Monday, July 30, 2012

Wilderness camping - Some people unclear on concept

Wilderness camping - that is camping in the middle of nowhere, with no electricity, no hot water, no washrooms, no garbage cans etc.   If you're going to be camping in the wilderness, the first thing you have to take into consideration is to leave the area you've been at in the same pristine condition as you found it. 

The campsite rule. You must leave the campsite in as good or better condition then you found it in. That means you do not leave your empty beer bottles or pop cans. You don't leave your candy bar wrappers or your box of cereal lying around.  Since there is no washrooms, there is nothing wrong with leaving your urine or feces in the woods. It will decompose and make compost for the forest.  HOWEVER do not leave your toilet paper or wet wipes, tampons, pads or condoms. Those can all be burned, if fires are permitted because it's not too dry, or they can be collected in a bag and thrown out later. 

It is particularly disgusting and revolting to get to a wilderness campsite and wander the woods around it to find all these little mounds of toilet paper, not one or two but 30 or 40. Please people have some consideration. Bleached toilet paper takes longer to decompose then your excrement.

If you're going to burn wood, look for dead trees. DO NOT CUT LIVE TREES. For starters wet wood just makes smoke and really doesn't burn well, secondly you're destroying a live thing. Any forest has plenty of dead trees. You can tell because it has no leaves, no needles, it's very dry and if standing if you push it a little it will just fall down. Or alternatively it's already on the ground. 

It sucks to go to places like Lac Vert, off the beaten path to find that some asshole has been there before me and left traces of his passage.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Le roi de la patate

Riviere du Loup near six chutes in Mastigouche
On the way back from Mastigouche wildlife reserve, we stopped in Saint-Alexis-des-Monts at a mom and pop type of diner, called "Le roi de la patate". The service wasn't particularly good. The 2 women working the kitchen were overwhelmed because we arrived at the height of lunch hour on  a Sunday.
Riviere du Loup near six chutes in Mastigouche
However despite the fact it took a while to get our order and the like, the fries were some of the best fries I've had in a  lunch time. They rival Lafleurs or Belle PRo fries... except the grease has no weird aftertaste.

Some wildlife of Mastigouche

Purple Damsel

Grey Jay or Canada Jay

Grey Jay

Gray Jay
Dragonly with red on back

Dragonfly with green head

Red-tailed Hawk

Saturday, July 28, 2012

We canoe on Lac Sorcier

Lac du Sorcier
One of the lakes in Mastigouche wildlife reserve is called le Sorcier, or the wizard. Legend has it that there was a wizard on the big island in the lake that would make strange sounds and prevent people from sleeping around the lake. 

It makes me wonder if this is why the campsite is past a small island at the far end of the lake. You can't hear what goes on there from other parts of the lake. Before we went canoeing we also went to explore the camping called Le Sorcier. We figured out there was one spot we'd really like to get, and from what I can see it's almost always reserved. No kidding, it's a lone spot at the end of this campsite, and you can get your canoe directly into the water from there. Most of the other spots at Sorcier you have to portage your canoe down a really steep incline. You might as well bring it to the boat launch across the bay where we put our canoe in the water. 
Lac du Sorcier

After exploring the campground at le sorcier, we took off in Canoe it was around 12:30. We paddled for about an hour and landed on a big rock on one side of the lake to have a picnic and to bake a bit in the sun. My companion had been cold earlier in the day and he enjoyed baking.  From the rock we saw what looked like a beach across the lake. 

Walking on the beach of Lac du Sorcier
I didn't figure it was all the way across the lake. It was, but we paddled it anyways. Along the top of the lake there is a long area with a sandy beach. I'm figuring it's probably not that visible some of the time if the water is higher, but this year the water levels are low, it's very dry, so this year there's a nice beach. 

We hung out at the beach for about an hour and a half. We swam a bit, we walked along the beach and saw all sorts of animal tracks. We saw at least 1 hoofed animal, deer, or caribou. TOo small to be a moose. We also saw dog tracks, so wolf, or coyote, large cat tracks, which I don't think was a Lynx so maybe cougar or bobcat, and something either racoonish or beaverish as tracks.  My buddy also saw a grass snake but could not find it to show me. We also saw some frogs and lots of dragonflies. 

