Friday, July 31, 2015


The Lady notified me of this new movie called Trainwreck last week shortly after it had been screened. I checked the trail and realized it was a little bit extreme but we went anyways since she wanted to watch. She was bored!
First, for someone whose English is not the first language, I wondered what Trainwreck might mean. According to what I found the term means having intercourse with multiple guys or to be exact getting a gangbang. There was no gangbang in the movie but Amy Schumer, the star of story is a girl who sleeps with almost everyone whom she finds attractive and even at times the ones whom are not so attractive! So maybe the term means something quite similar to promiscuous, maybe! In the end this is what the movie is about: Average North American girl: Start sex under legal age, some at around 12 or 13, smoke weed, sneak out of school and home whenever the opportunity presents itself, drinking and drinking and more drinking until they reach an age that they're kicked out of the house and ended up with a guy. If the relationship does not go anywhere they think of finding a job and while it's not so hard to find one, it would definitely be hard to find one which worth spending time on! So the movie fails in its first category for review: Story! It has absolutely nothing new to present. I guess it's written by Schumer. Considering she's a stand-up comedian, it's not a surprise. Most if not all of stand-up comedians write their own material. She probably stitched what she had used in her acts and made up the story for this film which is fine! Then it comes to acting: Schumer is fine and there's a new guy that I had not seen or heard of him in any movies before and he's nothing special. LeBron James plays a role too and he's cool. He alongside the former Knicks Amre Stoudmire delivers an OK performance. The other athlete who performs briefly is a gorilla-shape bodybuilder that I had seen him on TV before. He has a sex scene with Schumer and plays as his boyfriend. 
Her jokes, to me, which mostly were about sex, were not funny but the Canadian gals in the movie house were mostly laughing their heads off. After all I didn't like it some might. I had nothing new for me and I only would give it 1.5 out of 5 and that's because of the good performance of a few actors and Schumer. Nothing else.
(Photo: Stand-up comedian and actress Amy Schumer. In other published photos of her, the ones taken on a beach, for example, her belly is hanging out! maybe this one is before or after getting fat or some gals put a sort of stretching gown on! I don't know!)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Plateau Mountain (Alberta)

