Saturday, March 30, 2013

Killarney Lake Hike - Bowen Island

This was not so much of a hike but more of a scenic stroll in an island. I had been so lazy all winter with only yoga, the occasional paddle and snowshoeing, so I know that I needed to ease into my activities.   

Because of the ferry ride, Bowen Island gives you the feeling of going "away." Killarney Lake was a mere 9 km of easy and scenic ramble. This was the perfect place to break in my new hiking boots (hard to believe that I was so excited with this purchase at MEC, when not too long ago, I only had eyes for 6" heels). The hike around took us 3 hours, but that's only because we took a very leisurely break at the picnic area. 

So now, enough  with the leisurely jaunt around the park, I need a challenge. I need to start training for the West Coast Trail for this summer which had been known as "being one of the most grueling treks in North America." 

Let the games begin!?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Evening Snowshoeing and Fondue at Cypress Mountain

 Cypress Snowshoeing

This was only my second time snowshoeing ever, and I loved it. It took no skills at all -- just the desire to be active and outdoors.

The first time I went, we started at around 3 pm and we stayed on the trails with the destination to Hollyburn Lodge in mind. It didn't take long at all to get there. We sat on the bench in front of it (it was closed that day) and enjoyed the hot apple cider and chocolate that we brought with us. We were mindful of the time because we needed to bring back the rented snowshoes by closing (5 pm).

The second time, we signed up on a tour for 6:30 pm. Initially, I thought it would be a waste of money because it seemed so simple a task. But actually, it was worth the $50 (you do get chocolate). Our guide who we later discovered was a Brit with his doctorate on Climatology (or something like that, it was difficult to hear with the crunching of the snow), was fantastic. He showed us a circuitous way up to the lodge. Any one can do the trail of course, if you want "easy." Our group didn't want easy, so we traversed through fresh snow piles throughout. He showed us how to slide down the slopes -- "the steeper the better." We learned the different species of trees in the area, which ones we can eat for sustenance just in case --  hemlock tasted citrusy (don't worry, it's not the same at all as the one that Socrates drank which was also called hemlock, that was an herb, not a tree). We even did some sliding (yes, on purpose, not by accident). There was a grooved area that will take you down nicely providing that you brought yourself a plastic bag to sit on (which our guide did bring for us). A few of the men did get quite competitive on who could go the furthest (yes, that would be my guy).   

By the time we arrived at the lodge, it was dark. There was a welcoming stove fire place burning, several tea lights lit, and a few lamps, which coincidentally, worked out quite perfectly as it was earth hour by this time. There were also some warm hot apple cider and hot chocolate waiting (which we garnished with some Fireball that we brought with us, yes, we did share with everyone). Our guide then prepared our treat - chocolate fondue with plenty of dipping goodies like fruits, cakes and marshmallows.  

Going down was definitely quicker that going up. T'was a good night. Can't wait to do it again on our own.