Tag Archives: beautiful BC

Hiking the Stawamus Chief

Oh hello!  That’s right, I am still alive, and I am still living in Canada.  After a three-month trip back home, I came back to British Columbia in March, and now live in Vancouver.

It’s very different living in the city, as opposed to Whistler where many outdoor activities are right there on your doorstep.  I’ve got very lazy and not done many hikes, I haven’t run in ages, and I don’t even have a bike anymore.  So when I was invited to a group hike of The Chief in Squamish, I jumped at the chance.  Well, not a literal jump, because I’m lazy, remember?

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I’ve wanted to hike The Chief since I first moved here (almost three years ago, what?!), but never really had the chance as I don’t have a car, and it’s pretty hard to get to on public transport.  I knew it was going to be challenging, especially as I am seriously unfit right now, but I did not anticipate just how gruelling it would be.  Brutal, that’s the word I have been using to describe it.

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This was the view about 3/4 of the way up.  We were about an hour and a half in at this point, and I was flagging big time.  Actually, to be fair, I had been flagging from ten minutes in.  I should have been drinking water right from the start, not waiting until we stopped for a break.

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Yeah, those are chains screwed into the rock face to pull yourself up with.

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That’s the view from the top.  Gorgeous, and totally worth it.

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After rehydrating and having some lunch, we began the trek back down, which was equally as difficult.  Let’s just say, going backwards down ravines is not the easiest thing for someone as uncoordinated as me.

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When we finally made it back to the car, four hours later, we headed to a lake to chill out and enjoy the sun… but when we got to the lake it suddenly became overcast

 

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Even though every single muscle in my body aches, and I can barely move today, I’m really glad I did it.  I’m also really glad that we went in the morning, before it got hot and before the trails got busy.

Maybe I’ll get back into the outdoors…

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Bowen Island

Bowen Island is just off Vancouver, about a fifteen or twenty minute ferry trip away.

I’d heard about it from my mum’s friend who used to live there, but I was seriously under-prepared for how beautiful it was going to be.  Words, and pictures, cannot describe it.

 

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These photos are from May, but it felt like the middle of summer.

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If I could go anywhere to retire, it would be Bowen Island.

I’d own a boat, and drink coffee and read on my deck all day (because it would never rain, of course).

 

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The Hemloft

The Hemloft is a famous, but secret egg-shaped tree house in the forest somewhere in Whistler.  Basically, the guy who built it did it over a period of a few years, entirely in secret.
A few weeks ago it was reported that he was going to take it down (mainly because it was illegal; he built it on crown land), and so we knew that if we wanted to find it we had to stop putting it off.
Because of the lengths the creator went to to keep it secret, anyone who has since found it has honoured this by not disclosing its location.  Meaning we couldn’t just Google it and set off.   A previous manager of Jay’s was actually one of the first people to find it, so we called her to ask for some help.  We still went the wrong way, but thanks to Elias and Xavier being proper fearless explorers in the wilderness, we found it.

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Walking across there was actually kind of scary.  It’s way higher up than it looks; the whole tree house hangs on a precipice.

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L-R: Rachel, Elias, Jay, Xavier and me.

The Hemloft was dismantled and relocated two days after we found it.  It was such an impressive structure, especially when you consider that all the materials and  huge pieces of timber were carried in by hand, sometimes at 3am, over some very rough terrain.
It looked so impressive, and was well worth the slippery, icy hike (which resulted in me falling into a snow ditch up to my thighs).

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Alta Lake, frozen.

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When we first got to Whistler and were staying at the hostel, we walked past this lake every day on our way to the village.  Since we moved into the house, it’s no longer on our route, so we hadn’t been back since.  When I was offered a half day at work yesterday (while I was actually at work), I decided to take it for once, and we used the afternoon to walk to the lake (on our way to our post box, the bank and post office).
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I had to get another photograph of Jay here, as I have one of her in this spot before the lake froze (in this post).  You can also see me leaning on those handles in my current blog header.

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Jay took off right into the middle of the lake, whereas I was quite tentative as the edges were slushy, and really, it doesn’t feel right to walk on a lake.  Anyway, I felt less nervous when I saw a group of teenagers playing ice hockey in the centre.

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When I first glanced at this, I thought it was a sailing boat that had been left without its moorings and had then become frozen into the lake.  Once I saw it moving it became clear that it is some kind of cool ice boat thing.  That’s as far as my knowledge on that goes.

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Aside from seeing the lake in a totally different way than it was the last time I was there, it felt pretty awesome to have my camera back out again after more than a month.

On an unrelated note, Jay broke her leg five weeks ago.  She’s doing pretty well to be walking on an icy lake, eh?

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On learning to ski.

I had hoped that as soon as I put a pair of skis on it would feel like the most natural thing, like I was born to do it, like there was some gene in my body that was finally going to get its chance to shine.
Sadly, that has not happened.  But I have not given up.

