Sunday, January 31, 2010

My apologies

Screen shot of Mark Francis' new website -created by Frank Ritcey, Cafe Productions

I've been reading back through my posts and I realize a shocking truth. I haven't done anything really stupid lately. No broken bones. No frantic search parties. No additional scars and/or distinguishing features.

In short, I haven't been my usual self. This working for a living is really starting to cramp my style. I have however finished off another website. This one is for the third of the Francis painters - Mark. I would really like to meet Mark as he sounds like an interesting sort who has spent a lot of time in the film industry and has become quite an accomplished set designer - prop maker type of guy (I think that is the technical term they use in the biz these days).

I'll post the temporary link to Mark's site on my personal website: and you can view it there. Leave me a post or comment if you have any trouble loading it. I've been having some issues with Internet Explorer and my sloppy coding. Firefox and Chrome are much more forgiving browsers for sure.

If opportunity calls I'm off for a city hike.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

At long last - I hope

"Before all the fuss" click on the photo to see full size

I am composing this post in two parts. Right now I am writing a short introduction to the two websites that I hope will be fully functional by the time I finish writing the intro -Editor's note: they weren't -

Okay, life interrupted, had a houseful of company and the place was rocking! We had a little get together and my friends came by with some guitars, drums, and a willingness to sing and we  jammed for quite awhile. It's surprising how many songs we know - and how many of those that we don't know all the words to.

But the websites are finished and I think show the art of the two Francis' very well. The third Francis website should be up and running by next weekend. The top photo is one of Tim's and the bottom is one of his mother's.

Check out and

"First Snowfall" click on photo to see full size

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy birthday to me!

Oops I did it again. I missed out on a number of posts but all for very good reasons. I've been burning the candles at both ends and in the middle it seems and have not taken the time to write. The hard work is starting to pay off though with 5 projects just about finished and a sixth about to start.

Although I have this great pile of work about to crush me I did want to celebrate my birthday by taking 15 minutes out to write my blog - about 60 minutes on the treadmill- maybe a couple of hours to see some friends from out of town - 25 minutes for a nap - 2 hours to cook a birthday dinner - 30 minutes to review some video - and a couple of hours to work on my novel - a 30 minute coffee break -and before you know it the day's half gone!

I wish I had something pithy to say on my birthday but I am pith-less this morning and will instead post a couple of photos, get back to work and promise to regale you with a good yarn in the next couple of days.

Monday, January 25, 2010

There's an Old Friend

There’s an old friend waiting for me

There’s an old friend waiting for me, though I’ve been gone for quite a spell
I just know he’ll come a running when he hears the pack string’s bell

Old Slick just couldn’t cut ‘er, the last time our string pulled out
And though it hurt me greatly, I told him to “lay about”

“Stay and guard the bunkhouse, and keep the cook in line”
It was a job you’d give an old dog, and not that friend of mine

That friend of mine who always was the first into the fray
That friend who wouldn’t tire was now just old and grey

But I was coming home now, and I’d scratch behind those ears
We’d sit out on the front porch and reminisce about our years

I should hear him barking shortly When he sees us round the barn
But Slick aint on his blanket And it’s quiet on the farm

The cook, he comes to greet us And by the way his head hangs so
He doesn’t have to tell me that my old friend’s laying low

So when I take my dirt nap and they lay me ‘neath the tree
I won’t have to fear the crossing for an old friend waits for me.

I penned the above in memory of my dear departed friend, Tess. When I wrote it I just couldn't bear to use Tess' name and Slick seemed to be a name that more readers could identify with. As a tribute to the power of a dog, it seems that whenever I or Loyd perform the song/poem we get people coming up and telling us how much the song means to them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

An eagle eye

I pried myself away from the computer for a couple of hours this morning and it was well worth the effort. My wife and I made our way across to the North Shore and joined up with mom and dad for what is their daily ritual of walking out by Tranquille.

The weather was abnormally warm, even for the normally mild winters of Kamloops and it was great to see so many fellow Kamloopsians out hiking, birding, walking dogs and even a gaggle of runners were making their weekly pilgrimage out along the road.

