Thursday, August 27, 2015

Further Adventures on the Coast Trail

Odin raring to go...

Really getting into this One Hike/Weekend thing, backing it up with 60+ miles on the weekday commute. I think Odin is starting to look forward to it as well. I wanted to do the Ridge Trail at Gowlland Tod but as they were running Ryder Hesjedal's Tour De Victoria 2015 this past weekend I did not want to get in the way so headed back out to East Sooke again,

Early Morning Start - nice and cool
Making huge strides in recovering from my injury and preparing to get back into “getting out there”. This East Sooke Regional park is fantastic for any type of outdoor activity from the strenuous (Coast, Interior, Intense) to the casual, with trails that interconnect so you hike can go from a couple of hours to an entire day if you wish. 
Hills and Rocks - lots of them, but the scenery is incredible 
It’s still that time of year where you are bound to meet fellow like-minded “explorers” throughout the trails, although it is typically a low number (last weekend was a total of 13 – most of them met at the last part of the hike nearest the Open areas). Later in the year it is pretty rare to meet anyone out here, the quiet and the rains really change the park - almost like hiking in two different parks.
Early Morning Fishing - Rock Fishers  
It blows my mind seeing some of the people trail running on the Coast Trail – at this point a walking pace is satisfactory for me, but hat’s off to them for doing their sport. Hard Core!
Odin and I made it through to the Trapper Cabin at Cabin Point - great place for a rest and bite to eat. Sort of my historical stopping point that I used to do years back with my dog Andre (Below).

Just bought a Kyjen Outward Hound Backpack for Odin from  As he is going to continue accompanying me on my hikes (both on my pre-trip training ones and I’d like to plan to take him on my multi-day expeditions too – I think he would like that.) I feel that it would be good for him to carry some of his own stuff, might be kind of cool for us both to be hiking with backpacks.  He has never worn one before so that should be interesting, hopefully not as interesting as the time he had to wear a cone and nearly destroyed the house. 

Where Next?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Eastern Approach

Another Weekend - another great hike, with the best hiking companion you can have.

Odin lookin East towards Bedford Islands and Metchosin
Out again at East Sooke Regional Park, this time entering from Aylard Farm (the largest parking and entrance to the park) and heading West via the Coast Trail. Brought Odin along, it's been a while for him to do such a hike rather than just walking through the forest and open fields. Wasn't sure how much he could do, didn't want to push him too much and cause an injury or worse. He's a trooper though and was more than up for a very strenuous hike. This part of the Coast trail running up to Cabin point has some serious climbing up and over rock faces. A couple of times I needed to give him a boost up, but he returned the favour too. Some of the downward "trails" (using the term very loosely) I made sure I was in front of him and braced him in case he slipped. It was challenging and a lot of fun. About half way up the coast we needed to stop for a watering break, found some shade.
He's having a great time
As with these hikes, I learn something each time, this weeks lesson? Water - need to double up what I carry when Odin is with me. He pretty much cleaned me out by the time I got back to the Parking lot. I was carrying 2 Litres, made sure he was looked after first, due to him not being able to regulate internal temperatures like me. I had a flask of tea which carried me through. Going to have to figure out how to carry that extra water - maybe in a bladder that I can refill the Naglene Bottles from. I brought some food for him but that was unnecessary on a day hike, we just shared my food. My food, my water, hmm feeling a little like the pack animal here. 

Spectacular Viewpoints all along the route
Our next stopoff after a very hard climb was Beechy Head. This is the official marker of the border between Canada and the USA. It is also another fantastic view, you can almost see Port Angeles in the distance from here. Just a stone throw's away.
Beechy Head Marker
Keep you eyes and ears open, the place is teaming with all kinds of wildlife, various birds, small mammals, insects, ect.  Found this guy on the centre of the trail so moved him off, Good size, not sure what type of caterpillar he is but he was the size of my largest finger.

Just past Cabin Point, then over to the Interior Trail around Babbington Hill, following the Interior trail back to Aylard Farm. Total time just over 3 hours. Odin was thrilled to see a little reward at the end of the hike. He absolutely loves running through tall grasses. Couldn't believe he had the energy left to do this, he reached deep and made me do the same. 
Wildlife on the plains of the Serengeti
Looking forward to next weekends hike, not sure of the destination but I am sure that Odin and I will have another fantastic day exploring our local areas.

“Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.” 
                                           --Robert Frost

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Gowlland Tod Provincial Park

Holmes Peak
Another weekend another local hike. Headed over to Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, taking the Ridge Trail between Holmes Peak and Jocelyn Peak. Clouds were moving in fast - they were calling for rain but it held off till later in the day. Incredible views throughout the hike, from Misery Bay (no idea why it's called that it's a beautiful spot.) right through to the rest of the Finlayson Arm and the Saanich Inlet. Round trip from Caleb Pike was 5.88 Miles at a reasonable 27.38 minutes/mile taking 2 hours 49 minutes (or so). 

Even though it is so close it is really quite remote. Every changing elevation and challenging grade, trails that go from well developed 

to loose rock or even climbing up rock faces, keeping your focus even though you are trying to take the scenery in, but not wishing to stumble either. 

 Finlayson Arm Facing South - Misery Bay off in the distance on the right.

Finlayson Arm Facing North toward Squally Reach - Salt Spring Island way way off in the distance.

Just a cool looking tree - great place to have a quick bite and re-hydrate

and proof that you are not alone out here, ever.
Cougar Scat 
Thankfully the only evidence of the cat.

Another great weekend hike - tomorrow's not as exciting just doing the perimeter of the Royal Roads University grounds with my Dog Odin. 

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Return to East Sooke Regional Park

Ragnar awaits!

I decided it was time to get back out on the trails, what a brilliant weekend to do it. A long weekend here, BC Day so thought that Sunday might be a bit busy in all the parks. Glad to see it was not the case. Only a few Cars in the Pike Road Parking lot at the Westernmost entrance to the park. The last time I had been here was with my Lab - Andre. Great memories of a fantastic dog. I wore his bear bell on my pack and it reminded me of him crashing through the bush, getting almost out of visual range, then coming to a complete stop looking back and waiting for me.

This hike was more than just for pleasure though, was also a bit of a proving ground. I was not carrying the full-on pack but a slightly heavier version of a day pack running about 15 pounds, with my Gerber LMF 2 strapped to my leg, emergency pouch on my belt, 2 litres of water and a flask of Sweet tea. I wanted to see also how my body handled and recovered from the various elevation changes, uneven surfaces and pulling myself up rock faces. I also wanted to see how long it would take me to complete, and what I would feel like near the end. It is great for finding out what needs tweaking with the gear - for instance, better to have access to 1 bottle of water rather than them both on the pack. Had to stop every time I wanted a drink. Little things but worthwhile ones. Bring glass case - pain wearing them.

Here's the route I took - total time just about 4.5 hours

It's so near by yet throughout the entire hike I only met 7 other trail users including a woman who was running the Coast Trail. If you had ever hiked this trail with its massive elevation changes, rocky paths that are on the edge of cliffs dropping 50 - 75 feet onto the rocks of the ocean, you'd know what an intense thing it is to run. Impressed.

Facing West towards Pike Point

So here it is two days after the hike - my upper thighs feel bruised, so must have been a great workout. Shows how far I have to go to get back into shape, I will! I also have to ensure that I do this much more frequently, there are just so many options around here to take advantage of getting out there. Weather or time of year should not be the limitation instead it should be what encourages me to continue to improve, learn and experience.

Looking for the next trail to explore.

EOF -- LC 

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Meet the real Me.

First day (Partial) back to work this week - after nearly 5 weeks off with workplace injury. Glad to be getting out of the house, and glad of course to be getting back to earning income, while I work with a "mostly" good bunch of folks I have really enjoyed the limited human interaction (interaction completely under my control) that I have had to participate in while off work. I recently said that to someone I trust and I think I was viewed as being more than a little odd for even thinking it. I'm not anti-social I just prefer to be not very social, too much experience with people, there are great folks out there doing great things but there just seems to be so many more that are all about themselves stepping over whomever they can to get MORE. It's tainted me for a long time, I think I've got this talent/curse where I can see people for what they are, I am also totally unforgiving once a trust is breached no matter if they are in my inner circle, family or acquaintances - I am sure it is sort of a character flaw (? or strength?) of mine, an ability to write anyone or any relationship off, then never look back or feel regret about doing so. I've done it with my entire family, sick of one-way relationships where either myself or my Wife have to put in all the effort - just not worth it for me, so out comes the inner me that goes well F*** You, you're not worth it and I no longer want you in my life. Poof done! Don't let the door hit you in the @ss on the way out. That's me... no apologies - no regrets. 

