Lost in the ethereal blues…

Lost
Lost. f/8 @ 1/400 second. © 2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

Lost in the ethereal blues, whites, and greys of an infinite horizon. Photographed along the Atlantic coastline of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

Advertisements

A Place of Solace

A Place of Solace
Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. f/2.8 @ 1/15 second.

It’s hard to imagine why any couple would simply sit quietly, huddled closely together upon the icy-cold granite outcrop, despite the howling gale and the tumultuous roar of the mighty Atlantic crashing against the rocky shoreline.

But that is exactly what my wife and I undertook one early evening in mid-August of 2014. It was a charming, itsy-bitsy place called Peggy’s Cove, situated along the rugged coastline of Nova Scotia. We almost had the quaint little locale all to ourselves. Only one straggler was lollygagging on the lee side of the statuesque white lighthouse. The octagonal tower, with balcony and lantern, has stood proudly upon the granite rock for over a century, guiding troubled and weary sailors through many a stormy night.

Our place of solace was almost desolate, barren of the hordes of tourists that visit during the daylight hours.

We envisaged ourselves to be ageless, timeless, listening to the rhythmic ocean waves pound upon the rock, like nature’s drum echoing in the hidden alcoves of an eternal mind. As the ethereal light began to vanish, I turned around and took a snapshot of that frigid, unbreakable place of many secrets. It was an idyllic place, a halcyon that brought us peace.

Just a stranger and a pair of prairie landlubbers, never to pass a word. There would be no salutation amongst shadows in the fading light.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

If a rock could feel…

IMG_0099
Rocky coastline of Nova Scotia. © 2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

Like a solitary tear trickling over impenetrable stone

Your ebb and flow weathered away my very edge

Now your tumultuous waves batter my integrity

I am broken and laid bare for all to wonder

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

UNESCO World Heritage Site: L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site

L'Anse_aux_Meadows,_recreated_long_house
Norse long house recreation, L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

L’Anse aux Meadows  is an archaeological site on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Discovered in 1960, it is the most famous site of a Norse or Viking settlement in North America.

Dating to around the year 1000, L’Anse aux Meadows is widely accepted as evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact. It is notable for its possible connection with the attempted colony of Vinland established by Leif Erikson around the same period or, more broadly, with Norse exploration of the Americas. It was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1978.

Wikipedia

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The Nordic Ski Trip: Meadow Lake Provincial Park

 

 

 

I often think about my girls. Even though they are now adults, busy with their own families and lives, I am so happy to have had the privilege of being a dad to them. I have so many good memories of the wilderness adventures we went on as a family. Sometimes, due to the difficulty of the wilderness challenge, I had to make the hard decision of taking only my eldest daughter along. My eldest girl was (and is) an excellent nordic skier, even when she was 12 years-of-age. She had the strength and endurance to stay with me over terrain and distances that most adults would complain about. She would later go on to become a provincial team cross-country running champion in her final year of high school.

As you can readily see from these candid pictures (taken with an old film camera), she always seemed to be upbeat and happy – the joy of my life! Her smile tells all.

We planned our overnight nordic ski trip together in an area of the province that is as beautiful as it is remote from any civilization, especially in the winter. I knew from previous years of cross-country skiing, hiking, and running on the trails in the Meadow Lake Provincial Park, that there was a rustic cabin situated farther east along a ski trail in the forest. The cabin was used as a warm-up shelter for cross-country skiers in the winter. Within the forested area, near the cabin, were at least two smaller lakes that, at the time, were utilized as fish rearing ponds for the bigger lakes, like Greig Lake within the park, and elsewhere in the province.

The plan was to start early, to ski and explore the area, before settling down for the night near the aforementioned cabin. We were self-sufficient and had packed everything we needed, including a tent, sleeping bags, cook stove, food, extra clothing, and emergency supplies. This was not our first winter camping trip together, but it was the first time we ventured out into the rather remote backcountry.

