Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer heat

It's so hot here it reminds me of T.O. I'm not kidding! We've even got the humidity now and the temperatures are in the mid to high 30s (my mom and sis would hate it). It's even too hot for me to run. I've seen lots of people out running, but I say, "no thank you." I suppose if I got up early enough in the morning I could beat the heat and go for a run.

Last week I biked quite a bit, but the heat wasn't as bad. I really would like to bike to work this week...forget it. I don't think I'd make it home. The mornings are fine when it's only 21 or 22 degrees, but by the afternoon the air is thick and still. Cycling alongside cars is not exactly where I want to be. All those cars just heating everything up further.

I really am starting to feel that we are in the thick of global warming now. Our winters are more severe and now this. It doesn't help that the same amount of cars are on the road still contributing carbon emissions. Sometimes I feel helpless. Does it really matter that I am on my bike trying to make a point that it is possible to live by biking and taking transit when you're an able-bodied person even when you live outside of an urban center?

Okay that's my little rant for the day. The heat is getting to me.

On to better thoughts.

Saturday db and I went to the Trout lake market. It's the best market around. We bought blueberries, peppers, and enough basil to make lots o' pesto. The market was winding down by the time we got there so we got a nice deal on the basil. Heaven.

The walk through the park to the market revealed lanterns dangling from trees or lying on some grassy nook. Some still had candles in them. Others would need new ones and I could imagine how beautiful it must be to see these lanterns lit up at night.

After the market we went to Steveston. It's known for it's fishing, which is an odd place to visit when you're vegan, but so many people had told me about how nice it is. So we went. It is nice to walk along the water. It's a bit too tourist-filled for me and the shops are also vying for the tourist dollar so there's lots of tacky souvenirs. Still we were able to endulge in some sorbet and I had a tofulati ice cream. That was a nice treat.
The garden center we went into was worth the trip. It had a wonderful selection of plants that I don't often see elsewhere. db found a great pot of basil with large leaves just waiting for us to take it home. Then we picked up a few flowering plants to attract more bees into the garden. I'm not sure it's worked yet though.
There was also a great wool shop with a big sale on so I bought some discontinued rowan cottons and felt very lucky. I wish that shop was closer. It's probably a good thing that it's not.
The birds collected along the rooftop of this old ice house adjacent to the cannery (did I mention it's an odd place to be when you're vegan in a place that celebrates it's fishing heritage?) and db thought it looked a lot like the film the Birds. I didn't have that same sense of something bad is about to happen, but he was convinced. A seagull sort of swooped our way, but I think it was actually headed to the wharf behind us.

I wasn't surprised to see a heron on a strip of beach across the water from us. That kind of fishing I don't really mind.

Sunday we did go for a run along the DeBouville Slough in poco. It's very flat and we needed something nice and flat to run on for a change. It was a good run. The humidity had started to creep up by then so it was warm by the time we finished around 9 am.

Back at home I made fritata from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. My mom bought me the book and I've started to delve into it and found all of the ingredients for this Swiss Chard Fritata to be in my fridge. Hallalulah.
Of course I had to make a side of potatoes to go with. And I can always throw some avocado on my plate for good measure. Delicious.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Garibaldi Lake

The hike to Garibaldi Lake was amazing.

Looking up from the trail, I could see the clouds and how high we had to climb, but I really had no idea how much climbing we were about to do.

db and I went with my brother and his girlfriend, C. It was a damp day with a light rain and it was the first cooler day we had as well. We had planned this hike and we weren't going to miss it for anything.
Fortunately, on the drive to the park my brother had the idea to stop had the Crappy Tire in Squamish and get some two dollar rain ponchos. The ran ponchos saved the day because everyone would have been even more soaked than we were.

It was switchbacks the whole way up. It does get a bit tedious after a few kilometers. At about the 5 k mark I started to wonder if this type of hike would ever change. Don't misunderstand, I loved the trail on the way up because it is beautiful forest all around. The coastal forest has to be one of my favorites with its big trees and thick moss growing on everything.
There were lots of flowers. The wild tiger lily that grows in the damp forest was something I've never seen before. I was surprised at how tiny it is compared to the garden variety. It really special to see it alongside the trail.
Pink Mountain Heather was abundant.

