Monthly Archives: July 2018

“Naked Lady” – on the Rideau Canal?

I’m more likely to see a “Lady with a Parasol,” strolling the banks of the Rideau Canal

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As noted in Paddling the Rideau Canal:  This August my Utah-brother and I will be canoeing – some six to 10 days – up the Rideau Canal, from Kingston to Ottawa, Ontario.

Which brings up the fact that two years ago this August, we spent two weeks canoeing the Mighty Yukon River(Also in Canada.)  We paddled 440 miles – from Whitehorse  to Dawson City – in 12 days.  (Not counting the one day  we took off from paddling – Sunday, August 14 – in beautiful Carmacks, Yukon Territory.  The idea was to rest, refit and enjoy an ice-cold Yukon Gold.)

One result of that trip was a post on August 28, 2016, “Naked lady on the Yukon.”  As noted in the post, the Yukon River was “the last place on earth I would expect to see a lady sun bathing.”  (In the altogether, as it were.)  But I could probably say the same thing about the Rideau Canal.

You can read the full story in the Naked lady post, but here’s a short version:

It was Friday, August 12.  We were a day away from Carmacks, and had been on the river five days already…  About 4:00 my brother was way ahead of me, when he went around a right-hand bend and looked like he was heading to shore, for a break.  There followed one lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng right-hand curve in the Yukon, that seemed to last forever.  It was getting late and we were looking for the “good camp” listed in the guidebook.  When I finally got to the end of the long right-hand curve, I could see something, way off, a half-mile or so ahead.

That “something way off” turned out to be one of two canoeists (one canoe), who’d passed us at the north end of Lake Laberge (The other person “in the shadows” was her husband, methinks).  So anyway, the point is:  There – where we’d wanted to camp – lay a lovely young lady, face down aside her “grounded” canoe – in her birthday suit – “for all the world to see.”

Which brings up the strong current in the Yukon River.  It ranges from four to seven miles an hour, which is one reason you can cover 440 miles in 12 paddling days.  That averages out to over 36 miles a day, which is usually good.  However, when there’s something you don’t expect but would like to linger over, that presents a problem:  “By the time I recognized the naked lady as a naked lady, the current was already pushing me farther down-river.”

Again, you can read a fuller version of this tantalizing tale in “Naked lady on the Yukon.”  That’s along with references to a hike we did on that same trip, four days on the Chilkoot Trail.  (The “meanest 33 miles in history,” as seen at right.)  But for now, let’s get back to the upcoming Rideau trip…

For starters, only 12 of the 125 miles are actual “canal.”  The rest are woodland rivers and lakes, including Big Rideau Lake, 20 miles long and over three miles wide.  But this water route has one thing the Yukon River didn’t:  Plenty of places to stop for the night and shower, along with a goodly number of bed and breakfasts along the way.

So here let me try a bit of prognostication – or guesswork – for the first two days of canoeing.

Our plan is to average 15 miles a day, and thus cover the 125 miles in eight days.  (That’s not counting the total 677 miles of shoreline along the way, full of nooks and crannies we may choose to explore.)  And according to Google Maps, it’s roughly 17 miles from the Doug Fluhrer Park in Kingston, to the Rideau Rendezvous Bed and Breakfast, also listed as Kingston.  Or it’s a mere 14.5 miles if we start out at the Belle Island (Cataraqui Park) location.

Chaffeys LockThen – if we make the Rendezvous that first day – the next “pleasurable” stop up could be Chaffeys Lock (37).  That was the location of Chaffey’s Rapids, “333 yards (304 m) in length, descending about 13 feet … where Indian Lake flowed into Opinicon Lake.”

And as such it used to mean a 1,500-yard portage, which would have required unloading both our canoes, carrying them and all our baggage those 1,500 yards, then packing up and setting out again.

