K2inCanada's Blog

April 30, 2017

Better

Filed under: Canada — K2 in Canada @ 10:53 PM

Finally, after over a week of almost zero mobility with my sore back, lots of pain and lots of drug, no biking, no paddling, no gym, I am starting to feel better. I was a pretty miserable person all of last week. Did drag myself into work every day but all meetings happened with me standing. Sitting on my ball was okay but I could not sit in a chair. Stairs, washroom breaks, sneezing or coughing, were my worst enemies. Or may I was my worst enemy, getting really frustrated with the whole thing. It was the first mostly sunny week we had for a LONG time and I felt like I am missing out on Spring. Finally, Friday afternoon things started to feel better. Saturday, I went for a 2.5hr easy walk through Deep Cove while Jeff did a paddle by himself. Today, I was no longer sitting on the shore. Jeff and I took the double surfski and despite it being windy and a bit bouncy I felt great. Still can’t bent over and touch my toes or lift any weight, and getting up isn’t that graceful yet, but I can paddle. I am me again :-).

Below a couple of pictures from my Deep Cove walk. It was slow going and lots of stopping. Weather was overcast and it started to rain the last half hour. But spring has definitely arrived.

No paddling pictures from today. It was finally a nice sunny day! Just a picture of one of the Old Fenceful on a tree to show off the blue sky 🙂

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April 23, 2017

TNR+ racing is back

Filed under: Canada, Kayak — K2 in Canada @ 10:47 PM

Well, I probably am going to miss this week’s race but I did the first 3 of 2017. The season opener on Apr 4th was wet, freezing cold and very windy. I was so happy to be in my V10 Sport instead of the Legend. 50 “boats” were on the water despite the more than awful conditions. I am in no racing shape even though we have gotten a few kilometers in already in our surfskis – but all at below average all-day-pace. It worked on the first night since all I had to do was to stay up. Week 2 was nice and sunny, although still cold. Trying to race I just ended up in killing myself off the start and collapsing after 500m. Pretty sad. But the beer and food and good company afterwards makes up for all that. Last week was the Jug Island time trial. Not my most favourite race but I also got to pass many people. You are supposed to seed yourself from slowest to fastest. Took the fast guys a lot longer to catch up to me this time and none of the people starting just behind me managed to get by. Good for my ego :-). Below are some pics from week 1 – it was way worse than it looks!

For results and upcoming races, go here: http://www.deepcovekayak.com/races/

As mentioned above, we did have some kilometers under our belts at least. Apr 1st we started our weekly Indian Arm run past the power station – a 29.3km round trip when hugging the shoreline the whole way. For the first one on Apr 1, we had nice, calm although overcast conditions. We saw river otters twice, once on the way up, once on the way back. It took us 3hrs 25min in our singles (V10 Sport for me, Evo II for Jeff) and the sun came out when we loaded up the boats.

The day after, Apr 2nd, we got some good wave practice in. It was an intense paddle out of Jericho in our double surfski. Took 1hr to get out, less than 20min to get back. We caught some nice waves but some of those nice waves caught us, turning the double into a submarine. I felt like a periscope being up to my chest in the water. Takes a while to drain a fully flooded boat in those conditions but we managed to stay up. Nice sunshine, big ebb tide and 20-25knots wind out of the west against the current. Biggest conditions I can remember. I was sure glad to be in our double. We had to improvise the leashes. Even then, the turning around was pretty nerve wracking. Temperature with windchill was 5.2C! When we got back to the beach, shivering with cold and exhaustion, we ran into paddling friends Mike and Paul but they went kite surfing rather than paddling. Instead of the ice cream we would usually get at the Galley on a sunny day in April on the beach we got hot chocolate to try to get warm! But it took a Guinness and Fisherman’s Pie at the Cheshire Cheese Inn on Dunbar, our old stomping ground, to feel human again. No pictures from during the paddle, I would NOT let go of my paddle, only a few afterwards and a video mostly so you can hear the wind :-).

Apr 9 was another run up Indian Arm in singles. It was a bit breezy and bouncy but it took the same amount of time. Mostly overcast but not too much rain. As we turned to head back we could see black smoke in the distance. First we thought it might be the oil refinery across the inlet the smoke was so dark. But as we got closer we saw a couple houses in flames on the Belcarra side across from Deep Cove. Actually one was already burned to the ground. It must have been a really hot fire, even the trees next to the area caught fire and they had been soaked in heavy rain for days. Tough area to get fire fighters in as well.

