I’m Reminded of Something Important

Greetings!

Recently I was going through some of my old posts, of which there haven’t been many over the past several years actually, when I came across a reply to my 49th Birthday post. After reading it, I felt inspired to be present and focus on those things that are meaningful to me and that bring joy and happiness. Hey, it’s NOT overrated.

I want to share with you over the past several years I have been posting pictures on a site called Viewbug. On the site you get a chance to share with the world something you found that made you happy. Well, at least for me it does.

I have also started writing on several projects; actually one major project that has bamboozled me a few times in the past but during social isolation, I have made some headway. I’ll share more details as I progress through it. What I can tell you, and maybe I have mentioned this before, is that it is a novel set here in Portland Oregon.

I’ve also taken up semi-precious stone wire-wrapping. That’s been interesting and challenging and I look forward when I can make it beyond the beginner pieces I have been working on.

What I can say is that I may not be very good at most or any of these things that bring me joy. The joy come from doing them. Starting and finishing them and learning and getting better (I can hope) with each effort I put forth. The point is that I am not trying to meet anyone else’s expectations aside my own. As long as I can remember to be kind with myself when I don’t accomplish as much as I would like or the piece is not as good as I would like, then I will continue to move forward with being the best me I can be.

More to come…

Peace be with you!

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The Taste of Victory

The taste of victory, as my wife so quickly pointed out, whilst I fumbled for the right words to express my feelings in the moment, was having a cup of fresh made coffee this morning. Pretty mundane right? WRONG! You have no idea of what I speak if you answered yes to that rhetorical question. As a matter of fact you should probably stop reading right now and go back to your boring old life, because you cannot possibly fathom the true pleasure of coffee that you grind yourself.

For those of you still with me, settle in and let me tell the journey I’ve been on since Social Isolation (SI). Let me rewind to the beginning of our story. It was a morning like any other; I get out of bed, way to early for my taste, but the dog won’t be denied, and take her outside to do her business. We come back in and a feed her then go take care of my business. Afterwards, I head to the kitchen to start water heating for the morning ritual of preparing coffee. You know, to start the day off right. I press the button on the coffee grinder, we’re not savages after-all, and to my utter horror, the coffee grinder starts to make the gawd-awful sound of gears grinding against one another. It was at that moment when I was much reminded of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone when he slaps his hands to his face as he comes to the realization that he’s been left all alone. Not in the after realization he had when he started jumping up and down on his bed because his family was not there. Instead, the realization that the constant thing in his life, was suddenly gone. Yep, it was that way for me to know that I couldn’t start not only that day off right , but many days yet to come, with freshly ground coffee.

I know, stupid people problems. Before you continue down the road of moral high-ground, I’m gonna stop you right there because I won’t be freshly-ground-coffee-first-thing-in-the-morning-to-start-the-day-off-with-a-cornerstone-ritual-that-says-everything-will-be-okay-during-this-pandemic-shamed. Deal!

Back to my regularly scheduled story, crap, where was I? Oh right, grinder malfunction. What was I going to do? I mean, if there is no coffee to reinforce some constant reminder of what life was like before SI, how was I going to make it through? That was the question.

So, as we all do when we want to do-it-ourselves, I went to YouTube to diagnose the problem. After a few miscues and rabbit-holes later, I come across what seemed to fit the bill with this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lL8BInrki8&t=1066s.  I knew what had to be done in order to restore order to the universe; I would repair the grinder myself. What could possibly go wrong?

With determination I set off to right the wrong the universe had placed before me. First, order the 3-D Printed part. Check. While I waited for it to arrive, I scoured the house for the proper #2 Phillips screwdriver for the job. It needed to be at least 6 inches long in the blade/tine length and had to be thin enough to go into the holes where the screws were strategically placed to hold the grinder together. Nope, didn’t have it. Next I asked my parents-in-law. Nope, not them either. Next I went to Home Depot to purchase one. Busted out there too. Not before getting a set with all sorts of attachments that one piece of ultimately got lodged in one of the holes containing one of said screws. I would have failed before I started if I could not get the inch long attachment out of the hole it had somehow got wedged in. Apparently there was hidden from view, a lip where the screw slipped under. Ugh. More waiting.

