Monday, June 30, 2014

Messed Up Hike of Grotto Mountain

I just came back from a clinic. I had sever pain last night after I came back from hiking. It was so intense that I didn't sleep more than, perhaps, one hour. Fortunately it is not serious. I have apparently push myself a little too hard recently and the joint and ligament is swollen a bit. The physician recommended a pain-killer, an over-the-counter one and prescribed a cream. He also said that I had to use cold pack.
But what led to this, as I said earlier, was overloading myself in the past month. I had two hikes and in between jogged every other day. For yesterday, I had planned, firstly to hike the Middle Sister in Canmore but then changed it to Grotto Mountain because, silly me, did not finish it the last time I attempted
So I was in the road which goes to Alpine Club of Canada before 09:30 AM and started going up after a group of four. My stupid mistake, as usual, was not knowing where to go, exactly! Last time I found the trail after going off it a few times and eventually ended up probably 200 m. away from the summit. This time I wanted to follow the guy but after checking with them I realized that they were not going to the summit! One of the guys, though explained to me how I would be able to get to the summit trial after following them for a while but I decided to find the trail which goes to the ridge so I separated from there and took a trail parallel to the gully. Apparently, and I learnt that later, I did not have to cross the gully. The trail to the ridge which eventually leads to the summit is at the west side of the gully.
This picture taken from the beginning of Grotto Mountain Trail shows the Three Sister and Mt. Lawrence Grassi at right
So I reached the gully and I decided to take a break, taking the damn suit off. I then grabbed the new camera and decided to take a few photos. I then stepped on a rock to get to a good viewing position and that was it! I slipped and fell on my right arm and thigh! I didn't hit my head so I was fine. Checked the camera it was a bit wet but working. The pain was not too bad but the damn backpack was heavy!
I grabbed my gear and started going up to the west with the hope that I can find the trail. I kept going for maybe another hour and a half but there was not much progress. I saw a faded trail but it was faded and too rocky. The rocks would roll under my hiking shoes and would make it extremely difficult to go up. 
Then I stopped and looked up and it didn't seem too promising and I decided to go back! Damn!
Going down was much harder and I slipped and fell at least two more times but not as hard as the first time! I eventually arrived at the same spot that I earlier had fallen and decided to go down the gully beside the stream. It looked easy at the beginning but it was hell! After minutes of struggle I eventually reached a marked trail and that was where I found a few signs with the trail maps. So now I know where I would be going next time I attempt the summit of Grotto Mountain! Most of the time during descending was spent on photography of tiny beautiful flowers and the surrounding area but the result is not very impressive. 
(Photo: One of the close up shots of numerous wild flowers in the area. It is not very impressive but not very bad either)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

George James

I was looking at a website the other day and I came across Mr. George James. The said website provides old magazines and book in PDF format from the days before the so-called Islamic Revolution, basically before the days the destruction of the old country started. Of course a few are publish after 1979.
The magazine which used to be published by the Royal Iranian Air Force, has an article about a flight club and names a few foreigners, including George James, who had joined the club at the time. Mr. James was ambassador to the country from 1972 to 1977, when he retired. 
Looking for him on the web, I realized he has been interviewed in 2012 shortly after the embassy was shut down in his hometown, somewhere in Ontario. He was 93 at the time. 
Mr. James calls the closure of the embassy an stupid act by the Government. He believes that Canada should not have closed the ears, their ears, in that country. The stupidity just cost me almost $200, American
He also, according to the interview, had predicted the Revolution which I do not believe. He claims that he visited the clergy in the holy city of Qom and then the Americans were making fun of him by asking him what kind of weapons and ammunition the clergy had!
Obviously they were referring to the fully armed forces of the Shah and questioning him as how he thought such a powerful King who was supported by a very modern and strong army, could be overthrown?! Today a sane person knows if it had not been a well-prepared plan by the American and British, the Shah would not have been kicked out. 
Nevertheless I agree with him that the closure of the embassy was stupid, not only for the above reasons, but also for others which are obvious to others. I guess Canadians are following the US policy in Iran although they show lots of interest and fondness in the British! 
The embassy of Britain was attacked by hard-liners, that's what they say, more than 2 years and a half ago and cost almost To me it is To me it is £1 million and now they are planning to re-open the embassy and send back their ambassador! The embassy of the US was attacked and seized in late 1979, more than 34 years ago and they have never had any plan to re-open it. I understand that their diplomats were taken hostage for 444 days but still shows that there are many untold stories in the world of politics. 
(Photo: The Smiling Mr. George James in a 1973 issue of a magazine, when he was ambassador of Canada to Iran, on left at age of 93, in 2012, in his interview with The Globe and Mail) 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Old Goat Glacier

