Tag Archives: hiking

My Best Time – So Far!

19 Aug

I have made a habit of hiking the Coquitlam Crunch one to two times a week for I dunno, a couple months or so? A friend suggested it and I got hooked.

It is described on the city website as a steep urban trail that offers a great workout, which I’d say is fairly accurate. The city website also says it takes 1.5 hours to complete, but they always overestimate for the trails.

The first time my friend and I went we were around the one hour and fifteen minute mark I think…I don’t really count the first attempt at a new trail though because you don’t always know where you are going, and there end up being pauses to figure out are you turning left or right because the trail branches off both ways, reading signs, stuff like that. Second attempt and onward though, those get tracked and turned in to times to beat!…not that I’m competitive with my stats or anything lol

This trail has three road crossings, and depending on if traffic stops or not that can really affect your time, which sucks. There have also been two times where I paused to watch deer, but only on the way down. Pretty much nothing stops me on the way up, I have a mission and am determined to keep moving! The first time we went up I paused to read all the signs, they mostly have blurbs about the area, the wildlife, things like that.

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There is one section with stairs, looks like this…

IMG_0038

Well, actually, I’m sorta lying. Oops! There are two sections of stairs, they are at the same section though, just one set is to the left the other set is to the right. I tend to go up the set to the left and down the set on the right. I find the set on the right easier because there are more flat spots so I save it for my way down when my legs are tired. On the way up I want as many steps crammed in together with fewer flat resting spots as I can get.

Pictures don’t do the Crunch justice. There are power lines the entire length of the trail and in pictures they dominate what you see, but when you are there it is easy to ignore them and just enjoy the view.

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My best time had been one hour and two minutes and I was determined to get it under an hour, even if all I managed was 59:59, I wanted it under an hour!

This past week I went and had no confidence in my ability to beat my best time, I was going to be happy if I managed to hit one hour and four minutes. It was mid-day, the worst time of day for me, I wasn’t as hydrated as normal, there is poor air quality thanks to fires, and my legs hurt from my previous days workout. If I hadn’t been in the area I don’t know that I would have gone to do the Crunch at all that day, but I was in the area, and if I am there I can’t pass up an opportunity to go up, so up I went!

Something about not putting pressure on myself to beat my best time seems to generate results. I only asked my body for the best it could do that day, and was going to be happy with whatever that was, and lo and behold, I got my best time, and it wasn’t 59 minutes!

IMG_2056

56:26!

Do you see that Fit Bit info? I completed the Crunch in 56 minutes and 26 seconds! wOOt! wOOt!

I don’t care if it is rude to celebrate yourself, I am happy with that! πŸ˜€

Yes I know there are people who can do the whole thing in a much shorter span of time, and yay for them, but for me, in this moment, I am excited I completed the Crunch in 56:26. And really, there will always be someone who can do what you are doing better, and that’s fine. I only compete against myself, I only look to beat my time, not the person next to me, as my coach says, race your own race.

So now the time to beat is 56:26…talk about setting myself up for a challenge!

Leg Week?

10 Aug

Is leg week a thing? I feel it should be a thing, I can’t be the only person who has done this…granted I did it by accident, but still, I’m not the only one, right?

leg day 1

Last Friday night (it is currently the next Friday) I had leg day at the gym. I hadn’t had one in a while due to scheduling and life and laziness so it was nice to get back to routine. I pushed myself, because what is the point of working out if you don’t push yourself? By the end of the workout I could tell I was going to be feeling the results of that workout for days.

I love that feeling. πŸ™‚

Saturday there was pain, there was using my arms to push me up from a chair, and using arms to take the weight off my legs when I would go to sit, and there was the knowledge I would probably suck at running if I had to run that day. But all that is good, because it is good pain, and it means I worked the muscles hard, the pain will fade, the results will stay.Β  Saturday is my rest day due to how my work schedule is so I didn’t do anything to really work the legs beyond normal day-to-day things.

Sunday I went for a hike after work, it occurred to me that might suck since my legs still had a noticeable amount of muscle pain but I went anyways. During the hike I noticed my legs started to feel better, stronger, they were benefiting from being worked again, even though I was still feeling the Friday night workout. I think, and I could be wrong, but I think the hike helped clear out some of the built up lactic acid and helped them stretch and basically just helped the muscles in their recovery. Yay for a good hike! The trail has a lot of ups and downs and uneven surfaces so not only did the larger muscles get worked but so did the smaller ones used for stabilizing etc. Also, part way in to the hike I noticed my stride was lengthening, I have a decent stride length but started the hike with a shorter stride due to discomfort, as the pain cleared my stride got longer, and I felt better.

Monday evening I did the Coquitlam Crunch which is like a less evil version of the Grouse Grind…which means nothing to you if you don’t live in Vancouver BC or the surrounding areas lol Basically it is a steep urban trail, with an elevation of 244 meters, that gives you a great and fast workout. So far my best time is one hour and two minutes round trip. My goal is to get that under an hour.

Then Tuesday evening I did a long walk with a friend after work. Which brings us to Wednesday where I did the Coquitlam Crunch with the same friend I walked with Tuesday. I had intended to go to Lynn Valley and hike the trails but that will wait for another day.

