A week in the life of old PlaidCamper (and how I’m feeling my age)

Don’t panic, this isn’t turning into FaceBook or anything – but do find something else to do if you read the title and thought “No, he wouldn’t!” because yes, I would.

Not a strong narrative thread, simply how the past week went and why I’m so tired – in a good way.

Image 4
Aiming high – top of the world

Thursday evening and Friday morning: parent/student/teacher interviews! Time well spent, and often invaluable for students and parents, but listening to myself speak for eight hours on educational matters is hard – did I really mean to say that? Was I too honest? What was I saying at the start of this sentence? Are they asleep?

To the mountains!

Once the Friday interviews wrapped up, it was into the car and out to the mountains for some snowshoeing and snowboarding. A cosy cabin in Field, about twenty minutes from the ski hill, meant an easy early start Saturday for the best of the first turns. Except that only happens if I remember to set the alarm. Old and tired without an alarm means an unexpected lie in. Oh well, must have needed it, and we took a short woodland hike instead through pretty woods above the cabin. Lots of creaking; I think it was the trees.

Sunday, alarm set, and a good early start to Louise! The lift lineups were nonexistent all day, and conditions were pretty pleasant on the slopes given poor snowfall the previous few days and strangely warm weather. Grey and overcast, with the mountains looming and slightly menacing without strong sunlight, but striking anyway. We searched for patches of blue, and found one at the top of the world. It didn’t last, but we weren’t blue with so much mountain to play in.

Image 5
A patch of blue

Back to Calgary Sunday night, and packing hurriedly for two days in Kananaskis country with a group of students. An outdoor challenge camp designed to develop collaborative skills and boost esteem, as well as encourage a love for the mountain environment. And if they have a laugh or two at their teacher failing to keep pace, then all the better…for them at least. Hiking, climbing, clambering, and singing (not me, not the last one, that would be cruel…)

Image 3
Try and keep up…

Tuesday evening, hand over the camp students to a colleague, and back to the city and hurriedly unpack and find clean(ish) clothing for three days of learning to ski/snowboard with grade 5/6 students at Canada Olympic Park. So you’ve had hardly any sleep the previous couple days – those bunks at camp aren’t luxurious or quite full size – but you said you really wanted to go to Kananaskis and be part of the learn to ski program, so stop your whining old boy.

Image 1
I can help here

Have you ever tried to “assist” with teaching snowboarding to forty enthusiastic children? You will laugh, you might cry, you will be nimble and in fear for your life, and you will discover you aren’t as young as you once were. When your most gullible student asks “are you sure you’re 29 years old, Mr. Plaidcamper?”, the game is almost up.

Image 2
Kananaskis! Not much snow, or sun, but we can learn out here…

What a week! I complained (to myself), I laughed (a lot), I pulled new muscles (still have some), I wobbled (in many different ways), and I had a blast. To observe how students love to be outside, love to be challenged, and often don’t even have a (formal?) sense that they’re in a learning environment when it is outdoors, is wonderful. The perseverance and problem solving skills they develop are transferable to other life settings, sometimes explicitly, but often implicitly, and they’ll have an enormous reserve to draw on when faced with necessary adversity later in their learning. It was an exhausting week, (and I couldn’t do it every week), but tired as I am, I suspect it keeps me young at heart. Why, I feel 29(ish)!

A small reward at the end of the week – this evening!

Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment or share a story, and keep your guy ropes secure.

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

32 thoughts on “A week in the life of old PlaidCamper (and how I’m feeling my age)”

  1. Yes, eventually we have to admit that age plays a big part in how much we can keep up with the youngsters. Ha I am sure that was quite an adventure with the young folks. Love your photos, but that snow looks soooo cold!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Had to laugh at the young student questioning your age, pc. Personally, I am relieved to know there are classes and teachers like you out in the world teaching perseverance and problem solving, and the beauties of outdoor living. Enjoy that stout, you have much to celebrate. 😀


  3. Incredible mountain photos. Love those cool blue/grey tones and natural lines. And that was one helluva week. I can’t imagine teaching 40 kids of that age to snowboard and appreciate nature without killing themselves. But when you’re 29, the world’s your oyster! P.S. That Stout must have tasted mighty fine.


  4. I refuse to feel my age, but my body does not always agree. I’m also a little envious of your ability to just hit the mountains, though. Hope you had a wonderful weekend.


  5. Sounds like a busy lifestyle you lead – but oh, in such a beautiful part of the world. My great uncle taught skiing in the slopes of northern Italy until he was 85! So you’re still a spring chicken! Enjoy!


  6. Twenty – nine? I was twenty – nine, twenty – nine years ago! You’re still a pup, your best years and beers, are still ahead. Enjoy!

    The intro photo with the snow fence is nice.


    1. The views up by that fence are pretty fine.
      Twenty-nine is a state of mind – if I ignore creaking limbs, and find a decent beer at the end of the day! In hockey terms, I’m into the third period, hoping for an OT winner, and then maybe a decent cup run…
      Thanks for your comment, and enjoy your day!


      1. Better yet, puck bounces off the goalies butt and into the net in game seven of the finals. You can tell everyone that you scored on a breakaway, shorthanded, while skating backwards……


  7. Teaching 40 kids how to snowboard (or ski, I don’t snow board) is a bigger challenge than I would take on. Well done! Anyone would be exhausted after that I am sure:)


  8. Hello outdoorsman! I was a lot more outdoors many years ago (1973 to 1983) when I lived in Kaslo, B.C for ten years. Wonderful memories of skiing at Whitewater near Nelson, and also twice getting to go on the snow-cat and do deep-powder with Selkirk Wilderness Skiing. You are living a great life, and how wonderful to be only 29! Enjoy!


    1. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be 29 again?! I’d love to take a snowcat out and find deep powder – what an adventure! Visited Nelson and area in the summer, not in the winter, but would like to one day.
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, it is appreciated, and Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

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