Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Finally i was back in Banff. It had been two years since i was back but that was only for a night. Banff is close to my heart as I have family that lives there, Kevin, Sharon, Jonah and Avril and I had spent two summers living there and working for Kevin at Abominable Sports. During these two summers I explored, climbed, biked, skied and scrambled up everything I could on my time off. I had a great partner back then, Johnny " Eye Spy" Stewart and if i wasn't with him I was off on my own. So it was good to get back. It was a short weekend and I went with a friend of mine from Squamish. We had the chance to blast up Tunnel Mountain on Friday beneath a great sunset and then spent the evening at Guido'. Saturday I got into an area that I had never explored before due to Grizzly problems. It was Larch Valley, Sentinel Pass and Paradise Valley. We ran this route, about 25 kms under incredible conditions, sunny and warm. This run was fantastic. We passed along Moraine Lake in the Valley of the 10 Peaks looking at a sick ski line Kevy poached years ago. The Larches were turning colors and the backdrop was stunning. As we dropped into Paradise Valley we left the crowds behind and had most of the valley to ourself stopping at Annette Lake underneath the massive north face of Mt. Temple first climbed in 1966. I have always wanted to scramble up Temple but have not had the chance since you needed a group of 6 for the grizzlies and usually i was by myself. I stared at Miss Temple for most of the run, hoping that she was reading my mind understanding I would be back to climb her at some point in the near future. That night we had dinner at St. James gate. I have fond memories of the gate as I had spent a New Years there happy to be in the warmth and safety not thinking I was ever going to get out of a bad backcountry situation just hours before. That was when i was new to the mountains and very inexperienced. It is those Ontario guys who come out west with no experience and a lack of awareness that get themselves into trouble and worse in the mountains. You see it a lot every year in Whistler. I was lucky that time and trust me, the Guinness tasted good that night.  I think I slept for the next two days. Sunday's activity took us up Sulphur as the weather started to change which was okay since we were leaving that afternoon to head back to Squamish. It was really good to see Kev and Sharon. Jonah has lengthened out and has the Hann body type passed on from Grampa Hann. He is turning into a fine athlete and skier. Avril, is a special young woman with amazing artistic talents and a beautiful way about her. The last time spent with her was in my arms as a baby. That was a long  time ago. Thanks to Kevin and Sharon for the great hospitality. It was also great seeing my cousin Greg and Shirley Anne. I will be back in March for my Avalanche Level 1 course and I hope the boys will show me some old backcountry stashes. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Surfer/Fisherman/Adventurer/Athlete in Training

And I am not talking about my old washed up bro. I am talking about my little man in the Storm Tshirt, Samuel Craig Hann. K little man, your days of sitting around stuffing your face with food, crawling around like a little mechanical gorilla, sleeping your life away, and just generally being the cutest little man i have ever seen are over. Its time to start training soon. Dawn patrols with fishing rod in hand searching out the hiding places of Mister Big Bass, headlamp patrols up the Chief, morning surf checks with Uncle Storm, left hand lay ups till it becomes part of your daily movement, and post storm backcountry ski tours searching out the White Pow. As well don't worry about wasting your time on music lessons, or french classes. If you start training now you will not even have to go to school or get an education and you can make more money than all of us..........kidding Mom, Tara, little man could be an astronaut if he wants. Anywho Sam, thats my pep talk for today, you can go back to wearing your diapers, eating ridiculous amounts of food, looking like your 2 instead of 10 months, being carried around and having to deal with your new teeth(which may get knocked out if you want to be an Ultimate Fighter). Talk to you soon little uncle storm.

Just the Boys- Killarney 2008

August I was back in Northern Ontario for a sea kayaking trip and right after that Dad, my brother Brad and Big Sea went into one of my all time favorite places, Killarney Provincial Park. Dad was one of the first surveyors there back in the early sixties and for the past 3 summers we have headed back into the park for some outstanding paddling and even better fishing. I am a huge fisherman since I grew up on Wahnapitae River at Grampa Stacey's camp in the summers and fished all day everyday. The fishing in the lakes in Killarney not affected by acid rain is incredible. I was really excited for this trip. We only had a short time, 2 days, 1 night. We rented some canoes at Bell Lake from Killarney Kanoes and our first day took us through Bell Lake and into 3 mile Lake. I of course was always way behind since I was fishing all the way and couldn't pass up ideallyic casting spots. We managed to find the last campsite on 3 Mile. It was a beautiful spot and the evening was turning into one of those special Northern Ontario August evenings. After setting camp we headed out for some fishing. Of course Brad was getting outfished badly by the pro but he managed to make a late run with some sweet topwater action. He landed a beauty smallmouth that was released while I landed a hard fighting largemouth and one nice smallmouth bass. We kept both for supper. Dad was happy to just paddle around smoking cigars. The sunset was awesome to say the least and as it got dark we headed back to camp where i filleted the fish and then cooked them
over an open fire while enjoying tasty cold ones and a couple of Don Tomas. The following day brought sunny and warm conditions. From 3 mile lake we portaged into Balsam Lake and ended up having lunch at a great spot. It was here that I had to show my little bro how pull the hogs in. Brad actually had this beauty largemouth pictured below hammer his topwater bait but could not coax him back for another strike. After repairing Brads rod from his breakage the night before i tested it out and casted the same Zara Spook topwater bait and must have landed it on the fishes head as he thumped it and after a solid battle landed this beauty and then released him. We then headed into Deacon Lake for some more exploration and were surprised to run into friends Dave and Laura Bertrim on day two of their paddle through the park. We then made our way back through the chain of lakes and back to the truck after more fishing and relaxed paddling. I was really in heaven being with Dad and my brother and big Sea. We all had a really good time and we are excited about going back next year. We are trying to coax my sisters into coming as well. Mom, no problem, she grew up catching snakes, fishing and beating up the boys so I know she is in. Shansy has been know to fish beside her big brother the odd time but stacey, well, we may have to work on her. 

