Living Vicariously Through Myself

•April 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I started skiing relatively late, in my early-twenties. However I quickly made the switch from something new to part of a lifestyle which started with a desire to spin in a terrain park and quickly evolved to ski patrolling in my second season and adding the Nordic discipline of skate skiing. Ever since i have Spent as much of my winter gliding on two planks as possible. So how does this relate to my title you may be asking. Well early In that first year of skiing on the small slopes of Ontario I discovered a magazine called Backcountry Magazine. After only flipping through a few pages I was lost in the dreams of the image of what skiing could be. Not thousand of people on a hill toting the newest in ski fashion, or partying it up in a ritzy ski village (even if I have to admit to being guilty of that one and a while ūüėČ ). My dreams of skiing became about the adventure, the challenge, the vast open spaces, the calm and meditation of the skin track, the sound of your skins sliding through fresh snow, the wind howling over the mountain ridges, the humbling grandeur of the of Alpine terrain in the winter, and ultimately your buddies hooting and hollering descending in virgin POWDER with no one else in sight. Fast forward 5 years and I’ve moved to Edmonton only hours from canada’s rocky mountain range, have taken my AST1 Yamnuska in Canmore who’s instructors have done an amazing job. (as well as plans for my AST2 in Rogers Pass next season) and have a season of ski touring under my belt. And every-time I look back at the seasons pictures I truly feel like I’m Living Vicariously Through Myself.

I thought i would highlight a few of my favorite pictures for all of you. The pictures are only a highlight of some of the pictures taken by myself, Andrew and Davin (who has a multitude of amazing outdoor photographs on his photo blog ( which I encourage you to visit. )

I’ll leave links to the full albums on Facebook If anyone wants to see the full pictures diary of the trips.

Healy Pass (Full Album Link)

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Davin via

Observation Peak Attempt (Full Album Link)

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Dustin Leclerc
Bow Summit

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Parker Ridge

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Rossland area (Full Album Link)

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Dustin Leclerc
Kootenay Pass (Full Album Link)

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Andrew Cross

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Andrew Cross

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Tunnel Ridge (Full Album Link)

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Andrew Cross

Photographer Dustin Leclerc
Fernie BC

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Burstall Pass

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

Photographer Dustin Leclerc

I hope these trips only begin to scratch the surface of the adventures and routes I will have the chance to explore in the years to come. Short term plans start with skiing some more class two type terrain and progressing into type three terrain hopefully next year with areas such as Rogers pass, Popes peak and multitude of route to build experience on hopefully resulting in eventually having the confidence to complete classics such as the Wapta traverse, Jumbo Glacier and Exploring the little Yoho valley for example only scratching the possibilities lightly of my plans to continue living vicariously through myself!


Saguenay Expedition and East Coast Adventures

•January 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

(*I’m having some cpu issues with uploading pictures so for now you can follow this link for the full album )

I haven’t been blogging much as a result of all my efforts being dedicated to the cafe. However, I thought I should catch up with a couple quick photo journals.

I had long dreamed of paddling the Saguenay Fjord that feeds into the St Lawrance river after seeing pictures from a co-worker who had hiked some of the plateaus above it. The stunning views and grandeur of the Fjord carved through a deep gash in the Precambrian rock about 2 km wide and over 275 m deep in places. The Fjord Fjord’s carved by glaciers from the last ice age 10 000 years ago have been called Majestic by many. With tidewaters surging 100km’s up the Fjord as far as Chicoutimi, up to 6 m at the equinox (We arrived the day after the equinox) it is a Sea Kayakers playground. The Saguenay’s waters are also the breeding grounds of the Beluga and Minke whales which are often seen leaving an opportunity to get close to some mamals I’ve only seen from a far. All combined there was a lot of stoke for this trip built up over few years of Dreaming.

After a lot of Research I set out a Route that would that would see us paddle from St Rose Du Nord to the mouth of the St. Lawrance over 5 days and then up along the shores of the St. Lawrance through the Marine Park to Escoumins. Along the way providing many opportunities to enjoy the area’s rich marine life and splendid views, where Porpoises and Whales are plentyfull and playfull, as well as a mutliple birds taking advange of the platter of food available for them.

