Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 5

3 07 2015

Route: BCMC Trail

Time: 01:47:51

Joined by No. 2 offspring and an old work friend this time. The former quickly got bored and disappeared, to wait at the top. The temperature was stupid hot. Even when we finished, it was still 26 degrees, at gone 8:30pm. Pretty sure the temperature was a factor in the slow time, but the previous day’s 16km hike might have been a factor too I suppose. Calves were starting to twinge by the time we crested the top.

Still, that’s 36 officially timed ascents now. Getting there…

Little Things in a Big Day

1 07 2015

Canada Day today. Fireworks tonight.

English women’s team lost to Japan in the FIFA World Cup.

Lots of things going on.

I was very recently encouraged to spend some time in the woods and just “be”, so today I took my father-in-law and offspring No. 2 up to Windy Joe in Manning Park. I hiked the 16km round trip recently when there was still snow on the ground. It felt like a very different hike when it was hot, dry and decidedly snow-free. Oddly, it only took about 20 minutes less, despite the lack of encumbrance from snow shoes.

The air was still and heavy. The various scents were almost painful as you breathed in the hot air under the exertion of the climb. As the flora changed the scents altered too It’s a pretty easy hike, a 3km river-side trail followed by a series of switch-backs on an old service road up to the fire lookout tower. It’s a little overgrown with grass in places, but certainly nothing to tax the reasonably competent hiker. Despite the length, the smooth old road was an easier ascent than the various routes up Grouse. I really enjoyed the 5 hours on the trail, and purposefully took the time to stop and smell/photograph the various wonders that nature had placed along the way.

Fight stigma and discrimination – be human

27 06 2015

There’s a lot of mistrust and hatred in the world. Don’t be part of it.

Misinformation and “knowing” facts that are actually just plain wrong is the root of prejudice.

This project in Finland by broadcasting company Yle Kioski had a man who was HIV+ asking for the simple human act of being touched. It’s all in Finnish, but pretty much the only word spoken – repeatedly – is “kiitos”, meaning “thank-you”.

A man with HIV asked strangers for some human contact. Their sweet reactions brought him to tears.

A man with HIV asked strangers for some human contact. Their sweet reactions brought him to tears.

The best bit for me is that (more well-educated) mothers are happy to hug the complete stranger, or let their kids do the same. Where would we be, really, without the non-judgemental love that mothers offer?

Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 4

26 06 2015

Route: BCMC Trail

Time: 01:28:01

Well, this week I was accompanied by both my son and younger daughter. They drove me to my best time of the season, but they did it by basically disappearing over the horizon and willing me up to join them. The trail seemed quieter than of late, and we only saw about 6 other people. It was incredibly humid, and I must have lost a few pounds in sweat and evaporation. (“Sweat is just the fat crying” as one placard read on the Sun Run). For a couple of minutes it reached 100% and there was some light drizzle on the last quarter.

The erosion continues to concern me and I do feel guilty for my part in it. The ground is so dry that each footfall kicks up and displaces a small cloud of peat dust and further exposes the already nude roots. One result of this erosion was clearly visible on the first climb of the hike where the trail leaves the BCMC trail and ascends a rocky rise. Here there was a newly fallen tree blocking the path and needing us to limbo underneath.

Well, that makes 35 officially timed ascents (several others were unofficialc). Only another 5 to go before I’ve done “Mt. Aconcogua”.

Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 3

18 06 2015

Route: BCMC Trail

Time: 1:29:15

I was joined by my second offspring this time. The theory being that her fit and youthful physique would somehow encourage me to faster things. Well it did… by 15 seconds. :( Those of you who have seen “Run Fat Boy Run” might suggest she equip herself with a spatula next time. The ground was tinder dry compared to last time, but the massive damage from erosion is still plain to see, with exposed roots and deep gouges into the soft peat. It seems that the management company that run the chalet at the top have changed their supplier for baked goods, and my favourite treat of a chai tea latte (extra hot) and a fruit scone had to be modified to substitute a tripleberry crumble slice. The current fruit scones I think are supplied by Home Depot’s building division. The crumble was not much better as it was really just granola, and not crumble per se. Just to top it off, I seemed to have sliced my leg on some errant stump or other on the way up. I wouldn’t say I was focused or “in the zone” or anything, but it is true that I didn’t notice the damage until we’d stopped, at which point it began to sting like buggery. (Though I use the word metaphorically and not from a personal data-point).

