Dust and Dirt

Sometimes the best part of a camping trip is coming home. That’s where you get to shower and wash off the dirt and grime accumulated over the trip.

The dirt gets under the fingernails and sticks to the sunscreen. A dip or two in the lake is nice to cool off, but it’s no hot shower.

There’s loads and loads of laundry to do. That’s why I usually wear old clothes. The dirt gets ground right in. At one point on our trip, a raccoon wandered onto our table cloth with its dirty feet. At least we are smart campers and never leave food out.

Driving a dusty logging road means our cars needed a good wash after as well. My car went from looking like a burnt marshmallow to a bridal dress after a good hose down. I must’ve also killed a small squadron of insects because my front bumper and grill were coated in bug guts.

It’s refreshing to get home and back to that clean feeling. All that’s left is to pack away our gear for our next trip.

Windy Wind Down

Our last day at Twenty Mile Bay started like every other day. It was warm and sunny out.

First thing after breakfast, my buddy and I hit the lake on the kayaks. It was calm and glass like on the water.

Later in the afternoon, I went out kayaking with my wife. We were out for about an hour or so on the water. As we returned the water began to get choppy. It was still warm out, so I grabbed a camping chair and sat with my feet in the water.

Then the wind picked up. My wife brought out our kite- nicknamed “Mighty Kitey“. We bought this kite on our honeymoon back in 2001. My wife gets great joy proving that she can keep it flying longer than I can. The wind continued on into the night sending a warm breeze through our campsite all night long.

Right before dinner, our daughter suffered a terrible accident. She took a sip of her soda that was poured into a glass with a straw. Immediately she spat it out. A wasp had climbed into her drinking straw and drowned. She had a mouthful of pop and a dead wasp in her mouth. As she spit it out, the dead wasp happened to sting her inner lip.

An old trick I learned came into action. We cut a fresh onion and she placed it behind her lip where she got stung. The juices from the onion helped to nullify the venom in her mouth. Within a few minutes the swelling was down and she was only left with some bad breath.

Crazy end to our lovely camping trip, that’s for sure.

Lake Views 2019

Wednesday was another fun filled day. My son and I went out on the kayaks and he decided that we should go to the island. We had a great time racing each other and bonding.

As the sun went overhead and the temperatures reached 31° we found ways to keep cool.

My wife relaxed with her kindle in the hammock. I took a camping chair just deep enough into the water that my butt would be submerged. I found some driftwood and used it as a foot rest.

Just before dinner, my wife and I went out on the kayaks and paddled around the campgrounds.

We ended our day with some good laughs at dinner and a failed attempt at making Jiffypop popcorn. But all is well. We are still not done camping for the week.

Float The Boat

Kayaking and floating on the lake was a great way to spend our first full day on Harrison Lake. We love coming to Twenty Mile Bay.

My wife and oldest daughter went out kayaking after breakfast. I took my other daughter out and we floated about in some tubes. Shortly after, my wife came back and I hopped into the kayak. My wife and I towed our daughters out in the lake having a great time.

Once we ditched the girls- my wife and I paddled to the island just off shore. As in a twenty five minute paddle to the secluded island.

We paused for a beverage and some time to talk. We put on our PFDs and floated in the lake around the island back to the kayaks.

The water was peaceful and it’s always great to connect with nature without the white noise of suburban life.

Twenty Mile Bay 2019

On Monday we ventured out to our favorite campsite at Twenty Mile Bay. This year, my best friend I’ve known since kindergarten is joining us with his kids. The weather will be cooperating as well!

We packed up our cars and headed down the logging road that leads us to the campsite.

When we arrived- we exploded and took over our double site. This will be our home for five days. I’m happy that this year there isn’t a campfire ban. We can cook foods over the open flames!

In between cooking and sleeping we will be enjoying the lake and relaxing. The best way to end summer vacation.

CN 100 / PNE

On Sunday- my family and I spent the day at the PNE in Vancouver. My work was showcasing the CN 100 Celebration. A Hundred Years of railroading and everything CN has done for Canada.

My coworkers and our families were treated to free admission to the Fair as well as some lunch. This was a nice treat, and allowed my wife and I to finally brought our family to The PNE.

The last time I was at the PNE was in the late 90’s. Back when the hottest local radio station was Z95.3fm. I found it amusing that they had a booth and were promoting their old logo once more and giving away buttons that said “90’s Kid”.

We only spent about half the day at the fair. I’m not a fan of the crowds or the smells. There’s lots of farm animals there as well as some entertainment. We wandered the vendors and stopped to watch the jousting tournament.

