Big City Vibing

4 Sep

It has been a long week for both Kayley and I, moving is one of those things that wears you to the bone (If you weren’t aware, we have moved to my parents place in Ajax for the next little while to aid in saving up for our Van Expedition). Boxes have been packed, unpacked, packed, moved, dropped, drove hundreds of kilometres, our stuff brought down and up multiple stairs, a million errands have been run, it is fair to say stress levels were mighty high. I believe a night to ourselves in the big city was deserved.

One of my favourite bands, La Luz (An all female Surf Punk-Rock group from Seattle) was playing at Adelaide Hall, so it gave us an excuse to head downtown.

Luckily both my parents are highly experienced Toronto explorers, meaning they were able to help find us some central and thankfully cheap parking. Off we went down the gnarly 401, arriving at the parking garage around 5pm, having the doors to the concert not opening till 8pm, some city adventuring was needed to kill the time. Since Kayley is a newbie to TO, and all the restaurant and pubs were packed full due to the Blue Jays game happening that night (the team is good now, so people actually care about baseball again), I took her down to the Harbour Front to take in some of the awesome views the city has to offer.

Not the usual landscape I take pictures of but still cool!

Not the usual landscape I take pictures of but still cool!


We sat down at the water-side, people watched, witnessed planes take off from Toronto Island and saw ships come in and out of the harbour, leaving Kayley amazed and confused in a multitude of different ways. Toronto is one of those places where so many things are going on at once and it’s hard for us outdoor folk to take it all in with a perfect understanding, I always find it crazy how people can become content with such a lifestyle.

I want to ride on a Pirate SHIP! - Kayley

I want to ride on a Pirate SHIP! – Kayley

Planes over water frighten me...

Planes over water frighten me…

Had to take the classic CN photo.

Had to take the classic CN tower photo.


I forgot to mention that is was possibly 1000’C that day, being sweaty was accepted pretty quickly. We walked around different sections of the water-front for a while trying to kill some more time, waiting for all the Jay’s fans to head to the Rogers Centre for gametime. As 6:15pm rolled around, the nasty smell of lake water, the hunger for food and the thirst for beer forced us to head back towards Front Street. Kayley really wanted to go to the Loose Moose, an amazing bar we had previously been at last summer with some friends (I’ll explain why she wanted to go there so bad in just a second). Once we arrived on Front Street, walking the opposite way of the Rogers Centre, I have personally never seen this many people walking on either sides of the sidewalk in my life, there had to of been tens of thousands of fans heading towards the Stadium, with Kay and I being the only ones walking the other way, I wish I had snapped some pictures, as a hip person would say, That Shit Was Cray.

We were seated at the Moose just as all the fans were leaving, the placed turned into a ghost town in matters of minutes….better for us haha. I ordered a growler of this Hawaiian Style Ale which was rad and she went with her go to Caesar, and munched on the cheesiest bean dip I’ve ever had. But we were stoked!

A happy lady!

A happy lady!


Before heading to the venue, I had to order the one thing Kay had been talking about the moment we arrived in the city, that being these desert donuts they make in-house at the bar, covered in brown sugar, bacon bits, and caramel, fuck are they good!

An even happy lady!

An even happy lady!


I paid the bill, it was 8pm and we were hyped for the music ahead. We walked the minimal blocks to Adelaide Hall, waited for the sound check to finish up (while waiting outside, Kayley is convinced she saw a couple dispose of human remains, but that’s a story for another time). In we went, being one of the first people to arrive we snagged a solid spot and hung out till the opening band took the stage.

Vallens started off the night, a female led band, having this rough new-age punk sound, slashy guitar, quick drum beat, they for sure had everyone wanting more as they finished their set. At this point, the venue had begin to pack in with a variety of people, I sometimes forget Toronto holds a wide group of styles. Next up was Michael Rault, a cool group of dudes with this old school, very The Kinks-esque sound, they are one of those bands that you would want to open for your band because they get everyone so pumped with their energy. I would easily pay to see these dudes on their own!

Michael Rault given er.

Michael Rault given er.


Finally, the band I had been waiting for, La Luz. I had originally found out about this rad group of girls while watching a snowboard edit (Usually where I discover all new music), their surf inspired sound really attracted me and I never looked back. I’ve listen to them every day since, and with the introduction of their new album, Weirdo Shrine, last month, which offers songs that are more punk influenced, I was amped to hear the songs live! They took the stage and owned it, their sound was crisp, they were active, got Kayley and I dancing, singing along, and a perma-smile from cheek to cheek. I was even luckily enough to hear all my favourite songs (It’s Alive, With Davey, Sure As Spring and Sleep Till They Die). It felt like their set flew by and I didn’t want it to end, but we will for sure be paying to see them again, easily one of the best acts I’ve witnessed.

IMG_1446

These ladies had chemistry.


With our ears ringing, feet sore, but very satisfied, it was time to head home. We’re both currently not working so getting home late was no issue, and I did get us lost a couple times trying to find the correct streets (Isn’t getting lost part of the fun?!?!), finally finding the right route, down the 401 I drove, and the minute our heads hit the pillow we were asleep, awesome nights will do that to ya.

-Chris

 

 

The Fulfilling but Unsuccessful Trout Campout

25 Aug

As the summer begins to wind down, my good friend Mitch decided it would be a rad idea to take a camping and fly-fishing trip in Elora, Ontario which holds the famous Grand River (well, famous for fly-fishing…). With the weather looking solid, my hunger for trout fishing and having never explored this area of the province before, Kayley and I were stoked for the weekend.