Of course if you really want to you can still do that.  However, we’ll pay the small fee…

But once again there are some comfy lodgings there too.  (For a full list see Rideau Campgrounds, Cottages & Lodges – rideau-info.com.)  And according to the Rideau Canal map in Wikipedia, it’s 28 miles from the starting point in Kingston to Chaffey’s Lock.  Which should be a do-able enough starting-out pace for two old guys, aged 67 and 72.  Now, whether we see a young lady sunbathing In the altogether those first two days is another question entirely… 

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bowdlerized version of what I saw one day on the Yukon River

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The upper image is courtesy of the Wikipedia article on sun bathing.  The full caption:  “‘La promenade’ (1875) by Claude Monet.  At that time in the West, the upper social class used parasols, long sleeves and hats to avoid sun tanning effects.”  (More’s the pity.)  See also Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son – Wikipedia.

Re:  The Chilkoot Trail.  See my posts, On the Chilkoot &^%$# TrailPart 1 and Part 2.

The lower image is courtesy of Sun tanning – Wikipedia The caption:  “A woman sun tanning on a Portuguese beach.”

A Geezer’s guide to supplements

No, I don’t want a Schwarzenegger body.  At age 67, I just want to stick around a while yet… 

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http://img2-2.timeinc.net/people/i/2014/news/140210/christie-brinkley-300.jpgI recently flew back from Newark to the ATL.*

The Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine had a full-page ad for M-drive The ad was for a “daily supplement designed specifically for men.”  Since I just turned 67, it piqued my interest.  (For reasons including some noted in Part II.  Like I said, I want to stick around awhile.  And maybe run into a cute “young” 60-year-old, like the one shown at left.)

As It turned out, M-drive wasn’t my cup of tea.  But the ad did get me thinking.  (Supplements and such.)

So I did some Googling and came up with this:  The Top 10 Supplements for Men – menshealth.com.

A side note:  I was already taking a multivitamin and Glucosamine Chondroitin, both via “gummies.”  (Despite my dentist’s warning that “gummy vitamins” – like Halloween Candy – can “pull your fillings out and crack your crowns.”  But I’m careful, and essentially “gum the gummies.”)

 Also Vitamin D3, on doctor’s orders.  (Which is ironic since I am and have been in the sun a lot.)

So here’s what Menshealth said, and what I’ve gotten  “extra,” and how much it all costs.

1.  BORON TO PROTECT YOUR PROSTATE

This note got me really thinking, since my brother and father both got prostate cancer.

The site said men with high boron levels are “65 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men with lower levels.”  It added that American men on average have one of the lowest boron intakes in the world.  The site recommended 3 milligrams (mg) a day, and added that it “doesn’t just fight cancer:  USDA researchers found that this is the best dosage to improve memory and concentration.”  (Which I could definitely use.)

As it turned out, I could get most of my supplements straight out of the local General Nutrition Center(This was after trying – without success – to buy them at some local “hypermarketsdiscount department stores, and grocery stores.”  It seems they cater more to the trendy – if not gullible.)

However, the local GNC didn’t have Boron on hand, so I had to special order it.  Online, it cost $6.41, including shipping, for a bottle of 100.  That worked out to under seven cents a day.

2.  CALCIUM TO LOSE WEIGHT AND STRENGTHEN BONES

Menshealth said most men don’t get the recommended 1,000 mg of calcium a day.  (And that a cup of milk only has 300 mg.)  It added that men with the highest calcium intakes weigh less on average than men consuming less calcium.

A color photograph of a kidney stone, 8 millimetres in length.How much?  The site said to aim for 1,200 mg calcium citrate; “half in the morning, half at night, to maximize absorption.”  It also said to avoid coral calcium, because of impurities.  But here I made a misstep.  The first “calcium” I got was calcium phosphate, at the local hypermarket.  But it turns out calcium phosphate increases the danger kidney stones(As seen at right.)

