Shady Lake Trail – Prince Albert National Park

A cool weekend in September my wife and headed out to hike the amazing Shady Lake Trail in Prince Albert National Park. It’s a 1.7 km loop with the option of doing a detour to the height of land tower. The trail doesn’t take long but expect some steep areas as well as stairs. If you have problems with a lot of stairs I would avoid this trail and maybe do the Boundary Bog or Mud Creek trails.

Sign for Shady Lake Trail

Trailhead Sign for Shady Lake Trail

The trail starts out with a steep staircase down. It’s a pretty easy jaunt downwards, however be cautious if it’s wet. It tends to get slippery. Also a word of caution, you will be coming back up once you go down.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

The trail is a mixture of deciduous and coniferous forest. The fall is amazing as it’s a drastic contrast in colours that make the forest pop.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

This is the payoff. Shady Lake is a glorious view. You can also access this via canoe on the Amiskowan canoe route.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

I feel obligated to put rock in. This is the rock that I proposed to my wife on.  I have named it Fred. She does not know this.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

The lake is usually pretty clear and you can see the bottom quite easily. Look out for minnows!

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Wildflowers litter the edges of the path. You can find yarrow, wild rose and others along the way!

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Another hazard you half to be careful for. The roots make steps up some of the little hills, however they are also extremely easy to trip on. It would be a hard climb back up to the parking lot if you sprain your ankle.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

The beginning of the approach back up the hill to the parking lot. This is a lot more gradual of an increase then the route down. I’d suggest if you have issues with steep hills you go down the west portion and back up the same way. It may take longer but it’s a more gentle of a climb.

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

Shady Lake Trail, Prince Albert National Park

This trail is moderately difficult with steep slopes. I believe the view of Shady Lake is definitely worth it and would recommend it to anyone!

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Lululemon’s Wasteful Renovation Practices – The Solution?

Lululemon tries to have a reputation for being an environmentally conscious company. You can read about their sustainability plan HERE.  One of their points is that they are “a model for community-led sustainability including our extended lululemon family of ambassadors, vendors, and guests.” Yet they don’t seem to take this very seriously.

Recently Lululemon in Regina started renovations in Regina, SK. In a complete detour from their sustainability model they chose to not only dispose of their old fixtures and mannequins but destroy them first just to make sure that they cannot be used again.  When approached by this fact, the resolution manager blamed the third party company without acknowledging that they get to dictate what occurs with their disposal.

The Lululemon Regina Wasteful renovation The Lululemon Regina Wasteful renovation

On their website they claim “We’re working to be part of an elevated world that operates within nature’s boundaries and provides for human needs—creating opportunities for people to lead happy and fulfilling lives” However this seems to be working in the opposite of that direction. They could have donated these items to the Habitat for Humanity Restore store for them to sell off and raise money for their projects. They could have donated it to small markets that don’t compete with them. Perhaps they could have recycled parts of the mannequins, and lighting. Instead it all went off to be disposed of. This does not seem like they are following their own code.

 

However, don’t despair! Here is a couple suggestions that Lululemon can do to resolve this issue and prevent it from occurring again!

  • Donate an amount to the Regina chapter of Habitat for Humanity that would be equal to what they could have gained from the sales of these items.
  • Change their Sustainable code of conduct to reflect renovations  as well as day to day operations.
  • Dictate to “Third party” contractors that their stuff shall be recycled wherever possible.
  • Publicly promote these changes as a way to get word out there that they actually follow their own code of conduct. This could be a positive way to portray the company and could be an advertising campaign in itself.

To date, despite numerous phone calls, emails, tweets etc. Lululemon has no acknowledged that they have any plans to change their wasteful practices. They passed 100% of the blame on the third party contractor and refuse to take any fault in what occurred.  Their social media people just keep pushing that they value what has been said, but actions speak louder than words.

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Lululemon and renovations

Well it’s been a while.
I have something I need to say about a company that boasts about it’s environmental impact. This company is Lululemon.

Recently the Regina, SK location has been undergoing renovations. They’ve moved to a smaller location while they do these extensive upgrades. Upon observance of the progress it was noticed that they were removing perfectly good shelving, mannequins, lighting and other amazing materials that could easily be reused.

Here is a couple pictures for evidence and your benefit.

The Lululemon Regina Wasteful renovation

That is some fantastic lighting there that could probably be reused. Also brilliant PPE but that’s a seperate matter.

Perfectly good shelving being smashed so that no one else can use it. Note PPE is now on.

The Lululemon Regina Wasteful renovation

Look at all those mannequin bodies heading to the dump. Kind of eerie but still annoying they couldn’t reuse them.

