Fighting Winter Gloom

Well – there you are – the best way to fight the very short days, the deep, grey skies and the dark and cold – get up into the alpine. Thanks to Sheila Sinkie for the photo.

But that was yesterday – today it was about baking and then taking Abby up our local version of Pulpit Rock – namely, Payne Bluffs.

And now – going to make a huge curry stew. That should help.

It’s either that or drink half a bottle of wine every night and somehow, I don’t think that’s a great idea.

I was thinking today about social media and the conversations (!) we have on them. Specifically, a member of Rebel Media posted a piece saying that the new global accord on refugees and migrants would mean that Canada would lose its autonomy and we would be overrun with migrants and bad foreign people. This is, of course, utter nonsense and blatant hateful lies – and I reported the post.

What was interesting, was when I pointed out, pretty darn politely I may add, that this was not accurate and suggested to the people ranting about how awful the Liberals were to do this to our country, that they actually read the document, they came at me with pretty nasty name-calling. I then suggested that if all you had was name calling, you had already lost the argument.

My thoughts then turned to a friend on Vancouver Island – a friend who lived most of his life on the prairies, worked in the oil patch – all that stuff. Since coming to BC, he has discovered nature like never before and has had a total change of consciousness. He is now an advocate for the Green Party, drives an electric car and wants desperately to effect change. He is also a kind and diplomatic man and works hard to convince his prairie friends that change is smart and can work – he presents data and excellent information. He works hard at understanding their point of view, listening, presenting his case politely.

And you know what he gets from those people in return? Vitriol and unfriending.

This is pretty much what happens: progressives (liberals) tend to want to make things work for everyone – to create a better and kinder world – conservatives (Republicans etc) want power and to keep things the way they are. They tend to hate change. I look at what the Republicans are doing in the States – at the hate and fear of Andre Scheer right here in Canada and I have come to the conclusion that progressives must stop compromising – must stop trying to make nice with these people.

It’s time to stand our ground. As I said to my friend, if you are being unfriended for trying to save the planet, then you don’t need friends like that.

And I’ll take that sentiment all the way to government, politics, Ottawa and back. It’s way past time for progressives to stop bringing knives to gun fights.

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White Queen again

I had no intention of going back to White Queen so soon. Scott even mentioned to me on Wednesday: “Now that we have a track, you can lead a KMC hike.”

I said, “No – too soon. And besides, P’nina is leading one in February.”

And then P’nina asked about doing something on Saturday. And then Helen asked about Saturday. And Sheila wanted to go out on Saturday. And dammit, Helen mentioned White Queen because rumor had it there was now a track to the top.

So we went up White Queen. It was a totally different day. Instead of clear blue skies and sunshine, we were pretty much inside a cloud. But, as Sheila said, it was every bit as beautiful. Every snowshoe at Whitewater is a wonderment no matter the weather. It’s just a stunningly beautiful place.

So we had a fabulous day.

Next: Evening Ridge.

But before that, something closer to home: Pine Cone Inn and perhaps the ridge beyond.

How I love the feeling of a tired, well-worked body after being outside in such beauty all day.

Bonus: we also had fun.

Double bonus: look at my surprise “new camera” – love the results!

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Playing with Photos and Listening

The new (old) Sony seems to be working well. Simon and I took the dogs on the Butter loop this afternoon – I took various photos. The camera performed as well as the old one. Gosh – I surely do wish I could remember what was wrong with it. More importantly – if there was something terribly wrong with it, why did I still have it and why is nothing wrong with it now?

It’s a mystery. The only answer I can come up with is that aliens broke into the house and replaced the “not working” camera with one that does work and happily, there it was when I needed it.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Meanwhile, my Lumix is sitting in a box in several pieces with 7 tiny screws randomly scattered about. I expect that one day I shall give it a decent burial. It’s the least I can do. No really – I could do so much more but am choosing to stick with the least.

And then today, more thoughts. As an aside, I love the fact that I have lived to this ripe old age and am still learning and growing and becoming.

I looked at all the sides I could of an issue – sledding (snowmobiling) in the wild. And yes, there are many sides to it. There are sledders who belong to clubs and want to be responsible for where they go. There are sledders who don’t give a damn and give the rest a bad name. There are lone wolves and groups and the same holds true for ATVers.

And for hikers. I watched a huge problem develop on Vancouver Island when a FB group became 43,000 strong and being a part of this group meant you had to write a trip report and tell people where the hike was. You can imagine where this ended up: hundreds of people on trails, many of them completely irresponsible and destructive.

That group has now shut down and one can only hope that people will continue to be part of actual hiking clubs with fees and education and responsible hiking. But man, these other people probably gave hikers a very bad name.