As I had no screwdriver, I was once again forced to go online to where everyone shops – Amazon. I did my research and ordered a matched set of Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers with 10″ length blade/tine. About a week later, yes a week, when the world faces a pandemic, 2-day shipping is suspended, my package arrived.

Finally I was able to put to use one of the only thing a flat-head screwdriver is good for, I was able to bore out the opening a little wider with said flat-head screw driver, allowing me to place my magnetized Phillips screwdriver into the opening and coax the attachment out. It took about 20 minutes.

After nearly breaking the grinder just so I could take it apart, I watched the above mentioned video numerous times and then took apart and put it back together no less than 5 times because one little thing was not just right when I reassembled. I felt like the blind-folded soldier breaking down and reassembling his rifle. I knew, intimately every nook and cranny of that grinder. I know how the gears works, what wires plugged in where and how everything went back together. I got pretty good at it. During the first time apart I made an effort to clean the grinder of the years of packed coffee beans. No wonder this thing was not working correctly.

Finally, after weeks and weeks of either waiting for parts or ultimately waiting for our pre-ground coffee to be done with, today I made freshly ground coffee. And yes, It Tasted like Victory! Yes, yes it did.

The End

P.S.

This post is not meant to be taken too serious. I know the sort of hurt that is out there and people are experiencing. I am not blind to it. For my own sanity, I write, sometimes it’s tongue and cheek.

I know it’s been a while since we’ve been in touch. I hope you’ve been well. Have you been learning new things about yourself? Have you been learning new things about the people you live with? Have you started some new project or done something wacky or crazy? I would love to hear all about it.

I have started some wire-wrapping. I have a bunch of polished stones I picked up at Goodwill and some wire purchased online and have once again gone to YouTube for instruction. I have to say, those people make it look easy. My first attempts don’t look as good…but it was a first attempt. I am not daunted. I will persevere.

More to come…

Peace be with you!

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Let me tell you a story

The year was 1978 and I was 8 years old at the time. It was a warm summer evening. The days didn’t grow dark until late. All us kids were in shorts and little else. All us kids really means all the kids from 21st and Powell, the east side of 21st and Powell to be more specific. There was myself and my brother Linus, who likes to be called Lenny, and Steve, another 21st & Poweller, (yes I just made up that word). At least that is all I can remember being who had been on the sidewalk playing around when a couple of girls came up to us. “Hey”, says the older girl. She had dark hair and was fair complected. Her younger sister had long really dark hair I would almost describe as being in locks. “Hey” says us three kids. The two girls were probably about 8 or 9 and about 4 as near I can tell. “I’m Steve, who are you and your little sister?” Steve asked in the subtle ways kids ask anything. “I’m Misti, but that’s my little brother Micah, not my sister. Micah, show’em your pickle.” Micah then proceeded to pull out his penis, to show that in fact he was a boy. That is the story of how we met Micah Amrine.

From an early age, the four of us, Lenny, Micah, Steve and myself hung out. We all went to the same school but as it happened, all of us were in different grades. At that age and at Brooklyn Elementary School, that meant we were all in different classes and rarely saw each other during the day unless it was recess or lunch break. I don’t remember much time with Micah or Lenny during school, mostly after school which meant go play outside with all the other kids that lived on our street. We did just that. There were games of freeze-tag and red-light green-light. We built forts with the plastic carton crate things that were from the Tasty Freeze building across the street. Life was good.

As we got older, and as you might imagine, some of us moved away. We always found our way back to one another however. For the next several years during middle school (yuck) we saw less of each other. High school came around and we all started to see each other more, confined less and less by our parents living situations. As Steve and I graduated and Lenny and Micah became of an age (18) we all started hanging out more once again. Steve and I had cars and I had my own apartment.

I can remember one time when Lenny, Micah, our buddy Tom, myself and another person that was a friend of Steve’s went camping up on Mt. Hood at Timothy Lake. I remember this because our neighbors in the spot next to ours thought Tom was John Candy, Micah was Mrs. John Candy (’cause he still had long hair) and that Lenny was their child. It was the funniest thing ever. We got a lot of mileage out of that, believe me.