So, I inadvertently had, what is that, 5 leg workouts in 6 days? Um, oops? Sorry for neglecting you upper body, I swear I still love ya! lol

Normally I do a much better job of working out all my muscle groups, and its not like I have some driving desire to only work on my legs, they just somehow got all my attention this week.

I think the flaw in my workouts is that it is summer, and that means hiking, and trails, and all those lovely outdoor workouts can be done at any time of day, on any day, without worry about weather cancelling your outing, so I tend to go out on a trail instead of inside to the gym. I mean c’mon, if given the choice wouldn’t you go out on a trail, get some fresh air, see some pretty sights, maybe spot a deer or bear or some other fuzzy critter, rather than be inside the gym where yes, you get a good workout but all you really look at is equipment and yourself in the mirror?

The hiking gives me a chance to either ruminate on something that is bothering me, or clear my mind and enjoy the quiet for a while, whichever I need. I can be alone, with nature, infusing myself with the peace that comes from being surrounded by trees (seriously, what is it with trees that they are so soothing?) or I can go with a friend and enjoy a lovely chat while getting in a workout.

The gym, I love the gym, but to me it is more like work, or an expectation, or I dunno, a thing I schedule. I don’t mind any of that, I really don’t, but sometimes I like the idea of being out on a trail more. I know it isn’t as good of a workout as my gym time, and my muscle definition suffers every summer because of that, but I can’t give up my trail time, I enjoy it too much.

However, my enjoying of my trail time this week has resulted in a lot of leg workouts, and no upper body workouts, until Thursday that is when I was at dragon boat practice.

I’ve really got to take care to balance things a bit better because while Leg Day is a thing, a good thing, a thing to be done often, Leg Week is a teeny bit of over kill and maybe shouldn’t be repeated anytime soon…don’t want my back and arms and shoulders to think I don’t care about them after all! πŸ˜‰

 

A Hike and A Workout

12 May

Wednesday was Day 3 of this new workout plan I am trying (you can read the deets on the plan by going back a post or two). Even though Day 3 is a body circuit day I figured that didn’t mean I couldn’t do other stuff as well, so I went for a hike. πŸ™‚

I worked Wednesday, my normal day off, 10a-4:30p and when I was done I was sooooo close to this hike called Quarry Rock I figured I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to go. I used to climb this particular trail on an almost weekly basis two years ago, last year I didn’t climb it as much which is unfortunate. I didn’t do as many hikes in general last year, not really sure why.

So this was my first time on the trail in a while. It has changed a bit, not in a bad way or anything, just natural changes that you will find in a forest. It is definitely showing the signs of lack of rain though, which sucks. The trail is drier, there is less green, the bridges built to get over the water aren’t really needed since there is barely any water. It is kind of sad when you think about it.

But! On the plus side I took pictures, so lets focus on those! lol

New signs have been put up, I’m thinking because of the stupid people you see on the trail wearing flip flops (not even joking!). Or I suppose they could be because some people head in to the wilderness with no idea about what they might encounter, and might not be properly prepared for the possibilities. Meh, who knows!

The next pics are views from the top…

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Isn’t it so pretty? Makes the hike up completely worth it! πŸ™‚

While I was sitting up there, even with my sunglasses on, it felt like the sun was searing a hole through my eyes straight to the back of my head. Poor eyeballs. 😦 So I didn’t stay up there as long as I wanted to, but I did stay up longer than I used to. When I hiked this trail on a regular basis I used to get to the top, take a quick glance, then go right back down because I was hiking the trail primarily for exercise, not to enjoy nature. This time, it was such a harder climb than it used to be for me that I decided to enjoy being at the summit.

That climb really made me realize how lazy I have been. I used to be able to hike Quarry Rock without even thinking about it, which is why it was a great hike to do at the end of a busy work day once a week. It was exercise without being extraordinarily demanding. Now? Ha! Now it is hard apparently. There were parts where the only positive thing I can say about myself is that I was still technically going forward, felt like I was moving in slow motion through molasses, but I was still moving, so that’s something…

I have decided that I will hike Quarry Rock once a week, weather permitting, for the next couple months, get back in the groove of dealing with inclines and rocky surfaces an all that.

Here are a couple pics I snapped on the way back down to show you the shape the forest is in, see what I mean about drier than normal and a little sad looking?

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When I got home from the hike I immediately started on the exercises for Day 3. Each set included:

30 seconds jumping rope

15 squat jumps

10 bench dips

15 standing calf raises

20 shoulder presses

10 side lunges (each leg)

25 crunches

I had to make some modifications due to a variety of factors but I did my best to keep to the spirit of the exercise I was modifying so I’d still get the same, or at least a similar, benefit.

The exercises I modified are the jumping rope, the squat jumps and the shoulder presses.

The jumping rope I can’t do because my apartment has an extremely low ceiling, there isn’t enough clearance for the rope. Also, there isn’t enough open space for the rope when it is going around my body. So yeah, not happening. Instead I ran in place for 30 seconds, I didn’t half ass it or anything, I basically sprinted in place for the same amount of time I was supposed to be jumping rope.

