Bears

These bear photos are for Moon & Mrs. M.:

Black Bear

Black Bear

Another Black Bear

Another Black Bear

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear

Mom & Baby

Mom & Baby (photo courtesy of a friend)

Bear Attack

Bear Attack

This is my dog, Smidgen, after a walk a couple of winters ago. She was frolicking in the snow, as usual, and I was trying to capture her photo. Of course, she kept leaping out of the deep snow toward me to play.

Smidgen's Head

Smidgen's Head

She finally popped her head out of the snow and was distracted long enough for me to snap this one.

My Fave

My Fave

Finally, I get a good picture. I know it’s the wrong time of year to be posting these winter photos, but it’s cold enough to warrant it.

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Honeymooning on Gabriola Island & Telegraph Cove

This great country of ours has so much beauty. Honeymooners generally seek a place that is breathtaking, quiet, and intimate. We found such a place for our own honeymoon, or should I say, such places.

First, we stayed in a friend’s home on Gabriola Island. For those who have never been there, think of rainforest meets ocean. What a paradise. It’s fairly quiet, considering that you have to take two ferries from the mainland to get there. Like the Yukon, it attracts many artisans and artists. Unfortunately, it’s one of those best kept secrets that got out, which means higher costs to purchase real estate.

Gabriola Island

Lighthouse View from Gabriola Island

Smidgen on Gabriola

Lush Greenery on Gabriola (and Smidgen)

The next place we went to was a tiny area called Telegraph Cove. It’s been in the news lately due to a diesel fuel spill nearby. The tiny community consists of a few historic buildings, an enormous RV park, and two huge homes surrounded by lots ready for sale. Friends of ours own one of the homes and rent it out as a vacation home (Drift Inn). The views are spectacular.

Telegraph Cove

Historic Building at Telegraph Cove, B.C.

View from Drift Inn

View from Drift Inn at Telegraph Cove

I recorded the view on video using my camera, which I will post shortly.

New Bridge, Old Train

Weddings, trains, fishing, camping, honeymoon, trips, back to school, and the list of reasons why I haven’t been writing goes on. So, the next couple of posts will bring you up to speed regarding my summer.

After my wedding, I went to Skagway, AK with a friend, Deb, that was visiting from Ontario. I couldn’t count the number of times I’d been to Skagway, and Deb had already been, so we decided to check out the White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR), which was something new for both of us. The narrow-gauge railroad built during the 1898 Gold Rush takes visitors through the mountains with breathtaking views.

We did the summit route, which was pretty exciting. One nice thing about the trip is that it doesn’t matter which side of the train you sit on, because at the summit, they get people to flip their seats (to face the opposite direction) and then to switch sides. This way, everyone gets to sit on the scenic side of the train.

Unfortunately, many tourists have an inability to grasp simple directions. Either they just sit there looking confused while others stand and flip the seats, or they try to keep their seats, not wanting to switch. It wasn’t too much of a big deal since the train wasn’t full, but I can’t imagine what it would be like with a full load, as it is usually the case on Wednesdays. Other than this and the 15-year old (?) announcer who didn’t seem to know how to work the microphone, the ride was wonderful.

Here are a few pics:

Train on a Bridge

YP&YR

Views from WP&YR

We also visited the new Yukon Suspension Bridge, though technically it’s in B.C. Anyway, I felt it was definitely worth it. The people who work there were wonderful: very knowledgeable and friendly. There’s a neat relief map of the area, huge interpretive displays, and a nice gift store (not the tacky souvenir type).

Yukon Suspension Bridge Building

Yukon Suspension Bridge

Relief Map

Fishin’ on Caribou

My First Fish 

My First Fish!

A weekend spent fishing on Caribou Lake at Bear Paw Lodge was heavenly, to say the least. One of the many reasons I haven’t posted in a while.

The idea started when my uncle promised to take me fishing during his most recent stay in the Yukon, but due to circumstances, the fishing trip never materialized. On to Thunder Bay, he and my aunt moved to be closer to kids and grandkids, so when I announced my plans to visit them, they decided that a weekend fishing trip in their favourite spot was in order.

