Getting fat in the Edmonton River Valley

Here is a few pictures from a recent fat bike ride though the Edmonton river valley.  It was around -20 celsius in the afternoon, but being layer correctly made it possible to be out for almost 3 hours without getting cold.

The fat bike has been a real game changer for me during the winter.  I’m constantly amazed at what these bikes can do, although they aren’t without limitations.

More on the fat bike later.

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2014 – Where did it go?

2014 was a very busy year for me and I decided to take a break from the blog for the year.  Some of the activities I was up to include the following.

  • Sold my house and bought a new one.
  • Built a fence and completed most landscaping
  • Rented out my basement suite
  • Ran a 1:43 in the Banff Marathon
  • Went back to New Brunswick and New England to visit family
  • Completed a bike tour from Boston to Acadia National Park
  • Completed a solo bike tour through the Icefields Parkway though the Canadian Rockies
  • A few hikes in the Rockies

Here are some pictures from the last year.

Kananaskis OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Grizzly in Kananaskis Ha Ling Peak Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tonquin Valley – Jasper, Alberta

Earlier this fall I had the chance to go on a two night trip into the Tonquin Valley, located in Japer National Park with some friends.  It turned out to be my favourite area of Jasper park that I’ve visited to date.

As it turns out we visited during the perfect time of year, the second weekend in September.  The area is usually plagued by mosquitoes much of the year but it seems some cold snaps must have killed them off already.  In addition to very few mosquitoes, we also saw very few people.  We saw less than 10 people over the three days.  One night we even had Surprise Point campground (usually very popular) all to ourselves.

I’m glad I was with a group of three other people as I’ve never ever seen so many signs of bears anywhere.  Not surprisingly on the second day we saw a grizzly bear eating some greens along the side of Outpost Lake.  He saw us and watched us for a while and then shortly after lost interested and resumed eating.  As he was eating, he kept continuing in our direction.  Luckily we were in front of the Wates-Gibson Memorial Hut, so we had somewhere safe to retreat to if necessary.  Since we needed to head back to our campsite, we decided to leave while we still knew where the bear was, as not to accidentally encounter it.  All was well and we headed back to Surprise Point campsite.

Grizzly Bear on the shore of Outpost Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta


That would not be our last animal encounter of the day.  While sitting on the shore of Amethyst Lake, we spotted some rare Woodland Caribou.

Male Woodland Caribou at Tonquin Valley, Jasper National Park


It was really a wonderful trip and turned out to be my only backpacking trip of the year.  Here are some photos of the trip.

Swan Lake Rangers Cabin

Earlier I had written about the US governments cabin rental program here . Back in July, I had a chance to try the service.

As I mentioned in my earlier post , I had reserved a few days in the Swan Lake Guard station in Montana. Overall I must say that I am very pleased with the service. Given that it’s up to the previous occupants to clean the cabin before they leave, I was a bit weary about what condition I would find the place in. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked through the door to find a very nice, and very clean cabin for me and my wife to use over the following days.

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Beyond the cleanliness of the place, my other surprise was how nice the furniture inside was. There were a couple of leather chairs, a nice futon, and to top it off, an extremely nice hand-made rustic style table and chair set.

The only area for improvement that I can see is security. There is an electronic door lock on the front door opened by entering a numeric combination. This is good except it seems they never change the combination. I had reserved the cabin some 6+ months prior to when I stayed there and received the combination upon booking. I think this could be improved upon by changing the combination once a month or so and then emailing it and the previous combination (if they haven’t changed it on time) to everyone who has a booking within that month.

Swan Lake Ranger Station Dining RoomSwan Lake Ranger Station Kitchen


I’m curious what other folks experiences have been like with these cabin rentals. If you’ve tried it, please leave a comment below and let everyone know how it worked out.

Ogre Bikepacking Setup

I’ve been getting the Ogre ready for some bikepacking later this summer.

Ogre in Bikepacking Mode

The first piece of gear I got was a custom frame bag which my mother sewed up for me.  The sides are made from Terrain X-Pac, with the edges made from 1050 denier coated ballistic nylon.  Here is a picture of the bag.  I’ve used it several times lately and have to say that I’m very surprised about how much it holds.


In addition to the frame bag, I’ve purchased two handlebar bags from Oveja Negra threadworks.  I have the ‘Lunchbox Handlebar Gear Bag‘ and the ‘Front End Loader Handlebar Drybag Mount‘.  One will go on my bike and one will go on the wife’s Troll.

I’m still deciding whether I should invest in a seat bag or just strap a drybag to a rear rack.

Later this summer I’ll post an update about how this works out.



Bryce Canyon National Park – Day 3

On the third day of our Utah vacation we decided to visit Bryce Canyon.  It’s a stunningly beautiful place as might be expected.  Some things that I noted were as follows.

▪   The jaw dropping scenery is very dense so don’t expect anything resembling solitude, or the sense of wilderness.

▪   You certainly don’t need more than a day at this park due to its size.  Most of the scenery is packed into a few trails.

▪   This park will make anyone seem like a pro photographer!

We hiked the Navajo, Peekaboo, and Queens Garden trails and would certainly recommend them.