Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Long and Busy Month

It's been over one month since I last wrote, but it's been busy times for us in Squamish since we returned from the Kootenays. We are three days away from our Utah trip and I think both Pam and I feel under the gun to get all our ducks in a row before we drive away.

Photo: All this summer activity is tiring!

We have a variety of house sitters staying at our home while we are absent, and coordinating all of this has taken some effort. Regardless, the summer has been enjoyable and there have been a number of interesting events:

Garibaldi Lake: We hiked up to this pristine alpine lake a couple of weeks ago. We timed it well between hot spells, so the conditions were quite bearable. I am proud to say I carried Elise the entire way (18 km round trip with 2600 feet of elevation gain)! It was exhausting, but a great outing nonetheless. I'd not been up there in years and the alpine lakes and forests are just gorgeous. Upon arrival, we tried fishing at the creek's mouth, but despite there being numerous trout in full view, none would bite our worm! Elise lost interest quickly, but the obsessive fisherman that had lurked in the shadows for three decades came crawling back to the surface - I fished and fished to no avail. The mosquitoes eventually drove us away from the lake and we hiked back, finishing the last half hour at dusk.

Photo: Hike to Cheakamus Lake with (from left) Kaian, Josie, Hazel and Kaida.

The Apron: Elise did her first climb on the Chief this summer. It wasn't a true climb, but we roped up and scampered up the descent slabs on the Apron (the bottom portion of the mountain). The angle of rock was perfect for Elise and she ran up the slabs without hesitation. Once at the top of the Apron, we traversed some exposed rock ledges (withe ropes on!) to a well-known perch, Memorial Ledge. Here we sat, gazed across the valley and spotted our house far below. Elise really impressed me with how comfortable she was in the exposed cliff environment. I doubt another four-year-old has ever been on Memorial Ledge. It was a fun and memorable day...

Photo: Tearing it up at Murrin Park on the Sugarloaf Wall.

Photo: The Chief from the Squamish estuary.

Photo: The Apron on the Chief. Elise's ascent is marked in red and terminates at Memorial Ledge, approximately 600 vertical feet up the mountain. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

Brohm Lake Snorkeling: Elise and I have made a few trips to Brohm Lake to practice for Turkey. She is now snorkeling in deep water with me, but with her life preserver on. She is also doing very well at the swimming pool and regularly swims in the deep end without any floatation device. She climbs the rope ladder, jumps off the diving board and even goes off the rope swing. These are vast improvements over her efforts a year ago.

Photo: A visit to Patrick and Tara's to see their new chicks!

Flying: I took a flight with a friend of ours that works as a local pilot. We spent about one hour flying around the Chief on a beautiful summer evening so I could amass a collection of aerial photography for my next book on Squamish climbing. It was thrilling to be up in a small plane and see all the terrain from a bird's eye view. Elise and Pam spotted the plane from downtown on a number of occasions.

Photo: Resting on a bench on the hiking trail with Kaida and Kaian.

The Shoulder: I've had a lot of ups and downs with my shoulder this summer. It was great in the Rockies but then flared up again in August around Squamish. I finally saw a well-renowned shoulder surgeon in Whistler about one week ago and got some answers. She reviewed my X-rays, MRI and did a thorough physical exam. Her recommendation was no surgery at this point. She claims that the overall stability of my joint if very good (my physio agrees) and that my pain/discomfort is quite minimal compared to the average patient. For this reason, she advised me that she'd likely make my pain worse and the recovery would be long. She felt as though climbing on the joint was not that hazardous and as long as I kept up the strength and stability exercises, I could move forward.I'm still trying to decide how I feel about this news. I guess it's somewhat comforting and I am feeling better lately, so I'm being as optimistic as possible for the fall.

Photo: Tubbing with Kaida and Kaian!

School: Pam has two pro D days to attend this week. This was part of the arrangement she made with her principal in order to fan dangle the time off this fall. Other than that, she's done well and had a nice break this summer, except her knee is bothering her. She is currently seeing the same pysio as me and he's got here on an exercise program. She was worried she might be developing arthritis, but the physio said "no" based on his physical findings and a set of X-rays. He feels as though she has some muscle imbalances that need to be addressed and hopefully that will help clear things up.

Photo: Hike to the top of the Chief with Josie and Tim Clifford. Josie and Elise hiked all the way (over 15oo vertical feet)!

Sleepovers: Elise has had two sleepovers this summer. One with her friend Josie and one with Olivia, Scott's daughter. Both were eagerly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed.

Photo: Hike at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.

The fall: Our plan is to spend about one month camping in Maple Canyon in central Utah. We will then return to Squamish around October 6th and be at home for a short stay before flying to Turkey on October 18th. We are going to spend two days in Istanbul before getting a domestic flight to Antalya, a bustling city on the south coast (the Mediterranean). We have a two-bedroom apartment rented for two months. It's about seven blocks from the beach and right across the street from a large park with lots of play structures - Elise will be pleased. We are planning our climbing and sightseeing activities and have discovered some very interesting options. I'm especially looking forward to exploring the coastal inlets and beaches. Hopefully we'll find good swimming and snorkeling. After we return from Turkey, we'll have about 10 days to rest before leaving for Hawaii for the holidays. Whew!

Photo: I love being outside. Broom in the Smoke Bluffs.

We will be reachable via e-mail throughout our travels and welcome notes from friends and relatives. We are looking forward to our upcoming adventures and hope you are all having a great end to the summer!


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