Plateau Mountain in the southern part of Kananaskis which is called Cataract had been on my mind for a very long time until I finally found the full information as how to get to the trail-head and how to go up, last week. To me, from what I had read on the web, it always sounded like a different hike and in fact it was but not as special as some have mentioned.
The interesting part is that its coincidence. I was sitting at the desk, I guess it was last Tue., when my buddy approached and asked about my weekend's plan. He is no hiker and has not done any sort of sport in his life but has heard stories from me. While I was a little bit surprised I explained to him about this hike and added that he would be more than welcome to join, considering it is not a very challenging trip. He said he would let me know. In a few hours another colleague, the one who had wanted to join me for a hike and then he didn't join due to being extremely drunk(!) and I did Mt. Sparrowhawk instead, asked me if I was going anywhere! I told him about the conversation I just had with the other guy and considering their background is the same, he was happy and it was supposed to go as a group of three. The next day the first guy cancelled his presence in our group, making a party that he had to attend as his excuse. I didn't have any issue with that and we set the plan for Sun. morning but I told him that I would give him a call for the final confirmation in Sat. afternoon.
Plateau Mountain, as I have seen and read, could be reached from two different trails. There are not very far away from each other but I realized the one that we took took us to the summit much faster.
We approached the mountain from its south side, from a road which took us to a small gas facility owned by Direct Energy, according to the signs. The trail-head is located in Highway 940, some 150 km south of Calgary(!) and it's a gravel road. I had driven my car to several locations in the past 2 months so I wanted to give it a break. So I picked up the telephone and called the guy and told him that we would have to cancel the program because I believed he would not want to go if the other person was not going, first. Secondly I don't have a car. The Lady would need the car. My intention was indicate to him that we would not be able to go unless he brings his vehicle but didn't say that directly, just to test him. He said we would have to go and he didn't have any issue driving. That was all I needed!
We encountered this herd of goat on our way back. The villager was so timid of this cute innocent animals. I wonder if he made his pants wet or not!
We started at almost 05:20 from the city and we just had a short stop for gasoline. By the time we hit Highway 940 he already was tired and asked me when we would reach the destination. We were doing just fine and I was able to find all of the signs that I had noted them down. So I told him it would not be much further. We eventually found the gated road which leads to the top of the mountain at almost 07:50 and quickly started our trip from there. The trail is a wide gravel road which even two wide cars can pass and the steepness is not much. The first one hour leads you to another gate which was locked at the time. The weather was chilly and wind was blowing and the higher we got, the more obvious northern Kananaskis mountain got and the more beautiful the surrounding was. He showed the first signs of tiredness after an hour and half and wanted to sit. It was like a walking in the park for me so I told him not to sit for more than 5 min. as his body gets cold and it would be hard for him to continue. There was no one else on the trail. All around was beautiful, at spots covered in colurful wildflowers. We reached the so-called summit which in fact is the end of the road and a small gas facility with warning signs around it. It took us 02:30 hours to reach there but it's easily reachable in 2 hours. I also checked the extension of the road while he was resting. The road led to another similar faculty and ended just there.
The interesting thing happened on the way down. While we were going up he complained why there was no wildlife and he added that what I had told him about the possibility of seeing Mountain Goats was not correct. He said he didn't think Goats could come up to this elevation! I didn't say much knowing he was a stupid villager from country which I prefer not to reveal. I just showed him some defected materiel from the goat or something else and made sure he understood. So we were heading down and all of a sudden I noticed a herd of Goat in distance. I realized he had not noticed them. I asked them to keep quiet and follow. To my surprise and that had never happened before the goat were coming directly to us! I guess they wanted to show us their territory. The guy freaked out and took a knife out(!) and looked like he wanted to defend himself by stepping in and attacking them! I told him to calm down. It was obvious that they were showing their prominence there. If we were stopped they would come to us. If we were walking slowly they were behind us, escorting us out of their zone, it seemed like! 
The trail became really nice while descending giving me the opportunity to take this shot and a few others. This is showing the trail looking north. You can see a few of  a high elevated Kananaskis mountains at left
This time the guy bent and garbed a rock. To show him it was OK and we were only asked to leave, I picked a grass and extended my arm towards the leader of Goat group! He got closer and smelled the grass and my hand and stopped just there! I told him we would have been better leave slowly and gently and that's what we did! They followed us to the start of a slope and stood there watching us leave! 
There was nothing else on the way back but the weather was much nicer compare to our ascend. The sun came out and give me the opportunity to have a few photographs. I guess we reached the car at about 13:30 and marked our trip with a 05:30 hours time. Overall Plateau Mountain is a very easy hike and it even could be ran half way, I would say, if you're fit. The area is nice but compare to many other places I've been to it's just OK. The hike is good for beginners but a good exercise for average people as well. The trail is almost empty of people and easy to maneuver on. The only issue with the hike is its 150 Km distance from the city which I didn't care! I only wanted to do this hike for two reasons: 1) I had two previous failures reaching summit which had given me a great sense of dissatisfaction and disappointment. I thought I'd be better fooling myself by doing this childish hike! 2) I wanted to see this part of Kananaskis and not drive this long and I achieve that as well!
(Photo, top: Small gas facility and pipeline belongs to Direct Energy and is seen when you reach where the road flattens and you would not get more elevation from there. I have no information regarding the mountain's elevation but I read that the hike gives an elevation of 527 m. Finding the elevation would not be so hard)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Workpalce Stories (21): Freaking Miserable Stingy