There were markers just about every kilometer along with the elevation we had climbed. At first it was exciting to see how far we had gone and how long it had taken us, but by the end I think we would have preferred not to know. I think my brother started to call it the "spirit breaker" trail. We were just kidding around though.

Taylor Meadows is at the top of this particular hike. There are markings here to go on to Black Tusk if you like, but our destination was the lake.
It was quite cold at that elevation, definitely below 10 degrees, and we were damp so it was tough trying to keep warm. We didn't take gloves and I now know that was a mistake because we could have really used them.
Taylor Meadows also houses a campground. We didn't see any campers, but it did have all the amenities.
I've never had to go up stairs to get to an outhouse before.

The creeks all along the trail were clear and cold.
One little bird I've yet to identify. The birds seemed interested in what we were up to, but they may just associate us with food/camper scraps.
Our first glimpse of Garibaldi Lake.
The closer we got, the more we all realized how worth the trek it was.
The colour is absolutely gorgeous. I couldn't stop looking at the lake itself.

Looking across the lake, you can see (I believe) Helm Glacier.

We found a sheltered nook to have our lunch and then hiked along the lake to an area that had a shelter for campers to store their food and cook in. Oh well. We discovered it too late, but next time we'll know.
The hike back down took a slightly different route for a few kilometers. It passed by two smaller lakes and a viewpoint.
Lupines were abundant.

This is one of the viewpoints. On a clear day I'm sure you would see the peaks all around, but we were in the clouds.

This is quite a drop and I'm sure the view is spectacular, but again it was nothing but cloud. Actually it was a little eerie looking into this white nothingness.

Our rewards. db made us pizza when we got home. My brother and c. had one pizza with cheese.

And db made a vegan pizza for us vegans.

One last look at the lake and glacier.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mt Seymour

On the last day of our vacation db and I went to Mt. Seymour on the North Shore since it's relatively close to where we live, and based on what I read about it the hike sounded like it would have some fantastic views.
When we arrived at the parking lot I knew I'd like the trail. It's like an old-school style ski-hill and it felt very remote compared to Grouse Mtn that we had visited the week before. Grouse is a tourist attraction and is packed with people. Seymour in the summer was like another quieter BC park.
Washington's Mt. Baker is visible from just about everywhere, but it still never loses my interest.
This is what the climb was like. It was rocky, but lots of ups and downs so it's not straight climbing all of the time.
There's still some snow when you get high enough. We found this out on Goat Mountain too, but those pictures are for another day.
I'm always fascinated by wood and the textures it has.

There are 3 peaks on this hike. I believe this was just below the first peak when you start to get some great views.
Not only was the trail marked with signs, but people have also piled rocks leading from the first peak to the second.

When I stepped up to the second peak, it's a quick and steep step up and then there's a steep drop below. It levels out towards the right, but when I first stepped up it was like being in the sky when I came upon two eagles soaring just before me. We startled each other and they turned away from me and headed down the slope.
Once we reached the second peak we decided that it was enough for one day. We had our lunch here and enjoyed the vistas.
We could see people atop the third peak, which wasn't much further away, but at least another half hour of hiking down and then up quite a steep climb it looked like. We were content with the second peak. We'll save the third for another time.

The water below is Indian Arm and the land across is actually not far from where we live.

On our way down the trail we took our time, being careful not to trip up (I did slip, but my backpack saved me as I land on it and not the rocks). I wore my bear bell for the whole trip even though db really dislikes it. I agree with him, but I really don't want to surprise a bear. We passed a couple going up and the woman said "oh you have your bear bell" with a tone that sounded like how cute. I cheerfully responded "I always take it with me" and kept going on my descent.

