In this photograph, I am feeling very pumped about our helicopter ride into the mountains while Ryan (on my left) is chillin like he owns one. We took off from a small pad, four thousand feet up from the ocean below to carry out a job we were sent on to complete. There was a tower that needed some talented individuals to climb, dangle, and fix what the problem was on the top. I'm not sure if I'm more pumped about leaving the site or the epic ride back down to Campbell River where we came from. A couple hours in a harness, dangling from a pipe while weather taping and hooking up jumpers, can leave some unique sweat marks and provide unfortunate pinching of the buttocks. After about two hours of swinging in the harness I began to question if toddlers really do like jumping around in those "jolly jumpers". Maybe I need padding like a pamper. It's telecom work at its best, building and repairing cell sites from all over BC. This particular day was a repair job on a tower that could only be accessed by helicopter. The job is very diverse, challenging, ever changing, and it always seems to be an adventure (despite Ryan's chill facial expressions). One of the great perks about this job is the beauty I witness. Early mornings, late nights, exploring and travel. Canada is Beautiful! British Columbia has dropped my jaw and rendered me speechless many times. I have travelled across Canada and everywhere has its beauty, BC is one place that makes it easy to appreciate life. The more I explore with my camera, the more I am thankful with my heart. Cheesy isn't it? The camera tends to enhance the appreciation.
This is me in Peru. I am on a dual sport bike riding from Cusco, Peru, to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, Machu Picchu. Not sure if you can see the hairpin turns going down the mountain behind me, but it made your buns clench and your palms sweaty just looking at it, which is a combination you don't want to have when chasing after a "loco" Peruvian who seems to only slow down after he gets a flat tire. Lucky me, I had to ride the bike with the flat tire till the next village in the jungle, only 50 miles away down the other side of the mountain.
While driving along sheer cliffs in Peru, I tried to remember trips I've been on in Canada that were more terrifying. Funny thing was, I remembered a lot of bike trips in Canada that were scary. Just this past year I "might have" softly flipped my bike and gone head over heels into a ditch. All in one slow motion like a Cirque Du Soleil move, I flipped, stood up, and turned around to see my bike take its last slam to the ground. We were all laughing about it moments later. To think that my mother prayed extra hard for me down south, when a simple trip to Walmart might be the end of me.
The trip to Machu Picchu was amazing and without much trouble besides the flat tire that was awkward to ride with. The trip back was a different story. Apparently gas prices rose and people were upset, so they blew up the roads with dynamite, cut down trees, and lit tires that were thrown on the road. No one was allowed to pass through...but since we were on dirt bikes, we could weave our way through the rubble and madness. Our tour guide turned to us and said that he would do all the talking. He then told us to keep our engines running, and if he took off, we'd be on our own to catch up to him. Exciting, right!? After he was done talking with the villagers, he said, "Let's go...BUT they may throw rocks at you and try to block your way somehow...oh, and don't take any pictures, they won't like that." It just got really exciting. Who wants to do a motorbike trip over the mountains and through the jungle without a little rioting, right? Man, I miss South America.
If you click on South America, you can see more pictures of my amazing adventure down in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile.
It's another dark, cold night and the temperature is just above freezing. I exhale, the window to my tent fogs up, and I crawl back into my two sleeping bags. Even with another four blankets on top, I am still chilled to the bone. It has been two months since I left the frozen flatlands of Alberta for the rain forest of Vancouver Island.
I look down at a ten dollar sandwich I've been eating. Two days ago this weighed about ten pounds (not really but it was huge). I was down to the last quarter and I didn't want it to go to waste. Meat, Cheese, Pepperoni....it had it all. Where did I find such an amazing deal for a meal that could be used as a weapon, or cure hunger for an army? I wanted to dream about it, that's how awesome this find was to me. And that's not all! With it, in the same store, I found the ultimate road trip drink. Arizona Green Tea! You know, the ones in the 99cent cans which holds a mighty 691ml of quenching goodness. The taste is as if Chuck Norris made the ingredients himself.