I've written about this piece of shit whom I work with several times. I just can't help writing this. It truly should show how some cheap bastards live their nasty lives!
So this guy is notified that he would have to attend a meeting at a company we work with at about 10:00 AM or some time around that and he was so happy that he would not have to bring lunch and he would be served free lunch buy the said company! This is from a guy who possibly gets around $7000 per month, maybe even more! And in all these years that I've been working with him he has never spent a Penny on outside food. Not a Penny. He always brings home-made food and east as much as an 8-year-old girl!
So the meeting day comes up and he's so happy that he can save $3 today(!) because that's how much his food costs but his happiness ends as soon as he realizes that someone else is attending in spite of him! He's so sad and keeps complaining about the situation but he's not sad that he would not be part of the meeting. He doesn't care. In fact any meeting without him would be much smoother and valuable, I strongly believe. He's upset that he doesn't have anything for his lunch and he doesn't want to spend his own money to buy lunch for him!! 
I could never imagine that I would face people such as him in my life! I go to him and he's sitting at his desk with his fingers around a cup. I ask him what he would have for his lunch and he says he had poured himself some milk and is fasting!! I was going to say: Stinking animal! If you're fasting, then what's that you're drinking?! What kind of fast is that? On that moment I wanted to knock him down with just one punch in a way that only he could be on his feet after spending 24 hours in bed but of course I didn't. he spend the whole afternoon with that glass of milk, the milk that the company buys for the employees to add to their coffee and waited to get home and eat his postponed lunch!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Big Sister: Another Failue

I'm very tired from today's hike but because sleeping now prevents the nigh sleep I decided to tell the story of another failure: The Big Sister in Canmore, Alberta. Exactly one year ago, or better to say in 18-Jul-2014 I had the sucessfull ascend to the Middle Sister although it was with a minor injury, losing at least 1 hour over route finding and getting home very late. This whole past weekend I was planning for this trip and checking the weather forecast every day. When I opened my eyes in the early morning, even before the wristwatch's alarm goes off, it was almost 05:00. I didn't feel very comfortable waking up and going but I grabbed my gear and slowly sneaked out to make sure I'm not waking up The Lady. I needed to buy gas so I stopped at Stadium Shell, went inside for pre-paid and get authorization for $25, I guess. When I grabbed the nozzle to fill up the tank, I realized I had parked in a way that the tank gate is located at the other side of the pump! So I put the nozzle back and adjusted the car, this way in a way that the nozzle reaches. I started filling up and then I noticed that I was going above what I had paid! I thought the attendant, who was a Black guy had made a sort of mistake. I was ready to drive off that I saw him signalling me. I went inside and asked him what had happened. He said that he had to cancel the first authorization because I used a different grade(!) and I have to pay now! Obviously I did not use a different grade but I didn't want to argue so I paid and got the hell out of there. That was the first waste of time. Then I stopped at my usual McDonald's to get a coffee, the one across from C. O. P. and a young Filipino couple were ordering and the damn cashier was Filipino as well so you would think that should be easy but the dumb-fucks kept me waiting for probably 15 freaking minutes! Strike 2!
So I got myself on Highway # 1 after that and after Canmore I hit Smith-Dorrien Trail but just as I passed Goat Creek I noticed a thick mist has covered all around the area! That was another negative thing. I told myself maybe the mist goes away as the sun comes up. So I found the trial-head, based on the notes I had provided, and I have to add that it felt much longer than I had expected but very obvious and parked. It was exactly 07:30 when I had my gear on and heat the trail. 
Goat Pond from the trail.
I had not walked for more than probably 100 meters that I noticed a car pulled to the parking lot. That could be both bad and good. I kept going and I cross a big gully and was able to find the trail. It didn't take long that a group of 4, from the vehicle, two men and two women, caught up with me. Obviously they had good speed but when I saw them I was a bit surprised because the leader of a group was a gentleman between the ages of 70 and 75. The rest, except for one of the women, were above 40 or in their late 30's. They told me they were from Canmore and I found it a bless that the group was there because I simply could follow them and not worried about the route. But boy! Was I wrong? I followed them and I chatted with them off and on but never shut up! I realized I was not able to keep up with them and the trail was very bad. It's full of lose rock and very steep. At one point a damn strong wind started and I felt cold. So I stopped to put my windbreaker which I had taken off earlier, back on and that was it! That cost me the summit. I looked up and didn't see a sign of any of them and looked at my watch. It was almost 10:00 meaning I was on the trail for 2.5 hours. I was able to see Bow Valley, part of Canmore and Highway # 1 which meant I had gained a good elevation but the trail was faint and the surrounding was very exposed. The wind was blowing and wrong step could be fatal so I decided to climb back down but that was even harder. For a very long time I had to go down on the damn loose rocks until I finally find the trail but before that I fell at least twice and injured my right elbow and both of my palms! 
This is the narrow gully that I had to climb down from at the end of my descend. You see how bad it is. the rocks at the right side of me (left in the picture) were very fragile and sharp. That is why you see these pieces of stone, like cardboard, piled up. For me, the rocks were not a problem because I had already inured my palms badly! 
While going done I did a traverse and that took me to a cave-like hole that I had not seen on the way up and then I was on trail again but it certainly was a different trail because it ended up in a narrow gully instead of going beside the one we had come up beside it. Here was a nightmare again because I decided to follow the stream instead of going to the left and appear at the left side of the gully. I had to use my hands and the rocks were very fragile and could easily come out by even holding to them. At 2 or 3 points I had to sit on the stream and crawl down! It was so stupid. I guess it was around 13:00 that I finally got back to the car but when leaving the gully and to my surprise there was a noise which I turned back and it was the Canmore group! It was obvious that I had wasted a lot of time on my way down: 3 hours! They apparently had not wasted any time and after reaching the summit, quickly had headed down and there they were! I was disappointed at myself and embarrassed too. So I didn't wait to ask about the trail and quickly drove off toward home!
Will I ever try Big Sister again? maybe not. If a mountain is too exposed I normally prefer not to. Most of the hikes and summits I have done have not been very dangerous. So I have to think twice before going up the Big Sister because my goal would only be the summit. If that's not achievable, I won't waste time and money.
(Photo, top: Part of Bow Valley and Mt. Lawrence Grassi could be seen in this picture and of course the trail. This shows how exposed the trail is. That is as far as I went. Based on the notes I have gathered, there should have been at least another 2 hours, maybe to the summit. Maybe less but not less than 1.5 hours, I assume)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A bit of West Edmonton Mall

