It’s been at least 24 hours – and I still feel like there’s a rock sitting inside my chest.

I described it to Simon yesterday, on the drive home, as sadness. That’s partly true – I think it’s also Weltschmerz and there’s one of those German words for which there is no perfect English translation.

We talked about it yesterday morning – about how overwhelming the news is and how ghastly it is – how the environment is deteriorating, how politics is frightening, how disasters around the world are truly crimes against humanity – and how, if we listen or read enough of the news, despair sets it – and least, for me that’s true.

As I have said more than once: I walk a fine line between keeping informed and retaining my sanity. Or perhaps, more accurately – retaining my light – my joy – my spark and sparkle.

Today I feel like I have lost my spark – it’s the big picture of the world but also the smaller picture of my life.

So I am plastering myself with mental band-aids – hoping I don’t run out.

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Evening Ridge and Whaleback

I’ve had my eye on the Whaleback for some time – at least a year, I think. Today we did it: Simon, Peter, Ben, P’nina and I.

I was leading and kept following a ski trail that looked good. I was aware that it was taking us far over from our usual track up Evening Ridge – and, as it happens, it was a happy mistake. The track took us past the first bump and well on our way to the top of the first ridge. We then angled off toward Whaleback and summitted about 3 hours and 15 minutes after setting out. It was – in a word – glorious.

The weather was amazing. The views so very beautiful.

And then we came back – which involved a fair amount of tumbling and bum sliding. In other words, par for the course.

And that’s it – pictures can do the rest of the talking.

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Dog Walks and Thoughts

Let’s see – maybe I’ll just hit the highlights (which means this post is just about complete – duh).

First – a short story published today in Who Writes Short Shorts https://whowritesshortshorts.com/category/fiction/

So that was rather nice – and a few nice comments too.

Then – a lot of thought and exploration on my next story. And I do have to give this one a good deal of attention. I recently wrote a story titled Magic on the Edge of the World and realized pretty soon afterwards that it demanded a sequel – and maybe more than one. It’s a fairly long short (oxymoron anyone?) and it has a good ending – but I know that anyone who reads it will want to know what happens next.

And this isn’t the only one like this. Mister Fabulator’s Bookstore is facing the same issue – what happens next.

So – I am going to address the magic story first. Tomorrow is a big snowshoe day so I think I’ll dig into a sequel the day after.

And then a dog walk in Slocan – we went farther this time – almost to the end of the trail. The snow is disappearing rapidly. We came a cross a flock of wild turkeys looking healthy and well fed.

And the rest of the day is all about preparation for tomorrow.

I am so looking forward to reaching the end of Whaleback at last. Watch for photos!

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Hiking without snow but including bear spray

The good news is that I have, as of today, developed a deep empathy for bears – not necessarily when they are futilely hunting out more huckleberry bushes, but definitely if they encounter a human and get a faceful of bear spray.

I know how it feels.


Let me explain. I drove with Abby to Syringa, lured to the trail by the the promise of NO SNOW and hiking in actual hiking boots rather than snowshoes.

We parked in the lot. I opened the hatchback and started putting on my backpack. Suddenly I hear a “whoosh/pssst” and everything starts to burn. I turn around to look at my pack which is half on my back. It seems that the safety cap on my bear spray had come off and I had depressed the button while putting on my pack.

I disentangled myself and walked away trying to breathe. My lungs actually hurt, dammit. And my nose burned. And my left hand, which was covered in red crap, burned a lot.

I went back to my pack, sorted out the safety, grabbed an old towel, wiped down the canister and my hand as best I could, released the hound and off we went.

For most of the hike one part or another of my anatomy was burning. And my nose was running.

That said, the trail was, as promised, snow-free. Abby and I hiked up the switchback to the viewpoint and kept going above the lookout bench past the big rock. – Then to the end of the trail to the beach. Then we headed back. At the beach, I found a hand sanitizer dispenser in the outhouse – used it liberally on my left hand.

We hiked back up the lookout for lunch and then back to the car.

So – we ended up with 300 metres elevation, 10K and three hours. Nice little walk. Super for Abby.

I tossed everything I was wearing into the laundry and thought all was well. Then I tossed myself into a hot bath (did I mention I briefly touched my eye on the drive home? Not a good idea! That spray stuff lingers!). In the bath, my left hand started burning again. Got out of the bath and for the past half hour,- wow! Burn! So now I know how long it lingers.

It’s almost gone now. So all is well.

I hope I never have to use this stuff on a wild animal. I fear I might feel way too sorry for them to even deploy it.

Poor things.

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Spring is coming – or so it seems

We walked the dogs on the Galena Trail today – to the gorge and back. And for a short part of the way, we were on actual dirt.

Kind of gives you hope.

Simon even managed to drive the car up the driveway.

More hope.

I wrote another story today – and was surprised by how it turned out. I think it’s better than I expected it to be. In other words, I like it. Mind you, I haven’t gone back over it to edit it – but still – I think it’s going to be good.

Very chuffed to see that Ben and P’nina are totally in for Wednesday for Evening Ridge and Whaleback – no matter the weather.


Very good.

Been wanting to it real bad.

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It was lovely to see P’nina and Peter today (celebrating 20 years of love) as well as Ben – and meeting Nora and meeting Tim Clinton at last – and seeing P’nina’s house. In other words – a celebration party!

We stayed for about 1.5 hours before heading out again. I can do parties and lots of people for only so long.

And it was nice – mainly because of them – they are worthy of celebration.

Also nice (very nice) to set a day to do Evening Ridge and Whaleback – Wednesday – yay!!!

Time to eat…

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Mount Lepsoe with NIcky

Days don’t get much better than this one.

First, it was a snowshoeing day in the alpine in sunny and then spectacular winter weather (let the photos do the talking); second, I was with Nicky and, as we have determined, we share a hiking brain, and so that was fabulous. Also super because I’ve been wanting to show here this part of our world in the Kootenays and when you love something, nothing feels better than sharing it with someone who appreciates it too.

And my body moved and damn – it just felt so good.

And we talked – yaddayadda – and that felt good. Loved our conversations.

And then I got to help Nicky fix her feet with Moleskin because she didn’t have any and with a triangle, because she needed one and then I gave her my cookie because she needed a snack – so I figure she owes me one or more and (hehehe) I won’t let her forget it.

So how could a day get any better than that?

Well – maybe if a publisher had called and left a message that he/she wants to advance me a million dollars for my book – alas not today. But any day now. I feel it in my bones.

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