Friday, September 18, 2015

Thursday night swim:

I swam in the lake tonight. I wore my speedo under my shorts so I wouldn’t shock the citizens of Nelson. I carried my courier bag over my shoulder. My towel and swim goggles in it. The mid august sun was setting through a smokey haze caused by far away forest fires that surround our town. The air has a sweet burnt pine scent. At the shore, on the sand I set my towel, tee shirt and shorts beside my bag. With my goggles in my hand I waded into the sweet cool clear lake. Each watery step washes the day away and I’m soon sliding into the darkening waters, each stroke pulls me, gliding forward. When I finish I take my suit off under the towel wrapped around my waist. Dressed now I carry my sandals in my right hand and sit on a park bench to wipe the sand off my feet. Six Spanish speaking boys are playing volleyball on the sand. Three hombres on each side. A beautiful young woman, deep in thought is wading in ankle deep water along the shoreline. A family has gathered on the grass behind me, escaping from the heat of the day waiting for their houses to cool, the old men are playing chess and the kids are eating ice cream. Two benches down a group of young teens are clustered together. One girl has her phone on speaker and I can hear her Mom asking her to come home. The girl says she wants to stay but I can hear in her voice part of her wants to go. I walked to the car and drove home

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Here's Randy running a 105KM Ultra in Morocco two weekends ago.  Mostly from 5,500' to 12,000' in altitude

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yesterday Scott Vodden and I climbed Mt Loki. It took us 5.5 hours from trailhead to Summit back to trailhead. Beautiful meadows and traverses. The trail is in good shape and its easy to follow until you get above the tree line onto the final scramble.

Mt Loki is just over 9,000' high and total ascent from the trailhead is about 5,000'
Interestingly we noticed some Caribou or Mtn Goat tracks on an snow cornice on the last gendarme before the summit.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Sunday Run - April 10 2001

Each Sunday morning I used to run with Maggie my big yellow Labrador retriever up to Cleveland Dam along the canyon beside the Capilano River. Here’s the April 10th 2001 version, the last time I ran with Maggie.

I awoke to hear the rain pelting on the side of the house. Quietly I rolled out of bed and slipped on my running gear trying not to wake Virginia. Walking past the kitchen I saw my daughter Jordan sitting at the table. She’s home for a few days from school in Montreal. If I’m lucky she runs with me but today she looks out the window and shakes her head no. Maggie and I headed out the back door and started with an easy pace through the quiet tree lined West Vancouver streets. My glasses soon fogged up so I took them off and carried them in my hand. We ran past poet Pauline Johnson’s Klee Wyck to follow the Capilano Pacific trail up the west side of the canyon. The trail here is fairly straight with the occasional turn and now and then you can see the precipitous cliffs looking down to the river where storms and slides have shaped the canyon sides.

We turn east behind the Capilano Suspension bridge fence still on the west side of the river. The trail is narrow here and exposed rocks and slick roots threaten my footing. Maggie takes off up the trail to one of the many streams and lies on her belly with the water sliding over her thick yellow coat, her nose cocked up like a snorkel. When I pass she jumps up snorting and shaking, crashing through the bush.

By this time I have been running for about 20 minutes. The rain is falling very hard. Everything is soaked. The streamlets alongside the trail are full to bursting. I can hear the raging river in the gorge below. This is my favourite time to run, no one is around and the rain has blocked the city sounds. fir, hemlock and pines tower over me and salal and ferns blanket the forest floor. Maggie urges me on and we pick up the pace.

When I was about seven years old my father hiked with me and my brothers here. We had been living in a hotel in Duncan for six weeks as he had been recalled to active duties during the Cuban missile crisis. We hadn’t seen him during this time and were happy and relieved to have him home. In those days the trails were not maintained and we bushwhacked around large washouts and dangerous places where the trail had collapsed hundreds of feet to the river below. It was exciting but we were unafraid, we felt safe with Dad. I have run this trail hundreds of times since then and each time I feel the same sense of danger and each time I think about that hike with my brothers and my father and the war that almost was.

We have reached the place where the Cap Pacific trail meets with Shinglebolt rising up from the river but we carry on straight up the mountain towards the dam. We have climbed almost a thousand feet and a heavy mist hangs in the forest. The last 250 meters of the trail to the dam are the steepest and Maggie and I push hard. My heart is pounding. Rain is streaming down my face. I am still holding my glasses in my left hand.

