Christmas part 2: Royston Xmas

I forgot to write about this AT Christmas, and I finally have a moment to do so. Over the holidays I took a big chunk of time off (had to for work basically) and at that time, I desperately needed it. Things got reeeallly rough in my horse life, personal life, and work life. It was very challenging.

I then headed off to Kelowna for a good old fashioned family Christmas, which went better than I could have hoped for! When I flew home, I had 1 night at home and then we were driving off for another family Christmas- at Royston, for the first time! Ian’s folks moved just before the pandemic hit and therefore we couldn’t spend any time at their place over the holidays the past two years. This year though, no prob!

It went really well, the weather was insane though. UGH. It had snowed a bit before we got there and it was very rainy and slushy, but on Xmas eve? Blizzard with no power!! We spent about 4 hours shovelling, woof. That I do NOT MISS about living in the North, ha.

We also had a chance to visit with my friend and her mom who moved up right near Ian’s parents too, so that was really nice, and Ian surprised me with a lovely Xmas gift- visit to the Hydropath! It was sooo nice. On Christmas Day I booked x-c skiing for a half day for me and Ian, and it was just lovely. It was cold, there was a ton of fresh snow, the skiis were way better than when I went with my mom, and we had a great time!

The only thing that really sucked was driving home. It was an absolute, hair-raising nightmare on the roads and I now have more grey hairs because of it. Jesus, I never want to drive in a black-ice, blowing snow blizzard ever again. Yikes.

WordPress is pretty much broken and other Xmas fun

When I last left, I had a nice time in Kelowna visiting family, despite the growing spectre of bad weather + Omicron threatening most of everyone’s Xmas holidays!

I came home (flight was only delayed for over an hour) in the evening and then by morning we were up and packed for Christmas in Royston with my in-laws! When we left it was chilly and rainy, but that would immediately change…

But first, we visited the lovely Kingfisher hotel and spa to check out their beautiful lights display with my inlaws. They live quite close to it, and it is really a gorgeous place.

We cruised around Courtenay to look at the Xmas lights and were amazed by this guy- as it turns out, this house and skeleton are owned by an acquianteance of mine’s parents. Small world!!

Then my husband generously got us visits to the Kingfisher’s Hydropath experience, which I LOVED. Soooooo nice and relaxing, it’s a very expensive but super nice things to do and wow, you leave feeling tired hahah.

But we still had Christmas! It snowed a TON up in Royston on Christmas and we also lost power at his parents house, booo. We also spent three hours shoveling. Three of us! The worlds longest driveway?? Snow sooo heavy and thick, man. At least it wasn’t super cold out, but it did make me feel excited for our next adventure- back to cross-country skiing! 🙂

And on Xmas eve we visited with my friend and her sister and mom, of whom also bought houses close to my in-laws. That makes four people I know who have moved up-island…Maybe the writing is on the wall? Should I move to Cumberland, Courtenay or Comox???

We swam around in her mom’s AMAZING giant hot tub/therapy swim pool and it was sooooo cool. I loved it!

And were all limbered up for skiing the next day too! We hit the slopes in the afternoon and I rented everything online, so it was a breeze to swing up to the Alpine Centre at Mt. Washington and go for a good few hours of x-c skiing. The weather was pretty good, considering it was basically a blizzard the day before (we walked to my friends’ mom’s place, lol). A bit tricky to drive but wow, such a gorgeous day for skiing. Of course, I took Ian on the longest route possible by accident (Far East) and we had to hustle our buns to get back in time before the rentals closed and so did the trails, eek!

We did get a chance to feed the whiskeyjacks though, so cute, I just love them!

It felt nice to get out and get active for sure. The only downer part was the absolutely miserable weather we drove home in on Boxing Day. WOW it was nightmarish. Basically a blizzard with black ice most of the way back, with a special shout-out to Nanaimo for their absolute HORRENDOUS highway conditions. We got caught waiting after two minor accidents, so it was a good 5.5 hours home. At least we made it alive, jesus. It was bad.