The birds are scarce these days but, of note, was a flock of some 800-1,000 waxwings that were ground feeding on the exposed weed seeds and bits of greenery that have been exposed by the recent melt. There were your usual winter scavengers working the shoreline around Cooney bay: crows, ravens, magpies and a pair of bald eagles put on a good show for us. The eagles were interesting to watch as they had captured, or scavenged some unidentified prize, perhaps a cat, and were feasting upon it up in a big Yellow Pine snag. The magpies were being extremely bold and would crowd the eagles on the limbs in the hopes that the owners might drop the catch or at least let some little scrap fall.

Dad got some great shots of the eagle and I got some that were less so. I think the issue of lens envy is a real problem amongst the haves and have-nots in the photography world. After we had our fill of shooting the eagles we were treated to a view of a good sized herd of bighorn sheep up on the sage covered hills. These were mostly ewes, lambs and  young. The older rams tend to head off to other locales to hang out with the old boys club.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Goodnight Irene!

Okay, this post is nothing about the old Leadbelly Classic but instead is just what came to me when I was looking at yesterday's post. It is also a saying that my mother's family would use to explain the hopelessness of a situation as in  when you've used up your last shell and the bear is still coming at you it would be a good time to say all cool and calm like "Well, goodnight Irene!"

I had just about used up all my shells yesterday while trying to get the photo album working on Tim Francis' new website ( . After three hours of searching through the misbehaving code I found that the new snippet of code I had added had a capital "I" instead of a small "i" on one word buried deep within a Flash application that the website required. A little more tweaking and the site will be fully functional. It is a good start none the less and probably worth the visit.

The painting above is one I just love. It captures the essence of that most enjoyable of pastimes "just hanging out" and enjoying a good old ice cream cone.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Good morning world

Okay, I've got a good coffee buzz going and I'm chilling out to some classic Johnny Cash, the coding is going along well and I've just prepared and enjoyed a continental breakfast with my good wife. The sun is starting to break to the east and the city is trying to stir from its uneasy slumber.

Mornings are mine. I guess its because there's so little competition at this time of day. In the morning one can sit high atop their hills (real or metaphoric) and enjoy their kingdoms, fiefdoms, or whatever the deed says is their right. Myself, I see the land stretching out as an invitation to adventure - a new adventure each and every morning. Some mornings will take you out to a piece of ground you've never trod before and some mornings will take you back to a well known piece of land but occupied by new animals or a fresh growth of flowers.

In the city I have to satiate my wanderlust by poking and prying into every opportunity presented by civilization. Like a raccoon checking under every rock along a riverbank, I too am checking, but for experiences and interactions that will enrich my journey through this world. But if I don't get back to finishing this bit of code I might be checking for a new client.

Seize the day!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The mark of an artist

Okay I missed yesterday's entry but then I had a great excuse. Lot's of head-banging trying to get one simple procedure to work on my database project, dealing with transferring web domains with a company that couldn't quite understand what I needed to  happen wasn't what they wanted to happen, two websites with two different design challenges, and then I invited mom and dad over for supper and sort of got out of control with the menu.

The dinner was pretty good - not Janice Francis good mind you, but pretty good if you were really hungry type of good. The menu was: sopapillas, rice, chicken enchiladas, tacos, nachos with home made guacamole and home made salsa. All in all everything worked well together and I will be eating leftovers for the next two days.

And, as always, it is the third paragraph before I get into what the heck the title is about. My friend Tim, whose art I have mentioned in previous posts, has a brother, Mark, who is also an artist. Once Tim's site is operational, I will be building a site for Mark.

Mark's art is brilliant and I've included samples of his work above and below this post. What I find so amazing is that all three of the Francis' display this ability to capture and reproduce images with such an acute eye. I have at times, turned my own hand towards the fine arts but I must admit that I doubt if any of the truly artistic fields are likely to be my genetic inheritance.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hidden in the Midden

And another busy day draws to a close. I had to pull an all-nighter working on some code that wouldn't co-operate and didn't get it to work until the wee hours of morning. A couple hours of shut-eye and then I dragged myself off to the Monday morning ritual of coffee with my good buddy Gerry.

Gerry is working on launching a blog and website, more of which I will tell you about later, and in joining the fray of social media had launched his facebook account. He mentioned that it seemed kind of strange that he would have to invite me to be a friend of his account, seeing as we had been real friends since 1966. But I guess that is the challenge of the information age - remembering what is real, and what is only fabricated by this world of "nots and ones".

