I hope you enjoy my blog, a collection of articles and thoughts regarding my interests. I'm a married father of two that loves to write about gliding, hunting, fishing, camping and any outdoor passion. Oh yah, I'm a quadriplegic. I hope this is informative to some, entertaining to others, and interesting to all. Let me know what you think. If you'd like an article for your publication, I've got words I haven't even used yet!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Rifle Shooting

Winter has hit early here in Alberta Canada, but November is the time of deer hunting. Luckily for me I have a buddy like David Loshny. If I ever lose the enthusiasm to hunt, I only need to observe the work he is willing to do to include me in the hunt ... thanks Dave!

The other day the phone rings, "Two p.m. work?"

"Yeppers!" I reply, knowing that this is the call to hunt.

It was cold and windy, and while us quads are cold-blooded, we installed the arctic-strength fur-lined (and of course mega-stylish ... NOT!)  "block-heater" and off we went.

"We should check our rifles" Dave said.

"Yep," I reply, "I think my rifle has been dropped, better check."

You might think that a 300 Winchester Magnum rifle is a little large for a quadriplegic, but this one behaves itself quite nicely. Pud at the Bashaw Sport Shop helped me choose a Browning Bar semi-automatic, which has reduced recoil over bolt action rifles. Then he installed a muzzle-brake, and my 300 mag now kicks like it's a 6mm!

We set up in a field to shoot at 100yds. Even though it was quite gusty and cold, we managed to get a few shots off. I pull the trigger by clenching on a clothspin-type device, and the gun is held by a rack that has been redesigned a few times over the last 20 years!

After 3 shots I was out by about 4 inches, confirming that being dropped had affected the accuracy! A few adjustments later and I was 2 inches high at 100yds, great for hunting!  Another Super Day with Dave!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Safety First ... Quadriplegic Kayaking

Ok, I'm no Felix Baumgartner, you know ... the guy that jumped from a balloon capsule over 125,000 feet up. We were watching (along with the appropriate oohs and aahs) the Red Bull stunt live the other day, when my friend casually strolls behind me and nonchalantly says, “With all the safeties built into that thing, you going kayaking is probably more dangerous.”

I had to laugh, as the memory of my ill-fated adventure came back, and acknowledge that he may be right. Funny how our brain will block out life's embarrassing moments, heck I'd forgotten (or at least kept quiet about) this incident until the video camera was unloaded months later.

It was last spring, we were all tired of the winter doldrums and thoughts of summertime fun were infiltrating the old puzzler. As if on cue an email shows up that grabbed my attention ... Disabled Kayaking.

My wife and I had discussed this topic before, and watched Youtube videos on the subject, and I had her convinced that it was safe enough (I mean, how dangerous could it be?).

In replying to the email I asked all the important questions:

“Are you set up for this? Have you handled people with disabilities before?”

“Yep” came the answer, investigation over.

“Sign me up”

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Priorities Rearranged

     Well, the blog has ground to a temporary halt this summer. Summer is usually the time that we get out and do things, and try to find stuff that is worthy of writing about. Unfortunately, lately that quest became seemingly very unimportant in the scheme of life. When something like this happens in your life, it really throws your perception of what really is a biggee, and what isn't.

     My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring. It seemed like bad news after bad news followed. I'll never forget the look on her face when she received the call that there was nothing that the doctors could do and that treatments would be ended. It felt like all of the air was sucked out of the room. Mom's spirit was totally deflated after the call, and she stared off into space. She had recently been having the time of her life, playing music and travelling with Lloyd, and they had so many future fun adventures planned. It all seemed overwhelmingly unfair. Fortunately we live close by and were able to spend lots of time with her those last months. Mom grew weaker and weaker, and near the end of July, with Lloyd faithfully at her side, her battle was over. Words will never adequately describe the hole that is left in our lives. We were left totally numb. It felt like the months after breaking my neck, a low point is reached beyond which more bad news means nothing, you've reached your limit. Needless to say, things that used to be a big deal no longer are. All of the normal fun things seem unimportant, and therefore unappealing. Hence I have very little cool and fun stuff to write about. We have done very little camping, no flying since June, not even any fishing yet. I know from past experience that this will pass, and my friends and family have been so great at helping us to get back to (the new) normal. Mom will be sorely missed, but we must remember that there was a lot more to her life than the last few months of sickness. She had many years of health and happiness, a lot of exciting adventures, and was loved by so many people. We must say goodbye for now, but we know that it is only for now.

