Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cyprus Lake Camping - Day 2

I have to say, the sleep overnight was quite chilly. The temperature dropped to around 7C. Though I brought enough warm clothes, I didn't put them all on. I wouldn't repeat that mistake this evening.

After breakfast we headed back up to the visitor centre parking lot in Tobermory. Today we'd be attempting the 19 kilometre hike from the Northern Terminus of the Bruce Trail back to the Cyprus Lake campsite at Bruce Peninsula National Park.

The starting point is actually in town before heading back to Fathom Five National Marine Park. We didn't get very far, only 2.5 kilometres about half an hour in, before we hit our first road block - a detour where the trail runs through private property.

We'd have to head back out to Highway 6 and walk 3 kilometres out of Tobermory to Little Cove Road. At the corner we'd stop for oatmeal raisin cookies and butter tarts at the bakery at the corner. From there we'd walk another 2.5 kilometres to Little Cove (part of the Bruce Peninsula National Park). Back on the trail!

Like the day before at Little Dunks Bay, the scenery at Little Cove was absolutely lovely. Though, instead of being solid rock, Little Cove's "beach" was made up of white stones. After taking a short break for photos we headed east along the rocky shore before heading back into the forested area.

Over the course of the hike the trail went into the forested area and came out to spectacular views of Georgian Bay. Sometimes you'd see it from above atop a cliff; other times you'd be down at sea level on a rocky beach. Either way it was impressive.

In the end we ended up hiking a total of 21.43 kilometres over 9 hours. The detour added a bit of extra time and distance to the original 19 kilometre hike. As did the fact that we went off course once or twice. We managed to see Overhanging Point, but it was a bit too late in the day to go to The Grotto. We would hit it the next day.

We finished the day off with the remainder of the lamb that Peter brought and chicken wings from Cynara before hitting the sack. This time I made sure to wear everything I packed to make sure I stayed warm at night.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cyprus Lake Camping - Day 1

Peter, Emily and I went camping at Cyprus Lake at Bruce Peninsula National Park again. We first went in the summer of 2014 for one night with a few others from the foodie group. This time Keith, Gabe and Fiona were replaced by Trevor, Cynara and Jonathan.

On Saturday morning I met Jonathan at Cynara's place near Dufferin and Eglinton. After a stop at the nearby Timmies to pick up coffee and breakfast, we headed north.

The park is located about 85 kilometres north of Owen Sound off Highway 6. It's about 300 kilometres north of Toronto; 3-1/2 hours in good traffic, 4 or more in bad. We arrived at the park at around noon.

Check-in time wasn't until 2:00 p.m., so we headed a few kilometres north to Tobermory to wander around. At their visitor centre there we asked for hike suggestions. The girl there gave us a map of nearby hikes, so we decided to do one while we waited for the others.

On the way I bumped into a former CPC friend, Phyllis Chong. She was visiting with a couple of her friends and their dog. It's the second time I've run into friends from Toronto in Tobermory. In June, 2014 I saw Georgette with her photography buddies.

A little bit northeast of the Tobermory visitor centre is the Fathom Five National Marine Park visitor centre. From there we hiked 800 metres to Little Dunks Bay Lookout to have a look and take some photos. Peter, Emily and Trevor were nearby, so we waited there for them.

After we all met up we decided to head on and do the Burnt Point Loop. It takes you to Dunks Point and a couple other viewpoints along the northeastern part of the peninsula. At 4.8 kilometres round-trip from the visitor centre, it's a 2-hour hike.

The scenery along the shoreline is quite stunning. The tall pines, rugged rocks and freezing cold, crystal clear, blue water are all eye candy. Just beautiful!

Afterwards we checked into our campsite, lot 55, shortly after 6:00. While there were separate men's and women's bathrooms, there weren't any showers. Not a big deal since we were only there for two nights. We set up our tents and got ready to prepare dinner.

Peter brought lamb, Cynara, wings and Emily sausages. Jonathan brought corn on the cob and sweet potatoes which we wrapped in tin foil and tossed in the fire.