The subject of the title is what I should have got to before this third paragraph had I been any type of a writer (but then again, If I had been any type of a writer I probably wouldn't have had the varied career I have had and hence would have had nothing to write about - so while you're trying to un-convolute that bit of reasoning let me talk about the midden .)

While working on my database I got the little pop-up notice that mail had arrived. I am always excited when it is a message from Loyd and there is an attachment. The attachment means either a new song, or a new snippet of video. Today was a video entitled "The Midden". It's a little segment we shot about 4 years ago and as I remember, it was a beautiful spring day and we were out in Wells Gray Park looking for some bear activity. We never found the bears so we shot some video about our friend the squirrel. This segment will be added to the squirrel song segment - once I work on the lyrics a little - and Loyd does final production on the music. Then we just write 14 more segments and we'll have the "Forest Friends DVD" ready for sale at a WalMart near you!

Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Photo finish

Well another KNC AGM has come and gone, and no, that isn't a bowl of alphabet soup but the Kamloops Naturalist Club's Annual General Meeting. It's nice when you belong to an organization especially at my advanced age and are considered one of the "young people" in the group.

The Ritcey household did well once again at the photo contest even though we were stacked up against an impressive wall of entries. Perhaps we did so well because we are also in charge of tallying the votes! Father took the Syd Roberts Memorial trophy for the anything goes category with a photo of a Waxwing. I managed to take a first place in the "Plants" category with a photo of "Lion's Mane."  I am ashamed to admit that I don't know the proper name for the plant but will look it up at some point. My other entries never got a sniff so I will be displaying them here from time to time just so they get set free.

The bigger news is that I have been appointed as one of the VPs of the club and will be working to help organize a number of field trips and some new activities to help bolster numbers and interest in the club.

But Sunday awaits and I must go see what it has to offer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fish tails and tales

Going through my photos and looking for one to go along with a fishcake recipe I was writing for my cookbook I came across this one of an Arctic Grayling. Now the graylings aren't as athletic or tasty as the rainbow trout, but they are almost jewel-like as they flash through the crystal clear water of the north.

Seeing the picture reminded me of a story a hunter told me when we were out fishing for our supper.

Werner, the source of this story was a large German hunter that I had the pleasure of guiding one fall many, many years ago. Werner was a “fellow of infinite jest” and made our hunts most pleasurable by filling in the quiet periods with stories and yarns from his many hunts around the world.

Werner also had the habit of embellishing his stories a little. This embellishment often got him into trouble, as he, himself, readily admitted. One time, upon his return from a particularly good fishing trip, he was about to regale his companions at the hunt club’s monthly dinner meeting, when they grabbed him by the arms and quickly slipped a set of handcuffs on him. Handcuffed, they reasoned, Werner would need to keep the size of the fish in his stories to the less than legendary proportions that he was infamous for

Werner however, was a quick-witted individual and always up to a challenge. He rose to his feet and launched into the telling of the epic journey he’d just been on, and when the time came to describe his greatest catch of the trip, he stretched his forefingers apart as far as the handcuffs would allow him (a mere 8 or 9 inches) and told his friends how the one fish he caught “was this wide, eye to eye!”

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Time to relax

Got another big piece of code written today for this database application and it seems to be running along quite nicely. What wasn't go so smoothly though was my attempts to recompile a short piece of video in Premier Pro and things just weren't clicking. Fortunately I still had my Lynda.Com account active and I was able to search for the tutorial I needed, figured out my problem and fixed the item in under ten minutes. Then I encoded the video to an FLV format, uploaded it to YOUTUBE and embedded it in the link below!

Now whenever I, or you, get stressed - you, or I, can just come here and watch some nice soothing pictures of wildlife and listen to an original composition by Loyd.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Trying to keep disciplined with my coding tasks I have just taken my 45 minute break on the treadmill and will allow myself 15 minutes of writing on my blog and then back to work!

My new technique is to open my photo organizer and randomly scroll through the some 40,000 images I have taken and to randomly stop at some point. If it doesn't fall into the category of: out of focus, some recently expired animal, family members who have launched protests against my blog, or any combination of the above I will try to write about it.

This picture was taken on a "short hike" into Jack Norman lake, which is located in beautiful Wells Gray Provincial Park. Normally I will make this trip in about 30 minutes or less of hiking but I had agreed to take the in-laws on an outing. After almost two hours of explaining that "yes I knew where I was going" and "No, you can't touch the devil's club (a particularily venomous plant)" we finally made it to my secret fishing spot.

