Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts

February 15, 2021

Down the Greg Ovens Rabbit Hole

These Videos Are Strangely Addicting 

It was rainy in the Jacksonville area over the weekend. It was the kind of weekend where you generally just stay indoors, although K.C. and I did make a little trip to the new Tractor Supply Co. and Culver's locations on Saturday just to check them out. Bought some cheeseburgers and a bird bath, I'll let you figure out which came from where. 
Anyway, on Friday night I tapped into one of my saved movies on YouTube, The Mountain Men, starring Charlton Heston. It's campy, politically incorrect by today's standards, but also a classic. Not even close to being Jeremiah Johnson good, but I hadn't watched it in quite some time so it was worth dusting off.

I suppose based on that recommendation, when I was streaming YouTube later on Saturday I received the suggestion of these Ovens Rocky Mountain Bushcraft videos. This was the first entry I watched. Its got everything... fishing, bears, more fishing, more bears, and even some camp cooking... with liberal quantities of butter and aluminum foil.


And... umm... I couldn't stop. I totally binged these videos of Greg just doing random stuff in the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies. It's probably unfair to say the plots of these videos are random, as he does generally set out with a plan, but things tend to happen and they don't always work out as planned. Anyway, if you want to follow along, here are a few others about fishing, but most of them are more general outdoors in theme.


Finally, in reading the "About" on his YouTube channel, I also learned he was evidently on the History Channel's "Alone" series, so I'll have to see if I can find that on demand. Guess I'll be chasing the rabbit again next weekend too...

June 15, 2020

Big Land: Brook Trout Fishing In The Heart Of Labrador - Now on YouTube

If you haven't viewed Big Land, a wonderful film from the folks at Tight Loops yet, now is a great time to take it in. It was some of the best fishing story telling I've ever watched. Definitely worth the 45 or so minutes. Brook trout, History, Labrador, not much more needs to be said.


But if you don't believe me...

April 12, 2020

Kings of the Yukon

In an attempt to get outside, I've been taking a lot of long walks, either early evening or on the weekends, during this period of social distancing. It's been a great opportunity to get a little bit of exercise, fresh air, and catch up on the podcasts I typically listen to on my commute to and from work.

One I streamed yesterday was from The Itinerant Angler. Host Zach Matthews' podcasts are always informative and enjoyable, plus they're on the relatively short side (about a half hour) and make for an easy listen. This particular episode was an interview with Adam Weymouth, who had written a book called Kings of the Yukon, in which he canoed the length of the Yukon River, from the headwaters to the sea, tracing the migratory path of Pacific salmon, and learning more about the fish and the sub-populations of people in the region that historically relied on them.

It's a fantastic listen, one I highly recommend.

It also took me back to a few years to my family's summer vacation to Alaska... you know those simpler times when we were allowed to leave the house.

It was a great look back, and also reminded me of one of the little tricks one of our tour guides gave us to remember the five types of Pacific salmon, by referencing the fingers on your hand.

Thumb = Chum salmon (rhymes with thumb).

Pointer Finger = Sockeye (what finger would you use to poke somebody in the eye?... ok, this one is admittedly a stretch).

Middle Finger = King (the largest/longest finger)

Ring Finger = Silver (rings are made of metal, silver)

Pinky Finger = Pink (self-explanatory).

I guess the only way this could get confusing is if you're more familiar with these fish by their alternate names, as each has one. For example, the Chum is also known as the Dog salmon, Sockeye/Kokanee, King/Chinook, Silver/Coho, and the Pink/Humpback.

Anyway, just a little salmonid knowledge for today. If you get a chance, listen to that podcast, maybe pick up a copy of the book, and let's all dream of days we can once again travel without concern to places such as Alaska to see them in their natural environment.

August 2, 2018

Vacation Roundup: Victoria, British Columbia

The last stop on our cruise... which means the second to last vacation post... dropped us off in...

Victoria, British Columbia

A full day and a half at sea after leaving Skagway is enough to make you stir crazy. They certainly load those cruise ships with plenty of amenities and entertainment but being stuck on a boat for that long made us so eager to arrive in the capital of British Columbia, Victoria.

Everybody gets stir-crazy and tired for posing for photos during 36 hours at sea...

This was actually the only stop on our vacation where we entered the port in the evening. The stay was relatively short (6 hours), and we had about an hour to kill before our bus tour took us to our eventual evening destination. Unfortunately, "town" isn't close enough to reach from the docks, enjoy anything, and get back in time, so happy to be off the ship, we hung out on The Breakwater, a long walking pier decorated by many First Nations murals.

We walked out to the light at the end on the "up top" on the paved path and walked back to the boat "down below" by the water level. There were lots of dog walkers and fishermen... and a steady stream of floatplanes taking off and smaller tour boats leaving, it was quite scenic for what it was...

The hour passed, we headed back to the ship and hopped on the bus that would take us to Butchart Gardens, a beautifully manicured, outdoor wonderland of pretty much every species of flower, shrub, and tree you could imagine.

The quick story behind the gardens, before I get to the photos, is that this property once upon a time belonged to the Butchart family, early entrepreneurs of the area. After several years of trying to find his way, Robert Butchart claimed land rich in limestone to help sustain & grow his Portland cement business. See, there were a lot of people in western Canada following the Klondike Gold Rush of a few years prior, and good building materials were very much in demand. Robert made his fortune from filling that demand. Oh, back to the gardens...

So when the limestone quarries on the property were finally exhausted, Robert's wife Jennie decided she wasn't going to live among big eye-sore mining pits, so she started planting gardens to reclaim the land's beauty. She did an absolutely wonderful job... and although the property was passed down through several hands in the family over the years, the gardens were preserved & expanded creating a world-class botanical attraction.