As I learned on the Monday, squat jumps and my knees are just not friends. Instead I did normal squats. I didn’t realize until just now when I was re-reading the exercise list that the alternate for the squat jumps was a 30 second wall sit, oops. I’ll do that next time. I don’t think it was soooo bad that I did normal squats though…

The shoulder presses, ok, so this is a weird one. I have free weights, they are only 5lbs and 8lbs but whatever, it is a start! So I have the weights and I know how to do a shoulder press, but I can’t do them in my apartment because the ceiling is too low. I can’t raise my arms above my head when standing and straighten the elbows because I am hitting the ceiling. Instead I did a forward lunge, maintained the lunge position, and did 10 shoulder presses. Then I stepped back, did a forward lunge with the other leg, maintained the position, and did the other 10 shoulder presses. I figure it might even be better than just doing shoulder presses because I am utilizing my core more to maintain balance and using my leg muscles to ya know, stay in the lunge position.

So yeah, that was how the workout went on Wednesday. Haven’t quit the new program yet! lol πŸ˜›

Now Comes The Exercise

10 May

I warned you in the last post this one would be about the new exercise plan so don’t blame me if you’re all “omg all she is writing about is working out, ugh” πŸ˜‰ lol

I found the work out plan I am going to follow by complete and total fluke, such a pleasant surprise!

I can’t lay claim to any part of this plan, I found it here…

http://www.popeyescanada.com/strongtothefinish-en.html

It is the Popeye’s Supplement company website. I was on it seeing if my protein powder was on sale (sadly, it isn’t) and noticed they are having a contest. I can’t enter because it is already started but that doesn’t mean I can’t read the information they have on the site and learn from it.

You select your gender and from there check out four different workouts. I have made copies of all of them with the theory that once I have gotten good at the beginner level I will be able to move up to the more advanced workouts and well, might as well be prepared for that, right?

Here is what the beginners workout plan looks like…

Capture

For some reason the part that most appealed to me was that all the workouts can be done at home. Normally I don’t like working out at home, I like being lazy at home. Buuuuuut there are advantages, like, I don’t have to worry about making myself presentable to the world, I don’t have people in the gym watching me, I can work out at anytime of day or night, my shower is less than ten steps away so when I’m done I can get cleaned up super fast.

Oh, and the biggest perk is that I have no excuse to not work out. My gym closes at 10pm Fridays and Saturdays which means I can’t get there after work and I don’t care for working out prior to going to work so I have used those two reasons for more often than not skipping my Friday and Saturday workouts. Well, no more!

Something else I like about this plan is the alternate exercises. It is smart to not keep doing the same exercises for weeks and weeks and weeks in a row so having things to swap out to keep the body guessing is good. Also, as I get stronger I can add weights to the moves, add more reps and sets, make it more of a challenge. πŸ™‚ Plus it alternates cardio with the full body circuit and even throws in a rest day and a stretching day. It’s a good mix.

I wasn’t intending to have Day 1 be a Monday but I wanted to start the program right away and I found it last night so right away meant Monday. Whiiiich actually turns out to be a good thing because if you’ll notice on Day 2 and 4 I will be doing cardio and in the alternate exercises one of the options is “sport” and those are the days I have dragon boat practice which means my dragon boat practice can be substituted in to this work out plan and count. Yay! I figure I am probably still going to do a separate 30 minutes of cardio on those days, cause why not? But if life gets in the way and one day I can’t fit in time for a run or hike I won’t be missing out completely cause I’ll still be going to practice. Maybe my logic is flawed but it makes sense to me…

So today after work I went for a one hour hike with a friend then came home and immediately did Day 1’s workout. I had to make some minor changes, after the second set my knees were hurting quite badly so during the third set I did 20 squats instead of 15 squats and 5 squat jumps, the squat jumps were killing my knees. Also, in set 3 I did my push-ups on an angle because I felt it was better to do angled push-ups with proper form than pathetic push-ups on the floor that weren’t giving me as good of a workout as they could be. I’ll get stronger and be able to do all three sets of the push-ups soon but until then I’ll do one set angled, build those muscles!

There ya have it, my new work out plan. Easy in the sense I can follow it and have no excuses to not work out. Challenging enough that hopefully it will start me on a lovely path of getting more fit. πŸ™‚

Care to join me?

 

Hiking Pics

28 Apr

I’ve been hiking a handful of times since the weather got nice and each time there have been some definite kodak moments…some of which I actually pulled my phone out and took pics of. Look at me, remembering to take pictures of things so I can share them with you, go me go! lol πŸ˜‰

Well ok, I remembered to take pictures twice and one of those hikes I’ve already shared the pics of but if my Drop Box will ever finish uploading the newest pics from my phone then I will post some of them here…

Let’s all wait together shall we?

-Insert Jeopardy music here-

Aha! Finally! πŸ™‚

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This was taken from around the halfway point on the staircase. I hate stairs. Stairs are evil. Having said that, when I got to the top I realized they weren’t as bad as I anticipated. Lesson learned! Always try something you think is gonna be hard, it might turn out to not be that bad… πŸ™‚

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A lovely little spot where people go swimming in the summer. Despite how warm we had gotten from our hike it was definitely nowhere near warm enough in the water to dip a toe in. You can’t tell from this pic but to the right the water gets deeper and extends quite a ways up until it meets with a waterfall. There is a ledge where people jump in to the water from that currently has a tribute on it because someone jumped about 3 weeks or so ago and died.