We didn't stay up too late. No star shots. The moon was too bright. Couldn't see the Milky Way. Time for bed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth - Part 1

I just started reading An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Colonel Chris Hadfield. He was the first, and only, Canadian to command the International Space Station back in March of 2013. (He actually flew up in December 2012 on the Soyuz TMA-07M and joined Expedition 34 where he was part of the crew before taking over command in March until his departure in May).

Though I just started reading his book there are two pieces of advice that stand out for me so far.

#1- Sweat the Small Stuff.

Currently you hear most people say, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Colonel Hadfield tells you you should. It actually makes life less stressful rather than more. Because when you’re fully prepared for everything that can go wrong (which, in space, can kill you) you have less to worry about. That makes total sense, doesn’t it?


Astronauts are taught that the best way to reduce stress is to sweat the small stuff. We’re trained to look on the dark side and to imagine the worst things that could possibly happen. In fact, in simulators, one of the most common questions we learn to ask ourselves is, “Okay, what’s the next thing that will kill me?”…

… The upshot of all this is that we become competent, which is the most important quality to have if you’re an astronaut - or, frankly, anyone, anywhere, who is striving to succeed at anything at all. Competence means keeping your head in a crisis, sticking with a task even when it seems hopeless, and improvising good solutions to tough problems when every second counts. It encompasses ingenuity, determination and being prepared for anything.


#2 - Enjoy the journey. Because there's a distinct possibility you may never reach your destination.

In 1969, after seeing Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon on TV, Chris Hadfield’s childhood dream was to go into space. He wanted to be an astronaut. But, even at that time, he knew there were no Canadian astronauts, only American ones. Did he let that deter him? Of course not.

The next fall, when school started he buckled down and made a concerted effort to overachieve. When he got older he joined the air cadets and learned to fly gliders and eventually fighter planes. He moved to the U.S. with his young family and became a test pilot for the U.S. Navy* and much, much more. All these things in his singular pursuit of becoming an astronaut. But, he knew, that even with all these qualifications there still was a slim chance of him ever leaving this planet.

He says, you have to enjoy what you do - All the training, studying and preparation. If you don’t, all the time and effort spent will seem to drag on and on. As well, your hard work might not even land you a chance to fly into space. So you’d better not bet the farm on it. Instead enjoy your work and if, by chance, you end up going to space, view it as a bonus.


Getting to space depends on many variables and circumstances that are entirely beyond an individual astronaut’s control, so it always made sense to me to view space flight as a bonus, not an entitlement. And like any bonus, it would be foolhardy to bank on it. Fortunately, there’s plenty to keep astronauts engaged and enthusiastic about the job. I relished the physicality of working in simulators and in the pool, while others thrived on carrying out scientific research and still others liked having input into space policy and helping run the program. Sure, we occasionally grumbled about rules and requirements we didn’t like, but “take this job and shove it” are not words you’re ever going to hear coming out of an astronaut’s mouth. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t feel like it’s a job full of dreams.


Milestones -

May 1992 - Along with three others, selected by the Canadian Space Agency to be an astronaut.

November 12th, 1995 - First launch - Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-74 (Space Transportation System). Main objective: To construct a docking module on the Russian space station, Mir.

April 19th, 2001 - Second mission - Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-100 to ISS (International Space Station). Main objective: To bring up and install Canadarm2, a huge, external robotic arm for capturing satellites and spaceships, moving supplies and people around and, most important, assembling the rest of the ISS (which was still in the process of being built).

December 19th, 2012 - Third mission - via Russian Soyuz with NASA astronaut Tom Mashburn and Russian Cosmonaut Roman Romanenko to join Expedition 34 (commanded by Kevin Ford) on the International Space Station.

Early March, 2013 - Becomes commander of Expedition 35 on the ISS (the first Canadian to do so) when crew of Expedition 34 returns to earth.

*Though he was a test pilot for the Navy, he went to the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School (TPS) at Edward’s Air Force Base.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tasty BBQ Seafood Restaurant

With a name like that, how can you go wrong? I met my family there to eat last Monday. It was a combination Mother's Day/My Birthday dinner. Since that left only one adult, my dad ended up paying for everything.