I can remember playing D&D at times but eventually Magic the Gathering became our game of choice.

As we got even older and Lenny and Micah joined the workforce, getting together was less often but when we did get together, someone usually had money. Life seemed pretty typical to me of what young folk did.

I can remember when Lenny had turned 22, which also means that Micah’s birthday was the very next day (and 364 days older than Lenny), we all thought it would be cool to go the a gun range (The Place to Shoot as I recall). Tom (John Candy from earlier), Micah, Lenny and I went to shoot a bunch of paper, that had for all intense purposes, had done nothing to warrant such violence. I can remember that after trying a few different hand guns, Micah tried out The Desert Eagle. The bloody thing was as big as his forearm and how he could grab it one-handed, I could not tell you. The moment he fired it for the first time, he started to laugh maniacally. There was virtually no kick to the gun.

It also must be said that as we went in, we were telling each other how to hold the weapons to fire them off, one hand holding the gun and the other hand to support it from underneath. There were a couple reasons for this. The first being that it’s more accurate. The second thing being that if you hold the gun with both hand wrapped around it, you might be loosey-goosey with your thumb and have it sticking up. With a weapon say like a 45 or 9mm, the slide comes back to discharge the empty bullet casing and load a new round. It does this very quickly and with some force. It of course happened to be that Micah forgot this rule and got his thumb smacked from the slide.

The following year we all decided it was so much fun the year previous that we should go again. This sounded like a great plan up. We even mentioned how funny it was the previous year that Micah got his thumb slammed and not to do it again. Guess what? Yes, he absolutely got his thumb slammed by the slide. Needless to say that was the last time we went back. Somethings you have to trust aren’t in your wheelhouse.

That seemed to be a theme of Micah’s throughout our younger years. He was a bit of a klutz. Not to say that I didn’t break a few bones in my time though. I remember a time when we all decided roller blades were super cool and went out roller-blading up to 21st Taylor, back when I had my own apartment on 11th Taylor. No problem getting up the incline to 21st. No no, the problem came when we started back down the road to my place. Micah had neglected to say he didn’t know how to stop. Needless to say Micah figured out a sure fire way to stop. Run into the back of a parked car. Does the trick every time.

Our younger lives were filled with happiness and sadness both. We all fought and made up, fought and made up. At a certain point though, sometimes making up isn’t so easy.  Words are exchanged. Feeling are hurt. People move on. Your viewpoints on things change or someone else’s does and getting together ceases altogether. The common things that kept you together for years now is no longer enough…

I lost track of Micah about 10-15 years ago. Holy shit, when you say it like that, it really says something. Maybe we weren’t really friends anymore. Maybe we had just moved on. One thing is for certain however, at least in my mind. Time seems to have sped forward at more than the universal constant of one second per second. How does 10-15 years go by without being in touch with the people you grew up with, know and care about? I am left wondering this question over and over. How do you let so much time go by without seeing those people that are meaningful to you? I had to really examine that question. I think, for me anyway, that people gravitate towards people like themselves, in some ways at least. Similar social elevations, certain financial achievements, certain political beliefs, certain religious beliefs, the consumption of…the drinking of…. It all comes into play. As we experience life, we form our own belief system based on our own values rather than those that are thrust upon us as just being apart of a family. Whether that family is of blood or friendship.

For my part, I never really felt terribly comfortable with being around the consumption of cannabis. I think that showed very clearly and thus I was too much of a tight-ass. It’s true. I kind of poo-poo’ed the idea of using something to feel good. I understand a little better now-a-days that it’s perfectly okay to get a little help when needed to get to a better frame of mind and sometimes body.

I believe that was in part the reason why Micah and I drifted apart. I felt awkward around many of the people that were in his circle of friends. Who wants to invite the awkward guy to a party, right?  Maybe it has nothing to do with that at all, I will never get the opportunity to find out.

A couple of weeks ago This past weekend I received a call from my brother telling me that Micah had passed away. The official cause was Stroke. It happens that Micah was hypertensive and suffered with depression. Things that can be properly treated with healthcare. Not something that as a community we do well at providing for those who really need it and cannot cover the cost.

