A New Challenge!

Posted by Ian On June 5, 2009

I'm pleased to announce that I have started my own little company - mare ad mare, which is latin for 'sea to sea' and part of the Canadian motto (check the cover of your new passports). Our goal will be to build a fresh new brand of clothing for Canadian (and wannabe Canadian) girls. I will be using this blog, much as I have in the past - to continue showing people around the globe (over 50 countries now!) what it's like to be a Canadian girl, tracing the footsteps of our 3 girls as we explore more of this great place we call home.

Un petit baiser

Unique shirt for Canadian girls

'Gimme a little kiss' - says it all. Now for big girls! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.


Fall shirt for Canadian girls

A big pile of leaves for you here! As a Canadian summer turns to fall, the leaves change colours and then fall off the trees. Kids rake them up and play! So go on, Jump into Fall with this Orange T. Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

Pass the Marshmallows!

Summer shirt for Canadian Girls

Summer in Canada is the time for camping, camp fires and of course - Marshmallows! Get ready to go roast some in this summer yellow T. Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.


Spring shirt for Canadian Girls

After a long Canadian winter, spring can never arrive too soon! Pull on this Spring Green T and go planting girls! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

It's not ALWAYS cold in Canada...

Winter shirt for Canadian Girls

How many times have you had to tell someone that it's not always cold here? Well, sometimes it is cold - but to make your point, grab this little winter blue T and let them know that it's not just snow and ice up here all the time! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

Un petit baiser

Unique shirt for Canadian girls

'Gimme a little kiss' - says it all. Girls, grab this little white T, and go get your kiss ;-) Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

One of the great things about living where we do, is the very close proximity to the Kanata Lakes Trail Network - where you can go hiking or mountain biking, and I'm guessing cross-country skiing in the winter. Well, yesterday we had planned on visiting an apple orchard, doing some apple picking, having a hayride - that sort of afternoon, but after a lazy morning - we didn't much feel like driving for an hour to do that... Instead, we decided to take the kids (minus Rebekah of course) and dog on a little walk through the trails. 'Little walk' being the operative word - you see, this 'little walk' turned into a Gilligans Island-like 3 hour tour!!! Unfortunately, we were not at all prepared for anything more than a 20min walk. Not really dressed for the warm day, no water, no food, no cell phone, no camera and no map - like the one shown below - would have been handy!!!

The trouble with the trail system in this area, is that there are so many little loops and turns, that you can easily go the wrong way - we never said lost - but with 30 km of trails, you can be out for a looooooooooong time, and not see civilization. Luckily these trails are bordered on all sides by major roads - so you're never truly lost - but it sure felt that way at times. I've biked back there a number of times, but rarely gone the same way twice...

Mistake Number 1 (pink star #1 on map below)
We started out ok, made our way in and found the bird feeder intersection and turned right. We cursed this decision for a good part of the next few hours. A left turn limits the area we can go before hitting a big road, and is usually good for a quick tour. But this time, I felt like going right. Like I said, there's lots of little loops and usually you can make your way out pretty quick from that area. After awhile, we did come up to the big pond (missing one out point already), and from this point I was fairly certain that if we continued this way, we would make our way around the pond and come out near Klondike road by the flat rock section.

Mistake Number 2 (pink star #2 on map)
I'm not sure that you can call this point a mistake - as we really didn't see the connections that the map is showing. We really did not have that many decision points. Lots of places have spots that could be trails, but don't look like a main trail. So that could have been the case here - but we didn't see it... If we had seen these connections, we might have been able to get back relatively quick - but we didn't.

Mistake Number 3 (pink star #3 on map)
Keeping in mind the looping, we came to an intersection and had the option of continuing further into the forest, or turn right (which theoretically would have kept us in the direction I wanted - back toward home). Guess which one we chose? Yup the wrong one. If we had gone left, we could have looped around and been back within 30mins or so...
But no, we continued around the lake and finally came to the Inukshuk.

