Campfire Steaks

One of my favourite ways to spend a weekend afternoon is stoking a great fire and grilling up our dinner. Finding the sweet spot of hot coals, great weather, and a good cut of meat is a chill end to a quiet weekend.

Check out some footage of the final results:

I posted a lot of words last week and I though you might enjoy a simple Monday post with a little less reading.

Beaver Watchers

We run hills on Wednesday evening, and in a prairie city full of creeks and a river valley, the only proper hills are where the roads and paths cross the water.

It is not surprising then that our hill training brings us close up to nature, the bottom of our training hill being a bridge that crosses one of those creeks.

The creeks are still a little frozen, but nature never really stops working.

Last night we paused our multiple running repeats to watch this big guy, a beaver, paddling around the murky thaw of a spring creek still partially iced.

This is the same creek where in the winter we did a small snowshoeing adventure.

It’s amazing to me though, how even for people who routinely encounter nature on our runs, crossing paths with the likes of anything from birds, squirrels and hare to more substantial critters like coyotes and moose, we’ll all just stop what we’re doing to spend a few minutes admiring a lonely beaver in a creek.

Nature captivates… or at least you know you hang out with the right people when you are all captivated by similar things.

Those Woodpecker Winters

”Wake up! Wake up!” The woodpecker knocks, flying from tree trunk to tree trunk, swooping gracefully between the branches. “Spring is here. Wake up!“

Against the pale white bark of the poplar trees, her red crest hat can be seen by all the creatures of the forest, like a flame alight in dark meadow.

“Wake up, poplar!” She knocks. “Wake up, spruce!”

“Let us sleep. It is only April. The winter is still not over.” Poplar replies with a shiver of her branches.

“Even the ants are still hiding in their burrows. ” Creaks spruce. “Let us be if only for a few more weeks. Wake us when the hares winter white coats have fallen, or when the wasps stir from their nests. Not now. It is still too soon.”

“Oh, but poplar, if you do not wake now and show the fresh green your leaves to the winter she will not know her time is passed. And spruce, if your boughs do not bud fresh and bright winter will wonder why you wait.” Woodpecker knocks, flying from tree to tree tapping her bill against the cool wooden trunks. “So, wake up! Wake up, I say!”

Spruce shivers her needles in the spring breeze.

Poplar shakes her bare branches against the whisps of low clouds.

”Let us sleep!” The trees all say together.

And so woodpecker flies along her way, red hat and all, chased by a stray snowflake fluttering down towards the ground and adrift on the cool spring winds.

The Snowy Drive Home

As I posted on Twitter less than an hour after we cleared this particular winter driving mess: The downside of a winter vacation is often the treacherous drive home!

After a quiet morning of wandering around our hotel in the ankle-deep winter snow of a mountain wonderland it was time to pack the car and start the drive home. But where on one side of the mountain it was sunny and magical, a few kilometers North on the same road, just around that big mountain there, a heavy cloud had settled into the valley and the wind was blowing.

All of this was making for a sketchy drive homeward.

Winter Roads and Mountains.

I was the passenger. This is sometimes the worse seat to be in.

All you can do as the passenger is sit quietly and try not to be a distraction. I accomplished this heavy task by pointing my phone camera out the front of the car windshield and taking in the rare view of a lonely winter drive down an empty mountain highway.

The video called “Winter Drive” is from part of our long, slow, snowy drive yesterday.

I include a second video for context, as “Kananaskis Cruising” was a short out-the-side-window clip of the same twenty-five kilometer stretch of highway we had driven inbound less than fourty-eight hours previous. Notice the lovely mountains that are barely ghostly shadows in the video taken a couple days later.

We’re hearty, snow-trained Canadians… eh.

We have high-quality winter tires on our four wheel drive SUV, emergency supplies in the back hatch, and have both driven our share of winter roads.

But.

There was no cell service anywhere along this road.

There was a kid and a puppy in the backseat.

The advanced driving features (lane detection, collision detection, etc) of the car had tapped out and were just flashing a yellow light apologetically from the dashboard.

And snow, ice, cold, and speed are never a trivial combination no matter who you are and what technology you are using.

Conclusion.

The worst of the drive (actually) was less impressive visually. As we turned up onto the main four-lane cutting vertically up the province and across the prairies, the one hundred kilometer per hour gusting winds had blown a number of large trucks off the road. The car shook for three hours and we had to stop to refill our windshield fluid because the asphalt couldn’t decide if it was wet, icy, or snowy, but all of it spattered on the glass obscuring the view. Passing these jackknifed in the ditch and watching them through a muddy, snow-streaked pane of glass as the road of gusting wind creaks and groans the seals of the car is a glaring reminder that the buffeting of the vehicle as it shakes is not exactly an amusement park ride.

But in the end… (spoiler alert) we made it home safely, if very slowly.