Monday, September 30, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (8): Twillingate

Although we realised that we were in Twillingate at the wrong season but we had a bit of joy by looking at the beautiful rocky beaches and we were lucky that it was sunny all day long. Breakfast was served by the inn we were staying at which was not bad. I really liked the homemade muffins and I guess I had as many as four with my coffee. I will write about the detail of our stay, alongside with other hotels in a separate post called Where Did We Stay, later. 
So we again geared up and headed for the end of the island to see Long point Lighthouse, Crow Head and the small islands. It was a very windy day so we were told by the inn crew that the normal bout tour would not going to take place. The cliffs and  trials of Twillingate are so beautiful but we would have seem much more beauty, if we had been there either in May, June or July. Icebergs could have been seen from the inn's balcony, we were told. Anyways we tried to use the best of it so we covered most of the trial and we hiked all the way to Devil's Cove. All the cliffs, rocks and small islands around us reminded me of the Devil's Island in movie Papillon. The only difference and the big one was that we did not have the sense of isolation that he had. At least not to that extent. Automatically going to small, remote towns like there gives you that sense but you get yourself busy with the new things that you have not seen and you forget it. Staying there for a longer time, I think that would be different. It's all about habits. 
Fortunately we were alone all the time. F. F. even got a chance to spend a few minutes on Wild Blueberry picking and I took as many photos as I wanted. I guess we spent about 3 hours there and F. F. was exhausted and hungry but she did not give it up and accompanied me everywhere! For lunch we had a few slices of yesterday's pizza so we had them on our way back to Highway No. 1 and west of the island for our next destination. Overall Twillingate is a perfect place to be to see Iceberg, I have learnt. The idea is just to be there in the right season and of course had a place booked in advance.
(Photo: On a nice sunny day in Twillingate this is how the Atlantic and the cliffs look like. As I said that would have been much nicer, if it had been decorated by Icebergs!)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (7): The Scary Drive to Twillingate

It was dark when we reached Gander and we had not eaten. So first we looked for a place to chow on something. F. F. suggested to get some pizza. So we went to the nearby Greco Pizza and ordered a party size vegetarian. It was not bad but it was white flour crust which I hate but F. F. was too tired and hungry to remind me to ask and it was too late and the order had been put. We knew that chances that they have it is very low. We had part of the pizza and we struggled really hard with the damn G. P. S. to take us to Twillingate which was the next stop where we had a room booked. According the the map we had to take NL 330 but the fucking G. P. S. was pushing us to Trans Canada Highway. I realized that we had to go to Gander Bay first so started asking around, maybe two places how to get there but people were giving direction by naming the streets that I had no idea where they were! We wasted a total of half an hour at least that way, if not more. That was including filling up the tank. It was completely dark and a bit cold. I eventually said: Fuck it! I knew we had to take NL 330 so with the help from the map and the damn G. P. S. I pulled ourselves on that road and set the G. P. S. for Gander Bay. According to it we should have reached there in about 15 minutes of less and then I would have set it for Twillingate. So we seemed to be fine. NL 330 was a two way, one lane each side road with absolutely no light and a few vehicles on it especially in that time of the night which I think was around 21:30 or so. After a few minutes the fucking G. P. S. announced that we had arrived at the destination but we both looked and there was absolutely nothing but pure dark. F. F. was a bit panicked and I was surprised and confused but I tried to calm her dawn and just set the G. P. S. this time to Twillingate and simply followed the route. Every few minutes or so a vehicle mostly a big truck would appear in my rear view mirror and passed the first chance it get. It was obvious that they were the locals who knew the road very well. I have no photos of those scary moments but with the help of the roadside signs I went to NL 331 and followed our way to the town. F. F. would advise me of possible hinders and other dangers on the way including watch the side river! We were at times so close to the water that you would think you will fall into the sea if you don't drive carefully.
We eventually reached the town at around 23:25 or so and then I didn't know where to go! The only thing I had was the address of the hotel (which in fact was an inn) and the advise from someone in there whom had told F. F. to turn left when we reached the town! I did that and I realized that I only had the address nit the name of the place! The address said Main Street and I tried to find a street sign with that on it! In that dark and all the few few stores closed, it was something really hard. I eventually found it and then tried to find the street number! It didn't take long that I learnt that we were not very far away! I went inside and saw a note for us with a key beside it. Everyone was asleep. I guess it was almost 23:55 or so. We quietly moved a few stuff in and got ready for sleep. 
(Photo: The damn Magellan G. P. S. We had trouble with it mostly because we just bought it a day before our flight and was not really familiar with it but despite that it's a stupid machine. I got it as refurbished from London Drugs for a reasonable price. I didn't want to spend more than $100 for it. For the next trip to N. L. or somewhere which I have not been to and is kind of remote, I know now that I would have to rely on a combination of map and G. P. S. as well as laptop if I can get a signal where I am lost. This picture is taken on the way back from Twillingate on the way to Highway No. 1)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pigeon Mountain

