Adventures

Back from Baffin Island

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Hello everyone! I made it back from Baffin Island, safe and sound. Well, mostly sound. I might lose a toenail, but if that’s all, I’m not complaining!

It was a PHENOMENAL trip! The women on the trip were amazing, and we saw some incredible, remote scenery. The physical aspects were challenging but not impossible, and there were unexpected challenges along the way. I don’t want to give it all away, but I DO want to share some photos!

Iqaluit, Nunuvut

We flew from Ottawa to Iqaluit, the transportation hub for Nunuvut, but due to bad weather at our destination, we got stranded in Iqaluit! We thought we were going to have to camp in the airport — an acceptable solution since all the hotel rooms in town were booked, and we had all our camping gear — but then we got to stay in the army barracks that are there!

Iqaluit - military transport
The military came with a very cool track vehicle to get us (and some regular trucks).
Iqaluit - room in the PAB
My room in the PAB. Small, but perfect.

The military men were very helpful and hospitable. They often help stranded travelers. The next day, the weather improved, and we flew out with no problems.

We started in Qikiqtarjuak, NU

You can call it Qik, for short (pronounced “kick”).

Qik - First Air ATR43 acft
The aircraft that took us to Qik (it’s an ATR43). The front half is cargo and the back half is where the people go!

Qik - Walking on the bay
Walking on the frozen bay. You can see some of the houses and mountains that surround the community.
Qik across the bay
Looking at Qik across the bay from the hotel. The whole community is less than 600 people.
Qik - Tulugak Inn
The Tulugak Inn, of the “Inns North” chain. Qikiqtarjuak used to be called Broughton Island.
Qik - Looking out the window
Looking out the window of the hotel
Qik - Komatiks
Packing the qamutiiks (“comb-a-ticks”) for the ride to the trailhead. Snowmobiles are off to the right of the photo.

We rode the Qamutiks pulled by skidoos, to the trail head. It was the bumpiest ride of my life!

That’s all for now! More photos to come!

If you haven’t yet, you can still sponsor me!
Click here! Thank you!

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On my Way to Baffin Island

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Sorry I haven’t blogged lately. I have been so busy getting ready for my trip to Baffin Island! I am in Ottawa now, with a little spare time, and tomorrow we leave for Nunuvut.

I am so excited to be going to this part of Canada! It’s remote, beautiful, rugged and — did I already say “remote?” There is something in my blood that makes me want to travel to the ends of the Earth, to see things few have seen, and experience things few ever will.

And that’s what I’m doing now! I am taking all kinds of personal risks to have a really unique Canadian experience. A few people have called me brave — usually after finding out I’ll be sleeping in -20 to -30 C, or that there will be polar bears. I don’t see myself as brave. I just keep my eyes open for opportunities and then take them when they come along. I just do what’s in front of me to do. And I guess I’ve been lucky to have some interesting things come along in front of me!

I don’t mean to sound passive, or downplay what I’m doing. But I’m no hero, either! I am nervous about some parts of it! I know I may be uncomfortable for days on end. I am doing it anyways.

I bought Brene Brown’s book “Braving the Wilderness” and I’m going to start reading it tonight! It should be the perfect book for the trek I’m about to do!

Wish me luck, everyone! HUGE BIG thank you’s to everyone who has sponsored me for this fundraiser! You rock, really. And if you haven’t sponsored me yet, go do it now!! Here’s the link! Love you guys!

Trying out my super-warm sleeping bag
Good down to -32 C… tested at +20 C!! 😛

CBC Radio Interview

I got interviewed by Mark Connolly a couple days ago! Go check it out!
http://www.cbc.ca/i/caffeine/syndicate/?audioId=15683239

Good News! I Don’t Think I’ll Freeze on Baffin Island

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My day job involves a lot of weather information, and today, I was teaching my trainees about weather models. Environment Canada has a page with several on them, and we use them to give pilots weather info beyond 24 hours. Like any forecast, there’s no guarantee, but we can be fairly accurate as long as we stay within 48 hours.
I don’t know how they do it, but Environment Canada also creates some rather long-term forecasts. I stumbled on this one, below, and it made my heart sing!