So we wanted to spend a few hours in West Edmonton Mall and for that reason we needed some rest after our hike in Elk Island National Park. I had booked a room in Four Points by Sheraton in Edmonton Gateway so we headed that way and it was not hard to find it. Upon arrival we were greeted by the receptionists but surprisingly they didn't have any record of my booking! The young lady tried both my confirmation number and surname but none of them worked. Eventually I went to their computer in the lobby and printed a copy of the confirmation e-mail I had received. 
We were given a nice big room with everything and clean bathroom. That would definitely be a hotel which I will be staying at, if I ever have to go to Edmonton
Many might not even look at things like that but I liked the ceiling decoration in part of West Edmonton Mall
Getting to West Edmonton Mall after a little breakfast (which was not of course served by the hotel) was not hard. The Lady wanted to do shopping so we checked all of her stores. 
The mall is nice and clean and majority of the brand you see everywhere else have big stores. we were there until 17:00 or so but we had to leave because we were driving back to Calgary
We wanted to go to World Waterpark I guess we were too tired for that and postponed it to another time. Generally and unlike some might say I liked West Edmonton Mall. Some say it is old so what? The only new mall closer to Calgary is CrossIron Mills and that is not such a big deal to me. It's just big. The only place I found it interesting in that mall is their Hockey Store and of course I've not checked their movie houses. They might be good as well. Nevertheless West Edmonton Mall is a place for fun and I will go there, if I get another chance. 
(Photo: The old ship in West Edmonton Mall has a nice view from distance as seen here)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Elk Island National Park