Unfortunately it appeared that I had caught the last trout there some eight years prior to this trip and the only bites we got were those from the 1.6 million mosquitoes that call this lake home.

While the hiking was a little arduous, just being out amongst those cedar giants was well worth the blood sweat and tears. It's surprising what great giants exist in Wells Gray Park and how few people make the effort to get off the beaten trail to see them.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Something squirrely going on

It will be a short post today as I am making my way through another part of a database application that I'm building and I don't want to lose the muse. My buddy and co-conspirator, his loydship himself, Loyd Bishop, was down for a visit yesterday and he brought with him his harddrive filled with new projects and project ideas. The idea that has me most excited (at this millisecond in time) is our children's album/dvd about Canadian Wildlife and kid songs.

The clip below is the first pass at "Just nuts about you" which would accompany our segment on "The red squirrel - it's life and bad habits". We wanted to make a couple of posts along the way so people could see how the demented minds of creative geniuses (geni-i sp?) work.

Feel free to hum along.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Tim and Janice came over for a most enjoyable dinner -well, the company was most enjoyable but I think the rice in the jambalaya was overcooked - nice tang to the spice but I should have followed my own instructions and cooked the rice with the other ingredients instead of seperately and then adding. Oh well, live and learn (and learn again it seems).

Tim had said he had exciting news for us when he came over and wouldn't let us know til they got there. At supper he presented me with a royalty cheque for one of his mother's paintings that sold via our website. The painting was one of the few originals remaining from Dorothy's years  of work and the price reflected both the quality and the scarcity of her work.

It must be hard for an artist to sell a work like that. As an author I never have that problem. Not just because people don't like my stuff but when people do buy something of mine it is always just a copy never the original. It would be very hard for me to, say, write a story and then to sell that story and to know that I would never see it again.

But another Monday beckons so I must go down to the sea again, the lonely sea and the sky - oops, I mean I must go down the the office again . . .

The Girls Team - $24,000 Sold 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lines of time

Flipping through my folders looking for a picture for today's blog I came across a series of pictures from when I was working up on the traditional lands of the Doig River First Nation. Robert, the man in the photo, was an amazing elder from the band. We spent many a day hiking out across their lands and we got to share stories of hunting, trapping and discussing our mutual respect for the land. Our goal was to direct development by the oil and gas companies (whom I represented) in a way that would minimize the impact on the land (the interest that Robert represented).

What caught my eye on this picture - apart from my stylish orange vest - was the series of character lines on both our faces. From those lines I knew I would have to fashion a poem of sorts and this writing exercise is to set up in free form verse the ideas that will one day transform themselves into a poem which will join the others in my collection.
running from eye
from mouth's corner
accentuating the laugh
the twinkle of the eye
overstating the frown
creased by
every laugh
frozen rain and biting wind
will he pull through?
tired but must keep going
sun beating down
trail dust
lines written
lines forgotten

authors unknown

Friday, January 8, 2010

From the saddle

Keeping with the theme of no theme I'd like to share a bit of cowboy doggerel with my loyal readers. That would be you mom and dad.

Anyhow, my daughter and I got to talking about our adventures in the north country this evening and it spurred me to search for a picture I'd been particularly proud of. It's a picture of a string of well behaved horses, all with packs securely fastened, as though they'd just pulled away from the hitching rail, strung out obediently behind me and crossing the Graham River. We were at the end of a long day that was to only get longer (but that's another story).

Anyone who has worked with horses knows that feeling when the pack string finally falls in line and everyone is just behaving and plodding along in their own world. No stress, no fighting for control, just everyone working along together. It's a great feeling for sure. One day I'll write a poem that captures that feeling. In the meantime I'd like to offer up this one that has nothing to do with horses or the like but I wrote it while out in the mountains so I think it's appropriate:

My Heaven has no sidewalks

My heaven has no sidewalks,
There’s not a lot of people there --
Just lots of open valleys
A bunkhouse and three squares.

My horse is always seven,
Still strong, but smart enough,
And calm and even tempered
Though the trail gets long and tough.

It still rains up in my heaven
But my slicker’s always near,
And the fire’s always burning
In the bunkhouse so I hear.