So I ended up getting calcium citrate “soft chews” from the same local GNC, at $30 for 60 “chews,” each 500 mg.  But I ended up opting to take only one of these day.  For one thing, I don’t want to risk one of those dang kidney stones.  For another I get some calcium – of the right kind – from my morning cheese and multivitamin, and other sources as well.  Plus of course it’s cheaper taking one.  That ends up costing 50 cents a day, and I still increase my calcium substantially.

Number 3 on the list – Chromium – is covered adequately by my multivitamin.

4.  COENZYME Q10 TO BOOST ENERGY

Here I found a real bargain, as noted below.

But first, Menshealth said your body naturally produces Coenzyme Q10, which helps cells manage your body’s energy supply.  However, “as you get older, production decreases,” and the only way to “get back up to youthful levels is by taking a supplement.”

Recent studies suggest that coenzyme Q10 may fight cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease, and may thin the blood to help prevent heart disease.  Q10 is also packed with free-radical-fighting antioxidants, which can slow the signs of aging.

How much?  Menshealth said researchers recommend 100 mg a day, but you “won’t find Q10 in a multivitamin or get any useful quantity from food.”  And that’s where I lucked out.

It turns out this supplement is covered by GNC’s Triple Strength Fish Oil Plus CoQ-10(“Two for the price of one.”)  This “fish oil plus supplement” cost $52.50 for 120 softgels.  But that rounds out to 44 cents a day for a three month supply of both CoQ-10 and Omega-3s.

5.  CREATINE TO BOOST MUSCLE AND MEMORY

As  Wikipedia noted, Creatine “can increase maximum power and performance in high-intensity anaerobic repetitive work (periods of work and rest) by 5 to 15%.”  But I put the kibosh on this one.  After visiting both Walmart and the GNC, this one looked like too much trouble.  (What with having to mix it with whey, and thus being a bit too “body-builderish.”) 

The verdict:  “NOT interested.”  Getting older, I’ve moved to low-weight high repetition strength training, since a big benefit of “using light weights is the diminished risk of injury.”  Which I came to appreciate recently.  I “tweaked” my right shoulder lifting a bag of garbage I’d always handled easily before.  It took a month of rehabilitation and a couple of sleepless nights to work through that one.  And I came to appreciate not being able to raise your right arm.

So as they say, “Discretion is the better part of valor.”  As they also say, “To be continued

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The upper image is courtesy of Bodybuilding – Wikipedia.  Caption, “Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the most notable figures in bodybuilding, in 1974.”  See also Arnold Schwarzenegger – Wikipedia.

The “hypermarketsdiscount department stores, and grocery stores” is from Walmart – Wikipedia.

I borrowed the Christie Brinkley image from On RABBIT – and “60 is the new 30” – (Part II).

Re: Whey. See Why You Should Take Whey Protein, Creatine, And Glutamine.  (“Bodybuilding.com.”)

The lower image is courtesy of Creatine Body – Image Results.

A Geezer’s guide to supplements – Part II

Like I said, I don’t want a Schwarzenegger body.  At 67, I just want to stick around a while… 

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We left Part I at the point where I chose not to take the supplement Creatine.  That’s  Number 5 on the Menshealth Top 10 List of Supplements for Men(“I put the kibosh on this one.”) 

The better part of valour is discretionIt was “too body-builderish,” and I’m no longer interested in “high-intensity anaerobic repetitive work.”  And because – in light of a recent shoulder injury – “Discretion is the better part of valor.”  So, moving to Number 6 on the Menshealth list:

6.  FOLIC ACID TO CUT ALZHEIMER’S RISK

Menshealth said Folic Acid helps prevent clogged arteries and improves blood flow to the brain.  It also helps keep down Homocysteine, an amino acid that increases your risk of blood clots.  Then too, “Researchers in Sweden found that Alzheimer’s patients are more likely to have folic acid deficiencies.”  So how much?  The site recommends 500 mcg a day, “which could help lower homocysteine levels by 18 percent or more.”  At GNC, I got 100 tablets (400 mcg) for $3.99.  That works out to 4 cents a day for a three month supply.