The point where the beach was on top of Lac du Sorcier
The lake of course has a pair of loons which were swimming with their baby.  We also saw some other form of duck, we saw one red tailed hawk too I think. The lake was quite peaceful. Despite the fact it was construction holiday we only saw a total of 8 people on the lake. 6 in Kayaks and 2 in a canoe. That was it. 

Ironically it was more quiet then Lac Vert! Less people! At some point sitting in the middle of lac sorcier, just letting the waves carry us, all I could hear was the breathing of my friend. I could not hear another sound. No human sounds, no animal sounds. Just a touch of wind in the distance in the trees.

Lac du Sorcier
By the time we got back to our car it was 7:30 pm. We figure we paddled about 5 hours total. We didn't see the extremities of the lake either. Maybe another time. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Camping and canoing at Mastigouche

Riviere du loup in Mastigouche at sunset
I left work at noon on Friday and by 2:30 pm we had loaded the truck, attached the canoe and were on our way. Since it was construction holiday I figured we'd get a lot of traffic so I decided to take the road less travelled. We took the 440 to the 25, and then at the end of the 25, went towards Joliette, and from there made our way to Saint-Alexis-des-Monts.  It took a while and we got there for 6pm. It probably didn't help we stopped 30 minutes at the Canadian Tire in Joliette to get propane. 

Campsite 10 at Dickerman in Mastigouche
In Saint-Alexis-des-Monts there was confusing road signs. I figured I'd use google maps on my phone BUT I had no reception. However there was enough of a map and the GPS location that I was able to find the right road and make it to the Acceuil des pins.  I had hoped to camp at Lac Sorcier, but there's only like 12 spots there, and being construction holiday they were all taken or at least reserved. We ended up camping at a campground called Dickerman which was about 20km from Lac Sorcier along la Riviere du loup, which we couldn't even  go in at the level we were at with our canoe because of six falls. 

Red Squirrel eating toilet paper that had sausage grease on it
We lucked out at Dickerman. We took a spot that only had one spot close to it. Spots 10 and 11 were paired but far bigger then the spot we had a Sugarloaf. We also lucked out that although the spot 11 was reserved for the week-end, no one showed up so we were isolated from everyone else at our spot, and had reasonable amounts of piece and quiet

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Syrian Press... so predictable...

If you're with the regime, you're honorable person. The minute a woman is no longer with the regime, she's just a prostitute. It amazes me how as soon as someone says they aren't with the regime, suddenly they are just bad people. 

I'm not sure how the Syrian government justifies having a PROSTITUTE as it's attache in Cyprus. I mean that should require an explanation other then "She defected". Who hires prostitutes to serve in their embassies? Apparently SYRIA!!!! 

So Bashar, spent anytime with a prostitute lately? How does Asma handle your choice of friends? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Words of Wisdom

What other people think of me is none of MY business!

It's THEIR problem, not MY problem :) 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Since Techie/Nerdy has become cool, everyone wants to be a techie

Some people fail at being geek savvy miserably. Like the monitor repair company, that despite being a company that repairs monitors, they did not have 1 displayport card at their disposal to verify the repairs they make on displayport monitors.  Thankfully the monitors I got back from this outfit actually worked in displayport. The part they replaced affected all ports, and once it was replaced they all worked.

Today one of my employes went to the IT department to get a 6ft displayport cable, he needed one for one of his displayport monitors. Some of the 6ft cable we have have flaky latches and the plastic just breaks into our hands during simple use.  So he needed a new cable. The IT person who was on duty offered him many HDMI cables, but in the end could not find one displayport cable. His solution was to use another port on his monitor.  This might be a fine and dandy answer if he were talking to an employee that used 1 PC and used it to do work. This is not a fine answer to a person who is currently testing graphic cards with displayport connectors and yes we have to test connectivity and it's hard to do without the specific cable. 