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This is a man made lake that sorta just appears when you’re on a certain trail. It is super calm and relaxing and I could sit on the bench and enjoy the spot for hours. Well, except that just behind you is the trail so you hear people going past. A bench that is a bit off the trail and more secluded would be nice, only, how would people know about it? Oh the dilemmas! lol Apparently there are fish in the lake and people go fishing here, I didn’t see any but maybe they are deeper in the water where it is warmer.

I feel a little bad about the fish, I mean, c’mon, people make a lake and stock it with fish then let people fish there. It is kinda mean. The fish have no way to escape, they didn’t choose to be there and you are almost guaranteeing they get killed…just doesn’t seem right to me. If people want to fish I think they should fish somewhere the fish have a bit better odds of not dying, but that is just my opinion, shrug.

All in all, lovely hikes. πŸ™‚ Lisa and I go every Sunday after work and we are upping that to also going every Monday after work, so guaranteed two hikes a week, yay! They aren’t crazy intense hikes or anything but they are still nice. I’ll leave the crazy intense hikes for a day off so I have more time and energy to enjoy them and go farther in to the back country…bears here I come! πŸ˜‰

First Time This Year

3 Apr

Get your mind out of the gutter – not thaaaaat kind of “first time”! lol

I’m talking about my first hike of the year…or I guess I could word that as first hike of the season…either is accurate, shrug.

A friend and I went for a walk last Friday before I went to work and decided we enjoyed it so much that we made plans to go for a walk / hike Sunday afternoon when I was off work. I oh so responsibly packed a bag the night before (cause nooooo way would I remember at 5am to pack a bag with hiking appropriate clothes in it) and once I was at work texted her asking if she wanted to come walk the trails near my work or go to the trails near her or if we should go somewhere completely different. I had to be sneaky because we have an unfortunate habit of saying we are going to go for a walk or a hike or to a fitness class or whatever and instead we either (1) cancel completely or (2) go for tea and sit and gab.

Yup, we are enablers of each others laziness.

So I figured if I worded the text to her today as if I assumed we were still going it’d be harder for her to bail.

Turns out I was wrong. lol She wrote back saying she was way behind for the stuff she had to do today because of things happening in her townhouse complex (loooong complicated story that and not really essential to my story, which is of course the important one πŸ˜‰ ) and basically she couldn’t make it.

I, in a non-bitchy way, said no worries but since I’d brought my change of clothes with me I was still gonna go. At this point I still had some energy left so I meant it when I said it.

Well, by the end of my work day I was tired and had almost completely decided to not go for a walk or a hike and instead go home. Before I could though my friend calls, turns out by my saying I was still going to go it got her thinking that she really should find time in her day to do something active and good for her so she once again decided to join me.

I couldn’t very well tell her that I’d decided to bail *rolls eyes*…and that is how we ended up here…

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The shots of the water were all taken from the suspension bridge. If it wasn’t for other people being there I could easily stand on that bridge for hours watching and listening to the water.

As for the hollow trunk picture, I thought it’d be fun but in actually I look like I have no neck lol silly shadows. πŸ˜› And before anyone who is thinking about my eyes freaks out (which really that would only be my mom) I only took my sunglasses off for the picture, otherwise they are always on when I am outside – I am following all my eye care rules, honest! πŸ™‚

UK Trip Day 5: July 18/14 Part 2

8 Sep

After the mining expedition ended I followed the nice people who were headed in the same direction as I and managed to get to Holyhead. I warned them I drive slow on the narrow, windy roads and they assured me they did also. Lemme tell ya, their idea of slow and my idea of slow, totally different! lol

My final stop in Wales was Holyhead which is on the island of Anglesey. It’s a cute, tiny town that unfortunately is struggling a bit, at least that is how it seemed in the areas I saw. There were a lot of closed pubs and shops which is too bad cause it was a pleasant place and I swear I met the nicest people in the world there. Or at least the nicest people in Wales lol

I realized once I got in to town I had an address for the B&B I was booked in at but had no idea how to find that address, oops! Oh and yes, you read that right, a B&B, no more hostels for moi! Not that the hostels weren’t awesome but I was oh so ready to have a room to my own and not need to share a washroom lol πŸ˜›

Turns out I didn’t need to worry about finding the place, I drove in to town on the main road and was following it through town when I came upon the B&B, it was just there, like it was meant to be!

The B&B is called The Beach Hut and if you ever want to find it the address is 4 Hibernia Terrace, their website is http://www.thebeachhut.me.uk They have completely reasonable prices, a view of the ocean (admittedly the view is slightly marred by traffic going on and off of the ferries but really, how often do you stare out the window while on vacation?), breakfast is included in the price (a full Welsh of course! lol), people who go above and beyond to make you feel welcome and to help you out and while the room I was in was small, it was beautifully decorated, had everything I needed and more and the bed was super comfy! πŸ˜€

If it seems I am going on and on about this place, well, I am, but it is worth all the praise I can heap on it lol

The B&B rooms are over top of a cafe that is part of the B&B, I climbed 2 or 3 long flights of stairs to get to my room and Dave, the owner was sooooo nice, he carried my suitcase the whole way up! I am incapable of packing light, that poor man having to carry that bag, I felt bad for him. He and his wife (least, I think it’s his wife) made sure I was settled in, gave me directions to the nearest pub so I could grab dinner, answered my questions about directions for where I needed to be in the morning and then left me be.