So what we have is a precious wilderness that too many people want to access. And then we evaluate – who should access it? Who leaves the biggest footprint? It’s easy to say it’s motorized recreation – and yes, it leaves a big footprint. And then I hike somewhere like Joffre Lakes and I am appalled at the superhighway that has been created there – entire tour busses dropping off groups who are discarding pop bottles along the way.

What to do?

Simon and I even had the discussion today about a new summer trail KMC wants to build this summer at Whitewater – taking in Mount Beattie and White Queen. Should we do this? Should we build more trails? True, Whitewater is already developed so better there than elsewhere. We want access to these beautiful places and we are saddened when former trails deteriorate and are shut down – access to trails across Slocan Lake and into Kokanee Glacier from Lemon Creek and Enterprise Creek. But we have to ask ourselves – should we mourn these closures? Is it perhaps best that these wild places be left for the wild things?

The biggest problem we have with disappearing species is human development, whether that’s a mine, a clearcut, a logging trail or an access road.

So I’m listening to my voice and the voices of others. Bottom line, the sledders and ATVers are not going away. We can only dialogue and hope that most, if not all, really do respect those areas where they really should not go. The same for hikers – leave no trace. I think this is most important in the winter when even one pair of snowshoe tracks can make it easier for predators to get up high where caribou, elk and deer retreat. I think staying in already developed areas is the best way to go.

People want to get into the wild – how do we balance that with what animals need? I was taken to task today for my condemnation of sledders. Yeah – I have also condemned hikers on Vancouver Island and elsewhere – I am appalled by much of what people do – leaving toilet paper on the side of the trail, going into habitat where they have no business being, logging in watersheds. And it was rightly pointed out that you can’t lump everyone together. And nothing improves if we don’t leave open lines of communication.

But dammit – when I see a government say, hey, we are going to protect caribou habitat. From now on, when  companies wants to develop land, for every hectare they want to develop, they will have to set aside 4 hectares for wildlife.

What? We already have too much development – all you are really saying is, “let’s develop more.”

But that grandiose gesture of “putting some aside” will fool way too many people into thinking – hey – they’re setting aside land.

No – they are taking more.

Gad! And that’s it – bottom line again – human activity. As I said to Simon on the drive home, the best thing we could do for the planet right now – put 90% of the population in dense clusters in cities. Give them parks and stuff. Go out into the wild whenever you want but stop developing land. The 10%? Go into the valleys and farm arable land. The rest of us are being pretty selfish really – “Oh, I want my piece of paradise! I don’t want to live in the city! I want to live where the bears and cougars are!” And I am totally lumping myself in with this latter group.

Simon noted that people have coexisted with nature for eons. Yes, I said, but now there are 8 billion of us.

Good point, he said.

There are too many people on this planet to support all of this activity. Man has been unimaginably destructive of all life – when we aren’t busy killing creatures on the land, in the air and in the oceans, we are killing each other.

And it’s all got to stop.

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Technology and Politics

So – that photo was taken this afternoon at Bannock Point with a Sony Cybershot.

No – it is not a new camera. I’ve had it for years. Something was terribly wrong with it and I wish I could remember what it was. I believe it got wet and the sensor was dead. But I kept the camera (as well as an old Lumix) and there it is – fully functional and doing well.

Very strange indeed.

So I took my Lumix apart (sort of) but couldn’t get it fully apart and finally gave up on it. That’s when I pulled out everything I had in the way of picture-taking equipment. The Sony gave me far and away the best images. The iPhone the worst. That said, uploading the pics from the Sony to the Mac was an adventure in technology. It took a couple of hours but after downloading new software and figuring it all out, there we are. Whew! I am still a bit tentative about using it – still wondering what was wrong with it and if it will be okay. But I’m happy with the quality and very happy that all I spent today was time and not money.

Meanwhile, I have a bone to pick with our local MLA, who will not meet with me, one of her constituents, to talk about climate change. She sent me the “official” statement on it and said  I must contact the minister in charge. Oh – and this was a note from her assistant – not her.

She has not heard the end of me – nor has the minister who I will contact. What gives these people the idea that now that they are in office, they are so far above us they can’t meet with us? We are her boss – you and me and every single person who lives in her riding. We have the power – not her. It would behoove her to pay attention to the people who put her in office.

And as for the climate plan – pure BS. Oh yes, we are going to do all these lovely things – but you know what? We are also going to help build LNG in the province to offset all the good we are going to do. And you know when we will begin (begin!) to meet our climate goals? In 2040 – so far too late it’s laughable. Great, let’s kick that can down the road one more time. I hope every young person in this province and in this country sues the governments for all they’re worth – this is a death sentence for the younger generation. And LNG, oil and gas and the governments enabling them don’t give one damn.

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White Queen

Today: the good, the bad and the ugly. First the good: White Queen! And oh my gosh, what a brilliant day it was. I was so happy I didn’t think I would be able to hold it in. Scott and I were the only people up there. No tracks after halfway up – not even faint old ones. No ski tracks – nothing but perfect expanses of white snow under a cobalt blue sky – sun pouring down on us – trees in white majesty.