7.  GLUCOSAMINE TO “GREASE YOUR JOINTS”

As noted, I started taking Glucosamine Chondroitin “soft chews” some time ago.  Anecdotally, it made a difference – to me – when I stopped taking them for awhile.  (Like on the Camino trip.)  The manufacturer said to take three a day, but I’ve been taking two.  The cost?  $11.48 for 50, a 25 week supply, about 45 cents a week.  Here’s what Menshealth said:

You don’t have the same amount of cartilage in your joints that you had at 19.  To reverse the damage and actually rebuild cartilage, take glucosamine, made from the shells of crabs and lobsters.  How much?  1,500 mg a day.  Brands that combine glucosamine with chondroitin are fine.  [As noted, I take two instead of three, and so get 1,000 mg a day.]

8.  OMEGA-3s TO PROTECT YOUR HEART

As noted, this one got covered by the Triple Strength Fish Oil Plus CoQ-10.  44 cents a day for a three month supply of both CoQ-10 and Omega-3s, which has already been calculated in.

Omega-3 fatty acids keep blood pressure and triglyceride levels low and the heart beating regularly.  They make blood slicker, reducing the risk of clots and blocked arteries.  Studies show that men with the highest omega-3 levels have the lowest risk of dying of heart disease.  How much?  For healthy guys, 1,000 mg a day.  Those with heart problems may need 2,000 to 4,000 mg.  But too much can increase your risk of catching a cold.

Another tip from Menshealth:  “Take Omega-3s with meals so you don’t burp up a fish scent.”

9.  SELENIUM TO FIGHT OFF CANCER

Menshealth said “No other single nutrient appears to prevent cancer more effectively than Selenium…  It basically forces cancer cells to self-destruct.”  Studies link increased selenium intake with a “decreased risk of cancers of the prostate, colon, and lungs.”

How much?  The site said 200 mcg a day, and “more when you’re sick.”  And here’s the good news:  “Nature’s selenium supplement is the Brazil Nut, which measures 100 mcg per nut.”  So you get your daily dose by eating two Brazil nuts.  I bought a 9.5 ounce container at the local Fresh Market for $12.95 on July 15.  I’ll update this post when they’re gone – at the rate of two or three a day – but based on what I’ve used so far, it’ll be awhile.  [It worked out to 19 cents a day, as detailed in the footnotes.*]

 10.  VITAMIN E  TO SLOW THE EFFECTS OF AGING

Last but not least, Menshealth said Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and “may help reduce the risk of certain eye diseases, heart disease, cancer, even Alzheimer’s disease.”  And some studies show that Vitamin E “also reduces muscle damage after exercise.”  The Beyond the Hype link said most tests on the health benefits of antioxidants have been inconclusive.  However:

At the same time, abundant evidence suggests that eating whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – all rich in networks of antioxidants and their helper molecules – provides protection against many of these scourges of aging.

And by the way, I’ve also been eating a lot more whole fruits and vegetables.  (“Whole grains,” not so much.  Though I do eat my fair share of cornwheat germ, and flaxseed.)

How much?  Menshealth said up to 400 international units (IU) a day, “since most people get just a fraction of that from their diets.  You can also increase your intake by eating more nuts and oils.”  I got a bottle of 100 for $5.99 at GNC.  That’s 6 cents a day for a three month supply.

So the total verifiable cost of these add-on supplements is $1.30 a day.  That doesn’t count the Glucosamine Chondroitin I was already taking, so if you add that extra 45 cents, the cost goes to $1.56 a day.  So why do I bother with all these supplements?  Simply put, I want to live long enough – and if only metaphorically – to dance on my enemy’s grave.  As to which enemy:

Let the reader understand!

