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Showing posts from 2014

The easiest way to find mindfulness - Paddling?

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Yes?  No!  Maybe . . . I guess your paddle state-of-mind depends on many internal and external influences.

Internal influences may be your own health --- how you are feeling mentally and physically. You come to the water with a good attitude or with pent up stress from daily life and issues you just can't let go of. You may have a sore knee, a tummy ache, or a fit body that feels good all-over.

External influences may be the weather and conditions that you consider awful or totally perfect. A shoreline you'd like to land on is too rocky, or is very welcoming with a sandy beach.

Many things can affect our paddle state-of-mind and influence our ability to be mindful and enjoy our paddle.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness involves being in the present moment and paying attention with openness, interest, receptivity and without judgement.

Practising mindfulness on land can help us be more relaxed paddlers when we hit the water.

My next story is up on the Wanderlust Journal. 

It's…

Mountain yogis unite - 5 ways to take your yoga practice outdoors

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For my outdoor friends and new visitors to this blog, you may enjoy this article. Some people just can't relate to yoga - I know, it's not easy. It can be confusing and difficult to get into, and to keep up with. It's diverse, challenging, and hopefully rewarding. Sometimes, I question myself. "Why are you doing this? Why do you keep doing this?' Yoga!

The answer is simple: It can be good for you.

I am a member of the mindset of people who believe they can shop around and integrate a yoga practice into their lifestyle. One that suits you. Mine is very flexible. I can take it anywhere. And I do.

My ears often perk up when I listen to the reasons why some people don't like yoga. They tried it once or twice. The things they didn't like are the same things I didn't like. But, I changed my perspective. I decided to explore different forms of yoga, and a variety of teachers and studios. I kept going because, even with the things I didn't like, I was see…

What's in the Wanderlust Tremblant Mandala

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Oh cool. I'm a guest blogger at the Wanderlust Tremblant yoga festival that runs from August 21-24 (Quebec, Canada.)

You're probably wondering what the heck this is in the photo above. I didn't have a clue either. So I found out and wrote a story about it with some much appreciated help from the Wanderlust editor. I'm still just a baby in the yoga world.

My first story is up on the Wanderlust Journal if you'd like to have a look. Here's the link:

Let Art Be Your Guide

Better yet, come join us in Tremblant for a fantastic yoga festival with indoor and outdoor classes, treks and runs on mountain trails, SUP yoga on Lake Tremblant, music, food, and yoga gear for sale! The weather is perfect and so are the vibes:) I'm not sure if there are any classes still available though. You'll have to check the Wanderlust Tremblant website schedule.
Everyone loves the Tremblant resort village and surroundings. They keep telling me so.

I'll be up late again tonight …

The calm before the storm - 2014 IRONMAN North American Championship Mont-Tremblant

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The 2014 IRONMAN North American Championship Mont-Tremblant (Quebec, Canada) starts early tomorrow morning at 6:36 a.m. from the beach on Lake Tremblant with the 2.4 mile swim.
It's a full Ironman.
2.4 mile swim (3.86 km), athletes have 2 hours, 20 minutes to complete it112 mile cycle (180.25 km), athletes have 8 hours to complete it26.2 mile marathon run (42.2 km), athletes have 6 hours, 30 minutes to complete it. The beauty and peace at the depart for the swim the day before the competition defies the cold front, rain, and fog that rolled in this week.
This week the nights have gone down to 9 degrees Celsius 9 (48 F). The days sometimes warmed up to 15 degrees Celsius (59 F). All this, and just last week some of us were bemoaning temperatures around 32 C (90 F), with a little humidity. 
The cold, rain and fog offers an ominous calm the day before the triathlon. The lake is quiet.
Today I felt very lucky to enjoy a few quiet moments at the Ironman swim departure site after the mee…

Does my Ironman Tremblant T-shirt make me look fat?

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Yes it does. Let's blame it on a bulky belt on the jean shorts. What the hell. This is no time for vanity. I couldn't help striking a yoga pose in from of the big red M in the Tremblant Ironman village today.

I call it the Ironman village, because the massive white tents and stages for the event are already set up at the base of the Tremblant resort village. You can already feel the Ironman mania and high energy building in town. Parking further and further away, and taking longer and longer to find a parking lot with space is your first clue! August is a busy month up here!

The full Ironman Triathlon in Tremblant, Quebec, Canada on August 17 is fast approaching. It's what I call the totally insane Ironman. The full Ironman - not the half. How this is humanly possible in one day is beyond comprehension. Yet some 2600 athletes from over 50 countries, including Quebec's elite racers, will give it a go. Preparing for a full Ironman takes several years of hard training and…

I'll be a guest blogger at Wanderlust Tremblant, August 21-24, 2014

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The power of the pose. You can strike a powerful yoga pose, or notice it in something else.

It can create an opening. It opens a door. You'll have to step through that door to see what's next.

This morning, I stepped outside 10 minutes before my yoga practice to have a look at the day and what it might bring.

Before we step into a new space we normally look down to see what we might be stepping onto.

I saw a toad sitting upright, enjoying a warm, dry spot on the stone patio. He was facing North.
When I came back with my camera minutes later to capture his focused, meditative sitting pose, he stood up on all fours and held this fierce, confident pose for a long time.
It reminded me of several yoga poses: Table top, Plank, and Up Dog.

Then I realized it was his Warrier pose. I was in his space.

I've never seen a toad do this before. Usually they just hop away or sit still when they realize you've spotted them.

