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As you may recall, my friend Rick won the Big Mountain Challenge where he and Dan got a trip to Banff and Lake Louise to do some amazing hikes, got pampered at swanky Banff and Lake Louise spas, AND raised $26,762 for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
Well, he and Dan completed all the necessary hikes (and then some) and, on the very last hike, were greeted at the top of the mountain by the press, the mayor of Banff, a bunch of other dignitaries, and an oversized novelty cheque for the Kidney Foundation of Canada! Here’s the video:
I am so jealous that I’ve never received an oversized novelty cheque1! But even more, I’m so proud of Rick and Dan, for all their hard work to win this contest and then do all the crazy mountain climbing. Way to go guys!
- Perhaps that needs to go on my next 101 list! [↩]
In keeping with my new habit of booking physical activity in my calendar, today I did, in fact, do the Grouse Grind with Lianna1, just like it says on my calendar. Amazing how that works, eh?
We originally planned this hike with the idea that we’d push for a 1 hr 15 min finish, but my IT band has been acting up and Lianna & Tiffany “accidentally” went out last night, so they weren’t feeling up to pushing ourselves! In the end, we finished in 1 hr 25 mins, which, while nothing to write home about, is respectable enough.
While we were hiking, I mentioned that this was my first time doing the Grind this year and that I like to do it at least once a year, and Lianna said, “Oh, you did it last year?” and I was all “Oh yeah, I totally did.” But searching through my blog, I can’t find *any* mention of it and now that I think about it, I don’t specifically remember doing it last year. I know I did the Scotiabank half marathon, boot camp, and played hockey for 10 days straight, so it’s not like I was slacking, but I could have sworn I did the Grind too2!
Anyway, I have now made this page, which is actually just an embedded version of the Google docs spreadsheet I’m using to track all my Grouse Grind hikes, so that I can keep better records!!
Hey, remember how I spent weeks tweeting and Facebooking that you should vote for my friend Rick to win a trip to hike in Banff and get a bunch of money from a charity of his choosing? As it turns out, he won that1! Thanks to all of you who voted for Rick2!
By winning the contest, Rick automatically3 gets $15,000 for his charity of choosing – the The Kidney Foundation of Canada. But there’s more! There’s the opportunity to raise even more money! For every dollar that gets donated on Rick’s donation page (up to $5,000), Banff Lake Louise Tourism will match it. That’s the chance for $10,000 more to go to The Kidney Foundation of Canada!
So, you know what to do! Go to Rick’s donation page and donate what you can! And if you aren’t in the position to donate, please spread the word!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to donate!
We climbed Mount Baldy 1 in Shawnigan Lake. It was pretty steep and there was a fair bit of sheer rock that I found myself having to climb up like I was Spider-Man and I was totally hot and sweaty2, but it was totally worth it for this view:
Devon is not cool enough to do a jump shot.
Yesterday, I did my first Grouse Grind of the season!1
I was supposed to do it with my friend Lianna, but some work came up for her and she couldn’t make it. And since when has a little thing like that gotten in my way? As I was all mentally prepared to Grind, I decided to do it by myself2. I’ve never done the Grind on my own before – I usually drag unsuspecting tourists with me, which means I take a nice leisurely pace, chatting the whole way and, since chatting takes up a surprising amount of energy, I usually clock in somewhere in the 1.5-1.75 hour range. My previous personal best time was 1 hr 18 mins – and that time I was hiking with a season’s pass holder who I tried to keep up with and couldn’t, so I said, “go on without me! I’ll meet you at the top.”
So I decided to just start hiking while listening to my running playlist on my iPhone and see how fast I ended up going. And a weird thing happened – I actually *liked* the hike. I mean, I usually enjoy the company I’m with, but I go through the following stages of love/hate:
- First 2 minutes: “Yay! We are doing the Grind!”
- From 2 minute mark until 1/4 way: “zomg, this takes forever!”
- From 1/4 mark to 3/4 mark: “WTF am I doing this for? This is the stupidest idea ever!”
- From 3/4 mark to top: “I think I can, I think I can”
- At the top: “Hooray! We did it! We are the bestest ever! I love the Grind!”
But today was different – at no point did I hate the hike. I felt good the whole way up! Man, I don’t know what’s happening to me – first I’ve started enjoying my hill runs and now I like the Grind? Who *am* I?
Some random interesting stuff about yesterday’s hike:
- Just last week, a new record was set for the Grind – 23 minutes 48 seconds. For me, that’s about how long it took me to get to the 1/4 way mark3!