No my heaven ain’t much different
Than what I already got --
Maybe the winter’s a little warmer
And the summer’s not so hot.

My dog would live much longer,
I’d never bet on twos and threes --
So apart from minor tweaking
Life’s exactly as I please.

So no rush to get to heaven,
Or to get my harp and wings --
Cause just living in the mountains
Plays trump to all those things.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Flexing the brain again

I'm taking a short break from writing the next greatest thing in HR software for a local client and thought I should exercise the other half of my brain - you know the creative half. Someone out there in blogland probably knows if it is the right or left part of your brain that is creative.

So now I am trying to display some of the music Loyd Bishop created when we were co-producing our first Cowboy Music CD. I can link directly to the site: King of Excuses but that takes you away from the blog and before you know it you're surfing through CBC radio 3 and listening to Bob the Postman and won't ever come back to FrankVille.

If any of my programmer friends out there know of a control I can add to the post that will allow a user to listen to our tunes I would be forever grateful - or at least grateful enough to send you one of the few remaining CD's from our limited press of 8 billion copies (hey - you gotta think big)

Just added: I think I've found what I've been looking for with this little control found at DivShare - hopefully it is virus free and doesn't crash my system. I'll look at adding a Flash player and then host the files at my own site. Those wishing to support the musical endeavours of Loyd and myself could order the CD from our website if I'd get off my butt and publish the site.

Trying out some HTML coding

The exercise here was to put some of my HTML coding skills to use and to embed a YOUTUBE video directly into one of my posts. The video is from the website I created for Dorothy Francis ( who is a widely recognized Canadian artist. Her son, Tim Francis, is a long time friend of mine and is patiently waiting for his website to be completed. In the meantime you can check out his blog and some of his paintings at . Tim is one of the truely gifted painters of our time.

Norsk Latkes

So today we are seeing what the Cowboy in the Kitchen was cooking over the holidays. I made these a couple of times and they have become the number one requested item at the Ritcey breakfast table - the previous number one request was for me to put on a shirt and to quit singing!

There is no way to pass these breakfast beauties off as being at all healthy for you so you might as well scoop on the applesauce and whipping cream, or smother them with syrup or ketchup or with whatever your particular vice is.

I am told that these are originally a Jewish dish but I believe the origins are probably more Norwegian. My grandfather was a Norsk and according to him, most great discoveries were made by Norwegians, or by people who were wishing they were Norwegians, so in deference to Thorbjorn Helset, I present my version of Norsk Latkes.

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 heaping tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Peel and shred potatoes into a large bowl
  2. Shred onion into the same bowl, (here you can add a splash of lemon juice to keep the potatoes from going black)
  3. Mix and break in two eggs and add salt
  4. Mix again until a big sloppy goop
  5. (Do not try to wring out moisture from potatoes as some suggest – this moisture is needed to make the innards nice and creamy)
  6. Add flour slowly and mix til excess moisture is picked up by the flour and mixture just starts to stiffen.
While this is going on, have a cast iron pan with about a centimeter of oil in it heating up. Use canola oil as it takes the high heat without smoking. Insert a wooden skewer to the oil and when it boils around the wooden skewer it is hot enough.

Spoon out your pancakes, a little smaller than my hand and about one and a half of your fingers thick is about right. I can get about three in a pan at a time without them touching one another. Let them turn golden brown and crispy before carefully turning. Cook til golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on a metal rack.

Served up alongside some bacon and eggs you will have the best of both worlds (as I believe the bacon is non kosher or treif – that’s a bit of Yiddish I picked up while researching the history of the dish)

Some latkes in the forground and my Heuvos Racheros del mar fixens in the background

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It keeps getting better

So, I've uploaded one of my adventures from this past summer and I must say the pictures look pretty good. If it gets cold enough I'll make a return trip through the canyon and hopefully get some winter shots of the same area. It'll be a little sketchy because if you go through the ice in most of those big holes, you're a goner.

I'll be spending a bit of time fixing up the look and feel of the blog and then start flexing the writing neurons. The biggest benefit to my writing career is that my aunt Ellen is now retired and can always be called upon for her critical eye and grammatically impeccable English.

Next post tomorrow will be something completely different -just to stay true to the ADHD nature of me - let's just say it might be the solution to who actually shot JFK, or it might be my latest recipe from my "There's a Cowboy in the Kitchen" cookbook.

