Tag Archives | Dad

A Eulogy for My Dad

David Harold Barkley

David Harold Barkley
1943–2016

I’ve been thinking about the phrase, “welter and waste” lately. We spent the last week of Dad’s life in Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto which is coincidentally a ten minute walk away from my favourite theological bookstore. It was there I found Robert Atler’s translation of the Torah.

The Torah begins, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:1–2 NIV). The NIV says “formless and empty.” The King James reads “without form, and void.” Robert Atler chose “welter and waste.” You’ll have to forgive this eulogy for sounding like a sermon, but I am a preacher after all!

By the time Dad reached his last days with us, the cancer had ravished his body. Bladder and bone, liver and lungs had all taken the hit. When I looked at him in the hospital bed, “welter and waste” seemed an apt description. But Dad wasn’t always like this. Continue Reading →

Killarney Provincial Park, 2008

Silver Peak from below

Silver Peak from below

I’ve hiked the LaCloche loop through Killarney twice now. The second time ’round, my friends and I had the energy to climb Silver Peak. After returning home and looking at the map, I realized that Silver Peak would make a good weekend trip. This past September, my dad and I spent a couple nights on David Lake, and climbed Silver Peak.

Day 1

  • Johnnie Lake
  • 830m portage
  • Clearsilver Lake
  • 980m portage
  • Creek from David Lake
  • 40m portage (not on the map)
  • David Lake

We picked up our permits at the George Lake office just before noon. The fish ‘n chip place in the town of Killarney was still open, so we filled up on deep fried food to start the trip. We parked at the Johnnie Lake access point and had our canoe in the water by early afternoon.

All the portages are well used, so finding our way was never a problem. Finding a campsite on David Lake, however, was. Since the park only sells permits for the Lake you’re staying on (not the specific campsite), paddlers are left to circle the lake to see which campsites are available. Fortunately, we arrived early enough to lay claim to the second site we passed (#106). Since you can’t see the actual campsite from the lake, we clipped our life-jackets around a tree near the water to mark the site as used.

As we were setting up our camp, a couple paddlers came by the site to warn us that they had been chatting with a black bear just around the corner. He never bothered us, and we never bothered him.

After a quick swim to freshen up, we had a great oak-tree bonfire and feasted on hot dogs in wraps with fried onions and mustard. Mmmm.

I set up the tent earlier in the day to be safe, but we both chose to sleep under the stars. We fell asleep to the sound of acorns falling from the trees.

Day 2

  • David Lake
  • Hiked to Silver Peak and back
  • David Lake

We woke up and had pancakes for breakfast. (And percolated coffee—never forget the coffee!) The pancakes may have picked up a little extra flavour from the previous night’s onions, but that’s camping! After a quick 10 minute paddle to the portage to Boundary Lake, we set off for Silver Peak.

The first part of the trail was a beautiful walk along the ridge between David and Boundary Lakes. The mini-climbs were a good warm-up for what was to come. The ridge ended at the Creek that flows into Boundary Lake. After pumping our Nalgenes full of fresh water, we walked through a mostly level forest to the base of Silver Peak. The climb was tough, but we made it to the peak.

The view from Silver Peak is stunning. There’s quite a bit of room up there to move around, which was good since we shared it with 30 or so other people! We spent a couple hours up there, drinking green tea and feasting on Thai tuna & havarti cheese wraps.

Hiking down Silver Peak is a lot easier than going up! We passed many more people in that direction. A quick paddle brought us back to the ol’ campsite where we both had a swim.

Supper was rigatoni with pesto. We wolfed it down!

That night I fell asleep under the partially cloudy sky, staring at the light from the bonfire.

Day 3

  • David Lake
  • 200m portage
  • Creek and marsh that flowed from David Lake
  • 745m portage
  • Bell Lake
  • 190m portage
  • Log Boom Lake
  • 50m portage
  • Unnamed pond
  • 100m portage
  • Johnnie Lake

I woke up to my dad’s voice at 6:45 a.m. “Steve, get up.  It’s raining”. We stumbled to the tent and napped another hour or so. The rain was very brief and didn’t bother us for the rest of the day. We ate instant oatmeal packets and toasted bagels for breakfast. (And coffee, remember?)

As we paddled to the end of David Lake, we saw something swimming across a bay. At first we thought it was a beaver, but it didn’t slap it’s tail as we approached. After paddling like mad to see what it was, we discovered a baby raccoon. After hissing at us for paddling to close for its comfort, it turned around and swam back to the shore it started from.

Again, these portages were well used and easy to find. The wind was a positive factor on the way home. (This is a rare occurrence for me—usually I’m fighting the wind.) We flew down parts of Johnnie Lake with the wind at our back. If only we had packed a sail!

The traditional post-trip Chinese food celebration took place at Boston Cafe in Parry Sound.

It was a fantastic trip.

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