For the Life of Me…

Somewhere in the Holy Land, around 1885, via Wikimedia.
Somewhere in the Holy Land, around 1885, via Wikimedia.
I don’t know why I changed my blog over to this web address instead of keeping it at fatherallen.net. What was I thinking?

Well, I was thinking that it’s far better for me to have a dedicated blog, rather than a website that’s half photoblog, half anything and everything else. The things I do to evangelize!

But anyway, here we are at my silly little blog, as opposed to my silly little website. It’s a change in scenery if nothing else. Though remarkably devoid of any and all content, so far, we’ll have to work on changing all of that.

And we’re going to get to work on changing all of that very soon! “Why,” you might ask, “is it going to change very soon?”

Because I’m leaving for a whirlwind trip through the Holy Land starting next Wednesday, and will no doubt have lots of things to post. And zero time to do it. But when has that ever stopped me! I post at least once a quarter here, despite the regular allotment of my business allowances which get sunk into this remarkable adventure in Evangelistic outreach.

So, we’ll be in the air some 15-16 hours, in Bethlehem a few days then in Galilee a couple of nights, with a Mass said by the Holy Father somewhere right in between all of that activity. It’s a non-stop, whirlwind kind of trip, and should be completely exhausting.

But, oddly enough, I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll keep you posted.

PS – If you have any Mass intentions you’d like me to pray for in the Holy Land, leave a comment! Send me a note! Let me know!

The Big Finish

olamIMG_0204.JPG_0027

Did I mention that this is a fifteen mile day-hike, starting off with with the sudden and unending 1500 foot, 300 meter, 150 story or so, ascent up to The Notch and ending with a five mile slog down what is politely known as the “Fire Road”? I know that I did, but if you missed that, these pix cover a lot of territory.

olamIMG_0205.JPG_0028

So many scenes are left out. But the thing is, you need to go there and hike the route yourself if you can, to glorify God in the simplicity of walking through His creation.

That route through the valley down there, by the way, is the route the horses take when they bring provision up to The Lodge. It’s overall a 6,000 ft.ascent, with 3,000 of those feet being very sharp and demanding. Evidently they’ve stopped trying to bring tourists up through the trails as few can handle it. (And I’m fine with the hundreds of other fine trails in the area…)

olamIMG_0203.JPG_0026

Ten thirty in the morning, and me looking like a lobster head. My hat was on as soon as we were off the ridge, but the wind was blowing everything away faster than you could recite a Glory Be.

olamIMG_0206.JPG_0029

I’m pretty sure, tho could easily be wrong, that somewhere back there is the Tonquin Valley.

olamIMG_0207.JPG_0030

This site made my morning. My spirit rejoiced and I sang a song of joy to see this long, flat trail and mild ascent. An interesting point, is that The Notch is the highest point of the trip, and here we are about to hike uphill again. I just had to pretend I didn’t notice that, flatlander that I am. If you squint you can see Laura and Chuck ahead of us.

olamIMG_0210.JPG_0033

Walking on scree has its issues. Researching this trail one can’t help but note that it’s used by long distance runners who do long sections in a day. I think what this means is that I need to do more walking on scree to just get the hang of things.

olamIMG_0211.JPG_0034

This was one of my favorite parts of this hike.

olamIMG_0212.JPG_0035

Nothing can describe the strong, brisk wind here. The pic caught my walking sticks in the downswing.

olamIMG_0213.JPG_0036

You can also catch your first glimpse of the trail ahead. But first you go through an area that reminded me of every movie I’ve ever seen about Mars.

olamIMG_0214.JPG_0037

Fr. Jimmy (who took these pics, as my Nikon CoolPix P6000 was revolting against my compatible storage cards…) has a good eye for contrasts.

olamIMG_0215.JPG_0038

olamIMG_0216.JPG_0039

The mountains…

olamIMG_0219.JPG_0042

The valleys…

olamIMG_0220.JPG_0043

The city of Jasper!

olamIMG_0222.JPG_0045

The Athabasca River! The Icefield Parkway!

olamIMG_0223.JPG_0046

The scenery!

olamIMG_0224.JPG_0047

The Priests!

I’m fairly certain, tho correct me if I’m wrong, that Athabasca Falls is directly behind me.

olamIMG_0226.JPG_0049

The path ultimately wends down to the Valley…

olamIMG_0227.JPG_0050

… but not before one last intriguing jaunt through the mountaintop.

olamIMG_0228.JPG_0051

Amazingly spry. Notice all the rocks?

olamIMG_0229.JPG_0052

Suddenly it seemed as if we were on the moon. There were no views other than being surrounded by rocks and rock formations.

olamIMG_0230.JPG_0053

But in our amazement we took no photos… we just wandered on eventually to gaze again upon the valley below.

olamIMG_0232.JPG_0055

I know, God bless you. You’re thinking that this post goes on forever and a day.

