Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer Adventures

This has been a summer like no other. I have taken a break from trying to ride my bike everyday (although I did ride quite a bit) and spent time enjoying some of the other fantastic sports on the North Shore. The break from school started out as not much of a break at all. Hours after my last final, I was in Vancouver General Hospital with Kyle who had lacerated his kidney biking at the Woodlot. Shortly after, Kyle moved home and I spent 3 frantic weeks studying for my MCAT which I wrote a week before the end of May. Man, it felt good to get that out of the way!

Boredom at VGH

Post-MCAT hyperactivity ensued. I took Angela up to Squamish for some biking on the great trails up there.  

Angela conquering her fear of ladder bridges on Tracks from Hell
Minor break in the weather on Flint and Feather Trail (Bluff Trail)

Kyle flew in for 4 days, during which I tried to kill him and his healing kidney by dragging him up as many mountains as I could. Unfortunately, after a month of being trapped indoors and looking out at the gorgeous weather outside, it decided to rain the entire time he was here. After he left, I took off to Europe for a month with Angela.

Crabs from Ryan's crab trap made a great after hot tub snack

If you are interested in checking out what we got up to across the pond, look at my tumblr blog of the trip: Upon my return from Europe, I was working weekdays with Flow Mountain Bike Camps and filling my free time with "so many activities!" A visit out to Tsawwassan for some water-sports and a great dinner courtesy of Ryan was one of the highlights.

Post sunset swim at Lighthouse park

First 5.9 lead

Another summer highlight was the amount of rock climbing I was able to do! Thanks to Tristan's guidance, both Kyle and I were able to try our hand at lead climbing and quickly gained enough skills (and a rope!) to be able to get out on the crags on our own. I did a few days in the sea to sky corridor, including Cal-Chek, Area 44, and Lighthouse Park. 

I was also fortunate enough to get some climbing in on Vancouver Island, which despite being devoid of other climbers, offered some fantastic routes and made me pretty happy about the spur of the moment decision to stay in Nanaimo for a weekend instead of heading West to Tofino.
Barefoot climbing. Ouch!

Rappelling into the forest
In addition to the climbing rope, for Kyle's birthday I got him a Turbospoke. To see a Turbospoke in action, check out this video with Eric Lawrenuk:

I did a few overnight trips this summer and got my first taste of backpacking, something I had always wanted to try but never actually had got around to doing. I am well versed in canoe tripping, so the idea of spending a few nights in the woods doesn't phase me, but I had no idea how to go about planning a hiking trip. Luckily, Kyle is a pro at backpacking and for my birthday present he planned a 4 day hiking trip on the Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island (trip report to come). Once I had a taste of backpacking, I was hooked. I spent this past weekend on the Howe Sound Crest trail, which really challenged my minimal experience but was a fantastic hike! I will be writing a trip report for that one soon as well. One of the overnight trips that I did was a bit more in my comfort zone. I took Kyle up Indian Arm to Granite Falls for one night canoe trip. The paddle out was delightfully easy, going with the tide and wind got us there in well under the expected paddling time of 4 hours. We were able to set up camp in the light then had a tasty dinner watching the light fade. The next morning we explored the falls which were an easy scramble up to a great view over to Seymour Mountain and whatever lies behind it.
Granite falls over Indian Arm
Paddling up to Granite Falls 
Local wildlife that didn't seem to care that we were right beside them
Lunch on the dock
The paddle home was a different story. Lots of wind, coupled with an incoming tide made it a struggle to stay in a straight line and required that we keep paddling to just stay in place. We stopped on a dock for a lunch of bacon and  leftovers from our other meals and tried to flag down a ride back to Deep Cove. Since nobody picked us up, it was up to us to make it home. Lets just say that Kyle was not as impressed with canoeing as I was with backpacking.

Painful sunburn.
Brothers Creek Falls
Sunset looking over to Bowen Island
The rest of the summer was a blur of beautiful weather, great company and exploration of my backyard that is the North Shore.

Kits Beach
I love this city!

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