Local Motion - New Brunswick

Welcome to Local Motion where we celebrate hiking, biking, rock climbing, paddling, skiing, and exploring in Southern New Brunswick.

August 18, 2011

Home for a Week!

 Still groggy from a 22 hour day of rock climbing in Banff I boarded a flight to Moncton. My tiredness evaporated as soon as the plain descended over Moncton. I could see the Petitcodiac River glistening in the sun with the Fundy Highlands rising to the south. And all around a patchwork of farms lay over the dark green forest.

My parents picked me up and we drove home to Corn Hill. I couldn't get over the roadside ditches. They were so lush, overflowing with wildflowers and bright green grass. The heat, humidity, and aroma of a million flowering plants was overwhelming. The dry air in Calgary is quite pleasant but you know it’s kind of sterile. Eating supper on the deck with my parents, we ate dish after dish of fresh homegrown veggies, pastured meats, and then celebrated my birthday with a rich fruit pie.


This wasn't just a vacation for me. I was home to help finish organizing the 2nd Corn Hill Bicycle Festival which was taking place at the end of the week. Joanna Brown and I had spent the spring emailing back and forth and having phone meetings. Now it was only a few days away and there was so much to do. But with last years experience and the help of Lynn the summer student, and volunteers the final preparations went so smoothly. I actually got a vacation out of it! I never expected that.

What a dream week! I don't know how I managed to pack so many things in such short time frame. Not only did the bike fest preparations go smoothly but I had the chance to visit friends from all over NB and spend some quality time at home in Corn Hill with my parents.

What a random coincidence...on a break from working on the bicycle festival I ran into a touring cycling in Downtown Sussex. I saw a heavily loaded bicycle parked outside a restaurant and stood there staring at it when at that moment the rider walked out of restaurant. He'd rode all the way from Washington State. So inspiring. 

On Tuesday I went up to visit my friend Paul in Marysville (next to Fredericton). We've had some great adventures together and it's cool to see what projects he's got on the go. He has a great place with a backyard on the Nashwaak River! So I had my first swim of the season! Wow its feels good to lounge about in warm fast-flowing water. All the lakes and rivers in the mountains are glacier fed...it sounds nice but god they are cold.


 Tuesday night I drove down to Saint John to visit Lucas and Kristy, who brought me into the NB climbing scene years ago. It was great catching up with them and seeing the city that I'd gotten to know when I was starting this blog. After supper we took bicycles out and I had my first crash in years...hit a gnarly crack in the pavement flipped, rolled, and managed to walk away with only a few scrapes...and I was pretty damn sore the next day.

On Wednesday I drove back up river, stopped in to see how things were going at the Bike Fest in Sussex then continued on to Elgin to meet my buddy Dom, a local climber who's been devoting a lot of time to replacing old bolts in Welsford.  I wanted to show him a fun spot in Elgin. Gibson is a cliff jumping spot along the Pollett River just past the village of Elgin. Its beauty is marred by piles of broken beer bottles, trash, and the out-of-town hosers who threw the trash. It's kind of a wreck but I love the place. We jumped in a few times then I showed him a route that a climber had bolted years ago...but had no hangers. We got our gear from the car, installed hangers, and lead the route. It was a short but balancy 5.10. We top roped another cliff and both were impressed by the quality of the rock.




I got home and raced over to a friends' place for supper with my parents. After a great meal it was time to move a load of hay bales into our barn. Its hard work but I love it. It's something that I've been doing for as long as I can remember. When I was young it was so hard to lift the bales into barn.




The next couple days were spent getting ready for the bicycle festival. Lots of errands to run and odds and ends to take care of. Everything just blended perfectly together. While out in the country picking up big tents from the McCullum's I happened to be near Collina and my friend Deanna invited me over to her cabin for brunch. Collina is a lofty high perch overlooking endless rolling hills and pastured valleys north of Sussex.

 Every day at my parents house we ate fresh picked veggies from their garden. My mom is an incredibly skilled gardener. She's been doing it for decades and seems to effortlessly cultivate over 50 varieties of herbs and veggies in her garden. Every year she's trying something new. On Thursday we celebrated my Dad’s birthday with an exceptionally gourmet dinner in the greenhouse.