Here were some of the highlights:

The Sunken Garden, with the Ross Fountain...

The Rose Garden & Sturgeon Fountain...

The Japanese Garden & Butchart Cove...

and Star Pond & the Italian Garden...

After we walked through the majority of the premises, we still had about an hour before we had to leave to head back to the ship. There was some live music being played on an outdoor stage in the gardens, so we headed over there, laid down on the soft, cool grass, and just relaxed as the sun went down. I honestly could have slept right there the entire night if they would have let me...

After that, we hopped back on the bus and took the "long way" through town back to the dock. Our tour guide pointed out various sites of interest, including the Parliament building (pictured below) and told us some of the quirky histories of some of Victoria's early socialites. Look up Francis Rattenbury if you have a chance...

I will say, Victoria was absolutely gorgeous, and fully lived up to its nickname of "The Garden City." I think of all the places we visited, if I had to pick one to live in (you know you do it too when on vacation), Victoria would be it, quite easily. It's got all of the beauty of nature as well as the conveniences of a small city. Although I hear it's kind of pricey... but what good isn't?

So that really concluded the cruise part of our vacation. We hopped back on the ship, left during the night, with the next stop being Seattle, where they were kicking us off for good in the morning! But it didn't mean we couldn't sneak in a few extra sights before we caught our flight back to Florida...

2018 Vacation Posts
Seattle | Ketchikan | Juneau | Skagway | Victoria | Seattle II

August 1, 2018

Vacation Roundup: Skagway, Alaska

The Griswolds move on... one last Alaskan stop in...

Skagway, Alaska

After the prior day in Juneau, our boat pulled into Skagway sometime in the early morning. We were all asleep and didn't see us come in, but once awake we hustled down to the gangway for our bus & train tour...

Skagway, similar to the other towns we visited in Alaska has a small main street. It was only a few blocks of stores that looked like something out of the wild west. If you blinked, you'd miss it, and I did with my camera. Instead, we headed up the mountains on the bus and had some wonderful views of the valleys off in the distance.

Skagway is pretty close to the Canadian border, so in about 20 minutes, we found ourselves crossing into British Columbia. As we gained elevation, it was really interesting to watch the surroundings change. The trees got much shorter as we ventured from the foothills, all the way up to the sub-alpine and alpine zones.

The tour bus stopped at several places, allowed us to hop out, stretch our legs, and take photos. We even saw a bear on the side of the road. Not going to lie, Lilly sort of boycotted this part of the trip. I think she was still a little tired from the prior days' activities, so she didn't get out of the bus at each stop. She missed out...

Following several photo stops at many of the lakes, we actually ended up passing through this tiny sliver of British Columbia, and into the Yukon Territory. I expected to immediately see dogsleds and stuff, but that was not quite the case. Instead there was a lady sitting roadside selling snacks, candy, and souvenirs out of her truck. She clearly knows where the buses stop.

Our primary stop in the Yukon was this interesting suspension bridge & outdoor museum that was a good couple hundred feet above the rushing Tutshi river below. The geography was weird, as we passed back into British Columbia again to go there... so the Yukon suspension bridge is actually in B.C...

It was about lunchtime, and there was a gorgeous visitor's center & restaurant with three walls of glass windows. They served us a lunch of bison chili that was really good & filling. The ladies in my family don't really care for chili, but they were troopers. Why bison? Evidently, the family that owns this attraction also owns a buffalo ranch "over the hill."

After lunch, our group had about an hour to explore the bridge and the various outdoor exhibits. The views were absolutely stunning, no matter what direction you chose to look.

Most of the rivers and streams in the area were milky in color (this was actually the case going back to Mount Rainier). This is from "glacial flour" or fine silt particles of bedrock that was ground up as the glaciers moved over the land. As they recede and melt in the current day, they release this "flour" into the streams of the area. It's pretty wild when you think about it.

Once our time at the bridge concluded, our tour bus took us back down the road we originally came up. It didn't take us all the way back to Skagway though, we stopped in Fraser, BC, as we were going to take the rest of the tour by rail.

The White Pass & Yukon Route was a really wonderful way to experience the sights back to town. The narrow gauge railway actually was built on the original footpaths that early prospectors used during the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800s. Skagway was the primary port to reach the gold fields, and there were two trails to get there. This line traced the path through the White Pass, the less treacherous (although longer) of the two.

Note for those interested... should you ever take this train from Fraser down to Skagway... sit on the right side of the coach. Basically, everything is out the right side window, a lot of the journey is just the side of the mountain if you sit on the left. Unfortunately, we got in the car last and had to sit on the left. It didn't ruin the trip, but your views were partially obstructed by those sitting to the right of you, or those shuffling up and down the aisles also trying to grab a better look. As such, not great photos of this part of the tour.

Once back in town at the train depot, we had to hustle back to the boat to make sure we got there for its departure. No extra time in Skagway. I can't think we missed too much though, as other than the touristy "State Street" there really wasn't really anything to see.

Our bus driver told us that during the off-season for tourists, Skagway only has about 900 residents, and doesn't even have a full-time doctor or dentist. Another interesting tidbit, all three of our bus drivers on all of our tours in Alaska (Ketchikan, Juneau, & Skagway) were college students from different schools in Utah. Appears these Alaskan tour companies do some pretty heavy recruiting over there for seasonal employment. Seems like a pretty rad summer job, given you can handle the wheel of a tour bus and have the gift for gab.

And that was it for Skagway. Before you knew it, the boat was leaving. Not long after we left, we saw a small octagonal lighthouse (Eldred Rock Light) looking out our room's balcony, as we headed for another day at sea. Next destination: Victoria, British Columbia.

2018 Vacation Posts
Seattle | Ketchikan | Juneau | Skagway | Victoria | Seattle II