I got a chance today to be a bit free so I thought I should use it for a nice hike. I chose Pigeon Mountain in Dead Man's Flat. I was in the parking lot at about 10:10 AM and started following the information I had downloaded from the net and quiet frankly it worked although the grammar of the writer sucks!
There were a few vehicle parked there and it meant people were already going up. The signs that the guy refers to them are a bit vague, mostly. For example he says you pass couple of ravines but I guess I passed at least three, may be four. And the information board she showed in his note was never seen by me so I was a bit confused. But then he was right: After about an hour and a half or a bit more I got out of the trees and a steep trail started. The view of the surrounding mountain is very beautiful and the weather, as I had read, was partially cloudy. So sun would come out and it not only warmed me up in that windy weather but also helped me to get a few nice shots. after I got to the snowy section I realized two guys were coming down. They had covered their heads, had mitts on and where carrying sky poles! I was going to ask if they were coming from the Himalayas but didn't! I had a little chat with them and they descended. Then there the remaining part of the group coming down when one of the women, after I said hi to them, hoped that I had mitts on me! It really was not that bad. I didn't feel I would need any mitts, gloves, poles, ear muffs, toques or anything else. Just a few minutes to the top and that actually is the south summit I saw another group resting with the same gear and equipment. I think it took a total of a little more than 3 hours to reach to the top. I took a few photos and headed down but before going down I saw something on the top of a rock I had passed. I remembered what I had read: There is another summit, most likely the northern one. Footprints showed that none of the two groups had gone up there so I decided to go. That was a challenge because unlike the south summit, this one comprised of brittle rocks with not much guidance on the route to the top. I call this rock Chips Summit because the layers of rock would be easily broken and I had to be really careful not to fall and roll down the valley! Fortunately the trial was not too long and find myself on a vast flat summit with a cairn and a shed with antenna and solar cells. The view from there was magnificent and that is what you see in the picture. I assume that shed, which I had a glimpse of inside, must be a weather checking center or something similar. There were big batteries, the shape of car batteries inside. I took a few more photos and headed bad to the main trial. To that moment I have not had anything. So I took a sip of water. There was nothing special on the way back. I was just hoping to see a few animals but that limited to a few birds and a screaming squirrel! I reached the parking lot at 16:50 which means the whole hike took about 06:30 hours. Overall it was a very pleasant hike and I enjoyed. I was better than the previous two (Miner's Peak and Yamnuska). With the weather going toward winter I'm not sure how many more time I can hit the trials but I try to make it once a week if the other stuff of life allow. 
(Photo: The north summit of Pigeon Mountain. I really like the shape of the mountains in the back)

Friday, September 27, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (6): Terra Nova National Park

We stopped at Terra Nova National Park on our way to the north side of the island but because of the distance and construction on Highway No. 1 we were late. The office was open only because there was a cruise from Greenland there! I thought to myself: It would be amazing to be on a ship from Europe to here. So tried to use the best of it and took the closest trial and hiked for a bit. I just about 1 hour we were there we saw beautiful nature of the park as well of a few kind of birds, the first one similar to Pheasant, from that family of course and another one, a wading bird, from Sandpiper family and the other one was a diving bird circling above water, looking down and diving to catch its food which most likely was a small fish. I'm not sure if I can call it a diving bird though because it comes out quickly while a diving bird goes deeper maybe. Not quite sure! 
It was getting late and dark and we had to go to our next destination that we had a hotel room booked so we headed north for Gander which would be our stop for dinner. Terra Nova is beautiful like most of the parks in N. L. and Canada and it was different for us because of the cruise ship and the birds we saw but I can not say if it is better than the other parks that we had seen or we would see. Apparently it is a very big park and it might have other things to see and do but one thing I am sure of it is that it has no mountain which makes it less appealing to me but I insist what we saw was really beautiful. In addition to that they have a tank full of Starfish and other sea creatures which worth seeing so definitely Terra Nova is a place to be.
(Photo: A type of sandpiper looking for portions of its dinner on the banks of Terra Nova Park's pond located in northeastern Newfoundland) 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (5): Cape Saint Mary's Reserve Park

