Tuesday, July 10, 2012


The school year wrapped up in a flurry of activities - sports day, pot luck dinners, field trips, etcetera. Elise had a good experience in kindergarten, but had difficulty with one student in particular. The conflicts arose over "possession" of a certain friend, and this theme wove itself throughout the school year. It provided an unexpected challenge for us as parents, and I'm sure this is simply the tip of the iceberg. Regardless, school is still "fun" and there were many memorable activities.

The picture Elise drew for her teacher, Ms. Kislasko. When I asked Elise what she'd miss most about school during the summer, she said Ms. Kislasko...

The final field trip of the year was to Porteau Cove, about fifteen minutes south of Squamish. The kids had a grand time flipping boulders to search for small crabs, blennies, etcetera. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed watching Elise interact with her friends in her school setting, something Pam sees all the time.

Elise with her friend Kendra, who's also in kindergarten. They have lots of fun playing together.

The sun didn't last long, and as June progressed so did the stormy weather. Here's Elise at the Canada Day festivities on a misty morning. She got her face painted - always a popular addition to the ensemble of the day. We came back for the fireworks at night and enjoyed a hula-hoop fire show after dark. It was a pretty fun day, actually.

We spent an afternoon in Pemberton, again in the rain. Here Elise poses with Jay and his dog Beau, whom Elise walked all the way into Nairn Falls (a couple of kilometres). Beau was very patient with Elise's erratic dog handling behaviour.

Posing with Dad near the falls.

Later that afternoon, we went to a strawberry farm and picked berries. They were delicious. I think Elise and I ate more than we picked, which was hard not to do. When given the option between this and fishing at the lake, she choose berry picking! Go figure... We ended the day with a nice dinner at Jay and Amica's, who are expecting a baby in a few weeks!

Pam and Elise are currently in California enjoying a week with the cousins. They went to the San Diego Zoo and Seaworld, then spent a night in a hotel with three waterslides, as I was excitedly informed by Elise. The highlight of the weekend? Touching a dolphin's back at Seaworld. She sure does love her marine mammals.

Here are the cousins in the hotel pool. From left to right: Jason, Elise, Elena and AJ.

While home alone and unable to climb due to another (!) injury, I decided to do an interesting hike, one I'd not done before. It was a bit of a spontaneous decision, and I did the bare minimum of research beforehand (insert foreshadowing here). I choose the hike to Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Provincial Park as it's a popular winter ski touring destination and a summer hike of great beauty, one I fancied doing with Elise.

The day started casually enough with a 40-minute drive up logging roads north of Squamish to the trail head. The sign in the parking lot had the usual warning about bears, car break-ins, etcetera, and their were a number of other vehicles. Nothing looked suspicious...

The first five kilometres of the 11 kilometre hike is up an old jeep track. About halfway up the track, I encountered a bit of snow by the side of the road. Hmmm, I thought...

As I continued upward, the snow got deeper and soon covered the entire jeep track. At first I hoped that when I was out of the woods and up on the exposed ridge, the snow would be gone, but that hope was short lived. As I neared the Red Heather Hut, halfway along the hike, the snow was over one-metre deep, and complete in its ground coverage. What to do? I took a break in the hut and thought it over.

The inside of the hut, which is used by many ski tourers in the winter.

Outside the hut, it became clear this area is still in hibernation mode. However, a "path" in the snow continued up Paul Ridge, so I decided to probe upwards with the option to turn back if it got too brutal.

The "path" along the ridge. At this point I seriously wished I had brought either Yak Tracks (spikes for my shoes) and ski poles or my full ski touring kit. No kidding - there was that much snow.

Regardless, I forged onward and the soft snow provided acceptable walking conditions. It was almost 30 degrees out, so the snow actually had a nice moderating effect on the conditions, and my wet hiking shoes felt good on my feet. This is a view looking north along the ridge toward Mt. Garibaldi (on the left).

As I descended the ridge, I neared Elfin Lakes. Yes, that's a lake buried under all that ice and snow. Good thing I packed in my swim suit!

Ice water with sun-cupped snow in the foreground . Brrrr....

The shelter was just beyond the lake, and I was keen to check it out to see if it would work well for Elise. I met a few other people there, who had also endured the 11-km snow slog. It was like walking in wet sand. We were all dreading the hike back...

The shelter turned out to be beautiful, and the view north toward the Garibaldi Neve was stunning.

The downstairs. The hut had a propane furnace, sinks and cooking stoves.

Upstairs were enough bunks for 32 people. Elise would like this, I'm sure...

The guest book.

Detail of Mt. Garibaldi. That's a lot of snow for early July. We had another big winter this year.

On the long hike down, I got a beautiful view of Howe Sound and the Chief in the late evening. We've had a lot of haze around here lately, and I've been told it might be from the wildfires in Colorado. Hard to believe, but not completely implausible. It made for a dramatic view, regardless of the cause.

Here I am, spent from 22km of snow hiking in the heat. Not looking too good there buddy... That's blood in my nose, sunscreen smeared all over my face and scabs on my forehead from some Aldera treatment I've been enduring over the past couple of weeks. The fatigue was satisfying, in a strange way.

In the end, I got what I bargained for. An interesting adventure to a new location. Will I take Elise here? I might, but only if the snow was completely out, likely in September. Time to scout some more potential locations before the girls get home...

No comments:

Post a Comment