I mean he could have offered to see if there was cables on order, and also if there were not to put some on order. Also he could offer to contact my employee when the said cable came in. All that could have been helpful, at least we'd have an ETA for the cable. As it stands, I'm going to have to order 6ft displayport cables in a rush because  well someone screwed up and I'm going to end up with new LCDs with no  displayport cables in the days that follow. 

I don't know if this guy is lazy or just a really bad tech, but he's often less then helpful. If I can help it I usually deal with the other 2 guys that work in the department. One of them I haven't seen in a while so I'm wondering if he's on vacation, sick leave, or if he left.  The other I know is off this week, he was there last week and he's my first choice as person to speak to when I need help, although the other guy can help too. He'd know which cables I wanted without needing a map. He'd tell me if when he'd get some in stock if he didn't have any in stock. 

Yeah nerdy might be hotter, but it's hotter if you actually know what you're talking about.  I know so many people who think they are so hot because they know buzzwords. Like wow.  I don't necessarily retain all the buzzwords, but I know how things work and I want to vomit when I hear a bunch of guys around me all try to one up each other talking PC and most of them have no clue what they are talking about, but they think they do because they talk the talk! 

I was nerdy, geeky and a redhead way before it became cool. Not because it was cool but because it is a reflection of who I really am.  Just saying...

July 22nd was no different

Students have been having marches the 22nd of each month since March, and July 22nd was no different. While the daily marches have petered out with the summer heat, the marches on the 22nd have not. 

Students are getting ready to continue their protests in the fall, and hopefully if there are fall elections, all the youth will be going to the polls and making their opinions known. Maybe Charest will NOT get in again and it will change the political climate in Quebec. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

If I drank Whiskey I'd drink Jack Daniels

They wrote the nicest cease and desist letter I've ever read. They are telling the guy that when he reprints, they would like him to change the cover.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Syria - let's hope it's the final stretch

I haven't written about Syria in weeks. I haven't shown up to events in weeks. It's not that I've lost interest, I just find it harder and harder to hear about more deaths. You'd think I'd be somewhat desensitized. I've stopped looking at gruesome video's for months now. After watching them for months I could not see the dead and the maimed anymore. I don't need to watch the videos or see the images. I just read about the number of deaths in that day and I see the images and the videos still running in my head. Once you've seen this type of violence it's hard to unsee it.  

I so feel for the children in Syria witnessing things that should never happen that even adults cannot deal with and yet they are stuck in the middle. They see all the carnage, they see what happens to those who are against the army and the Assad government. 

The red cross has started calling what's going on in Syria a civil war.  Lately there has been high end defections from the regime. There's also this excellent opinion piece by Maher Arar

I keep hoping that tomorrow I'm going to hear that Bashar Al Assad stepped down and that the Syrian people will be able to choose their leader, but until then I will keep lighting candles for the martyrs and keep praying the opposition finally depose of Assad.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We pack our things and head back home.

I was upset the week was over. I think I could have lived for several weeks enjoying doing nothing or just going to canoe a bit and explore the wilderness. It was too short a full week. Sigh.

Doesn't the dog look thrilled to be canoeing?
Photographer: Nina Haigh

This dragonfly was next to our vehicles as we left

Friday, July 13, 2012

We were camping under the biggest pine tree on the island

You can't tell from this distance where the tent is.

Here you start noticing it.

The tent seen under the pine

Under the big old pine

We go swim in le Reservoir du Poisson blanc

Dog enjoying the canoe ride.
Four of us decided to go on a day trip and went all the way to the Poison blanc reservoir. My friends were not planning on bringing their dog, since it makes it harder to surprise wildlife with a dog, but the dog decided it was coming. They left the dog with their friends but the dog decided to swim to the canoe  :) Apparently the dog likes to ride in the canoe.

Dragonfly at beaver lake
 It was 2 portages. We carried our canoes through the first one, but just walked the 2nd one, which was much longer and through a swamp. We got to paddle through 2 small beaver lakes and walk along the third one since it's too marshy to canoe through. 

