Tag Archives: ATNO

The prettiest activation ever – Spray Valley Provincial Park

As always there are lots of links within the article. Click one! Click them all! Learn all the things! ­čÖé

Ahhh .. few things in life compare to the view one sees while lakeside in the mountains. The flat water is a stark contrast to the towering mountains nearby. There is at least a 4000′ difference in height between the two at my destination in this story. For me, nothing so succinctly tells me where I fit in the world as when I stand among these giants.

So It was with that big goal in mind that a drive through the mountains of Alberta’s Kananaskis Country region was called for. The drive would take me through sweeping vistas, over high mountain road passes, along nearly 100km of gravel roads in no-cell-service backcountry while racking up nearly 400km of travel in one day.

Along the way I activated two never-before done parks in the POTA system and scouted out one more to be done at a future date. This is the story of the lakeside activation… but first, watch the short video to understand why I’m gushing on the beauty of this particular spot and written this atypical (for me) article about the activation itself.

The Drive to the activation

Overview of the trip. Darker lines indicate gravel roads. First activation is along the westernmost gravel road along the lakeshore.

For those of you that want to replicate this trip, here’s the route I took shown on the map above.

From just before when I turned north off Highway 541 to Highway 40, and until I reached Canmore, there is zero cell service. Same again turning onto Highway 68 from 40 until Bragg Creek.

Alberta has much backcountry that is well beyond cellular range. Working at The Candy Store(tm) as I do, I have access to items like the Zoleo Satellite Communicator to give me text messaging and SOS capabilities should I need them. Before I discovered SOTAmat, I used the Zoleo for all of my spotting in backcountry.

Continue reading The prettiest activation ever – Spray Valley Provincial Park

Activating Plaines d’Abraham in Old Qu├ębec with the KX2 and AX1 combo

When we spend the summer in the province of Qu├ębec, we always set aside at least one day to hang out in Old Qu├ębec. This portion of the city of Qu├ębec is simply stunning: it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and the birthplace of French North America.

No other place in North America reminds me more of the years we lived in Europe than Old Qu├ębec.

We’ve been to Old Qu├ębec a countless number of times over the past two decades; we enjoy checking out the architecture, the window boxes full of flowers, and the numerous museums.

Old Qu├ębec is, of course, quite touristy–especially if you visit on a weekend. It can be incredibly busy and also challenging to find parking especially if, like us, you have a cargo box on top of your car (many parking decks have strict height restrictions).

On Tuesday, July 26, 2022, we decided to make a trip into Old Qu├ębec to visit some of our favorite book shops, small businesses, enjoy a lunch together, and soak in some of the amazing weather.

My wife encouraged me to find a nice POTA site and–wow–is one spoiled for choice! There are no fewer than 10 POTA parks in/around Old Qu├ębec. Check out the POTA map–each yellow dot is a park:

I know Qu├ębec City well enough to know that some of these parks wouldn’t be terribly easy to activate since they’re historic buildings and sites–I think it could be done, but you might need to seek permission in advance. I think it would be incredibly fun to set up a multi-park rove on foot; in fact, I’ve put that on my bucket list for a future trip!

The park I was eager to activate is the largest in central Qu├ębec City: The Plains of Abraham. It’s a beautiful and open urban park that overlooks the the St-Lawrence river. It’s Qu├ębec City’s version of Central Park.

Plaines d’Abraham (VE-1019)

I was very fortunate: after we dodged a little road construction, I found parallel parking on Ave Winfred-Laurier next to the Parc Jeanne d’Arc.

Continue reading Activating Plaines d’Abraham in Old Qu├ębec with the KX2 and AX1 combo

Side trail POTA ATNO at Bois├ę des Compagnons-de-Cartier in Qu├ębec City

On July 4, 2022, I plotted a multiple park POTA run that included four urban parks all clustered in the Sainte-Foy region of Qu├ębec City.

The first park I activated that day was Parc de la Plage-Jacques-Cartier (VE-0970)ÔÇôclick here to check out my full field report and activation video. The second park was Parc Cartier-Roberval (VE-0964)ÔÇôclick here to check out that field report and activation video. The third park was Bois├ę de Marly Provincial ParkÔÇôclick here to check out that field report and activation video.

My fourth park was Bois├ę des Compagnons-de-Cartier which essentially adjoined the previous park I activated. As I mentioned in the previous field report, I could have simply walked through the trail system to this park from my previous site, but I needed to find a different parking spot for my car, so I simply drove to a large lot next to the secondary school I spotted on Google Maps.

Turns out even though that lot was nearly empty, it was a paid parking, so I reserved a parking spot for one hour.

Bois├ę des Compagnons-de-Cartier (VE-0958)

When I first parked, I wasn’t entirely sure where the park entrance was until I spotted a bench and park sign at the far corner of the lot.

This park, much like the previous one, seemed to be an urban park with trails for walking and running.

I walked the main path into the park and looked for a park bench like I found at the park entrance (above). I thought it might be nice to set up along the path and do a park bench activation much like I did at another urban park in Qu├ębec City.

I walked for a decent distance and couldn’t see a bench in sight.┬á The path was fairly busy with walkers and runners, so I was very pleased when I found a side trail cutting through the middle of the park.

I could tell that this path–while very well-worn and obvious–was not one maintained by the park admin. It looked more like a simple foot trail that local children have probably used in the past (I spotted a little wooden fort/lean-to in the woods.)

Keep in mind that this was my fourth park activation of the day and by this time, I was running behind–no surprise there. After the activation, I had two errands to run in QC before heading back to our condo and enjoying dinner and a movie with the family.

Continue reading Side trail POTA ATNO at Bois├ę des Compagnons-de-Cartier in Qu├ębec City