Once again I am left feeling this great sense of loss for something I hadn’t had for more than 10 years. Does that even make sense? Short answer, hell yes! We may no longer have hung out or did many things together any more. But at least there was always the opportunity for reconciliation. Time to see each other as how we are now. To smile and acknowledge we each took our own path and we made it out the other side.

That time has now slipped by.

This past weekend I did get together for a celebration of life for Micah. I was met by Steve, Tom (john Candy) and Floyd. We spent the service exchanging stories of Micah or growing up where we did. Lots of reminiscing was had by all. It was emotional and raw and very touching. Even though I had not prepared anything to talk about, I got up in front of mostly people I didn’t know and spoke from the heart. It was cathartic and surreal. Afterwards some of us met up and the Ambassador on Sandy (in Portland Oregon) to have Chinese food, a few drinks and a whole lot of karaoke.

I think what I got out of this experience was that even though I had spent time with Micah for 30 years as a child, teen and young adult. I never really got to see Micah as an adult making his choices and being the sort of person he really was. I will forever be grateful for the many people that spoke at Micah’s Celebration of Life service for filling me in on the last 10 years of his life.

From all accounts Micah was generous. Not in the sense that you and I might define generous with money and finances, but with time and kind spirit. Micah gave his time to those that needed it and was there for those who really needed something that he could provide. Several people spoke about how he would drop everything to come over to cheer them up or that he just made them feel special when they needed it.

Even though I didn’t really experience being around Micah during his last decade of life, I feel like I know him a little better than I did before.

I will close with this; “Micah, for a guy who was picked on as much as you were in our group of knuckle-heads, we still loved you and I personally enjoyed your unique self for as long as your time allowed. I am honored to have known you and feel blessed to apart of your life.

Peace be with you…

More to come…

 

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Welcome everyone!

I want to preface that this post was started in January and am only now feeling like I should share it.

As it has happened all so familiarly over the past year or more, I have rarely been in the writing/posting mood at all. It almost seemed like it really wasn’t worth writing anything more than could be digested in convenient, bite-sized nuggets, which if any of you that have read my blog at all, is not me.

Lately, however, I have been feeling a bit more myself and really have had some experiences I would like to share. This is a bit of a hodge-podge of a couple posts that I blended into one stream of consciousness. Forgive me if it doesn’t make much sense but I think for me to be able to move forward and write the way I want to write about the things I want to write about, I need to tell about this experience first.

Earlier this year Last summer my wife and I visited Georgia (Alabama…mostly) to visit family. While we were there, we took the opportunity to make our way to Montgomery where we visited The Legacy Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. It was an experience I will never forget. I’m sure that was the point. Never forget. Never repeat.

The Legacy Museum left me in tears as I slowly walked from one element to another within the walls of the old brick building it was held in. It all seemed so much more real that at any other time slavery or prejudice or racism had ever been talked about or mentioned in any media form that I had consumed before. It was all so overwhelming and sad that as people, we are capable of such terrible abuses. It is true. Such abuses still take place today I’m afraid. Largely in different ways but still happening.

As I wondered from one segment of the Museum to the next I felt shame and horror for what we were and are capable of doing to others of our own race…the Human Race. We all share the same needs; food, shelter, love. There are arguments for what we, each of us, really need to survive and there is probably some validity in them. I’m not here to debate what we all need, I’m simply stating that as a people we have taken so much from one another. I might add that the taking was almost exclusively one-sided. The stories that were told within the museum brought into clarity how the effects of our ancestors are impacting lives today. My heart broke again and again as I took in all the details I could handle until I couldn’t handle any more. Then I continued until I had managed to take it all in. I felt like it was the least I could do.

I encourage everyone to visit both of these sites for a truly moving experience. As a people I have great hope by the shear fortitude and force of will that those that have been so mightily abused have managed to move forward. No small task I am sure.

Both were unbelievably moving. At the former, I openly wept as the weight of injustice came crashing upon me. I was somber and angry at the latter for the stupidity that as humans we have the capacity for…just over the color of a persons skin. Dumb!

