photos – Santiago, Chile

I got stuck far longer than I would of liked in the big city of Chile. And I grew to like it more the longer I stayed. It is surprisingly cosmopolitan.

The street art is wonderful. My favourite image of Santiago is the Señorita, just 1 block from my hostel.

Charles Darwin’s signature I discovered on a stone in my favourite downtown park, Santa Lucia.

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photos – Kyle Shewfelt welcomed home

sunsetOlympic Champion arrived by helicopter to be feted by the mayor of Calgary. To see all annotated photos, jump to the permanent webpage in Rick’s photo archive. OPEN icon

travelogue … and the Word was Rob

IMG_1030r_word_rob14 days of Rocky Mountains hiking in what ET calls venues of delight.

Organized by Rob Gadd Glaser, I tramped with between 4 and 18 others. Logistics were complex as you might imagine.

Only ET, Rob and I signed on for the full two weeks in the woods. That was 2 weeks of alpine splendor and the benefit of Rob’s duct-tape-like folk wisdom. Rob is a carpenter (like Jesus) and a fireman (which Jesus never mastered).

In the wild, away from mundane distractions like work, e-mail and loved ones, you come up with the best ideas. Like Rob’s concept of smell-amplifiers.

Helicoptering in to Assiniboine I had the heaviest pack — over 70 pounds. You are allowed 40 pounds. Is it cheating to take the chopper? Yup, but it is 7 minutes rather than 7 hours to reach the continental divide.

Assiniboine was gorgeous as ever. We set up in the overflow meadow. ET woke one night to pee and had an ethereal experience with stars and a resident mule deer.

Second day we scrambled high on Wedgewood, part of the Assiniboine massif. Caves and crap rock with plenty of death fall potential.

ET nearly died, in fact. As I turned to inform her how to dodge a falling stone, I saw a rock bounding down the mountain towards her. ET was frozen in place during the last 2 bounces. A split second before the stone hit her in the head, she moved a foot or two to the right. Whizzzzz.

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It was a huge open scree slope. The single rock came from nowhere. Perhaps God sent a warning shot.

We got lost the next day and had to wild camp. Best fun was hanging our food between some rock pinnacles.

IMG_0783r_grizLater we were lucky to be able to watch a Grizzly at work, only the second I have ever seen.

A bigger highlight for Rob was hiking through a forest fire burnout from a year previous. We saw literally millions of odd twitching caterpillars devouring fireweed which sprouts quickly after a fire.

We cheated again on our 2 weeks of continual hiking by returning to Bragg Creek for a terrific party at Rob’s log house in Bragg Creek.

(What do you call people who live in Bragg Creek? …

Braggarts)

When Rob’s van door wouldn’t close on departure next morning, he pulled out his drill gun. Screw it.

We continued on to Tumbling Glacier, joined by Les and 3 adventurous teens including 2 of Rob’s sons. It was fun to scramble the glacier itself.

Finally we reached gorgeous Lake O’Hara, perhaps the most scenic idyll in the Canadian Rockies. We joined the annual Glaser / Cartwright family reunion at O’Hara. We had children as young as age-6 enjoying the mountains.

As an educator I love getting kids into the wild.

I sagely advised them to hike with open umbrellas — the best defence against drop squirrels which are regular squirrels gone vampire with rabies. Squirrels chatter then drop down on to mammals to suck the blood from our necks!

We warned too of the Rocky Mountain barking spider — often heard, smelled … but never seen.

At Lake McArthur there was a bit of incentive for boys to jump off a cliff. Before jumping they toss a boulder to soften the water — to reduce the circus tension as little Anna calls it.

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Calgary Folk Fest was another treat of the summer. Headliners were Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle, partners in world weary Americana roots music. I liked Steve’s line, “I bin happily married … 5 times.

Finally, the biggest highlight of the year. Kyle Shewfelt from Altadore is Olympic champion on Floor Exercise, an unbelievable accomplishment. I heard the fantastic news while hiking the West Coast Trail with RC & BM. I cried & then had a victory swim in a gorgeous waterfall

Kyle’s coach Kelly Manjak celebrated a week later with the birth of a son.

Tomorrow I depart for South America. More news from there.

Adios,

Ricardo

travelogue – if you want to make God laugh …

If you want to make God laugh,
tell him what your plans are.

                               –  Yiddish proverb

July 30 to Aug 12th hike Assiniboine to O’Hara

Aug 14 … watch Olympics on TV

Aug 22 to 29 – hike West Coast Trail

Sept 2 until Christmas travel South America

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Lo will I trek the Andes, documenting them for my hiking website.

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Another leave taking for Rick. Is a pattern emerging?

Departing Altadore after a 1-year return stint is not a problem.

We have hired Miguel Constante from Ottawa as men’s Head Coach. I had the job from 1980 – 90. Kelly Manjak from 1990 – 2004. Miguel will be excellent.

Departing my slum lord resident manager job was not problem, either. I will miss the German bakery in Bridgeland, their muesli loaf. The bike ride along river and canal to the gym. The world’s best donair. Proximity to the central library.

Most exciting event of late was my second trip to Dave Adlard’s summer gymnastics camp in Idaho. He had most of us Canuck coaches wanting to move to the USA.

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The most exciting event I missed was Joan’s wedding. Because Bill did not pay my travel expenses and a fat honoraria, I was in Idaho instead of the outdoor ceremony at Emma Lake. Congratulations!

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I can be excused for not believing the often postponed nuptials actually happened until I saw the wedding photos. As I apologized to Bill by e-mail in advance; your wedding plans are as mysterious to me as JLo’s.

My buddy Ronnie is Rockin’ the book tour. His best selling new cookbook should make him a thousandaire.

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The second best competitive sports festival (after the Jack Daniel‘s World Championships of Barbecue) is the Olympics. I plan to camp out by TV & computer for Athens.

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fabulous Perdita Felicien

I loved the Salt Lake winter Olympics. This should be far better!

shewfelt_kyle030824Kyle Shewfelt from our gym is through to his second Olympics, a contender for a medal. I am proud of him & will be loudly cheering the other 4 athletes who qualified from Calgary. Anyone who thinks it is easy to get to the Olympics never got there.

When I was a kid, Calgary was the worst gymnastics city in Canada. No more. I am especially happy for Mark Van Wyk, who coached Olympian Adam Wong for his entire career. Mark was a long time Altadore gymnast — I still remember the day his grandfather first brought him to the gym.

I am watching the Tour de France closely. The Lance Armstrong team is impressive. Seems he could continue to win for years to come. No Olympics for Lance, however. He peaks for France.

Para M Athletic X ConnorWe saw the world’s fastest paralympian, Earl Conner, speak in Calgary.

Paralympians are sensitive to their second class status at the Olympics. Most, in fairness, cannot compare with Olympians. But Earl Conner can. What an athlete!

I will be back in Calgary in 2005. No commitments yet. Who wants to make God laugh?

Calgary is again home. The economy is booming. The rednecks are booming.

Calgary is a place that wants lower taxes, less government involvement … except for subsidies for mad cow disease. That is valid government subsidy obviously.

Slashdot posted a good debate on the gun control issue in the USA. More balanced than Bowling for Columbine. The best point, I thought, was that a random car is far more of a threat than a random gun for most of us. Those of you who believe South America is dangerous, should not drive!

Rick