Bon Echo Provincial Park – 3AM!

Bon Echo Provincial Park – 3AM!

3AM – Outside of the tent, it is pouring rain. Raccoons are making the rounds. Everything inside the tent is dry and I have been awakened by the rain and raccoons fighting over an unopened sachet of hot chocolate powder inadvertently left out on the picnic table. Adell, with a flashlight out the door, is providing me with a blow by blow of the masked bandit activities outside the door of her side of the tent and shouting “Scat, Scat” at the raccoons who have now scurried up a tree. Not a peep out of the dogs in the neighboring campsites even though the raccoons must be only a few feet from where those dogs are sleeping.

It seems a bit strange to be tapping away at an iPad – in a tent at 3AM! Time to stop this silliness and get back to sleep. Hope those raccoons enjoy chocolate milk powder :-).

The woods have been bone dry for weeks but, after tonight’s all-night rain, I expect that the ban on fires will be lifted.




The North Face Mountain 25 tent review

The North Face Mountain 25 tent

The North Face Mountain 25 tent is a four-season tent that is well known for its dependability and durability and commonly used on expeditions where extreme weather is a normal occurrence. I needed to replace my current four-season tent, a North Face A-frame tent that I purchased a few years ago (actually purchased in the 1970’s but who’s counting :-)). Continue reading

Major Hill’s Park – Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa, Ontario – Day 7, May 12th, 2011

After watching the 110 foot Fair Jeanne brigantine ship going through the locks of the Rideau Canal for a bit, I headed off to Major’s Hill Park.

I had been told that there was far too much ‘infrastructure’ and not enough tulips at Major’s Hill Park so I was looking forward to seeing for myself. The first tent that I encountered, as I entered from the Rideau Canal side of the park, was a teepee of the Aboriginal Experiences folks. Hard to say that this was tulip related, but since I enjoy seeing the aboriginal demonstrations, I was happy to stop and watch. Today, the individual was demonstrating some wood carving techniques and providing demonstrations of how the interesting-looking work horse could be foot-operated to hold the materials thus leaving both hands free for the carving work.
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Blue Springs State Park – Manatee Come Back

A severe winter storm had moved though the northern US into Ontario and the Maritime Regions shutting down or disrupting air and road traffic from Chicago to New York City and points in between so we were happy to have decided to spend an extra night in Florida but had to head north today. The Manatee, which were hard to find the night before, were back in the warm spring waters in numbers when we went for another look in the morning and, with lighting coming from a different direction, they were a lot easier to see.   (Location)

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Cape Canaveral, Florida

We stayed overnight at the Jetty Park Campgrounds. Nice locations for tents but their policy of charging $10 for each additional tent made the location rather pricey considering that we were traveling with one small tent each. One of the washroom/shower buildings was closed for repair which meant that the second building was more crowded than normal. The beach and jetty though were wonderful to visit and the birds were out in number as were the fishermen on the jetty.

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Cycling in Florida- the Everglades

Once we arrived back at our vehicle in Tarpon Springs and looked at the forecast again, we decided to make the long drive further south and east to Everglades National Park, arrived well past midnight, pitched tent and fought off the mosquitoes. The next morning, we found ourselves surrounded by tall pine trees.

Plans for the day included the Anhinga Trail (alligators, anhinga, black vultures, herons, etc.) and Key Biscayne.

Gainesville, Florida

Arrived in Gainsville, Florida about 7AM after continuous driving from Toronto, set up the tent and then cycled for 64 km on the Hawthorne trail.

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Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings

Starting up a website., with my son, Graeme, was one of the major milestones for the year. Graeme had been prodding me to think about a blog format for my photo postings for quite some time so this was the year that it happened. I like to add text to the photos that I post. Although that works fine on Flickr for single photos, a blog format provides me with a better sense of continuity of thought and sequence of events when uploading a series of photos. In 2011, I intend to continue uploading to Flickr but will likely leave the story-telling here with my blog uploads.

Boxing Day 2010 has arrived with sunny skies and -10C temperatures a far different situation than Boxing Day 2009. Icicles on the Thule.

Rather than seeking out one “best” photos, here are some of the highlights of my year and some of the memories that keep me attached to my camera. Clicking on the thumbnail images in this annual review will take you to a larger version on my Flickr photostream or to the specific blog entry associated with that photo.