Visiting both places in Montgomery helped reinforce that I have experienced privilege. At first I didn’t want to believe that because my mom raised four kids largely by herself with no help from our father. We were poor, no denying that. We often didn’t have time with our mom or took vacations and ate very modest meals…but the thing we never had to worry about was being denied something because the color of our skin. Never were we afraid of the police. In fact as a youngster I wanted to be part of that community. I remember them passing out Blazer Basketball Cards. The patrol car would roll by and all us kids would cheer and run over in the hopes that we could get a card. That’s not an experience everyone growing up had.

Not that I couldn’t write volumes more on my thoughts and feelings on the matter, I am choosing to bring them into the forefront and let people decide for themselves how to move the conversation forward.

……………….

Additionally, while we were in Georgia, we did stop in at the world headquarters/birthplace of Coca-Cola. It was a touristy sort of thing to do, but since we were there… It was a bit over the top, but hey, it wasn’t all kitch(sp). Okay, so maybe it was but I will say that one of the cool things I found was at the end of the day, before we were making our way out of the place, we went through a room that allowed us to sample all manner of Coke products from around the world. Honestly, most were so strange to me, or in a few instances, disgusting, that I had to ask myself why and how. Guess I will never know the answers to those questions. No biggie. A few were pretty good, but for me, nothing compared to the taste of the real deal itself.

Wrapping this up, I wanted to give my thanks to a friend whom I haven’t seen or really spoke with in quite a while who has made his way back to my neck of the woods. Thanks for telling me that my writing mattered and that it helped people. Good to see you again.

Peace be with you!

More to come…

 

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Today I celebrate my 49th birthday

Okay, maybe celebrate is too strong a word for it. I must admit that with each passing year, there is a little less hair on the top of my head and the hair that I do have is either turning white or coming out of my ears and other places I would rather not go into. Additionally, I recently went to see my doctor a few months ago for some sorenesss in my knees and elbows plus a few other things that seemed to make the trip worthwhile, I get the “James, you’re getting of an age…that arthritus may be a real thing you have to start dealing with.” Seriously! Like, I’m only 49. Those issues are for old people…and I am certainly not that – right? Then I had to take a moment to be honest with myself. In my own mind, I am not old but our bodies age differently and although to look at my clean shaven face + goatee, you might think I was just 40 or in my late 30’s, stop laughing, i’ve been told. Okay yes, they could have been lying to me but whatever. As I was saying before I was so rudely intereupted, i’ve had to deal with a myriad of issues that have, in my opinion, aged me physically more than I should have aged. This is not to say that I stop doing the things I like to do but rather am more accepting of my ability to do those things and feel good that i can still do them. Those of you who were once a twenty-something and able to do a thing at a high level and now find yourself on the wrong side of whatever age but are not able to no longer those things or can’t do them at the same level understand what I am talking about.

So, today is my birthday and today I feel pretty good. I am grateful that I can still do most everything a younger me could do, if not as well, but still. But where the body declines, the mind excels. Today I am wiser (don’t laugh), more empathetic, understand the value of friendship and still look forward to waking up each and every day. It wasn’t always so…

It was more than a year ago that I started feeling overwhelmed by pretty much everthing. I was working a part-time job until my own business took off and offered the financial freedom I hoped it would, until it didn’t. Late last year I made the choice to close Greenleaf Enterprises LLC and figure out this next chapter in my career life.I lost my self confidence and started going to a dark place. Eventually I saw a counselor. For about a year or more we talked about anything and everything but I just didn’t feel like myself. Ultimately my doctor, counselor and myself agreed that it would be in my best interest to go on anti-depressants.

Fast forward to now and today I wake up to see (via email message) that a bunch of people had posted on my Facebook Timeline (a place I almost never go and only am there to link this blog to it). It’s a day like this when people that you may not see or talk to regularly take the time to say nice things to and about me that I look forward to waking up each day. So, to all of you that wished me a happy birthday, Thank you so much. It means so much that you reached out. It also insentivises me to be a little more communicative for my own part.

I know that this post is a giant rant/stream of consciousness but that is where my headspace is right now. If you read this and would like to get in touch, please send me a note. I would love to hear from you.