And waiting for me at home? More snowstorms!! 😦

Man!

Take me with you: Long weekend at the Kingfisher Spa~

That’s right, while I am currently dealing with a shit-ton of work (ARGH reality sucks), I am able to reminisce about the lovely long weekend I just enjoyed at the Kingfisher Spa in the North Island (Courtenay-Comox).

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Now, it’s pricey. Real pricey. So it was a splurge for my husband and I to go, and stay for 3 nights and treat ourselves to the hydropath session ($95/ea, so it’s not like we’re going to go often, or ever again, ha). But it was so neat!

The weather sucked out loud. It was cold, chilly, rainy grey and just so blahhhh. But, since we had our dog – Gidget the Terrible- with us, it was pretty convenient because then we didn’t have to worry about her overheating on us. So, sort of a win eh? We got up there in the evening on Friday after work, and enjoyed a beer at the new to us Mt. Arrowsmith Brewery, where we unfortunately sat next to the loudest, most wildly obnoxious people I have had the misfortune to be around in ages. I moved inside, and complained (yes I am THAT person, ha). Oh well!

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Gidget the Terrible

Food was good and the beer was great! The next day, we plotted out a longer-run route along the chlorine gas pipe that ran next to the river, and friends, let me tell you- BERRIES GALORE! OMg. I know why bears are hanging around 🙂 It was good! We then went back to the resort, showered and picked up our dog to go cruise around downtown Comox. It was very quaint, some mega $$$ stores, and very, very busy. Crammed with folks. I enjoyed a very unique chocolate bar (coconut/lime) and we shared a buffalo-milk-yogurt & blueberry ice cream. So good!

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We went swimming in the evening and generally relaxed. Which was good, because the next morning we zipped off to Cumberland to get some of their famous doughnuts! And surprinsgly, since the last time I tried the doughnuts a few years ago, I wasn’t thrilled. They were pricey, ok tasting and no real selection. Overhyped and overprice.

We took our overhyped doughnuts with us to go hike at Mt. Washington’s Paradise Plateau. It was really nice, and lucky for us the fog wasn’t on the plateau, it was just covering the mountain. Phew! We had sandwiches, and hiked and fed whiskeyjacks. So cute! So bold…

Headed back to the spa because then it was time for our hydropath session! This was very cool and very relaxing. It had a little bit of everything- massage jets, salt scrub, mineral baths, jets, a sauna…Ah….

And for dinner we took a chance on the only restaurant nearby us that wasn’t the mega-pricey Kingfisher restaurant: Ol’ Roy’s Towne Pub. It was excellent actually! We listened to the open mic night, shared a pizza and a huge, and seriously bad-for-you salad. AND a espresso mud pie dessert. Glutton here…

On our way home on Monday, we stopped by Moringstar farm (they make cheese AND wine AND you could wander the farmyard, pet bunnies, pigs, cows, baby cows, oh soooo cute). We tried the wine, and bought some cheese to eat, and for a gift. Delicious! A very generous cheese sampling policy as well, which is a big thumbs-up from me 🙂

And we stopped in Ladysmith so I could get a cinnamon bun from the bakery, featured yesterday in my blog. HUGE reasonable, delicious and so, so so mouthwatering: This is definitely NOT hyped enough, in my opinion!! Go and buy one. For $3.50 you can do a lot worse, and the muffins are only $2.50 and HUGE. YUm. I am still drooling…

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“I wish I could recommend the experience of not being killed to everyone” Gut Buster Mt. Washington Race Recap!

And another quote by the esteemed Tim Kreider.

Yes I'm wearing my barn jacket. My other one was soaked through!

Yes I’m wearing my barn jacket. My other one was soaked through!

But on to the race!

The Gut Buster Mt. Washington…dun dun dun!

