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Spring?

Environment Canada likes to play little tricks on us from time to time but I’m thinking this looks pretty good. It will be perfect for cycling and maybe going for a long ride on the motorcycle. Winter wasn’t harsh by any standard but because it wasn’t a ‘real’ winter I found it somewhat depressing. Sunshine and warm air will be a refreshing mental boost.

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Serious readers appreciate word of mouth. I like when someone tells me they’ve just read an enthralling book. More than any ad or review I am likely to consider another person’s opinion valid. When it comes to the internet it isn’t quite the same but now and again I come across a list of links someone has compiled. It’s often worth checking out what has caught someone else’s eye since they have probably sifted through and eliminated lots of mediocre stuff as their recommendations were narrowed down. For what it’s worth here are a few things that caught my eye recently:

http://www.paddlinglight.com/  I recently found this site and like it because he combines coverage of gear as well as paddling.

http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2012/03/preparing-for-long-distance-rides.html  My favorite cycling blog – in this entry she talks about her approach to riding longer distances.

http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/HikingCamping/Lighting/Headlamps/PRD~5026-869/petzl-tikka-plus-2-headlamp.jsp  This a link to MEC highlighting a product I’ve had and used for about five months. I’ve been wanting to mention it. It is an excellent value. For anyone who wants to try walking at night a headlamp is far superior to using a flashlight.

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Beyond-Belfast-Will-Ferguson/9780670069156-item.html  Carol received this book as a gift at Xmas. Early in the New Year I happened to begin reading the jacket blurbs and became interested enough to open it. From there I was hooked. One of the blurbs says the book is wildly funny but I wouldn’t go that far, he sprinkles lots of humorous anecdotes but he doesn’t go overboard, it’s not wild or obnoxious. In addition to being about the geography his book is also a tour through the minefields of Irish violence which I found quite insightful. What really impressed me about the book was his overall style. This is a very well crafted book. The descriptions of landscape features are first rate and a pleasure to visualize.

http://seakayakphoto.blogspot.com/  I always enjoy following the trips these guys make along various Scottish coastlines. They’ve been experimenting with small sails which is something I would like to try at some point. If you scroll down a bit you will see he has a good review of Adobe Lightroom 4.

http://www.lenscratch.com/  I recently came across this photography site. There is an extensive list of photographer links on the blogroll which provide links to a wide variety of contemporary work.

http://simon-willis.blogspot.com/  A superb kayaking and cycling site. The writer is a semi-retired guy demonstrating that vigor is not just for jocks in their twenties. He has a mix of equipment reviews as well as accounts of his outings.

http://landscapist.squarespace.com/  My favorite photography site. In my opinion it is always worth checking. Scroll down to yesterday’s entry for a photo of Marv’s distant cousin who is the Big Boss of Asgaard Farm.

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Carol and I loaded the car with gear, drove five kilometers, parked at Spank’s Bridge and skied a section of the Trans Canada Trail. We went as far as Cook’s Cove then re-traced our way back to the car. The old rail bed is ideal though the trail in the other direction, from Spank’s Bridge to Ogden, is currently closed as a result of maintenance. If more snow falls and fills in the ruts then it should also be fine.

Skiing on the TCT near Cook's Cove

I didn’t think it would be wise to do too much on our first outing. Carol hasn’t been on her skis for several years and I wasn’t really out much last year either. I anticipated there being a few muscles that might be less than thrilled by the workout so going easy seemed the best bet. Carol said it was more fun than she remembered though she couldn’t actually remember the last time she went. I’m not sure what caused the negative impression but replacing it with something positive will go a long way toward seeing her back on her skis more regularly.  (more…)

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Full Moon

Did you walk last night?

If you are reluctant to go out at night there is no better time to give it a try than when there is a full moon. I had a distinct shadow and could plainly see my surroundings. I seldom use artificial light (as in flashlight or headlamp) but on a clear moonlit night there is just no reason to bother. The air temperature was -10. Only a handful of cars went by and there wasn’t much wind. I walked 5 kms and did not find it unpleasant at all.

