First week in Septmber I headed to the Rockies on assignment for BC Magazine, there to hike and write about the Rockwall trail, part of the Great Divide that my bros, sister and I hiked with our late dad 37 years ago. I was eight. This time Lisa and I walked the same trail with Zola our 1 1/2 year old, and brother Pete and his wife Deb along for support. Amazing trip, nostalgic, but also epic gven the wintry wetaher we had with snow falling in the high passes. Zola was a trooper. My pack was heavy.
As a warm down from this four day hike, Pete and I left the Emerald Lake parking lot two days later at 6 am to climb the President and Vice President. Clear blue skies and firm snow on the glacier. After tagging both summits we descended the President Glacier to Little Yoho Valley, where I spent a New Years Eve long ago at the Stanley Mitchell Hut (more nostalgia) with my older siblings and their hippie Field friends. The walk back along the Iceline trail was exhausting but invigorating – views are non-stop. Pete jogged ahead in his climbing boots to retrieve the car at Emerald Lake, I dropped down to Takakkaw Falls and hitchhiked out to a cold beer. 12 hours, 30 kms later – I love summer!
Compliance Energy wants to mine coal a short drive from some of B.C.’s most productive shellfish producing waters in Baynes Sound, and also very close to a lot of coastal residents who object to a return to the Comox Valley’s industrial past. Coal is a dirty, GHG emitting industry, no question, but it’s used to make the steel that makes the cars that we all drive around in obsessively. The opposition to this mine raises legit environmental concerns but also the hypocrisy that underpins a lot of our positions on controversial issues like this. By opposing this mine are we not by default supporting the dangerous coal mines of , say China that claim dozens of lives annually. In other words, our comfortable North American lifetsyle is made possible by resource extraction of all kinds that is ugly and damaging to the planet, whether it happens in our bakcyard or not. I’ll explore this issue in a future story.
Check out my article Safe House in the July/August, 2011 edition of Vancouver Magazine. This piece explores a man’s effort to cope with the grief surrounding his son’s heroin overdose and do something positive for some of the disenfranchaised residents of East Vancouver. Brian Howell’s sensitive portraits bring this story to life. http://www.vancouvermagazine.com/News_and_Features/Safe_House
When land speaks this is what it says
Not so long ago I interviewed the head of Trilogy about the Vancouver-based developer’s plans for a large swath of real estate in the Village of Cumberland along the Inland Island Highway. In mesmerizing, feel-good language, he told me – quote – that Trilogy would “allow the land to speak” so as to determine the best use of the land. Four years later, after countless Powerpoints, colorful diagrams, maps and meetings, it appears the land has spoken. Trilogy, with much fanfare, recently unveiled its plans for the development that has been re-branded”Cayet,”apparently derivative of a native term meant to invoke the environment, and the plan includes auto dealerships, medium-sized box stores (last I checked a box store was a box store), strip malls, perhaps even a casino, set among a mix of condos, townhomes and detached residences. In other words it’s a vision of generic suburban sprawl, except it’s been tarted up by the proponent to appear as something progressive, even green. Throughout this long process Trilogy dismantled Cumberland’s OCP, once hailed by politicians and residents alike as a model of small town participatory democracy, to fit its vision for a development it says will “redefine the centre of gravity for north central Vancouver Island.” Suddenly the same starstruck and compliant councilors who thought Trilogy would deliver Cumberland - a village with the kind of historic charm and heritage most planners would tear their hair out trying to replicate – into a happy financial future have awoken to the fact that visitors will soon be greeted by the same, bland architectural requiem that greets arrivals to most North American cities. Too little, too late. If land could indeed speak, I doubt if this is what it would have asked for.