After strategically packing for what was going to include travel by plane, bus, train, kayaks, boots and bicycles for a little over two weeks Jess and Myself arrived in Montreal late on a Friday night in August. We met my cousin Anthony and the next morning armed with 70ltr packs, a camelback, maps, itineraries, contacts lists, and gear for the multiple adventures ahead and off to the train station to truly start the adventure.¬† In Quebec City we’d meet up with Cam and Katie who where going to round out our team to takle the Fjord and enjoyed visiting “Le View Quebec” before working our way to Tadoussac by Bus to meet our Outfitter¬†to shuttle us to St. Rose du Nord with our Kayaks and gear.

Dropped off at St. Rose du Nord with 7 days worth of supplies and camping gear we started loading our three Boreal Design expedition kayaks. After after some strategic packing we were slicing through the waters of the Saguenay with the excitment of an adventure into the unknown with where contact with the modernized world would be minimal! No cell phones, email, or GPS and feeling at relaxed, comfortable, and trully at home. We set a bearing for the West bank of the Fjord which is slightly less exposed in case a sudden turn in the weather happened and worked our way towards our first campsite at Anse du Gros Ruiseau a short 14KM paddle.¬†¬†The Fjord isn’t something to tackle without any backcountry or paddling experience. Their are multiple guiding companies you should consider if you don’t have the confidence to execute a trip on this scale. The backcountry campsites require you to have some basic navigation knowledge of Topo maps as the sites are simply marked by a Quebec Flag often tucked behind a point. Also the waters of the Fjord need to be treated with respect. The area has a significant tidal influence as well as the ability for storms to catch you off guard turning the Fjord into complex waters.

We spent the next 5 days enjoying blue skies, amazing views, stunning campsites, Sunsets, and some delicious dehydrated meals (yes it is possible, especially after a day of traveling under your own power.). To our pleasure yet a little surprissingly we only ran into one other group of paddlers from the US who where guided by As we navigated our way through spending nights at Anse du Tabatiere, Anse du Cheval, Anse David we where quite lucky seeing multiple pods of Beluga’s and Minke whales on the last day in the Fjord. Our biggest challange throughout the trip was timming the tides. Traveling the week of the Equinox put us in the situation where the tidal effects where the highest, and effected our launches/landings with a few hundred metres of sand and mud at low tide to contend with. This time of the year also creates a larger effect on the point between Anse du Cheval and Anse du David the Fjord where there’s a bit of a plateau in the Fjord. The waters turned into a choppy mess at least 3 feet high changing the Fjord into a large rapid (*This point is very obvious on a Marine Map, as the Fjord quickly looses more then a 100 metres of dept over a very short distance creating a plateau that creates this effect at low tide.) We pulled ashore for a about an hour to wait out the turbulant conditions before we carried on. From Anse du David we left early to coordinate getting to the mouth of the St Lawrence at high tide to avoid what can become turbulant waters, as well as paddle accross the sandbars that appear at low tide that would have added multiple KM’s to what turned out to be a 30km day already. We squeazed out of the sandtables just as the water reached a low point. We where getting nervous that we may end up looking like beached whales as the water moved out but we reached deeper waters just in time with the bottom of our kayaks scraping the rocks as we lunged into deeper waters.

This next day and a half was met with mixed emmotions, as we paddled through the St Lawrence Marine Park. This area undoubtedly allowed us to get the closest to marine life with multiple pods of whales and I’d estimate we saw 50 or so throughout the day, paddled with porpoises, and watched birds of prey dive for fish. However, this area is also where you leave confines of the prestine Fjord and are met with hordes of Tourists at campsites looking at these strange people who have only bathes in waterfalls for the week, baffled that you can traveled unsuported for a week, and where the sound of the wind and waves are interupted by the sound of motors, as they take their Zodiac tours chasing whales down, as Cam tagged the Japanese Whaling fleet in discuss as they hunt down the whales for a couple snapshots.