Planning a multi-day backpacking trek later this year, not really sure of destination (Mt Albert Edward, Forbidden Plateau, Garabaldi  or?) just to get back into what I used to really enjoy - -  the soothing solitude of the wilderness and nature. I believe it's what's really missing from my life, something that kept me on an even keel and unstressed. It will add to my health regime that I began over two years ago now. So I have started to pre-train, coming off a leg injury (Tear in the calf muscle) mentioned above, I have been into the physio world for the past few weeks, and have begun a return to my normal weights, crunches and planks. Now time to strap on that pack and begin using the treadmill to strengthen the legs, back and shoulders. Working back slowly, but making great progress (42 Pound pack, 2.25 miles @ 3 mph increasing/decreasing inclines (max %12) for 46 minutes. 3 days on 1 day off). Once I feel ready I will introduce some running and cycling to increase the cardio, also the pack's final weight will be about 50-55 Pounds. Research online says the average distance travelled in a single day of hiking is about 6-8 Miles, so extending my training to support that and adding the gear to both the pack and myself (hiking boots, EDC's, emergency kit and so forth) until I am comfortable with my performance.

Speaking of research the other thing I am doing is to develop a meal plan for the trail, being Vegan this is a first for me, ensuring I have proper nutrition and caloric intake to support burning 2500-3500 calories per day. Pleasantly surprised that the Internet (All Hail Google!) has so many resources available for Vegan backpacking, and some wicked tips to help keep the costs down. Things like bringing dry beans put them in a empty peanut butter container with water, by the end of the day's hike they are no longer dried and can be cooked with your meal. Going to have to remember lentils too -  they're huge protein plus - easy to transport dry and cook from dry. TVP is another one, just tried some of this at home. Easy!

Some Vegan Backpacking Sites:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Alone - kind of Les Stroud 2.0

"I went to the woods because
I wished to live deliberately...
and see if I could not learn
what it had to teach."

-- Henry David Thoreau

History channel just started broadcasting this new show called Alone , a survival show - 10 guys placed on various remote location on the North West Corner of Vancouver Island, just as the rains are approaching and temperatures are dropping in amoungst the cougars, bears and wolves. Each are allowed to bring up to ten items from a list provided by the producers, and have to film themselves using an array of camera's, and yes they are alone. This is something that really appeals to me, I think I would do great at it, but without the cameras. Each has an emergency Satellite phone if they want to "Tap-out", Don't want to give too much away, but it's interesting to see who taps out and for what, as well as seeing how each of them handle both the environment, getting the daily needs taken care of and the emotional separation (lonesomeness).Last man standing gets $500.000 US. and while the cash would be good, I think the bigger prize coming out of it is what you would learn about yourself. I'd love to try it, but again without the requirement to film myself.

Worth checking the show out if like the Les Stroud type of shows.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

and we're back!

Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, back to avenge the wrongs, so is my Blog, well without the drama of a Bird rising from the ashes on a mission but otherwise identical.

Decided to come back put some thoughts down, perhaps only for myself or for reflection at a much later date - ah who knows. Maybe it's just the fact that I have a bit of cabin fever (although wish I was in a cabin in the middle of the wilderness) been primarily home-bound for the past 4 + weeks with a torn Calf muscle, about halfway through the expected full recovery - just gave up the walking stix, am now much more mobile. It was a workplace injury - but of course WorksafeBC (WCB) does not wish to cover it, so I am having to fight them. I understand this is just the way they work, deny first (even though they never received the Doctor's reports). Thankfully I have enough banked sick time that it is covering this for the moment - I will have to repay the employer if I can get a reversal of Worksafe's decision. Anyways healing...and predicted to have a full recovery, that's what is important.

Beginning planning and training for a escape to the woods with a friend this fall, unsure yet of the actual destination, maybe Mt Albert Edward in Strathcona Park here on the Island or maybe Garibaldi near Whistler and Pemberton? Perhaps somewhere else? Wherever it is I am sure it is going to be a blast. Been a long while since I have hiked in for a multiple day hike way off the beaten path. Have of course done many day hikes (3-8 hours), but really forgot how heavy a pack is until the last couple of days when I started a basic load on it. It's 36 pounds without food, water, fuel bottles, clothing and some other incidentals. I've only got about 7 weeks to train/gather/plan, kind of unusual for me as I am a planner and like lots of time to do this, but as long as the safety-health issues are covered it might be cool to go outside my comfort zone.

I am going to plan some serious day hikes around here with the pack - work out the bugs while exploring some new turf. MEC offers some refresher courses for free so will be attending some of them as well. Glad we have one locally. I wish REI was up here to, as they have a great selection too. Robinson's also has some great gear, and staff and are local.

I am looking forward to getting back into this, with a couple of places I want to see eventually or revisit again, places like NWT, Yukon, Northern BC, Jasper, Wells Gray, Waterton Lakes-Glacier....No shortage of places to see.