He turned 15 today. Despite his best efforts, he has made it 15 times around the sun without being tossed from the planet.
We celebrated in part on the weekend. On Friday Wendy and I took him shopping and got him to pick out some new sunglasses. He totally ignored the incredible looking sunglasses I picked out for him and instead picked some sunglasses that look like he is from The Matrix. Whoa.
On Sunday morning we got up early and I gave him a MSR Pocket Rocket stove, fuel canister, and base. For $8 the base makes the entire system a lot more secure. Mark is pretty responsible but he is a teenager and therefore his coordination comes and goes.
Wendy gave him a one person mess kit to cook with while hiking. Oliver’s response was, “Only one person? What’s Mark going to eat?” He’s always looking out for his older brother.
We then took off to Prince Albert National Park and went hiking for the day. We hiked the Waskesiu River, the Mud Flat Trail (where we got close and personal with some black bears), and hiked both sides of the Narrows. Mark cooked us up some lunch with his new gear. After a day of hiking and exploring, we went to The Angry Taco for dinner and called it a day.
Tuesday morning, we gave him the rest of his gifts. Oliver gave him a frisbee disc golf set.
It is a great trail to explore during the spring because of the high number of hungry black bears who feed on the fish in the stream.
Hungry black bears, a wound on my foot and a messed up ankle. What could go wrong?
We are also up there celebrating Mark’s birthday (he turns 15 next week). That birthday brings up the awkward conversations around learners license and driving. As I told Mark, first let’s survive a bunch of black bears and then we can talk.
So… if is this blog and my Twitter go silent over the next couple of weeks, you know what happened.
A couple of months ago I was sitting down for beverages with Wendy and some friends when we started talking about some hikes we wanted to take in the Canadian Rockies next year. Scott Theede recommended that I get Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies by Kathy and Craig Copeland which is a self-proclaimed opinionated guide to hiking trails all over the Rockies.
One of the hikes we want to take is to Berg Lake and Mount Robson (a hike that Scott has taken and posted to Flickr). It is highly recommended in the book. Wendy was chagrined to find out that the hike she wants to take next year to Lake Agnes Tea House is not recommended at all (we will do it anyway as it gives ideas to make it a better trip. That and Wendy really, really wants to have tea in a mountain tea house).
The book arrived in a heavy duty case. Half of the case is full of opinions about which hike to take. The other half is small booklets that offer the technical details on each hike. The idea is that you do your research ahead of time and then carry only the map and details with you. It makes a lot of sense.
So the plan is to hike to Grey Owl’s cabin in June with Wendy and Mark (for his birthday).
In July we are heading to Banff, Lake Louise, and Calgary for a holiday and plan to hike Johnston’s Canyon then.
In the summer of 2016, we are going to camp in Lake Louise for a week at a rustic campground (where there are no showers) in the Bow Valley (grizzly bear country) and take in six day hikes through the Bow Valley with Mark and Oliver. I’ll be honest, this no shower thing is already freaking me out.
In 2017 Oliver will be old enough (he’ll be 9) and we will take a multi-day hike into Berg Lake and Mount Robson (with some time exploring Jasper National Park and the town of Jasper). Hopefully we won’t be wasting much time in the Canadian Rockies (Wendy’s trips to mountain tea houses excluded).
Am pretty excited to explore the rest of the book and the trails in contains in it.
Mark lost his cell phone on the weekend. He is pretty careful with it but he was out with Wendy running some errands and it went missing. He was devastated. I wasn’t convinced the dog didn’t eat it and hid it somewhere but whatever the case, he needs a new phone.
He is with Virgin Mobile and we are pretty happy with it. I have always bought his phone outright and then we only pay $25/prepaid for texting and minutes. That was my plan for this time.
I looked at The Source and Best Buy and was unimpressed with what they had for $100 – $150. Really unimpressed. We then went to Visions and they came out with a Motorola Moto G for $150. I went to buy that but then Visions only charged me $98 for the phone which made it an even better deal. They did that a couple of years ago as well. I appreciated it then and I appreciated it now.
As they were ringing me in, the salesman told me about a special low rate they can get me signed up for. I was like, “Go on…”. I am only paying $25 now but he had a $19/month rate that was still month to month. It was actually $18 a month but I pay $1 a month to lock out data. It’s only $6/month cheaper but that’s $72 for the year. It all ads up I guess.
The only hitch was as he was signing us up, we had to phone in to get the internet lock put on it. No problem or so I thought.
Wendy heads home and phones Virgin while I set up Mark’s phone. It takes her almost an hour to get the data lock put on it. The women on the other end wouldn’t let Wendy speak. She first tried to activate the phone (it had been activated at Visions), then she went on this other lecture to Wendy for like 20 minutes about something totally different. Then it was something else. It was hilarious. Finally we got the data lock put on his phone and we were good.
If you are looking for a Bell or Virgin cell phone in Saskatoon, go to Visions. I have shopped around and for whatever reason, they are the best at cellular sales, even on prepaid phones.