Kay and I arrived at the campsite mid-afternoon after getting minimally lost to find this massive campground that seemed to have a million sites that were beginning to fill up fast, and we started to worry our spot was going to be shoved in-between a group of noisy families. But, luckily my campsite booking skills paid off and our spot was pretty pristine, tucked into this nicely wooded area, blocked off from all craziness going on throughout the conservation area.

Kay sets up. I take pictures. The usual.


Mitch didn’t join us for the first night since he was having a couple brews back in Barrie for his end of the season work party, so we had a free night to kill. The site was fortunately right up against the Elora Gorge, we grabbed the cameras and took in the stellar scenes, leaving the remainder of the night to be filled with beer drinking, stories and campfire cookings!

Campfire meals are supreme.

Campfire meals are supreme.


Post-dinner beer drinking.

Post-dinner beer drinking.


The night was the perfect temp for sleeping and with Mitch not arriving till 11am, it gave us some time to sleep in, wake up, getting the fire going, coffee brewed and enjoy some breakfast.

Breakfast prep.

Breakfast prep.


Just as we were all cleaned up from cooking, Mitch rolls into the site and it was now time to get the weekend started!

Mitch's very rad $20 tent.

Mitch’s very rad $20 tent.


Since trout fishing isn’t a viable option during mid-day we decided to take a trip into the small but very cool town of Fergus. Mitch and I needed to make our first stop be the Grand River Outfitting & Fly-Fishing Shop (I recommend this place to anyone who is in the area for fishing, the owners are awesome people and provide great advice and stories.) to grab some trout flies, find out river conditions and chat up the owner on anything fly-fishing related. After grabbing what we needed, our stomaches were communicating that they were hungry, so we stopped in at the Brewhouse on the Grand which provided us with some radical eats. With full stomachs, Mitch mentioned that there was a mini-ramp somewhere in town, even though I had just begun to skate again after bruising my ankle a few weeks back I was down! We drove around, flipping through our phones for 20 minutes trying to find the place, and just before we were about to give up, Kayley spotted it! To our misfortune, the ramp was pretty gnarly, my ankle wasn’t feeling great, scooter kids and high school teens everywhere, that skate session lasted about the same amount of time it took us to find the place, but skating is always worth it.

Before heading back to camp, finding an access point for our trout hunt the next morning was in order. Within minutes we found the perfect place below this massive bridge, providing us pathways down to the beautiful river flow. And from up above we spotted what seemed to be the most massive brown trout I’ve ever seen which filled up our stoke levels.

The Beautiful Grand River

The Beautiful Grand River.


Back at camp we got the fire going, chilled out for a bit, had some snacks and got ourselves prepared for some evening fishing at the end of the Gorge which was conveniently right in the campground we were stationed at. Earlier, the owner of the fly shop had told us a friend of his caught this massive brownie in the area not too long ago, and we were committed to finding one!

The goods.

The goods.


Suited up and ready go, we searched for the area the guy talked about. After finding a barely bush wacked trail, at the river we were, in we stepped and the search began.

River Junkies.

River Junkies.


Mitch and I moved up and down the river, with little luck. This was just a precursor for the next morning meaning we didn’t expect much but it’s always fun to get out on the water and give it a go. After going through a couple fly choices, we both snagged what looked to be mini Carp.

Inspecting the catch.

Inspecting the catch.


Just a little homie.

Just a little homie.


A couple hours went buy, the sun began to set, Kayley’s camera died, and nothing worth noting caught, those all being signs to pack it in for the night. The rest of the evening was spent chatting, fire watching, and kraft-dinner eating, and no complaints were given. An early night was needed if we were to get the real trout hunt on at 5am the following morning.

The night gave some more great temps for sleeping, and as Mitch’s alarm rang, we were all feeling mighty rested and ready to get the day started. As quietly as we could, we got the fire started quickly to get some food and hot coffee into our stomachs (No 5am wakeup can go well without coffee).

5am fire starting 101 with Kayley Fowler

5am fire starting 101 with Kayley Fowler.


With a packed car, out of the campsite we went before the sun even began to rise. Mitch pulled up to the access point just as the sun was beginning to show itself and the true hunt began!

This is why getting up early is rad.

This is why getting up early is rad.


The flies were tied and casts were made before 6:20am, both of us hoping for the best.

IMG_1393

Teamwork is key.

Teamwork is key.


We searched this specific section for hours, Mitch covering one area and myself another each time we moved around, couple bites were had but no real luck. After putting in some time within this one big section, having gone through much of our fly selections, frustration was setting in, we had to move on….

It was our best bet to move upstream, hoping the trout had positioned themselves up there. Through the forest we trekked. Finally we came across a very sketchy access point. The area looked somewhat promising, but with trout, you never really know and they aren’t called buck nasty brown for nothing. Covering multiple areas again gave us no more luck than before and mid-day was approaching. With our backs aching, arms tired and no motivation, it was time to call it a day and admit defeat.

Miserable Mitch haha

Miserable Mitch haha….


Our site checkout was 12pm, so we trekked on back to the car and get on our way. (Side Note: As we were on the bridge that was above the main access point, we saw those big browns we had witnesses the previous day right where we were casting but they didn’t want anything we were giving them, just wasn’t meant to be I guess.) We arrived back at camp, packed up, said our good-byes and went on with our Sunday.

It was very unfortunate that we didn’t find the trout we were looking for, but that’s how fishing works, fish don’t care that you travelled for hours or that you woke up at 5am or that you just bought a new fly rod, but the search for them successful or not is always worth it. I had an awesome weekend, it’s always rad to chill with Mitch “The Pizza God” Girard, to get some camping, skating and fishing in, probably the best way to end the summer. Thanks man!!

-Chris