Evening Walks…

A post on Saturday night? It’s because my man-friend is out of town for work… Aaaaaaall byyyyyy myseeeeeeelf…

Moving on: Tango and I have been trying out new paths and trails each day and evening for our walks. We’re trying to figure out our way around town (the trails, not the streets… you can find your way around the streets in about 20 minutes) and taking a new one each day has been fun and also relaxing. It’s SO pretty here. You can’t go wrong.
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Canadian Holiday: Cross Country Ski Date

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On last year’s Christmas visit,(My Big, Fat Canadian Holiday) my man-friend took me skate-skiing. Since skate skiing felt completely ridiculous I suggested we go classic cross-country skiing this trip. He obliged and off we went! [Read more…]

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A Canadian Customs Conversation

I arrived in Canada late Christmas night for a week with my man-friend…

Canada Border Patrol Agent: “What’s your reason for visiting Canada?”

Me: “I’m visiting my boyfriend for Christmas.”

Agent: “How long is your stay?”

Me: “Eight days.”

Agent: “What do you plan on doing while you’re here?”

Me: …

What I was extremely tempted to say: “We haven’t seen each other in a month. What do you think we’ll be doing?”

What I really said: “Skiing.”

Because I am a lady.   ;  )

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It’s snowing in Canada this week… seriously.

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Thank goodness for the Weather Channel app and its 10 day forecast, without which I might never have known that I would be going from sweating (in shorts, flip flops, and tank) on Monday afternoon, to bundled up (in my down jacket, scarf, and snow boots) by Monday night. #shitthathappenswhenyouvisityourCanadianmanfriend. At least that 10 day forecast prepared me to pack all my winter-weather essentials, and scour the basement for my snow boots, before I left for the airport.

It was a little bit of a bummer to arrive here in the snow, as we were looking forward to climbing, trail running, and mountain biking this week, buuuut it is really pretty to look at and play in. Here we were yesterday morning… all bundled up, taking T & R to school. Building snowmen and having snowball fights with a bunch of kids and parents is my new, preferred way to start a school day in a bunch of unexpected snow.

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And I’ll never turn down an office with a fireplace, a blanket, my morning tea and warm clothes. Hasthag cozy! The nice thing about being here this week is that it’s giving me a chance to catch up on a ton on computer work I’ve been needing to do… expenses, upcoming programming, travel booking, etc.

Thankfully, this snow isn’t normal for September around here. It happens occasionally, but it’s nice and warm more often than not. I was visiting this same week last year and we were canoeing the river… in shorts. This place is keeping me on my toes, that’s for sure. #OhCanada

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Ha Ling: My first long climb!

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I’ve been climbing since college, but mostly single pitch sport climbing. I’ve done a few multi-pitch climbs with my man-friend, since those are his favorite types of climbs. We’ve done some 2, 4, and 6 pitch climbs, but nothing over that. We didn’t get to climb Brewer’s Buttress Monday, then I got a stomach bug on Tuesday. Wednesday was our last day to climb (as we were going to have his two sons with us for the remainder of the trip). I still felt like ass, but we decided to climb Ha Ling anyway. Ha Ling Peak is an 11 pitch climb that’s fairly easy. It’s rated 5.4 – 5.6 (if you know the Yosemite Decimal climbing System) so it was nice to know I could handle that level since we’d be climbing for a long period of time.

My stomach bug was still hanging around, but I really wanted to do the climb, especially since it was the last chance we could go. The hike up and the first couple pitches were less than enjoyable. Stopping and sitting several times, to keep from puking, was far from my ideal morning… but at least the view was ok.

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Me… not as happy climbing as I usually am:

After doing the first 4 pitches very quickly, and wearing myself out, I wanted to go back down. The thought of doing 7 more pitches feeling like ass was not appealing to me and all I wanted to do was lie down. The thought of quitting though felt much worse… so we kept going, but with the attempt to sit and rest for about 5 minutes after each pitch.

