Category Archives: Activities

Hawaii 2017 – Day Two

Following the long trip from Calgary to Hawaii we decided to sleep in on the Saturday and take our time, no big adventures planned for today, we would just try to make it into Hilo and get some groceries.

We woke up mid-morning and took better part of an hour to square ourselves up, our hosts left us some fresh fruit from their garden so we enjoyed some tangelo oranges and some fresh papaya. Shareen was able to enjoy a cup of coffee as well.

Eventually we dragged our asses out the door and headed for Hilo with the intent of looking around and opportunistically grabbing some groceries.

On our way out we had our first look at our cozy little Ohana that Stefan had build for his wife Hallie (our hosts).

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Hawaii 2017 – Day One

I made a point of picking a “civilized” departure time, meaning something during the day so we wouldn’t have to get up at 4:00 AM in the morning (wait for it, irony coming later). We get up at the regular time around 7:00 AM, have breakfast, shower, get dressed and start packing, all good.

Shareen panics at about 9:45 and start bugging me to call Uber to pick us up to head for the airport. I give in at about 10:00 and call Uber which shows up at 10:10, and at that time of the day we arrive at the airport at about 10:30, our plane doesn’t leave until 1:15.

On a Friday at mid-day we breeze through security and customs and now have about two hours to wait until we fly out. Ugh!!! But it’s not all horrible, the new terminal in YYC is actually nice, we take our time shopping in Duty Free and Shareen tries out the food fair, the rest of the time we sit in a comfortable lounge without getting swamped by people.

Just to the left of the picture above there’s a sign that tells us to relax (in that word) until about 12:30 at which point it tells us to head over to our plane as it’s boarding. We saunter over and literally walk onto the plane. That’s civilized travel!

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Willow Valley – Fall 2015

Went for hunting again this year and finally ended the three year skunk but that aside here’s what willow valley looked like in the fall of 2015.



Also, a little video taken with the new “live” photos in iOS 9…sorry it’s vertical (vertical videos looks stupid on most TVs) but it seemed like a good idea when I was taking the picture.

Willow Creek

Things that go boom!

Some years ago my friends and I heard about Tannerite and for a few years we all were wishing that we had it in Canada. Tannerite is the brand name of a binary explosive intended for target practice. In essence it’s inert and perfectly safe until you mix the two ingredients at which point it’s “primed” and will be detonated by the impact of a high velocity round.

A Canadian brand of Tannerite is Gryphon Energetics and as it turns out we can now get it legally in Canada. We decided to go shooting on public land and I was sent out to go and get some exploding targets. The “targets” are in fact 1lb jars of unmixed binary explosive which you then mix and leave in their jar (once you’re at the target site that is). The jars are roughly 4″ by 4″ and actually challenging to shoot at 100+ meters.

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We had four of these, here is the video of us shooting one at about 125 meters, at about 5 seconds into the video we are using slo-mo mode so you can see the full effect of it, also listen for the report after the initial rifle shot.

Some people may wrinkle their noses but it’s fun!!!

Hiking the Inkpots in Winter

Friend of mine invited me to do some hiking with him, in theory it was going to be a beautiful day and we’d both bring our dogs. Nice and easy 4km (round trip) hike on a sunny day, sounds great!!!

Then Murphy’s law kicks in, Buddy (my dog) was being an idiot, he wanted to scrap with the other dog all the time, was barking at everything and generally being a grade-a a-hole. The 11km (round trip) trail was mostly frozen and I didn’t have any icers on so the number of times I fell on my face on the way up was only surpassed by the number of times I fell on my ass on the way back down.

None the less…

It was worth it!!! Again, it was a beautiful day and seeing the Inkpots made it worthwhile. I actually wore Buddy (he slept in the back of the truck all the way home) out and utterly crushed my (Nike) fuel points for the day.

Marty – Biking Navy Seal

Sunday was a beautiful 12C day so I decided to go for a bike ride after lunch. From the highway the trails looked dry but it turns out there was lots of slushy ice on at least one half of the trails and heading west in fish creek was straight into a wind most of the way.

Did I quit? No, I whined like a baby but I kept on going, just like the guys from Seal Team 6. For part of the way I had to go on grass and I ended up eating quite a bit mud and I may even have ended up with some dog poo in my beard.

Fish Creek Park – It’s better than the Calgary Zoo!!!