Saturday came, with no big stresses, and the Corn Hill Bicycle Festival was again a success. Well over a hundred cyclists came out from all over southern NB. I guess the word had gotten out in cyclist circles. There was a great line-up of workshops with Lucas Toron back again with his popular workshop on shifting gears, Bill Consolvo shared useful tips on changing flats and answered questions about long distance touring. John McNair's workshop on basic bike mechanics was packed, and Tim and Dawn put on a great nutrition workshop. The volunteer cooks whipped together a delicious lunch that tasted like it had been made for an intimate few friends rather than a hundred hungry strangers.






This year the amount of cycling spandex rose considerably with about 25 riders on the fast 100km ride and many more avid cyclists on all the rides. But what was amazing was that such a variety of riders came out to enjoy the back roads of Corn Hill. That's what really made me happy - the fact that so many different levels of riders can enjoy being active outdoors with friends. It was really cool seeing so many familiar faces from last year and meeting a whole bunch of new people. Unfortunately I was so busy I didn't get a chance to really talk with many...so many interesting people that I wanted to chat with. The day wrapped up and within record time volunteers had cleaned and packed up. We capped off the day with a cold beer at the Cedar Cafe. Just perfect.
Before I knew it I was heading back to the Moncton Airport. I was pretty sad to be leaving home after such a great week filled with friends, family, and beautiful landscapes. It definitely recharged my NB batteries.
 cornhill bicycle festival, rock climbing elgin, gibson, gordon fall, sussex, fredericton, marysville, cycling, biking

August 13, 2011

My Move to Calgary

 What Happened to the regular stories?
For anyone that follows this blog regularly you may have wondered: "what happened to Local Motion?"
I haven't posted anything since last December....because I moved to Calgary in January 2011 and just didn't know what to do with the blog. I've decided that it will remain about outdoor adventures in New Brunswick.

Back Story
Last December (2010), while on a climbing trip at Mount Katahdin, Maine I decided to move to Calgary. The spontaneous decision seemed to materialize from the thin winter air one evening as we descended through deep snow back to the small cabin. Over the next couple days as we trudged through snow, climbed, and then finally skiied and hauled our sleds back to the car, I had a lot of time to think about moving away.

Spending time in wilderness away from distractions and social pressures usually leads to at least a couple revelations and as the duration or intensity of the trip increases the chance for introspection magnifies. This effect is one of the reasons I am drawn to the wilderness again and again. Whether its the activity (such as Climbing) or the remote location, the very real sense of risk hones my focus and helps wash away the mind's needling distractions.

I know what you're all thinking - "He's moving out there for the mountains." Well no actually. It's not that simple. Mountains are great but I think I could have a lot of fun wherever I live (maybe even in Saskatchewan). And if you're into the outdoors, New Brunswick is pretty frigging awesome. I've shown time and time again on this blog that New Brunswick's outdoor opportunities are endless (climbing, hiking, skiing, paddling...etc). I certainly didn't run out of things to do in New Brunswick. I just felt like changing things up in my life.

The decision to move to Calgary came from somewhere deep in me. As difficult as it was to accept, I could tell that it was a gut feeling that would be hard to shake. In 2008 I followed a similar gut instinct to return to NB from my open ended climbing trip on the West Coast. At the time it seemed a bit crazy for me to be moving back to New Brunswick without a job or any friends there. But it turned out that was one of the best decisions I had ever made. As you can see from this blog I definitely had a lot of great adventures in NB.

In the two years that I spent in New Brunswick I really come to appreciate how much it has to offer. And I think more people are catching on. There's definitely a new wave of young people moving to (or back to) the province bringing with them new ideas and enthusiasm. It's so encouraging for me to see this and it made me kind of sad to be moving away from this cultural shift. I made some great friends and connected with some places that will always be close to my heart. 

What's to Become of Local Motion
The inspiration for this blog was New Brunswick's outdoors and it will remain that way. You are encouraged to submit your stories and photos from outdoor adventures in New Brunswick. You can send them to grhmwgh [at] gmail [dot] com 

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