On the trail

On the trail
with Frank Ritcey

It was one of those hikes that I knew was going to go bad but my morbid sense of curiosity made me play out the hand. The first bit of fore-shadowing was the fact that I couldn’t talk any of my cohorts into joining me on the trip. The second warning sign was that my good wife called the insurance company to ensure that our policy did not preclude acts of god or extreme stupidity. So, without the normal moral support of companions or well wishing from the family, I set off for the Tranquille River Canyon.

Now most locals will protest that it is a creek and not a river, but I checked and it is actually gazetted as a river. I am sure the tag of “river” was due to either an exceptional spring run-off or the fact that the person doing the naming was from back east where virtually any moving body of water gets the more regal moniker of river. I will go with the river designation as it sounds much better when I explain how I became entrapped in a river canyon as opposed to just being stuck in a creek.

The trip is incredibly dangerous and should only be undertaken by those well versed in the ways of the wild and endowed with the well toned body of an Olympian – or by those who don’t really think things through entirely (I leave it to the reader to guess which group I fall into).

My father, who normally has better judgment, agreed to drive me to my jumping off point some 12 kilometers up the Red Lake road. He also loaned me his faithful hunting dog, Tia, as a companion for the arduous journey. Now Tia is not quite like a “Lassie” who will go and alert would-be rescuers but she will eat any leftover sandwiches and does not offer much in the way of rude remarks when I get lost or entrapped in some misadventure. In retrospect, Tia is a notch above my usual traveling companions.

To enter the canyon one needs to slowly and carefully work their way down the steep banks of the upper Tranquille valley. The side hills here are steep and dry and one needs to watch their footing. It is especially important to watch the route ahead as there are numerous blind ends where the trails terminate at cliff faces above the creek bed. 

Once you reach the valley floor you are rewarded with the sparkling clear waters of the Tranquille River. Good stout running shoes are the preferred footwear here as you will be making your way down the centre of the creek for most of the remainder of the hike.

The creek bed is an oasis in the otherwise dry hills and you will be rewarded with signs or sightings of all types of animals. Bears, coyote, foxes, gopher snakes, garter snakes, rattlesnakes, deer, bighorn sheep, cougars, White-footed mice, voles, chipmunks, squirrels and a plethora of birds all call the valley home. Descend in the early summer and you may be rewarded with ripe wild raspberries, stand in the wrong patch of vines and you might be rewarded with the excruciating itch of poison ivy.

The highlight of the hike down the creek, oops, I mean wild river, is the one and a half canyons you get to traverse. The first canyon is where the river has cut through a lava flow and requires a short swim to get through one very deep pool about mid way through the traverse.  Take time to look up and marvel at the power of the water that, through sheer patience and persistence has worked its way through what must have seemed an impermeable barrier at one time.

After emerging from the first canyon you’ll return to the normal tumble of boulders, and steep walled valley but don’t despair because more adventure is ahead. The second canyon, a short ways downstream of the first, is best skirted by climbing the game trail to the river left. I knew this. The little voice in my head knew this. That other voice in my head though, the one that gets me into trouble, suggested that true adventure lay down that stretch of canyon.

Upon entering the canyon I was confronted by a small drop that required me to descend a rock face. The descent was somewhat technical and I thought it would be safer if I took off my daypack – the one with all of my survival gear, my gps, my cell phone, my car keys, my wallet and everything else that I could possibly need in case of an emergency – like say getting stuck in a canyon, yep that's the daypack that I lowered over the rock face first. The ledge I lowered the pack onto was a narrow one and was located just a centimeter or two above the raging torrent.

Retrieving the rope that I used to lower my pack with I turned to secure that same rope to a stout log with the intent of lowering myself to the ledge, retrieving my pack and then continuing my way downstream. My knot tying didn’t go all that well. By the time I had a knot secured, that would hold my considerable bulk, I turned to see, with much horror, my daypack floating downstream and over another set of rapids.

Scrambling down the rock face and making my way as quickly as a man of my girth can manage I gave chase. The chase was short lived. The canyon walls at this point are impassable and there is no option for swimming here as the final drop (waterfall) had a large log sweeper at its base that would most assuredly pin anyone foolish enough to attempt to go over the falls.

