Tag Archives: British Columbia

Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park

This is why we came to Yoho National Park.   “Takakkaw”, loosely translated from Cree, means something like “it is magnificent”. The falls are fed by the Daly Glacier, which is part of the Waputik Icefield.   Its highest point is 302 metres from its base.  The falls drop a total of 992 feet in four distinct steps, first dropping over two narrow plunges hidden within the slot canyon at the top of the falls (neither of which can be seen from the base of the falls). The river then hurtles 853 feet over the side of the Yoho Valley wall, then cascading down a narrow flume-like stairstep for an additional 94 feet.

Yoho is where the big mountains are.  The drive to Takakkaw Falls both terrified and inspired the family.  It was worth the trip before we even got there.  I have never visited the park before and I can’t wait to return next summer.

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Some of Parks Canada famed red chairs.Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkIMGP3191Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkIMGP3212Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National Park

The appropriately named Cathedral Mountain.Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkIMGP3228Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkIMGP3232Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National Park

The tradition of dunking one’s head in frozen water continues on.Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkIMGP3236Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkTakkakaw Falls in Yoho National ParkIMGP3251Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National Park

B.C. Prisoner Group Protesting Non-Christian Chaplain Layoffs

This is a decision by CSC that I just don’t understand

A prisoners’ rights group in B.C. is suing the federal government for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of non-Christian inmates by cancelling the contracts of 18 non-Christian chaplains at federal prisons.

Two Buddhists, two Wiccans, two Muslims, a Sikh and a Jewish believer say Corrections Canada is denying them reasonable access to religion and spirituality.

In October, the agency confirmed its plans to lay off 49 part-time chaplains — 31 of whom are Christians — who provided religious counsel to a variety of faiths. The layoffs, expected to take effect at the end of March, will leave British Columbia without a non-Christian chaplain.

The part-time chaplains are to be replaced with a mix of volunteers and the CSC’s 71 full-time Christian chaplains and two full-time Muslim chaplains.

“It is a pretty clear cut case on the basis of religion,” said D.J. Larkin, a staff lawyer with West Coast Prison Justice Society, which is representing eight current and former inmates in the case.

“What’s happening right now is there are Christian-based chaplains in B.C. There are no minority-based chaplains in B.C.”

Larkin says she has documented a number of cases where prisoners have requested religious counselling but have been unable to attain it.

Cantor Michael Zoosman was a part-time Jewish prison chaplain in B.C. who now works in Washington D.C.

He says religion can help people stay out of prison — saving money and helping them reintegrate into society.

“There’s a real opportunity for rehabilitation through spiritual connectedness that only chaplains can achieve,” Zoosman said.

“Minorities deserve the same access to that rehabilitation as majorities.”

With their lawsuit, the eight current and former inmates are asking that the Correctional Service of Canada reinstate and continue the contracts of the non-Christian chaplains in British Columbia.

The CSC wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit, but released a statement saying it is committed to respecting religious freedom.

The agency “will also continue to engage the voluntary support of our community partners to deliver chaplaincy services to offenders,” the statement read.

I agree with the prisoners on this.  Laying off chaplains (who do a really important job in Corrections no matter what their faith background is) is a weird move but eliminating all of the part time positions that minister to minorities is even more mind boggling until you step back and realize that Vic Toews is the minister in charge. 

I know a lot of offenders who have turned their lives around in jail and almost all of them have talked of their work with a chaplain.  Cutting chaplaincy is a bizarre decision (they get paid like crap) but doing it this way is even worse.  Perhaps Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom could take a look inside our borders on it’s way to protect religious freedom outside of our borders.

Isn’t the some time for a little democracy?

Evan Solomon takes BC Premier Christy Clark to task for not calling a fall legislative session.

On Monday, the House of Commons returns for a new sitting and I’m sure you, like all Canadians, are looking forward to the robust debate on the pressing issues facing the country.

With that in mind, I thought I’d write to you about your decision to cancel your provincial legislature’s fall sitting.You were supposed to face opposition parties for seven weeks at Question Period and now – nothing.

I hear you won’t be sitting again until February of next year, that’ll make it almost nine months without a sitting!

Now, I realize that you’re extremely busy these days.

Three of your top ministers recently announced they’re leaving your government – that’s not fun.

And then there’s that massive provincial deficit.

You expect to cut spending by $241 million this year and $398 million next year to meet your objectives.

Your finance minister called it a time of deep austerity.

Clearly, you’re busy.

But don’t you think you might want to squeeze a little democracy in there too?

I mean, you only sat for 48 days last year. That makes banker hours look good.

I’m sure there are a lot of people who want to ask you about your planned wage freeze for public sector managers, including those at schools, universities and health organizations.

And what about those pipeline opponents and their planned mass sit-in at the B.C. legislature in October? Well, too bad the legislature won’t be sitting then.

Your Finance Minister Mike de Jong explained the rationale:

“The government will be preoccupied over the next number of months in terms of the preparation of the budget blueprint, and continuing what began in the summer and reaching out to British Columbians. That will be the focus for the government.”