This past Sat. I wanted to hike Mt. Sparrowhawk but after talking to M. C. I decided to change the plan to Old Goat Glacier in the same area. His gf believed there would be enough snow close to the top which makes the hike unpleasant for us. Since I wanted to try a hike with the couple, I agreed to do that. Otherwise I could go on a solo hike easily. 
The first hour of the trip is an easy hike in the woods beside a nice stream. The only disturbing thing is the damn choppers which are flying above your head continuously. Then you reach a waterfall at your right and that is where the scramble starts. Keeping to the right you go up and I think it takes about half an hour until you reach a kind of flat area and your third part of the journey should start from there to go to the glacier. 
I personally prefer summits because the challenge is more and the views are nicer but I wanted to try a hike with them so didn't mind doing it. There were a group of guys who had camped overnight and were skinning and snowboarding. 
We kept through on a spine and went a bit further. The glacier could be seen from there. M. C. and M. wanted to have lunch so we crashed on a top of a big rock and rested. Our distance to the end was not much from there. My thought was to go to the right side of the glacier, climb up a bit and see the other side of that rock wall (Not seen in the photo but would have been further left below of the picture) but when we got close enough, we realized it was much harder and further than we had thought. Those two were in no position to do that climb and I didn't want to get apart so we turned back after taking a few photos and seeing around. 
I realized later that Old Goat Mountain is one of the hikes in the surrounding area but we were not aiming that and we didn't go. The road back to the parking lot was fairly easy and not much action. Although it is fairly an easy hike, I didn't see many hikers around. Maybe it's not very popular in Kananaskis area. The views were OK and I got the chance to try my new T5 but not completely because I'm still learning to use it. We saw a few Ground Squirrels and Marmots but that was it. Nothing else. Overall this is a very weak and disappointing hike compare to all of the other ones I've done in Canada but the guy were very nice and good companions. Nevertheless I do not recommend this hike to anyone unless they mix it with a final hike to a summit or go and see the other side of the rock wall.
(Photo: Old Goat Glacier in Kananaskis area or perhaps the real glacier is behind these rocks!)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Flashback (30): The Naked Couple


I worked in a small town of British Columbia for a period of two years as a sort of Bylaw Enforcement authority. Quite a hectic job. I didn't like it but I had to stick to it. One of our duties was responding to complaints in regards to noise. The bylaw clearly states what would be considered as noise violation and there is a fine for that. We would issue the fine if the circumstances existed. 
Once it was late, I guess probably between 23:30 and 00:00 hours we received a call from the dispatch in regards to a noise complaint at a corner of town where it was often a centre of problems. We headed for the address, while being backed up by the local RCMP. Here the question might arise as if the RCMP is available, why would Bylaw Enforcement get involved?! it is a legitimate question. I guess RCMP would want to be involved in more serious cases such as theft, burglary and other serious crime which bylaw has no authority and training for but at times and under circumstances the provide backup to Bylaw because you never know what you might encounter. Is that a B & E? A domestic abuse? A family feud? 
So we went there and I tool the lead as usual. I don't remember whether I knocked at the door or sounded the bell but tried to get the their attention. Music was being played inside but it was not extremely loud. I guess they heard me after a few tries because the music was turned off and I heard people were whispering inside. I look through the side of the door, I guess, because I don't remember how exactly I was able to see inside the residence, it has been more than 5 years probably, and I saw a naked, tall, tanned woman putting her cloths on! They were saying to each other that someone was at the door and they wanted to dress before they appear. In the meanwhile an RCMP cruiser arrived and a short Caucasian, blond lady officer disembarked and joined us. 
The couple, now covered appeared at the door one after another and asked me what he problem was. I explained to the man that a noise complaint had been received and asked them to consider the quiet and peace of the neighbours at this hour. The RCMP officer was talking to the woman, trying to make her understand of the concern. The man and woman, who did not seem to be husband and wife were drunk and I could easily smell alcohol. However they were not aggressive. I guess they are at the beginning stage of their foreplay probably and found us disturbing but really didn't want to spend so much time on us. So they quickly accepted our explanation, promised to keep it quiet and went back inside. 
I went back to the van to get it started and go and the officer told me how weird she had felt especially when the drunk woman had given her a hug! So it was clear that they were enjoying their night and things got a bit out of control and got noisy! 
(Photo: I certainly do not have a photograph of the woman or man in that night although I still clearly remember the woman's naked body but thought to use this picture. The residence of course was not as fancy and nice as what you see in this picture but had the same sort of see-through side window, as far as I remember. This also reminds me of that Seinfeld episode that George's girlfriend gets topless at the beach and everyone sees her but George and when he comes back he tells Jerry that he could imagine her naked whenever he wants and Jerry says: I guess you are right!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Passport Renewal (Not Canadian!)

