Monday, August 29, 2011

Home from Bowron {Time to Celebrate}

 At his birthday dinner, Tony peeks past his gifts to see Tim.

A time for everything...time to be home now.
Our adventure to Bowron Lake Provincial Park behind us; thousands of photos and many, many happy memories (plus some exciting stories) to share; we jumped back into life at home with a family celebration of Tony's 5th birthday.  Corn on the cob and watermelon, devoured by Luke & Leia (enjoyed by all) plus grilled teriyaki steak with sticky rice served "Collin style" (wrapped in Romaine lettuce leaves); it was a celebration not only of Tony's birthday, but also of being all together again.

On the birthday menu, a favorite recipe: grilled teriyaki steak with sticky rice

Peter reads to Tony

 In our absence, the younger kids were cared for by loving adults, some paid, some volunteers; all greatly appreciated.  Ezra stayed with a teammate, and continued varsity training with his cross country team.  Coming back together again after our Canadian camping experience was complete with turbulence.
After all, any disruption in a normal routine will need some sorting out before it's back to normal again.

Tim teaches Tony about the Canadian Flag

Ezra enjoys the party for Tony's 5th birthday.

Jesus' words proclaimed in our Sunday Gospel provided a great boost in this difficult transition from wilderness exploration/outback relaxation to life at home: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."  Receiving the precious gift of the Eucharist after being away for so long (our normal routine includes daily Mass) gave tremendous grace and inspiration to carry on.  Words from Sunday's Magnificat reflection also hit right on the mark:
When our hour has really arrived, God's grace will also be there, and very small things may suffice to help in our simple acceptance of and co-operation with grace.  What counts is the recognition of our real cross.  Often is is much more difficult to recognize the cross Jesus intends for us personally than to accept it once we have recognized it.  We are inclined to think, furthermore, that our crosses would not be so painful if we could immediately see them.  There lies the rub which usually disturbs those who have opted for a life of detachment.  Their temptation consists in imagining that they already know beforehand what their cross or time of testing will be.  Unfortunately, a cross one knows in advance, even if it is fairly heavy, is no longer the cross of Jesus.  Our real cross is always to some degree unanticipated and always seems to far surpass our strength.  As a rule, we would never have chosen it.  Passionately clinging to a cross of our own choosing and perhaps unconsciously but equally passionately to reject the cross that Jesus intends for us is perhaps the heaviest and most discouraging cross.  It could keep us forever from taking up our real cross if Jesus did not at some time intervene. 
For what is our cross other than Jesus himself?  To accept this cross is to accept him.  It is simultaneously "to take up our cross" and to follow him.  Undoubtedly, if we could know God's gift, if we could see and recognize it, we would not have an easier time of it.
~Father Andre Louf, O.C.S.O. (+2010) esteemed spiritual guide and author; served as abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Mont-des-Cats, France for thirty-five years. 

St. Lucy, pray for us! 

St. John the Baptist, pray for us!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit '07 {Day 10: Bowron Lake, The End}

Casey and Peter enjoy one last morning oatmeal before our final paddle.

Not exactly a technique found in the Safe Scouting handbook...

Zac and Tim

Zac and Bridget

Ron, on our final lunch stop along the Bowron Lakes canoe journey

We completed the loop!
Bowron Lakes Canoe Crew 2007

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit '07 {Day 9: Caribou Falls, Babcock Lake, Skio Lake, Spectacle Lakes}

Troop 3's 2007 Bowron Crew

5 of us at Caribou Falls
Joseph's reading nook

Da Moose, Da Moose... swimming in the 'watta' on Babcock Lake

Peter strains to see the moose in the distance; 
after a week of being on the look-out, we finally found one!

Same moose
Our last night camping on the Bowron Lake Circuit was a very windy, stormy evening with hail and rain.

Dinner dishes clean-up line at our final campsite

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit '07 {Day 8: Unna Lake, Lanezi Lake, Sandy Lake, Rum Lake}

Joseph on still water

Group campsite on Rum Lake

Puddle play, Joseph's way

Couscous supper with vegetables

Eric demonstrates how leeches attach to human skin.

Peter and the frog

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit '07 {Day 7: The Chute, McCleary Lake and Cariboo River }

The day our Bowron trip truly became high adventure:
3 canoe flips in one day!
Packed and ready for action, the Scouts prepare to ride the rapids.

Ready for the rapids, after a warm breakfast of pancakes with PBJ toppings, we made a few canoe personnel swaps to ensure strength and experience in the helms.  Each canoe in turn took on the "chute", the rapids at the end of Isaac Lake leading to Isaac Falls.  Scouts' boats went first, with adult leaders on hand down-stream for any necessary rescue efforts, (and for the photo opportunities, of course).  The first three canoes managed the "chute" without incident, then Patrick and Eric ran aground, having failed to make the turn against the raging current.  That's when I overheard two men on the shore discussing their nickel bet that one of our boats would flip.

Patrick and Eric failed to make the turn, and smacked the shore at full speed. 

Ron, Peter, and Linda paddle through the rapids and prepare to make the turn downriver.