The trip upstream through the canyon was decidedly more difficult than coming down and Tia was understandably confused as to why we were backtracking up through this inhospitable piece of real estate. Cursing my poor decision to become separate from my survival gear I made my way up and over the hill alongside the canyon and then made my way back to the water.

As I sat there at creekside, dejected and wondering how I would ever make my way up the canyon, against the current as it were, I was offered up a gift by the hiking gods. There, floating lazily out of the canyon, came my waterlogged but still intact, pack. My heart soared. Everything of value, housed with foresight in double Ziplocked bags was dry and operational.

The rest of the hike was made even more enjoyable with the knowledge that karma was onside with me that day. Below the last canyon are a number of pools that require short swims and extra caution so as not to become entangled in the rocks or occasional sweeper that has, itself, been swept down into the canyon.

Follow the creek down til you come to the old water intake works for Tranquille and get out on river left and follow the road out to the parking lot where your ride should be waiting.

Total hiking time is about 8 hours giving you lots of time to stop and take photos of the wide variety of bugs, flowers, and geological formations. 

Hiking level is for experienced hikers and outdoorsy types only. Having hiked Kenna Cartwright Park, no matter how many times, does not make you an experienced hiker. Go with somebody who has some scars, walks with a limp, or some other proof of having spent some time in the bush. Not a great hike for those that are claustrophobic, non-swimmers, afraid of heights or uncomfortable with snakes.

What to take: Typical survival gear plus: sunscreen, long pants (for the poison ivy), climbing rope bottled water

Special notes: Be sure to travel with at least one other hiker - three is better, because one can go for help while the other provides first aid or tells long winded stories to keep your mind off of your fractures. Make sure someone knows where you’ve gone and when you’ll be back. Be especially cautious with this hike if the water level is high - I leave it for mid July or early August, and never if it has been raining.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Already slipping

Jeesh - it's only the 5th and my resolve is already slipping. Missed yesterday's entry as I was up early working on my database project and before I knew it the day was gone. Sunday was uneventful, company left and I worked on the computer most of the day. I did get a short run in on the treadmill but that was the extent of my activity.

Monday was better as I got out between bouts on the computer. It was interesting to see all of the garbage out on the curbside. You can tell which households have children by the great stacks of refuse waiting for pickup. Hate to sound like an old hippie but we do have to cut back on our consumption. This year we concentrated on the important things like visiting with friends and family and really quite enjoyed it.

Photos are in for the KNC competition and now I have to get back to writing some code.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Picture This

I wish I could write that January 2nd was as exciting as January 1st but it seems that the "New" wears off quickly on these later model years. I did get some time to "work" with my photos though and that is always fun. Way too much time gets wasted though - zooming in and out, trying to get that perfect composition and then just daydreaming about the day gone by when the particular picture was captured.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's a New Year

So January One has come and gone and things are looking up. I was down to Riverside Park at noon, hoping to take a dip in the river to start the year off right and there was quite a crowd down there. I got some video and a few stills and I've been learning how to post those on the various social media networks.

I'll be working on revamping the "On the Outside" blog layout and then start to concentrate on the verbage. Ultimately I'd like to get back to writing a column (more to practice the art, than as a fulltime job) so this blog will be a good place to start.

I'll also start to revamp myself as this city living is hard on one's body - not used to having so much good food at hand and having to do so little to survive. In the mountains I'd routinely do anywhere from 2 to 4 kilometres of hiking after rolling out of bed and before I got the coffee going - mainly to go check on the horses - but sometimes just to go out and enjoy those special mountain mornings.

I've also got to get to work on using Premiere Pro. My friend and co-producer Loyd Bishop produced an incredible little promo tape for Clearwater and it is found at this link: (Clearwater Gamestown). I produced a much less professional tape for Kamloops, but then I was hoping it was the thought that counted - check out: (Kamloops Gamestown).

Then I have to get to work on my entries for the Kamloops Naturalist Club photo contest. I've got a few nice shots but then nothing that can quite stack up against what the rest of the club takes.

After all of that I have to add a couple of changes to the database program I just wrote for an HR client that needed some specialty database program done. Hopefully I will be writing a lot more about the amount of work that is crushing me - although not quite as spiritually enlightening as hiking in the mountains, financially it is much more reqarding.

All the best to me (I don't have any followers yet to send the greeting out to) in 2010.