We went for a short walk yesterday to stretch our legs and my new camera and we saw, deer, an owl, chickadees, and a nut hatch (Shareen doesn’t know which one). All that with no crowds or crying kids.

Here are the pictures…damn I wish I had my rifle!

2014 Great Elk Expedition – Part Deux

In summary, Elk 2 – Marty 0

For those who don’t know, elk licenses are limited and on the average you only get drawn under the Alberta provincial lottery about every 3 to 4 years. As such on the years one gets drawn you go back as often as you can for the duration of the season or until you bag one.

So after one tour of duty at the beginning of December my boys and I re-enlisted and went back later in the same month.

Got there (Willow Valley) at 7:30 AM on Thursday and met up with my friends Rob and Ronnie and we started driving around looking for Elk. It’s called glassing, the whole point is to cover as much ground as possible until we spot the elk. In this case we drive around and uses our binoculars (glasses) looking for game.

We saw lots of deer, moose, and finally around 10:30 AM we (I, yes it was me) finally spotted the herd about 2 kilometres from the road and up a mountain. It’s illegal to do any hunting or shooting within 400m of the road and it was windy as phuck, we were going to have to stalk/sneak up to the herd close enough to shoot with enough confidence in that wind.

Two things about hunting elk, they can’t see you and they can’t smell you or they’ll move on. We had to get there unseen and downwind from them. This implied climbing up two big mother $%#@%ing hills in the wind and the snow just to get within visual range.

But first we had to drive to two separate ranchers homes to ask permission. So finally at about 12 we started hiking up a mountain on the other side of the mountain where the elk were. This is because of that “the elk can’t smell you or see you thing”….

We climbed up one mountain, then into a valley, then up another mountain before got even close enough to see the elk over a rise and down the hill, about 300m away. On a clear day it would have been an easy shot, but on that day and with that wind there was no way, we had to get closer. I snuck up within about 150m when the wind shifted (and they smelled me) and they moved down the hill away from me (see the picture below). I tried sneaking closer a few more times but I’m still not sneaky enough. I gave up for the day and we decided to come back the next day.

Ronnie told us the herd wouldn’t go far and we could come back the next day. So we did. The next day, more of the same sneaking (no glassing, we already knew where the herd was). But this time when I got close and I was about to pull the trigger some assholes started blasting into the herd (multiple shots at a distance and in the wind….no way they were aiming…they were just “flock” shooting….blasting into the herd and hoping to hit something…immoral and illegal).

The herd took off and ran into a field we couldn’t get permission into. Hunting trip was over, no more elk within the operational area. Words were said, people were called names, but the trip was done.

Again, Elk 2 – Marty 0.

2014 Great Elk Expedition

In summary, Elk – 1, Marty – 0.

Wednesday morning I was faced with fogged up roads with low visibility, in the picture below there’s a actually a fuel tanker about 100 meters ahead of me.

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Around Chain Lakes it brightened up a bit and I saw a Moose cow and her youngling but didn’t dare to stop on the road.

Eventually got to Willow Valley and it started snowing, we got there too late for the morning hunt but managed to get out for the afternoon hunt. For those who don’t know, there’s no point in hunting between about 10 AM and about 4:00 PM as the animals tend to hunker down and rest for most of that time during which there’s no point in hunting. Most days we just go back to the cabin to rest and in many cases people start drinking (not yours truly however).

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Saw lots of Mule deer on day 1 but I didn’t have tags or permits to hunt those guys.

Then overnight (it’s Thursday now) the weather changed and we woke up next morning to rain and +5C, all the snow was gone and instead we had freezing horizontal rain (Willow Valley is windy as f%$k) and icy footing everywhere.

Again, saw lots of game but due to geopolitical reasons was not legally able to go after anything. Either they were the wrong species or on the wrong side of the fence. Many urbanites that move to Willow Valley for their vacation cottages post (no hunting signs) everywhere. We’re reduced to hunting on crown land and with some of the older farmers who are still holding on (they won’t be there for long, most farm kids have left and these old guys will sell their farms, mostly to yuppies).

Nonetheless Willow Valley is always a beautiful place…

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Overnight and by Friday the weather had changed again…

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All the previous day’s rain was frozen underneath the snow of course. We hunted from our trucks in the morning but again nothing and I left around 12:00 PM so I could come home to take my wife to the Telus Christmas Gala that day.

I didn’t get anyting but it’s always great to go out there. Except that outhouse, I hate that shitty thing.