New Year's Eve Fireworks - Mont Tremblant, Quebec Photographing fireworks on the ski slopes of Mt. Tremblant in Quebec to end the old year (2009) and start the new year (2010).

With hands out they waited Kanata Badminton Club meeting on Jack Pine Trail Flickr Wakefield outing - March 16, 2010 - Unabridged Yup! Definitely tastes like Introducing complete strangers to the enjoyment of feeding the Chickadees or meeting friends out on Ottawa’s Greenbelt trails and enjoying the company of like-minded souls on outings with Ottawa’s Flickr groups

The creation of a masterpiece - Winterlude ice sculptures - Feb 2010 Crocuses in shock! +27C/81F today! Where there are dreams there is hope. Watching artists at work carving large blocks of ice into masterpieces at Ottawa’s Winterlude and then seeing another Spring arrive and being able to use my camera to help out in a small way at the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans.

A project of Mairin Peck in Oregon Stonehaven Drive Fire - Kanata, Ontario Helping students achieve their goals and being glad that not all fires take lives.

Last campground site - Obatanga Provincial Park -  Breeding Bird Survey Road to Dubreuilville, Ontario 5AM Awaking many, many mornings at 4:30AM to conduct Breeding Bird Surveys for Environment Canada.

Full Moon - VMC 50th - Vincent Massey Collegiate, Winnipeg (Fort Garry), Manitoba Participating in some of the craziness of my school’s 50th anniversary reunion under the watchful eye of a full moon.

 The group The hosts of the show - Jennifer Podemski and Don Kelly - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! 2010 - Ottawa, Ontario Kinnie Starr - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! - Ottawa, Ontario Inez - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! Grandfather William Commanda, Algonquin Elder, Keeper of the Sacred Wampum Belts readies for greetings and opening ceremonies - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! - Ottawa, Ontario David Usher - Canada Day 2010 - Kanata, Ontario Photographing local events and concerts. I don’t normally take photos of people, so this was a new challenge for me. “Sloan” and “Monkey Junk” at Ottawa’s Westfest; “The Initial Reaction” and “Insensitivity Training” and “The Duck Wife” at Ottawa’s Fringe Festival; “Jennifer Podemski”, “Don Kelly”, “Kinnie Starr”, “Inez”, “Lucie Idlout”, “Digging Roots” and Algonquin elder, Grandfather William Commanda, at the APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network) broadcast; “David Usher” and “Elliot Brood” on Canada Day: and “Blue Rodeo” later in the year.

Grand Hall - Museum of Civilization Finally taking my camera to the Museum of Civilization, a much overdue totem pole experience.

Osgoode Medieval Festival 2010 -  Am I missing something?   :-) Taking Aim - Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Fort de la Presentation - Ogdensburg, NY Land Battle  - Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Fort de la Presentation - Ogdensburg, NY From the staircase - Boldt Castle, Heart Island, NY Pump House - Boldt Castle, Heart Island, NY Taking a step back in time at medieval festivals and re-enactments and restored “castles”.

Black and Yellow Argiope Spider Christina and the butterflies Cascade Mountain in the Adirondacks Running out of light! Experiencing the excitement of finding a bug, flower, bird or animal that I haven’t seen or photographed before or successfully testing my recuperated Achilles with a nice mountain climb with my wife, or just enjoying the thrill of another beautiful sunset.

Lion cub out for a morning stroll - Serengeti, Tanzania Lion in the Serengeti Lilac-breasted Roller Licking the lips. Mmm. Good. Of course, spending two weeks in Africa looking at lions, elephants, giraffes and exotic birds with Graeme does have its benefits and plenty of high points.

Photographing lights at night is always a favourite pastime especially when winter approaches and I don’t have to stay up all night to do it!

Shades of Nudity - Sculpture Garden - City Park, New Orleans Alien Communication Device - Canada Day 2010 , Kanata, Ontario And, finally, to finish off this rather long post, there is the enjoyment that I get when wondering what people think when they search on words like “nude men” or “alien communication devices ” and arrive at my on-line offerings :-).

