Tag Archives: british columbia

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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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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It has begun!

After much anticipation, the snow has finally begun.

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Thanksgiving.

Our first experience of Thanksgiving was excellent.  Even though we’d never had one before, I can’t imagine it being any better.
Over twenty of us staying in this hostel chipped in $10 each, and we cooked a huge dinner.  Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sprouts, carrots, roast potatoes, bacon, gravy; the works.  We also had a few Spanish omelettes, made by these lovely smiley Spanish travellers:

Although none of us knew each other before coming to stay at the hostel, it felt like a real family affair.  Everyone pitched in to prepare food, cook, stir, dish out, wash up.  Most of us are here on working visas, and our common goal of finding a place to live and a job, has bonded us quickly.

 

After dinner, we had pumpkin pie and eggnog, neither of which I had tried before, but both of which I will have again (and again, and again).

And at some point between trying not to eat everything on my plate at once, and talking to the Australian guy on my left and the French guy across from me, Blake, who orchestrated the whole thing, stood up and reminded us all that Thanksgiving is all about being intentionally thankful and that to make this a proper Thanksgiving, we had to go around the table and say what we were thankful for.  I think this was my favourite part (Baileys eggnog was a close second).

People’s ‘thankfuls’ ranged from “I’m thankful I checked into the hostel today and not tomorrow, otherwise I wouldn’t have got this dinner!” to “I’m thankful to have met every single one of you; you guys already feel like family.”
I was one of the last to speak, and I had a hundred things in my head that I could have said.  I am thankful for so much in my life; I am incredibly blessed and I never want to take any of that for granted.  So I kept it simple, and relevant.
“I am thankful for what I hope will be the most memorable year of all of our lives.”

Every single day I have something to be thankful for, but it was good to have this occasion to really think about everything I have, and to share that with other people.

I am thankful.

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Job hunting, hiking and persevering.

Hello :)
I made some blog changes, what do you think?
I did it all myself, and now I need to stop fiddling with it before I mess it up again.
– – – – – – – – – – –

We’ve been in Whistler about a week and a half now.  We don’t have an apartment yet, nor do we have jobs.  Apparently we are here ‘too early’; the ski season doesn’t start for another month yet, so most places aren’t hiring just yet.  We’re still trying though!  We have set up bank accounts though. And got our social insurance numbers. So not entirely unproductive.
We have viewed seven (I think) places to live, and I’ve definitely hit my saturation point with that.  Getting our apartment in Leicester has definitely spoiled us – it was cheap, a good size for us, perfect location, etc.  I learned pretty fast that nothing here is cheap.  Nothing.  One or two places are possibilities, but we’ll keep looking just in case.

We’ve been doing a lot of walking and exploring while we can, before the snow comes and before we get jobs.


Walking down the piste into Creekside.


Those are friends we met at our hostel, Adam and Joe.


I look so happy here because I was more than relieved to be standing there – we had just hiked in the scorching heat to ask about job vacancies on the mountain, only to be turned away, and I was exhausted (and becoming convinced we’d never make it back down again)


The weather has been better than we’d ever get in Britain in the summer.  The temperature does drop a lot at night though.

That’s really all I have to report today.  Here’s a last photo of me on a cooler day, hoping to avoid bears in the woods.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!
I will post photos soon about our first thanksgiving.  See you then :)

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Vancouver Part Two

We were only in Vancouver for three days, yet it’s still taking me forever to keep up with blogging.
On our last day in Van, we went up to the viewing deck at the Harbour Centre twice; once around lunch time, and again at sunset.


I have a hundred pictures that all look the same.

A few hours later, the sun began to set…

Vancouver is a fantastic city.  Expensive, but fantastic.
I could have spent much more than three days there, but we had booked our Greyhound bus to take us to Whistler, and I was so excited to get on it and get here.
And here I am, in what I am positive must be the most beautiful place on earth.
I’ll be back later today with photos from my first few days in Whistler.

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