Saturday, January 31, 2015

2015 Itinerary

Yes, I should be doing a post about my sister Kate's visit, but I'm still recuperating from my bout of sadness after she left. I'll post about her and pics from the trip soon, I promise!

To keep me in higher spirits, I've been daydreaming a lot about where I'd like to go this year and next year. A lot of it is wishful thinking, but I hope some of these trips actually pan out. Among many others, there are three trips this year that I'm sincerely hoping to initiate-- all in preparation for a larger trip for next year! And here they are:

Image via USA Today

Image via Fragments

1) A northern Californian road trip! I have many friends who have recently (or not so recently) moved to the Bay area, and I hope that Jon and I can scoot our way down that lovely coast again. I'd like to do San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Monterey and then make our way over to Pinnacles National Park (and hopefully drag a friend or six!). My ideal time frame for this trip would be May for an extended birthday celebration but we shall see! 

2) Joffre Lakes Provincial Park on the mainland in BC. My friend and I had two planned and failed trips out there (which thankfully lead to our wonderful Portland trip!), and I now have a burning motivation to see those teal lakes and snowy mountains this year. I believe it's a two night back packing trip where you hit up the two glacier run-off lakes each day. I've never seen such pristine water in my life, and am excited at the possibility! I'd like to do this soon, after the snow melts. Thinking mid-summer.

3) Mt. Albert Edward in Strathcona Provincial Park. While I've hiked several mountains, this, I believe, would be my first ascent on a *real* mountain. You know, one with snow and glaciers at the top and is part of a real mountain range. The views from the top are supposed to be lovely, and while the hike won't be easy, I hear it's a great first ascent for backpackers. So stoked! Thinking late summer.

Am I being overly ambitious for choosing all three? Maybe. Do I care? Nope. Joffre Lakes and Mt. Albert Edward could be done during long weekends, and the Californian trip would be a 7 - 10 day adventure. I feel like this is do-able. Woot!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year!

Canon beach, OR

So much has happened since I last did a proper post. Halloween, two Thanksgivings, a small road trip to Portland, small hikes, big hikes, Christmas, visitors, New Years, family, friends...

One thing that has been pervasive throughout all of this is of how settled I feel here. I've been seeing a lot of friends the last few days, and trying to make new ones with some coworkers of mine, and I feel so much at peace here. I told Jon that I wanted to go somewhere new this year as my New Year resolution, but really I'm happy doing anything as long as I'm with him. 

On top of Mt Work on Christmas Day

Jack, looking sharp!

One of the biggest highlights last year was being able to host Jack, Jon's father, for Christmas. He came last year with Jon's little sister but flew solo this year. I had to work every day but Christmas and while I was initially upset at that fact, I grew to appreciate that Jon and his dad got to have daily one-on-one time. It was so nice to see family again after four months, and I'm highly anticipating my twin sister's visit in three weeks!

Ennis & Lawrence, skipping in the Japanese garden at Butchart

Sitting Lady Falls

Jon feeding bunnies on the highway median.

Peter Pan, Frida Kahlo, & Monster

October was pretty low-key. Jon and I went on a few mini-adventures to Sitting Lady Falls in Metchosin where a waterfall empties out into a lagoon (quite nice!) and there were a number of good walks around the area. We then visited the infamous bunnies on Route 17 to go feed them, only to find out that the little guys are already well taken care of! There must have been close to 50 of them (that we could see), all hopping around and looking adorable. I almost got close enough to pet one before it scampered off. 

At the end of the month I got to meet Lawrence's good friend Ennis, who I'd been in high anticipation to meet! It was great getting to know them, especially since they're moving to Victoria soon! Halloween was fun and sort of last minute. The party we went to reminded me of the ones I used to go to in Boston, but on a much smaller scale. I had missed those parties where there was a surplus of food, crazy decorations in place, and a living room cleared of furniture to give space for dancing to the loud, fun music. 

One of the many mushrooms we found-- DO NOT EAT. 

Jemma taking field notes

This sign welcomes us as we drove in the first night!

Natalie & I woke up extra early for these suckers. No regrets!

Kite flying on Canon Beach.

Lovely friends, delicious food, & good times for American Thanksgiving!

November was just lovely. It started off with a mushroom hunting expedition with a co-worker of mine and a number of her friends to find chanterelles. While we didn't find any of the famed fungus, what I did gain from that experience was knowledge and appreciation for these amazing women. While the youngest of them was still close to 30 years my senior (the oldest being in her 70's!), I was so inspired by their active lifestyles, resilient natures, and their flexibility to adjust whatever roadblocks came their way. I can only hope to vaguely resemble them in my later years.

I then got the opportunity to learn a bit about what my friend Jemma was up to during her time away in the summer up island. I knew she was studying and encouraging Western blue bird habitat and assisting in their nesting and hopefully fending off predators, but it was great to see her in action. I helped her move, document, and inspect various bird boxes around East Sooke Park, learning a lot about the ecosystem and various bird species that fluttered past us along the way. I love hiking with her-- it's always an eye-opening experience! 

The biggest trip I took during this blogging hiatus was a weekend road trip to Portland, OR! I went with my friend Natalie and it was great having that experience with someone as relaxed, curious, and adventurous as she is. I had been to Portland before when Jon and I had gotten married, but knew I wanted to see more of the city. It was great to re-experience some things with her lens, but also to see and experience other things that I hadn't had the chance to before. The best part of the trip, for me, was stopping by Canon Beach on the way back. I had been aching to go for years now, and it lived up to every expectation I had for it. We stopped by Mt St Helens for a bit afterwards (and seeing it steam from a distance!!), and then experienced some of the worst luck I've had to date with the ferries. It doesn't bear repeating now, but let's just summarize the whole thing and say that we ended up on the mainland for an unexpected extra 12 hours.

After celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving back in October, I decided that Jon and I would throw our own American Thanksgiving for all of our dear Canucks at the end of November! It ended up being a perfect storm of great food, even greater friends, and lots to be thankful for. 

Well, there you have it. The last three months of my life. I'll try not to do this again, but I say that every time, and every time the space between posts gets longer and longer...

Mt St Helens: the blown-off volcano!