Goodbye Mom.

     Mom's passing reminded me of a story I wrote after my father passed away six years ago, I hope he built his cabin in paradise.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Global News: Still Soaring

We had the coolest experience this week. Last Thursday I received a call from Su-Ling Goh of Global News in Edmonton, explaining that the people in the office had been watching my YouTube videos, and could she come down and interview me on Monday morning!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Great Soaring Day!

May 26, 2012 was a great day for soaring!

We arrived at the field at about lunchtime and I got my name on the list quickly, and proceeded to go shoot the crap with anybody that would. It is a lot of fun hanging around an airport, and anybody that is infected with the flying bug loves to BS with others that have the same affliction.

The sun was out, the breeze was not too strong, and the puffy clouds starting to build. A perfect day was brewing!

About 2:30 in the afternoon it was my turn to go, there were several volunteers including my wife to help me get into the glider, and within minutes they had my butt in and organized. We took off shortly thereafter, Bob Hagen in the back and me in the front. The turbulence was quite bad on tow so there were a few times that Bob saved the day as my arm strength was not quite up to the task of levelling the glider after some of the bumps. At 5200 feet we released from the tow.

“Which way should we go Bob?” I asked.

“You're doing the flying, pick a cloud,” came the reply.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Spring Thermalling

What a weekend!

The weather was warm, the thermals were strong, and the gliders were available for flight!

Sunday we took off at about two o'clock in the afternoon and got towed to 3000 feet in the Puchacz, a Polish-built high-performance glider. Immediately after release from the tow plane we banked towards some dark cloud, and underneath the lift was incredible! We went from 5000 feet to 8000 feet and what seemed like no time! And we spent the next hour touring around and sightseeing, and every time we needed some lift we just circled underneath one of those clouds! Up we went like an elevator, what an incredible flight! Some of the other club members did cross-country flights that lasted between five and six hours, it was a perfect soaring day. After a little over an hour we decided that we had better not hog the aircraft anymore, so we had to hit the spoilers and descend down to our airport.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Disability Horizons: Adaptive Fishing In The Great Outdoors

Click to view article Adaptive Fishing In The Great Outdoors

Here is an article that I had published in Disability Horizons. It is a story about a day fishing with Dale Baden last fall. What a great day that was! Springtime is here, it is time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors once more!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Muskrat Calling

A week or so ago we had some warm weather days and decided to go camping. We camped near a local river and did some hiking ( or four-wheel-drive wheelchairing) and photography. It was great to get back to doing outdoors things after a long winter. We made it down to the river, and although fishing season is not open for a few weeks here we did get to observe the wildlife.

One of the things that is kind of fun to do when you are near most water with bulrushes, is to call for muskrats. Believe it or not, I read about how to call muskrats when I was in about grade 9, and I paid enough attention that class to remember how to do it. This is basically a piece of that goofy, useless knowledge that takes up the empty spaces in your head, of which I apparently have an ample supply of. To make the call, all you do is hold your lips tightly together and clench them with your teeth, and then suck air through the corner of your mouth. The high-pitched squeal is much like blowing on a piece of grass, and this is the sound that muskrats make. Using this technique you can call a muskrat that is several hundred yards away and it will come right up to you. I have been using this technique for years for entertainment, and unfortunately I used to use it when I hunted them for fur as a teenager with great success.

The following is a video that we took of me calling a muskrat while we were out camping the other day.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Barnett Ghost 400 Fired From a Wheelchair

So there I was, sitting (what else, I'm a quad ... remember?) in my computer room with papers piled to the ceiling, up to my seat-cushion in alligators with no drain plug in sight, the weather outside summer like ... yay. I look over to the bench to the left, and there is the lonely-neglected crossbow sitting there, minding its own business, just like it has done for the last three months. The only sign that it has received any attention at all is the missing paint on the floor where a wheelchair has repeatedly pulled up to the bench, paused, and pulled away again.

