Monday, January 30, 2017

Child's play Wildplay

Platforms and lines... part of the Monkido course...
The Monkido course... all platforms and lines
I've previously mentioned Wildplay adventure parks on Vancouver Island. I've climbed through their trees on the Monkido course, jumped from their 15-story bridge at the end of a bungy cord and swung at the end of their 90-foot long King Swing.

Recently, we took our nephew to the Victoria chapter where he was challenged by the kids' Monkido course. He was initially nervous being alone in the trees but soon enough, like most kids (and older kids at heart), he was swinging and scrambling like a boss.

Our nephew peers down nervously...
"No... seriously... get me down!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

View from the top

During a recent ski weekend to the top of our local mountain, the views toward the south end of Vancouver Island were spectacular.

Normally, fog obscures the distant views, but, on this day, it was possible to see many places that I've described previously in this blog... places such as Mt. Baker, Mt. Arrowsmith and Hornby and Denman Islands.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Unclear on the concept

Someone didn't think this through...
I came across this recently in a local dollar store. It's Superman's car.


The guy who is faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Isn't this last guy in the world who needs a car?

But maybe it's just for pickin' up the chicks...

Friday, January 20, 2017

So it starts...

Strap in and buckle up...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wayback Wednesday: Maligne Canyon

Ice climbing down into Maligne Canyon near Jasper, AB...
Climbing down the ice covered walls of Jasper's Maligne Canyon...
Okay, this is more of a (not so) Wayback photo... I just discovered this photo of another Maligne Canyon ice climber from our recent trip to Alberta and thought I would throw it up here.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lose the moose...

While in Jasper, Alberta recently our family stayed at the Athabasca Hotel. It appears that the owners consciously decided to keep it deliberately old school... like really old school... maybe 100 years old school. The wallpaper, carpeting and bedcovers featured dated colours and patterns, but looked to be almost in new condition.

The single beds in our room were ridiculously small, reflecting the shorter stature of people a century ago. But, they were clearly new-ish beds. Is there some company somewhere that specializes in re-creating early 20th century hotels?

Among the dated touches were the numerous animals heads on the walls, including this moose head in the lobby. These days, such a thing would be considered politically incorrect or insensitive, but the Athabasca seems determined to thumb its nose at current attitudes.

Friday, January 13, 2017


Hoar frost clings to the trees in the extreme Alberta cold...
How cold is it here?
Cold enough that brass monkeys
Shrivel in despair!
Hoar frost may look like snow, but it's not. It consists of ice crystals that form on vegetation under extremely cold, clear conditions from water vapour in the air .

It's not something that I've ever seen in Victoria, but at -20 Celsius degrees in Alberta? Well, that's a whole other story...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Alberta pink sky

The morning sun barely warms up the cold winter day...
A sunrise is no match for the numbing temperatures of an Alberta winter...
The morning winter sun pierces the curtain of trees that surround my in-laws' four acre property not far from Edmonton, Alberta.

A few minutes after this photo was taken we watched a coyote lope across the yard.

Monday, January 9, 2017

How OLD am I? This old...

A very young looking me in my Royal Roads Military College days...
Who's the guy in the monkey suit?
Hatley Park Castle -- actually more of a large mansion -- in nearby Colwood, BC is now a university that provides business degrees to people in the middle of their working careers.

In the basement of the mansion is a small museum dedicated to the history of the building and the estate. In that museum are photos of the various graduating classes from its time as Royal Road Military College. Look for the class of 1981 and you'll find me, looking much younger and with a full head of hair on my head. 😃

Friday, January 6, 2017

Mutant Academy

The imposing Hatley Park Castle...
Welcome mutants!
Recently, my wife and I looked after our nephew for a Saturday. He's eight years old and just the right age where he's entertained by superhero movies and toys.

So, he was suitably awed when we took him to see Professor X's Mutant Academy from the X-Men movies. He was even more impressed to learn that I was a graduate of the academy.

Sadly, I'm not a mutant imbued with awesome superpowers. In real life the academy is Hatley Park Castle located in nearby Colwood, BC. Back in the 1980s, it was one of three military colleges in Canada that provided university degrees to military officers. I spent four years at the college as a naval cadet.

You can see the castle in action in this YouTube clip taken from the second movie in the series.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Maligne Canyon

A climber descends into the icy Maligne canyon near Jasper, Alberta.
Descending into the icy abyss of Maligne Canyon...
During our recent Christmas trip to Alberta, we had the chance to ski the mountains of Jasper. We made a side trip to nearby Maligne Canyon. The walls of the canyon are covered in thick sheets of ice. We watched climbers moving up and down the face of the ice with equal measures of awe, respect and "wtf ARE they thinking?!".

Bridge over the Maligne Canyon...
Can you see the people on the bridge?