- Along the way, I passed a woman who was carrying her 15 lb, six-month-old baby on her back. She said she’d been doing the Grind regularly carrying her baby in a Baby Björn, but this was her first hike with her in a backpack carrier, as she’s just too big for the Björn now. I have enough trouble finishing the hike as is – I have *no idea* how anyone carries 15 lbs with them!
- I also passed a man who looked like he was about 90 years old. His calves were covered in dark purple (almost black, they were so dark) veins and he was walking about as slow as one could walk without being stopped. But he was doing it. I was in awe!
- Lest you think I passed everyone on the mountain, there were many hikers who passed me! Some of them had calves so chiseled you had to wonder if they were made out of mountain!
In the end, I managed a personal best time! My time was….
…. drumroll please….
1 hr 13 mins!
I have to say, I was pretty pleased with myself. It’s no 23 minutes, but I think it’s a pretty respectable time4.
Because apparently I’m a masochist. Or perhaps I thought I could get my entire year’s worth of exercise into two days. At any rate, my weekend consisted of:
Hiking Eagle Bluffs with Rachel (about 3 hours)
- neither Rach nor I had done this hike before and it was a really nice, a fair bit of uphill at the start, but then it was pretty easy going; great view (especially since it was a perfect day with not a cloud in the sky)
- along the way, some other hikers told us that they had seen a bear. We contemplated the option of turning back or just talking loudly, clapping our hands and jingling keys1 – we chose the latter. When we got to the top, a woman and her two sons were there, so we asked if they’d seen the bear and she said, “No. We heard there was a bear, so we were being very quiet because we wanted to see it. But you were being so loud, we knew we didn’t have a chance.” Apparently no one told them that BEARS KILL PEOPLE!
Stick & Puck with Kim (30 mins)
- since I knew that the first game of the season was on Sunday, I wanted to get out on the ice, you know, just to make sure I still knew how to skate. As it turns out, I do still know how to skate, although my shot didn’t miraculously become unsucky over the summer, as I was sort of banking on happening.
- we didn’t stay long at Stick & Puck because, despite the fact that it was supposed to be Stick & Puck2, about 30 people, mostly very large men, showed up in full gear taking very hard shots all over the place. There was barely any room to skate and the whole time we were worried about getting hit ‘cuz we weren’t wearing full gear! The big men were running over the few small children out there, so we figured they’d have no qualms about running the only two women on the ice over either. I felt a bit like I was letting down womankind, but I’d be no good to my team if I broke my neck at S&P before the season started, now would I?
18 km run (2 hrs 17 mins)
- it was pretty hot out yesterday, my calves were aching from all the hiking up the mountain and I knew I had my first hockey game of the season that night, but such is my dedication to3 my upcoming half marathon that I went out for an 18 km run.
- the run was slower than I would generally like because my legs felt like lead, but FSM bless the lovely people at the snack bar at Spanish Bank West who re-filled my water bottle for me. And put ice in it! By the time I got home, I was *covered* in salt. I know, sexy, right?
First hockey game of the season (1 hr)
- despite the fact that I like to go bed by 10:30 p.m. on school nights4, I was at the rink last night at 10:15 p.m. playing my first game since playoffs in April, facing off against the same team that gave me a concussion the last time we played them
- it was a really close game, but we won 3-2! w00t!
- and *I* got an assist! I worked hard for that assist – it may have looked to the untrained eye that the puck just bounced off of me and directly to my linemate, but I assure you I worked very hard to be place just in the right spot at just the right time to strategically bounce that puck off my body to my linemate who was a wicked good shot. Strategically, I say!
Anyway, all in all, it was a pretty good weekend, but my legs are barely functional. My calves look great, if I do say so myself, but they are stiff as all get out5
- because bears don’t want to see you, so if they hear you coming, they’ll make themselves scarce. The problems occur when you sneak up on them and they get startled. [↩]
- which means people show up with just skates, helmet, gloves & stick for a bit of skating around, stick handling and such [↩]
- or perhaps fear of [↩]
- which I’m clearly failing at again today, since it’s 10:50 p.m. as I type this [↩]
- what the hell does “all get out” mean anyway? Is that even an expression? [↩]
You’d think after Saturday’s epic tour to the Albion Ferry, I’d need a day of rest and recovery, right? But there’s no rest for the wicked, my friends, so Sunday brought another trek up the Grouse Grind. Long time readers will know that though I complain that the Grouse Grind now has way too many stairs (WAY TOO MANY STAIRS!), I still seem to bring my friends there (Shalu, Therese, Crystel & Tenny, Lianna, and Kim, I’m looking in your direction). This time the victim was my Official Statistician & Tattoo Consultant, Almost Dr. Dan. Dan is in town for a Statistics conference, during which he managed to also squeeze in eating lots of sushi, Indian food and breakfast cupcakes, a trip to the Aquarium, and getting two more tattoos, as well as the Grind.