Being in Placentia gives you the opportunity to check out a few places including:
1- You can get on the ferry and go to Nova Scotia.
2- You can go to Avalon Wilderness Reserve, and
3- You can have an Ocean View drive and go all the way to Cape Saint Mary's Reserve Park.
We chose the last one as it had been planned. 
The drive so long and the road is so quiet but you drive through small communities and you wonder what people are doing there and how they manage their life because it truly looks like the end of the world! After more than an hour drive which felt much longer to us we reached our destination which looked like it was the end of the world actually: An area of high rocks and cliffs which only consists of  a lighthouse and a Parks Canada office with a tiny gift shop. There were only a few people around and obviously all from Newfoudnland. The park guide gave us a bit of explanation and guidance and told us that they would be gone by the time we were back. This place is again another Parks Canada places which there is no admission fee for it but I wanted to buy something from its gift shop as they have nice craft but F. F. was angry as a result of hunger and sleepless so I forgot about it.
Basically this reserve park is combined of a few trials close to the edges of very dangerous high cliffs which are covered with seabirds. It's a very beautiful place and windy. I don't know how far you can go but you look at distance and you see the same coast for kilometers away. I just went until the trails were marked. I would have gone further for sure if I had been only by myself. The weather was a mix of sun and cloud and of course like most of the places in Newfondland you enjoy a whole lot more if it's a pure sunny day. Cape Saint Mary's was probably the only place we went that we would have seen the same if we had been there earlier in the year. I only regret that I could not spend much longer time over there and experience more but trips the way I like them could be done only alone!
(Photo: The marked trial takes you to the edge of the dangerous cliffs where hundreds of Gannets are sitting or flying around) 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (4): Placentia

We headed west after spending 2 days in St. John's, not that we had seen everything but we simply didn't want to limit ourselves to one place. Placentia was our next stop. It is fairly a small town and that is where Castle Hill, another national historic site of Canada locates. I checked that first and we realized that the main gate was closed so we thought the place was closed as it was Sep. but it appeared that the gate was closed to the vehicle and we could simply walk up which is not more than 15 minutes.
Castle Hill was originally build in the then Placentia as a French and English fortification. I think it was first occupied by the French and they were protecting the French fisherman and they intention was to colonize Newfoudnland and Labrador and then were driven out by the British and both the fort and town became a British settlement. Today there is no French spoken resident in N. L. but there are some in Nova Scotia including a colleague of mine whom I will have a little talk with her later and a post most probably as well. I think the French then moved to Cape Breton which is at the other side of the Province in Nova Scotia as I said but I will write more about that later. 
So it started raining when we got up there but one of the Park Canada who provided a little history of the place for us, and was a very nice gentleman with a heavy accent which was hard to believe brought us umbrellas so we could walk a bit more easier although we had our kind of raincoats on. The sky was cleared out shortly after and I was able to take a few photos. The place was open but not for business. The Park Canada guys I guess were getting ready for the end of the season. 
Placentia as I said is a very small town but it worth checking it. For dinner we went to Harold Hotel and fed ourselves with their seafood dishes which was good and reasonable price. Two meal which made us completely full cost around $40 including the tip. The place was packed because the other two restaurants in the town, including one Chinese were closed (They are closed on Mondays). There is a nice and long boardwalk in case you want to have a walk by the Ocean but we skipped. Placentia is also gate to Cape Saint Mary's Reserve which will be the subject of the next post.
(Photo: The town of Placentia from the top of Castle Hill)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (3): Cape Spear