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The great thing about this climb was that all the belay stations were on huge ledges so I could sit and rest. We were stuck behind a couple other teams of people, so it was actually perfect. With a view like this, and some pretty awesome company, breaks don’t suck:

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I started feeling better around pitch 8 so my man-friend decided to capture the moment (me happy):

His fingers in the shot cracked me up. Those GoPros can be tricky…

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Making my way up…

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and up…

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and to the top!

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I’m really glad I finished!

We had an awesome day together, the weather was perfect, and it felt sooo nice to nap afterwards.

Yeeeeeah, bitches!

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And this is just another photo from the Castle Mountain trip two days before. It was on the GoPro with these photos, so I had to throw it in here. Love seats made out of stacked rocks on the mountain ridge are my jam:

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So long, Canada and man-friend! Until next time… xoxo

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Castle Mountain: The Hike, The Hut & The Throne

My man-friend and I planned to do a climb called, “Brewer’s Buttress” while I was visiting this week. It’s located on Castle Mountain. There’s a hut on top of the ridge that you can sleep in, so we planned to hike up Sunday evening, sleep in the hut, then climb all day Monday and hike back out.

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The Hike:

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This next photo was taken an hour and a half in, at the Lookout Site. I was still in “happy hiker” mode here. Next came freak out, “survivor” mode so my phone stayed in the pack for the duration of the evening.

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This hike isn’t just walking on a trail. NOPE. It’s 3 and a half hours of hiking, scrambling, climbing up STEEP trails and rocks, and hoping you don’t trip and fall off the side of the mountain. You’re on a steep trail for about an hour and a half to the lookout, then it’s a ton of scrambling and climbing for the next two hours. We anchored in to a couple parts and short-roped others. I’m glad I did it and finished  it, but I’m also glad I didn’t die. I could see how that’s easily done on this type of exposed terrain. Ten minutes into this hike, I was already breathing hard and dreading the rest of it. Pretty much everywhere you hike, climb, or ride in the Canadian Rockies is steep as shit. Add to that the elevation (we were going up to 7,800 feet), the several pounds of climbing gear, clothes, and food in my pack, and my lack of long cardio training and I had the perfect recipe for two small asthma-like attacks. I don’t have asthma, but I did get the closing of my airway and the increasing difficulty to breathe, which caused me to get really dizzy and weak… Which is extremely scary when you’re up that high and having to climb up exposed areas. Don’t know if I’ve ever been so fatigued on an approach before…

The Rainbow:

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This rainbow appeared at just the right time… the first time I needed a huge break from the steepness of the hike. I totally needed to stop and breathe (and not retreat back down to the comfort of a lower altitude, like I desperately wanted to). It was nice to see this beautiful site from way up here. It was my motivator for the rest of the climb. There were actually 2 rainbows, but the other one was nearly gone by the time we pulled out the cameras.

The Hut:

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The hut at the plateau of Castle Mountain is operated by the Alpine Club of Canada and costs $40 per person per night. It seems pricey and it’s cramped, but it’s worth it when you don’t have to climb several hours immediately AFTER  hiking up. It’s also great because it comes equipped with cooking gear, utensils, water, toilet paper, etc, so you don’t have to carry all that ish up (along with the other gear). Totally worth it. The hut consists of two bunk beds, spaced about two feet apart. When we arrived, there were already 2 other couples there, so we had to break out the wood sheets from under the beds to bridge across the top and bottom beds of the two bunks. Now 3 people slept along the top row, and 3 along the bottom row. It’s often been said about the hut: “It sleeps 8, but you wouldn’t want to be one of them.” We were a little cramped with 6 people so I can’t imagine 8, unless you were really good buds with the other 7.

