Wow, what happened to the summer?

After I left my last blog entry, it basically fell off a cliff!

Things were very busy, and lots of opportunity to blog but I just didn’t have the desire I suppose?

We went on a really nice summer holiday to visit my family in the Interior of BC, where we enjoyed camping at Christina Lake, kayaking, hiking, running, horseback riding, and biking/running the Myra Canyon Trestles, a trip to the Kangaroo Farm and then…COVID when we were in Vancouver.

We also enjoyed a fantastic dinner and wine tasting at Mission Hill, courtesy of my parents. It was divine!

Yep, the big Covid hit us, pretty hard. Not unexpected, as my sister was sick when she had dinner/visited with us in Kelowna but I was still fairly surprised and thought it was just terrible allergies when we were in Vancouver (running the sea wall, going out for drinks, out for dinner…greeeat…). Nope, COVID.

That knocked us on our butts for a while, and when I was feeling better I was working from home, and then back to work, where work proceeded to knock me on my butt again too!

Man, sometimes you can’t win!?

Port Townsend Part #2

Our first full day in Port Townsend, we decided to hang around town and visit the farmers market and Aldridge’s (very fancy, very $$$ specialty store) until the marine science centre opened at noon. We did miss the Rhododendron Festival Parade down main street, but there wasn’t enough time to get everything in I guess!

touch pools at the marine science centre

The farmer’s market was very well appointed and we ended up buying some salad greens to go with the truly ridiculous seafood I bought at the grocery store the day previous, and we stopped off at Aldridge’s to buy some very $$ garlic vinaigrette that I didn’t like *too oily, not at all vinegary enough!

Then it was time to head to the marine science centre plus museum, and also to visit the venerable grounds of Fort Worden.

So cool!

I loved the science centre, and a highlight was the octopus ‘Sylvia’ who was zooming around his aquarium tank. I have never seen such an active octopod! Go Sylvia!

Prickly urchins in the touch pool

Then we checked out the small marine science museum, and walked to the Fort Worden lighthouse, a few clicks away, but it was a nice day and finally warm and sunny, so we figured why not walk it out?

Then we went back to the car and drove closer to the parade grounds of Fort Worden, and parked to walk the trails to the artillery batteries, of which there are many. I do not like them, I think that they are dank, creepy and disturbing. Ian loved them. I just wanted to sit in the sun and snooze, hahaha.

It was a lovely day of being outside, in the sunshine. We haven’t strung together two nice days at all since, or before, so I think we were truly fortunate that one weekend.

And for dinner, we made shrimps and fish salad, and enjoyed a few bottles of beer out on the beach. Did I mention that the beaches were basically across the street from main street/the hotel? It was SO nice.

Next up: We take part in a historical Rhody Festival event: Rhody run 10k!

Sidney Spit for BC Day long weekend

The ferries were absolute NUTS this weekend, but not for us! We wisely didn’t travel. Instead we made a super nice dinner, I had a Working Equitation riding lesson on Saturday and then on Monday we went to Sidney Spit.

Lighthouse at the end of the Spit

You take a small ferry (passengers only), lots of water (none on the island) and off you go! It’s a lovely island only 30 min boat ride from Sidney and the sand….Oh man the sand. It is glorious! You can walk forever, but be aware- the tides come in very fast and then you’re wading back, which we were, ha.

On the boat

It has a forested section as well and is quite large. Part of it is a National Park and the other part is privately owned. There are campsites you can book through the feds too, which seemed tempting to me (a bit anyways). The weather was glorious not too cold (never a given here, lol even in summer!) and sunny, not too hazy or cloudy.

Busy at work

We cruised up and down the beach, relaxed on the beach for awhile while Ian built a ‘dog cage’ in the sand for Gidget, and then ate our lunch and walked through the forest paths. Incredibly, the time goes by so fast! We got the 11am ferry and then took the 4pm home, ok well straight to the barn so I could ride/medicate Oats and then home by 6:30pm. A busy and full day, but so great πŸ™‚

Finished product πŸ™‚

Revelstoke!