I always wanted to see what's left from the Second World War. When I was in Cologne I didn't get a chance to see any but in Copenhagen I briefly saw the air raid shelter. Then after knowing that many bunkers have just emerge in the west coast of Denmark I planned to go and see them. It has not happened yet but a few weeks ago I contacted the Danish Embassy after reading an article about demolishing the bunkers and they confirmed that. They will probably leave a few. The whole process will cost millions of dollars but they will do that for the safety of the people, they say. One of the Misch's arguments was to leave these building untouched because they are part of the history and he was right. 
So when we went to Cape Spear we did not know we were going to one of the defense sites of Canada during the Second World War. Cape Spear is the most eastern part of Canada and for that reason the country had equipment and troop in there. What is left today after 68 years is two barrels of gigantic cannons and the ruins of the soldiers base. Canadian Heritage could have kept everything in an acceptable situation but they haven't. The windows are broken and the doors are full of rust. They still can rebuild everything and rebuild the whole place but doesn't seem that they want to. After all it's a remote place and maybe not many people visit. 
Anyways when we reached the entire area was covered with fog but we decided to have a walk. The tourist information center was open and the young girl told me that there was no admission fee because I guess the lighthouse was close. I still think if there is a charge for visiting this place the revenue could be used to keep the place maintained and improve it often. While walking on the trials and beach we realized that there was a horn going off every few seconds. First we thought it was a ship approaching but then when we walked around we realized that it was Fog Horn. Apparently Fog Horn goes off on very foggy days to help small bouts and ships which do not have advanced navigation equipment prevent accidents. The rain then started and it was almost impossible to stay so we went back to the vehicle and drove the foggy road back to St. John's! 
Overall Cape Spears is a great place to visit. I only wish the Government would do something to preserve the place and that can be started by applying admission fee to the place. It does not necessarily have to be a lot. A small affordable amount would help. 
(Photo: one of the two barrels left from WWII days. As it can be seen the other major parts are gone. The fog is so thick that the ocean can not be seen) 

Monday, September 23, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (2): St. John's

St. John's was our first stop in N. L. It was a very long flight and we were tired but the rental car had been booked and the hotel reservation was complete; considering the size of the city which is fairly small we found ourselves in the hotel shorty after the airport. It would not have been possible to reach there and go anywhere else if we I had not purchased a G. P. S. but that was not free from issues which I will either have a separate post for it or describe when necessary.
There is a lots of history to the city and N. L. in general and that is because it has been one of the first settlements of the Europeans with ties to the UK. Newfoudnlanders also were volunteers for both the first and second World Wars. I did not have time to read all that in such a short time but we first visited Signal Hill which is a national historic site of the country. 
One thing I realized a little later and it was late was that the trip should have been done much earlier, as early as May or June! N. L. is an island and close to the north. September is when most of the festivals are wrapped up, Icebergs are melted, Whales and Puffins are gone away and most importantly it's mostly cloudy and rainy and a bit cold although we only got one really rainy day. 
Anyways Signal Hill has been a defense place for the city since early 1900s. If you want to walk up and down the trails of this place and see everywhere, take photos and read all the information you probably need at least 4 hours! We spent a bit more than half of it and got tired. Also do not forget to check sunrise at this place. That is the start of the day in Canada! Surprisingly there is no admission for the site. There is a little gift shop and museum as well as other exhibits. Overall it is a place to spend time in. 
Then after hours of walking and exploring we decided to check the downtown. We stopped at a local restaurant recommended by people called Oliver's. It's a fairly small restaurant but very clean and nice. We ordered Cod which is the main fish in Newforndland and that was good. I had it with salad which was nice. The food for two cost around $45 and we do not drink wine with our food and we did not have an appetizer or any dessert. The food was a small portion like many restaurants in Canada I would say and that is because their eating habits are different form ours. We had lot's of side items that we get ourselves full with them and they are mostly full of carbohydrates and I gave them up(!) while Canadians start with appetizer and drink wine with their food which help them to feel full after they meal although the main course is small. We walked for a few minutes in downtown area. People were spending their time in bars and restaurants like any other countries. It's a nice place for eating, shopping and observing.
(Photo: St. John's harbour from Signal Hill. It was mostly a cloudy day with scatter showers)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

N. L. Road Trip Short Post

I will write about the different days of the N. L. trip but just wanted to mention this here that it's almost 00:30 hours on Wed. and I am in the northern town of Twillingate writing this using high speed wireless on my old laptop. It was a crazy night but we are here now, Safe and sound. Will write all the detail later.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (1): The Only Foreigners