On the Easter Friday run up the Arm we had company. Buddy John came with us which was good for Jeff. We had to fight our way up the arm against a strong headwind and I was bagged as we got past Buntzen Bay. Started to take the direct route from there to the turn around point and then B-lined back to Strathcona while the boys continued to hug the shore. Even though I hardly paddled, the wind and waves pushed me along at over 10km/hr. But my balance was shot since I was tired. Not the most fun paddle I have had.

Apr 16 had us take the double out again. The forecast for English Bay was relatively benign but there was some swell and some wind to try to catch some waves on the way back. Hard work though. We crossed from Jericho to the North shore on side chop, paddled up the coast to Eagle Harbour, crossed to Passage Island and circled around it before heading back in what was way less of a straight line than I had expected/hoped for. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the Orcas that had been spotted in Howe Sound on Easter Friday. No rain and barely warm enough but we finally had the after paddle Ice Cream at the Galley.

That’s a wrap

Filed under: Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 10:40 PM

We finished up our ski season on Apr 15th – Jeff birthday – with one last trip to Manning. Forecast for Vancouver was heavy rain, for Manning it was mix of sun and clouds. When we arrived it was overcast but the sun was trying and I could see shadow from the trees on the trail in sections. Manning had just gotten another 2 inches of snow over night which had filled in the tracks. So the going was slow but it was nice. Excellent grip with my new skin skis. Near the end is started snowing again – big flakes. It was quite beautiful. Temperatures were around 0 to 2C but a bit of a wind kept it cool enough. Two laps up and down North and South Gibsons, 2hrs45min of skiing to wrap up the season. Unfortunately the pub was already closed for the season but we stopped in at Jeff’s parents for an excellent BBQ ribs dinner that evening. It turned out that Vancouver was quite sunny that day.

The weekend before, Apr 8, we went snowshoeing on Seymour rather than skiing. It was pouring rain in the city and it was heavy wet snow on top. We barely made it into the parking lot despite our winter tires. Burned the clutch quite a bit. The snowshoe trail was only marked till just a kilometer or so past Brockton Point. We continued on up the hill following some just barely visible snowshoe tracks. Visibility on the top was nil and we decided to turn around. I was getting pretty tired as well and wasn’t too sorry to head back – not in hiking shape obviously. The way back down was much quicker than I thought though and we added the detour around first lake to our hike. It was quite nice through some different type of terrain with more trees. Despite the weather conditions, there were quite a few more people up at Seymour for hiking than on the Howe Sound Crest trail a couple weeks earlier. I was surprised though how many did not have snowshoes. I guess nobody was expecting that much fresh snow in almost mid April. We had about 5cm accumulated on our car in the 2.5hrs we were gone for. Took a few back and forward shuffles to get out but we eventually made it.

 

Birds

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer, work — K2 in Canada @ 2:04 PM

Well, my back is in even worse shape then yesterday. So I’ll continue blogging rather than enjoying the sun that just started to shine into the window. Rats, at least it could be pouring rain as they promised!!!

I have been blogging about my hummingbirds for a while now but there are a lot of other birds around as well. Mainly around our neighbours feeder. It is great to wake up to their chatter in the morning :-). Our strata tried to ban bird feeders, other than hummingbird feeders, as apparently they attract rats. Well, they may but I have never seen one in our complex. I have seen squirrels, which love the seeds as well, raccoons and smelled skunk but never seen a rat. Jeff and I love hearing birds where w live and we voted against the ban. Apparently we weren’t the only ones and bird feeders are still allowed. Yeah!!! So here a few more pictures of our local birds. It’s not easy to get good shots as they never sit still, even less so than our hummers.

Our hummingbird feeder is busier than ever. We even had a few new ones join. Mrs and Mr Sunshine – a female and male Rufous. Rufous hummingbirds spent the winter in Mexico. Those two came a long way.

And not all hummers use the feeder – caught one sipping on our sappy tree. Now that I see hummingbirds feed on our tree I am less incline to get rid of it. It is a pain when it comes to our cars as it drops these sticky bits onto the truck all the time and they are hard to get off.