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Nymphets “dancing on an enemy’s grave,” if only metaphorically…

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The upper image is courtesy of Bodybuilding – Wikipedia.  Caption, “Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the most notable figures in bodybuilding, in 1974.”  See also Arnold Schwarzenegger – Wikipedia.

The “valor” image is courtesy of Discretion … Better Part Valor – Image Results.  The cited blog credits the idiom to KHIV part 1 act 5, sc. 4,” and more accurately: “The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life.”  The blogger said the saying was a “masterpiece of what today would be called ‘political correctness.”  See also Better part of valor is discretion – eNotes.

Re:  Sources of whole grains.  See e.g. The 11 Healthiest Whole Grains You Should Be Eating, and/or What are sources of whole grains? | Health Value Of Foods.

Re:  “Let the reader understand.”  The allusion is to Mark 13:14:  “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”  See also Matthew 24:15.

Re:  The daily cost of two Brazil nuts a day.  For the record, I had my last two Brazil nuts from the $12.95 batch on September 7, 2018.  I took the supplement from July 15 to August 17, for a total of 63 days, but didn’t take it while on the Rideau Canal, from the 18th to August 30, when I left for home.  I then took it from August 31 to September 7, eight more days, or 71 total.  Thus the cost of this “Brazil nut” supplement rounds up to about 19 cents a day.      

The lower image is courtesy of Dancing Enemy Grave – Image Results.  I originally used the photo at right, with my caption, “General Patton micturating at the Rhine River.”  But after further review I decided that was a bit “untoward,” so I substituted the “dancing enemy grave image.”  For those interested in this less-than-subtle metaphor, the Patton photo is courtesy of Photo of George Patton as he urinated into the Rhine.  Apparently it’s an old American custom from way back, at least in the eyes of some.  See Americans cheered Gen. Patton when he urinated on the enemy, and George Patton at the Rhine River: Yes, Hillary, Peeing On The Enemy IS An American Tradition.   (Or you could Google the phrase “american pissing on enemy.”) 

For an alternate view of “celebrating” too much over an enemy, see Dancing on Our Enemy’s Grave: Jewish Ethics of War and Peace, a course offered by Simon Fraser University.  Week Six of the course:

Dancing on our Enemy’s Grave???  When victims die from terrorist attacks in the West, their supporters dance in the streets with flags and weapons waving in the air.  When bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALS, the US and other governments’ responses were muted.  What is the moral response to the death and defeat of our enemies?  Are we truly entitled to “dance on our enemy’s grave?”  We close out these sessions with an exploration of the ethical issues surrounding victory and the advent of peace.

Next adventure: Paddling the Rideau “Canal”

A 1906 photograph of the Poonamalie Lock Station (32) on the Rideau Canal in Canada… 

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Taking a break from Politics:  My next big adventure is coming up in August.

November 10, 2014 photo IMG_4329_zps7f7b5ddb.jpgMy Utah-brother and I will be paddling – some six to 10 days – up the Rideau Canal, from Kingston to Ottawa, Ontario.  (This is the same brother with whom I canoed 12 miles off the coast of Mississippi in 2014, as seen at right  And 440 miles on the Yukon River.  And hiked the Chilkoot Trail – “the meanest 33 miles in history” – and most recently hiked and biked 450 miles on the Camino de Santiago.)  

But don’t let the “canal” name fool you.  (Or the photo at the top of the page.)

This Rideau “Canal” is a water route of “mostly natural waters, made up of lakes and rivers.”  Of the 125 miles on this “canal,” only 12 – about 10% – are “manmade locks and canal cuts.”  The rest of the route consists of “natural waters,” as noted.  That includes Big Rideau Lake, some 20 miles long and over three miles wide.  (For comparison, Lake Laberge on the Yukon River – which we paddled in 2016 – is 31 miles long and up to three miles wide.)

The direct route from Kingston to Ottawa is 125 miles, but that includes over 677 miles of shoreline.  (Most choose that route because the prevailing winds are from the southwest.)  