A few years ago I went to a cocktail event here in Victoria and tried a fun pecan whiskey that was called Revelstoke because they wanted to ‘Stoke the Revel’ and man, it made me laugh every time I thought of it!

So naturally we went to Revelstoke to really get into the party scene πŸ˜‰

Ok not really but after Christina Lake, we wanted to get some hiking in and my husband is a trip-planner extraordinaire (I am terrible at it, just awful) so we had something different to do and enjoy in each place. We camped for 1 night after an extremely long and kind of tough travel day (avoid Hwy 30…it’s 100km of freaking dirt road and can get very shifty for about 30kms and takes FOREVER)…. We camped at a site just outside the bridge and apparently next to the train, ha.

Marmots blend in really well to the rocks.

Not a restful night, really. Plus Gidget decided she hated camping and her max was 2 days, so she was in a deflated snit about it all day and night, refusing to eat, moping around, just nothing. Argh, dogs! The campsite was pretty lame, sites so close you could peer into your neighbours tent but it had excellent clean and nice washrooms with great showers, so no complaints there!

Ok for one night, no thanks for more- particularly if you are Gidget!

We then stayed at the Stoked Hotel and man the rooms were hilariously small- basically like a closet? Oh wait, no closet though, lol. Oh well Gidget was happy to be in a room again at last, where she belongs like a princess πŸ™‚

Wild strawberries!

We did a small loop the first day of hiking at Revelstoke Mountain National Park (up to Inspiration Loop) and found SO many berries- it was amazing!! Thimbleberries, black huckleberries, blueberries, strawberries and wild raspberries. Lucky us! And…lucky for the bears, because we promptly walked into one on the trail. It stood up briefly, but we shouted as we walked back down the trail and it left us alone, thank god. I had Gidget in a backpack, so I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a bear encounter…Eeek.

Yes there was snow! It was a sub-alpine lake we were heading to. Eva Lake.

We then went up to the ski jump and that is a cool 1km straight uphill, hot hot hot! Did some great strawberry picking on the way though.

We had a selection of great restaurants and bakeries to go to, so awesome. We took some bakery items hiking with us for a quick lunch, and it was delicious! That night we went out to the Craft Beer restaurant for some sweet beers, mac and cheese and a lame salad (ok the salad tasted great but the dressing was non-existent?!!) So a bit of a miss there.

View from the ski jump. Steeeeep

The next day we set out for a real hike and could leave Gidget in the room. We chose a very accessible loop at the Park, and it cost $20 to drive up and hike there. It was nice to be able to like drive 30 mins to the top of the mountain and hike from there- sooo easy to access, great for hikers like us who are not serious and don’t want to spend two days doing it.

The loop was about 6m, took us to two beautiful lakes, NO bears and three marmots were sighted!!! So amazing. We walk-ran it (I am still recovering from multiple leg injuries 6 months ago) and it was pretty rocky and tough in some spots. I also tripped as I am running in shoes that are no way appropriate for hiking and almost bailed face-first into a rock. Phew!!

It was beautiful to see and a great way to spend the day. We cruised back, chatted with the Park Rangers, and they suggested another short loop to read more about the Indigenous Peoples who lived on the land. It was an informative and fun little loop (1k?) and after that, a short run back to the car for another KM and we were done!

By that time it was getting very smoky. Unfortunately there are serious wildfires and one started up at Sicamous quite close to Revelstoke when we landed there. The smoke started blocking out the sun 😦 We had the great fortune to only be there for 1 really smoky day and then we were off to Kelowna to visit my family.

We enjoyed a new restaurant that night too- the Taco Club! I can highly recommend, good but pricey margaritas with some unusual twists, and I had the burrito bowl and NO WAY could I finish it- my husband had to. Too much food! Always a good thing πŸ˜‰

Happy Easter weekend!

