. We took it, set up camp, and made dinner.. smokies, cooked on the camp stove, with caramelized onions… because I’m fancy. The three of us cuddled up in our tent and froze all night. Erin was cold from the air mattress bringing the cold up from the ground and I was cold because Jasper stole my blankets. The things we do for our pets.

keeping an eye on the camp site

must be his rock

Jasper dog park

In the morning I made my super secret homemade pancakes and some homemade bacon I got from my step-dad at the farm. It was exactly what I needed. In fact, I was so set on that breakfast that I made a trip into town the night before to round up some maple syrup, we took Jasper to the dog park at the same time, it was quite nice. After overfilling ourselves on breakfast, we broke down camp and headed to the trail head. We decided to do Whistlers, its a hike that takes us up to the gondola which we can then ride down and hike along the road back to our car. Its also one of the few pet friendly hikes in the park. The higher alpine ones they are worried about dogs harassing the caribou.

Breakfast of champions

The start of the trail was heavily treed and consisted mainly of switchbacks. Jasper loved it, so much to smell. As we approached the treeline we had to cross a few rock slides. The trail was very well marked and not too treacherous but from Jasper’s low vantage point it was quite daunting. So Erin carried him, which allowed me to snap the best picture I have ever taken.

hiking up the switch backs

Best Picture I’ve taken yet

Always climb the rocks

Erin Taking a picture

The fires in BC reduced visibility

Just lookin good on the trail

All along the hike we crossed paths with people who had to stop and pet him and ask his name. All were excited about his name. We also crossed paths with a few marmots, Jasper was not a fan but luckily we kept him on his leash so he wouldn’t harass the wildlife and they were inclined to keep their distance. We reached the gondola and decided to go a little farther up the trail. Im out of shape so my legs were killing me from the 7km uphill, Jasper was still pulling me up the hill. Along the route we met a friendly stranger who stopped to pet Jasper and poured some water from his bottle into his hand so the dog could have a drink. It was a very kind gesture.

one of the many animals Jasper didnt care for

We reached the first summit and I had decided I was tired enough, we still had a gondola ride down. We headed back to the gondola and purchased tickets for the ride down.. and an “I heart Jasper” sticker for my water bottle, I couldn’t resist. While in line we started talking to the kind stranger who had given Jasper some water, he had a family with him and they all had English accents. We crammed in the gondola like sardines and made the 15 minute ride down. We still had to walk from the parking lot to our trail-head, about a 5km walk along the road. As I readjusted the gear in my pack and dug out my sweater, the English family took one more chance to pet Jasper before heading to their vehicle.

Erin and Jasper

Taking in the view

Some Cool Dudes

Erin and I were walking back along the road to our car when a camper pulled up beside us and yelled “hey Jasper, want a ride?” Erin and I shrugged and said “sure” so we hopped in with the English family and chatted while they drove us. It turns out the gentleman who shared his water was from Vancouver and everyone else was visiting from England. My guess was they were his aunt, uncle, and cousins, but that’s purely a guess. I asked him to drop us off at the turnoff about a mile from our car as the road was really rough and there was no sense subjecting that nice family and their rented camper to those kinds of roads. We hopped out and thanked them for the ride. They waved and were on their way to explore more of our country. I got the impression they’ll fit right in.

After we reached our car we headed for home and I finally made a point of stopping and walking around in that nice shallow water just off the road outside of town. For years I had been driving passed and saying “eh, next time”.

Walking on the beach

he just never looks at the camera

 

P.S. Sorry mom, I got into a vehicle with strangers. But don’t worry, I had a terrier to protect me. 


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Photo Drop Part 3 (Fishin’ Buddy and An Old Hiking Photo)

Hey, this week I was camping in Jasper so I didn’t get much time, or internet access, to write a post for this week. I don’t want to leave my faithful readers high and dry (I can’t risk losing all 6 of you). So here’s a few old photos that just never could find their way into a story but I still feel merit some exposure to the world. 

