Sunday, November 10, 2019

Lest We Forget

One Thousand Men Are Walking

One thousand men are walking
Walking side by side
The spirit as their guide
they walk toward the light milord
they walk towards the sun
they smoke and laugh and smile together
no foes to outrun
these men live on forever
in the hearts of those they saved
a nation truly grateful
for the path of peace they paved
they march as friends and comrades
but they do not march for war
step closer to salvation
a tranquil steady corps
the meadows lit with golden beams
a beacon for the brave
the emerald grass untrampled
a reward for what they gave
they dream of those they left behind
and know they dream of them
forever in those poppy fields
there walks one thousand men
Joshua Dyer 2019 (aged 14)

In Sep, my sisters and I had the opportunity to visit the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.  If you are ever in the Washington, DC area, it is a place you definitely must see. The cemetery is free to visit but there is a cost to ride the trolleys where there are guides to explain some of what you see.  Uniformed members of the Armed Forces get to ride the trolleys for free, active service members get 75% off and veterans get 50% off. You also get to bring one guest at that price with you.  The cemetery is huge so using the trolleys is almost a must if you want to see all the highlights of the cemetery and have limited time; with two of us being veterans we all were able to ride the trolley at half price. The site I wanted to see most was the Tomb of the Unknowns so it was the first place we got off the trolley while many people had gotten off at the first stop which was the Kennedy grave site.

Tomb of the Unknowns

Honor Guard

Wreath Laying

Cross of Sacrifice (Canada)

Arlington Pentagon Memorial
There were wreath layings going on when we arrived, one was just finishing. We stayed to watch two more, one by school boys and another by Armored officers for their fallen comrades. One of the guides told us that one of the tombs, there are four (WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam), was empty as DNA evidence had identified the solider who had lain in the tomb. Everyone in the crowd was quiet and respectful. Below is a video of the Tomb of the Unknowns and our visit to Arlington.

I don't know how anyone can go to a military cemetery and then say the Remembrance Day glorifies war; it doesn't, it remembers sacrifice and lives lost, hopefully for what was a just cause.   At Arlington, you can see so many lives that have been lost, although not all the graves are of soldiers, many are those of family members as well.  

Not all the grave stones at Arlington are what you'd expect of a military cemetery. At one time they could have whatever gravestone their family could afford. Now the gravestones are all the same, row upon row and to allow for more burials at Arlington there now is a niche wall.  I hope to go back to Arlington someday and just wander through the graves to remember and thank a service man or woman for their sacrifice.
Civil War Unknowns

Every soldier, sailor or airman has sworn to go into harms way when so directed by our government; so even if you do not agree with that action, remember the courage of the men and women who gave their all doing their sworn duty.

Sgt Craig Gilliam

Maj Ray RuckPaul

Maj Scott Foote

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Night at the Museum

Canadian Museum of Nature

Moon Sculpture

A friend has a annual membership the  Canadian Museum of Nature and it included tickets to an evening event. I thought it was a family event but it was for adults only.  They had three DJ's in galleries on different floors and a couple bars set up.  We arrived even before the museum had opened up; at first we wondered how well attended the night would be as there weren't that many people waiting with us.  They do this type of evening event several times a year, collectively they are called Nature Nocture.  This event was actually called Mission to the Moon. They asked people to dress up; being so close to Halloween there were many different costumes but many people had on alien costumes, Star Trek costumes or space suits. I thought the event would only attract young people but there was a broad spectrum of people there, except of course, no kids.

All of the galleries were open and you could explore them if you didn't want to dance. They had special demonstrations set up related to the theme of the evening.  Some of the themed activities were demonstrations by the astronomy club where you could try your hand at drawing Mars or moon craters or another put on by the Canadian Space Agency where you could try freeze-dried food. I liked raspberries but the peaches tasted like eating Styrofoam.

When we walked into the dinosaur exhibit, we both thought of the movie Night at the Museum and wouldn't have been surprised to see Teddy Roosevelt on a horse or the skeletons come to life. Another of the themed events was a yo-yo demonstration, the performer brought in the theme by dressing as an astronaut for part of his show.

In the the Arctic exhibit, they had a display that was actually made of ice and they projected various movie clips or patterns on the ice.  You were even encouraged to walk between the blocks and touch the ice.