I say to myself, "Self, you moron, what the heck are you doing inside on a day like this when spring has just arrived? Get your butt outside!"

I check my horoscope, it says something like this, "You moron, what the heck are you doing inside on a day like this when spring has just arrived? Get your butt outside."

About this time I hear the 'bloooodley-doot' of a Facebook message, it reads "You got arrows for that crossbow? ''

 I immediately reply, "Got arrows, you got time?"

"See you at one," comes the reply.

You need to really appreciate it when you're day is saved like that. Dave arrived around one, we loaded the crossbow and accessories into the van and took off to see  how it would shoot.

What a great day! The alligators can wait!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Everybody Has A Story

We were camping in southern Texas a  few years ago, and right next to the campground was a channel that led from the Gulf of Mexico to the city of Brownsville. There was always lots of interesting boats travelling up this channel. Sometimes there were shrimp boats, sometimes there were fishing boats, and sometimes large ships. In the city of Brownsville there are facilities to build and repair huge oceangoing oil rigs. One morning while I was sitting out in front of our camper enjoying the morning sunrise and a cup of coffee under a palm tree, I noticed a large drilling rig looming in the distance. I pointed it out to my wife and daughter, asked for my video camera, and off I went to watch the rig travel by. I zipped up the walking trail to a vantage point overlooking the channel, and parked right beside a vacant bench. Soon a car pulled up and parked, and an elderly gentleman got out and slowly and laboriously made his way over to me with the help of his cane.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Communication Is The Key

Conflict between two parties can usually be boiled down to a lack of communication. Us men have been known to occasionally misinterpret simple words, all because we take them at face value and didn't pay attention to the subtle nuances that went along with the word.  

Take the word 'fine'  for example. I wasn't aware that the word 'fine' had such an enormous range and depth associated with it. When a woman says 'fine', she can, with that one simple word,  mean anything from 'fine' to 'I'm going to rip your head off'. One only has to pay attention to the subtle gestures to unearth the meaning.

You innocently ask, "How is your day going?" The answer that you receive is 'fine'. But now you have to sit back and filter in the gentle nuances to get the true meaning.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Get Your "Flying Fix" Indoors

OK, still not warm enough for this cold-blooded gimp to go outside and get his flying fix, need to figure out an indoor one. Once bitten by the flying bug, the infection seems to produce a fever and agitated-fidgety state. This seems to intensify with each non-flying day. It is an incurable affliction, and once infected it is a lifelong disease. Consultation with experts suggests that symptoms can be reduced by 1-2 hours of stick-time administered daily. Studies have shown that it doesn't really matter what kind of aircraft you control, so long as it flies.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Kubasa The Wonder-Mule

I was thumbing through old pictures the other day and had to laugh when I came across this old picture from my first life, of the "bargain" mule that my father bought. When we look back on life there are certain situations that really strike us as funny (in my case lots of situations! Murphy's my friend!), and this one prompted me to write a story about it. Now you have to remember this took place about 30 years ago, and memories being what they are, especially mine, there may be more than one version of the "true" events out there. I'm sure some of the locals will remember these characters, their names have not been changed because there are no innocent to protect. So take it for what it is, it's a semi-true story believe it or not!

Kubasa the Wonder-Mule

This story involves a man, a few "friends" and a mule (half horse, half donkey, half attitude). As was more customary in the early 80's there was, or at least must have been, a little alcohol involved. It seems my city indoor-office-oriented father was enjoying the new-found freedom associated with living on an acreage for the first time since childhood, and thus started associating with certain "rawhide" cowboy type friends. These characters came complete with cowboy hat, boots, vest, neckerchief and Skoal ring in the back pocket. They also had the obligatory sprinkle of mischievousness found in all cowboys, hidden somewhere in their makeup. Their cunning senses detected a certain affinity for the bottle with my father, and a tendency to let his normally keen sense of judgement dullen slightly with each swig.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Edmonton Soaring Club Orders Glider With Hand Controls


One way to evaporate those winter blahs is to look forward to a new piece of equipment to master when summer-weather arrives, thereby increasing one's knowledge and skill level  (a nearly-plausible way for a guy to explain the rationality of a 'new toy to play with'). Just the thought of the summer breeze, sunny days, and being active outside can totally transport you into that world, allowing you to forget about the winter storm raging outside. You sit by the window with a contented grin, ignoring the winter wonderland.