First, the requisite photo at the start of the trail:
Next, proof we made it to the 1/4 way point, where they have this wonderfully encouraging sign telling you that you’ll probably die should you try to go any further:
I don’t know who that random dude on the right is.
Next up, the 1/2 way point:
At this point Dan described his knees as “burning,” but we figured that his physiotherapist’s advice to “just stop activity” when his knees hurt to be rather impratical when you are halfway up a mountain.
Somehow, we managed to miss the marker for the 3/4 way marker. We’d been hiking for a looong time past the 1/2 way mark when Dan said, “This 3/4 way mark sure is alluding us!” But when we looked up we could, mercifully, pretty much see the top. The top looks like this:
Don’t we look victorious?
It was a hot day on Sunday and, despite our supermodel good looks in this photo, Dan and I were really, really sweaty. Usually by a few minutes after I’m done the Grind, once the exercise has stopped, I get chilly pretty quickly. But it was so hot out on Sunday that, despite being on a mountain top where there is still snow (!), I didn’t get chilled at all. And we stayed up there for a while, chatting, checking out the beautiful view and breaking rules:
Seriously, our conversation when we walked up to that fence went something like this:
Beth: I’m feeling the need to get a photo of me beyond that fenceline.
Dan: I was just thinking the exact same thing.
Because if my dad taught me anything, it’s that if a sign says “Do Not Enter,” you just know that there’s something awesome there.
Yesterday marked my first Grouse Grind of the year! The trail didn’t open for the season until quite recently due to the super heavy snowfall we had this past winter – they don’t open the trail until enough of the snow is gone. And apparently there was too much snow until June. Craziness.
Also craziness is the idea of climbing 2800 ft… for FUN! But that is, in fact, what Kim and I decided to do with our Friday morning.
First up, taking the requisite pictures at the start of the trail:
And then we climbed for 1.5 hrs and then took this photo.
So, once upon a time I went camping. And then a week of internet-less-ness went by. And then I got really, really, really ridiculously busy at work. And then I could finally blog about it.
While I was packing for my camping trip:
Me: I think I’ll bring this little notebook and a pen, in case I have any profound thoughts I need to write down while I’m camping.
Dani: You mean in case you have any ideas for your blog.
Me: Yes, yes I do.
Just to give you some background, this was the first time in my entire life that I ever slept in a tent. Seriously. I went to “camp” in grade 8, where we slept in cabins. And I’ve been to my friend Erika’s cabin. And I went to someone’s cottage once. And that’s the extent of my “camping” type experiences up until now. My family never did the camping thing when I was growing up and, despite the fact that everyone in Vancouver seems to camp all summer long, no one has ever invited me to go camping with them until Rachel did three weeks ago.
Rachel has a lot of camping gear, so all I had to bring was my food, clothes and a pillow. Neither of us own a car and it turned out to be much cheaper to rent one than to use a co-op car (which seems to be true of the longer trips, and we were driving pretty far). Rachel did all the planning (did I ever mention that Rachel rocks??) and I honestly didn’t even know exactly where we were heading when we left on the Friday afternoon. It turns out we camped at Nairn Falls Provincial Park on Friday night, then headed out to Joffre Lakes to hike on Saturday.
To give you some perspective, Nairn is about 150 km north of Vancouver. And Joffre, unlike what Rachel’s hiking guide book told us, is about 40 km past that. Rachel’s guide book said “Drive 190 km north past Whistler & Pemberton,” so we got up quite early on Friday expecting to drive 190 km (as Nairne is near Pemberton). What the guide book should have said was “Drive 190 km north of Vancouver, going past Whistler & Pemberton.” Minor details.
We left Vancouver in the afternoon and arrived at our campsite in time to pitch our tent while there was still some sunlight, with time to then enjoy the glorious sunset. We also had, in our opinion, the nicest campsite of all the sites in the park. We had a great view of the mountains and the water running by:
Although I think the sunset makes it look like Rachel has a halo and, really, I should have some devil horns to complete the image.
