Granby

We had a beautiful long weekend getaway in the Eastern Townships.

IMG_4719
We climbed Mt Sutton.

IMG_4761
Biked the Route Verte from Granby to Bromont.

IMG_4786
Visited the Zoo.

IMG_20171006_102102
Giggled at the 50’s diostopia of provincial Quebec.

IMG_20171005_173810
Had lots of treats…

IMG_20171008_191704
and all around great family fun.

Fifteen years

IMG_20170904_214051
1997

2017-06-24 - DSCF0040 - Kolbah
2017

We celebrated our 15 year anniversary this week. We snuck out of the house and went out for yummy dinner in a noisy pub downtown. We are doing so well, but the kids and the jobs and responsibilities are piling up and most days we are so exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than being exhausted from wonderful things. There is nobody I would rather be completely exhausted with than Chris.

Film: Wonder Woman

While I generally really enjoy movies and shows with strong fighting women, over time I have become weary. It is an overused trope and it is easy to do badly. In the case of Wonder Woman, where the main character and her powers are divine, the concept works well. Ditto for, say, Dark Angel where Max is genetically engineered super solder. The concept strikes me as disingenuous where mortal women fight soldiers and win by strength rather than skill or wit.

IMG_20170729_091226
White Lake during the Chenaux 200 brevet

I bike a lot and try to do at least a few challenging rides over the season. Since I don’t like riding far on my own, a lot of the time I bike with men. This makes it difficult because there is no way to cover up for the difference in strength.

IMG_20170729_161921
Quyon ferry ride back to Ontario on Cheanux 200

Riding with Randonneurs has worked so far since the speeds they keep to are manageable for me. When biking with friends, I keep the directions to myself so they have to wait for me at intersections.

Is Nature the one with the bugs in it?

Our three camping trips in four weekends adventure concluded with a wonderful outing to Algonquin park, but let’s start from the beginning.

Camp Fishy

IMG_3767

Sometime in early June the boys convinced me to take them to the outdoor megastore and buy them fishing rods. So I did. Then they quickly concluded that we have to go fishing. We decided to go to Gatineau Park and check out the campsite next to the yurt we stayed at this winter so we can compare and contrast. Because our primary purpose was to fish, Markus called it Camp Fishy.

IMG_3768

Our secondary purpose was to see the Lusk cavern. We checked out the cave from the outside as the water was really high so I was not comfortable going in there with Markus. We might come by later on in the season when there is less water and we are better equipped to waddle through it. We managed to avoid rain (it rained while we were sleeping) and added a short canoe ride. I enjoyed the camp ground by Lac Philippe but because it was rainy the fully forested sites were a little cold and very full of mosquitos. It would be a great location during the summer heat.

IMG_20170618_093342
We finished the trip with a brunch in Wakefield

Beaverbrook Camping

IMG_3798

Our neighbours put together a group camping trip to Long Sault. This is the second year we’ve joined and we had tons of fun. After some hemming and hawing we decided to brave the weather and head out to camp late Friday night. We arrived at 11PM and were only the third of six families that were going to arrive that day.

Beaverbrook camping is great for letting the kids run around with their friends and the adults chat and relax. Like last year, we visited the bird sanctuary with enough kids (eleven) no birds were to be found.

2017-06-24 - DSCF0040 - Kolbah
(Thanks Dan for the photo!)

We also visited the Upper Canada Village ’cause it is there!
IMG_20170624_155908

There was a pretty hilarious thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon which reminded us of the pitfalls of setting up the tent in the middle of the night. I was taking a nap during the storm and relived of the ’90s waterbed craze.
IMG_3820

We had a lovely pot-luck and a huge campfire in the evening. I am not sure about exact numbers but I think there was about eighty people in our group.

On Sunday morning we enjoyed a leisurely ride along the Long Sault Parkway.
IMG_3821

Elite Beaverbrook Camping

IMG_20170707_170456

Car camping is all well and good, but nothing beats Dan’s backcountry trips. By now, Owen had broken his arm and had to sit this one out. We are assured that Chris and he had fun. Trev, Markus and I headed out to the Algonquin Park to join three other families. We picked up our three seater canoe at Achray and paddled from the Grand Lake to the far end of Stratton lake where our site was.