Temperature probability Feb-April

It’s not the best news for Western Canada — looks like it’s going to be cooler than normal — but check out Baffin Island! Right where I’m going, it’s going to be WARMER than normal! There is an 80-90% chance! Normal temperatures for this part of Baffin Island range from -5 C to -25 C.

In case you’re not clear on where I am going snowshoeing, I’ve made a map:
Baffin Island

See how there is a red patch right on that part of Baffin Island?! Yay! I’m super excited to be going anyway, and now I know it’s not likely to be TOO cold, so that makes it even better. I bought a sleeping bag rated to -32 C on the weekend, along with an expedition parka that is incredibly warm! Things are coming together! 😀

Raising Funds

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Hi everyone! Sometimes when I tell people about my snowshoeing expedition — read all about it here — they are really shocked to find out I am raising $50,000 for the charity, True Patriot Love.
It’s a big amount, isn’t it? Most people who raise money for charities or medical causes (cancer research, etc) have much more modest goals. But these groups have LARGE numbers of people fundraising, so each individual doesn’t have to raise that much.
There are only 20 (or so) of us coming on the snowshoeing trip to Baffin Island. More people isn’t practical, really. We have to ride snowmobiles to get to the trailhead. You just can’t move 100 people that way , particularly not in the far north where communities are smaller and resources are more limited. Yet, True Patriot Love funds MANY programs across Canada throughout a year. So, our goal is $600,000 dollars, but it is only spread out across 12 people. Of the total of 20 of us, a few are guides and the rest are military and they are not expected or required to fundraise very much. This trip is meant to be more of an treat, and to show our appreciation to them, and to start mentoring each other.
So, if you do the math — I’ll do it for ya! 🙂 — each of us needs to raise $50,000 ($50,000 x 12 = $600,000). So THAT is why I have such a big goal! True Patriot Love supplies funding for so many programs across Canada, they need the money and there aren’t many of us going on the trip. They do have other fundraising activities throughout the year, which adds to their annual budget, but they don’t exactly do 20 of these expeditions a year! They are few, and I feel very lucky and special to be able to join in on this one.

In other news… I passed my medical this week, so it just got a lot more real! Apparently, I’m healthy! I mean, I have aches and pains occasionally, like anyone, but I’m healthy enough to go on this trip. They were checking some interesting things like “Mean Corpuscular Volume.” I have no idea what that is, but wikipedia says it is the average size of a red blood cell. Good to know! Apparently, mine are normal! 🙂

That’s all for now! I’ll include my fundraising link again! If your budget will allow, please be generous! Here’s a little more math: if all my donations are $20, I will need 2500 donors! That’s not realistic. If my friends gave $100, I would still need 500 friends. So, give as much as you can and enter the ranks of the elite givers! 😀 You guys rock! I have a few other fundraising ideas up my sleeve, which I’ll announce soon.

Take care, everyone! And happy #BellLetsTalk day!

My Next BIG Adventure

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There’s a reason this blog is entitled Adventures With Teresa! As most if you know, every now and then, I seem to find myself having some seriously unique adventures! This time, it’s really big!