At reservoir du Poisson blanc.
Yellow and black dragonfly
The beaver lakes had interesting vegetation and animals. Lots of dragonflies and birds. We tried to get photos of a big blue heron but mine turned out all fuzzy. I did better with the dragonflies both around the beaver lakes and at reservoir du poisson blanc.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

They made a trip to the depanneur

Sunset in the woods
I didn't think I could find my way, so my friends made the 5 hours trip to the depanneur without me. I enjoyed the peace and quiet of being alone on my side of the island.

With the exception of the dog who came to say hello a few times, I was left to my own devices. My friend had left quite a few sick trees he had saw down earlier, so I cut some of the trees into firewood. We got this cool saw called the Sawvivor

It is portable and easy to carry and can saw any tree you need to cut into firewood. Very good camping purchase. MUCH SAFER to use then an AXE, and even I can cut wood with it :)

I went to the North west tip of the island to take sunset pictures. While I was walking through the woods to find a good angle for more sunset pictures I heard some weird sound so I started to look if it was a bird or a bug, turns out it was a hummingbird and I managed to see it.

But since it was dusk I wasn't able to get a really good shot of it even though I was using my telephoto lens. However I am pleased since this is the first time EVER I have been able to photograph a hummingbird. I think this was a ruby-throated one, but I could be wrong.

Hummingbird in pine tree.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

We visit a smaller Island

Fireweed, growing on island
One of the smaller islands in the lake, my friend had told me about. She said last time they had been there, it was obvious there had been a fire on the island. So we canoed there, and went to explore the island. My first comment was that we should fire Fireweed there since it's generally one of the first flowers to grow anywhere there's been a forest fire. In fact I spotted at least one plant of fireweed.

We were able to still spot signs that there had been a fire on about half of this Island. It makes it less attractive for camping because if there is any kind of storm it leaves at the mercy of the elements. I suppose before the first it was probably a fine place for a couple to camp with a small tent. At the moment it's just good for exploring. My friend thought it might be on this island that there was a geocache - but it turned out to be on the island next to this one. 

The toilet that gives the island it's name.
An island affectionately known by those who camp around lac vert as toilet island - because it has a toilet made out of stone and is still fully functional. This island is slightly bigger and it also seems to have had suffered a fire on part of it. This one is actually better for camping and I noticed a few days later that some canoe landed there when it was almost completely dark because they had to land somewhere.

We caught some fishies last night

The fish we caught died overnight due to lack of oxygen!
Both my gf and I caught some Dore. They weren't really big, and I doubt the biggest fish she caught was longer then 8 inches, my longest one was probably closer to 6 inches.

We put all the fish in my bucket, but it was too small to keep them alive overnight. They were all dead by morning. She taught me how to clean them and scale them.

My grandma taught me how to fish when I was just a wee little girl. She taught me how to make my own fish line with a pole, some thread and a hook. She even showed me how to worm a hook, but she never taught me how to clean or scale them. 

Delicious Dore just about to be eaten!
So I had the fish - and let me tell you it was some of the freshest fish I had ever eaten. My friend decided that one of the 6 fish we caught didn't look good, so we got rid of  that one and I put the other five in aluminum foil, put a bit of margarine and some salt and pepper and tossed them into the fire.  It took little time to cook, and would have been yummier if I'd had a lemon. I'll know next time I go fishing to also bring lemon and aluminum foil to cook the fish.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's easy living on a desert island...

Southern tip of the island facing another island.
We got woken up early again by the damn red squirrel. I decided it was a good day to take a walk around the island we were staying on. My tent was at one of the northern tips under a great big pine where we got early morning sun, but not on our tent due to the great big pine.

I took dozens of photos of the lake and it's green colour. It's just amazing. Anywhere the water is shallow at a distance it looks like the water is this pale green. It's like the tropics in Quebec!!!!

Later in the day my friends went to get wood. I wasn't feeling up to canoeing that day so I let them go look for firewood around the shores of the lake and some of the other islands.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The maturity of some people.