There is plenty of places they could have donated these to that would have had a great environmentally friendly impact. The Habitat for Humanity Restore store is one. They sell used everything and the money goes towards home for those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them.

I initiated a twitter conversation with Lululemon online on this matter. After telling my that they value my feedback, they referred me to the acting store manager for the Regina location after a several day wait. Her response was that my feedback was important to them and she would bring it up to the people who make these decisions.

I was looking for an answer on why this decision was made in the first place. After getting nowhere with the manager I reengaged Lululemon on twitter. After telling me again that my feedback is important, they sent me to their environmental policy on their website which reads:

“In 2014, we measured our company-wide waste footprint to learn how much waste we produce globally and how we can reduce it. We looked at all waste streams within our owned and operated facilities, our distribution centres, offices, our packaging, and all damaged and returned products.”

Apparently this is only concerning day to day operations. They apparently completely disregard their renovation procedures.







Finally they had a customer solution individual call me. In that call I was informed that the third party that they hired was in charge of the disposal and it’s their fault it was all smashed and disposed of instead of being reused in other places. They said that they’ve talked to that contractor about it. I did not get a response when I asked why it wasn’t in the contract to reuse what they could. She provided no assurance that their policies would change regarding this matter. Again I’m told me feedback is very important. I informed her that I was unsatisfied with this conversation.

This brings us to here. I would like to further this discussion and get it out there that this wasteful practice should change. Lululemon provided me with no assurance they have any interest in changing it, so I’m hoping by putting them in the spotlight that their attitudes may change.

Thank you.

 

 

 

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2017 Saskatchewan Holiday Gift Ideas

It’s getting close to the holidays! If you haven’t started shopping it’s time to get your butt in gear!  I’ve attached several ideas here that are Saskatchewan oriented to give you some great locally done ideas!



Think I miss something? Let me know and I’ll add it!

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Dogs and Canoeing

Dogs can be unpredictable. Especially puppies!  We have recently acquired a new puppy.  Rider the adventure dog!  At the time where we decided to introduce him to the canoe he was about five and a half months.  I acquired a life jacket for him because I am a safe and responsible individual.  Also he’s not a super experience swimmer yet and if he jumped and swam to shore and got tired.  Too much safety isn’t always a bad thing.  To get him accustomed to it, I made him wear it around the house the day before and morning of.  He wasn’t super impressed at first but warmed up eventually.

The first thing on our list was to find a location with relatively calm water.  I didn’t want super big waves for the dogs first time in my canoe.  We found a bend on the South Saskatchewan River at the Fred Heal Canoe Launch. It was perfect with lots of sandbars.

 

I had purchased a cheap bathmat from the dollar store.  I, unfortunately forgot I had a large puppy and didn’t buy a bigger one.  I did this so that he didn’t slip around and had some stability.  It worked well and he was pretty much glued to it.  Initially my wife and I loaded him up and set off just off the shore.  As I suspected he promptly jumped in the water and swam to the shore.  Luckily we were only 15 feet away.  Next on the plan was to let the wife walk along the shore in case he did it again and row around with just him.  I constantly was speaking in a reassuring voice to keep him calm.  Eventually he settled in and laid down.

Once he was more comfortable I pulled over to a sandbar and my amazing wife hopped in.  Note the matching lifejackets.  Aren’t they cute? Completely….  planned..

 

Eventually he was good to go.  He even got back in the canoe after we stopped on an island somewhat willingly.

Problems we had:

It was a hot day and he would get thirsty and try to lean over and drink.  A 60 lb dog leaning over the side of a canoe randomly isn’t good for stability.  Next time I will bring some sort of water bucket for him.  I will try to fashion something that will hang down so that he can’t knock it over.

A lot of the problems we had were because of what my wife calls “Puppy Brain” .  Things like him wanting to swim, so he swims.  Gradually over time this should disappear as he gets older.

A couple more times out and I think he will be good to go for the canoe, furthering his abilities as Rider the Adventure dog!

Here is a picture of him doing his best muskrat impression.

 

Next up…. to teach him to fish.

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Small pallet decorative box

For our wedding, we decided to give each of our three kids gifts during the ceremony.   The two boys got amazing multi tools.

I first used one of the knives to measure the size.  I just used spare pallet wood for all this and left the edges pretty rough.

Small DIY Box

I cut several pieces and one by one attached using brass corner brackets. Small DIY Box

More attaching on side two.Small DIY Box

I had also acquired some little brass hinges.  This was the hardest part because I didn’t want to smash the box.
Small DIY Box






Demonstrating they work!Small DIY Box

I used a little clasp to keep it closed.Small DIY Box Small DIY Box

Finished product.  They loved it and the boxes now store the knives when they are put away.  It’s more of a display than anything.  Which is what these boxes are meant for as the corner pieces etc don’t hold them together the best.

