Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Things

Last week was a busy one. We were thrilled to have a week of nice weather, so Elise and I took advantage and skied at Blackcomb on Wednesday. Whistler is closed for the season, but Blackcomb remains open until the end of May. I was surprised, though, at how few lifts were open midweek. The Glacier Express was closed, as were both T-bars on the Horstman Glacier. We could access all the terrain we wanted, but it was a little tricky with the lift closures. Elise and I enjoyed a fantastic day in the spring sunshine, had lunch at the Horstman Hut at the top of 7th Heaven and then bootpacked up the Showcase T-Bar line to ski the Blackcomb Glacier at the end of the day, which was a highlight. The video below is on the glacier, and the whiskey jack feeding is from the bench at the bottom of the run before the rescue road ski-out.

Saturday was Elise's tae kwon do yellow belt exam. Just like last time, she was very excited and did a good job on the test. There were other kids present, all testing for their yellow stripe, which is one level below yellow belt. Elise had trouble breaking the board, but got it done in the end. Of course she wore her uniform for the rest of the day (and evening) proudly displaying her newly-earned yellow belt.

Sunday we hiked around Cat Lake and then came back to town so Elise could attend a practice session for her upcoming triathlon. This was prearranged through the recreation centre and about 10 kids signed up. They had an orientation and then did all the events, albeit more slowly than in the actual race. Elise swam with much better technique than last year (the training sessions seem to be helping), but had to stop and rest a couple of times on the lap back to the start. The biking went well, too, but her strongest event is the run I think. She knows how to pace herself and did a good sprint at the end. The race is in two weeks on Mother's Day. It will be lots of fun.

We'll keep you posted on the results!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Tia loves that Greek yogurt! Now if only we could get Elise to eat that fast...

Friday, April 12, 2013


Here's a few stray pictures that didn't make it into the Skaha blog post. The first is at Tickleberry's, a legendary ice cream shop in Okanagan Falls. The remainder are from Easter morning at Casey and Brenda's house. Elise got a set of blueprints that showed where each egg was hidden. The bunny has gone high tech!

This is the letter that Elise wrote to the Easter Bunny. I believe it says, "Dear Easter Bunny, I'm here visiting. I hope you will find me. PS - Please leave me a basket". Click on the image to enlarge it...

Last weekend was Elise's final day of ski school. She had a great time and ate LOTS of treats. Her instructor, Josh, gave her chocolate, there was a cake party in the afternoon and I bought her a treat at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Whistler for a good year of skiing. I carpooled with our friend Jen Wild and her son Erik - the kids had a great time together. We'll probably try to squeeze in a couple more days of skiing before the season ends. Whistler Blackcomb has extended closing to the end of May, so there's over a month left.

Finally, say hello to our new (used) baby. It's a 2006 Toyota Tacoma access cab 4X4. We've been looking for a truck for a couple of months and finally found a used one at the local Toyota dealer. I researched makes and models and this one bubbled to the top in terms of reliability, performance and safety. I'm working on a hiking guide to the Squamish corridor and this vehicle will get us where we need to go. It should be a good summer of new hiking and camping adventures!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Break

After toying with the idea of flying to West Virginia for Spring Break, we settled on Penticton (Skaha) when some friends offered us a house exchange. Free, comfortable accommodation was hard to turn down, and the five-hour drive seemed much more palatable than a full day of flying. March is an early time to go climbing in the BC interior, but we figured we'd survive if we could come home to a warm house each evening. The first week's weather tested our resolve, but the second week was gloriously sunny - the cold days were quickly forgotten.


We enjoyed a variety of activities and social outings with friends. We explored the local restaurants and made use of the incredible Penticton aquatic centre. Elise did quite a bit of climbing on this trip, which is a real benefit to the area. There are plenty of moderate routes so everyone can all find a challenge to suit their personal goals.

We enjoyed spending time with our friends Casey and Brenda, and Elise had great fun walking their dog, Chamelle. Casey and Brenda generously offered us a free ticket to Apex Alpine, so we had a great ski day for a very reasonable price. Without a doubt, the highlight was watching the "slush cup", a local competition that involved skiers and boarders skimming across a pond of ice water. We witnessed some spectacular crashes!

I utilized the storm days to do some research for a potential future guidebook, but when the sun came out we climbed! Elise made it up a 5.10- on the Fortress with only a little help from the rope and climbed a 5.6 on the lead, her first in this style at Skaha. We went out to dinner to celebrate and she ordered Calamari, her favourite restaurant treat.

On our final weekend, we toured the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory. The local guide allowed Elise to look through his telescope at the sun and we spotted a number of solar flares. Afterward, we went for a great hike in the hills. It was very relaxing and scenic.

The trip ended with some glorious weather over the busy Easter holiday. We climbed, hung out with friends and spotted bighorn sheep. The only downside to the warm weather was it brought out the wood ticks. We all found them crawling on our clothes but I was the only one who got one stuck to me. Luckily, we removed it without much of a problem.

We drove home without incident and are now embedded in Squamish until school lets out for the summer. We have some interesting ideas for a summer trip, but aren't making any commitments at this point. Elise has only a single ski lesson left - it feels like spring is on the way!