Last two weeks in May, Steve Ogle and I spent a hilarious, diaper dominated two weeks in Kauai on assignment for West Jet and Red Point Media, with our gals and little kids in tow. A different reality, traveling with little ones, slightly altered from our last assignment together in the Dominican Republic, a beer-infused, rock climbing, and motorbiking festival of debauchery. Different, but no less fun. I now cherish those lazy days at the beach collecting rocks and shells, then tossing them int the sea
Zola on assignment in Kauai
Tired of reading about spoiled rich kids getting drunk and trashing downtown Vancouver after Vancouver’s cup final thrashing?
A bunch of my recent magazine articles are on the shelves these days. Check out my rather nostalgic feature on the 100th anniversary of BC Parks in the summer issue of Westworld BC (http://www.myvirtualpaper.com/doc/Westworld-magazine/wwb_summer2011_cwm56862/2011050301/#36).
A more ciritcal look at the issues facing BC Parks can be found in the summer issue of Kootenay Mountain Culture – available at discerning newstands and outdoor shops throughout the interior.
In the upcoming July issue of BC Business Magazine (www.bcbusinessonline.ca) I delve into the challenges of farming on Vancouver Island where retirees and lifetstyle migrants have pushed the price of farmland into the stratosphere.
Check out my recent piece in BC Business on the strange world of leadership development
Skies as blue as the Carribbean, snow as light as goose down. Oh yeah – air as cold as a traffic cop who’s under his quota. That about sums up a glorious swing through the B.C. interior with Lisa and Zola that coincided with the winter’s chilliest cold snap. I was on assignment for Savour Magazine and Up! First stop was Kamloops to visit mom and bros and watch my sister’s kids Gabriel and Robin race in the BC Cup x-country champs. The both skied to 2nd place finishes! The we headed east, to pursue my story about the culinary side of Canadian Mountain Holidays, Canada’s first and largest heliskiing company founded by the late Hans Gmoser. Of course the story would not have been complete without a day of heliskiing, so managed to snag a seat on a chopper out of CMH’s remote Monashee Lodge – 30,000 vetrical feet of shin to knee deep blower, steep trees and big alpine bowls. Umm … delicious.
Afterward I headed to Lake Louise for Up! Magazine to interview and ski with iconoclast Albertan businessman, entrepreneur, former mountain guide, and perpetual thorn in the side of Parks Canada, Charlie Locke. Fasincating guy – unassuming but in a candid, shoot from the hip style. He couldn’t believe I can survive as a freelance writer. He’s not the only one.
Anyhow, after a brief stop in Canada’s answer to Houston TX, Calgary, the -30 C temps chased us to the Kootemays to visit family. It snowed every night and I managed to connect with some of my esteeemed media colleages in Nelson, Mitch Scott, Steve Ogle and Kari Medig for some slack country touring around the resort where an avalance almost killed me a decade ago. Great to be back on better terms with Whitewater.
Before you use it for a place mat, crack open the latest edition of Up! Magzine (WestJet’s inflight) and check out my feature story on the Domincan Republic’s Samana Peninsula. http://www.upmagazine.com/destination/samana-dominican-republic
Or if you’re sports fan, see my cover story in BC Business Magazine on Trevor Linden the property developer. http://www.bcbusinessonline.ca/bcb/top-stories/2011/01/04/trevor-linden039s-second-act
Coming up this year I’m offering two journalism courses.
The World of Freelance Journalism
This May 2011, through North Island College’s Continuing Education program, I’ll be teaching a six-hour introduction to magazine journalism course. Go to www.nic.bc.ca/continuingeducation/ for registration information.
Mountains of Inspiration
Sept.2-4, 2011, in conjunction with Jan Neuspiel of Island Alpine Guides, Boomer Jerritt of Strathcona Photography and I will be conducting an adventure photojournalism workshop in the mountains of Vancouver Island. We will use a helicopter-accessed alpine camp near Mt. Matchlee to explore and photograph this amazing environemnt and learn the nuts and bolts of wriitng and shooting for outdoor, environmental and adventure publications. For more information, call me at 250-334-3820 and for bookings contact Island Alpine Guides at 250-400-28700, www.islandalpineguides.com