IMG_20170708_172214

Eight kids, of which mine were the oldest in the group, made for a busy picture.

IMG_20170708_172522

The visit to the High Falls was definitely a highlight. The water was too high for us to feel comfortable going down the slide, so we left that to the twenty-somethings who always seem in abundance on this spot. We found a nice pool to splash in. Despite the high water and this being relatively early in the season, the water was much warmer than last time.

IMG_20170708_172512

The trip back was made somewhat challenging by the wind. This was the first time I was steering the canoe the whole trip. Trevor did a fair share of paddling and I was pretty impressed with his stamina. I was also very happy to have such awesome friends who made canoeing with kids, which would otherwise be stressful, so much fun.

Film: Djeca jeseni

I was complaining to my awesome trainer Laurie how I am all achy this year and that I am a little concerned that I will not be able to do all the rides I have planned. She asked me to compare my spring rides for last and this year… So here it is:

SpringCycling20162017

I ramped up slowly last year, but this year I started too fast and needed to take some time off to recover. Lower mileage in May and June also has to do with my family schedule, the weather which has been of particularly rainy disposition and my preference to ride with company and all the trappings that come with that. Randonneurs’ schedule starts the second week of March (the rides, though scheduled, are not done if there is ice on the road or the weather is bad enough that no-one feels like riding). Populaires (any ride below 200km) fill up March and the first brevet (200km) was in early April. Though I had no problems with the populaires, I found the first brevet quite challenging. In the future, I will make a point of putting in a few more kilometres before getting into brevets.

IMG_20170702_104914
Britannia Beach this Sunday

I’ve had some trouble with my setup. I tried out a new saddle but it did not work out and I had to put the old one back on. Also, my handlebars keep drooping! Must get this fixed and get back into form!

Blog reflection: Off The Beaten Path

Off The Beaten Path is a blog for Bicycle Quarterly magazine and Compass Bicycles store. I’ve never bought anything from Compass because it is high end stuff I am not really the market for, but I savour the Bicycle Quarterly magazine from cover to cover. I like this magazine, and by extension the blog, because the articles combine detailed bike reviews with somewhat romantic descriptions of scenery in which the bikes are tested; “The choice of hydraulic brakes becomes obvious on this trail – oh look, hoar frost!”. The writing glorifies what I like most about biking, it is about visiting interesting places on well thought out machines. The downside of Bicycle Quarterly is that it is a very narrowly defined. This is good when the two of the reviewers can ride the same bike since they are roughly the same size and ride in similar style. However, you have to take the opinions expressed with a grain of salt, if your build or preferences do not match. I would love to have one of the Bicycle Quarterly jerseys you can buy at the store but they are only offered in men’s sizes!

Anyhow, my randonneuring season started last week, but I will not bore you with that. In the spirit of visiting interesting places I will talk about this March Break’s edition of the yurt trip.

On Friday night we reached the yurt a little later than we planned. The night was extra cold and it took a while to heat up the stove so we opted for a quick snack instead of a full dinner before bed.

IMG_3060

We woke up to a sunny and crisp Saturday morning.
IMG_3068

The chickadees are very well trained.
IMG_3074

Our yurt was on Lac Phillippe, and we walked over to Renaud cabin for lunch.
IMG_3084

Renaud cabin was filled with sunlight and skiers.
IMG_3092

Our lunch included delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.
IMG_3098

It was an unusually cold weekend for such a mild winter. We hiked to Lac Renaud and then by a slightly different route back to our yurt by the way of Lac Phillippe. We stayed outside as much as we could, but the cold was serious and we had to be careful not to overdo it.
IMG_3103

The boys had a great time building things indoors.
IMG_3106

Markus still occasionally lies down on the ground when he wants to get his way. It works so well we all decided to adopt it. We considered falling into _every_ _single_ footstep hole we could find, the way Owen does, but it seemed like too much work.
IMG_3107

Time to start planning next year’s trip!
IMG_3119