At the dam the mountains that surround the reservoir are hidden, the mist holds on the verge of the shore. It’s hard to see where the water starts and ends. On our last two weekend runs a movie company has been shooting a feature film here but today its just Maggie and I.

We continue east over the top of the dam to the east side of the canyon. Here’s the reward for the uphill. We sprint down the gravel service road towards the hatchery. We are mindless of the uneven surface reaching out to twist an unsuspecting ankle. There is only the joy of running now. The rain feels good and we pick up the pace once again. I am tired but I can feel the stress of the week draining from my pores

Just past the fish hatchery we run into three German tourists. Each of them speaks perfect English and each is dressed perfectly for the weather and each carries a camera. They politely ask for directions then send us on our way with a smile and a wave. We carry on past cable pool where the fly fishers congregate. Its here in the steep canyon sides that the odd fisher slips into the river. Many times we have seen the fire fighters gather at the rivers mouth waiting for it to release the rubber clad body to them.

We pass pipeline bridge, this is our outlet back over to the west side of the river to Shinglebolt trail for a shorter run but not today, we carry on straight and scramble up a steep section over rocks, boulders and roots. Maggie’s coat is steaming now and her breath shoots out steam like a locomotive.

There is more old growth forest here, the trail is covered in ancient cedar duff and our steps are muffled. Cool mist hovers in the branches above. The river below boils and eddies. It feels very old here. In the summer I often swim across a cold deep crystal clear pool to get home but today the rivers too high and dangerous.

At the end of the trail I pop out on the road to the hatchery. Still descending I run down Capilano Drive to the highway overpass then follow side streets back home.

Virginia meets us at the back door with a towel for the dog and a demand that I strip naked before I streak to the shower.

Maggie and I have done this run so many times I have lost count but each time I finish I feel good about myself. For me this is the joy of sport, just feeling good about your self and if you have a companion like Maggie it makes it doubly good.

Not long after this run I lost my running companion. Virginia came home one day to find her lying on the floor paralyzed, that evening she fell asleep for the final time. Now each time I run to the dam I think of my Dad and my dog Maggie and about just feeling good about myself.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Here's a bit of history. This was newletter published on the troop carrier taking my father, PPCLI Major AGW Harbord Harbord and his troops to the Korean conflict via Yokohama Japan.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Grandfather Victor Harbord Harbord was a columnist and reporter for the Vancouver Province Newspaper in the 20's and 30's. Following is copy from one of his articles. When I was a child this story was told me by my father before bedtime.

The Sunday Province, 8 August 1926
Indian Killer Once Terror of Pitt Lake
Nanaimo Native Rivalled Deeds of Australian Bushrangers
By V. Harbord Harbord

Recently Mr. S.A. Fletcher wrote a very interesting article for the Province on the last of the Pitt River Indians, and it attracted the attention of Mr. Jason Allard who knows all there is to be known of Fraser Valley Indians.
He knew Slumach, the Indian desperado, by repute. Slumach and his brother were born in S’Nanigmo—known now as Nanaimo—their father being an Indian of the Pitt River and [Pitt] Lake lodges. They grew up to manhood there, when Slumach’s murderous career started. Living up the Nanaimo River, any stragglers from the main village of Nanaimo were murdered secretly by Slumach, for no apparent reason be-yond the fact, that he liked to be monarch of all he surveyed. Caught in the act of killing an Indian, he had quite a hectic time making his escape, as he was shot twice in the same place and had to do some fine work playing dead in his canoe and then diving and swimming under water. He evidently had made a study of the ways of the animals he had hunted and put his knowledge into practice. Finding life unhealthy after this, he went to his brother’s lodge and persuaded him to accompany him to Pitt Lake. They then became outcasts and led a life that rivals anything the Kelly gang of Austra-lia ever did. Living like hermits, they murdered everyone that ventured into their territory. The name Slough Mough (Slumach) means “rain.” His brother’s name was S’Mamqua, which means “ceremonial undertaker,” rather an appropriate name.
When one has seen the weirdly beautiful scenery of Pitt Lake, it does not require a very powerful imagination to make these two strange brothers act their parts; two veritable Ishmaels, who knew the wilds and hated mankind with a consuming hatred.

