I am back, from both the West Coast Trail and a blogging hiatus. We have also begun our travels, well the West Coast Trail really kicked them off. Presently we are in a hotel in Oslo, Norway. More to come on Norway and our European adventures soon. First things first, the West Coast Trail.
It sure was one heck of a trip. There is a lot to mention so I will break it up over a couple of posts. Today, I’ll start with the details. There was seven of us who embarked on the hike (in our group that is, we joined about 6 million other hikers…apparently that’s early season). We decided to do the trek from north to south.
We stayed a night in these tiny little shoeboxes in Port Renfrew. They were about as basic as it gets, but when you are about to sleep on a thin, light air-mattress for 6 nights it’s all you need really. I won’t bore you with the details but I was sick that day and night. I hadn’t eaten in about 4 days, I was feeling weak and thoughts crossed my mind of pulling out of the trek. Fortunately, I woke up on Sunday morning ready and raring to go.
We caught a bus from the southern trail-head to Bamfield at the northern end. This bus was…well…shit. No suspension, heat cranked, stuffy and to add to that we got a bumpy, windy road. Most of the passengers did not feel terrific. The driver also insisted on driving on the wrong side of the road at all times. This included around blind corners and blind crests. The driver gave zero f$%^s! We survived.
Off the bus we got, and off to the trail we went. The photo above is from the campsite on day 1. There should be more photos, but equipment failures and temper tantrums ensured that was not the case. Stay tuned for more camera debacles. We camped at Darling river, a campsite 14kms from the trail-head. It was gorgeous, the sun was out and we were blessed with an amazing sunset.
It was a relatively uneventful first 14kms. Ben acquired his first blister at kilometre two, but other than that it was mellow. Day 2 was just around the corner.
We have had so much rain in Sea to Sky Country lately that when the sun began to poke through I had to rush down to the Squamish Estuary. This place is amazing. It offers a completely different view of the Squamish landscape. From this spot, all of the famous landmarks are in sight. Can you see Shannon Falls in the distance? However, the highway is not visible making this feel like a wild and remote area even with Squamish downtown just over to our left. When the tide is low and the rivers down the mudflats of the estuary almost feel like an apocalyptic wasteland. When the water is high it shimmers golden (or whatever colour the sky radiates).
Is it possible to tire of a scene like this? I don’t think it is. As a result, Squamish continues to amaze me. Now I just need to get back here on a dark, new moon night to see what I can see. Looking up, of course, the forest will be dark, eerie and full of the noises of night.
Whilst waiting for patrol sweep on Blackcomb a couple of days ago, the view of Fissile Mountain was breathtaking. It has been an amazing winter at Whistler Blackcomb this year, as a result, it really has been the winter that keeps on giving. The snow continues to fall, the skiing continues to be epic. Spring occasionally pokes through for a day as if to tease us. As much as I love snow, powder and face shots while skiing, I am ready for some sunshine and spring skiing. On Monday we received such a tease. Without a doubt, it was a gorgeous sunny day. The skiing was amazing and the weather delightful. As the clouds began to roll in, the shadows on the surrounding mountains were incredible. This included Fissile Mountain, an epic peak a few ridges over from Whistler Mountain.
We are now back into the midst of yet another storm.
Digging through old files I found this shot I took last August of the Milky Way shining over Lake Wanaka. It was a cold night. I remember it being about -6°C. It was a full moon and I misread the moon’s setting time, so I set off too early. It was a cold wait. In my opinion, it was worth the way. I can’t wait to visit Wanaka again later this year and hopefully I will get a chance to snap a few more night sky shots with this incredible backdrop.
Without a doubt, one of my favourite things about ski patroling is early mornings that make for a moody Blackcomb. As the sun rises and the golden light begins to hit the slopes it is always a dramatic and breathtaking sight. It doesn’t seem to matter if the sky is void of clouds or wild storms are rolling in. In previous posts, I have mentioned (and hopefully demonstrated) the beautiful clear sky mornings witnessed as the sun first touches the earth. Simply add a few rolling clouds and fast moving skies to the mix and suddenly it is a different world. Shadows streaking down the slopes, glacial canvas’ dabbed gold and peaks poking through paint-worthy scene.
It is this real-life artwork that makes it easier (if only slightly) to get out of bed before 6am each day.