Ice blocks

Arctic exhibit

Movie on Ice
Pattern on ice

My video of the dance floor was taken fairly early on during the evening; by the end of the evening the museum and the dance floor were packed.

I really liked the moon sculpture and the staircase up to each of the floors gave you great views. Here are just a few shots.

I had thought at first that it would be all young people who were just there to dance, and many were, but there were lots of people of all different ages who enjoyed the museum and the little special events that they put on as well.  So in the end, I had a very good time at our Night at the Museum.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Walktober - Lime Kiln Trail

My niece does a birthday photo shoot for her boys every year and this year was no different.  She posted pictures from this year's photo shoot of her oldest boy, my oldest great nephew and it inspired me to go hike that trail.

The photo shoot was at a trail across town but not that hard to get to as it is off one of the major roads that crosses the National Capital Commission Greenbelt.  We are lucky in Ottawa that the NCC maintains such green spaces with hundreds of kilometers of trails.

The lime kiln ruins are just 700 meters from the parking lot but the whole trail which goes around a bog is four kilometers (2.5 miles).  I didn't quite do the four kilometers as I took a short cut on a path through the woods rather than staying on the trail and going all the way around the woods.

Looking down into the kiln


It was another enjoyable walk. We ran into a school group on a field trip and Beckett and Keltic got plenty of attention.

My photo subjects weren't as cooperative as my great nephew but I did get a few good shots. The first shot is of Beckett and Keltic at the Lime Kiln ruins, the second is of the walls of the small quarry behind them and the third is them on walls of what used to be the powder magazine for the quarry.

The trail itself is wide, most of it looks like it was once a road through the area so it makes for an easy walk.

View from the parking lot



Burnt Out Bog

Still Charred
 There was a fire in the area in 2012 and, while you can still see the impact of the fire, the area is now regenerating. This is a trail, since now I know about it, will likely do again. Dogs are allowed on the trails from 1 Apr to 30 Nov, during the winter they put in cross country ski trails here and then the dogs are not allowed.

I hope you enjoyed our second walktober walk, perhaps there will be another one.  I'm trying to do 10,000 steps a day. I have been pretty successful but not so yesterday since it was Canadian Thanksgiving and I only got in one walk in the morning before spending the afternoon and evening enjoying a wonderful turkey dinner with family and friends.

If you want to join in walktober go to Officially Walktober.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Walktober - Gatineau Park

It was a beautiful fall day out so I decided we should go and see Fall Rhapsody in the Gatineau Park. On the weekends if the weather is nice, it's almost impossible to go as the parking lots are just packed. They do have a shuttle that runs to many of the trail heads but since dogs are not allowed on the shuttle that's not an option for me and the boys.

Today we went up the the Champlain Lookout (Champlain Belvedere, in French). It was a bit disappointing as the lookout was blocked off with signs saying it was dangerous and was under repair.  But we did hike the Champlain Loop trail and got some nice pictures of the Ottawa Valley. 

Champlain Lookout

Ottawa Valley

Ottawa River

The trails was pretty easy but they do make the steps a little big for us short people and little dogs.

Beckett looking down a ravine

Keltic, ready to go.

Trail stairs
There were relatively few people today but still more than I expected.  After we did the Champlain Loop, we drove back down the parkway to the King Mountain trail but found out that dogs are not permitted on that trail so we headed further down to the Lauriault Trail that I knew was dog friendly.  This trail is a longer than the first one we did and is not a loop so you have to walk back the way you came if you want to go back to the parking lot and your car. You can make it a loop by doing the Waterfall trail, crossing the parkway, then working your way back to the Lauriault trail parking lot.

We turned around at the falls. They weren't much to see at this time of the year, there hasn't been enough rain so they were just a trickle. 

I'm not a very religious person but I do believe that there is a creator for this universe. A. All I could think of today was that I was walking through a temple of light and air, how could there not be something that had a hand in it's design.   The camera does not do it's beauty justice, especially when your camera is just your smart phone.

One last photo op at the lookout on the Lauriault trail and then we headed back to the parking lot and well deserved drink of water before heading home.

If you want to read some other Walktober blog posts, head on over to Change is Hard and read Walktober - Katie's Way or Breezes at Dawn for the Officially Walktober post. We may just get out for another Walktober adventure.