Very important disclaimer

Please be advised that the contents of this blog are opinions only (my opinion, the opinions of my family and the opinions of anyone else directly or indirectly involed in this blog). This is not an accredited training blog, nor is it an accredited anything blog. If you (and you) do anything that this blog says, or don't do anything that this site says not to do, and you get injured, sick or killed, you cannot blame me or my family or blame anyone else directly or indirectly involved in this blog. By reading anything on this blog (including this message) you are saying that you are a person who makes thier own choices in life and does not hold the writer of this blog, the writers family or any one else that may be directly or indirectly involved in the production or writing of this blog, responsible for your stupid and irresponsible behaviors, injuries, sicknesses or deaths. With that said, please enjoy my fun blog.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Foran Grade Hike, Kananaskis Country

Don’t forget, I nominated myself in the Q&A game, so go there and give me your questions.

Ok, since we have had very successful hikes in the last few weekends, we were looking for something a little more challenging, just to see what we could do. The route is actually 3 trails, to make the full 8km loop, that gains 250m/ 820ft in the first 3km to the top of Foran Grade, then drops the 250m in the next 1.5km, then another 50 or so on the Sheep trail on the way back to the car.


I’ll tell you what though, the Sheep Trail scared the shit out of me. There were a few places that had a bit of grass (maybe 6-10 feet) at a 30deg angle, then it was a 250’ drop straight down to the river below. I carried Andrew through this part. At one point I looked at Traci and said, ‘Jeez, one slip to the right and you’re not coming back’. We will take the road next time. Hike Alberta Blogger describes it like this:

This section of the trail involves walking along the precipitous canyon walls of the Sheep River. I would suggest returning on the road in slippery conditions


I can’t imagine being on a horse here… freak me out.

Anyway, back to the rest of the hike. We are getting pretty good at climbing. Just a steady pace, hold hands with the boy on the steeps while he sings us up the ups with various renditions of the ABC’s. The Trail starts on a really nice looking mountain meadow. I have a thing for mountain meadows. I dunno, I just like them.


The wildflowers are if FULL force right now… literally billions of them on this hike. (i brightened this photo up a bit, fyi)


Almost a cliche of a trail…


About an hour in, we crossed over the top of the ridge (not at the top yet by far) and we see our first glimpse of the view we are going to be enjoying for the next 1/2 hour or so.


A bit farther up the trail and it’s almost like we hear that angel music when this comes into view. We are just so lucky. There are some more pictures of this area, mostly from the road below from when we camped in Turner Valley on July 1st weekend.


Can you tell we are in the rocky mountains? This is a blown down trees roots. No soil, just rocks!


When we reached the peak, we were kind of shielded from the really nice view down the valley toward the mountains, but to my surprise, looking back toward the prairies we were able to see Calgary!


Here it is zoomed in to the towers downtown…


So, so far we have heeded the advice of the hiking guide books and bloggers and have not been sorry yet. What I mean is, most hiking guides will tell you the best direction to enjoy the hike to the fullest. Well, this one was no different as the drop back down to the road was a lot steeper than the way we came up.  It doesn’t look like much difference, but the steeps were pretty severe at times.


4k in and still enjoying the hike!


This is the official end of the Foran Grade Trail, it now picks up the Windy Ridge Trail back to the highway about a km from here. We stopped a few times on the hike, to eat our snacks. I think Andrew like snacktime the best, but when I asked him tonight what his favourite part was, he simply stated ‘getting to the top of that big mountain’


It’s very lush up there this time of the year and some of the open meadows have grasses as tall as Andrew.


This is looking back up at the ridge we just traversed. You can’t actually see the top from this photo.


Once we crossed the highway, we picked up the Sheep trail. It covers a total of 44kms from one end of the Sheep River Valley to the other and is used as connectors for many of the ‘inland’ hikes. This photo shows how close to the canyon wall the trail was. It was also this point that Andrew ran out of gas. With about 2kms to go on relatively easy trails, I carried the boy. We moved quickly through this portion of the trail, as I was wigged out by the cliffs, but as soon as we exited into some nice meadows we took some frequent breaks. Each time when we got moving again, Andrew would start walking on his own, but after a few steps he would walk out in front of me and ask to be carried. That was fine. He was THAT tired too as he fell asleep in my arms as we finished up the hike. After our final break, we headed up a steep but short hill, and spotted a trail marker. Traci says ‘ How much farther?’. I pointed to the left and said ‘ Not too much father as there is our car!’


So, cheers all around, cross the road to the car and WOOT! we were in the Air conditioned comfort of the Nissan Cube.