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That’s me and my wonderful friend Alice who has been helping me to ski while she snowboards (she can do both. I am so envious).

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That’s me down there, snowploughing like a champ.

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I think part (most?) of the problem is my fear.  Until November 2012 I had never been on a snowy mountain before.  Then suddenly I was on a literal slippery slope, surrounded by all this terminology that quite frankly, frightened me.  Piste, green run/blue run/black run (and let’s not talk about the double black diamond.  The name itself assures me that I will undoubtedly die if I ever find myself on one of those), powder days, bindings…
All these knowledgeable people with their fancy equipment, big words and passion for snow sports intimidated me.  Although I know what those words mean now, and I have all the equipment I need, I am still scared.  I like to stick to the same runs that I know, and to take my time.  I have had three ski lessons, and countless days practising with Jay, Alice and other people.  While I really appreciate all these people helping me, I would love to have someone to ski with who is at the same level as me.  I hate feeling like I am holding everyone else back.
Perhaps if I had a week or two where I could go up every day and just take a few solid lessons, I would improve.  Who am I kidding?  My legs could not take that.
I work five days a week so doing a ‘crash course’ isn’t possible. ( I actually work in the kids program in Whistler, so I watch as children as young as three years old go from total novices to confident mini skiers within a week.  There is definitely a lot to be said for learning skiing or snowboarding as a child.)

For now, I will keep on going, and try to shake off my fear of losing control and racing head-first into a tree before falling off the edge of a cliff.

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What about you?  When did you learn to ski or board?  Do you think it’s more difficult to learn as an adult?
I’d love to hear what you think (and any tips are always welcome).
:)

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A pictorial round up of my 2012

I was going to post one photo I took from each month in 2012, and then quickly realised that I couldn’t narrow them down.  At all.
Some months I had dozens that I love, and other months I had barely any.
So I apologise for this hodge podge post with far too many photographs that I’ve already posted this year :)

January

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February

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March

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April

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May

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June

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July

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August (sorry, there are a lot for August)

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September

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October

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November

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December

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I hope that your 2012 was great, and your 2013 is wonderful.

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More pictures of snow, essentially.

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It’s a slippery hike up to our front door.

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That’s me, doing what I do best: working hard.

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Jay moved over to the dark side and bought a snowboard.

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I learned my lesson about going up the mountain without covering up properly; my lips became really chapped and I got some nasty coldsores :(  This face/neck warmer is perfect because I can still breathe through it easily.

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See that chair lift on the left there?  I went on that, yeah!  It’s pretty scary to do it for the very first time (and the second, and third time actually), but I didn’t die and that was my main objective.
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Whistler Upper Village looks so festive.

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The street I live on is pretty awesome.

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I know it’s hard to make it out in this photo, but that is a bird sitting on Jay’s hand.  Outside my work there are a lot of trees and dozens of these birds live in the trees, and I guess over time they’ve become accustomed to being around a lot of people.  If you hold your hand out at arm’s length with a piece of food on it, the birds will come and eat right out of your hand.

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This is the view out of my window as I write this evening.
Beautiful.

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Some photos that Jay took on Whistler mountain.

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Jay took these shots the other day when she was out skiing.  I did some minor tweaking, to feel like I had contributed, as I am definitely not ready to go full-on skiing on the mountain, and therefore can’t get shots like these.
However, I have had a Level One skiing lesson, and can now stop and turn.
Impressive, huh?

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It has begun!

After much anticipation, the snow has finally begun.

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A bunch of nothing.

I don’t have much to offer today, except a few photos that never made it this far.  It snowed for a day or two, but stopped, and it’s pretty much all gone now, except at the top of the mountains.  The photo above is of Jay and the Inuksuk, with the little bit of snow that remained.


Fall continues to be beautiful.


Jay at Lost Lake; we went back again after our first trip.

– – – – – – – – – –

So maybe you’re wondering about our housing and employment situation?  I did promise an update, so I suppose I should stick to that.
Jay has managed to get three part time jobs (yes, three!), but I haven’t secured a single one yet.  I could tell you in great detail about one horrific interview experience I had, but it would only cause my anger and humiliation to rise up again, and I’m managing to keep that quelled.  There are some job fairs coming up this weekend so I will put on my brave face and hope to get something there.  We did arrive a bit too early; October and November are known as ‘shoulder season’ here because it’s the dead period between seasons.  It seems to be picking up slowly now as regards jobs, so hopefully I will get something soon.

In better news, we have a place to live!  We will be living with seven other people that we met while living at the hostel in Whistler.  The house is amazing, and I can’t wait to finally unpack.  I’m pretty sure I will find items of clothing at the bottom of my suitcase that I’d forgotten I even owned.  We move in on October 31st; until then we are staying in an apartment owned by a lovely girl who happened to have a spare room for a couple of weeks.  Once we are settled into the big house I will share photos of it and share my house-hunting experience for anyone yet to embark on that adventure.

I’m off to make my CV (I mean, resume) shine:

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