Oh yes – lots and lots of photos. I could have pointed my camera anywhere with my eyes closed and taken a perfect shot.

Which brings me to the bad (and ugly). My camera started stuttering. I figured it was just the cold or an ice crystal or something. I kept taking photos. All was good except the lens wouldn’t retract without a bit of a push (gentle push). I got home and nothing doing: I could not upload photos. Nothing but error messages. I Googled Lumix troubleshooting. Nothing very helpful. At any rate, I got the pics off the card, thanks to Simon’s laptop.

I think I will be spending part of tomorrow trying to repair the camera. Finger crossed. I truly do not want to buy a new one.

Back to the good and the beautiful – and that was White Queen. In a state of bliss. This kind of beauty does it to me. And does it for me. I also have a confession – All that hard trail breaking? I really like it. I like the hard work – I like finding the best route through the snow and making it a good route for others to follow. And I like the sense of accomplishment after all that work. Yeah, I know – nuts. But still….

I want more and more and more.

And it was just as nice to come home to a bubble bath and soon – hot soup and fresh bread. Yum.

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The Right Wing

Before I wrap myself deeply in the subject of politics, I want to thank Vicki Hart for taking this photo on Mount Beattie the other day. She has a wonderful eye!

And tomorrow I will be up that way again – White Queen this time.

Okay – enough of that – on to politics and the privilege of the conservatives/republicans/white men.

In a desperate attempt to hang onto power, even after the voters told them to pack their bags and leave, two outgoing Republican governors (Wisconsin and Michigan) are passing legislation  on their way out the door that will essentially strip the incoming Democrat governors of power. So everything they campaigned on – like getting rid of corruption in government agencies will never happen. They will have no power. It is being handed over to the legislative assembly, which holds a Republican majority.

In other words, whatever people in those states voted for doesn’t matter one bit.

Couple this with gerrymandering and suppression of minority votes and what you have is a complete erosion of democracy.

This is what the right wing in every country, including Canada, has been working toward for decades: a consolidation of power in the hands of the few, and those few are usually rich white men. These men are cronies with businesses like oil and gas and together they are helping destroy our planet.

It’s happening right here – look at Trudeau claiming “Canada is back” in Paris in 2016. And what has happened since then? Our emissions have gone up – not down. In fact, Canada is one of the top three carbon polluters in the world. But rather than turn to other forms of energy, we plan to build more pipelines and buy more rail cars to ship bitumen – all at the taxpayer’s expense.

What I know for sure is this: old white men want to hang on to power. They don’t care about seven generations into the future. They care about their yachts and expensive cars and tailored suits – but most of all they care about power. Power is heady stuff – utterly addictive. And they’re snorting it like it’s heroin.

It’s the nefarious ways they get and hold onto power that has me appalled and stumped in equal measure. Let’s look at Trump for instance. He has managed to convince millions of people that he is the saviour of the working man while acting in direct opposite to the blue collar worker’s best interests. But these people are his fans. “Lock her up!” they still chant at his rallies.

How is this even possible?

I am watching this happen – this erosion of democracy and I wonder why no one cares. Even here in British Columbia, we have the right wing, with its tool bag of lies, deceit and fear-mongering, doing its best to erode democracy by telling people that proportional representation will harm us. And people believe it. They are afraid of change – afraid to try something new.

People are generally afraid of change. And conservatives know that. Hence the slogan “Make America Great Again” – playing on the fantasy that once it was a wonderful place where women were kept barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, black people were slaves or menials and the white man was the undisputed boss of the house.

Yeah – that’s what made America great – great for white men and no one else.

I suspect we are witnessing the rapidly-increasing decline of the American empire. And what will rise in its place? China most likely. No one stays at the top for long. The Roman empire, the British empire, America – they come and go. But now I fear it is the planet that may be going next as the greedy implacably steer us all over the cliff like millions of lemmings who will still be shouting “Make America Great Again” as the last tree burns and the last breath we take is filled with cinders and ashes.


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Occupancy again

More steps all heading in the right direction. Simon completed the final small thing we had to do. We have printed off our application letter to have subjects on the house removed. Tomorrow Simon drives to Nakusp to start the legal process. I don’t know how long it takes but I gather it’s all a formality now before we receive our official permit.


And the rest of the day felt rather productive: laundry, cleaning, baking, soup making, walking the dogs, writing a trip report, organizing the next week’s hikes.


The secret during this dark time of year (and I do mean dark – at 3 p.m.!!!) is keeping busy. At least, I think that’s the secret. Okay – two secrets: stay busy on non-snowshoeing days and the rest of the time, get my butt out there high enough up that the sky is bright and, if I’m very lucky, the sun shines.

I have White Queen in my sights.

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