This past weekend The Lady wanted to go to Edmonton area and asked me if there was any interesting place to see. I suggested Elk Island National Park so we saddled up and headed north early morning. We knew about the wildfires in north but the forecasts all suggested better weather for the time. We have not been far away from the city that a sever thunderstorm started. It was so fast that I found myself in no situation rather than pulling over and waiting for the storm to pass. Most of the drivers did the same. I guess we waited for 15 to 20 minutes and started again.
You could see the smoke over the entire area though. Not having the G. P. S., as it had been stolen from the car almost a month prior to the trip and that is another story which I might tell later, it was a bit hard to find the way to the park. We headed east as we reached Edmonton city limits and took Anthony Henday Dr. We were hoping to get to AB-21 and head north from there but soon we realized we had gone more than we should have and had passed the damn road. I made a U-turn then and headed north after hitting AB-21. As we reached Highway # 16 or Yellowhead Highway and turned toward east we knew we were pretty much safe until we get to the park. For that reason as soon as we saw a big sign with a Bison and Government of Canada logo we though we had reached our destination. But boy was I wrong? Yes. It appeared that where we had turned was facilities of Cooking Lake(!) while the sign suggested something different. I parked to look around and check the maps and at the time an old Gentleman in Jeans and Cowboy hat approached me and asked what I was looking for. I explained to him that we were there for Elk Island National Park and it appeared that the sign has been put on a wrong spot and misleads passengers and strangers(!) but the park entrance was just a few kilometers away at the north side of Yellowhead Highway.
We tasted a few fistful of wild raspberry. They were much smaller than the commercial ones you see in supermarket and not as tasty. In other places, I guess including B. C. I have found bigger, juicier and tastier ones. Maybe from a different kind
We were happy that we had found the park eventually. I guess it was 12:30 or even past that time when we paid the admission and parked at the parking lot of Tawayik Lake. This is supposed to be a fun but long hike to go around the lake and in fact it was not bad. There was no one but us on the trail at the time. Just when we were close to where the two lake of Tawayik and Little Tawayik meet each other a guy showed up and passed us. The trail is really nice and has Raspberry shrubs at both sides. We tried a few. As well there are nice wildflowers. It took us almost 2 hours to reach the spot I just mentioned above and according to the park's brochure we would have another 3 hours to go, had we taken the trail but we rested beside the trail and had our sandwiches there. The Lady was tired and it was a bit hot so we decided to take the trail and go back instead of continuing the loop. 
Our disappointment was that we had neither seen an Elk nor a Bison but we were not able to spend more time. In fact at the rest spot, where we sat for our sandwiches, we were able to locate tiny brown dots which could be Bison(!) but we figures it would probably take up to 2 hours just to reach there assuming they would not relocate. So simply headed back and got to the car.
There are several different types of tiny and beautiful flowers in the park
It was the end of hiking day for us and we wanted to go a hotel, shower and rest. Finding our way to Edmonton was not hard. We had a reservation at Four Points by Sheraton at Gateway and we found the hotel easily although we didn't have, I repeat again, a G. P. S.. I should probably have a post for the hotel because it is a nice, quiet and clean place. Generally I would say that Elk Island National Park should be a nice place to visit but you need more than a few days if you want to see heard of animals and have a few nice hikes. I guess the park is overlooked because of Jasper National Park although it's much closer to the city. If I get another chance I would definitely go back to discover more of that. 
(Photo, top: Tawayik Lake in Elk Islands National Park. This is taken from the beginning of Trail # 9 or the trail which goes around the lake and we did have of it. For the first time in Canada I see the trails are numbered. This is actually a very good system and is widely used in the US by National Park Services. Interesting thing about the name of the lake or lake as the little lake is named the same: Tawayik is a Native term meaning half-way. The Natives would know that they are half-way to their destination, when they got to the lake year and years ago. Would give them a sense of security!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mt. Allan (Kananaskis)

