To paddle a canoe down the River Thames you need a canoe. When you have two canoes and kayaks here in Jasper, Canada but you need one in England that creates a problem. Many Google searches showed that there were places in England that had canoes that could possibly be available – canoe and kayak clubs, canoe and kayak sales businesses and canoe and kayak rental locations. More internet searches quickly reduced the choice to finding a suitable rental location that had rental units that met my requirements for an expedition canoe. Buying a canoe would be too expensive and the canoe clubs located on or close to the Thames only permitted their club members to take their canoes away on a multi-day trip. I contacted a few rental businesses along the Thames and found they were very helpful until they realised that I intended to paddle the length of the river by myself at which point it became an issue due to their liability insurance. There was one exception. I visited the Wokingham Canoe Club website and there I found that they do not rent out equipment but recommended Marsport in Reading for renting canoes. I contacted Marsport and discussed my needs and what I intended to do and was given lots of really good advice and an assurance that they would rent to a solo paddler. I requested that a quote be emailed to me and waited for a couple of weeks to receive it. When it didn’t come I contacted them again and was again told I would receive an email right away. That was in November and it still hasn’t come. So I was still without a canoe to use. Desperate situations demand desperate measures. If I couldn’t rent a canoe then perhaps I had to reconsider buying one. First I searched on several of the internet sales sites in the UK and I found that second hand canoes were definitely available but few were really suitable and the ones that were were too expensive. My next move was to contact Tony, my brother-in-law, who lives in Kenton to see if he had any ideas. He volunteered to search on the internet to find the right canoe and then to buy it and store it until April when I would need it. I must admit I got a little carried away in the excitement of this and, instead of leaving it to Tony as we had agreed, I went on Ebay and found exactly the canoe I wanted. It was still open for offers for anyone who would pick it up quickly from Welshpool in Wales. After contacting Tony again and smoothing things out about my unwarranted interference he negotiated with the seller and the canoe was purchased. For those of you who don’t live in England you need to realise how amazing this was. Tony had to pay cash for the canoe when he picked it up within a week of agreeing to the purchase at a location that would be the equivalent of driving from Edmonton to Winnipeg. All of this in his wife’s estate (station wagon) without a roof rack. Anyway, I now have a Mad River Expedition 16 TT canoe in Tony’s back garden which got there through his front door, through the kitchen and out of the back door. Thanks for all of your help, Tony.
Finding places to go to for a long, safe hike is really difficult at the moment. The snow has melted and frozen several times creating an uneven, ankle twisting trail on which to walk. To make matters worse it has snowed several times since we returned home from Las Vegas which only makes walking more difficult. The new snow covers the icy footprints underneath creating many unexpected ankle twists and turns. Then on a warm day when the snow is melting it loses its firmness and your foot frequently disappears down several centimetres by the side of trail of packed snow and ice. Potential injury to my old ankles, knees and hips is a real concern. I'm whining about my issues but the skiers are loving it. Warm weather and frequent dumps of new snow make amazing spring skiing with lots of fresh powder snow on a regular basis. Maybe I should dig out my cross country skis and get my exercise on the nice, flat snow of Maligne Lake. Perhaps a return to Las Vegas would work too!
Jenny and I just got back from a week in Las Vegas. The break from our Jasper winter was really appreciated but coming back from 20 degree weather to Calgary covered in a fresh fall of snow and -20 degrees was a shock. We were staying on the 10th floor of the MGM Signature Tower 2 and thought I would be able to use the stairs to maintain my fitness training. It turns out we were so busy my only real exercise was walking all over Las Vegas and a hike up to the Calico Tanks in Red Rock Canyon. The start of the trail was well defined and easy going but as we went along it changed to clambering over rocks searching for the best route. When it became quite steep and involved some rock climbing Jenny decided to stop and wait for me to return from the view of Las Vegas at the top of the canyon. It turned out to be a tough climb which gave me lots of exercise which is what I wanted and the view at the top was worth the effort. Now it's back to ice, slush and mud as Jasper hesitantly moves from winter into spring.
I'm a grandfather who lost an infant granddaughter and who wants to help Gillian, her mother, provide support for other grieving parents through Hazel's Heroes.