It was a gorgeous day when we began our ski tour. Due to the constant freeze/thaw cycles of early spring, the trails were well-packed and fast enough to skate on with relative ease. We traversed about 15km in what seemed like only a moment, quite aware of small fur-bearing animals scurrying about and birds chattering in the trees. I was also cognizant of the potential of crossing the path of wolves or a hungry black bear that had ventured out of it’s den a bit too early. Nevertheless, the click-clack of our ski poles and the whoosh of our skis, along with clanging cooking pots on the back of my pack, provided sufficient warning to predators that may have been hidden from our sight.

After a rather exhilarating day of cross-country skiing and exploring, we decided to camp at a scenic and sheltered spot near the cabin. Previously, I had asked for permission from the park warden to overnight in the cabin – just in case the weather took a turn for the worse. Anyone who has lived in the northwestern part of the province knows that a late winter storm can occur without notice. Better safe than sorry – I had learned that hard lesson from a previous winter where I almost succumbed to hypothermia and probable death because of a late blizzard. My story of that misadventure is long, convoluted, and riddled with compounding human error. It is sufficient to say that I was caught in a nasty snow storm, some 15km from the trail head, in only my one-piece spandex cross-country racing suit along with a little fanny pack with some water, a granola bar, and extra wax. I was nearly depleted of muscle glycogen (the dreaded bonk) and freezing in a blizzard. The obscured sun was getting low on the near invisible horizon and darkness was setting in quickly. The drifting snow was completely obliterating any sign of a ski trail.  Stuck in the middle of nowhere, in a rather grim and dire situation, is not my idea of a good time. Alas, that story is for another time.

My daughter decided that I should fire up the wood stove in the cabin. We needed to warm up and dry out our perspiration-soaked clothing. Thankfully, there was enough chopped, split, and stacked firewood there to keep us warm until the following winter.  A simple supper of roasted hot-dogs, brown beans, and granola bars was the pièces de résistance. It was so cozy in the cabin that we decided we would sleep there, instead of the rather cold tent pitched outside in the now drifting snow. I am thankful that we chose luxury over roughing it, as the outside temperature really dropped that night. Unfortunately, one of the windows in the cabin had been broken and the cold northwesterly wind was proving to be more than just an annoyance. I managed to block most of the window off with my outer winter jacket, and kept the wood stove going all night. My daughter and I snuggled in our sleeping bags, stretched out on the wooden benches near the wood stove. My daughter read a novel in the flicker of candlelight, as I struggled to fix the stuck zipper on my sleeping bag. We shared stories of adventure and mishap late into the night.

The next morning, we were awakened by the sunlight beaming through the frosted windows. I whipped up an uncomplicated breakfast of scrambled eggs, burnt toast, and bad coffee. After breakfast, we quickly packed up our gear, put on our skis, and ventured back at a good clip to the trailhead.  A warm bath and hot chocolate was waiting for us at home.

Another exquisite adventure, another tale to tell…

Dagfinn Bakke: Northern Norway

11_60
© Dagfinn Bakke

As a Canadian with a German-Norwegian ethnic background, I have always been fascinated with the country of Norway, it’s people, and their culture. As it turns out, I just happen to have a whole lot of family there, many of which I have never met. Although I have travelled through much of Sweden, Lapland, and Finland, through unfortunate circumstance, I never did have the opportunity to visit Norway so many years ago.

Dagfinn Bakke’s artwork is an excellent example of the simplicity of Norwegian life on the untamed islands of Northern Norway.

Dagfinn Bakke (born in 1933) is an artist, illustrator and graphic artist. He lives and works in Lofoten. Dagfinn Bakke has exhibited in several countries, and his work is exhibited in many public art galleries, including the National Gallery of Norway. Several public buildings have his adornments in addition to the thow Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Steamer) “Finnmarken” and “Nordnorge”. The nature of northern Norway where Dagfinn Bakke grew up has been the main inspiration for his art.

visitnorway.com

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.