After a three-hour drive on a winding road north of Thunder Bay, we arrived in Armstrong and quickly made our way along a small dirt road leading us to Caribou Lake. The owners of the lodge, Joy and Darcy, met us with their pontoon boat to take us to Garden Bay, a beautiful spot just a short ride away. And what a spot it is! After settling in and cooking a few steaks on the BBQ, I couldn’t wait to hop into the boat the next day for a glorious afternoon of fishing. On with my first official fishing trip. I don’t know if it was beginner’s luck or my uncle’s expertise and knowledge of the waters, but boy did we catch fish. Big, beautiful pickerel, two lines being bitten at once, and because of limits, we had to throw some big ones back in. THAT hurt.

So, not only did I catch my first fish, but yes, I put my own minnows on my hook (live bait is still legal in Ontario) AND I cleaned my own fish, thanks to Joy’s amazing patience with a newbie that kept getting her fingers poked by the sharp fins. This woman can clean fish blindfolded, I’m sure. To every one fish I worked on, she cleaned three or four.

Learning to Clean My Own Fish

The owners of the lodge are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Kind, generous, and neither of them ever stop working for a minute (except to get a little fishing in once in a while). The two kids, Rachel and Alex, were a hoot too! What privilege for these two young ones to spend their summers helping to run the lodge in such a beautiful spot. I know we have it good in the Yukon with the scenery and the fishing, but there are sure as heck nice spots in other places too. I can’t wait to do this again; I’m hooked!

Here are a few more pics, and I’ll be posting more as soon as I have some time in order to do the place justice as the website for the lodge is in the midst of being updated.

Another Pickerel

Another nice pickerel for dinner! (I know, I know… I don’t know how to hold fish for pictures…)

Part of the Crew

The best part was the three of us girls getting one of the American tourists to take our picture with this string of fish. Their drooling could’ve drowned a horse! I definitely came home with bragging rights after this trip.

Toastin’ to Good Fishin’

Cleaning fish Caribou style

Travelling Back in Time

Have you ever done some research on your genealogy? Lately, I’ve been working on such a project for one of my school assignments. It took a while before the fire started burning, but now I can’t seem to let it go. My father had done some work several years ago and managed to go back to the 1600s in the Gauthier (Gonthier ?) lineage in France (Poitou). So, with all that work done, I wondered how else I could add to this work in progress.

Little did I know that you can access census records and many church registries online. Thanks to an amazing project by the Institut Généalogique Drouin in Québec, many of these have been scanned and are available for viewing. Although it’s time consuming to pore over these records, I find it fascinating when I come up with a “find” and see information about who lived where, when, and with whom. Having purchased a year’s membership with www.ancestry.ca has made the work easier. As I enter information about a person, their service automatically provides links to documents or other people’s tree that may link to the person in question.

Now that my family back home is aware of this little project, they are scanning old photos that I didn’t know existed and send them to me. The stories I am told that go along with these photographs are also interesting. I learned many little details that either were never told to me before, or I just never payed enough attention to retain the information.

When reading these registries and thinking about these people who are my ancestors , all of whom have now passed, it makes me think about the ephemeral quality of life. Looking at the year 1906 written in my great-grandfather’s marriage record (on my mother’s side) reminds me of how, throughout all of 2006, the year was written on documents everywhere, and in a hundred years from now, someone somewhere will be pouring over those records perhaps thinking the same thing.

Here are a couple of old photographs that were sent to me (I have yet to touch them up):

Aldéric Vendette et Yvonne (Lahaie) Vendette

Maternal Great Grandparents

Aldéric et Yvonne Vendette

Wedding photo of my paternal great grandparents

Albert Gauthier and Yvonne Audet, October 18th, 1915

Wedding of Albert Gauthier & Yvonne Audet Oct 18, 1915

Théophile & Marie (Tremblay) Gauthier

Parents of Albert Gauthier

Théophile Gauthier and Marie Tremblay

My Great-Great-Grandparents Rancourt

Damas Rancourt & (?), Parents of Desneiges Rancourt


Tents: The Best Part of The Games

We finally got our favourite sporting event in: short-track speed skating relay race. We got there about 45 minutes early, were told at the information kiosk that they still hadn’t finished the previous races, and then there would be a 15-minute break before the relay would start on time at 4:50. We went upstairs to find a seat and realized that the relay races were just getting underway. Well, at least we did get to see them; thank goodness we were early.

Quebec took the gold, Ontario the silver, and New Brunswick the bronze for both male and female races.