We all need something to look forward to, something to remind us that good times lie ahead. Now don't get me wrong, winter is not THAT bad, but when  you're a quadriplegic that's mostly cold-blooded (to the point of being a p.i.a. to the general population), residing 2,500 miles North of the palm trees and need to listen to Jimmy Buffett via satellite, by the end of February it's been long enough.

A new toy? While we're conjuring up a good day-dream, how about a brand-new high-performance sailplane, equipped with hand-controls, a volunteer instructor, a lift to get wheelchair-users into the cockpit, and a Piper Pawnee to tug it into the air ... that oughta do it!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Quadriplegic Lifestyle: Fishing

Okay, even though it has been a good winter … that's enough for me. This is the time of the year that I get most of my computer work completed while I'm confined to the indoors. Part of the stuff I do on the computer is editing the videos we've taken during the summer. Here is a video on fishing. In working on it I was transformed back to that great day. Now I'm looking forward to summer more than ever!
It was a perfect autumn day, the sun was shining, the weather was warm, and the fish were biting! This video shows a bit of how with the help of a friend I can catch fish, and even though I'm clumsy (us quadriplegics are like that ) in handling the rod and reel (and just about everything else), it works out okay in the end. You “Up-Rights” need to have patience when dealing with us … LOL.
I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Life Lessons: Materialism

2007 "Eco Tour" in the Keys

Heck I’d never even seen the tropics before and I was blown away by the warmth, sun and smells, and here it was January! The ocean was the most spectacular iridescent blue, and from the bridges that joined the Keys we could see fish jumping, boats, and birds on the water. There were palm trees and mangroves and flowers that were all new to me. The people all seemed to be wearing shorts, loud flowery shirts, and flip-flops. Everybody seemed to be laid-back, operating on “Keys Time". We read a pamphlet that summed up the local attitude; “Key West is a quaint little drinking town with a tourist problem.” The cost of camping was a paltry price to pay to experience this, and I was eager to take in all I could. We set up camp amongst the palms, and soon were exploring down by the water and over by the marina. That's where we met Captain Tom.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Life As A New Quadriplegic

I was asked to do a presentation on Life As A Quadriplegic for a group of local junior high students, and asked not to sugarcoat the situation as I am prone to do. I like to focus on what I CAN do, but the teacher pointed out that "we don't want it to look like it's all fun, because it CAN'T be". She was right, I have a habit of hiding the tough stuff and focusing on the positive, a survival tactic us gimps use. I have been very fortunate to surround myself with a lot of very positive people, and I'd like to keep it that way! Well I was asked to write something that shows what it's really like to be a quadriplegic, something that will make them pay attention to the presentation and remind them that it isn't always easy. Now don't get me wrong, I received top-notch care and have no bad feelings about the care-givers that were required to perform such a difficult job. So here it is, what the kids got, and now I can go back to thinking on the positive side again!

Life As A New Quadriplegic

Imagine you are struggling, fighting to escape. You are held firmly down to a bed. Two white-coats are holding your head still while trying to insert a hose about the diameter of your finger up your nose. You struggle, trying to thrash side to side but cannot move. Your arms and legs are immobilised, you are lying flat on your back, and it feels is if you are encased in steel. The feeling of claustrophobia is taking over.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Low Budget Four Wheel Drive Wheelchair