Tasty BBQ Seafood Restaurant is located on the northeast corner of Finch and Don Mills. In a previous life it was a different Chinese restaurant. We'll see how long this incarnation lasts.

Even though this was my shorter Monday, I still came pretty late from work. I said I'd try to make it for 7:00, but arrived around an hour later. Luckily for me everyone else came a little later so they didn't have to wait overly long.

I believe they ordered a set meal plus one or two add ons. We had a yummy battered pork dish, steamed fish, bok choy, king mushrooms with broccoli, and one other veggie dish with ground pork. I don't know if it was the fact I was near starving by the time I arrived, but everything was really tasty.

Dinner was finished off with a bowl of sweet, red bean soup. Delicious.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Birthday Week

It was my birthday last week. I was privileged enough to be able to spend time with a lot of my friends. Most of it was spent doing my favourite activity - eating!

On Wednesday, Peter, took me out for fried chicken and beer at Buldak, a Korean restaurant on Yonge, north of Steeles. That was nice of him. I actually hadn't planned on doing anything that day because I worked late and didn't think I'd have time to meet up with anybody. So it was sort of a last minute thing.

On Thursday I met up with my friend, Will. We normally meet for each other's birthdays and quite often we have AYCE sushi. So, this time, I gave him a choice between that and India's Taste, a buffet restaurant on Denison Street in Markham. He chose that one. I've been there a few times and the food is both good and reasonably priced.

On Friday I met up with Gabe. We were hoping our other friend, Daphne, could join us, but she was unavailable. We picked a place Gabe had gone to in the past. It was called Café Hollywood and it serves Hong Kong-style food. There was a special where you could get a pitcher of Sapporo beer for $9.99 if you ordered 20 wings. So we had that.

On Saturday I met up with a few others from the Foodie Group. We went to a Japanese restaurant near Peter's condo called My Sushi. I didn't know it was an all-you-can-eat restaurant until I got there. Most of you know those are my favourite kind of places. So I was happy when I found out. I was also glad William and I had Indian food two nights earlier. Because, even though I like AYCE sushi, I don't need to eat it twice in just a few days.

Thanks, everyone, for being such thoughtful friends! I really appreciate your kindness.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Daily Office and Sabbath

Our church study group is currently reading a book by Peter and Geri Scazzero called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. The chapter we went over this time was called Discover the Rhythms of the Daily Office and Sabbath. Even though I'm agnostic, I can appreciate this idea in living one's life. In fact, in a way, I do practice the Sabbath.

The Sabbath is a 24-hour period of rest once a week. It doesn't necessarily have to be on a Sunday. Some people practice it on a Saturday, or whenever it suits them. The idea is to:

Stop - Sabbath is first and foremost a day of “stopping”. “To stop” is built into the literal meaning of the Hebrew word Sabbath.

Rest - Once we stop, the Sabbath calls us to rest. God rested after his work. We are to do the same - every seventh day (Genesis 2:1-4). We are to do whatever delights and replenishes us.

Delight - A third component to biblical Sabbath revolves around delighting in what we have been given. God, after finishing his work of creation, proclaimed that “it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). God delighted over his creation. The Hebrew phrase communicates a sense of joy, completion, wonder and play.

And Contemplate - Pondering the love of God remains the central focus of our Sabbaths. Sabbath has included worship with God’s people where we feast on his presence, the reading and study of Scripture and silence.

Many people, nowadays, are harried, running around like chickens with their heads cut off. They aren't living life, but doing life. It's about accomplishing tasks and little more. I think it's really important to take a step back and exhale regularly. So, while my point of view is a secular one and the book promotes a religious one, we do agree on the principle of a day of rest.

My Fridays are my Sabbath. I choose to take an extra day off during the week just for me. I can read, watch TV, go on social media, play Sudoku, go for a walk or not do anything at all. It's really great. To me, TGIF, really means Thank Goodness It's Friday. Not because the weekend is coming up, but my weekend has already started.