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At work, we also now have a local bird. A Sandhill Crane moved in about 3 weeks ago and has been hanging out ever since. He or maybe it is a she, who knows, isn’t shy of people at all. Someone must have feed it before. I hope nobody at work does. Some people are afraid of the bird because of his big beak. Some think he poops too much in front of the main entrance. Some think he is lost. I think he just found a good place with lots of bugs around and feels safe around people. He doesn’t like to be chased by their dogs mind you. It’s great to have a mascot around. Our CEO thinks like me. Still, facilities is trying to get Wildlife Services to relocate them. But apparently they are too busy. I hope it stays that way. Below pictures are taken with the phone, so sorry for the even worse quality. I also took a video since the best way to locate him is by his pretty loud call.

 

Last but not least a couple river walk pictures:

April 22, 2017

Visitors from the Old Country

Filed under: Canada, Germany, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 3:21 PM

For the 2nd half of March we had 3 visitors from Germany stay with us. My niece Anneke, her boyfriend Max and my nephew Steffen. I warned them that March may not be the best time to visit but they insisted they don’t mind rain. Unfortunately for them, it was one of the wettest 2 weeks in March I ever remember. I think we even set a rain record one day. This whole spring was pretty wet and unseasonably cold. The below was posted on Apr 16. They only saw sun twice and it rain all but 1 day I believe! It turned out they DO MIND rain :-).

SoggySpring (Medium)

Nevertheless they endlessly explored the city while Jeff and I were at work. They shopped more in those 2.5 weeks than I do in a year :-). We played a lot of games in the evening. Early on we took them to a Vancouver Giant Hockey game. I got 4 free tickets from my work colleague and gym buddy Charlie.

And one evening in their last week we tried to kill them with pasta. Portions at Anton’s are huge and even though the boys boosted they could finish it, they lost.

28_Antons_0327 (Medium)

Weekends, Jeff and I took them with us on some of what we like to do. First weekend we went cross-country skiing in Manning Park. Snow was definitely the better choice compared to rain and I think they enjoyed the skiing. Although downhill might have been more what they would have chosen. The boys dragged me up the bunny hill at Manning. Although I think they regretted it more than I trying to get up and down – see video :-). It snow quite a bit that day but there also was a hint of sun.

The following Sunday was a sunny day but it was very cold. Jeff and I went for a paddle but it was too cold to take the gang. We sent them on a hike up to the Deep Cove Lookout instead. Afterwards we headed up to the Cypress Lookout for the best views over the city.

The 2nd weekend, we dragged them snowshoeing up at Cypress – part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail to St Marks. It was another nice day actually with a mix of sun and clouds in the morning. The view from the Bowen Lookout was quite spectacular and we had some friendly locals, a couple Whiskey Jacks and a Blue Jay, entertain us for a while. After the lookout it was a bit too much uphill for those guys and they were really quiet. Much more lively on the way down – see video. On the drive down we also got to see the first bear of the season. Those guys were lucky :-).

Since it was a somewhat sunny day we took them down to the beach afterwards. Lots of bunnies around that day but still pretty darn cold.

The 2nd day that weekend was horribly wet. Hence only Jeff and I went for a paddle while the gang was hanging out in the cafes in Deep Cove, just missing out on meeting Tom Selleck (Magnum).

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The highlight though must have been the go-karting on their 2nd last evening. It was a lot of fun and even I wanted to go for longer – almost caught Steffen!!! Jeff was the undisputed champion.

Overall I think/hope they enjoyed their stay. Steffen seemed to have coped okay with the too short air mattress. I sincerely hope though that they come visit in the summer next time!

Why can’t I hurt my back during the week…

Filed under: Canada, Home, Hummer — K2 in Canada @ 1:13 PM

Darn! Haven’t had a bad back in some time but I knew for weeks it would be coming. Why, though, did it have to happen on a Friday evening to ruin my Saturday, I have no idea. Mind you I did my first 2017 K1 paddle at Burnaby Lake last night. FINALLY a beautiful 16C and sunny evening! It was gorgeous and my balance was pretty good to. Wasn’t quite brave enough to take my boat but tool the yellow Vanquish with a low seat. All was fine until I lifted the boat up out of the water after my 30min paddle. Zing! F….!

This AM, I managed to do a short walk along the river, very slow, to visit our 6 local humming birds in their favourite trees. I am always wondering if any of those guys visit our feeder or not. Mind you most of our feeder birds are female and all birds I see along the river are male. The walk did seem to help a bit, or maybe it’s the ultra strength Motrin :-).