My passport was expired and considering the closure of the embassy in Ottawa and having a plan to go to the old country, I didn't know what to do. Some said you just go and then when you land declare the expiry of your passport. Some at the other hand prevented me to do so indicating that I might get into trouble on the way, for example in Europe. I eventually found out that there was this Interest Office in Washington D. C. and decided to contact them. I tried both e-mail and telephone but neither worked. The e-mailed bounced back and I never got through the phone. 
The cost of passport renewal in the old country is some $40 to $60 at the most while here I had to pay $187. Eventually I decided to gather all the documents and send them to D. C. I didn't want to take any chances so I forgot about the $150 extra I had to pay (considering the document preparation and mailing) and sent everything to the so-called Interest Office
Luckily one day when I came back I realized that the package has arrived. The FedEx guys had slipped it under the door! 
I have obtained 5 passport in my entire life so far. Two Canadians and three from the old country. Only 1 of them has issued in there! I got both Canadians in Calgary and two, out of 3 foreigners, one from Ottawa and one from Washington! Good thing is I have it now and I can safely travel.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Moose Mountain

I had planned to hike Moose Mountain and I wanted to leave early like 05:00 or something so similar to the other hike I could be home by 13:00 but I had to drive The Lady somewhere so by the time I got to the parking lot it was almost 09:25. There were a number of vehicles parked there but I could squize mine in there and then someone else came and I guess he or she was the last one who was able to park there. It was mainly cloudy but no rain and the gravel road was OK but I saw mud just at the beginning of the trail. I walked up this 7 km of the road last Jan. but driving up was a bit of challenge for my poor car. Thank that I had not changed my Michelin Ice X winter tire or I would have stuck!
The trail starts in the forest and after a few minutes going down you come up and merge into a wide trail which is well maintained. I saw two ladies on the trail and made sure that I was on the right path and one of them confirmed and then I left them behind. Then shortly before the false summit I encountered a third group of people and passed them as well. I wanted to keep a fast pace to see how good I could be. The trail, from the false summit and after had sank in fog and there was not much to see. It was very good because I did not have to tolerate the burning sun and views where just amazing when the wind threw the cloud away. Snow patches still existed but he weather was nice. No need for tuque, mitt or anything. There was a little wind but was nothing compare to what I had experienced in Jan.!

