Monthly Archives: September 2014

#happydays Killbear and Snakes!

Killbear and Snakes!

I was lucky enough to go camping this past weekend with hubby Photographer Phil. It was a perfect fall weekend, sunny and warm.

We journeyed up to Killbear Provincial Park. Usually we head over to Algonquin but I decided that we should try something different. I cheated a bit. I booked us in to a site that had electricity. After all it was the fall and I knew I would be cold so I lugged along my electric blanket and a small heater for the tent. We chuckled because we had the only tent in our campground. We were surrounded by beautiful motor homes and trailers.

Our site was really nice, considering I picked it from the web. It was surrounded by oak trees, and it was raining acorns! As soon as we got out of the car, we could hear them falling all around us. I’ve never seen so many!

The other thing I saw when I got out of the car and wandered over to the road to place our site pass on the post was what I thought at first was a large rubber snake. It was on the side of the road with part of its body in the grass. So I am walking along thinking “Gee, that was a huge snake…I wonder if it’s real…No it can’t be, it didn’t move when I almost stepped on it…hum… it must be a kid’s rubber snake…but when I turn around maybe I will find a stick to give it a poke just to be sure…”

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I turned around and it stuck its tongue out at me! “Quick Photographer Phil. Get over here!”

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Our “anaconda” size snake slithered around into our site, at a lazy pace and stretched right out as it slithered over towards the bush beside the site. (I checked at that point for a rattle on its tail but there wasn’t one.) At one point it picked up the pace and whipped along, disappearing into the weeds beside the creek at the back of our site. Too Cool! He had to be about 3 feet long with a small head and a rather plump body.

The next day we wandered over to the Visitor center with our cameras and showed the young gals working there our snake. They instantly recognized it as a Northern Water Snake. According to the web it is a pretty common snake to our area and completely harmless unless you are a frog.

OntarioNature. org:

“The northern watersnake can be found in and around almost any permanent body of fresh water within its range, including lakes, rivers and wetlands. Rarely far from shoreline habitats, these snakes can be found in shoreline vegetation, basking on rocks and logs, or in other open habitats along the edges of the water or under rocks along the shoreline. Northern watersnakes hibernate underground in dens or crevices, or in beaver lodges.”

The actually bear their young live and feed on fish and amphibians. They are even curious and will investigate swimmers. Wouldn’t that scare the whatever out of you!

Here are a few pictures from our trip. I wonder if I can get Glenis to go camping at Killbear?

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#happydays The Tarp

The Tarp
Volunteering is very rewarding. Pretty well everyone who volunteers knows that. It’s the feeling that you have made a difference that makes you go back and do it again. We have really enjoyed every event we have volunteered at.

We are a little selfish when we volunteer at races. We do it because we are a little jealous of the people who are competing. We just want to be a part of the fun of being there. A great perk is when the competitors thank us for being there. After all, most of these events would be hard to put on without volunteers.

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We know we are appreciated by the groups we volunteer for. Take a look at the slide show below to see the lengths Heather at Storm the ‘Scarpment went to make sure we stayed dry during the event. We were howling with laughter! Thank you Heather!

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It’s pretty easy to volunteer at races. On most race website there is a volunteer link or just shoot the race director an email. You will enjoy the reward>

Here is a link to Phil the Photographers photos of Storm the ‘Scarpment

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Storm the ‘Scarpment

Storm the ‘Scarpment

Cold and rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the participants at the race today. We were a little cold and damp volunteering but watching the efforts of everyone competing was worth the chills.

All smiles!

Here we are all smiles!

The rain made the trails slick and muddy for the run and ride but that just added to the fun.

On the trail

On the trail

We just might take on this course next year, hopefully in the sun! Have a look at a few photos we took of the day!

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Volunteering at Storm the ‘Scarpment

Volunteering at Storm the ‘Scarpment

Tomorrow Glenis and I along with photographer Phil are volunteering at Storm the ‘Scarpment. The event is held a Kelso Quarry (at the top of Glen Eden Ski Hill at Kelso Conservation Area in Milton) and involves doing as many loops of an eleven kilometer course as you can in 8 hours. During each loop you will run, ride and paddle. The easy part is that it is a marked course, other than that, nothing is easy about this race.

