Saturday, 30 June 2012

Denali Memories

I've been thinking a lot about Denali (Mt. McKinley) these days.

Friends of mine are holidaying in Alaska right now and posting lots of photos on Facebook.  They're obviously having a great time!

We've also recently heard from Brian, one of the friends who summited with us on our 1993 Denali trip. He's taken on the monumental task of scanning all his slides! He's into the 1990's now and emailed us a few photos for a trip down memory lane.

Andrew and I did our first trip to Denali in 1990. At the time, we claimed it was our one "trip of a lifetime" -- which is laughable now considering all the climbing expeditions we've done since. It's also humorous to think how naive we were! We went from training climbs around the Icefields & Mt. Athabasca area where the crevasses are relatively small, to suddenly being on a glacier where the crevasses were the size you could fit a car or small house in. A warm spring that year meant avalanches were coming down 24 hours a day. The route we were trying was on the East Buttress -- definitely not the standard route -- and we didn't see another person once we left our base camp. To say we were overwhelmed during this first trip is somewhat of an understatement.

In 1993 we gathered a couple more friends to go with us and climbed the West Buttress which is the route the majority of Denali climbers take. As the saying goes, even that's "not just a walk in the park!" But we made it and had a beautiful clear summit day.

Here's just a few photos that have been scanned for various slide shows over the years.
After a training climb on Mt. Andromeda . . . This photo made the back of the MEC catalogue.

View of Denali from Talkeetna. It is a BIG mountain!

High point on the East Buttress. You can see our camp near the top of the photo.
We turned back due to avalanche hazard.
We have learned to travel lighter these days!
A "Loo With a View" at the 14,000 ft camp on the West Buttress. Looking at Mt. Foraker.
Brian Shack and Andrew McKinlay -- just a little storm.
Above the clouds. 

Suspects Arrested in Garden Patch Invasion

This is the post I wrote recently for the Garden Patch blog. I can't take credit for all the humour as it followed a good brainstorming session while we were weeding. It got lots of "likes" and comments on the SPS Facebook page and lots of "retweets" on twitter! 

On Tuesday, June 19, at approximately 6:30 p.m. the Saskatoon Police Service was called out to the scene of a garden invasion.
Information from neighbors indicated this situation had been developing for two weeks. When police arrived at scene the victims (Beet, Radish, Onion, Carrot and Garlic) were surrounded by the suspects.
After a one-hour standoff several suspects were apprehended by members of the elite Arrested Development Team.  Long Skinny Green Weed, Round Leaf Weed and many of their cousins will be making their first court appearance in the morning.
There was one person by the name of Gardener also located at scene who had been taken hostage by the Weeds. Due to exhaustion and a sore back Gardener was transported to hospital but is expected to make a full recovery.
It is believed that Mother Nature was aiding and abetting the suspects by supplying them with rain. In addition, information has been received that more of the Weed family may be coming into the city. Further investigation will be done by the Arrested Development Team and it is anticipated that more arrests will be forthcoming. 
Anyone with information about this crime is requested to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-STOP-WEEDS.






Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Garden Patch

This year the Saskatoon Food Bank asked businesses/organizations to help with the Garden Patch -- a big vacant piece of land on 2nd Avenue on which they've grown lots and lots of food for their clients the past few years. Given my association with the Food Bank via the Food Basket Challenge last year, I was contacted to see if the Saskatoon Police Service would be interested in being involved.

Yikes! I do NOT have a green thumb! It's all I can do to keep a couple hardy house plants alive. Even my dear sweet mother-in-law (God rest her soul) gave me a little plant sign that says "Grow Damn It!"

Hoping for the best, I sent out an email "Calling All SPS Green Thumbs!" and the call was answered. Team "Arrested Development" was born.

Lots of hands make quick work and last Tuesday night we got our little plot of garden planted. It was a lot of fun with awesome co-workers and family members. My first lesson -- how to plant seeds. In a couple weeks my second lesson -- how to tell weeds from the real thing!

Here's a link to my blog post from last year re: the Food Basket Challenge.