This is probably only 15 minutes to the top but is the most difficult part of the hike not just because of the snow and fog but also because of the unstable rocks and narrow trail which is close to the edge. The fire look out building and mast can be seen in the fog.
The trail then got rocky and narrow and a bit dangerous. A sign is put there to tell the hikers to be careful, have their dogs on leash and not to ride any bike. To me it was almost impossible to ride a bike in that part of trial because just a little slip would send you to the bottom of a valley meters down. Just to say how fast I wanted to be and make the trip under 2 hours, particularly after I met a young fella and he said he had done it in 2 hours, when I saw the sign which clearly says: Narrow Trail, I read it as Navarov Trail thinking the trail has been named in hounor of some Russian or similar person!
The last 10 minutes were hard and a bit dangerous but I was able to make it to the top. A few people were sitting on the helicopter deck and a few were going down. None of the fire look out people were out. I didn't even sit. I walked around for about 10 minutes and then headed down immediately without sitting, drinking or eating. I was fine. Shortly after going down I realized that all the three groups that have, two of them started before me and one at the same time, were coming up. They seemed to be struggling but I'm sure they would be fine. The return route was was chosen the same as it is obvious in this writing but there is another route that I could take but due to unfamiliarity I decided not to. I was back to the parking lot in almost 2 hours, same time as my ascend. In total the 4-hour trip seems to be a good time because in most of my readings I encountered 6 hours.
(Photo, top: This is taken from the top of the false summit. On the left side of the picture you can clearly see two summits and on the right one the fire look out building and mast is clearly visible. By the time I got there the fog had already covered the top which you can see it in the other photo)

Monday, June 09, 2014

PVR

We had an offer from our cable company last year and we accepted it. They provided a big number of channels and a PVR for really a cheap price for a few months. I didn't know what the PVR does rather than just transferring the signals to the TV set and make them visible. I guess the lady first figured it out and used it. Such an amazing device, I would say! PVR, probably standing for Personal Video Recorder has a big hard disk drive that you could record hours of different programs on it and watch is later. You also could schedule recording of different programs at different times. It is obvious you are not able to transfer the recorded programs to DVDs for copyright and other issues but it has such a great capacity that you probably would not need that. 
I recorded the first two games of the 2014 NBA Finals and enjoyed watching them last night. This is an amazing tool for someone who has tight schedule or a family with different people of different likes. While your wife is watching her favorite show you could do your chores and have your favorite game recorded to watch it later. Thanks to Shaw for that! 
(Photo: The Motorola PVR lent to us by Shaw is sitting on the top of my old Philips DVD Player and both are mounting the old 2003 Sony Trinitron)

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Military Museums

I was told by The Lady the other day that one of her friends had asked her to babysit her kid this weekend and she had accepted. She then started looking on the web to see what would be available this weekend to do so we would not have to spend the whole day at home and the kid becomes annoying and restless. 
Apparently The Military Museums would have open house and summer skirmish. So when the kid was dropped at our place in the morning, we did not waste any time. We went to a McDonald's for a little breakfast and headed to the museum. I guess we are among the very first people in there. They were making themselves ready and all the exhibits were available to the viewers by donation only. I slipped a brand new $10 but I guess the guy didn't like my joke when I said the Prime Minister's portrait was on it! 
We spend most of the morning until around 12:00 over there. There was simulated fights, which as actually called skirmish, by different people portraying old time fellas such as Vikings and other and it was quite nice. A group also simulated a little battle between the Allies and Axis forces which was really nice. They used blank rounds with actual sound of machine guns and rifles and looked so real and cool. 
Food truck were there too. So it was a food fun as well. I saw three but we were not that hungry. It is good that they make jobs and create customers for local businesses. Inside the museum was also open to the visitors and people were sitting behind the tables with information and draws. I really don't like draws as they look like gambling for me and I don't like to really on chance if I'm getting anything but I didn't say that to the people. There was a ticket selling for Westjet and the tickets were $10 or something they would want to use the money to expand the museum and put airplanes in there but I had already donated and was short on cash. Generally organizations like that really upon donations and volunteers in Canada and I don't have any problem with volunteering but I don't believe they will ever need a foreigner there! 
Anyways we viewed a bit of the inside exhibits and left the rest for another time because the kid was with us and he had no interest, of course, in those stuff unlike most of the young boys.
The exhibits are nice and organized and all the information is available. They have different section for WWI, WWII, Korean War, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Afghanistan of course but I guess a good 2 hours or more is required to go through everything and the admission is reasonable. 
(Photo: People are demonstrating Vikings' fighting skills. In this one they are using the shields as a combined defensive devise for the entire group. The two people at the sides are the counter-attack soldiers. While the group is resisting and defending, the two can freely attack and protect the group as well)