I'm happy, not proud, because it has nothing to do with pride, it's just a challenge, that I reached the second summit of this year just past weekend: Mt. Allan in Kananaskis. And why am I happy? Because achieving a summit gives a great sense of accomplishment. In addition to that it is very frustrating to wake up early in the morning of Sat. or Sun, drive at least for hour and a half, gear up and go up for at least 2 hours or more and not being able to reach the summit. This has happened a few times so far including the following attempts in the current year:

  • March in Arizona a failed attempt to Flat Iron Mountain due to extreme heat which was the result of late start. 
  • April in Alberta another failed attempt, this time to reach the summit of The Wedge in Kananaskis due to extreme ice and snow. Bad timing was selected but it was a good exercise. 
  • Early July. A good hike up The Wedge again but was not able to recognize the trail in rocky area and climbed back. 
Anyways my original plan was to start the hike very early but due to family commitments I reached the trail-head almost at 10:15. I checked a fella who looked a nice guy just to be sure that I was not going the wrong way and together we figured out, after looking at the maps and notes, that what is called Hidden Trail is the path which will take me up to Centennial Ridge and then the summit of Mountain Allan. Although it was late but I didn't see anyone on the trail until I left the jungle and the steepness increased. That's where I noticed two girls were going up. They didn't have any backpack or anything but they said they were heading up to the summit as well. I left them after a short chat and enjoyed the beauty of wildflowers and nature around me. But the joy was not without pain! This was were I had read about it: Where the bugs attack you! I was surprised as how disturbing these bugs were! They would not go away by any means. Eventually I took out my bug spray out and sprayed a few times. It helped a little but not as much as I had expected. I thought the flower-bedded area is what that attracted them but then why would they go to humans instead of sucking the nectar out?! The good is they almost disappear as soon as you reach the main reach and the sign for the ridge is the meteorological instruments that Government of Alberta has installed. From the ridge you have a rock/pinnacle garden in front of you and the route is easy until you have almost half an hour to the summit. 
Red Paintbrushes were everywhere in Mt. Allan trail and together with other wildflowers gave a special beauty to the route
Before I get to the last half an hour of the hike, I would like to mention that I encountered 3 other parties on my way up to the summit rather than the two girls that I have already mentioned. The girls never continued. I guess they realized that they needed a little more stuff or something like that. Then there was a group of 5 or 6 people, comprised of 2 women and a few kids. The stupid thing is that the women were chatting and looked like were walking in a shopping mall while the kids were wandering around unsupervised! The fact that these idiots don't understand is anything could happen in mountains. From a loose rock that you step on and fall to a sudden thunderstorm which might hit you by a lighting. This actually was not the first time I saw these useless human-like creatures. I saw similar ones in Grand Canyon and Moose Mountain but what can I do/ Idiots are everywhere. Then there was a small group of two and another group comprised of 4 teenagers. The old-timers of firstly mentioned never made it to the top but the teenagers where coming up when I was heading down but they were struggling really badly. 
Now let's leave others to themselves with their selfies and chats and talk about the last half an hour of the hike: It was really hard the last 30 minutes of the trip. I was tired and thirsty and I had this Slept Steepness or Hidden Steepness ahead of me. I had been walking and going up for the past 3 hours and it was hot. I continued dragging myself the last part until I reached the summit. From the summit I was able to see Highway No. 1 but the smoke over the valleys limited the visibility and hid most of the beauty. At the time and for the first time I had to sit, drink a little water and chow on a small piece of Ritter Sport(!) but I made sure that my rest did not take more than 10 to 15 minutes. 
Tran on the east side of the summit. That could be a good spot for wildlife photography
I had lost so much moisture and my mouth was so dry that I barely could mix the chocolate pieces with saliva and get them down but considering the forecast and the clouds which were accumulating I decided to head down before thunderstorm starts. I kept a good speed on the way down but it felt much longer than I had anticipated. There was nothing much on the way down, compare to going up except that I saw a kind of Grouse on the trail and several good photography that I used them all. My descend took a total of 3 hour which in compare to my ascend was only half an hour less. The total hike took 6.5 hours which is not bad. 
On the way back I though I was very lucky because as soon as I left Highway No. 40 and hit Trans-Canada Highway the thunderstorm started! but the good luck didn't last long. The construction on Highway # 1 eastbound had caused a traffic jam which cost me at least 40 minutes but at last I was happy that I had made it to the summit, enjoyed the beauty of the nature and achieved a good timing. I was also happy that the rain would help to clear the smoke and maybe put out the fire. 
(Photo, top: Highway No. 1 and part of town of Canmore from summit of Mt. Allan. You can compare it with the same photo I took from the summit of the Middle Sister)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rose and Crown