The first day of the trip which is about to end, because I'm going to the bed soon, was a complete waste and the only thing we accomplish was getting here! We were so tired as a result of steepness that I fell sleep in the afternoon. I guess flying all the night not only has the affect of losing sleep but the time difference or jet-lag causes a huge problem. There is a 3.5 hours difference between Mountain Time and N. L. Time and that itself is a big issue.
We had a good start in Calgary Airport by easily finding an economy parking but changing 3 flights to St. John's and then getting a damn heavy useless Edge make thing sour. We found the hotel easily using out newly purchased G. P. S. but then the damn S. U. V. has lots of complicated features which someone like me who always has driven basic vehicles is an issue. The hotel is only OK, a 3 or maybe a 2.5 star but I will write about Capital Hotel after I stay all the booked nights. The driving system seems a bit different here. In addition to that there are not many foreigners here. When we were in Halifax Airport we were the only non-Caucasian passengers and I believe there was only an Indian worker in there. When we landed in St. John's Airport we were the only non-Caucasian among all the passengers and airport staff and everyone was looking at us like what there creatures are! Then we went to a local mall, not that we wanted to do a major shopping, because the mall compare to the ones we had seen is considered an average one and everyone was looking at us like we are aliens from Mars. All the employees that we have seen so far in the fast food, other businesses, hotels and even Wal-Mart are 99.99% Caucasian while in Alberta and British Columbia you see mostly Filipino, Punjabi, Chinese and other Asian people as well of Africans. It's not very late here but I better go get some sleep!
(Photo: The Ford S. U. V. Edge we rented. This was taken shortly before we reach Placentia after passing the junction where the other road goes to Nova Scotia ferry)

In the Airport, Heading East

I just got a chance to turn the old laptop on and get connected to the YYC free Wi Fi. Heading East we are going first to Toronto and then to Halifax and finally St. John's, NL. It's a few minutes left so I'm goin' 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Flashback (25): Orientals on a Bus

You hear so many different languages spoken in the public place every day in this country. A few of them are so annoying. The sound of it is to the ears resembles a dual saw on a piece of oxidised metal! Or even worse than that. If I wanted to name a few, I would start with the languages which are spoken in China, Mandarin and Cantonese, not sure which one is more disturbing because I have no criteria to distinguish this from that. Generally the Orientals' language are all fucked up and so disturbing: Languages spoken in Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Korea and so on. I do not know why European languages and Spanish which is widely spoken in South America do not sound bad. Arabic just simply causes hatred, disgust and dislike. There so no doubt about. 
So I was on the bus a few years ago and annoyed and exhausted from I don't know what.  There were three fucking Orientals in the last long seat, most likely Chinese, talking and laughing loudly. I put up with them for I don't remember how many stops and I was about to go crazy. The bus was not crowed but everyone else was quiet and seemed not to bothered. I thought I should do something so just about the time that the bus was going to pull over for my stop I stormed toward them cursing and yelling, ordering them to shut the fuck up. They all simply went quiet and said nothing. Obviously were not able to speak English to the level be able to response back. I knew many of the new buses, oven few of the old ones had been equipped with camera so if something stupid happens to the driver or passengers, there is a record of it but I just couldn't help it. I guess the driver gave me a look from his or her rear-view mirror and said nothing. I got off shortly after that. 
Today I think I should not have done that. There were three simple Chinese guys who had been lucky to get out and step on Canadian soil. Their fun was taking the bus to an apartment and possibly drink and talk for the night. Their only sin was that they had started their party early on the bus and were a bit loud. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Messed Up a Bad Interview

I've had recently an interview which I should not probably taken it easy in this situation and I did. I think that I messed it up. This one as well was with a major Client company and their building was as clean and nice as the previous one, if not more. There were these two fellas in their mid thirties I would say and someone else joined us a bit later, in the same age. 
I very soon realised that I not going to get this but sat to the last moment. There was this one who mostly was just sitting still and gazing at me. I thought he was just watching me and my reactions. He barely asked any questions and did not even present a card. I cannot tell what he was doing. They asked a bunch of unrelated questions that I did not have good answers for. As well asked a few questions that I was not prepared for! In the meantime the questions that I had myself prepared for were not asked! So the overall result was bad. When I looked at one of the guy's card later, I realised that he was educated in an unrelated field, a non-technical subject which gives him no ability to take any role but administration in a company like that. I'm not surprised because I know many people and also in the old country that they just their jobs through network. This guy must have a close friend or relative in the company or somewhere in top provincial or municipal authorities to get a job like this. Otherwise I would not even give him a broom to sweep the floor! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Workplace Stories (7): The Chubby Chicken