We have started a bit of a tradition, in that after our hike, we find somewhere to cool our feet off. Normally it’s a river or creek. We were close to the Sandy McNabb recreation area, so we ended up heading down there. Well, some of you have followed me enough to know that I seem to be around ‘emergencies’ a lot. Today was no different. I’ll let my Facebook postings tell the story.


And just to paint the picture, this is a shot of the river where the incident happened. The river is down a bit since then, but still… yeesh…


I’ve nominated myself for the Q&A deal.

So ask me anything.

Wait. What?

I’m Neil. I used to blog a LOT.

You’ve never heard of me?

Well then, should make for some interesting questions.


Also, for those of you sweltering in the south and east, a little something for you. Click it and make this pic your background image and it’s guaranteed to cool you down.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Race pics and Google+

I found a couple ok race photos from the Red Deer Half Marathon Weekend! How’s that for pretty good form in the second picture! The rest of the pics sucked ass.



Also, I’m over at Google+ now too, so feel free to add me to your circles! Boy, it really looks and feels familiar, but I can’t put my finger on why.


AND, I am considering giving up running for a while. I mean, I want to focus on general fitness and weight loss for a while. I’ll keep runs in my repertoire, but they will be mainly for cardio bits in my training routines. I also want to take advantage of every opportunity to go hiking with my family and having long runs on the weekend will get in the way of that. I’ll see how I feel after a month or two and make some decisions then. I am only registered in one more race and that isn’t until Oct…

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I told Traci I was craving another hike…

so we went!

We just headed the 1/2 hour to Kananaskis Country past Bragg Creek and figured a nice little 5k loop on the Diamond T Loop would be good. It was! We spent more time hiking and less time sitting as there wasn’t much in the way of scenery, so before we knew it the 5k was up. It was pretty hilly with a few long ups, but boy we are glad we did the trek counter clockwise as the downhill off the mountain was relentless and doing it the other way may have killed us.


I wore my Vibrams today and regret it a bit as I had a couple painful steps onto sharp rocks on the steep downs. I have been having a great time in my Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves up to now but they were still soaked from the river walking I did yesterday, so I figured I’d try the Vibrams. I knew it would be fine unless we go into any rocky sections and for the most part it was ok. There were just a few areas that were touch and go. There was one rock I stepped on at one point that almost took me out… eeee youch..

Lesson learned: dry the Merrells overnight.

Expanding on that, the Merrell’s have been amazing as trail hikers. I go sockless and I have enjoyed every step in them. I am confident in the grip (especially downhill!) and when they do get wet there are no issues with my foot slipping in them or anything. I can take on any terrain, footing and surface. They are even stylish at the grocery store!

On the way out we stopped for a Lime Margarita (non alcoholic) Frappe for the boy. He enjoys them. Can you tell?

the boy

We can’t keep him interested in anything, anywhere for more than 20 minutes at a time, but when we hike, he is good for… well… as long as we hike. He just loves it! we pack granola snack, fruit chews, beef jerky, rice crispie treats, water and trailmix. We hike to the top of something, then we sit and have a snack! He enjoys the rest. He says he gets pooped out, then when we finish the snack and he is ready to go, he declares himself ‘Pooped up’ and is ready to go again. The other cool thing he does for us is sing the alphabet song on steep ups. That gives us all the energy we need to make it to the top!

He loves the scenery, he loves the flowers, the trees, the water, everything. It’s something we can do as a family, and do it for MANY more years. We figure there is some overnight back country camping trips in our future too!

Here are some highlights of the hike today.


From the summit… That’s the road back to reality…

Helicopter pad for the forestry rangers. Chopper came and went about 5 times while we were hiking…

Here he is demonstrating ‘Pooped out’. It took 2 packs of fruit chews to get him ‘Pooped up!’

The sights and smells of all the wildflowers are incredible!

Oh yeah, yesterday we were in the final 100 meters or so back to the car and were walking along the river when I looked out toward the water, and over on a log there were sitting a couple people. One you could tell was a guy, and sitting next to him was what I though was a younger guy or boy with his shirt off. I thought it was kind of weird when the guy reached over and grabbed at, what would be his chest area. The person without the shirt turned a bit and sure enough I got a peek at some boobies. It was a naked woman, and the dude was playing with her boobs. I said to Traci, ‘That Chick’s naked!’. She looks over and kinda gasps, and just then they must have heard our bear bells and she covered up with a shirt.

That’s it! bye!

Super Saturday hike

Another great hike. This new hobby of ours is getting addicting! Enjoy the pictures.