Later in the day we went to hang out on the other side of the island. I brought my fishing gear and my friend brought his guitar with him. He sat around playing guitar while I fished.

I believe the others had gone out to get some wood, and when they came back they decided it was a good time to swim but decided to go swim at the southern tip of the island so that they wouldn't be in the way of my fishing.

At some point we hear loud singing and we notice 5 canoes paddling past our island each with 3 people in them. As they passed the tip of the island they broke into song about "nude people bathing on the beach".  It was obvious there was 12-13 of them who were teens probably on a summer camp outing. It turns out our friends had been skinny dipping, and seriously if you're a teen and you've never seen someone naked, it's about time you do!  I mean we're all naked under our clothes!

Group of singing teens on the lake.
Here's an interesting fact, bathing suits didn't exist until the 18th century.  People tended to strip either down to their underclothes, or naked to swim. I will still wear a 2 piece bathing suit. The thought of getting a sunburn on my breasts has never appealed to me... but I did go in at dusk without any clothes... and without the risk of these teens coming back. :)

We canoe back to get the rest of our things

Red squirrel trying to open belly pouch
 by it's zipper to get nuts!
After sleeping listening to the flow of the water in the lake, especially the parts of the night while it was windy, I got woken up fairly early by a red squirrel trying to break open a bag of almonds. After telling him off a few times I gave up and put the bag of nuts in the tent. 

We canoed back to the Grand Vitara to get the items we didn't bring with us on the first trip. Since we picked up the canoe for $300  just a few days before leaving for the trip we weren't even sure if the canoe was going to sea worthy.  We'd also never canoed together so we didn't know how we'd handle it and so we didn't load the canoe too much. On the way back from camping we just made one trip with all the junk we brought. 

In the canoe with Taya - Photographer: Nina Haigh
As it turns out our 16ft canoe is a genuine Indian brand canoe, made in fibreglass and handles well. My companion wasn't familiar with canoes of this size, but I remember using similar canoes in my youth. Apparently it doesn't matter if you haven't canoed in 35 years, it's like riding a bike, you don't forget.  

This canoe is weird too, in the sense that the benches are not made for kneeling but for sitting. This isn't a bad thing considering that I have bad knees on which I should not kneel long periods of time.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Wilderness camping and canoe camping at Lac Vert

Lac Vert, in Municipalite de Lac Ste-Marie - seen from one of its islands

This morning we met up with friends and left around 11:30. We took the 40 in direction of Ottawa. Then we turned and headed towards Gatineau, then towards the municipality of Lac Ste-Marie. We drove through Lac Ste Marie and then took a small gravel road to a parking lot and access to Lac des Bagnoles.

We put our canoe in water, put most of our camping equipment in it and paddled half of the lake to get to the passage to Lac des Roches, and then a quarter across that lake to get to the passage that brings us to Lac Vert. And yes Lac Vert is actually green. Nice shade of green.

Rape isn't a 'feminist agenda'. Men get raped too.....

And using the word rape casually in video games is really NOT COOL for those of us who are rape survivors as this male survivor of rape rants on for several pages. Well worth the read.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Awesome blog goes inside the head of an ADHDer

I just read a blog written by someone in the ADHD group I belong to on facebook. Awesome read. If you were unclear on the concept of ADHD and what goes on in the brain of someone with it, this blog will really put things into perspective.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Twentyeth anniversary at work

Today it has been twenty years that I work for the same company. Can you imagine? Twenty years?  That's currently almost half of my life as I will be fifty this year. 


Monday, July 02, 2012

More photos from Riviere des rats

Red-tailed Hawk that nests around Riviere des Rats

Under the rainbow!

Pretty little white moss

Sunday, July 01, 2012

One year anniversary

Canada day is  the one year anniversary of the death of my friend Rick. While I was in the middle of nowhere I thought about how fragile life is and how it's best to enjoy every day we have. 

Last year I blogged about how Canada day is a typical moving day for most Quebequois. 

Happy Canada Day.