The Throne:

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“This unique structure is a credit to the skill, vision and sense of humour of those who created it.” says the Banff Rock Guidebook. And it’s completely true. They’ve made a toilet at the very edge of this 1,000(ish) foot  cliff, so you can look out onto this vast land and admire its beauty… and relieve your bladder, all at the same time. I’ll admit it was a nice switch from having to squat in the woods, hoping that you’re not near poison oak or peeing on your shoes. My man-friend told me about The Throne long before we planned to climb here and I thought it was hilarious. Here’s “The Throne,” the view from the seat, and a photo I’ll probably regret posting on the internet:

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The best peeing view ever:

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Because I was completely drained and feeling awful from the previous night’s hike and the fact that it was raining and freezing at 5am when we were supposed to start our climb, we chose not to do Brewer’s Buttress. I felt like a total weak-ass coming all this way and not doing the climb, but it’s best to listen to your body when you NEED it to work all day long. Brewer’s Buttress has thirteen pitches, which seemed exhausting. That would take most of the day, along with the descent back out. We opted instead to sleep in, chat up our bunkmates in the morning, practice building trad anchors (for me) and work our way down at a leisurely pace, which only took 2.5 hours! It was an eventful couple days, but I’m glad I did it and looking forward to the next trip!

My handsome Alpine Guide on the descent:

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Canada Weekend Recap


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These trips to see my man-friend are always super short, but we tend to fit a lot into the weekend… Including, unfortunately, watching the MMA fights Saturday night – as a result of my losing this year’s NCAA bracket bet. Moving on: The great thing about being in the Canadian Rockies is that everywhere you look, there’s a picturesque view.

Exhibits A – C:

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The other great thing: Each time I visit Canada, I find out new, exciting things that are just… so… Canadian. It makes me smile. We were checking out a friend’s gym and it was one of those mega gyms that has everything you could possibly want in a fitness center. It was absolutely huge. I was already walking around and marveling at the size of the place (it included an ice rink for hockey practic, and another ice skating rink for figure skating lessons) when I rounded a corner and stopped dead in my tracks. There was a THIRD rink! And it was for Curling. Ha!

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I don’t know why I thought it was reserved for special Olympic athlete practice (we were in a normal fitness club, with tons of families around), but I was under the impression that we weren’t allowed to be on the ice… But we watched several people come and go, grabbing the broom thingy, putting their shoes in a cleaning contraption before stepping onto the ice and curling away. So after everyone cleared out, we hopped out there to give it a whirl ourselves.

He’s no pro, but it’s not his first rodeo…

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It was mine, however… #kook

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(iPhone screen started getting foggy by this point in the cold rink)

Needless to say, I wasn’t so awesome at the few throws (tosses? slides? curls?) I managed. That thing is way heavier than you’d imagine so the first time it barely passed the half-way mark. The second time, I put my back into it and the thing crashed into the wall at the other end. Oops. It’s nice to know we could go back in the future and get some more practice in… : )

Another fun thing I discovered?

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Reese’s come in packs of 3! All the time. I bought these and was pumped to see there was an extra one in the package. (This is completely satisfying because whenever I’d had these in the past, I’ve always wanted more than 2, but felt a little ridiculous buying the king-sized option of 4.) This 3rd peanut butter cup isn’t  an “extra” though; they’ve apparently always come in threes in Canada.  WTH?! Why don’t they do that in the states?!  Way to go, Canada. Way to go.

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Today’s Travel

Headin’ up north today to spend the weekend w/ this man-friend and those mountains.

STOKED.

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Canada: Ski Trip!

My man-friend and I try to make it a point to see each other once a month… Long distance relationship, ya know? Since he’s lucky enough to live near some amazing skiing, and since my Sipinski* buds and I try to plan a ski trip every year, we decided this year’s destination would be Canada. Two birds. One stone. We had a blast skiing, they got to view some sweet Canadian scenery, and we all got to watch the start of the Winter Olympics.  Here are some photos:

Left to Right:
Abby, Uncle Doug, Mariah, Eric, Me, Man-Friend, and T & R
(Side note: my Man-Friend has 2 awesome little boys).  [Read more…]

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Things That Are My Jam Right Now

My BFF, Amanda.
This past year was the first in about 10 years that we’ve lived in the same city.
We get to hang on a weekly basis and it’s awesome.

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