Sunday, August 19, 2012

Warsaw Caves

Although it has been a while since I have blogged anything, it is not because I haven't done anything. On the contrary it seems like this past year has just flown by. In the last couple of weeks though, the boys and I have made a couple of trips up to Warsaw Caves. Warsaw is just the other side of Peterborough, about a 45 minute drive from our house depending on traffic. It is part of the Otanabee Region Conservation Authority's lands and I have to say it is a gem. The highlight or should I say the "lowlight" are the caves.
Although they are nowhere near the magnitude of Mammoth Caves, nor will you find stalactites or stalagmites you can easily spend an afternoon wriggling around twenty or thirty feet underground. I would say the ideal age for this is about twelve. There is a fair amount of scrambling and I am sure most adults would consider it a good workout if they wriggled their way through all of the cave passages. My boys are seven and three and they thought they were great fun even though I didn't allow them to enter the trickier parts as the three year old is not quite up to the climbing parts yet! Headlamps and clothes that can get grubby are strongly recommended!
Above ground there is some interesting things as well. Follow the trail to the potholes to see where an ancient river carved potholes in the bedrock by swirling a stone around and around. On the trail not far from the parking lot you will cross over the Indian river, where it flows underground. You can easily hear it gurgling through the bedrock under your feet as it flows underground for a few hundred feet.
This screenshot from Google Earth shows the Indian River as it comes south, disappears underground and reappears downstream. The hike to the potholes is about a kilometre and this is the best one with Isaiah looking down into it.
There is a small swimming area off the main cave parking area and there is a campground in the park as well. If that isn't enough for you, bring a canoe or rent one at the park gate and you can paddle down the Indian River to the town of Warsaw and back.
All in all this little park has lots to offer a family looking for some adventure without driving hours and hours!

Top of Page

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall colours

While making a couple of trips to the Home Depot for a simple job (they always seem to require more than 1 trip!) I noticed that the fall colours were really nice on this rainy morning. As a result I stopped and took a couple of photos of the Bowmanville creek valley. These pics were taken from the bridge on Longworth between 57 and Scugog St. in Bowmanville, ON. Enjoy!

Top of Page

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Adventure Racing 101

Over the years I have done quite a few 5K runs, a few 10K's, a couple of Half-marathons and half a dozen mountain bike events. I have canoed, hiked, biked across Canada and climbed Kilimanjaro. However, I have never done an adventure race! This summer, one of my neighbours asked if I was interested in doing the STORM THE TEN race Sept 17th. A group of his friends were putting a team together and were looking for warm bodies they thought might not perish during the day. I said yes!!
Well it turns out there were 8 of us who thought we could handle it, and that meant that we split our group into two teams of 4.

The two teams, 404,"Livestrong" and 405, "Is it over yet?"

I was the oldest by quite a few years,and also the slowest, the one in the photo above wearing the helmet.
We started the morning wearing just about everything we had as it was chilly!!!.
The event involved running, cycling, more running and more cycling, and then canoeing! Then you got to rest while the your teammates did their turn at it all. If you were in a team of four, as we were, you went in pairs, and did every second lap. Teams of six did every third lap.
The first lap, which my neighbour Murray and I did, also involved an extra 2K run to thin out the field, so that 200 people weren't all "bumper to bumper" coming out of the bike transition area, and climbing the first singletrack hill. It worked like a charm! We got on the bikes with just about everyone else ahead, so that we wouldn't get lost! Murray and I are both working full time with wives and children and our training was spotty. Not ever having done this type of race, we really weren't sure what to expect. The first run took a lot out of me, and the first part of the ride involves climbing the Niagara escarpment, in a series of switchbacks. By the time we got to the top, I was truly huffing and puffing. The rest of the lap is really not that outlandish, if you could start at the top of the escarpment. A few photos from the day follow. Some are from Murray, and others are from the rest of the team, as I didn't carry a camera with me!

Murray and I in the Canoe

Jen and Fiona being helped up the hill for the last lap by their kids!

Murray running from the bikes to the canoes.

Myself running past the finish line to the the canoes and dropping my pack on the way!

Relaxing at our site between laps

Pat, who organized our group of 8, coming through the finish line!

Murray and I, after the race!

Next year(OK, there is a big "IF" associated with that) we will train differently, with a lot more running, and a lot more hill climbing, on our bikes.
I have to say, also, that many of the participants chose to do this solo, doing every lap, one after another. Two of them, one female and one male, completed ten laps each. I am amazed at the fitness level of these athletes! As for ourselves, Team Livestrong finish fifth in the Coed Four division, while Team Is It Over Yet was proud to finish eighth, in the same division, completing six laps, or three laps for each pair! Oh yeah, there were 8 teams in our division!
It was a great day and if you want to learn more about it go to their website Storm the Ten

Top of Page

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jake goes Camping

We just returned from three days camping in Arrowhead Provincial Park. This was Jakes first camping trip! There is nothing really spectacular about Arrowhead, it is just a really nice little Provincial Park just north of Huntsville,ON. There is a couple of smallish lakes, a few nice beach areas, a waterfall, some nice walking and cycling trails and an overlook over the Big East River. To a two and a half year old it was heaven. He saw some wildlife (deer, chipmunk, loon, raven etc), liked the waterfall and thought the beach was great.

It is so great to watch young ones fall in love with the outdoors. Between the two boys there wasn't a dull moment between the beach, canoeing, bicycling, watching the fire at night or Isaiah seeing the Milky Way for the first time. Not once was TV or video game mentioned.
Isaiah, at six is getting to be such a good paddler that I think next year I am sitting in the middle and letting him do the work! Jake is learning to sit in the canoe and got a real kick out of seeing a loon and a raven from the canoe.

Overall it was a great little getaway, and made us all look forward to our next trip !

Top of Page