My evening wasn’t all that exciting, but I was ok with that. I had a shower, reveled in not having to rush cause it was myyyyy bathroom lol found the pub, had an ok dinner, was a little sad the pub wasn’t like the pubs you see in movies depicting pubs in the UK, this one was quiet, pretty low key, shrug. When I got back to the room I repacked the suitcase, got everything I would need for the morning ready and had an early night. It was so glorious to be able to stretch out in a full sized bed, to enjoy a pile of pillows, cuddle under a duvet.

I had to be up early to be at my next days adventure so I watched a bit of tv, finally was able to go online cause I was somewhere that had wifi aaaaaand passed out lol

Best B&B Ever!

Best B&B Ever!

My view

My view

Remember in my last post I said I learned a lot during the mining expedition and would share some of that next post? Well here ya go! lol

– the mining town was created by the mining company, the houses were rented to the miners and a freakishly large amount of people lived in each small house

– the miners were paid in a combo of cash and credits, the credits could be used at the mining company store only

– miners were responsible for buying their own mining equipment, which they could buy from the mining company, putting themselves in debt to the mining company…seeing a trend here?

– boys as young as ten were working in the mines, they were used for a variety of jobs, they were trained so young because the average miner died by his mid 30’s leaving his sons behind to support the family…basically the entire family was like indentured servants to the mining company

– to save money the miners would use shorter than recommended fuses for the bombs, the kids were the ones who would light the short fuses then run for cover, they were faster than adults so had a better chance of not getting blown up

– the miners spent all day in the mine, didn’t even go outside for lunch, usually there was a small canteen type shop in the mine, run by one of the miners wives or daughters where they could buy a hot drink and simple meal, they ate by candlelight but the caverns are so large and candles so precious they were in mostly dark even when eating

– there is an underground lake in the mine that is freakishly deep and drowning was a legit concern

– approx 95% of the slate hauled out of that mine was thrown away once it saw the light of day, the slate had to be perfect and once it was in daylight and smaller flaws could been seen it would be deemed unusable, it was tossed on to the side of the mountain so now when you climb that mountain you see these strange formations that are nature growing over the piles of slate

– slate used to be used for only one or two things, not like today where it can be used for all sorts of stuff but a historical association deemed the slate on the outside of the mountain historically relevant so it can’t be taken and put to good use, it has to stay there

– when the mine was abandoned it was too hard to remove some of the larger pieces of equipment from the mine so it got left behind, when you go through there you walk along train tracks, come across equipment I don’t have names for lol there is even an old miners shoe in there, and when I say old I mean like 100 years old!

– oh! miners used to put nails in their shoes to make them last longer

As you may recall from last post I have no pictures of the inside of the mine because my camera battery died after I took two pictures at the beginning of the adventure sooooo I stole the following pics from the internet, I can promise you they are all images from the same expedition I did, they just aren’t pics taken by me nor do any of the pics have me in them, sigh. But at least you can see some of the stuff I did!

Ziplining

Ziplining

2

Abseiling

Abseiling

Crossing the underground lake

Crossing the underground lake

5

Climbing the waterfall - there was more water when I did it...

Climbing the waterfall – there was more water when I did it…

The Land Rovers they use

The Land Rovers they use

Abandoned equipment I can't remember the name of

Abandoned equipment I can’t remember the name of

Vertical air shaft you climb to get out

Vertical air shaft you climb to get out

Climbing - who'd have imagined such steep climbs inside a mine?

Climbing – who’d have imagined such steep climbs inside a mine?

comin doooown!

comin doooown!

UK Trip Day 5: July 18/14

3 Sep

Alrighty so technically I am starting this post with the tail end of Day 4 of my trip but I just couldn’t bring myself to write a post titled UK Trip Day 4: July 17/14 Part 4…4 parts seemed excessive lol πŸ˜›

After I was done eating dinner and that oh so lovely dessert (don’t know what I’m talking about? go read the previous post! lol) I called the hostel I was going to be staying at that night to see if my luggage had made it. I had requested the delivery company send it ahead to that hostel because the delivery timeline they gave me showed that is where I would be on that day, well, that night. The lady at the hostel said the best words to me I had heard all vacation “we have your luggage”. Oh my freakin gawd, my luggage! No longer lost! No longer who knows where being subjected to who knows what! My luggage just a short drive away! Happiness, oh overwhelming happiness. πŸ˜€

I quite happily got in to the rental car and started on my way to Betws-y-coed which is pronounced betta-sea-co-ed.

When I got to the town I (of course!) couldn’t find the hostel lol In my defence this particular hostel is attached to a hotel, which I didn’t know, and the signage for it isn’t all that clear. However, it is a small town, a super small town, so I pulled over near a shop with a name in the window I could see and called the hostel for directions. Got there less than five minutes later lol.

I didn’t take a picture of the outside of the hostel so I nabbed this one from the hostel’s website…Β http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/betws-y-coed

Betws-y-coed hostel

Betws-y-coed hostel

The long part you see is the hostel, farther to the right (not shown in the picture) is the hotel which is taller, more obvious, and has a large sign – maybe now you see why I overlooked it? The only picture I took of the outside of the hostel was this…

Came over to say hi!

Came over to say hi!