Day 6 saw us arrrive in Escoumins wich was the ending point of our kayak tour. After a last night with our paddling team, sitting around the campfire with beers in hand for the first time in a week to celebrate our trip which saw the end of our backcountry adventure. Jess and myself traded in wetsuits and paddles, for hiking boots and 70 ltr packs again as we took off on foot to the Ferry to catch the train to PEI in Trois Pistoles.

This Second half of our trip, was a little more tourist like as we met Dave to take a quick tour of PEI, before he drove us to his home in Halifax where we toured the city by bike, (as a side note I highly suggest Two if By Sea in Dartmouth for a latte and the best Almond Croissant you’ve ever had!), Ran Cape Split along the Bay of Fundy, and then moved on to the Cabot Trail for some hiking, and 100KM bike ride from Cheticamp to Ingonish which was as amazing as all the stories cyclist bring home from the Cabot trail, with a few BIG climbs, some gorgeous scenery, laid back people and great cycling roads. We ended the last 1/3rd in the storm that washed out the bridges to tip of the Island. Cold and wet we arrived in Ingonish for a wet night of camping and laughing before working our way home to reality. Dreaming of the next adventures that lay ahead with a few big plans in the works for the next couple years as we Dream of Float planes dropping us off in the around the Beaufort Sea, a chance to discover some adventure in the southern Hemisphere over the next Twelve, and as much ski touring as I can find room for.

A Little Update

•May 14, 2010 • 2 Comments

As the long hours in the cafe seem to be becoming the norm, some normalcy is also coming back into my life. I’ve got Three mountain bike rides in the last week and a couple of road rides, and who I’m even planing to head to Jasper or a Banff for a night this weekend.

What’s new? I’ve been working on a lot and it’s nice to see a plan falling into place. The Cafe’s been running well with amazing feedback from the community! With word of mouth spreading and bringing in more people daily, a music series that I’m very excited about starting to gain steam with some of Edmonton’s top young artists, getting some interest in my Grounds for Gardens campaign (, and have been getting some exposure from other local media agents such as,,, and the Tomato magazine.¬† Check out the Cafe’s blog to stay up to date on what is going on at

I was also featured on a local photographers 100 people project, today and suggest you go read his site as there’s a lot of interesting people featured on his site and he’s an¬† AMAZING photographer!

Now it’s time to execute stage 2 of my marketing efforts!

From a personal note things are coming together with a little bit of time for some mountain and road biking again! It’s been great start trying to get back into race shape but a little late in the season to really have any success, Oh well start training now for next Summer! Took my first day off this to go do some XC in Hinton which was great, and I’m working on the details for a two week trip in August to Kayak the Saguenay Fjord in Quebec and some cycling on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia!

Earth Day Thursday, April 22nd

•April 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’ll be throwing a little earth day celebration at the Cafe with Live Music and raising money for the UN World Food Program and I’m looking forward to some more live music by Wes’ pure artists and some great company.

What’s Earth Day?

Earth Day provides the opportunity for positive actions and results.

First launched as an environmental awareness event in the United States in 1970, Earth Day (April 22) is celebrated as the birth of the environmental movement.

Earth Day is a powerful catalyst for change. The first Earth Day, spearheaded by Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson and Harvard University student Denis Hayes, involved 20 million participants in teach-ins that addressed decades of environmental pollution. The event inspired the US Congress to pass clean air and water acts, and establish the Environmental Protection Agency to research and monitor environmental issues and enforce environmental laws.

In 1990, two million Canadians joined 200 million people in 141 nations in celebrating the first International Earth Day. In many countries, the global event brought pressure on heads of state to take part in the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to address issues such as climate change and the world wide loss of species.

In Canada, Earth Day has grown into Earth Week and even Earth Month to accommodate the profusion of events and projects. They range from large public events, such as Victoria’s Earth Walk (5,000 participants), Edmonton’s Earth Day Festival at Hawrelak Park (30,000 participants), and Oakville, Ontario’s Waterways Clean-up (2,000 participants) to the thousands of small, private events staged by schools, employee groups and community groups.