I did have a pretty fine weekend, all things considering COVID…and my injury, ugh.

We had our dressage lesson on Thursday, then on Friday it was Oaty’s day off, so my husband and I went on a hike to a local area (Cowichan) and got snacks at Tim Hortons after.

Cowichan River Trail

Saturday I rode, and it was….eh. I was really hoping to recreate the nice canter I had on Thursday in my lesson. WRONG. It was crummy, ha. Fortunately, the next day was another opportunity and I let things go by then.

Hiking with Gidget

Since we’re not allowed to visit family or friends, or eat indoor at restaurants, our entertainment options these years remain very limited. Sooooo we decorated our Easter gingerbread house, and dyed fake eggs that my husband picked up at the buck store. Fun! The eggs were kind of lame though and barely dyed, taking on a barely-there pastel effort, compared with the very vibrant dyes. Oh well!

Tucker as the Easter bunny with my loot!

Sunday we did our egg hunt and my husband hid 40 foil eggs! Yes! I missed a few hahah but in the end got them all. It was finally a pretty nice day for riding, and we worked on some calm lateral work at the walk, and a nice contact in the trot, and called it a day walking around the outdoor. In the afternoon we took a couple of beers to the beach and listened to music, which was pretty chill and nice.

The eggs could have dyed better…

Monday I had off but my husband didn’t, so off to the barn it is! I worked on some similar things to Sunday, remembering to keep my expectations in check- and Oats was pretty good! Left the shitty canter alone, ha. I headed to the beach after riding with my dog and we enjoyed the chilly sunshine that day too.

Then it was back to work, and a jump lesson, and then a truly horrible ride (yesterday) where Oats lost his brains again and had shit fits at every single corner of the indoor….I guess forgetting that absolutely nothing had changed in the less than 24 hours since we had our jump lesson the evening previously? I really got on his case for that. He is WAY too old for his BS shenanigans?! Plus the temperature had dropped quite dramatically and it was COLD at the barn, and a lot of the horses went crazy. I guess it was too tempting?? He was fidgety and nutty in the crossties, so I kind of figured he was reacting to the weather or something yesterday…HORSES! God. Let’s hope today is much, much better.

The Juan de Fuca Trail- China Beach to Bear Beach

So every Sunday my husband and I do ‘Sunday Funday’ and pick a location to do a mega run/hike/trail run at. We have gone up island to Duncan to run Maple Mountain, Mt. Tzouhalem, to Courtenay/Comox to run to Cumberland, and locally, the Galloping Goose in Sooke to the Malahat run. We have been all over!

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You cross a lot of small creeks/waterfalls.

Last weekend I ran solo, a few loops of Elk Lake, which is a pleasant solo run because you can run to your car to get water (there are no water fountains open anymore because of COVID19 and I guess no hand sanitizer in the washrooms/outhouses anymore either, to my extreme displeasure).

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It got hot, but it was ok.

This weekend we went somewhere a little different- the trek out to the Juan de Fuca trail! We are very familiar with the 1 beach- China beach, but we wanted to trail run from China beach to Bear Beach. It’s not that far- about 7km- but can be quite wet, muddy and rugged. And boy, it was!

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We ran the 2km to China beach and it was PACKED with people. Every available square spot to park in was taken. People were crawling everywhere. I really didn’t like that- it’s just too busy now, the new Thetis Lake or East Sooke Park or something?

So it was a lot of stop and go.

We got to the beach and it had a ton of people on it too. A nice day (rare for us, we don’t really get nice weather anymore in the summer) and I guess literally everyone wanted in.