After I got my suitcase I immediately took it to the car and plopped it in to the trunk, I was then sorting stuff, seeing if everything was still in the bag etc when this little guy came over to welcome me to the neighbourhood. I don’t have much experience with birds like this so I was a tad worried it was going to try to peck me to death or steal my food or something but all it did was hang out for a bit before leaving me for more interesting sights…which fyi was a cute guy over at his car lol

It felt so amazing to have my own things again, *happy sigh*. I was able to take a shower using my own items, blow dry my hair for the first time on this trip, basically look normal for the first time on this trip lol I was tired after a long day in the sun and not really looking for any company so only chatted with one of the girls in my room. It was a four person room with two bunk beds, I was the last one there so I got stuck with a top bunk. I showered, got organized, crawled in to my bunk and basically passed out lol I woke during the night not feeling well, too much sun, which gave me a bit of a worry cause I didn’t want to be heat stroked the next day but I fell back asleep and by the time morning came I was doing ok. Not great but ok. I had a lovely sunburn and was cursing myself for not being smarter the day before lol

This was the first day I didn’t have a full Welsh breakfast, my tummy just wasn’t up for it, instead I had the “healthy breakfast option” from the menu. This hostel was the same as the other in that you could pay for breakfast in advance, which I did, it was served in a dining room that looked like it did double duty as a pub.

My healthy breakfast.

My healthy breakfast.

I of course had tea and juice with the breakfast, and actually, before I got served this I had a small bowl of cereal. I was really worried I wouldn’t have enough energy to get through the day but this turned out to be a nice size. πŸ™‚

After breakfast I walked across the street to Swallow Falls, its this little park area you have to pay a pound, maybe a pound and twenty five pence I can’t quite recall, to get in to and then you have some little walkways you can follow to get a beautiful view of the waterfall. There were steps going down, then up (obviously) as well as some benches set up so you could just sit and enjoy. It was amazingly beautiful. πŸ™‚ I went on a whim and am so glad I did. After I wandered all the paths and saw all the various views of the waterfall I sat on one of the benches and just…sat. It was such a peaceful area and I was so calm within myself.

I don’t know how to describe what I felt at that moment except complete and utter peace. I was calm, the area was calm, the sounds of the water was soothing, I didn’t have to be anywhere, I was disconnected from the world (literally since I had no data plan and hadn’t brought my phone with me on the short walk), it was as if I had found some inner quiet, become one with myself, it is the most centered I have ever felt in my life.

I ended up sitting there for at least a half an hour. I didn’t want to leave but I was worried I’d be late for my next adventure so off I went. I wish I could go back, sigh.

The sign for Shannon Falls

The sign for Swallow Falls

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I thought this couple was cute so I took a pic of them on the down low lol

I thought this couple was cute so I took a pic of them on the down low lol

The view from the bench, I could have sat there for hours.

My view from the bench, I could have sat there for hours.

Aaaaand as I was inserting these pics I noticed I did take a pic of the hotel/hostel, yay me! I took it when I was leaving the waterfall area and was across the street…

This part is technically the hotel, not the hostel.

This part is technically the hotel, not the hostel.

After my time at the waterfall I headed off to my next adventure, which really was my first big adventure since I didn’t get to climb Mt Snowdon…not that I’m still bitter about that or anything… πŸ˜‰

I went to the meeting spot for a caving expedition I signed up for. The company I went with is called Go Below Underground Adventures, their website is www.go-below.co.uk and if you are ever in a position to go on an adventure with this company all I can say is go! Go! Goooooo!

You meet up beside Conwy Falls Cafe which is 2 miles south of Betws-y-coed. For the caving expedition they recommend bringing a packed lunch and the cafe provides them if you want to get one from there. Since I had nowhere else to get one from I bought mine there and it was totally worth it. There was a delish sandwich that was huge, chips, water and cake, Mmm!

Go Below provides you with rubber boots (or wellies as they call them), helmet and harness gear. You are responsible for bringing a small backpack to hold your food and water, a waterproof jacket and clothes easy to move in that won’t get heavy when they get wet.

After they go through a safety presentation and show you how to clip on and off the safety ropes with your harness you head off in a Land Rover to the base of the mountain.

Sidestory! When I was in the cafe I asked for directions to Holyhead since that would be my next destination and I was worried the cafe would be closed when we got back and I wouldn’t be able to ask. A group of three people overheard me and they also were doing the Go Below adventure, we started chatting and they said after the caving expedition if I wanted to I could follow them because while they weren’t going all the way to Holyhead they were going really close and they’d make sure I took the proper route. How awesome is that?!?!

Back to the adventure! lol

You get out of the Land Rover and have a hike up the mountain to the entrance of the mine. It was incredible, it looks so different from the hiking environment I am used to lol I kept wanting to stop to look more closely at things but there wasn’t time. The guide was really nice, talked a lot about the area, explaining the history of the place. Also, fyi, there are these things that look like four leaf clovers that only grow in the forest, if you eat them they taste like licorice!

The forest

The forest – some of the trees were completely covered with moss.

After about a half hour hike, mostly going up, you get to the mine entrance. From the inside looking out it looks like…

The little part at the bottom, with the smaller bars, that opens and you crawl through.

The little part at the bottom, with the smaller bars, that opens and you crawl through.

Sadly, that is the last of my pictures from this adventure, sigh. My camera battery died. 😦 There was a couple in the group from Scotland that took my picture at the end and said they’d email me pics but they haven’t. I was holding out hope for a while, but now it’s pretty much gone, sadness.