It all started when I got a subscription to Explore magazine. Reading about other people’s adventures is so much fun, and it makes me want to go on my own! img_0335Over Christmas, I was catching up on past issues of Explore, and I read a really great article about a man and his Husky dog who walked the Akshayuk Pass, on Baffin Island. They went 200 km! The dog had his own little sled to pull — it was very cute and the dog looked like he was having the time of his life! Then, in the next Explore mag, I saw an article about a canoe trip involving military soldiers, veterans and regular people. It sounded like they had an amazing trip. With all my canoe experience, I could imagine them bonding around the campfire.
The canoe trip was organized by an organization called True Patriot Love. I had never heard of them, so I went to their website. They fundraise to support military and veterans services. I clicked on the “Get Involved” tab, abd then I saw “Expeditions.” So of course I had to click on that! The very first thing I saw was an all-women Snowshoeing expedition on Baffin Island, traversing the Akshayuk Pass — the one I just read about!! Oh man. I LOVE snowshoeing, and as I kept reading about it, I become hooked! This would be sooo fun!
I told Darren about it. He said, “so, um, if it’s all women, you don’t need me to come, right?” He is the love of my life and we are two peas in a pod, but he just doesn’t quite share my (ridiculous? Crazy?) love for big adventures!!
baffin island and tent
So, long story short: I contacted True Patriot Love. They still had room and were happy to have me join. Last weekend, I flew to southern Ontario to meet a bunch of the ladies and the main guide. I had a great time, so I am IN! Woo hoo! It’s not all fun and games, ur, snowshoeing, however! I am FUNDRAISING to support True Patriot Love. Each civilian going has been asked to raise $50,000! If you would like to help support our soldiers and veterans — and their families — in their physical and mental health, please go to my fundraising page! I am paying all my own expenses for this trip, so all the money you donate is tax refundable and goes straight to the cause. 😀

Stay tuned for more posts! I am already training for the trip, which for now is essentially going snowshoeing several times a week. I will keep you updated as things unfold. I have lots of gear to buy (like a sleeping bag rated to -40C! Gasp!) and many, many adventures to come!
img_0331

Shearing Day!

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Shearing day is always an exciting day on the farm! It only comes once a year, and by the time it comes, the alpacas are super-fluffy and I feel like they are looking forward to it!

Daisy and Marley the morning of shearing.

In the photo above, Daisy and Marley are definitely wondering what’s up, since we never close them in the barn using that half-door.

The shearers are a 2-person man-woman team that we’ve used for a couple of years. They called while we were having breakfast to ask if they could come earlier — in half an hour instead of at 11:00 am! Ack! So we were a little rushed getting ready for them to arrive, but it actually went really smoothly. I had bought more harnesses so that we had one for everyone, and that helped too.

Most of the alpacas walked really well on their harnesses/leashes, which is amazing considering we really don’t practice with them. Alex was born last year, so it was his first time on a harness, being led and being sheared. He did the usual bucking around, but he walked okay. He did NOT like getting sheared — he cried the whole time. Poor little guy! He did seem pretty happy afterwards, however!

That’s Alex in the foreground and Ziggy behind.

It was really nice to be able to see Alex’s eyes! He’s been so fuzzy, we haven’t been able to see them! The sun must seem really bright to them after having such long bangs.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta scratch!

I was worried that Alex was a bit small for a yearling, but the shearer said that he looks normal, or even a little big, to her! So that’s good.  (Remember when he was born? What a cutie!) It could just be because he and Boeing are friends, and Boe is a big fella.

Boeing is our gentle giant, the white fella. He and Alex are clearly buddies.

After shearing was done, everyone was tired and hungry (and happy… trust me, I can tell).

Marley having a nap in the sun

 

Fozzie in the foreground, and although he is laying down, he’s also eating.

Don’t you just love how the shearers leave little legwarmers? It helps protect their legs from mosquito bites, and keeps them warm in winter.

Check out those legwarmers!

 

Ziggy, just chillin’

They have to be sheared in summer so they have enough time to grow a coat before winter. Mid-June is a bit late, actually, but I’m sure these guys will be okay. They produce a LOT of fibre!

For months, I’ve been saying, “look how fluffy you are! You’re getting so BIG!” and now I am saying “look how skinny you are!”

After shearing is the only time I can see their bodies, and know if they are underweight, overweight, or just right. They all look good, except maybe Miss Uki (she looks a little skinny).