Also, from Lake Ontario at Kingston the route rises 166 feet.  It rises to the “summit of Upper Rideau Lake,” from where it then descends 275 feet to the Ottawa River at Ottawa.

The canal system was built between 1826 and 1832, to help defend Canada by allowing boats to travel safely along the southern border.  I.e., Canadians could travel along their southern border – the border with the U.S. – “without having to travel along the St. Lawrence River, in gunshot range of the Americans.”  (And Donald Trump wasn’t even president…)  

The construction of the Rideau Canal was a preventive military measure undertaken after a report that during the War of 1812 the United States had intended to invade the British colony of Upper Canada via the St. Lawrence River, which would have severed the lifeline between Montreal and Kingston.

Then there’s this added note:  “It is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America.  Most of the locks are still operated by hand, using the same mechanisms that were used to operate the locks in 1832.”  (Speaking of “delightfully retro.”)

To give some perspective on how long such a canoe-trip can take, early voyageurs could cover the distance  in three days.  (But those were “very long days with lots of paddling.”)  And that would include portaging around the areas that have since been made locks and canal cuts.

Today the recommended pace is anywhere from six to 10 days, as noted.

And there are 26 lockstations to pass through.  Those you can either portage around – like the early voyageurs – or pay a fee.  They all have washrooms and potable water, and most offer camping.  (So it won’t be like canoeing 12 miles offshore, featuring eight days of primitive camping, on places like Half-moon Island, Ship Island, and “from time to time an occasional salt marsh.”) 

Other notes:  The name Rideau is French for “curtain,” and comes from the “curtain-like appearance of the Rideau River‘s twin waterfalls where they join the Ottawa River.”  And:

The canal also served a commercial purpose.  The Rideau Canal was easier to navigate than the St. Lawrence River because of the series of rapids between Montreal and Kingston.  As a result, the Rideau Canal became a busy commercial artery from Montreal to the Great Lakes.  However, by 1849, the rapids of the St. Lawrence had been tamed by a series of locks, and commercial shippers were quick to switch to this more direct route.

Thus it “remains in use today primarily for pleasure boating, with most of its original structures intact, operated by Parks Canada.”  But it’s not all fun and games, necessarily.

One Canal-guide noted three possible issues:  Wind, waves and big boats.  As for the first, while the prevailing wind is from the southwest, “be prepared for anything,” including a change in wind from the northeast.  Also, waves can be an issue on big lakes, “with large sections of open water unprotected by islands.”  And such large waves “can be an issue for a canoeist.”

The same is true of “big power boats (cruisers)” which also share the waterway.

One idea (the guide said):  Paddle close to shore.  It’s more interesting – with more wildlife and such – and keeps you further from the waves produced by big boats.  But if you encounter one – here I’m writing under the “memo to self” idea – the general rule is to turn into such waves, meeting them head on.  This “can actually be fun in a kayak (not as much fun in a canoe).”

I’ll be writing more on this adventure, if only in the form of a postmortem(But not in the literal sense.)  Meanwhile, here’s hoping we don’t have to use this little maneuver this August…

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Image titled Canoe Step 14

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The upper image is courtesy of Rideau Canal – Wikipedia.  Caption:  “Poonahmalee, on the Rideau River, near Smith Falls, Ontario – October 1906.”

Portions of the text were gleaned from “Watson’s paddling guide to the Rideau Canal” (PDF), by Ken W. Watson, First Printing 2012, Current Revision May 2018, at pages 9-10, 17-18.  The “wind, wave and big boat issues” are discussed on pages 13 and 14. 

Re:  “12 miles offshore.”  See Canoeing 12 miles off the coast of Mississippi, from 2016.  (It was a both a review of the 2014 canoe trip and a preview of last fall’s Camino de Santiago adventure.

 The “retro” image is courtesy of Delightfully Retro – Image Results.

The lower image is courtesy of How to Canoe (with Pictures) – wikiHow.