So we went down the beach and picked up the Bear beach trail and continued that way. It had far fewer people, but for a quite narrow and technical trail, it was very busy with camp hikers coming back. One guy even gave us licorice, haha. Of course I accepted it! πŸ˜‰

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We splashed, climbed and scrambled our way to Bear beach, which was completely deserted. So that was worth it! It was a gorgeous day. I picked a bunch of Salmon berries, we enjoyed our Lara bars (protein ones, I don’t like the blueberry-lemon, ick I think it tastes like lemon Pledge, but the Apple Cobbler are good), and took some photos, and then ran back. On our way back we saw a mink!!! Just a zip of brown and he was gone, into the rocks to the ocean. Wish I could have seen him up close and for longer.

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The cliffside was really cool!Β 

It was WET! My legs got covered in mud, hahah. Big splashes everywhere!! I gave in and gave up and just went for it hahahahhaha.

By the end of the run, even my toenails had mud embedded in them, hahaha. A good adventure and a lovely day, to make up for how miserable and craptacular I was feeling on Saturday.

Go out fighting

Mega-run update!! As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I take each Sunday as an opportunity to go for a mega run/hike. Last weekend we went to Heather Lake, which was a good experience and full of bear poop with 1 bear sighting. The weeks earlier we went out to Duncan, Maple Mountain, Mt. Tzouhalem, Shawnigan and so on, even Courtenay!

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Borrowed photo- one of the many trestles

This week we revisited Sooke and the Galloping Goose. We have been working our way through 10km sections of the Goose every other week or so, and this time we started on Ludlow Road and went up to the Sooke potholes. Or so we thought…

We ran for about 7km, and then the entire trail was blocked off due to construction on the trestle bridge. No way around. Decision time- head home at 14km or try one of the offshoot trails (to a mystery destination??). Obviously we were too hardcore for only 14km, so we headed up into the hills to check out Grass Lake in the mountains. The trail said it was only 3km, so we figured sure, why not?

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Grass Lake! Up high.Β 

God, it was the longest 3km of my life. Sheeeeeeeesh. Rocky, clambering, very slow. We kept plodding along, and after running, it felt just deathly slow!

We kind of got worried that we’d be out on this trail all night (no exaggeration, it felt likeΒ forever) but then we ran into some folks, and then kept going, and then we found the lake! It was pretty nice, very quiet. Some campers were packing up from the 1 point you could visit the lake at. There were also very pretty hot-pink water lilies! It’d be awesome to swim in if it wasn’t constantly winter here and freezing cold.

We got chilled right down, and then hoofed it back to the main trail, a groaning 5.7 km back. But you know what? It turned out that that amount DOWN is way easier than a mystery 3km up and scrambling over rocks. Felt pretty darn smooth! And the best part, when we got down to the Goose, it was only 5km back to the car πŸ™‚

All in, it ended up being over 3 hours and about 23 km. A bit more ambitious than we thought, and we were pretty underfueled for it (yikes) but it went fine! It helps that it’s not hot here anymore, so no fuel is not a big problem.

A good run day for sure! πŸ™‚

 

I just wasn’t made for these times

So, in these strange new days, my husband and I don’t have a lot going on during the weekends (well now I have jumping and he has climbing) but we got into a routine of doing a mega run or trail run/hike day on Sunday.

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About halfway up?

A big one, where we pack food, drinks, camelbak, and hoof it out for hours to a new place! Lately we were exploring sections of the Galloping Goose (just running), after a few mountain excursions, but this weekend we returned to the mountains… Heather mountain, in Youbou.

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See the trees at the very top? That is where the trail begins!Β 

I have never even been to Youbou (it is just past Lake Cowichan, from Duncan), so it was all new and strange to me, ha. And quite a long drive from where we live, with large sections of gravel road.

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We made it after shooting past the (fairly unmarked) turnoff, and jogged up the trail for a ways. We made 1 false move by following a trail we thought was the one, and we were confronted by an angry grouse pretty much immediately! Ha! Ian screamed and was pretty surprised. After that the trail turned into bushwacking and IΒ hated it. I got scratched to pieces, ugh and was like NO WAY are we doing this for hours.