There was this fucking slow, lazy, bitch, working with us who barely moved her big fat ass or any other part of her nasty buddy but a finger! I did not have to correlate with her, happily but during the course of her sorry tenure I had a few short talks with her, of course all work related. Once I and a colleague asked her to rent a vehicle as we were going to visit somewhere, of course a business trip. The fucking bitch booked something that cost almost $70 more to the company and I had to go at least 4 times longer to get the damn car. 
Every time we had a mail, she would never notify us or bring it to our work station. If you were lucky and passing her desk she might have told you about the letter! She was to a few guys though. I think she had crush on them and was trying to get them. One of them told me that she had bought him Slurpee and stuff like that and the guy has a girlfriend. I'm not sure if she knew but it is very possible. One day we all received this message indicating that she did not work there anymore. The message was from H. R., of course. I never was curious to know what had happened to her. I always thought I was the only one who complained about her but this guy told me what happened: She apparently had done unauthorised purchases because these people have always some amount of the money of the company available to them. One of the purchases apparently was an individual cup brewer machine that she put beside her desk and took a sip of the prepared favourite beverages off and on! I do not think that was the only reason but according to another guy one day she just threw her card at someone and walked off! I knew that she was a farm girl. One of those girl who had horses and other animals in their ranch and they were financially secure. But I guess she wanted to try something different, be independent from the family and see other things. She did not badly need the job. So it was easy for her to pork around and leave whenever wanted. After all she was a Caucasian girl able to get a job anywhere she wanted in a blink of an eye! 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Miner's Peak

I finally was able to find the damn Ha Ling Peak yesterday. Quiet honestly it was a disappointment! The biggest challenge was to find where the mountain and the trial was! Rather than that a 70-year old woman or a 10-year old kid could go up there and in fact I saw people like that! 
Anyhow I left home early to be able to go back early and when I finally found Goat Creak parking lot, there was only a vehicle parked there. So I geared up and walked up to a road with a few construction vehicles. Over there I realized an old red Pontiac parked. I at first though it was just simply parked there but then I saw someone in there with a Security note on the windshield. Apparently he was watching the machinery over there and point at the trial head. I found it a minute and started going up. The trial is nice and it was a foggy and cloudy day so the sun didn't bother me. After awhile I head someone was coughing and I turned back thinking someone was behind me but in fact that was an echo and a girl was ahead of me. I passed her and went higher. The higher I got, the thicker the fog got. I didn't see much of the wildlife but a few birds and squirrels. There was not one single soul up there. After almost an hour and 10 minutes the fog was so thick that I was afraid that I might lose the path on the way back. As well a wind started blowing but it was not strong enough to clear the fog or clouds. I felt that I was closing to the ridge and in fact I was almost at the edge but I could not say if that was the end or not. So I just stayed a minute, took a photo and headed back. 
On my way back, I first saw the fat girl. She had not broken a sweat! I guess he took a break every 2 meters she elevated! Then people emerged one after another! One thing that I realized about hikes here, maybe not all of them is they are very lazy at getting up! The other stupid thing was they were all carrying big backpacks and sticks like they were going to The Himalayas! What a sorry exhibition that was! So I just started running down the hill as it is a very wide and easy trail. 
Now I understand why the peak is named after a Chinese guy! It is because Chinese people are all pussy and incapable of anything physical. So that jackass, whoever the fuck he was, though by going up that little hill he would accomplish the impossible in the history of mountain climbing and hiking! The peak is also called Miners Peak, according to the little plaque installed at the beginning of the trial and I believe that is a much better name because apparently miners worked inside this mountain and they are the ones who deserve the title. Nevertheless I guess I will have to climb this mountain one more time just to be sure that I reached the end. When I am going to do that next, I don't know. It will certainly not be the next one.
Thick fog prevented me from seeing Highway # 1 from the top. I could not say if I was at the end of the trail or not and because I certainly didn't have an intention to fall off the ledge, I climbed down and started to descend where I felt it was the summit! 
(Photo, top: Miners Peak from the road. The tarn besides it could also be seen)

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Rochus Misch, A Loyal or Simply a Soldier?