We had a few ticket for a Budweiser Stampede Party to Rose and Crown so we went there around 18:00. It was hot and sunny and only a few people in. That was my first time in the place but realized that from my previous drive-by. Got a Budweiser Stampede edition which was a nice design of can and enjoyed. Other fellas showed up and we decided to get a Hamburger. So we went to the smoking grill. The Hamburger was not bad but no tomato, pickle or anything else. Just Ketchup and Mustard was available as well as radish. Enjoyed it though. 
Few songs was played by a band which was nice and we took the second and third trip for Beer and Hamburger. 
Budweiser Stampede 2015 edition can
At the end I believe I ended up eating 4 Hamburger and 3 Beers but I was fine. You know what people do when they find themselves by the grill and cooler of beer. The only difference here was that we didn't have to pay. So it tasted even better when it was free! We had a glimpse at the inside of the bar and it was nice but we spent the whole time out. People started to filling in when we were leaving. We had enough food and drink and sitting would have not helped so we decided to walk back to the vehicle and drive home. 
(Photo, top: Entrance to Rose and Crown from its yard, from 4th St., SW)

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Stampede 103

I have to admit that at first I didn't want to go to Stampede this year but when The Lady insisted and I went I really enjoyed it. It was quite fun and it could be even better. We first started from Stampede Parade which was held on last Fri, and I believe they had shorten its route because after leaving 6th Ave., they took 10th St. instead of their regular which used to be 11th. I guess we spent as long as probably 45 minutes or more and that was excellent.
On Sun. we decided to use the opportunity of Family Day and although it was a bit crowded in the morning, it went very well. The reason that Stampede gets very busy on Family Day is its free breakfast which attracts all refugees, welfare, Value Village and similar people. Some come early just to get the return stamp but anyways we didn't mind them. 
Barbecued Turkey Legs are among the favorites in Stampede and quite costly too
A new arena has been built in Agriculture Center and I guess they now perform some of the animal shows in that area. We watched the shepherd dog and sheep show (whatever its official name is) and a few of carriage running ones. They were OK. I was there mainly for The Lady
At noon we decided to get a taste of Stampede so we tried a Roast Beef Sandwich from the same place we had tried a few years ago, maybe the last time we were there, 2 to 3 years back. The sandwich is expensive like many other food in Stampede but that was OK. 
We took a break and returned after a few hours of rest with the hope that we could make it to fireworks but we were too tired and ended up taking a few photographs and eating a Barbecued Turkey Leg. For me who makes Turkey Dinner in oven and it actually turned out to be very good, it was not something special particularly when you have to pay $17 for a leg but we enjoyed the taste. I remember back to 2006 or maybe earlier we were surprised as why we had to pay $8 for a leg but we paid this time just to taste it and that was good. We were tired so we left and decided to see firework another day. So if you haven't been to Stampede yet, go. It's fun for all sorts of people. This year we didn't try Nashville North but seemed very crowded. What was a bit surprising this year was number of barbecue stands. There was one side of the exhibit which at least 6 or seven food stands were providing all healthy foods of Stampede! From Hamburger and Turkey Leg to Hot Dog, Corn Dog, Pork Belly Wrapped in Bacon and other great stuff but we limited ourselves only to what I indicated above.
(Photo, top: Cowboys are riding Appaloosa on Stampede Parade in Downtown Calgary)