Small DIY Box

The inside.
Small DIY Box

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Open Letter to Governments

Dear Municipal, Provincial, and Federal, Governments,

 

After the event last night, I felt that I must write something about the conduct of our government.  This isn’t just about #elbowgate which trended directly after incident.  I am proud to be Canadian.  Canada is Open Letter to Governments traditionally, polite, kind, and reserved.  I have not seen this lately.    This open letter is about how the government acts as a whole.  All governments, municipal, provincial and federal.

After watching the video, I noted that the NDP MP’s were blocking the Conservative whip from getting through to delay to vote.  Then the Prime Minister angrily walks across the floor to grab the whip from the group and pull him out, accidently elbowing a female NDP MP in the process.  Keyword here is accidentally.  What the Prime Minister did is unacceptable, he should in no way have grabbed the whip physically and moved him.  However, at the same time it’s also unacceptable for the NDP MP’s to be trying to block another person physically.  They should equally be ashamed of their actions.  The video didn’t portray upstanding professionals, it portrayed childish behaviour on all parts.  The opposition parties continued to attack the Prime Minister on his behaviour during his apology without acknowledging their actions as well were not becoming of professionals. Unfortunately, a historic apology was made the same morning as the incident that was overshadowed by an event blown out of proportion.

The rise in attack ads seems to be very prominent as of late as well.  I have three children. How do I explain to them that making fun of others or straight out insulting people is unacceptable when the leaders of our country are doing it on a regular basis?  I would love if one of these parties would come and explain why this is acceptable behaviour to my children.  How do they explain it to their own children that they can go to work, insult people and act unprofessional?

I have thought about taking my kids to go see a debate live.  However, I don’t know if I would like to expose them to this behaviour that I see exhibited regularly by our members of government.  I have heard of teachers that have quit taking classes to see debates because of this behaviour as well.  My parents raised me to be respectful and generous to others. Didn’t yours?  This should be a wake up call for governments that how they behave isn’t appropriate, but instead they are too involved with yelling, insulting and being rude to anyone that doesn’t agree with them.

I’m not picking sides or a preference for an individual party in this letter. I am directing this at all politicians.  You are not just the leaders of our country, you are the inspiration for a lot of young people.  Please learn from your mistakes.  Act your age.  Be role models. You are the face of Canada.  You were voted in to represent all of us.  Act appropriately.

 

Sincerely

Matthew Thompson

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The Great Tree Toppling

I had a Elm tree that had died on my property.  Unfortunatly it was about a metre and a half away from my house and the next door neighbours. Thus it needed to be toppled.  After numerous conversations with the City and the Ministry of the Environment to find out the correct procedures to disposal of a elm tree to fight the evil Elm Beetle, we set to work.

This had been on the agenda for approximately two years now.  My buddy Wes and I had joint bought a pole saw in anticipation of this endeavor and were very excited to do this.  We trimmed off a lot of the larger top branches before we toppled the beast.  Notice we cut a triangle out of the one side to aid in toppling in the correct direction.  With a check to make sure my house insurance was up to date, Wes and Jordan  pulled as hard as their little bodies could on the ropes while I did the final cuts.  Here is a video taken by my lovely fiance of the tree actually falling.

And here is me standing on the fallen beast looking all manly and such. I am cursing myself for not wearing plaid.

IMG-20160402-WA000

We had chain saw issues at the end and me being amazing cut the final bit with a hand saw.  Look! I even wore a safety face shield!

It took 7 trips with a truck to get it all out to the disposal site. Here is the final pile with bonus Wes before it got burned and buried.

IMG_20160403_175422

It was an adventure. Now my living room is much brighter and I don’t have to worry about a dead tree falling on my house.

Thank you to Heather Wes, Tara, Amanda, My father (Happy Birthday), Russ, Paul and Jordan for their help on this!

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Hiking throughout Saskatchewan

Hey there!  Been a bit.  I’ve been busy with school, a random ArcGIS contract (yes I do that too) and a minor surgery..  It’s okay. I’m fine.  I know you were incredibly concerned.  I will take as many get well gifts as your wanting to give though!

Do you write? Take photos? I discovered this really neat contest that may be up your alley.  Check it out!

World Around The Campfire Contest

I’ve finally done it and joined the twitter.  You can find me @NomaddadMatt.





There has been a lot of hiking as of late.