Oh well, maybe I’ll get to catch up on my blog while Jeff is out paddling, sigh.

March 12, 2017

Count Down -5hrs or so.

Filed under: Canada, Home, Kayak — K2 in Canada @ 6:22 PM

After a week of cold yet again, it finally warmed up to above 5C (see previous post below). But we also got the rain back, at times heavy all weekend long. Good thing that I had enough errands to run (= excuses) to not have to do anything active all day yesterday. We are getting visitors from Germany coming in tonight for almost 3 weeks. 3 of them. My nephew Steffen, my niece Anneke and her boyfriend Maxi. We are able to accommodate 1 person, it’ll be tight for two if they can share a double bed but three is going to be a challenge. Oh well, they are young. Jeff went out a few weeks ago and bought one of those luxury inflatable air twin mattresses. It inflates via in-build electrical pump, is pretty high off the ground and wide enough for one person but the length seems to be designed for kids or nationalities that are on average shorter than the average German. Sorry, Steffen, but this will have to do. Yesterday I went on an Ikea shopping trip to stock up on bedding and towels, and all those other things that your walk by when at Ikea, really do need but seem to be a great deal and can’t get anywhere else, like Marabou chocolate :-). Mind you, a new shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom was very much needed and with the “Bathroom Sale” going on, a really good deal. Besides Ikea shopping, I spent the day rearranging our workout equipment in the den so that I can fit the air mattress into it and cleaned the downstairs den, guest room and bathroom. How on earth a toilet we hardly ever use can get that dirty is a mystery to me – yuck. Also found out that our vacuum is mostly non-functional, at least the big brush is broken which means I was on my knees to clean the large area of the floor with a tiny little brush. All is nice and shiny now, relatively spoken, and we are ready for our guests.

I would have made Jeff do the vacuuming since he knew it was the big brush was broken for a while but he was sick like a dog not being able to keep any food in him since Friday. Poor guy! I made some carrot potatoes stew for dinner and that was the first meal he was able to eat in over 24hrs that stayed put.

Today was just as wet as yesterday but temps almost reach the magic 10C. Jeff was feeling better so we went for relaxed paddle out of Deep Cove for almost 2hrs. And yes, it rained the whole time but it was mostly calm and I felt good being out in the fresh air even though I did get tired at the end. All this “rest” yesterday must have tired me out. :-). We also saw a river otter on shore near the powerhouse but he/she scooted off to quick for me to take a picture.

First and Last

Filed under: Canada, Hummer, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 6:21 PM

The only way I can ever win my category in a loppet, I am the only one in it :-). Sun Peaks 30km Loppet on Mar 4th. It’s a combined skate and classic loppet but they give separate awards. I was the only female 30km classic skier in the event. I finished last by quite a long ways but still got my name on the trophy. And they had a large Lindt chocolate for the top three finishers. Awesome! Jeff also won the men’s classic 30km. He double poled it all, there is quite a bit of up involved, and he beat the other two competitors, despite getting lost on lap 1 for a bit. He is the real champ.

 

It was a beautiful day with a mix of sun and puffy white clouds and -8 to -4C. 15cm of fresh snow made for soft tracks though. I used my grip tape skies because they are nice and light. They may ice up in the fresh snow but they worked well at the start. The skaters chopped up the soft classic tracks pretty bad. But what was even more annoying was the horde of kids that skated the 15km loppet. They were out for a fun time and not racing and they stopped several times to have a drink. And of course they stopped right on the classic tracks. Not once, not twice, but three fucking times. There was a coach with them who could have taught them proper race etiquette … argh. Needless to say, I was quite annoyed on the way up having to call “track please” three times, and I was quite scared on the way down being surrounded by those kids going much faster than I would have ever wanted to on my own. Luckily they stop after my lap 1. I though, now I can have a great ski on my own but it was much sunnier ad warmer on lap two, which in theory was nice, but my grip tape finally decided to ice up near the top. Not to worry though since my wax tech hero Jeff had given me some VR 30 hard wax to carry along that I could rub on top of the grip tape and it worked like a charm. But I lost at least another 5min getting the skis into shape again. And my back started to get really sore/tired. Hence, the going was slow as I didn’t rush it but enjoyed the sunshine. Figured that with this beautiful weather the volunteers wouldn’t mind either to wait a bit longer for stragglers. Mind you, they had already packed in the half way aid station when I skied by and were starting to take down signs. Just managed to get ahead of the guy removing the signs. Oh well, I think I would have remembered the route well enough even without them. I made it to the finish. Lots of cheers. Almost 30min slower than last year :-).

