K2inCanada's Blog

August 7, 2017

I want some rain!

Filed under: Canada — K2 in Canada @ 9:45 PM

Never thought I would ever say that after this wet spring we had. But we only had 1.8mm of rain in all of July – that’s one day with a few sprinkles early in July. Temperatures have been around 25 almost every day – or more. I have had to water my wild flowers every 2nd day since we are back from Newfoundland. They are still doing okay although the garden does look a bit wild :-).

This hot dry summer has other much more devastating effects on the province – other than me having to water my plants. Wildfires. Apparently, it’s the worst season for wildfires in 60 years. And even though none of the fires are close to Vancouver, we have been effected. Unusual offshore winds have driven the smoke into the lower mainland and we have been under smoky skies for a week. Air quality is poor – on a scale from 1-10 we are at 7. I don’t feel it as much but still this can’t be good. It’s less severe than 2 years ago but this smoke has been hanging around for much longer. I can’t even imagine how bad it is for the people in the interior though. Most of the fires are in the Cariboo region – one of our favourite fishing destinations. Williams Lake (30,000 people) had to be evacuated for over a week. That same fire is also threatening Forest Lake, which we spent the last two May long weekends at. I hope my bears, like the people up there, are save!

But there is always beauty in disasters. The smoky skies produced some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone and the pictures didn’t turn out that well. Blood red sun – you can look right at it without shades.

Mind you, we still do our workouts. I have been paddling almost every day, finally, for the last 2 weeks. Made it to BBY lake for short K1 paddles three times after work each week. And on weekends we are putting in long hours and lots of kilometers. Training for a 3 day stage race covering 120km coming up in 2 weeks – my bum is not ready :-). See next post.

 

 

BC Day – Training weekend

Filed under: Canada — K2 in Canada @ 9:45 PM

As mentioned in the previous post, Jeff and I are trying to get ready for a 3 day stage race, 120km total, with a couple short portages each day. We decided to take the double surfski, even though it is heavier on the portages but it will be more versatile in varies conditions. The race is on Lake Revelstoke from Mica Dam to just before Revestoke and it could be flat calm or wind could funnel down the valley. We have been putting in a few long paddles each weekend since we are back from Newfoundland. Well, we did a few before that as well. But none of them were anywhere close to 40km in distance. Until this weekend.

Paddle #1 on Aug 5: With all this smoke, Indian Arm was one smoke filled fjord. And driving to the North Shore has been a bit of a slow drive lately, so much traffic. So we decided to not drive anywhere but walk the double down to the river and paddles up and down the North Arm of the Fraser. I had forgotten how far that is to go around the airport – 45km. Lucky for us we had current help us down and up the river and it “only” took 4hrs10min. Not the most scenic of a paddle and visibility was quite low but it’s something different to paddle on a runway, sharing the water with float planes and the Coast Guard’s hovercraft.

Paddle #2 on Aug 6: Still low vis. We took the singles that and met up with buddy John to paddle along Crescent Beach to White Rock. We launched at Stuart Farm on the Nicomekl. The tide was way out and we had to launch from the dock. Not used to that with the surfskis but no drama. Not much to see on that paddle either. We saw a few immature bald eagles a;long the river bank and could get surprisingly close. The bay was quite calm, just a little bit of light chop on the way out. With the low tide though we had to paddle way off shore. Almost crossed into the US :-). Again the paddle was longer than we thought. Got out of the boats a bit at White Rock to rest the bum. Everything else was fine. The way back was shorter as the tide had come up and we could paddle closer to shore. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there is a lot of eel grass that likes to wrap itself to my rudder and slow me down. It also hosts a ton of tiny fish though and is vital as a nursery for a number of species. Hence, I did not complain. Just stopped, backed up, moved on to the next patch. Jeff did practice re-mount to get the stuff off his rudder. Another 29km and 3hr20min paddle. Good thing we had invited ourselves for dinner at Jeff’s parents :-).

Paddle #3 on Aug 7: Another smokey day. The last paddle this long weekend was not till the afternoon and I just took the K1 (Super Lancer) out for a couple laps around the lake, 9.9km, 67min. The lake is quite weedy and I was tired. Jeff did not want to paddle today as he had a sore elbow. Hence we went up Cypress instead. Jeff roller skied up. I drove up and hiked Mount Strachnan, a 2hr round trip, ~500m elevation gain. Haven’t done much hiking this year yet – other than in Newfoundland – and I could feel my legs turning to rubber crawling up the chute. I was quite surprised to still see quite a bit of snow along the trail. First blueberries were also ready. And lots of flowers. I pretty much had the trail to myself. Maybe it was the smoke that kept people away. or maybe our theory that the best weekend to stay in town is the BC long weekend since everyone else hits the road ūüôā

And yes, one of these days I will post about Newfoundland and maybe even our spring fishing adventures. Have been quite a lazy blogger this year so far despite having so many cool things to talk about. Stay tuned.

July 23, 2017

Life Savers

Filed under: Canada — K2 in Canada @ 8:18 PM

PFDs or Personal Flotation Devices are supposed to save lives. When we started sea kayaking I was always wearing my full PFD. When we started racing kayaks, the full PFD was in the way of going fast and we switch to a small, inflatable one that goes around the waist only and all the bulk is behind you. We did lots of remounts in our surfskis during TNRs, and never had problems getting back in. Over the last couple years our paddling has decreased, I switch back to a full PFD for “safety”. Used it all winter long in the surfskis and we did go out into some big winds and waves. I always felt safe with my “big” PFD. We never fell in. Last Tuesday, during the TNR, they made us remount for the first time this season. Jeff and I were in the double, both wearing the full PFD. We were cocky too and started 1min behind the field as all the fast people were down in Oregon for a big race. We almost caught up to the front as we got to the remount at Jug. We got out fine but had a really hard time getting back in. It was flat calm. My chest kept getting stuck in the cockpit and I could not move far enough over the boat to get my ass in. We eventually made it, but it took two attempts. Pretty bad in calm conditions. I was embarrassed! Tried again one more time after the race and it was not much better. We finished way back!

Today, we took the double out into English Bay. It was blowing 15knots and whitecaps were out. Both of us were wearing our inflatable PFDs again around the waist….I felt safe! But I do need to practice with the big PFD!

 

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 ūüôā

P1130701 (Medium)

 

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 Рa 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.

P1130277 (Medium)

 

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 Рpart 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 Рsee 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).

P1210788 (Medium)

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.

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