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Trespassing does not rank up there with murder or pedophilia when it comes to public outrage. I’m sure a great many people probably have no reason to think about it at all. I also suspect many people (if they do go on someone’s land) don’t think they’re doing anything wrong unless they get caught, a bit like speeding or pirating software. Trespassing is an ongoing concern for me. I have to admit to a certain level of ignorance as well hypocrisy when it comes to the matter. When I’m out hiking and photographing I constantly face decisions along this line. (more…)

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2012

Partially frozen

I posted yesterday but ignore that fact: Let me begin the year by saying thank you to regular readers, those who’ve commented, and those who have helped me in one way or another. The effort involved would not be worthwhile without people checking the site and caring about what I’m trying to do. I should also express my appreciation to the GCRDA (Guysborough County Regional Development Authority) for their support which underlies the existence of my blog. And I must acknowledge my partner Carol who diligently proofreads each entry. Thank you to all.

So, what’s in store? Honestly, I don’t really know, my crystal ball has been an opaque cloud for many years. I’m mostly a day to day guy. Snowshoeing and skiing were to be my focus for the winter but each of these is heavily dependent upon good conditions and so far these conditions have not prevailed. My enthusiasm for photography is always high but at this time of the year so much of what I see is just plain ugly. No one wants to look at ugly photos and I don’t want to waste my time. Snow, even a small amount, will be a metamorphosis. I will want to be everywhere at the same time once some falls because all my favorite places will be looking good again.

Partially frozen

Over the Xmas break I achieved the personal goal I set out for myself which was the one week computer moratorium. I made my final post and turned off the computer on Friday the 23rd. I did not turn it on again until the following Friday. I can’t be sure but it is likely the longest period of time away from a computer since purchasing one in 1989. How refreshing it was. ‘The Computer’ represents for me a rather euphemistic term that includes workaholism, wasting time, and distraction along with a host of other negatives. To know I can survive without my various ‘fixes’ is great.

When I did power up again I uninstalled all the useless stuff like the plug-ins I never used and deleted swathes of downloaded material. I am going to use my computer as a tool for productive purposes (mostly photography related) and a little idle site surfing. Beyond that I will not be stuck in front of a screen to nearly the same extent as before. Life is too short for that nonsense.

Partially frozen

In general the time off allowed me to rest both body and mind. I ate poorly (as in lots of fat and sugar), slept half the time, didn’t walk much, didn’t shoot a single frame and avoided everything one might consider productive in any sense of the word. It would be an unsustainable way to live but for a short period seemed to be the perfect manner in which to spend my time.

I also decided not to make any resolutions. I have always made them in the past and, for the most part, taken them seriously. This year I’ve decided I’m fine as I am, flawed, but fine. To hell with the treadmill of trying to be better – better than what or who exactly? If anything I am going to relax a little more, ease off the control lever and be more open to chance and serendipity. Sit and watch is a new theme I intend to expand on. To some extent it will help balance the urges to hurry, maximize and be ‘productive’.

I wish you well in your own pursuits and I hope you find yourself drawn back to my blog from time to time.

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Holiday Season

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.
Henry David Thoreau

 

Between Xmas and New Year’s I am planning to turn my computer off. This self-imposed moratorium has several objectives for me but mainly I want to take a break. I gave up selling computers three years ago and stopped repairing them in mid-October of this year. Computers have dominated my life for many years. You might think I spend all my time hiking and photographing, but in reality I spend about two-thirds of my time sitting in front of a screen. Writing, processing photos (over 20,000 shot since April with 1500 used on the blog), organizing posts, reading other blogs and so on takes/wastes/uses a lot of time. By turning my computer off and leaving it off for a week I hope to recharge my creative batteries, spend time with daughters I don’t see enough of and, hopefully, continue to walk, cycle and if there is snow, enjoy my skis and snowshoes.

I’m looking forward to 2012 – there will be no new posts until then. Be safe, see you in January.

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