When you are in the mine you walk, climb, crawl, cross a zipline and traverses, climb rock faces, boat across a lake, abseil off ledges, climb a waterfall and to get out you climb a vertical air shaft where you then pop out of the side of the mountain and blink like a mole seeing sunlight for the first time ever cause you’ve been in a mine for about 5 hours lol. Oh, and then you have to climb down the mountain lol πŸ˜›

It was amazing! So much fun! Challenging in parts but what is an adventure without some challenges? There was one part where I thought I was an idiot for signing up for this, that would be when I was climbing along the side of the rock face using such small rock ledges to step on that only my toes fit and I could hardly see them in the dim lighting, oh and the finger holds were so small and hard to see that I was certain I was going to fall off in to a pit. I mean yeah, I had safety gear on and was attached to a line but that doesn’t matter in the moment ya know? But! I didn’t fall, I conquered! wOOt! πŸ˜€

You stop in about the middle to eat your packed lunch, everyone turns off their helmet lights and you eat by candlelight to see what it would have been like for the miners – those miners, wow, I don’t know how they did it!

I learned all kinds of interesting things from the guide but this post is already ridiculously long, a trend I am noticing with my holiday posts lol so I’ll tell you all that random stuff in the next post. πŸ™‚

A Dog’s Day

11 Jun

Today was so great! πŸ™‚

I got to sleep until my body decided to wake itself up, I am a firm believer that everyone should do that because the body knows when it is rested enough, but sadly the way society works doesn’t really gel with that philosophy so instead I try to give myself one day a week where I do that. Today was that day. πŸ™‚

Then I got to take my landlord’s dog for a hike. I would have gone hiking anyways but the company of Steff (the dog) was much enjoyed. We had to stick to an easier trail because Steff is 10 years old and has arthritis…course, I have arthritis and that doesn’t stop me from doing the harder trails but I’m kinda dumb that way lol πŸ˜‰

Steff, she will confirm I am a dummy at times lol

Steff, she will confirm I am a dummy at times lol

We also ended up going a bit slower than either of us wanted because at one section of the trail we met some random lady who had two adorable dogs and the first words out of her mouth to me were “oh so you’ve heard about the bear?” to which I replied “huh?” Pretty intelligent response dontcha think? πŸ˜‰

Turns out a lady had just passed her and warned her she saw a bear on the trail so all the people on the trail with dogs were warning other people with dogs so that leashes could be re-attached to collars. Apparently dog people have some sort of gossip club lol She assumed since Steff was on leash I had heard about the bear and was taking precautions. In actuality it was that I was worried if Steff saw something that got her really excited she might run off and not come back when I called cause I’m not her person. I told her this and somehow a conversation evolved and boom! hiking buddy. shrug. The dogs got along well and I couldn’t think of a polite way to leave her in the dust, unfortunately she was a slower hiker than Steff and I so we ended up slowing down to the woman’s pace. Steff wasn’t impressed with this, she kept going as far forward as she could then looking back at me as if to say “really? Really!!”

So we hiked to the end of that specific trail, it ends at this big open space that has multiple trail options so you can either keep going on a different trail or go back on the one you just finished. Before heading back we took the dogs to this water spot where the current isn’t as fast as in other areas so the dogs could jump in and enjoy themselves. I gotta tell ya, I was really wishing I was in shorts and could wade in there with them, the water was so clear and inviting looking. Instead I stayed on the rocks and Steff seeing I was being a silly human and staying dry oh-so-kindly came up to me and shook as hard as she could so I got sprayed with water – isn’t she just the most thoughtful dog ever? πŸ˜‰

Cuteness

Cuteness

We went back on the same trail we used to get to the water because it is the easiest trail and I was worried about pushing her too hard and making her arthritis flare up. What can I say, she’s not my dog, I was worried! I can’t very well take her back to my landlord and say “here is your dog, sorry she’s limping and drenched from the river!” I’d be homeless in an instant lol

Part way back Steff all of a sudden stopped, stared right into the bushes next to us and started to bark. Creeeeepy! My response was to immediately shorten her leash so she had to stay near me and put myself between her and the bushes, cause apparently I am ok with a bear attacking me before her…she’s not even my dog! *rolls eyes* She did a really good job of staying close, not even trying to get ahead of me for quite a while, then when she decided the danger had passed she started trying to pull ahead, I figured I’d trust her instincts over mine so I lengthened the leash again.

After one last dip in the river we separated from the lady with the two dogs and jogged a good chunk of the rest of the trail. It felt really nice to be moving faster, which when I pause to think about that seems strange cause I’m lazy but oh well lol

She kept trying to eat the water, must be a dog thing!

She kept trying to eat the water, must be a dog thing!

In total we did 10.81km and it took us 2:14:22 which sounds ridiculously slow but that is because I didn’t pause the app when we stopped so Steff could go swimming and in total we stopped about 6 times. So combine going slower cause of that lady and stopping completely so Steff could swim and it totally messes with my average time to complete a hike but oh well, I had fun and I figure that should count for something, right?