One would imagine that such men would be dead to all man-ners, but Mr. Jason Allard was Slumach’s jailer, when, taken at last for the murder of Louie Poll-al-ee, a half-bred Kanaka, he had to face the justice of the white man. Mr. Allard says that he was a most charming personality, with the manners of a French dancing master. When first captured he behaved
just as any other wild creature would do. He would neither eat, take his medicine, nor talk. In his cell, he still more closely recalled the creatures of the wild. With long hair, he had wonderfully large eyes which reminded Mr. Allard of the eyes of the grey lynx. All through the days of his captivity he continued to exhibit the same good manners, and when he was sentenced to be hanged, he gave every indication of being quite content with the sentence. He told Mr. Allard that the young man he had killed had tantalized him on ever occasion, calling him horrible names such as no one could put up with.
After the murder of the half-bred Kanaka, Slumach took to the woods and was missing once more. His cabin was searched and all kinds of clothing found, including a convict’s suit of clothes. Did he murder him, or help him to escape? The chances are that he murdered him and the lake scenery saw an outlaw hunting and killing an outlaw. One can picture the wild terror of the convict being hunted by this long-haired, strange creature. The country is wild enough to have terrified him half out his mind as it was. So, Slumach died, and the “rain” was over—the rain of countless tears shed by the relatives of those he had murdered.

The brother, S’Mamqua got his peculiar name “ceremonial undertaker,” owing to the fact that he always chose the grave-yard to do his courting. It was this brother that Mr. Fletcher met and so graphically described. He was the man who used to go away for days at a time to commune with the spirits or the Great Spirit. He had apparently no great love for the white man, but could be hospitable even to them in his own home. It was fitting that a forest fire should burn his corpse and last resting place for he belonged to the wilds and its terrors.
Slumach died and with him died the secret of a great gold mine somewhere up in that wild Pitt Lake country. Had Mr. Allard only known that this prisoner knew of its existence, he might have become a very wealthy man, for the murderer, with his fine manners, would undoubtedly have told him where it was. Slumach was not given to talking, however, and he never boasted about the number of scalps he had taken.
There was a slight difference in the way the names of these two brothers are spelt. Mr. Allard, who tells their story, spells them slightly differently, as he tells his story, but that does not alter its interest. The old Hudson’s Bay factor has dozens of such tales to tell, and one does not interrupt him to ask

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Living here in Nelson and working 19 km’s east on Kootenay Lake I occasionally paddle to work. I leave at first light about 5.30AM and usually the lake is like a mirror. Osprey and eagles over-fly fishing for breakfast. I have seen deer, bears, moose, otters and beavers on the shoreline. Last Friday I paddled with new Nelson resident Steven Kauf formerly of Colorado. An accomplished whitewater paddler Steven is new to flat water paddling. Our morning commute took a couple of hours with generally sunny skies with a few walking rain showers sweeping over the mountain peaks above. Nelson is situated in the south eastern corner of BC. Surrounded by the Selkirk, Purcells and the Monashee mountain ranges, it is a mecca for the adventurous. This year I have paddled with former members of the French and Czech national teams as well as an 8 time medalist at the world masters games at our Wednesday night races. Nelson sits on the western end of the west arm of Kootenay Lake. Generally benign it’s not often we get the chance to capture a run.
That morning Steven and I had made a leisurely commute to work. Over the day the weather worsened. Severe lightning storms swept over the office. Lightning striking the ground meters from the building which seemed to affect the computers and made it impossible to work. Both of us being good employees we waited for ½ an hour secretly hoping the IT guy would fail in his effort fix the network failure. Failure for the network meant an early exit for most of the staff. Skies had cleared but a stiff wind blew down the valley from east to wind. We carried the boats down to the lakeshore and launched into a growing chop on the lake. Steven paddled the XT and I was on my Millenium. Normally this paddle home takes me about 1.75 hours but I had a feeling that I would be a bit faster today. The first couple of km’s featured an unruly cross chop to nine mile narrows. As we approached the narrows the sand bar at the entrance and the following current pitched the swells up to a meter in height. We got some short runs in and a taste of what was upcoming. By the ½ way point the swells had grown to 1.5 meters and were directly behind us. I knew Steven was behind me because I could hear him gleefully yelling. I was mentally sick by this time all I cared about was finding another wave to surf on. What an addictive feeling.

Its 19 km’s from work to home but I bet I paddled 25km’s with all the zig-zagging. I could barely carry the boat 200 meters to the house. We were fully ½ an hour faster than usual. Later, sitting at the kitchen table regaling my wife with stories about our epic paddle with a hot cup of tea warming our bellies it struck me that occasionally we have these experiences that mix an odd blend of emotion and athleticism that just make you feel good about yourself.
Steven is now actively looking for a surf ski to buy.
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