Sunday, April 30, 2017

Blog for April 30, 2017

We have certainly had a very busy week but, with the exception of seeing a movie that was recommended to us and taking a short trip yesterday, things have been pretty much business as usual. The picture included above is a preview of our trip, so, get through the work related stuff and then enjoy more of the pictures taken during our outing. 

Kathy’s role has certainly been expanded since the departure of the Peppingers. She is now the welcoming voice on the phone and routes the incoming calls and incoming email to the others in the office. Her duties pretty much include all that she did previously plus most of what Sister Peppinger did including missionary travel issues.  At the same time she has been training Sister Sefcik, who was planning to cover these duties when we return home; however, the Sefciks learned on Monday that a very capable local couple has come forward and will be starting soon, the Stephensons. Sister Stephenson will take over all of Sister Sefcik’s duties and, likewise, Elder Stephenson will cover Elder Sefcik’s duties. The Sefciks, who are likewise a local couple, have extended their mission a couple of times to accommodate the needs of the mission office such that their original 6 months has stretched to become more like 20 months or so. The Sefciks will certainly be missed. We have grown very close to them as we were with the Peppingers during their time in the office.

So on to our extracurricular activities; on Wednesday Kathy and I saw a wonderful movie that had been recommended to us, Hidden Figures. The movie is a true story primarily about three African American women who worked at NASA during the early space flight era; a time when the U.S. was in a space race with the Soviet Union. It was a time when women at NASA struggled for the recognition they so richly deserved, and to be a black woman working in a male dominated career was particularly difficult. These three women each played a key role in early space flight and yet their contributions were largely discounted.

After getting our weekly preparation day activities completed, we headed to Bragg Creek and the Elbow River Falls area. These are located west of Calgary in the foothills before one gets to the Canadian Rockies. Bragg Creek is a small community along the Elbow River and is within commuting distance of Calgary. Further west from there is the Elbow River Falls. W

While not a particularly impressive river or falls, it is the area above and below the Falls that is of particular interest. In mid to late June of 2013, a particularly heavy rainfall occurred over several days at a time when there was already considerable runoff from melting mountain snowfields. The combined runoff was extreme and many Southern Alberta communities were suddenly under water, including much of downtown Calgary. The destructive force of the water can be appreciated when you see the various river channels leading out of the mountains; the water literally swept the areas clean as the boulders and trees were carried along in the path of the water. There was once a very lovely picnic and camping area along the Elbow River which was totally wiped out by the broad flood.

Upstream floodplain

Downstream floodplain

Kathy and I were dating when this disaster happened in 2013. We had planned a trip to Canmore and to the Calgary Stampede with the intent of getting to know each other better and decide if we had a future. We were dismayed to hear at that time about the flooding and were concerned that our plans might also be washed away (pun intended). We called and asked about conditions and, to our relief, were assured by the timeshare and the Stampede planners that all was a go. We have since learned how great an effort was made by the good people of Calgary to prepare the Stampede grounds and other areas to get the debris and the muddy areas cleaned up in time for the events. The only impact for Stampede visitors at that time were detours around washed out areas and more limited parking. So now, some four years later, evidences of the flooding remain. Alberta has also spent millions of dollars to improve river channels and to provide means of diverting water away from populated areas should a similar disaster occur.

Needless to say, our 2013 Alberta trip was a huge success (we were engaged!), and, in case you missed our announcement in last week’s blog, we have agreed to extend our mission time here in Calgary until June 30th

Have a wonderful week.

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