Peace be with you!

More to come…

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Happy and Sad News

As some of you may recall, a few months back on April 1st, my family suffered the loss of our beloved dog Undie. No joke! This was a huge hole in our lives and hearts and struggled to fill the void created by his sudden passing. To that end, my wife was continuously checking out all the shelters around town. Eventually we started going to a few of them, not really intent on adoption just yet but sort of getting used to the idea of another four-legged friend.

Eventually we did find a dog, named Jody, that we would adopt. She was shy at the shelter, had just been spayed and had a UTI that we needed to address immediately. She is a mix of yellow lab and other. The other has been speculated to be greyhound or whippet. Not that it matters much, as she is really fantastic. We have been getting to know her and all her eccentricities as well as she learning ours.

For the time being, after we got her, we kept our cat Herc and the newly named Kona separated by a baby-gate just so there weren’t any misunderstandings. Since the dog formerly known as Jody was turned in as a stray wondering the streets somewhere in California, we didn’t know if she was packing heat or armed with blades. Hey, you never know.

Things went smoothly like this for a couple weeks when on a Thursday morning while eating breakfast next to Herc, as I do on the days I’m not working, he decided to get up and nearly fell. He walked as if he was drunk, bumping into the walls and things. As it turns out, Herc, whose straight up ornery-ness, had kept him going into his late teens, was now taking his last steps.

I stayed with him and made him comfortable until he passed early Saturday morning. He was at home surrounded by those that loved him in a place he was familiar with and had made his home for the past three years.

He had come to us after my mom passed away in 2015 while my sister was in the hospital and then recovery. Since then we added him to our family which wasn’t the easiest since we already had another cat, Axle (yes named after Foley), and our dog Undie (Underdog). We didn’t know how any of them would react but since Herc had been in the family for many years we couldn’t see giving him to a shelter if we could offer him a home.

Herc never had it easy and it seemed was always in a scuffle because he was the outsider coming into some other pets home disrupting things. It was like that when I got him for my mom back between 2000-2002 from a coworker at PlaceWare named Debbie A. He entered a home with other cats and scuffles broke out. Later he would come to us and more scuffles broke out. Oh, and there was a fire at the apartment building my mom and sister lived at which precipitated their move. To say it wasn’t an easy life for Herc would just about sum things up. It would also be fair to say that he was loved by those that took him in.

Every pet, in my experience, will develop unique, sometimes quirky habits or affectations that endear them to us. For me, it was the way Herc would meow without making a sound. It was, I like to think, his way of speaking in code for me to come over and sit by him and watch his back while he slept or ate. He was also fond of sleeping on my stomach while I watched television.

In all the time Herc has been apart of the Nutt family, he has been an exclusively indoor cat. A few months ago we completed work or nearly had completed the landscaping in our backyard and thought we would let Herc explore a little if he dared. And dare he did. He would soon be making dashes for the door leading outside whenever it was opened.

Initially he would venture out on the path, stop, and then start meowing. Later he would walk a circuit around the yard like he was on patrol. I like to think this was a joy for him in the last months of his life.

It is at times like these that we are hurt so much by a loved pet that I ask why we keep doing this and the answer always is the same; because the amount of sadness and sorrow are minuscule compared to the immeasurable joy they bring to our lives.

I’ll wrap up by saying that if you can open your home and heart to a pet, do it, you will not regret it.

Peace be with you.

More to come…

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Road Trip 2018 – Days 3-10

Obviously time has slipped somewhat through my grasp in terms of being able to keep some of it to write during. So…instead of writing an entry for each day like I had originally wanted to, I’m instead going to do a brief outline of all the days’ events and share pics below. The pics will likely be in an order not corresponding to the actual date but you will be able to follow along I’m sure.

Day 3 – Drove to and stayed in Glacier National Park all day, visiting among other places, Lake McDonald Lodge. This was a grand old lodge built around the turn of the century in the Austrian stylings. As we walked around the lodge property, ground squirrels were everwhere. They run along the ground like a cat or ferret instead of the traditonal squirrel that kind of sproings (yes, like a Tigger) and make the cutest little sounds while they’re standing on their hind legs.