Monday, September 1, 2008


I headed back to Ontario at the beginning of August to visit my family and to paddle with the ladies on Georgian Bay. Originally being from the area and growing up on the lakes and rivers of Northern Ontario I was stoked to paddle Georgian Bay. Paula Rivard, a very close friend of mine, got a group of girls together for the trip, Maureen, Kelly and Judy. I had numerous warnings from Paula's mom that I was basically risking my life taking these women on a trip. I am sure most guys would agree with me that I was okay taking that risk. Plus there was more booze to sink a ship(or kayak) so i knew if everything went south I had a contingency plan.  

Our day started at the Chikinishing Creek launch point later in the afternoon since Judy was at the walk in clinic all morning with stomach ailments forced to go by group members. The delay was great since it allowed the strong winds to calm down and we launched in stunning conditions. The evening was just how a paddling trip in August should be, sunny, hot with flat water. I was really excited to be out here and the girls really seemed to be enjoying themselves. We set camp that night on a warm rock outcrop. Saturday we awoke to mixed weather conditions yet we were able to explore the various islands and inlets and even had time to climb a small island, Silver Fox, to check out the cool Inukshuk. We had lunch under a storm cloud(yes I am sure I brought the weather) blasting lightning bolts and looking very close to a tornado. I gave the option of heading back to camp and I have never seen a double kayak paddled that fast before. Kelly's arms were moving so quick i didn't think it was possible to move a boat like that. After our retreat to the campsite we had some dinner, pasta, with the Rivard family secret sauce and then all of a sudden the S#$% hit the fan with the weather. The winds increased dramatically and it was almost impossible to keep our tarp up. We did manage to keep the fire going but by 11 that night it was time to hit the tents. Now i have worked on the west coast for 9 years and I have seen some incredible weather but the storm that hammered us all night would have to rank right up there. Very impressive. The storm went unabated for 12 hours, blasting our tent like we were on the top of Everest. It was impossible to stay dry and all of the girls decided to stay in one tent. I had to check the kayaks a couple of times throughout the night to make sure they had not been blow into orbit.

The girls went to bed laughing and woke up laughing. Incredible. The last morning we broke camp, did some more exploring and then headed back to the Chik Creek. Well by the time we got back to the creek it was swollen to spring time conditions, conditions not even seen by locals in the summer. As I was assessing taking out at the original launch point which had now become a raging rapid, Maureen thought she would test her white water skills(none), and try to get across. I chuckled and mumbled something about going over knowing I was now mentally getting ready to do a rescue. Yup, she crossed the distinct eddy line and wham, she was over, boat, paddle and various gear now floating down river. I was able manage the group and get them to shore while i gathered Maureen and made sure she was safely onshore. I then had to paddle back down river to pick up the kayak and various gear. It was not the easiest tow up river. Maureen thought she would assist and left the group to float down the river to "help" me. She met me down river and I had no option but to put her back in the boat. After another capsize we got back to the launch and got all gear back onto shore. We then had some ice cold bevys and had a great laugh about whole event. Of course Paula was terrified but I think she quickly realized that it was more just of an inconvience than a full on crisis. We finished the trip up at Herbert's, the World Class fish and chips spot in Killarney on the docks. 

It was an outstanding trip and more impressive than the storm we had was the attitude of the girls. Most groups would have paled in such conditions. The girls were always having fun, always laughing(maybe they had something i didn't) and really valued the experience. They were one of the best groups i have ever guided and i am really excited that they want to do another trip next year.......thanks a lot to Paula for putting this trip together. Both of us thought a lot about her brother Dwayne, a close friend and teammate of mine, an outstanding brother and son,  who passed away in a car accident a few years ago. Dwayno was one of those great guys who would do anything for you and who just made your life better being around him. Cheers to you Dwayno.


Well i have to apologize for not being on the blog since June. The summer is my season for guiding and i just recently got back from my last stint guiding salmon fishing on the west coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii. July I was busy driving through the states ending up in Badwater(-181 feet) Death Valley for a friends epic ultra marathon race. End of July was back in the Charlottes fishing and then August was awesome as I headed back home to Sudbury for a couple of weeks to visit family and friends and to run a sea kayak trip with clients and a canoe trip with dad and bro. 

I have to say that fishing the west coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands was outstanding, the fishing amazing when you could get out to the spots to fish. I was up there for about 40 days working for the Outpost Lodge. The weather was absolutely terrible. Many days we had driving rain and gale to storm force winds. I learned to drive a boat in huge seas and to be calm when facing epic water conditions. I can remember two nice days. The rest were like the movie Groundhog Day where every day you wake up is the same.........gray, rain and freakin windy. I saw some incredible fish come in. Kenny B hammered a 62 pound Chinook, you just don't see fish like that anymore. It was massive. I saw a halibut come in that was 206 pounds and guides up there released halibut in the 300 pound range. Unreal hali fishing. These fish when they hit will almost pull you out of the boat if your not ready. It feels like your battling the bottom of the ocean for the majority of the hour. I fished with some real characters up there........Tiny aka LOG, Kermode, KB, Babu, Picasso, Pacino and I can't forget the best handle on the coast......Boat 4. Of course I am the Storm and was reminded every time I came up because I always brought bad weather with me. No doubt i was in my element enjoying the highest energy coastline in the world. The west side of the Charlottes is the most spectacular shoreline I have ever seen. Everyone at some point in their life has to get up there. More adventures to come.