Kelso Quarry Park

Kelso Quarry Park

This is an adventure race put on by Storm Events and like most adventure races there are teams. The solo and teams of two work together on each loop they choose to do. There are also teams of 2 and teams of 4 who compete as a tag team with two runners on the course at time. They get a little break between each loop they do. It should be fun to watch the competitors during this event and how they plan out their day.

All smiles in the canoe!

All smiles in the canoe!

The Blister Sister did this event a few years ago. It was tough. We managed to get three loops in before we decided we would run out of time if we did a fourth. We did have a blast doing it. Glenis got dumped in the lake a few times at the canoe transition because I was laughing too hard to steady the boat. We stumbled around the quarry over the obstacles, hiking ourselves over the walls and crawling on our bellies under the netting. The scariest part was the biking portion. Flying down the ski hill was one of the scariest things I have done. Glenis threw caution to the wind and was a kamikaze on the downhill almost taking out some of the maintenance men on the ski lift. It was a awesome day!

Hitting the wall!

Hitting the wall!

Oh Yea, we came in second in the team of two females category!

Enjoying our 2nd place win!

Enjoying our 2nd place win!

 

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#happydays 50K Done! Haliburtion Forest 100 – 50K

Haliburton Forest 50K

50K done!

A big thanks to Helen Malmberg and her crew for putting on another terrific race and to the Haliburton Forest Center for hosting it in their beautiful forest.

There are a few lessons to learn running this type of race.

  • It is an emotional experience, you might cry.
  • You will have a lot of time to think about things. Be grateful.
  • Your feet will take a beating.
  • Recovery is a bitch.

We took our time on this race and did a little videography. Have a look at our movie of the race to see the beauty of this run.

 

Highlights of the run were:

  • The huge rain and electrical storm Friday night.
  • The forest.
  • Sleeping in the van in the rain.
  • The dark morning rain.
  • The beautiful single track trail.
  • The aid stations.
  • The 50k turn around.
  • Did I mention the forest?
  • The amazing runners that passed us. They were just awesome.
  • The gnomes.
  • The cheering at the finish line.

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#happydays Haliburtion Forest Trail Run

The Haliburton Forest Trail run is just two days away.

The excitement is building! This year is the 21st anniversary of this event which features a number of distances from 12k to 100 miles through the beautiful Haliburton forest. We haven’t run at Haliburton for a few years, but we do have some experience, running the 50k a couple of times and finishing the 50 miles distance. It will be fun to be back at the beautiful Wolf Center.

We really like this race not only for the great wilderness trails it follows but there is no time limit for the shorter races. As long as we finish before the course closes for the 100 mile race on Sunday, we are good. The 100 mile racers have 30 hours to cover the course so we won’t have a problem.

Haliburton Forest Tail Map

Haliburton Forest Tail Map

We are heading up to do some van camping Friday night so we will be rested and ready Saturday morning at 6am – in the dark – with headlights – running in the wilderness – up hills with a bunch of great runners who are, oh so much faster than us!

Nightlights, that reminds me of when we ran the 50 miles. It started to get dark about 8pm in the forest and we pulled out our tiny flashlights. Both of them started to fade and we were forced contemplate running the last bit of trail in the pitch black. As we trudged up the forest road to the trail head in the dark; we mumbled “hi” to two figures walking by with flash lights. One of them called out “Glenis”! OMG, it was our husbands! They walked out from the finish to see if we had passed through the 2nd last aid station yet! We quickly exchanged our dying flashlights for a pen light and a wind up flashlight. Those two tiny lights got us through the last 10k! Too funny!

So Saturday morning 52 amazing runners will head off to run 100 miles through tough single track tails and 67 of us will head out to do a fraction of that distance. Let the fun begin.

Categories: #happydays, Trail Event, Ultras | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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