It's Important To Have A Fishing Buddy

It’s Important To Have A Fishing Buddy

 

Everyone who knows me has likely met my dad and his dog, Rose. She goes with him everywhere, that includes hunting and fishing. This picture more or less sums up every fishing experience they’ve had: my dad catches a fish, and gets Rose to inspect it thoroughly before he throws it back… every single time.  Believe me when I tell you that Rose is a fishing fanatic, you can’t hold a fishing rod in that boat without hearing her bark and squeal with excitement, its a bit annoying, but at the same time anyone who fishes can understand her excitement.

 

Carefully Stacked Rocks Work Almost As Well As A  Camera Tripod

Carefully Stacked Rocks Work Almost As Well As A Camera Tripod

 

Shortly after Erin and I got back from our big New Zealand Trip, in 2011, we had started to do a lot more hiking. If I recall one of our first day hikes was up Bald Hills in Jasper National park. It was a nice hike, but nothing worth writing a long story about, so here’s the highlights. We hiked through some beautiful trees, then up a steep hill and used my cameras timer to take this photo of us next an inukshuk we found and added a few rocks to (I had to Google the proper spelling of inukshuk). We then hiked to the top where the winds were amazingly strong, then we hiked a little way down, had lunch, and then found our way back to the car. I highly recommend this hike.


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Photo Drop Part 2 (Bows and Guns)

I was debating whether or not I wanted to buy a bow and start getting into bow hunting. Could I afford it? Is it worth the effort? Then I made this shot. Granted it was only at seven yards… It was still enough to make me buy that bow and convince me to take up yet another hobby. I think this year will be the year I finally go big game hunting with my bow. Previously I had stuck to target practice and smaller game, in fact I’v got a few good photos of me bow hunting gophers but I doubt I will ever post them here as they are a bit on the graphic side. (comment and I’ll email them to you if you really want to see.)

I took this photo during the 2012 season in which I got my “Last Chance Buck” on the day I snapped this photo the only deer I saw were well after legal light. At least I have this great photo from the experience, I like it mainly because it shows off my first and favorite hunting rifle, an older .243 with a Mannlicher style stock on it. (I’m not sure if I’m allowed to tell you the brand but it starts with an R and has a Mauser style action if that helps)


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Photo Drop Part 1 (Fiji Stuff)

I decided when I started this blog that I would post stories on Thursdays… if I have any. But lately I have been thinking maybe I should just post photos once in a while. So here’s my attempt at that, no long stories, just some photos I like and a short write up of what they are and why I like them.

I took this photo on Erin and I’s Fijian vacation. We arrived at our hotel after dark and nearly trampled a herd of these. I’m not sure if they are frogs or toads (sadly I don’t fully know the difference). I do know they are very docile and about the size of a computer mouse.

Keeping with the Fijian theme. The western style food in cheap hotels, hostels, and restaurants is typically not good. The easiest way I have found to describe it is to say “Its like they were shown pictures of western foods and are doing their best to duplicate it.” My favorite example of this was one hostel had a “Pizza night” which was normal pizza crust with ketchup, chopped carrots and celery all topped with cheese… The usual travel trick of coating food with cheese to make it taste better is brilliant except that I am lactose intolerant. Needless to say during our trip I was hungry and craving good food. At home I eat a lot of red meat, which is expensive and rare on a small tropical island. The photos you see here are of quite possibly the best meal I’ve ever eaten (it competes with my Fijian shore lunch which I have already blogged about). This meal took place in a remote village along the river that we arrived at via jet boat as part of a tour. We were not told there would be lunch served and I certainly did not expect it to contain some of the best tasting pork sausage you can imagine. I believe there was also fried coconut and tapioca… just imagine an extraordinarily delicious hash-brown.  The usual tasty fresh fruit was also included, but that sausage was the star of the day. It also made for some joking between Erin and I… Because of Fiji’s distant historical tradition of cannibalism that even our tour guides were often willing to joke about… Which I’ll admit was a bit unsettling at first.


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