After my own morning yoga practice, I turned on a favourite …

When the wind is up - kayak surfing on Lower Beverley Lake

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Here's a little kayak bite from me to contribute to the love of paddling. It's National Paddling Week in Canada from June 6-15 so it makes me think, "Do something with one of your kayaks!"

If you can't find any organized paddling events in your area, you can create your own paddling event with the wind. It's often abundant and free!

That's what we did at Lower Beverley Lake, from the Village of Delta, Ontario (Canada) when we had a forecast with a 25 km/h north wind blowing us south across the lake towards Lyndhurst Creek.

But, it was the 40 km/h wind gusts blowing behind us that gave us the surfing power.

These conditions are my maximum for my smaller girl size, strength, and skills.

It's a lot of fun to get a feel for kayak surfing on lakes in moderate conditions if you've got good surf sea kayaks, some decent paddling skills, and the proper gear. If you don't know what stern rudder is yet. . . and have no rescue or rolling skills, it's…

Good News - More campsites you can reserve in the 1000 Islands

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For you kayak campers out there, here's an update on some good news in the 1000 Islands National Park (along the St. Lawrence River, Ontario, Canada).

Remember the old days when you couldn't reserve any campsites on the islands and had to paddle out to a few, cross your fingers, and hope for the best? Times are not only changing for us, but improving.

The number of campsites that can be reserved in the 1000 Islands National Park of Canada has increased to 36.

You can now reserve a campsite on Beau Rivage, Camelot, Cedar, Milton, McDonald, Gordon, Georgina, East Grenadier, Central Grenadier, Aubrey and Mulcaster Islands, with the remaining 25 campsites still available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

oTENTik accommodations on McDonald Island, Gordon Island and Mallorytown Landing (on the mainland) are also reservable, so you don't need to pack a tent!
Now, let's wish for even more great news that generators will not be allowed on any camping islands! And, that more a…

I love it when my sea kayak takes me to the beach - Rivière Rouge

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It wasn't my idea. The wind and the current of the Rivière Rouge (Red River) were pushing us towards this long, white, soft, sandy beach, so I agreed with my kayak, "Hey, let's stop here." Why resist. There are so many sandy beaches along the shores of the Rivière Rouge, I have trouble choosing which one to visit. 
My kayak picked this one.  Seems my kayak not only has good timing, but also good taste. It picked the nicest stretch of beach along our route that day.
A few minutes after landing on the beach, a big wind gust picked up and we had a sudden 5-minute sandstorm. Say what! 
Then the wind fell quiet again. Thank you kayak. How did you know? After the surprising wind gust, we continued on our way with a little extra grit in our teeth.
We were paddling against the current, launching from La Conception, Quebec heading upriver (NW-N) towards Labelle (about 15 minutes north of Tremblant, Quebec).
There's about 20 kilometers (12 miles) of winding, twisting rive…

Level Six Capital Cup - Whitewater Freestyle Kayak Competition at Bate Island, Ottawa

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Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of the Level Six Capital Cup, a whitewater freestyle kayaking competition that showcases both men and women, amateurs and professionals.

While it's more fun to watch the competitors negotiating the excitement of the rapids, and this is what the photographers love to shoot and the kayak manufacturers love to promote, it was the irony of the baby stroller parked next to the whitewater kayaks that caught my eye. "Are you watching mommy compete?"  Go girl!

The event is put on by Level Six with other sponsors such as Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), NRS, OWL Rafting, Madawaska Kanu Centre, Wilderness Tours, and Ottawa Kayak School.
The Level Six Capital Cup also includes a SUP race and a raft race. This is fun to watch! You can find a link to professional photos of the event on the Level Six Facebook page. Just Google it.

The event takes place each spring in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) in the powerful Champlain Rapids from Bate Island, just off the …

Ça Cogne! It's spring in Canada.

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What "cognes?" The ice melting, breaking up, and flowing downstream to be churned up in the rapids as they hit the whitewater kayaks playing in the big, fast, spring flows of the Ottawa River off Bate Island.

Over the weekend, I watched the melting ice flows moving downriver towards the rapids. They are almost impossible to see churning in the whitewater of the rapids. I asked a whitewater paddler at Bate Island, "What about the ice?"

He responded in French, "Ça Cogne."

In English, you can choose the verb of your choice: it bangs, knocks, hits, thumps, whacks, wallops, or clobbers.

I guess the size and speed of the ice chucks hitting your kayak would help you choose the best word.

Then I asked him, "What if you go into the water."

He responded calmly with a smile, "Cover your face."

Spring thaw usually equals big spring flows on the Ottawa River. And this year is no different.

Each year I look for the peak spring flows off Bate Island…

Spring training for the paddler

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Learning about navigation aids is especially important for the paddler. Part of my spring training for the upcoming paddling season, while waiting for the water to thaw and warm up, is hitting the books, or the websites with information I need to review and . . . try to remember.

I've found myself confused about buoy markers and marine signs more than once on a variety of waterways in Canada and the U.S.

In my early paddling years, on a large lake with several islands, I found myself kayaking towards a black and red buoy. Not knowing its meaning and thinking it was a channel marker indicating a safe passage between islands, I paddled towards it. When I got closer to it, I said, "Oh shit!", it's a buoy indicating DANGER. I could suddenly see the big shoal it was sitting on, and I was paddling right for it with an unfavourable wind when I should have been taking extra care to paddle well away from it.

Now, every spring, I make an effort to review some of the navigatio…