One of the few people who was with the Fuhrer when he and his wife were about to commit suicide died last Thu. at age of 96 in Berlin. Rochus Misch (German spelling, in English it would most likely be Rokhos Mish) was the telephone operator and bodyguard for Adolf Hitler and was captured when the Soviets stormed into the last standing of the Nazis and sent to camps. Surprisingly he survived and was released after doing his time and went back to Berlin where he lived the rest of his life! With Israelis, Americans and British all hunting former SS officers and soldiers all around the world, keeping some of them like Rudolf Hess in jail to their 90s until the guys gives up and hangs himself, it's almost unbelievable for me that Misch was untouched and died of natural causes at that age! Was there anything special about him that the Soviets let him free no media ever points at that. 
Misch, a low rang SS officer, denied any direct involvement in any war crimes but admitted he know that concentration camps existed. He was so brave to step forward and ask not to destroy the Hitler's headquarters in Berlin when they had this plan for development in late 90s. They of course didn't listen to him. He was saying that the building was part of the German history and should be saved. The Allies and then the West German government did the same to most of the remaining of the WWII but there should still be some remaining. There is not much left of Burghof but I will be going there to see no matter what. 
Misch, in his interviews always defended or supported Hitler by stating that he had been a great boss or he was no brute and he was trying to save Europe from the evil Communism of Stalin! And still stayed untouched! He added that war crimes had always been part of the war and will always be, which is right, I think. Look at what Iraqis did to Kurds in northern Iraq and Iranians in the 8-year war, as well as Kuwaitis in early 90s. Balkan War had so much of mass murders as well as genocides in Africa. Isn't what Taliban doing to kids, girls and boys in the schools not considered War Crime? Because it is not in the definition?  They are all wrong but looking closer any war itself is a crime against humanity but sometimes inevitable. Soviets were defending themselves during Operation Barbarossa but would have they start an invasion if Hitler had not attacked them? That is a question which if Misch was alive today would answer it with yes based on what he has said in his interviews. 
(Photo: Misch is pointing at a photo that he took from Hitler in 1940 and in the picture below in his SS uniform. Apparently there was also a movie made about him. It is pointed at in his website. I tried to download and put a photo of him from that website here but could not. It shows him going here and there in Berlin, probably in his last years of his life because he's using a walker)

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Elysium

I'm try not to jump in to conclusion about Elysium. I think I have to watch movies more than once in order to understand what the message is about. First off let's see what Elysium means. Basically in Greek mythology it is a place of ideal happiness that is promised; in other words, paradise. And in the movie it is name of the space station that the rich have chosen to live in there to escape from disease, pollution, dirt, poverty and so on. The movie has exciting scenes and unpredictable story at the most of the time and that is what makes it attractive. The end is too near in my opinion. When you create a new world, a new environment, you need to give enough time to the audience get gets him/herself familiar with that. Unfortunately it is inevitable in most of the movies, unless the movie has a sequel. For example in Waterworld you explore the world which people believe there is no land and they are searching for a possible one and then when they find it and while you are getting used to the atmosphere, the story is over! In Star Wars this does not happen because you have up to six movies to see and you are completely into the environment. 
There are parts of, scenes in the movies that I think could have had a better story or closer to reality. For example Max was in Spider's compound, I would call it, several times and was about to be shot at a few times but in never happened! In a real gangster world, criminals do not think before they shoot! They barely listen. They react based on what they see and immediately. Max should have been killed a few times for refusing, arguing or other disapproving gestures. Their law is: Shoot first and ask questions later! 
Overall the movie is recommended to be watched at least once. I will probably get the DVD and watch again. Not sure again. Have to see what else is available in the market for the movies that I have watched recently. The message of movie I guess is wealthy countries not helping the poor but as we can see in today's world poor countries are receiving aid from the rich and also their people are being let in. May be this is not enough in the eyes of the director and other people of the movie.
(Photo: Two non-Americans who act in Elysium, the man from South Africa who actually plays really well and a Brazilian woman in the scene when they are looking for Max, played by Matt Demon) 