Saturday, July 04, 2015

No Luck with The Wedge

After I injured my ankle the Fri. before and wasted a weekend, I decided to compensate and reach the summit of The Wedge that we had attempted earlier with The Chef but I failed again! I set the alarm for 05:05 hours while Fitbit was set to 05:00. The wristwatch's alarm went off and I woke up. I didn't feel very determined and comfortable to go but started getting dressed and that was when Fitbit silent alarm went off! Either there's a problem with this device or it's clock is behind, compare to my wristwatch. I grabbed my stuff and drove toward Kananskis.
I was at the pond at 07:00 and shortly after that I started the hike. There was no other vehicle parked. I didn't even have to look for the trail-head this time and easily hit it. The trail looked completely different this time due to vegetation and wildflower grow. It looked like I was walking on a completely different terrain!
Wildflowers alongside the trail and on the hills are so beautiful
I felt tired as the night before I had not have a good sleep but kept dragging me upward! The higher I got, the more beautiful the trail got until I went: Wow! The variety of shape and colour of the wildflowers was just incredibly beautiful. I was so glad that I had come but the trail felt harder. It could have been because I was alone this time. After almost 2 hours I reached the rocky part of the mountain where the trees were finished and the scramble would soon started. I sat down, something I had never down in a hike and drank some water a very small piece of chocolate while studying the way up. The beginning of trail was quite obvious so after a 10 minutes of rest I started going up or 
better to say going around the mountain with the hope that it takes me up to the summit.
The sky looked very beautiful in the day
The trail was not bad regardless of a few loose rocks that I had to be careful with but I wasn't gaining much elevation. After almost half an hour I realized that the trail is fainted and I didn't know where I had to go. This could be an excuse but the rocks looked very steep and there was not even a soul around(!), I was tired and confused as well I though The Lady was waiting for me to take the vehicle back so she could go shopping. All the mentioned combined together caused me to climb back. There was no one coming up, all the way down until I get to the parking lot. My knees hurt a little bit but I enjoyed the wildflowers and scenery all the way to the bottom. I reach back to the vehicle shortly before 12:00 which made the entire length of hike a total of 05:00 hours including the breaks and moments I stopped for photography. Will I go back to reach the summit again? Yes. I very much like to do that but I will not go unless I find the route as I do not want to waste any tine up there again. This is what happened to me last year when I attempted Grotto Mountain. My final attempt which got me to the summit was the 3rd one but that was really good. I have to make the summit of The Wedge this time.
(Photo, top: The Wedge is seen shortly after the trees are finished and you would have to start scrambling shortly after this slope)

Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Wall

I was walking besides a part of Crowchild Tr. and got the chance to get really close to the wall the Municipality has put up to protect the nearby residences from the continuous noise of the road. I don't know how efficient this wall is. The residents of the neighbourhoods close to such major roads should say but getting very close gave me this chance to realize that they are not concrete walls unlike I had thought originally. 
The first impression someone might get is that the municipality has put of concrete walls but this kind of wall is very heavy so would have been very expensive to build and install, had they have used them but a good close up shows they are made of a kind of pressed material maybe pressed wood chip. If that is the material then I assume they are good noise barriers but planting trees is another good sound reflector but they need to be really dense. That was my observation today! Noise is a real problem in the city and one of the reasons that I hate Downtown, particularly in summer that you have to leave the windows open, is the annoying noise.
(Photo: A close-up of part of noise-proof wall alongside Crowchild Tr. in Calgary. Cut and chipped material could be easily seen. This kind of wall is seen around a few other major roads of the town, including Highway # 2 to south and Highway # 1 to west after C. O. P., etc.)