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Nearer to the top

We struggled through and then returned to the main road, and followed that to a trail- that- thank god- was wide and well maintained. The only thing we didn’t realize is that it takesΒ forever– like 2.5 hours- to get to the actual top of the mountain trail above the treeline. So by the time we ran there, we were freaking spent and tired.

We also noticed the trail had tons of bear poop on it. TONS. Yikes! At that point I would be surprised if we didn’t see a bear…

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So we finally made it to the top of the trail and I backed down. It was steep, closed in and really high up= triggering all of my vertigo. Yikes!!!! We called it there (ok, well I called it..) and then jogged back down. We stopped for a snack and a drink and I spotted the bear- finally!

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Mr. Bear!Β 

He was ambling around the path, sniffing and stuff. We watched for a bit and then decided to shout, to scare the bear off the path that we had to go down. He immediately lumbered off and we got down to the path where he had been- and wow you guys, bears go FAST. He was already halfway back up the mountain in like 3 minutes?!

Lucky for us it was the only bear we saw, and it was a safe bear situation. Phew!

We got down with no other interactions and back to the car. A long day but a good one πŸ™‚

My own personal pain journal

So, things are going but also going sideways, haywire, etc. My work is nuts (I am directly involved in public information), and also we are seeing a lot of things shake down, as part of the pandemic.

It’s so stressful- for all. I am not a frontline worker, but I see the effects of this day by day. I am writing a list of fun things I want to do when this blows over/winds down (go travel, go out for a team breakfast! Run! Do a race!), but in the meantime, I vacillate between extreme self-pity,Β  fear and paranoia, to ‘it’s all okay’. UGH.

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Welcome darkness, my old friend… I REALLY don’t want to do this again. But I might. I guess when you’re going through hell, keep going.Β 

I also have a recurring stress fracture, so I can’t even run right now. Man, when it rains, it freaking pours eh? I guess the timing is (good? I disbelieve that word even as I write it) now that I can’t race anyways.

Just…Fuck me.

I did have a nice weekend though, believe it or not! I had a riding lesson on Saturday and Oats was great! He was my little superstar~ I rode on Sunday and let too much angst out, and I know I shouldn’t have. I am easily triggered right now, and I want to make it up to Oaty! He is being the best boy he knows how.

It was also like, gale-force windy this weekend, ALLLLLLL weekend. It finally lessened up on Sunday, so I rode and then my husband and I hiked up Mt. Finlayson. There I learned I am a huge chicken, and I was afraid of the steep, rocky bluff ascent. Yikes!

I refused to go back down that way (jesus, no.) in part because I was afraid of it, and also it was smoking busy! I didn’t feel comfortable hiking with so many people swarming around.

We went the long way down, got a bit turned around (thanks to the signs closing the one pathway that actually links back to the parking lot…sheesh), and then we made it home. And we shared a hotdog! Yum! πŸ™‚

I then drank wine, sat in the sun with a blanket – yes it was still chilly- but the sun had some strength that day.

So where does that leave us? Uncertain. Out of my control- even my body is out of my control. My mind? Yeah, that’s gone too. I don’t know anymore. But I can ride, so I will do that now and just …Keep on.

To quote Charles Dickens:

β€œIt was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

It hurts until it doesn’t

Things are looking up! I am feeling pretty darn hopeful. I went on a REAL, LIVE RUN yesterday! Wow!

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Enjoying the view.

And I had a great weekend, we went on a hike up Mt. Tzouhalem, tried some really wacky candy (Jalapeno M&Ms- wait for my review on these, mango-chile Nerds, guava Nerds!), and generally just had a nice time all around. I was even able to join the track club on Wednesday (for their last workout day…Ha. Damn). The weather cooperated, things felt, just flawless! Considering what a dumpster-fire my summer-fall have been, I will take it!

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The only fly in the ointment- Oats came up on Sunday with a bleeding gash on his face. Great,Β Scarface over here….

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Oh well, I’m just glad it wasn’t his eye again.