QE got an owie

QE got an owie

That’s 34 officially timed ascents (several others were unofficial, out of season – round the fence, etc). That’s the equivalent of 29,002 metres or 95,151 feet (but unfortunately not both). Another 6 to go before I’ve done “Mt. Aconcogua”. Here’s the whole list:

  1. Mt. Kosciusko, Australia – 7300 feet, 2228 metres – 3 grinds
  2. Vinson Massif, Antactica – 16050 feet, 4892 metres – 6 grinds but need 9 total ( 3 from No.1 above plus the 6 for Vinson)
  3. Mt. Elbrus, Europe – 18510 feet, 5642 metres – 7 grinds, 16 total
  4. Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa – 19341 feet, 5895 metres – 7 grinds, 23 total
  5. Mt. McKinley, North America – 20320 feet, 6194 metres – 8 grinds, 31 total
  6. Mt. Aconcogua, South America – 22841 feet, 6961 metres – 9 grinds, 40 total
  7. Mt. Everest, Asia – 29029 feet, 8848 metres – 11 grinds, 51 total

What’s in a name?

8 06 2015

I was invited out for drinks and a bite to eat on Friday with some old work friends. “Old” as in long-standing, as opposed to elderly. That said, we’re none of us getting any younger. Anyway, we ended up at The Main on Main, in Vancouver’s trendy Main Street. Parking was a pain. Though plentiful, the meter-controlled parking on Main was unavailable due to me habitually travelling like royalty… and therefore without cash. Eventually I parked in a twee residential area around the back and only a few minutes walk away.

I’d arranged to arrive early for pre-drinks and my friend and I took a table in the open (as in not present) window to soak up a few rads before the others arrived, and to more readily watch the world pass by. I noticed a large old pub sign on the wall, being used as “art”. It was a Tetley’s sign for “The Oak Tree Root”, and obviously a few thousand miles adrift from its origins in the north of the UK somewhere.

Tetley's Sign - The Main on Main

Tetley’s Sign – The Main on Main

I innocently asked if they served Tetley’s and the waitress asked if I’d like tea. Taken aback, I had to explain at length that Tetley’s tea had nothing to do with Tetley’s brewery. Despite being far from a common surname, they were in fact two completely different things. The Oak Tree Root is a bit of an unusual name for a pub, and it turns out it’s in Howe Bridge, near Manchester. No idea if they realise their pub sign has been stolen though…

A photo of the pub (complete with assurances that they did indeed sell Tetley’s) can be found here on Flickr. Unfortunately it seems they went bust and the building is now a cheap Costcutter shop.

The sun was warm and still high, and we enjoyed a pint of  Driftwood’s White Bark wheat beer. Thankfully it didn’t arrive with the usual fruit salad. What is it about putting orange slices into wheat beer?!

Driftwood - White Bark

Driftwood – White Bark

Our other friends arrived, and as predicted, we had to move away from the window due to their vampire-like dislike of the sun. Oddly, I’m not a big fan of hot weather, but I don’t mind sunshine per se. The Main on Main is OK, foodwise. Slight air of pretension with the way it serves its pretty basic food, but clean and friendly. There were a few too many Greek items on the menu for a traditional pub, but all-in not too bad.

Grouse Ascent 2015 No. 2

4 06 2015

Route: BCMC Trail

Time: 1:29:32
First officially timed ascent this year. Hey – I’ve been busy!

It was higher than usual… most of the way I was following a couple of hip dudes who were smoking and smelt distinctly of skunk. They still beat me!

The weather looked iffy, but it was only when I got to the very top and into the low cloud that it actually became damp, and even then only with tree drips. The ground was very soggy most of the way up though which was odd because we’ve not had much rain recently. Definitely humid though, my microfibre face cloth (lovingly called my dew-rag) was soaking wet by the time I finished. Asa wearer of glasses, it’s really annoying when my face sweats, so I carry this microfibre cloth to wipe my eyebrows frequently.

I felt quite shocked and horrified at the trail actually. Shocked at just how deteriorated it has become since just a few weeks ago. Horrified though to realise that I’m as much to blame for that erosion as the next person. The Grind has become so popular that the BCMC is now the overspill and is getting way more popular than when I first began to hike it. Especially at the top there is now a tangle of exposed roots and some quite slippy sections where the mud has become so dominant.

That’s 33 officially timed ascents. Another 7 before I’ve done “Mt. Aconcogua”


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