After the joust, my wife and I took the kids to see the rides and the carnival games section. Before we left, we wandered through a “selfie” area to catch some silly photos. We made the most of the day and the kids were happy to leave when we did. There was only one thing I wanted to see, but got out voted.

I didn’t get my chance to see “The Superdog Show“. It was the only part of the PNE that I remember truly enjoying as a kid.

As a teen, the only reason I went to the PNE was to feel some independence and hang out with friends. Most of that time was spent flirting with the girls we went with and going on rides. Now as a parent going to the PNE, I had a hard time wanting to spend money or time at the fair. Honestly, if my work hadn’t supplied us with free access to the grounds, I don’t think my kids would ever have seen the PNE with us.

The Parents Who Volunteer

Fort St. John is a small community with a large Speed Skating Oval. While here, our kids got to experience a true sense of a tight knit community supporting their dreams.

The parents of almost every skater has volunteered their time in many aspects. From photography to lap counting to place judging and every background position possible. Setting up these meets and camps just to promote the kids and their goals.

The statue out front of the Pomeroy Sports Centre shows a father tying up his kid’s skates. This is the perfect representation of how sports bring forth a sense of family and camaraderie. I’ve tied my fair share of ice skates for many kids already. It’s a sense of encouragement that can mean so much out there.

I also love to hear the cheering going on for every child out there on the ice. The parents, coaches and other skaters cheer one another on. I’ve mentioned this before, but I still delight from the enthusiastic energy produced.

It makes all the difference in the world to many of these kids.

Olympic Dreams

We spent thIs past week in Fort St. John in order for our kids to get some Long Track Speed Skating training. It wasn’t until Thursday that I realized this is an Olympic Goal for many. Even those not just in British Columbia, or let alone Canada, but around the world.

When we were in Calgary we saw the Chinese Olympic Speed Skating Team doing their training. Now they are training in Fort St. John alongside my kids. This seems crazy to me because of course I want our son to succeed in his goal. I thought our 12 and 14 hour road trips were extreme. But flying in from China- that’s dedication.

This week our kids had an opportunity to learn and skate with Denny Morrison. A Long Track Olympic Speed Skater for Canada who got his start here in Fort St. John. Our daughter was even excited to have her Speed Skating helmet signed by Denny Morrison. I think our kids forget that they get coached by Eden Donatelli and her husband Julian Green. Both of these coaches have competed in the Olympics (having met at the 1988 Olympics).

After asking our son if he remembers a time before Julian, and he does not. The drive and ambition to achieve an Olympic Dream is strong in our son. He’s been coached for many years and has a strong backing supporting him. If he wants to get to the world stage, then we shall help him any way we can. Including these trips to Fort St. John or Calgary and any other provinces or counties this may take us to.

Peace River; Taylor, BC

British Columbia is beautiful in many aspects. This week, my wife and I did a couple excursions with our new kayaks in Northern BC.

The other day we went to Charlie Lake which was 15 minutes north of Fort St. John. On Thursday my wife and I headed 15 minutes south towards the town of Taylor, BC.

We wanted to hit the Peace River for some kayaking. However, we knew the current would be strong because of the information we read about when we went to the Site C Dam lookout. After some research on Google and using the Google maps satellite view- I found a small alcove near a boat launch on the south side of the Peace River. So we went exploring.

This had to be the most peaceful kayaking we’ve done yet. The waters were calm and the views were spectacular. It was so leisurely that we spent almost two hours floating around without having to put much effort in.

It was a pleasant excursion and made me glad we toted the kayaks almost 1200 kms just to experience this. Perhaps one day our upper body strength will be better and we could try tackling a stronger current.

But until then, I’m content to put my feet up and relax.

Why We’re In Fort St. John

I guess I should write about why we’re up in Fort St. John for the week. This is another week of Speed Skating training camp at a Long Track ice rink. Our son is getting more and more competitive at Short Track Speed Skating and wants to set his sights higher. So last month while we were in Calgary: The Fastest Ice we picked up some Long Track boots and blades for him. This week he is doing more training and he’s learning lots. Our daughter also wanted to come to the camp. We rented her some Long Track skates for the week and she is wanting to learn the officiating aspect as well.

We’ve spent the last few days at the Pomeroy Sports Centre… okay I’m a liar- we drop the kids off and they spend the day training. The building boasts two hockey rinks on the main level, a large oval on the second level and a walking track on the third level. Every day my wife and I show up early for pick up and walk the track for a few laps.

Both of our kids have made a ton of friends this trip. Wednesday night was a BBQ hosted by the local Speed Skating Club. Our kids abandoned us so they could hang with these friends. One day they will also be the competition, but they are all getting along famously right now.

I like the Speed Skating culture. Everyone is encouraging and wanting the each other to be successful.