     Here is a short video that shows how we took a Quickie P 300 power wheelchair and converted it into a four-wheel-drive power wheelchair. The total cost was a little over $100. One of the problems I've always found was wanting to go outdoors more, but there were very few wilderness locations that were wheelchair accessible. Inevitably when I did find a place with fishing opportunities that was wheelchair accessible it would be very crowded with people and not so crowded with fish. This new four-wheel-drive wheelchair has opened up the world, and I'm having to rethink about the areas that are possible for me to get to. I can see now that the streams in the mountains will be accessible for fly fishing, and trails in the forests will be possible for bow hunting. In the past I have been to several beaches, but found out that my power chair would get stuck so they were inaccessible to me. Now this chair has proven that it can go through soft sand without any trouble, these areas are all going to be open to me! If you are like most people in wheelchairs and have a handyman in your back pocket, it really wasn't that difficult to build this thing and it only took my friend Garnet MacDonald about a week to do! Let me know if you want any better pictures or info on how this was built.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

New Toy: Barnett Ghost 400

Quadriplegic Bowhunting


     Okay, now we're in the middle of winter and cabin fever is starting to settle in. It is time to start looking forward to the warmer weather that's coming. Up here in Canada winters are quite long and in my situation I need to stay warm, so barring being able to go south for the winter it is time to work on things that are indoors. Luckily a new toy arrived the other day!
     Deer hunting season around here only runs during November, which is one of our coldest months. Often times by the end of November I can't get outside very much (us quadriplegics are cold-blooded ) so I try to get most of my deer hunting in the beginning of November. If you are a bow-hunter you can start hunting big game in the first week of September while it's still warm outside. So my goal by this fall is to be shooting very well with the crossbow (people with disabilities can hunt with a crossbow up here ) by then, hence my new toy.

     The Barnett Ghost 400 should be able to fit the bill. It will fire a crossbow bolt at about 400 ft./s, and with the optional crank to load it, I should be able to get lots of target practise before the season starts. It only took about an hour to put it all together and mounted on my wheelchair, the next phase of it is to install the trigger pulling device that I clamp with my teeth. It appears that the crossbow will accept this adaptation very easily, so long before the winter is done I should be ready to get out and fire some bolts.

     Can't wait until spring, This is going to be fun!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Quadriplegic Soaring Free: Cowley Soaring Camp With CuNim

as published in Abilities Magazine
by Kary Wright
1Glidingmay 031
     The beautiful blue water of the Oldman Dam fills the windscreen, as we head South-East. To the left is the rolling Porcupine Hills, and on the right the Rocky Mountains shine in the sunlight, forming a chain that extends down into Montana. It's a warm July day and I'm soaking up the view.
“Let's turn downwind,”says Phil Stade from the back seat of the two-seat high performance glider. I move the stick to the right and the glider gently banks. As the Livingstone Range comes into view to the West I'm once-again awestruck by this incredible mountain scenery. I fly the glider parallel to the runway, setting us up for a landing.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Quadriplegic Deer Hunting

This story was published in Alberta Outdoorsmen in April 2010

Super Day!

“Click ... click!”



“Click ... click, clickety click!“

David immediately stops in his tracks and freezes. He knows the distinctive sound of electric wheelchair brakes disengaging and re-engaging, and is likewise familiar with the obligatory cussing. Nothing gets your undivided attention like the thought of a quadriplegic nearby, clumsily manoeuvring an electric wheelchair about in a confined propane heated space with a  loaded 300 Winchester Magnum rifle attached ( I mean, what could possibly go wrong?), and it has David on high alert. This frantic movement can signal only one thing to him ( unless you consider the heater) … a deer has been spotted and his buddy is trying to take aim.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

New Mobility: The magazine for active wheelchair users

View Soaring Article In New Mobility Magazine

Here is an article I wrote for New Mobility on one of my passions, flying gliders at the Edmonton Soaring Club in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. It shows how I get lifted out of my wheelchair and into the glider. I think that this is a sport almost anybody can enjoy!

Quadriplegic Lifestyles: Glider Pilot

One of my passions is flying gliders. Here is a video that shows how a quadriplegic can get into and actually fly a glider. This was shot at the Edmonton Soaring Club near Edmonton Alberta, Canada.