Once we hit the ski slope, which looks more like a rough road in the summer, I tucked my bear bell away in my pocket since we were out in the open. Sure enough db spotted a bear just a little ways down the hill. It didn't even look our way. It must have heard us coming down the slope since it's loose rocks and our footsteps alone were making enough noise. The bear was just heading into the woods, but for a moment I thought it was going to come toward us? What's my plan of action? I know you should back away slowly and give the bear the right-of-way, but I was having trouble imagining this bear just leaving us alone. Well, it did head into the woods along another trail (lucky hikers on that trail). I didn't get a picture because my camera was in my pack and the memory card was full. However, I did get this picture of a deer on our way out of the park.
When my brother & c. visit again I think this would be a worthwhile hike to take them on. It's got everything.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Run Vegan Run?

I haven't run in over two weeks! We hiked quite a bit on vacation and during our vacation I didn't really schedule in any running time. I'm starting to get itchy from not running. Is this withdrawal?

Today I cycled to and from work so that helped a bit, but it's not the same as running. When I run there's more time with my thoughts whereas when I'm cycling I'm always thinking about where I am in the traffic and how I'm taking a corner or going up or down a hill. There's little time for idle musing (if that makes sense).

I'll cycle again tomorrow and then think about a long run on Friday. It's supposed to be quite hot on Friday so I'll have to go out nice and early to beat the heat. Perhaps planning for the next race will help get me going. When I have a schedule to stick to I can plan ahead a little better. There's an interesting article in the Running Times about marathon training and how and why you should mix it up. I'll probably refer to some of the ideas I came across in the article to see where I can play with my own typical training schedule.

Oh did I mention the race on June 28th? Probably not because it was the same day my family arrived and the vacation officially started. I finished the Scotiabank half marathon with a personal best of 1:50! It was a beautiful day and a beautiful course. I'm happy with my results, but I know I can do better. I need to find a way to overcome some of those mini-walls I hit, and I think more speedwork and strength training will help. Coach?
db took the photos at the beginning of the race. We started at UBC.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back from Vacation

I'm back! I had an amazing vacation and I never left home! Well, we left the house, but we never ventured more than a day drive from home.

It was the best birthday (should I say ever?). My family spoiled me rotten, which was fab. They all pitched in a bought me a beautiful new camera with so many bells and whistles I'm going to take a course on how to use it. For now I've got it on an automatic setting for the most part and that takes great photos.

There's so much to post about the vacation that I can't post it all at once so I think I'll just do some random days and photos to go along with it.

If you didn't know from the photo above that's Seattle. db & I went to Seattle on Saturday. Even though the family left on Thursday, we still wanted the vacation to go on. We've never been to Seattle and it was overdue. It's only a 2 1/2 hour car ride from Port Whoody (plus the border wait).

hand-blown glass outside of the Pike Place Market

The market is a main attraction right downtown on the waterfront. It was packed with mostly tourists (including us). I found the crowd a bit overwhelming, but the market was worth it. I especially loved the flower alley with nothing but flowers on table after table after table.
It's a great city to walk in and we did a lot of walking in several neighbourhoods. I really like the University district. It was less polished than the downtown and had a relaxed easy-going feel. Plus, there are several vegan restaurants and shops to check out.

For dinner we found Pizza Pi , a vegan pizzeria with everything a pizzeria has to offer and it's all vegan. We each had our own choice. I selected the Olive lovers pizza with a spinach artichoke cream sauce. db had the Aloha pizza with some additional jalapenos. The woman who made the pizzas was very nice and made wonderful pizzas. Another bonus was that they had a gluten free crust that I tried. It was so so so incredibly good.
When I go back, I'm going to Pizza Pi.
Oh and then there was Mighty-O donuts. The vegan donut shop! Everything on the menu is vegan. The shop is in a renovated garage so there is the garage door that opens up for an open air cafe feel. The coffee is delicious and the selection of donuts seems endless.
Did I mention that they are delicious?
We brought a dozen home. It's a good think we don't live closer to Mighty-O. It could be very dangerous.