After we got home Steff immediately curled up in her bed and had a nap, I went and moved furniture *rolls eyes*. A friend of mine moved recently and she had this shelving unit, the type with the cube spaces instead of traditional shelves, her new place is too small for it so I bought it off her for $40 and am replacing my dead dresser with it. I had it in the back of my suv and had to haul it in to my place, originally I thought I’d ask my landlord for help but he wasn’t home and I didn’t want to wait so I did it on my own. Lemme tell ya, this thing is not light! It is two cubes wide and four cubes tall and the wood is thick, talk about working the already tired muscles! It is currently sitting in my kitchen cause I still need to buy the cloth cubes to put my clothes in. The cat is loving it! He may be upset when it gets moved to the bedroom cause he seems to be under the impression I brought it home and put it in the kitchen as a new toy for him…so far he’s jumped on the top, hung out within the cube spaces and when running around hyper treated it like an obstacle to dive through. It’s hilarious!

He couldn't decide if she should go to the top or stay where he was lol

He couldn’t decide if he should go to the top or stay where he was lol

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Since those pictures were taken he has lounged on the top, chased his tail within one of the cube spaces and in general claimed the unit as his. At this rate I’ll never get it back! lol πŸ˜›

The Chief

4 Jun

What did I do today? Oh, nothing much, just climbed a mountain…yup, re-read that, it’s ok if it takes a minute to sink in, it would take me a while to comprehend that about me also πŸ˜‰ lol

Today a friend and I went and climbed to the first peak of The Chief which is a mountain about an hour outside of Vancouver, it is overlooking the town of Squamish BC. There are three peaks to the mountain, all three can be climbed in one day if you so desire, I did not lol. Or rather my cardio and knees did not desire that. πŸ˜›

It’s a beautiful climb, hard, but beautiful.

If you want to read all the facts from the official website for the mountain feel free to click on the following linkΒ http://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/stawamus-chief/

According to my Runtastic App (of which I am still using the free version but am seriously considering for the first time ever paying for an app and getting the full version) we went a total of 10.33km and it took 3:30:39, we burned 1105 calories and had a 33 minute break at the top to have a snack, a rest and enjoy the view…oh and get to feed the most adorable chipmunks, everybody say awwwww! lol

I took some pics during the hike so sit back and enjoy the prettiness!

Shannon Falls

Shannon Falls

Ok, so Shannon Falls looks way better in person (obviously) but at least I tried to get a picture of it lol

One of the warning signs

One of the warning signs

This is more funny than anything else lol Sucks somebody vandalized it but I found the caution sign amusing. This sign is partway up the trail, past where the people who just wanted to see the falls will be, the sign says “The trail is NOT a “walk in the park”.” then goes on to list all the things that could go wrong, talks about some dangerous aspects of the trail and gives a list of things you should take with you. I am not sure why it doesn’t also mention the wild animals you could encounter…perhaps they didn’t want to overly scare tourists?

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I really like pictures of water, I find them soothing.

 

 

The below pictures are of ladders that are attached to the rock face in two different sections because without them it’d be freakin hard to get up the mountain. I was impressed with how sturdy they are, no wobbling or loose parts. Quite a relief when you consider where the ladders are placed lol

Ladder number one

Ladder number one

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Ladder number two

You can just barely see that at the top of the second ladder my friend is starting to climb on a steep section, she looks kind of funny because she was using a chain that is attached to the rock face, you basically straddle the chain, grab on to it for dear life and use it while climbing (and descending) because the rock face is so slippery you can’t make it safely up or down without something to anchor yourself to. It is really easy to do and kinda fun. πŸ™‚ Those chains were set up in hmm, two sections? Maybe three, I can’t quite recall right now.

The next four pics are views from the first peak where my friend and I had a bit of a rest…

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And of course the day wouldn’t be complete if a cute animal didn’t make an appearance, this little guy and a friend kept darting in and out around where my friend and I were sitting. He was even brave enough to take some of my granola bar from my fingers. They were so cute I wished I could bring them home but of course I would never do that, they make out quite well up on the top of that peak getting food from most of the people that stop and have a snack, it’s like the mecca for little cute furry animals who can beg food from humans lol

I want one!

I want one!

This was the first time I got to use my water backpack and I really liked it. I sorta wish I’d bought one a little bigger but oh well. I’ll just have to be careful how I pack it when I go for large climbs. It held an apple, granola bar, energy gummies that I didn’t eat, sunscreen, the water bladder, ID, chapstick, phone, small package of kleenex…I think that’s about it, and it was packed. When I bought it it seemed large enough I’d be able to stuff a jacket in there but I’m just not sure I’ll be able to, I will have to see if there is some way to tuck the jacket under those stretchy ties on the front that will for sure secure the jacket and not let it slip out when I am climbing. I’ll figure it out eventually. πŸ™‚

The day was fairly awesome, healthy breakfast, climbing with a friend, home to chill. I was a lot slower than my friend and I felt bad she kept having to wait for me to catch up, that doesn’t often happen to me and I didn’t like being the slow one in the pair, sigh. I think it was because it was a much steeper incline than I am used to, I hike that distance on different trails in a much shorter amount of time but on those trails the inclines are steep but for a shorter distance which is easier on my knees. I’ve been babying my knees since I got home to try to make sure they don’t give me trouble tomorrow, I’ll just have to wait till tomorrow to see if my babying worked! lol

All in all I’m glad we went and yay for getting to check off climbing the Chief from my list of things to do! πŸ™‚

 

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