To learn more about our Earth Day Celebration visit

Good Earth Coffeehouse and Bakery @ the Market at Summerside NOW OPEN

•April 15, 2010 • 2 Comments

Well it’s been a long couple of weeks working from open till close! However I’m excited to say we’ve been open with for a week with great fanfare and we are enjoying every minute of it, especially all the time spent meeting the residents of the community. (Well maybe those early morning minutes at 5AM may not be as pleasant as the ones in the evening spent re-reinforcing an already strong community.) The response from the community has been great hearing nothing but good things about the food, drink quality, and ultimately a coffeehouse vibe that’s missing away from trendy area’s in town such as White Ave.

I’d like to invite all of you to join us for our Grand Opening this Saturday, April 17th for what should be a great day with sunny skies in the forecast, live music by, free carrot cake and free coffee. So come buy to help us celebrate becoming part of the Summerside community.

Also you can learn more about the cafe by visiting

A Rainbow in the Night – The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa

•March 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A couple days ago I finished A Rainbow in the Night – The Tumultuous Birth of South Africa by Dominique Lapierre and I wanted to add it to my suggested reads. The book is a very captivating read about the birth of South Africa starting from when the Dutch arrived. It discusses how the Dutch settlers thought it was their land to take based on passages from the bible where they believed¬† they where a chosen race for supremacy. Leading to the Apartheid which was founded by Political Leaders who studied under the German Nazi Regime and unbelievably managed to impose those methods on the native African population into the 90’s. Also throughout the story many true hero’s arised based on attempting to put an end to the apartheid from Nelson Mandela, who is one of the most amazing people I’ve read about; Desmund Tutu who’s won the Nobel Peace Prize and played one of the biggest roles in the reconciliation between the black and whites after the Apartheid; to some lesser known heroes like Helen Lieberman who was white a speech therapist who ignored the laws of apartheid to help the black population. Needless to say I strongly suggest the book.

While we are on the topic of books I’m now about 100 pages into Chuck Klosterman’s – Killing Yourself to Live.¬† This book is very different then what I would generally pick up to read as the story is about an editor for spin magazine who goes on a road to trip to visit places where rockstars died controversial deaths. However, a friend suggested I’d like it and said I had to give it read so I figured I should give it go. The story is really doesn’t touch on the rockstars much and is about himself, the road trip and popular culture in the 90’s and 2000’s. His writing style reminds me of someone with A.D.D. with many asides that do not always relate to the story, which reminds me of the way my mind seems to think (if you’ve seen the movie “up” I often compare myself to the puppy, as it seems I get distracted easier then 10 yr old with A.D.D. who forgot his Ritalin sometimes.) However this creates the charm of his writing style as it’s insightful to what’s going through his mind while he’s writing, adds many moments of Humor, and pulls the story together into something a lot more then a road trip. Add in his analogies of our current pop culture question somethings the love for the NFL and it’s a quick read well worth the time!

Busy and Exciting

•March 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well I wonder if life will slow down anytime in the near future? First off our new cafe is coming along well with a scheduled opening date of April 2nd, staffing add’s out and resume’s coming in, and a lot is going on from that front. Looking forward to getting open and starting to selling Lattes, Cap’s, Smoothies and a multitude of delicious wholesome foods and decadent treats. Also the marketing plans are starting to come together, with some exciting news on the front about weekly entertainment (but I’ll leave it a tease till the details are worked out). Also support for a few¬†to the community. I was excited to attend the YMCA Strong Kids Launch a couple of weeks ago, a great program to help your communities youth and children in need visit for more info.

Also bought a new road (well a cyclocross bike but for a mountain biker it’s a road bike) in an attempt to stay fit and commute without having to drive. For her maiden voyage I figured why not check out the commute route and you can see the pics attached . I must say I’m impressed with the way it manages ice, snow, and mud with cross tires and it with a set Specialized Turbo Tubes and Roubaix Pro II for rubber things it held it’s own on a few longer road rides with some carbon bikes so i expect it do to me well. I won’t be winning any road races on it but it will allow me to get out with some you spandex wearing types : ).