This is a poor quality photo of me at Sask Landing Provincial Park.  Note the Saskatchewan: Home of the Sasquatch Tshirt

Nice day.  However right after I took this I ended up running the rest of the trail as a blizzard moved in.  I did have a coat. It’s behind the camera.  If you turn around you can see it.IMG_5343

Then I went to Black Strap Provincial Park.  It was a balmy -20 with the windchill this day.   A little chilly.  But I made it.IMG_20160319_102414

Then the last park I was able to hike was the trails at Echo Valley Provincial Park!  I have camped here probably close to 4o times and for some reasons have never actually hiked the trails.  This first shot is a view of Pasqua Lake from the top of the valley.

IMG_20160329_134048

We enjoyed a hot lunch of spicy bacon macaroni and cheese on my Biolite Campstove. This is the first time I’ve ever used it!  It’s a pretty neat debris burner.  The orange part is a fan that pushes air to the fire.  It also has a USB charger that you can charge devices with. However I think it takes a long long time to changeIMG_20160329_115235

I’ll end with a panorama of  Pasqua and Echo Lakes with the bridge in between.

Here is a link to the Biolite stuff on Amazon. They have a lot of different stuff you can do with it. I’d recommend it for day hikes as you don’t need to carry fuel with you.


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Eggshells as seed starters

I decided to do an update once I got all my seeds ready to go for the grow table I built.  I saved all my eggshells for a couple weeks and even stole some from other people.  When you’re using eggshells for seed starters try to crack them at the end of one end to lop off the top.  Gives you more room for you and the seeds to work with.

Why eggshells?

I like Easter!  Ok that’s not really the reason.  Eggshells are made from CaCO3.  or Calcium Carbonate.  (Geology nerd infobit:  Limestone is too!) So when you add eggshells to your garden they add calcium as well.  If you think about it this way, eggs are little containers for the nourishment of the embryo.  Should be good for other stuff shouldn’t it?  They are also super convenient to use since they’re a container in themselves and you can put them directly in the ground after.

Other ingredients I use:

Epson Salts – I’m not really sure why.   I have read many conflicting reports on these.  Some say they help growth and some say they do nothing.  I add them just in case.  Plus I bought a gigantic container of them a while back and need to use them up.  A little extra Magnesium isn’t a bad thing anyway.

Coffee grounds – We drink a ton of coffee in this house.  Dark roast, medium roast, with honey, with sugar and milk.  Every combination imaginable.  We get a lot of coffee grounds because of it.  This adds Nitrogen to the soil (N for you chemistry nerds)  Some people add the whole filter and everything to their garden.  I just do the grounds and throw the filter in my compost bin.

Soil – I buy the cheap basic stuff as I’m adding in my own stuff to it.  Also because I am a student and really lack money.  (Hey there’s ad’s on the side!  You should click them and feed a starving student)

All the ingredients to start. I used the coffee tin as a shaker to mix my soil mixture.

All the ingredients to start. I used the coffee tin as a shaker to mix my soil mixture.

Starting the soil mixing process. Step one: add soil. I didn't have the time to go out and break down sediment and apply organic matter etc so I bought the soil from a store.

Starting the soil mixing process. Step one: add soil. I didn’t have the time to go out and break down sediment and apply organic matter etc so I bought the soil from a store.

Close up shot of the ground eggshells I'm using. Credit goes to my son Cole for grinding for me. He had never used a mortar and pestle so this was a big deal. I finished the grinding to make it as fine as I could.

Close up shot of the ground eggshells I’m using. Credit goes to my son Cole for grinding for me. He had never used a mortar and pestle so this was a big deal. I finished the grinding to make it as fine as I could.

The addition of the ground up eggshell.

The addition of the ground up eggshell.


Addition of coffee grounds. These were from that afternoons coffee. Kirkland Dark Roast if anyone is interested.

Addition of coffee grounds. These were from that afternoons coffee. Kirkland Dark Roast if anyone is interested or is looking for birthday ideas.

I unfortunately didn't get a picture of me shaking it but I assure you I did. Then I carefully added the mix to each of my egg containers.

I unfortunately didn’t get a picture of me shaking it but I assure you I did. Then I carefully added the mix to each of my egg containers. To make it more pretty feel free to dye the egg shells first.

Another bonus of eggshells is that you can label them. This one will be a cucumber when it grows up I figured you probably couldn't read my writing.

Another bonus of eggshells is that you can label them. This one will be a cucumber when it grows up I figured you probably couldn’t read my writing.

All done! I didn't have enough shells for all the seeds I wanted to start. Hence the generic seed thing. However I also used eggshells for labels for that one too!

All done! I didn’t have enough shells for all the seeds I wanted to start. Hence the generic seed thing. However I also used eggshells for labels for that one too!

The seed starters in action! Look at them go under that light!

The seed starters in action! Look at them go under that light!

 

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