Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Canmore Highland Games - 51° 05' 13" N 115° 21' 27" W

As Community Cruisers was to provide bike parking at the Highland Games, in my new role of Volunteer Coordinator, I gave the President a call to see what they required.  The President, Sandy Bunch, has a rather strong Glaswegian accent.  As I came off the phone, I had a disturbing feeling I had committed to something a little more than bike parking!

A few days later, a follow-up phone call from Sandy confirmed that I had indeed agreed to becoming the Volunteer Coordinator for the whole Highland Games!  Good grief! Somebody, PLEASE, remind me to never again grunt assent when I don't understand a word!

My first committee meeting was filled with talk of kaylees, heavy sports and whiskey tastings.  The only part I was sure of was the whiskey tasting.  That, I could get into!  Consulting The Google, I discovered that heavy sports was the competition one finds at Highland Games. It includes athletic events such as the tug o'war, caber toss, hammer throw, stone put, weight throw and sheaf toss. 

It took a little more searching for me to discover kaylee is actually Ceilidh and is a party which includes music, dancing and often story telling - along with drinking; a lot of drinking.  (Editor's Note:  ... and when an Australian takes a pause and remarks on someone else doing "a lot of drinking," that's serious.)

I also discovered that Highland Games are a VERY big deal and people travel the globe attending them.  The regalia, the traditions, the pomp and ceremony of the Pipes and Drums, the amazing skill of the dancers, the toe tapping talent of the musicians and the extraordinary capacity of all in knocking back whiskey and beer!

My role was to find and coordinate the 250-odd volunteers (and gosh, some of them were certainly odd!) required to help with the event.  The task was not quite as daunting as it first appeared as so many people just love volunteering for the games! 

The weekend turned out perfect weather and record attendance.  A success all round! Now the big question - will I do it again next year??

Sandy Bunch.

The pomp and ceremony (and a rather grainy photo from non-COVID times!)

The festivities from the bike parking

Look who I conned into volunteering!

More of our wonderful volunteers!

The weather ended up cooperating.  Canmorons and all those of Highland-descent came out in droves and tartans to blow out the COVID cobwebs and enjoy some sunshine.  In spite of COVID restrictions introduced two days before the event, the outdoor portions went forward.  Record attendance, record revenue ... all led to a good experience for us.

All in all, a happily haggis-free experience.

Craic mhaith!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Nakiska Ridgetop Weather Station – 50° 56’ 37” N 115° 11’ 23” W

Being tethered in place is much worse for some than others.

As COVID restrictions have flattened our appetite for straying too far from home, we have dedicated this summer to exploring the less-known trails close to us. We are doing mostly day-trips. Names that we have heard mentioned – Sarrail Ridge, Windy Tower, Old Goat Creek – have been added to a list of Hikes We’ve Been Meaning To Get To. We decided that adding to our quiver of “known hikes” will make it easier to show our future guests a good time. When it is overcast (or smoky), you can still hike – you just stay in the valleys and trees. If you are hiking with friends that aren’t used to the altitude (or who aren’t as fit), there are less strenuous hikes. Some hikes feature waterfalls. Some hikes are more technical (meaning there could be some light climbing/scrambling). Some hikes have criss-cross back and forth over streams, with quaint bridges. Some hikes have panoramic views … but require going up 1,000+ metres to access those views.

Although each hike is quite spectacular in retrospect, I haven’t been blogging about each individual one. Here’s a summary of some of our outings.

Click on any of the pictures below for a BIGGER view.

June hike, on our way to Old Goat Glacier

Pip on the Ha Ling stairs

Hiking through the smoke on the way to Helen Lake

Old Goat Creek valley

Canmore and the Bow Valley from the top of EEOR (East End of Rundle Mtn.)

Parker Ridge with Mya and Pip

Bow Lake in the smoke

Fire carnage on the way to Helen Lake

Sometimes we hike with wheels.
Here we are riding the Bow Valley Parkway to Lake Louise
with Sean, Gaetanne, Chris and Anne-Marie

Early morning shadows, volunteering for Epic Trail Day at Canmore Nordic Centre

Centennial Ridge Hike

Leaving Mt. Allen Summit

Grassi Knob and Three Sisters behind

The cairn at Olympic Peak

Sentinel rocks on the Centennial Ridge trail

Pip having lunch on the way to Old Goat Glacier

As I write this, Kate is packing our packs to climb Sarrail Ridge with Jim and Grace tomorrow.  I think a campfire tonight will be the prelude to a night dirtbagging in the van, then an early start at the trailhead to beat the crowds.

Heigh ho, heigh ho ...