Before and after photos of our tent:
Am I the only one who is amazed that the tent, tent poles and tarp all fit into that tiny little sack?
After pitching the tent, we went for a little stroll in search of water and firewood and we don’t get but three campsites down when we here “Beth?” It was my friend Alicia, and her boyfriend Paul, who had just arrived at their campsite. It amazes me that in the 7 years I’ve lived in Vancouver, I can count the number of times I’ve just run into someone I know while out in the city1 on one hand2, but I drive 150 km north and run into a friend three campsites down.
After finding water, but not finding the camp ranger3 to get our firewood, we returned to our site, and cooked some dinner on our wee little camping stoves. The ranger did show up later so we could buy some firewood and build a nice little fire. Rachel had booked the campsite in her name, so when the ranger showed up she asked, “Are you the Molls?” Apparently I took Rachel’s name when we got married.
We had a very relaxed night of playing cribbage, watching the stars and chatting. And then we went to bed, since we were planning to get up really early. And I didn’t sleep a wink. The water that was so beautiful was also unbelievably loud! Funnily enough, we had been chatting, among other things, about how both of us almost never have problems sleeping! That’ll learn me to tempt fate! Also, it was a bit chilly and Rachel, meaning to ask if I knew where the extra blanket was in case I got cold, uttered the best line of the trip: “Do you know how to operate a blanket?”
We got up early and, after a quick camping breakfast, packed up and headed out for a drive to Joffre. From the Ministry of the Environment website:
Steeply rising from Lower Joffre Lake, the glacier-laden peaks are visible from an easily accessible viewpoint 500 metres from the parking lot. If you carry on, the trail becomes a rough, rocky and steep hike through the Coast Mountain range. Evidence of the park’s glacial history can be found in the U-shaped valleys, glacial silts and lateral moraines. This magnificent area of jagged peaks, icefields, cold rushing streams and turquoise blue lakes was established as a recreation area in 1988 and became a Class A park in 1996. A highlight of the park is the turquoise blue waters of Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre lakes, all three of which are located along the trail, and each more stunning than the last. Their striking, saturated blue colour is caused by “rockflour” – or glacial silt – that is suspended in the water and reflects green and blue wavelengths of sunlight. Joffre Lakes Provincial Park has opportunities for hiking, camping, mountaineering, wildlife viewing, and fishing.
If it seems like they are going on and on about the turquoise blue waters of the lakes, it’s only because the water is really turquoise! Seriously, don’t these photos look like we standing in front of a fake backdrop? It was hard to believe that something this beautiful really exists!
After reaching Upper Lake, we decided that for our next trip to Joffre we will pack our tent and other camping gear and carry it up there to camp out by Upper Lake. Then we could hike up to see the glacier at the top. How cool will that be!
If you ever decide to go to Joffre Lakes, though, I recommend you beware of the wildlife! Check out this ferocious beast we encountered near Upper Lake:
In all seriousness, though, there are bears in the area. And we saw these (what we are pretty sure are4) bear tracks:
There was also a very large pile of what we believe to have been bear shit on a nearby log – making us think these were bear tracks and not, as some fellow hikers thought dog or squirrel prints. Seriously, we told some other hikers we saw what looked like bear prints and they said, “maybe they were squirrel prints.” I mean, really – how big do squirrels get up north??
Then we hiked back down. And the hike did require that we traverse some very loose rocks and I twice slipped and slammed my ankle into some not very forgiving rocks. Ouch.
And on the way home we were stopped on the Sea-to-Sky highway for over an hour just south of Squamish as there had been a big collision which required them to stop traffic in both directions. Rachel took a picture in the rearview mirror of the traffic behind us:
Word to the wise – if you are ever stuck in traffic on the Sea-to-Sky highway just outside of Squamish, I recommend taking a walk down the road and chatting with each of the carload after carload of hot boys also stuck in said traffic. Good opening lines include “Can you see what’s going on up there?” and “Where did you get that pizza?”
Anyhoo, we eventually made it home and I even went out on the town that night. There’s something truly wonderful about living in a place where you can hike glacial lakes during the day and still get home to go clubbing at night.
1not counting while on campus. ‘cuz that’s not really in the city.
2ok, maybe on two hands
3is that what they are called?
4can anyone confirm or deny whether these are, in fact, bear tracks?