The government is going to be preoccupied?

Is it really too much for citizens to want their leaders to focus on key issues and reaching out — whatever that means — while being held accountable in their own legislature?poli

The Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer A couple of months ago I was looking around online for a trip to take Wendy on our anniversary.  After checking out VIA Rail (train comes through Saskatoon at midnight and goes through Edmonton and Jasper, not Banff), I saw something about The Rocky Mountaineer and spent hours checking out their website and looking at photos from across the web.

To say that it looks like a “trip of a lifetime” seems to minimize how incredible a trip on this train would be.  Sadly it’s way out of our price range and I don’t see a section on their site where they offer rides to bloggers so I will have to start saving.  After showing the video to Wendy she said, “Let’s start saving up.  We have to do this sometime in our life.”  I agree.

When a Search & Rescue Goes Wrong

From explore magazine, a sad tale of a botched search and rescue which left one women dead and a lot of unanswered questions.

There are 85 search-and-rescue associations in the province, staffed by roughly 4,700 volunteers. However, these groups can only launch a rescue mission after they are enlisted by an agency such as the police, the Coast Guard or the military, and then receive a task number from the Provincial Emergency Program. Regulations prohibit them from self-deploying. The Golden search-and-rescue team is a well-trained unit. Composed of roughly 40 volunteers, it conducts mountain and swift-water rescues, and is one of only six search-and-rescue associations in the province that also does highway vehicle extractions, an additional role that keeps members busy on the treacherous stretch of the Trans-Canada snaking through the Kicking Horse River canyon. Hale estimates that each year his team receives around 90 tasks, many of them involving wilderness missions coordinated among rescue volunteers, police and mountain professionals. But in the case of Blackburn and Fortin, that coordination started going haywire the moment the first report of strange tracks and a distress signal was made.

Hale claims that, after Kicking Horse Mountain Resort staff had checked for any indications of missing skiers, Rudi Gertsch was told to notify the local RCMP detachment about the SOS sighting. Gertsch denies this, saying he left it with the mountain safety people at Kicking Horse, assuming they would follow up on his report. What is known for certain is that for some reason, the RCMP were left in the dark.

Review: Diary of a Wilderness Dweller

Diary of a Wilderness Dweller A good friend of mine sent the family a care package a couple of weeks ago and in it was the amazing book, Diary of a Wilderness Dweller by Chris Czajkowski.

I picked it up while heading out of the cabin a couple of weeks ago.  I was too tired to drive and while chilling in the passenger seat, I got about 17 pages into it and was hooked.

The book is a diary of Chris Czajkowski who decided to venture 20 miles from the nearest road in the B.C. interior with a permit, a saw, a tent, and her dog with the vision of building two log cabins by herself from hand.  She designed the cabin, cut the logs, made the logs into lumber, put them into place, and managed to survive being north of the middle of nowhere while doing it.  Her diary talks about encounters with bears, losing her dog, falling through the ice, and hilariously having to fill out an application for an airport among other things.  The book starts with her hike in and throughout the book I kept wondering if she was going to make it.  I won’t ruin how it turned out…. oh wait the photos of the completed cabins below do kind of give out a clue but finding out how she made this come true is well worth the time to read the book.

Every summer since I was a kid, there was a book that seemed to capture my imagination.  This is the book that captured it this summer.  A combination of the audacity of the project, the perseverance to see it through, her perspective, honesty, and sense of humor in describing her adventure all came together to make an awfully good book.

2-cabins

cabin

Not only can you read the book but if you are feeling really adventurous, you can check out the cabins.  They make up the Nuk Tessli Alpine Experience.

Downtown Victoria & Victoria Harbour

Wendy and I were in Victoria, B.C. to take in a conference and see some friends at Lambrick Church.  On the last day there we took some time to explore Victoria Harbour and downtown Victoria before heading back to Saskatoon.

As seen in a tourist trap by the Victoria HarbourDarren Friesen in VictoriaDowntown Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British ColumbiaThe Herald Building in Downtown Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British Columbia

This street busker was playing the theme for Inspector Gadget so of course I had to tip him.Downtown Victoria, British ColumbiaI loved the wide sidewalks and sidewalk cafes that Saskatoon is sadly missing.Crown Publications Inc. Downtown Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British Columbiaold-hudson-bay-company-building_1448056_oVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British Columbia

Of course signs of homeless are everywhere in Victoria.  There are no more places to keep moving to when you hit the coast.The Empress Hotel in Victoria, British ColumbiaThe Empress Hotel in Victoria, British ColumbiaThe Empress Hotel in Victoria, British ColumbiaThe Empress Hotel in Victoria, British ColumbiaThe Empress Hotel in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaDowntown Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British ColumbiaVictoria Harbour in Victoria, British Columbia

Wendy, Darren Friesen, Leighton Tebay, and I went out to Victoria, British Columbia for a conference and to hang out with friends at Lambrick Church.  Here are some of the photos of the last day there when we had some time to explore the Victoria Harbour before heading back to Saskatoon.