Yes, this one was not recommended by my husband, and I deliberately avoided talking about it at work or to anyone because I knew they would tell me I was making a bad decision. I have a bad kneecap and it gives me trouble and running down a suicide hill would definitely count as making a terrible decision.

So, I just didn’t mention it, and I ran it on Saturday.

And was it a bad decision? Nope! Would I do it again? Very debatable…

It was tough. It was rough. Am I glad I did it? Hells yeah!

The first inkling of trouble was when we got to the ski hill and it was absolutely freezing, pissing down rain and blasting wind. I started shivering immediately and my teeth were chattering. I signed up for this? WTF? I felt sorry for the poor volunteers at the registration tables, those folks looked absolutely frozen. It was, according to the Mt. Washington sign, 11 deg at the base of the mountain. BRrrrrrr.

Keeping in mind it is August, and everywhere else it was 20 deg and if not sunny, then only mildly rainy. Jesus.

The race director- who is a total moviestar- spent a lot of time warning us about the hazards on course…slippery rocks, lots of rocks, rain, wind, steep conditions, ”scrambling” sections, oh and the course that was going to be 6km is now 8.5km- yayyyy…????? In my mind I was like oh god, there goes my pride and all of my bones right now. What kind of stupid impulse made me sign up for this freezing torture?

Anyways, before I could back out, we were out and running up the hills. For awhile I was feeling ok- I was passing people, feeling good, kind of smug really about passing even though I started at the bottom of the pack. Then we all kind of had to backtrack because everyone got lost immediately and missed the first of the flags. Whoops!

So, on we went until we reached 3km of the supposedly 5km uphill- that’s when the bad boys really started, and everyone was walking/trudging grimly uphill. This is when it started feeling less like a race, and more of a trudge, ha.

We got to a peak (note- I said ‘a peak’ not ‘the peak’ or ‘the summit’) and I was thinking oh yeah great, this is going well! Until we kept going and I noticed we weren’t going downhill. We were going up again…to the next peak.

Uh oh…

I gamely jogged across a really bizarre foot path of sorts made of huge boulders -slippery- and then trudged up some truly difficult scrambling sections. I was using momentum to heave myself up the scramble, wedging my foot in a rock, grabbing for a chunk of root or juniper bush to crawl up higher. At one point my foot slipped and I almost fell butt-first into the face of the guy following closely behind me. Phew, close one!

Then I felt good, ok that MUST be it!

We were even going a bit downhill…And then..back uphill?

Yeah, the run wasn’t done with me yet. At the brief downhill section, I got passed by everyone. I suck at going downhill, and rock at going uphill. And now we were really and truly heading to the summit. Cold wind and rain blasted us tirelessly, and we were socked in fog. It was a eerie experience, and I was all alone. It felt like I was the last person left on earth, running through a frozen apocalypse!

I kept going, and kept my head to the ground. I couldn’t see well because the rain was fogging my eyes, and the wind was making me tear up. That was when I missed the pink flags and cruised for awhile on a road. I enjoyed the cruise downhill until I noticed a suspicious lack of flags. Curses! I saw a guy quite a way away to my right running through a meadow and I shouted to him if he saw the flags- he yelled back yes!

I had to backtrack to the meadow, and I picked up the flags again. And I got passed by a few more people…Darn those downhill sections, I have to be the only person that can’t deal with it!

I jogged, walked and slipped my way down the mountain. Lots of small slippery rocks made it tricky, there were a few little boards over running water, and some logs just waiting to grab your ankles. Still, I was keeping at it.

And then, I cruised the final small gentle rise and headed down to the finish line. It was in sight! I have to say, this was the first race I’ve had enough energy to wave at Ian when I ran through the gates, haha. Cold, soaked and happy, I was glad to be done my first and only trail run up a mountain.

We both finished with respectable times, Ian finished 7th and I finished 4th in our ages groups. Ian even won the last door prize- a really sweet Nike running shirt!