Later we drove to the South side to a place called Goat Lick Overlook…and yes, we did see a mountain goat.

Later on we drove over the continental divide to East Glacier Park Village and Two-Medicine. Gotta love the names, so descriptive.

Day 4 – Once again we hopped in the car and drove along Hwy 93 until we hit Cranbrook where we stopped in at a Thai restaurant for lunch. Both our lunches were damn spicy noodle dishes. So good.

Today was also the day we had to get back into the park with a pass from two years ago that we no longer had. The scoop as it goes initially takes place two years ago when we took a road trip to this very national park. We purchased a two-year pass for the national park as we believed we would be visiting again within that time frame. We believed the pass was still in the glove-box with all the other papers from our earlier time, including our resort booking details that showed we had indeed been here two years ago and had to pass through the checkpoint and purchase a pass.

As we could not produce our pass we thought we were going to need to buy another for the few days we were going to be in and out of the park. The attendant was very apologetic and said there wasn’t anything she could do for us. Resigning ourselves to the purchase of a new pass, the attendant spontaniously called her boss and explained the story…and low and behold, was told to write us a pass for the 5 days we were going to be staying. That was so fantastic. People here in Canada have, by and large, been SO nice. My wife and I have been doing our best to represent the US in the same light.

Day 5 – Today was a drive from the resort in Canmore to Peter Loughheed Provincial Park then to Spray Valley Provincial Park in Kananaskis (Cannon-ass-kiss or alternatively rhymes with banana with skis tacked on the to the end). While driving we did see a fox running along next to the highway with what appeared to be a freshly caught ground squirrel in its mouth.

Day 6 – We drove to Lake Louise and back. While we were at the lake, puttered around and took pics. It was so beautiful. The air was oddly very warm. I was out in just a t-shirt and was very comfortable.

Day 7 – Today’s drive consisted of touring around Bow River and Deadman Flats (again – gotta love the names – also…this is where the Revenant was filmed in large part). We did manage to see a whole mess of mountain sheep along the side of the road and up the mountain side.

Day 8 – We drove to Jasper today. Along the way we did see 2 black bears and 1 grizzly. The hump right behind the shoulder blades gives it away as a grizzly. That was exciting to say the least. We also stopped at the Athabaska Glacier within the Icefields Parkway. It was a bit of a hike to get to the Toe of the glacier but it was worth the thin air and uneven footing. Also, the fields just below the glacier are almost entirely loose rock, the perfect place to stack them upon one another. Once you see the pic, you will understand. There were dozens of them ranging in height from just inches tall to maybe 6-7 feet! It was so bizarre and great all at the same time. The selfie of me with the big fuck-all glacier in the background doesn’t really do the glacier justice to illustrate just how big the glacier still is. Yes, I said “still” because of the climate getting warmer, the glaciers are all melting. I think the information I read about this one said it was be gone in the next 100 years. So sad.

Day 9 – Today was the big travel day. We drove to Whistler stopping at every place that offered up a wonderful pic. Not to say we stopped every five minutes, no, most of the pics were taken from the car but sometimes you just have to get out of the car to take in the beauty for more than just a few passing seconds you get while driving. It seemed like just around every bend was another beatiful landscape. Sometimes they were covered in trees, other times they were rocky and craggy. It took us between 9 hours and eternity of driving to arrive in Whistler.

We were in time to see the second half of the NBA Finals game four match-up between the Warriors and Cavaliers.

We also did manage to see a moose in a field about a hundred yards (or meters since we’re in Canada – I know the conversion isn’t exact but yoou get the idea) off the hwy.

Day 10 (Today) – We walked through Whistler Village. Just a big open-air mall really but pretty cool all the same. As we wondered we came out to the ski-lift area that now was taking mountain bikers and their bikes up to the trails that had been made especially for them. It was amazing to see so many people be into down-hill mountain-biking. I guess I don’t run in those circles. All in all, it was pretty cool.

We also drove around some of the small lakes around the resort. One inparticular that was amazing was Lost Lake; it literally had tens of thousands of tadpoles at the waters edge. It was amazing…and a little creepy if I’m being honest, but mostly amazing, mostly.

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