Monday, September 02, 2013

Failed Attempt to Hike Miners Peak

I had listed a few mountains, peaks and ridges in Alberta and decided to hike them one by one as long as the time and weather allows so yesterday woke up very early and headed out. The fool had postponed the plan twice already so I didn't even bother telling him this time and decided to go by myself but everything started wrongly! I'm not superstitious but first of all before getting to Highway No. 1 I had a near miss! A fucking fool, I guess a Native woman was walking barefoot on 16th Ave. in the dark. I always watch my speed so I was able to see her and go around. Then I found the weather cold and people were driving like fucking maniacs is early dark morning using their high beams behind me! The temperature even dropped to 5 ̊ C at some point. Then I missed Exit No. 93 which is the first one to Canmore! I was watching the signs and for an unknown reason the exit number dropped from 98 to 93! So I had to take 91 and assume that going the opposite direction would take me back to 93 but that was a mistake! So I came all the way back, went to the other side of Highway No. 1 and drove to east until I got to Exit 93 and made a right. Then over there was another fucking confusion and I tried every possible 3 available ways until eventually found the one which took me to the Nordic Center. That was one I realized that I really did not need to necessarily exit from Exit No. 93 but that was too late! By the time I got to Canmore Nordic Center, I had wasted a good 45 minutes at least and it was light out but surprisingly I could neither find the parking lot that I had to park and start my hike neither a single soul who actually was there. I look around the available notes and maps and go nothing. So I just parked and took one of the trials in the south side and started walking. 
It was not so bad and I told myself that I had not found Ha Ling so I at least doing some hiking because that was why I drove all the way. All the trials are marked and named for the mountain bikers to a certain point. I went all the way up a good hour and a half until I kind of lost the trail. I had to reroute myself two time until I got somewhere that it required much challenge to go up and I had planned to reach back home by around 12:30 so I turned back. Again surprisingly there was not even one single hiker during the entire time. I realized that I was not on my way to Ha Ling but having so many peaks and mountains around, there should have been at least one or two hikers going up or coming down but not a soul! I was pretty sure that I only have to go down what I had already taken and came up but that was only an assumption and I found myself close to a very dangerous cliff which could be the end or simply getting stranded for hours! I didn't panic and the first thing came to my mind was the rescue helicopter which was flying around. I remember the sign that I had seen down by the lodge and I told myself that I would signal them and they come and pick me up. Then I said: No I am just going to go down that very steep ridge, get myself to the gravel road been seen from the top and then by taking the road I would be fine. But finally I decided to simply walk away from the dragon's mouth and head west a bit. I found it easier to go down but I still was away from the trails. Then after a few minutes I heard people talking and tried to getting their attention by shouting and whistling but they either didn't hear me or didn't give a shit! Even when I got down enough when I saw myself at one of the trials I didn't see anybody. So that was it and I had gone back to the trail. I walked down for about half an hour and found myself in the parking lot. Just a few people with their bikes had shown up. It was not as busy as I had expected it. I later checked with the information center in there and realized that I should not have come to the parking lot of the Nordic Center. Apparently after passing Olympic Way there is a gravel road which would have taken me to an unnamed parking lot called Goat Creek and that would have been the place that I should have been parked, had I known in the first place. I keep that in mind for the second attempt. 
(Photo: Canmore Nordic Center from south on my way back to the parking lot)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Quiet South Country of Alberta

I have been trying to get enough information about hiking in the past month so in case we are going, we will have no issue but it seems there are not enough. Yesterday i decided to go to southwestern Alberta and get as close possible to Holy Cross Mountain so when the time comes I know where we are going as well I did not want to spend the day at home. I unfortunately miscalculated and started a bit late because I had to do a tiny amount of shopping so when I got back to the City it was already dark.
I first drove to Okotoks and then to Black Diamond. The second tiny town is not comparable to the first one and I guess it is because Okotoks is closer to Calgary and many people who have high paid jobs live there while generally country people in Alberta are well off but the difference is obvious. After Black Diamond you drive south until you get to Longview and there you turn right onto Highway 541 and that is where the number of vehicles reduces to 1 in every half an hour! Alberta regardless of The Rockies is a beautiful place. Endless fields, vast ranches, wild flowers, streams, you name it. When you get close to Longview and turn to 541 the foothills start and that adds to the beauty but like anywhere else most of the land is separated from the road by barbed wire and fences. Another reason that not many vehicles are seen on the road is 541 leads to closed road in this time of the year and I saw the sign when I made the turn. So only locals drive up and down that road. I do not know how that road is the remaining months of the year. 
So I went until a sign shows Eden Valley and I took out my telephone to check it and I realized there was no signal! So I thought I should have gone back. The clock was ticking and I had no connection and I was out of reach. So I head back right after that while according to the map I was only 19 KM away from where I would have parked if I had gone to hike Holey Cross Mountain.  
Southern Alberta, below Calgary area has for sure the same beauty of Highway No. 1 area but there are not fancy shops, restaurants, bars and so on. If someone like the nature in fact he or she should consider that part just to feel hassle and traffic free. That is where I am going for my hiking when I am a little more practiced. 
(Photo: A house on the steps of a hill in Longview. The picture is small but you can see the tiny little dots on the right, the cows. A gravel road connects the houses to the main road. The masts are probably communication towers for mobile phones)