In 2002 our first daughter was born and I wrote a thesis. I didn't go very far that year, nor did I go very often.
Night Paddle. Late August, 2002. Several friends (Rob, Joel, Kevin, Larry?, who else?) & I did a paddle from Beaver Creek (Fred Heal Canoe Launch) back to Saskatoon on the South Saskatchewan River by the light of the full moon. There were 2 canoes and 2 kayaks, each with a glow stick on the bow and stern so that we could see where the others were in the dark. We left around dusk (9:30 pm?) and arrived back at the boathouse by about midnight. This was an excellent experience. It was a beautiful night. We were surprised by a few beavers along the way. Imagine, your gliding gently along, able to see only the faint outline passing shoreline, the only sounds the hushed "blip .... bloop" of an unhurried paddle stroke, when from less than a metre away you here a giant KAPUCH! as a beaver slaps it's tail and dives. Visibility was not normally a problem, though we did find ourselves running aground occasionally on sandbars, but that happens almost as easily in full daylight as well.
Solo Hike to Grey Owl's Cabin. Early November, 2002. Prince Albert National Park. The weather was cold with a bit of snow on the ground. I hiked this 40 km trip over 3 days, with just my dog for companionship. Leaving in the mid-afternoon, I hiked about 2/3 of the distance the first day and set up camp at Sandy Beach. Kingsmere Lake was open with a bit of ice along the shore in some areas. The second day I hiked the rest of the way to the cabin at Ajawaan Lake where I spent some time taking in the area, reading the guest book and exploring. Ajawaan was frozen solid, but I opted not to take a short-cut across the ice. I returned to camp late in the afternoon then headed back to the trailhead the next morning. Much of the time during this trip a cold breeze was blowing off the lake making it seem colder than it really was (-5C to -10C). On the return trip I cut across the ice and along the shore in the southeastern part of the lake over to the Southend campsite.
Shortly before I embarked on this trip I had something of a mishap. I was up on the roof of my one story house using a water hose to spray out the gutters while the temperatures were near or just below freezing. The ladder was set-up on the painted wood deck, which was now wet and possibly icy. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this and I stepped onto the ladder to descend. Predictably, the bottom of the ladder slid out and I came crashing down, landing on my chest. I had hollered on the way down, bringing neighbours and my wife running. Once I hit the ground, the wind was knocked out of me and I was unable to make any sound. That was a novel experience for me and thankfully I was able to breathe again after a few seconds. I got up right away, but quickly determined that remaining prone was best. An ambulance was called and the fire department was the first to show up. I was immobilized (an experience that put me at the wrong end of all that Ski Patrol training I had received), loaded into an ambulance and taken to hospital. After being checked out, it was determined that I merely had cracked or bruised ribs.
It was a few days later that I decided to head up to PANP for some hiking. I had done a day-hike the day before in the hills near Little Red River Park and found that I could hike all right and manage the pack. Sleeping on a thermarest provided some discomfort, but wasn't too bad. However, I began to develop something of a cough over the weekend out. That gave me some grief on the trip, but it wasn't until I was home that things got bad. I developed a bad case of bronchitis. Bronchitis, with cracked ribs is something I hope to NEVER experience again, nor would I wish this on my worst enemy. Every time I coughed, which was most of the night for a week or more, it was like being slammed hard in the chest with a 2x4. The doctor gave me some prescription cough medicine stating that the over-the-counter stuff is pretty much useless. The prescription stuff she gave me contained codeine which at least helped to knock me out for a while.