"I hope we don't flip, cuz I'm wearing cotton underwear." ~Peter

One small paddling mistake and FLIP, into the freezing river current.
"Stay calm!" we yelled to Linda and Peter as they bobbed by, having been ejected from their canoe as it flipped in the rapids of the chute.  Ron stayed with the canoe and managed to haul it to shore after swimming alongside it at a 30 degree angle. Tim attempted to grab Linda's outstretched paddle to pull her and Peter to shore, but instead Tim was pulled into the river with them.  He regained his footing and brought them safely to shore.   Then the bailing began.  Peter's canoe seat, Ron's shoes, and a few water bottles were lost to the current, but no one was hurt.  We counted our blessings.

Bailing and bailing, and more bailing; Ron readies the canoe for the rest of the day's journey post-flip.

Just in case we didn't really feel like portaging... the sign says it all!

T lines up the cart under the canoe before starting off on the portage crossing.

Back to back portages followed, and the second was the first portage on which Patrick and Eric's canoe didn't flip off its cart onto the trail.   Paddled along a tiny, delightful McCleary Lake to a sandbar to enjoy our picnic lunch.  Moose tracks dotted the surroundings, but none could be seen in the flesh.  To our delight, there were wild strawberries in season, which were delicious!

Moose print along the sandy shores of McCleary Lake

Next stop: Cariboo River... with a pair of canoe flips to keep things interesting.  Our first mistake was veering right when we should have stayed left at the first fork; then in the current we should have stayed left instead of heading to the right ~ right into a tree protruding off the high bank over the water.
I ducked, Joseph ducked, and Tim tried to duck but was struck by the branch and FLIP, we were upside down in the freezing water.  I screamed, "We're down!" to alert the Scouts who were upstream near a bend, and tried to grap the paddles as they floated by...  Joseph yelled, "Get my sandal!" and I reached it just before the current took it forever.

In an attempt to offer assistance, Ron, Linda, and Peter suffered the same fate in the same place: FLIP.
"Help them!" Tim yelled, as I found a deer trail along the high bank and ran upstream to find Peter perched in a tree (he later told us his monkey skills had come to the rescue).  Ron held fast to the tree with one hand and somehow managed the canoe against the current with the other.  Linda was trapped between the canoe and the tree, in a very swift current.  She managed to climb up onto the bank, and Ron released his grip and floated downstream with their canoe to a gravel bar to begin the bailout.  Tim and Joseph worked together to bail our canoe, and after some time we were finally ready to carry on. 

Zac takes it easy on a day's break from steering duty.

Joseph and Tim, surrounded by gear
We camped, we cooked, we cleaned up.  We thanked God for our safe travels.  We slept.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit '07 {Day 6: Isaac Lake}

Isaac Lake, Bowron Lakes Provincial Park, BC, Canada

Isaac and Bryant chllin' along Isaac Lake
Floating by 7:50AM today, with a bright sunny Isaac Lake before us.  We enjoyed watching a river otter swimming and peeking at us near a creek mouth; paddling close to shore we stopped to visit a waterfall up close.  Bald Eagle flying overhead, miles of silence and solitude... this section of our journey gave us rest and refreshment for upcoming difficult waters and portages.

Peter and Bridget at the foot of a waterfall along the shores of Isaac Lake

Bridget and Joseph ride the rapids at the end of Isaac Lake.

After camp set up was complete, we played in the currents of the river at the end of Isaac Lake.  Floating feet first wearing our PFD's, we rode the 'chute' in the freezing water.   As the day of play drew to an end, our planning and mental preparation for negotiating the river currents in our loaded canoes began in earnest.  In a few boats, new pairings were needed to have each canoe 'anchored' by a stronger, older Scout for better handling of the canoes in the rapids.

Bridget sipping a cuppa on the beach of Isaac Lake.

Joseph, the hopeful fisherman

Sunset on the shores of Isaac Lake

Goodnight Isaac Lake!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit '07 {Day 5: Isaac Lake}

Isaac Lake, Bowron Provincial Park, BC, Canada

Our planned departure for 7:15AM became 8AM without any trouble at all.  The Scouts' first destination as we headed out was to a nearby woodlot (marked by a large red W visible from the lake) to collect firewood to haul along to our next campsite.  The paddling along glassy Isaac Lake was trouble free and a day's break from portaging!  After a 10 mile stretch, with a break along a rocky beach for pita PBJ for lunch, we arrived at campsite #21, the best yet.
Eddie and Bryant approach campsite #21 along the shores of Isaac Lake.

A whittling competition initiated by Ron, the same one he remembered from his trip, gave hours of carving pleasure around camp.  Two hammocks hardly ever left empty; Peter and Joseph played together for hours on the sandy beach.  Older Scouts take one canoe out a short distance from shore for the fun of swamping it on purpose; shrieks filled the air as they tipped into the icy lake.
Casey, whittling away

Peter whittling by the fire

Canoe swamp into the frigid Isaac Lake

Zachary and T cooked the evening meal under Patrick's close supervision: macaroni and cheese with meat and broccoli.  We saved portions for Ron, Bryant and Joseph who visited the opposite shore near a stream outlet for a (successful) fishing expedition.  Their mission successful, fresh trout cooked over the fire was served up with s'mores for dessert.
T and Zachary strain the pasta dish with Eddie's assistance.

Tim at the water's edge

Bryant, Joseph and Ron return triumphantly from their fishing expedition across the lake.