After these races, I went down to see the performers in the tents on Second Avenue, and it was all free! The smaller tent held performances from First Nations people all over the north for the Gathering of Northern Nations. A real treat were the Deh Cho Drummers from NWT. In fact, they were so good that I returned later in the evening to see them perform again in the Atco tent. There were also throat singers and our very own Tlingit dancers from Teslin. Between performances, I enjoyed browsing the tables filled with beautiful moccasins, beadwork, and tools made by First Nations elders and others.

Another treat in the evening at the Atco tent was a performance by Serena Ryder. What a powerful voice this woman has. I truly felt that the events and displays in the two tents were the hightlights of the Games, and they appeared to be well organized to boot! Here are some pictures:

Deh Cho Drummer

Deh Cho Drummers

Throat Singers

Daniel Tlen, Singer

Tlingit Dancer

House-Sitting and Mughlai Lamb Biryani

Next weekend it’s house-sitting time at Robinson Subdivision, between Carcross and Whitehorse. What a spot! House-sitting for our friends there is like a vacation for us. They own a beautiful two-storey log home which they built themselves. The best part is the view! I’ve posted some pictures to show you what the view is like from the back door, as well as the red sky at sunset in December 2005.

When house-sitting, I enjoy spending a bit more time preparing some of my favourite recipes that require extra time. My mother-in-law gave me a delicious East Indian recipe for Mughlai Lamb Biryani from Madhur Jaffrey’s Illustrated Indian Cookery, which is currently unavailable to buy. It is a lamb and rice casserole drizzled with saffron milk and mixed with raisins. It’s hard to describe the flavour, though the saffron comes through nicely. The taste of this dish is unlike anything I had ever tasted before. I thought of writing out the recipe here, but it’s very, very long, and I did find another blogger who went through the trouble. So here it is, if you’re interested, thanks to Ruth Daniels in Toronto.

P.S. Actually, Ruth Daniels has such interesting recipes on her site that I’ve added her to my blogroll.

View from back of house

View from back of house 2

Red Sky at Robinson

Yukon Scenery

Yukon scenery is breathtaking, to say the least. There is something about the place that makes people want to stay. It’s been almost five years now since my move to Whitehorse (wow, has it already been that long?), and I was only supposed to be here one year. But, alas, it’s the same story you hear from everyone who has moved here.

Below is a picture I took from my aunt and uncle’s backyard a couple of winters ago. In the background is beautiful Grey Mountain.

Grey Mountain

Here’s another photo I took in the Yukon, again showing mountains that seem to go on forever.

Yukon Scenery

Sauble Beach

Being in the middle of winter, reminiscing about summer days helps me to warm up. It’s not just the thought of being on a warm sandy beach, but it’s especially the memories of friends I hold close to my heart. One such friend has a cottage on beautiful Sauble Beach. I can’t begin to tell you how relaxing it is in this little piece of paradise, so I try to spend time there every chance I get. Although the photos tend to show very few people (if any) on the beach, there are hordes of people there during summer weekends.

Here’s a (simple) mini photo essay I created. The formatting is a bit different from the original, as I had to try and convert it into electronic format.

Sauble Beach
Set on the shores of Lake Huron in Southern Ontario, Sauble Beach occupies a seven-mile (11km) strip of beach just west of the Bruce Peninsula. It is easy to see why this sandy beach is often compared to resort beaches of the Mediterranean. One major difference, however, is the number of people making use of it.
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Inukshuk
The beach strip is owned and maintained by the Saugeen (Ojibway) First Nation Band. For a small fee, beachgoers may bring their vehicles onto designated areas of the beach. The money collected helps with efforts to keep the beach clean. Regrettably, allowing vehicles on the beach threatens the very resource that attracts tourists to this sunny destination: its sand dunes and fragile vegetation.

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Grasses
Some grasses at Sauble Beach are considered rare and are restricted to the shores of Lake Huron. Efforts are currently in place to help reduce the impact of human and vehicle traffic to protect the delicate dunes of this area.

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Sauble Beach Sunset
Aside from soft sand and high waves, the beach is known for its magnificent sunsets. At this time of day, cottage owners, residents, and visitors converge on the beach to view the spectacular scene. No one seems to ever get tired of this daily show.

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After The Storm
Sauble Beach is a great place to be to catch incredible storms over the lake. The calm after the storm at sunset time makes for unique pictures. This photo was taken without any digital enhancement. The fiery red sky is truly awe-inspiring.

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Play
Finally, some wonder what use a beach would be without play…

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Solitude
Solitude,

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Romance
Or a little romance?
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