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!

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