Mistake Number 4 (pink star #4 on map)
I remember having gone past this pile of rocks before (named the Inukshuk), but couldn't remember what to do at that point. Looking now at the map, there's supposed to be another unofficial trail leading off from that point which would have put us back towards Second Line and Klondike road. But again - we didn't see it...
At this point, we were happy we hadn't started the walk at 4! We had already walked for a good hour or so and ~6km. The girls were still keeping up pretty good, but were definitely wanting to get home soon. We were able to keep their spirits up by taking in the scenery, and finding lots of little animals and snakes along the way.
However, not seeing any options at this point, the only thing we could do is continue forward. For the next 15 mins or so, I thought we were close to our exit - but it never seem to come. And once we started looping the wrong way - away from the pond, and further west - I knew that we were on our way to Huntmar or Old Carp road at the opposite end of the forest from where we had entered.
Every once in awhile we would see bikers, or other hikers - thinking that we were getting closer to an out point, but soon after were back to being completely alone and in the middle of nowhere. We did run into one biker more than a few times, and like me, had been out a few times before with friends, but didn't have a map this time, and he wasn't exactly sure where he was either. He did have GPS though, and we could see that we were heading towards Huntmar. Problem is - it's not a straight line - and that part of the forest is some of the most difficult terrain in the area. Lots of rocks, ups and downs - and it was starting to take its affect on the girls.
The joking and minor complaints about being lost, and wanting to get home were becoming worse. They were tired and thirsty - the only one able to drink was the poor dog, who had never been on such a walk - not that the girls had either - but at least the dog could drink from the area ponds.
This part of the trail seemed to go on forever, and just when it seemed to start heading in the right direction, it would turn back the other way. Looking at the map now - I can see that we were on the Outback loop. 6 km of Very hard, technical terrain as listed on the mountain bike map. Every once in awhile the same biker would catch up to us. We'd check his GPS to see that yes - we were getting there...slowly. He joked that his girlfriend was really pissed off from being out this far, was supposed to be back home an hour before!

Out finally!
We finally started hearing cars. I took a path less traveled this time to continue towards the sound of the cars and a few minutes later we were out of the forest, on the rail line about 100m from Huntmar Rd.
While we were happy to be out, we were pretty far from home. I had been at this point on my bike before, and it had taken a good 20mins or so of hard biking to get home. We had been out already for 3 hours over hard terrain, tired, hot, thirsty and with kids ready to drop - although not heavily complaining or willing to take piggy-back rides. They were real troopers.

Good decision #1
At that spot too, was a massive uphill walk to start our way back. By the time we got to the top, they were all ready to drop. I was ready to go ahead and come back for them with the car, but we didn't feel comfortable splitting up. They'd have to sit there and wait another 30-40mins easily. Had to do something...
Emma was just about done. I picked her up and continued down the road. At one of the houses on the road, there were a couple sitting out on their deck with their grandchildren playing in the front, and I could see they saw us struggling along. Knowing that we wouldn't be able to make it without killing ourselves, I walked up to them, explained the situation and asked if I could call a cab. He offered the phone, but then quickly instead offered a ride! PHEW!

10 mins later and many, many thanks to our driver, we were home and completely exhausted after over 3 hours and ~15 km of hiking!

We said that we should never again talk about this hike - but I guarantee - this will be one of those moments that we'll all remember for the rest of our lives.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go get a nice little gift certificate at the beer store for that guy... he really was a life saver!

(btw - here's a map of the area, the blue line is our path as best as I can guess it...and if you ever think about heading out in this area - bring the map!)

Just as it appears as though summer might actually make an appearance, the kids headed back to school yesterday.

It's so different from how I remember it - maybe it's because I was in a french immersion program, or maybe it's the new class size limitations - but there weren't 4 different classes for every single grade. We didn't need to wait for the first day to find out who we had for a teacher, or who was going to be in our class... I went to school from year to year, with the same group of kids. We knew who the teacher was for the next grade, and that was going to be your teacher the next year.

In this exploding area of Ottawa however, even with a new school opening up nearby to take a good chunk of the kids - it's still school-yard chaos on day 1. Papers posted on the walls for all the kids to see which class they're in, and for the older students - they had to wait to get into the gym to get their assigned teachers and classes... I can only imagine what kind of crazy the gym would have been for that. It's a brand new school, only a few years old - but they've put an addition on it now, and have 10 or 12 portables in the yard to hold all the kids. Of course they're still building a pile of homes in the area too - where the heck are they going to fit them all?!?! More great city planning Ottawa.

What's more amazing, is the names on the class lists... The ratio of boys to girls is at least 4:1 and the names, like the area, is so diverse. There's a ton of new canadians in the area, from Indian to Russian, Muslim and Chinese - the regular old 'canadians' are the minority here. Where I grew up, they used to have seperate areas in the class lists for Mc's and Mac's on top of the M's. Not quite the same problem here. Meghan said she had a few new boys in her class, one who's first name was Zhang, the other who's last name was Zhang ;-)

But the girls seem relatively happy with their classes and teachers, so here's to hoping for a good year for them!

bummer summer though...

    About Me

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    It's not about the money you make, the toys you have, the clothes you wear - it's about the life experiences you go through, the challenges you face and the stories you tell... Having just moved back to Canada (after almost 8 years in the U.S and Germany), we have lots to show our girls and our friends around the world about Canada. We're going to be telling our stories, hope you enjoy our adventures. Mare ad Mare means 'sea to sea' and we want to show the world, from Sea to Sea - this is what it's like to be a Canadian Girl!