MIss Uki after shearing

Daisy got to wear her harness a little longer than everyone else. When she was done, we just unclipped the leash and she ran away! So we had to catch her a while later and take the harness off. Luckily, alpacas can still eat and drink while wearing one. You an see her in the distance behind Fozzie below:

Fozzie with the girls (Daisy on the left) behind him.

The reason the shearers came early was because at their first stop, the sheep were all wet! So, to give them a chance to dry, they came and did our alpacas first. Apparently, shearing wet sheep is akin to hell bent over! The boys were a little damp, so I spread the fibre out in the sun to dry. Doesn’t it look glorious? Boeing’s fleece is white, Ziggy cinnamon brown, Fozzie brown/black,and Alex dark brown with sun-bleached tips. 🙂

Alex’s fleece had a lot of straw in it, so I spent a while picking it out. It is SOOOO soft. Best time ever!

And hey, a good friend of mine featured Daisy’s first cut fleece in a video! You can watch it here:

I’ve actually been working on processing the fibre lately! There are 3 steps before I can start knitting it: de-dusting it, carding, then spinning. I could also wash it, but it isn’t absolutely necessary as long as I get the dust out. I have a mesh table that I fluff it on. My grandma gave me her drum carder and spinning wheel and I spent a day carding the fibre at home and then another day with her while she taught me how to spin. I was SO terrible at it, but apparently, that’s normal for beginners. There is no such thing as beginner’s luck in spinning! She kept teasing me, saying I was making a rope! It was way too thick. But I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it.

That’s all for now, everyone! Take care!

Here are a couple more “before” pictures to enjoy!

Alex before shearing
Boeing… after a dirt bath! No longer a white alpaca!

Welcome 2018, Farewell 2017

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What a year it has been! There are so many highlights I want to share with you!

Farm stuff

The day we got Ziggy and Boeing! I can’t believe that was less than a year ago. I feel like we’ve had them forever!

We got our well fixed back in spring, on the first warm day! It was a big event, and we were so grateful when it was done and the pump wasn’t spraying water all over the inside of the pump shack any more. Darren made a fancy thermostat to control the heater in the pump shack, so it will never get below zero in there again. And we can check the temp any time, because he also made a wifi temperature sensor.

Shearing day! It’s always a big event. I got spit on by Uki, and my arm was GREEN and STINKY until I washed it. After 5 minutes.

Alex was born! What a cutie! So spunky and healthy! We named him Alex to remember his sister, Allie, that passed away a year ago.

Alex is getting so big! 🙂

Travel


Total Solar Eclipse – We had such an awesome trip to Idaho to see the total solar eclipse! 🙂

Cambodia – In November, I went to Cambodia for 8 days to visit a friend and be a tourist. It was amazing. I really should blog about it!

Personally

Music – I continue to play in a band once a month at the Centre for Spiritual Living, which I love. Singing and playing is so fulfilling for me, and I’ve been getting a bit more bold in my song choices. My keyboard playing is getting better too! I love it, and I play with such great people. I really feel blessed.

Writing and Publishing – I’ve been writing like a fiend this year! Just not blogging (sorry about that)! 🙂 I finished writing 4 tiny books, and just this month, I’ve finished all the layout and publishing tasks to self-publish 3 of them with lulu.com! I still need to finish the 4th one. This is another thing that I absolutely love doing! It’s so fun and fulfilling, and I can’t wait to get my books out to the world! 🙂

I feel like I’ve had such a great year! I was grateful much of the time, and was able to help some friends going through tough times and not get carried away by their grief or anger. I took a couple of self-development classes this year; I learned how to do Heart Math and I do it all the time. It’s such a helpful tool for regulating one’s emotions and creating more resiliency. In the second class, I learned more about Ernest Holmes and all that he stood for. It was also an excellent class and I enjoyed every minute of the reading and the class discussions.

I wish everyone such a happy, amazing, phenomenal 2018. May you grow in love and be surrounded by joy, peace, creative activities, and time for all the things you enjoy.

Boeing… Isn’t he handsome?! 😛