Ok, let's focus for a minute: why am I here doing this? It's the first week of December here in BC and my brightest days are because of a 10 lb sub and Arizona green tea. I'm sure there is more to life than warming my hands over my camping stove, patching up my tent with duck tape, having hemorrhoids, and enjoying working late cause it gives me the sense that I'm staying out late with friends. The thought really occurred to me when a homeless man came up and said, "We've all had low points in our lives...want some Cheerios I've got here?" I have a huge sub that has lasted a couple days! My life is awesome (tear drips down cheek). Which brings me to my first all-nighter.
2:30 AM. "Oh MY LAND. What in the name of me is wrong with my stomach!?" I groaned. I snapped awake and I knew. My golden sub of purity and health was now rupturing inside me. After two sleeping bag zippers, kicking and groaning, I was onto the next round. Four blankets was a joke but the twist in my torso put some pressure on the bowels....lost some major seconds there. Tent zipper, then fly zipper..."please, Lord, please!" I prayed. Two tarps to lift!? I crawled from under them while applying pressure on my bum like you would on a wound to stop the blood loss. Panic set in.
This was a battle, and the outhouse was down the path and into the woods a bit. "I can't win," I thought. I now realised the full value of an ambulance--I would have called 911 at that moment. With my head lamp already on, I grabbed my machete and hatchet for protection and took off running. Head lamp bobbing, and machete and hatchet blade sending gleams of light into the damp, dark woods, I kept running. Groaning and trying to complete full strides, I kept my head down to see where I was stepping till halfway along the path when I looked up and saw a round, pudgy old lady with a pot of boiling water looking at me and screaming. I had to think fast. Lowering my blades, I dodged quickly to her right and proceeded to the task of relieving myself. "Sorry, I have to poop," I politely yelled back.
Besides having to spend most of the night spooning the toilet on the concrete pad in the outhouse, I couldn't stop thinking why that old lady was boiling water out on the path at 2:30AM? Whatever she was doing, I was scared she might want some time in the outhouse I was now occupying, so I went back to the tent. Of the 13-15 times my bowels went into implode-to-explode stage, I successfully made it a couple times to the outhouse. At first I didn't learn and went back to bed in the tent afterwards, but by the end of the night I had a blanket with me in the outhouse. With practice, my strides got longer and not even a sweet old lady boiling water was going to stand in my way. Many times I had to bail and hit the bushes. Sad really, being so grateful to have the comforts of an outhouse. Bad meat does a lot of things to a man. You also need angel hands to handle the toilet paper in those outhouses so it doesn't rip while in motion. Just breathing on it can cause it to rip.
I am not sure how one writes a blog, but I thought I would give it a go. I was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. I am not a big fan of Moncton, never cared for the city at all, so don't peg me for a stereotypical Monctanite (whatever that is). Grew up in the village of Dorchester. Dorchester is close to the ocean, off the main highway. My backyard consisted of a lake, a train that ran periodically, and endless woods. I love camping, travelling, and being with friends and family. I am one of nine kids. Bless my hobbit of a mother for bearing all of us from small, wrinkled squirts to the time we left home. If I could go back in time with my camera I would have captured the moments of my childhood. They would have been a beautiful mess. Hand-me-downs, home-made cooking, taking care of a garden, sharing rooms and even beds, having one bathroom still to this day. Summers consisted of working at camp, working on a farm, fist fights, and getting spanked enough to bridge my bum cheeks together and cause me to walk like a penguin for a good day or two after. A caring father, a patient mother, and watching enough Disney movies time and time again that (it's embarrassing to admit) I might possibly know the words to most of them.
I will try to proofread my blogs but I lack patience in typing this out and re-reading seems to be a waste of time. I hope that's a good enough excuse so I can keep writing blogs without getting hate mail because of my spelling errors, grammar, and the fact that I don't make sense some of the time. For this, I apologize in advance.
I hope you enjoy my pictures, and the stories that go along with them.