Fireworks - Canada Day 2010 in Kanata Not sure where I will be on New Year’s Eve but, hopefully, I will find more fireworks to photograph where ever I end up being.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration – Ogdensburg, NY (Land battle re-enactment)

Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Ogdensburg, NY (Land battle re-enactment)
Fort de la Presentation, Ogdensburg, New York

Plans for rebuilding this historic site are underway as funding permits. To learn more about the organization spearheading this activity, please visit their website at: Fort de la Présentation

Ogdensburg Founder’s Day Reenactment 2010 – Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration, Fort de la Présentation, Ogdensburg, New York State (Land battle re-enactment)

July 17th, 2010 – Traveled across the St. Lawrence River to Ogdensburg, NY in the United States to watch the Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration re-enactment activities at Fort de la Présentation site in Ogdensburg, New York. Amazing number of tents and re-enactors were present in full costume and gear depicting this period of warfare in the 1760’s known as the French and Indian War.

Due to the large number of photos relating to this re-enactment, I’ve broken posting of this event into two parts. A water battle re-enactment in the previous post and then the photos of the land battle re-enactment in this post.

Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Ogdensburg, NY (Land battle re-enactment)

Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Ogdensburg, NY (Land battle re-enactment)

Gorham’s Rangers (British Troops)Gorham's Rangers, Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Ogdensburg, NY (Land battle re-enactment)

Gorham's Rangers, Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Ogdensburg, NY (Land battle re-enactment)

Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Ogdensburg, NY (Land battle re-enactment)

Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Ogdensburg, NY (Land battle re-enactment)

Gorham's Rangers, Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Ogdensburg, NY (Land battle re-enactment)

From Wiki: The French and Indian War is the common U.S. name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756 the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years’ War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war. In Canada, it is usually just referred to as the Seven Years’ War, although French speakers in Quebec often call it La guerre de la Conquête (“The War of Conquest”). In Europe, there is no specific name for the North American part of the war. The name refers to the two main enemies of the British colonists: the royal French forces and the various Native American forces allied with them. Although it is not often mentioned, some factions of the Native American communities provided support to British efforts but the primary Native American alliances were with the French forces during most significant skirmishes during this period of conflict. Further WIKI info.

More photo action on the following pages.

Hiking to Marcy Dam

Hiking to Mt. Marcy Dam

When I arrived a the trailhead, it wasn’t snowing. After I went inside to register and pay for parking, I came back out and could barely see my car due a very heavy snowfall that had swept into the valley. Thankfully, the storm didn’t last long but it did turn everything pristine white. With a 60+ pound pack on my back and snowshoes on my feet, I headed up the 2.3 mile trail to Marcy Dam where I planned to tent for the night.

When I got to Marcy Dam it was beginning to get dark so I pitched my tent and then went looking around to see if there was anyone else in the area. No one! Not a soul! I was all alone on the side of the mountain. Not often that you can experience that at this popular Adirondack Mtns site. My hiking partner was scheduled to arrive from Toronto about 7PM but, as the night ticked on, I decided to hike back down to the parking lot (another 2.3 miles but downhill) in the dark with just my head lamp for lighting. Part way down, I met a skiier coming up, but not Tom, so continued on to the parking lot. As I arrived at the parking lot, about another dozen hikers and back-country skiiers arrived, each with their own headlamps to light their way. Very interesting to see that many twinkling headlights moving along the trail and off into the darkness. Tom had encountered three hours of tougher than expected snowstorm driving conditions coming from Toronto so was happy to be eventually arriving and changing from business attire to alpine trekking attire.

The trail was well marked and had been well traveled so there was very little chance of getting lost even though it was late in the day and daylight was diminishing. At this time of the year skiis or snowshoes are mandatory on trails in the High Peaks Region.

Crossing a foot bridge over a small mountain creek on the trail to Marcy Dam.

Although cool (about -15C), snowshoeing supplied lots of body heat so the hike back to the dam was pleasant. By the time that we got back to Marcy Dam again, I was tired and slept soundly despite the -15C or so temperature outside of my tent. Tom and a couple of others decided to share the available lean-to and another chap dug a spot in the snow for his tent to be sheltered. (Lean-to photo by Tom the next morning).

For the Friday – 3 trips between parking lot and dam = 6.9 miles.

The next day.