But so does this hike!

Fr. Jimmy was determined to gather drinking water from this small glacier. We have different views on glacier water, as on most things. Still, we travel well together.

olamIMG_0233.JPG_0056

The trail spirals downward over a mile or more.

olamIMG_0234.JPG_0057

Fr. Jimmy, pretending to be me.

olamIMG_0235.JPG_0058

The glorious valley spreads before you, after forty-five minutes or so of sheer downward hiking in scree. But by this time you’ve adjusted your hiking boots and cinching things and are ready for lunch by one of the pretty lakes that lay ahead.

They only seem far away because they are.

olamIMG_0236.JPG_0059

After we passed this one we stopped for lunch next to the group of German tourists who were ahead of us, then made our way through the very pleasant and entirely lovely valley.

olamIMG_0237.JPG_0060

The Trail at Valley Level. Only ten miles to go from here!

olamIMG_0238.JPG_0061

Another lake.

olamIMG_0253.JPG_0076

A marmot, shortly before being noticed.

olamIMG_0255.JPG_0078

Yet another lake, which brings into mind the whole question of marshland type terrain in the mountains. It does if you’re me at least, being from South Louisiana and owning hundreds of acres of marshland.

olamIMG_0256.JPG_0079

Later in the day, you begin to look over into what’s known as Maligne Valley, which is another wonder entirely.

olamIMG_0257.JPG_0080

And of course you wander, off and on, off of the ridge and into woodlands where you see these type of… dead trees which hold such fascination for some photographers.

olamIMG_0258.JPG_0081

I don’t have the words to describe how beautiful the Skyline Trail is, let alone the part before the Fire Road. This doesn’t begin to do it justice, but it’s all we have.

olamIMG_0259.JPG_0082

Ultimately, you end up, after a valley and a few (long) mild up and downs, at what’s known as the Fire Road. By this time I had considered the hike to be over, and most people do. But the thing is, you still have to walk five miles down the Fire Road.

The flowers and scenes are unforgettable in my mind. They’re just not present in the end of this photo series.

olamIMG_0260.JPG_0083

The Fire Road is an old trail which used to be used as an access route by rangers on the way to a fire lookout. Way back when. These days it’s a trail, overgrown in the end of summer, with zero views other than immediate forest, and which more or less takes you downhill at a grade which would not encumber a ranger’s vehicle. It’s overgrown and pretty boring, and filled with berry bushes, and is five miles long. Although we walked it seemingly quickly, for close to two and a half hours, it seems in retrospect a blink of an eye.

olamIMG_0280.JPG_0103

We drove immediately to the Jasper Pub, and met fellow hikers for a beer. Just don’t have your meal there.

Just sayin…

Evening came, then the night. And everyone slept soundly after the long day’s trek into light.

First Communion, Friday Nights, Tea

“It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.”

That has nothing to do with First Communion, but it’s a great quote from St. Thomas Aquinas…

A Picture of My First Communion Picture

Going through some boxes of files today, I came across my First Communion picture. Wasn’t I a handsome kid? Lord knows what happened along the way. I snapped a shot of it on my cell phone with Instagram, which I love. I’ll have to scan it soon for my much anticipated and long awaited Biography section.

I actually remember posing for this photo. The photography studio was over on Airline Highway near Causeway, and I had to get dressed up out of the blue and kneel down and pray with my pre-Vatican II (it had just ended) prayer book and my First Communion Rosary. I still have those also.

When I think about my First Communion, it must have been in the extraordinary form, or the Latin Mass. Back then it was just the Mass of course and we didn’t worry about reforms or reforms of reforms, or whether or not we would understand it or whether the music would be good. And no one worried if us kids got bored, we just had to go.

And we all liked it.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I loved Mass. To be honest after the drastic changes that took place around 1970 or so I found the Mass confusing, loud and somewhat banal.

It’s not that I was a snob, I was only a kid. But some other people from my old school have mentioned the same thing and we all ended up as music majors, so the music was probably influential for us.

Speaking of changes in the liturgical life of the Church, I consider the new translation coming in Advent an extremely simple switch in comparison. Almost like a hiccup after having gotten over a case of influenza.

On a separate note, there’s this:

Hilarious!

I’ve learned not to talk a lot about politics on my blog… for better or for worse. Issues but not politics. Lord knows what will come of that but it’s fine with me for the time being.

Go and have a looksee at the whole post.

A Happy Feast of Martha it was today. Cheers, and Prayers that all may find a Blessed Weekend ahead.