Sunday, 31 August 2008

Home for the Holidays

This is the first year that I've ever spent an entire summer at home, not travelling more than 2 hours from my door. The exception was the triathalon in Penticton, but otherwise, I spent summer in the Koots. It was a wonderful mix of things to do and I love being able to leave for hiking by deciding at the last minute and still get home for beer before dinner.(see Mt. Reco for a good example) The other great thing is that I could enjoy my garden every single day and keep up with the deadheading and watering. My "100 km diet" of hikes seemed to work like a charm for me this year and I sometimes wonder if I ever need to leave south-east B.C. ever again. We are heading to do Berg Lake at Mt. Robson this week so I am taking a wee vacation - to hike, of course!

On Top of Mt. Reco

Today, we woke up to cloud and cold. By 8:30 a.m. that had cleared and it looked like a grand day. By 9 a.m. we headed off to Mt. Reco, a peak I'd scouted out in mid-July when attempting to do Texas Peak. It worked like a charm - 90 min. to the top and about 700m of elevation gain. We even got to follow a trail! It did start to snow while eating lunch - but hey, this is Canada and it IS August 31st, after all. Had some good views in the "short distance", but many peaks in the fog. We could see Slocan Lake. Took a "short cut" on the way down - not so sure if that worked but about 90 min. down as well. Saw a cinammon-coloured black bear just below Jackson Basin as we drove out - and the heavy rain began to descend. Back in Kaslo by 3 p.m. and quite a balmy day here for the last day of August.

Monday, 25 August 2008


This morning I was awakened early by the ringing of a cell phone - it was actually Andrea's phone, sitting on my sister's kitchen table, with an alarm ringing to wake me at 5 a.m. This was my second year of To Hell With The Bell Tour and I found it a bit ironic to be awakened by my kid's phone on this particular morning. Anyway, had a fun drive back to Kaslo from Penticton. The second peak you can see in today's picture is the Giant's Head in Summerland. I hiked this on Saturday a.m. Great views all round. I took this picture while in Penticton waiting to start my job in the triathalon bikelot. Today I turned the ipod on high and sang my way home to Women and Song, Connie Kaldor, Quartette, and Joni Mitchell. Slow travel over Paulson Pass where a real thunderstorm raged. Great times over the Mt. Baldy cutoff between Oliver and Rock Creek. Even though I travelled alone it was my own special To Hell With The Bell Tour II.


Just back from my daughter of steel's triathalon and thought I'd use this picture of her bike for today's post. Andrea wasn't feeling 100% on Saturday - nerves or bad food/water, who knows? - and she didn't eat much that day. I spent the p.m. hanging out at the bikelot and meeting a few triathletes, escorting their bags to their bikespot. Our "sister of steel" woman slept okay and felt good on Sunday morning, race day. She had a fabulous swim - 3.8 km in 1 hour, 5 minutes. Her first transition was also good as she passed us about 2 km up the road at 8:15. The 180 km bike ride was a real workout. Cloudy skies prevailed - hurrah! Afterwards, I found out that Andrea's stomach cramps returned and she nearly gave it up - couldn't find a medi station nearby so persevered. The last 40 km of the ride were great, she said, and I visited with her at transition two. This was my "post" for Sunday. I worked at the bikelot, in the "catch and rack" category, which really only turned out to be racking. Got to do lots of walking, escorting bikes to their assigned spot in the lot - a total of 2427 bikes - I got to rack the highest numbered cycle at about 5 p.m. Andrea went through that transition at about 2:45 (bike time of 6h30 min.) and then onto the marathon. My job ended at 5:30 (any athlete not into the bikelot by that time earned a DQ) and so off to the street to watch our woman finish up. This was done at about 7:40 - found her 2 km from the end of the route by recognizing her pigeon-toed run and then went on to cheer again at the finish! Official time of 12h 35min. and number 978 across the line! Iron Sisters Rule!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Premier Hiking In the Koots

We'd been hearing about the delights of Monica Meadows for a couple of years now. In 2006 we opted to visit Jumbo Pass in the same area and last year the road was closed all summer. This year we finally got to Monica!! This trail equals anything I've ever hiked. It's not too long, has a very easy access and the views at the top are unbelieveable. The viewpoint looks out at dozens of glaciers - too many to really count! Another benefit is the fact that the trail passes through a meadow which just happened to be at its peak blooming period this week. We're heading back there in the fall to enjoy the larch trees. Saskatchewan readers - if you're visiting us in the Koots be prepared for a 600 m gain, 8 km hike because I'm dragging you up here - it's just too good to not see.

115 Deadfalls On The Trail, 115 Deadfalls on the Trail....

Monday I did a very challenging hike for me and I have the battle scars to prove it. We travelled up the Glacier Creek FS Road - one of the most scenic forest service roads we've found in the Koots so far - and hiked into MacBeth Icefield. We didn't make it. The weather was relatively cool to start and the hike up through the valley is pretty long but quite flat. It's a pretty good trail. As we started the uphill part, more and more windblown trees crossed our paths. When we got to the steep part of the trail, even more blowdowns covered our path. As a bit of a compulsive counter, I decided to count them on the way down. Yes, 115, so I couldn't help but think of the old song about beer bottles. We reached this viewpoint of the MacBeth waterfalls cascading down the cliff. It was too hot to really think about being this high up and crossing the moraine to get to the glacier view. So if I want to see that I guess I get to try 115 deadfalls on the trail again!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The Contemplative Hiker

On Monday I was out with the "Sunday Hikers" and our objective was the peak on the left side of the picture. This scramble was too much for me. I managed to do a wee bit of a bushwack and then had to cross a boulder field, never my strongest mountaineering skill. I could tell that I was holding up the group. Following lunch, I opted to return to the lovely lake in the picture (Shannon Lake), north of New Denver in the Slocan Valley. I always carry a book with me wherever I go so I spent a couple of hours contemplating the mountains and reading a good selection of short stories. I had to do a wee bit of route finding on my way out and felt pretty good about how I handled my lone time in the wilderness. The guys who did make it to the summit didn't get back to the car until nearly 6:30 so we had a fairly long day.

Today the Wednesday Walkers did a brisk 13 km up Keen Creek Forest Service Road - love a hike along a lovely creek with lots of old growth cedar visible along the route. It's also a very cool place to be on a hot summer day. The other thing I love is that some of these hikers are in their late 60's and can walk with the best of them!