Wanting to enjoy the sun for as long as possible we walked into the town of Sun Peaks after the rewards. A typical ski resort town with way less people around than Whistler and affordable prices. We spent the night in Kamloops in our usual motel. Soaked in the hot tub for an hour and then walked to a pub 20min away – McCracken Station Pub. Food was awesome and the staff friendly despite them being really busy!

The next day we woke up to overcast and light snow. Oh no, I thought, please not a repeat of Friday evening commute when we drove up to Kamloops from the coast. Took quite a while to get out of town that Friday – New West was clogged up as usual. Then past Abbortsford, the torrential downpour started. I have no idea how Jeff was able to see the road in the dark. And the rain did not let up all the way past Hope. I checked the “DriveBC” website constantly to see if they would close the Coquihalla. Nothing was posted. But shortly after we passed the turn off to Hwy 3, traffic stopped dead. Road was blocked off by Highway Patrol. The downpour turned into snow but nothing was sticking yet. We sat there for an hour waiting for the hwy to reopen. No info was posted on the website to when that would happen and I really had to pee. Good thing it was dark. But eventually they let us go. The snow started to stick and shortly after the road was covered with heavy wet snow and that lasted all the way to Merritt. It was slow going since there was a long line of cars but at least we were moving. We stopped in Merritt for dinner since it was already 9PM. We left home at 4PM. Usually it’s a 3hrs drive. There was more snow between Merritt and Kamloops but the Hwy was empty so it was an easier drive. We got to Kamloops by 10:30PM. Dead tired and sore from sitting in the car for 6hrs.

Sunday though, the drive wasn’t nearly as bad. We stopped at Stake Lake for another almost 3hr ski. It was lightly snowing and I tried my new skin skis. NICE! I was tired from the day before and part of the tracks were covered in fresh snow but Jeff and I had a great, slow ski together. The fresh snow made for great grip up Gironimo and a much less scary decent on Ricochet.

Back on the road the snow stopped in Merritt. As we climbed out of Merritt towards the Coquihalla summit the sun came out and lit up the mountain covered in fresh snow beautifully. The road was fine. As we dropped down into Hope, it started raining again. Driving through Langley we saw snow along the road but not on it. It wasn’t until about 5km from home when the roads all sudden were covered in slushy snow again and it hailed on us. Really!? More snow in town? On the bright side, Lily was at the feeder when we got home. We had to wait until she finished to unload the car 🙂

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Sigh – will this winter ever end?! Last week I was back to commuting to work on my mountain bike until Thursday. It was cold and partially icy in the morning. The sun finally made an appearance on Friday but I was holed up at work all day.

 

February 25, 2017

Travel Theme: Turquoise

Filed under: Canada, Travel Theme — K2 in Canada @ 8:59 PM

I am very late to respond to last weekend’s theme that Ailsa posted but it is quite a meaningful theme to me. This is more of a story of my life post rather than just cool pictures. For great pictures, check Ailsa’s post here: https://wheresmybackpack.com/2017/02/19/travel-theme-turquoise/

My sea kayak is turquoise and my most memorable travels were spent in that craft exploring BC’s beautiful West Coast. Our very first touring trip we rented a turquoise double after flying up the coast in an 8-seater plane to Bella Bella. We knew nothing about kayaking back then in 1998 but we went on a week long trip on our own in one of the most remote areas along that coast. It was awesome and we lived to tell the tale. It’s still on my list to go back up there one day. Ever since I came to Canada, kayaking has been a big part of mine and Jeff’s life. Be it touring, racing, or just getting out there to get some fresh air. I love it!

There are some more fond turquoise travel memories mind you – all of them involve water though.

North America:

Australia – it was tough to only pick a few:

RIP

Filed under: Canada — K2 in Canada @ 8:59 PM

Jeff’s uncle Bob passed away today after loosing his fight with cancer. I have the most fond memories of uncle Bob – fishing, camping, big camp fires with lots of great outdoors stories. A person full of life and adventures! Thanks for the times we spent together – now I wish there would have been more.

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