Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mission Accomplished

I'm back - having indeed had a great dose of the outdoors, animals, fibery stuff, and learning. The farm experience was difficult, interesting, educational, and wonderful all at once. I have to say a huge thanks to all of my friends who pitched in somehow to make this trip as great as it was; they fed me, housed me, drove me to airports, train stations and bus stops, gave advice, and lent encouragement and support. I feel so lucky to have all of you in my life!

I'll separate the fiber stuff into a separate post so that you can read only what interests you! The trip started off with a train ride to Toronto, and an overnight stay with a friend. The next day I took off to Kelowna, BC to stay with another friend. I was flat out in love with the city from the moment I got there - it was hot, desert like, and looked like a Californian suburb (as seen on TV) surrounded by mountains. We hiked around Myra Canyon/Kettle Valley and Knox mountain, taking in the wonderful sunny day.

Views from Kettle Valley/Myra Canyon, Kelowna BC

The next afternoon I headed off on a bus to Greenwood, BC, which is in the Kootenay boundary region. The bus ride itself was impressive, winding through mountains on roads that looked down on valley ranches. Greenwood is Canada's smallest city (pop. ~700), which used to be a bustling center during the gold rush era. There, I met up with Robin and his daughter Sarah, who took me to the farm. It was definitely challenging to get used to being so isolated on the farm, being plunged into a new family, with no time to myself. However after a few days of adjusting and getting to know the Dalziels, I started to really enjoy all the farm had to offer. More about that later!

After the farm, I took the bus back to Kelowna and flew to Vancouver, where I met up with a friend to do some camping and hiking. We stayed in Alice Lake Provincial Park (which was impeccably well kept), and hiked the Stawamus Chief trail as well as Garibaldi Lake. Both hikes were well worth the strenuous effort, boasting awesome scenery at the summit. The "Chief", which is supposedly the second largest granite monolith in the world, was a shorter but more strenuous hike, involving scrambling over steep boulders, chains, ladders, and steep stairs. The trail up to the first peak was fairly populated with tourists, but that thinned out considerably as we hiked to the second and third peaks. We found a lesser used route down from the summit, which took us through a pretty neat fir forest.

View of the Puget Sound area from the 1st peak of Stawamus Chief

On the second day, we hiked up to Garibaldi lake. This hike was considerably longer, but other than the first few hours of leg-burning switchbacks, not as difficult as the Chief. We passed only a few other hikers, which made for a peaceful experience! The trail was still snow covered near the summit, and the scenery at the top was breathtaking- a glacier-fed, turquoise lake surrounded by snow-capped peaks. We had planned to do another big hike on the third day, but our bodies were protesting from the previous days' efforts, so we took in some sights around Vancouver instead, hiking around Lynn Canyon, Stanley Park, and UBC. We also drove out to see Whistler, the site of the 2010 Olympic nordic events. The next morning it was off to Montreal, and then home to Kingston via train.

Lookout point on the way up to Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake, BC

I'm head over heels in love with BC- for some reason Vancouver, despite being a big city, doesn't elicit in me the same gross gut reaction that other big cities do. I also love how people there seem to universally embrace an active, outdoor lifestyle. The Squamish area was stunning, and I would love to go back and do more hiking there in the future! I'm glad to be back home, if only for a few days before leaving for New Brunswick (just for fun I made a map of the whole trip).


Don said...
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Heather said...

Oh my goodness! These photos are stunning! I can see why you love BC.
Congrats for making such a special trip a reality.

Marie said...

Hi Jess! What your Mom said... And thanks for reminding me what a treat it is to get outdoors in our wonderful country. When you consider the scenery available to us from Gros Morne to BC, we Canadians truly are fortunate!

Lynn Addleman said...

Your photos are breath-takingly beautiful! I'm so glad you took the opportunity to do this wonderful trip.

Hope to see you at a knitting night soon. . .


Devstar said...

I'm glad the trip was a success Jess! It sounded like a great experience and totally what you were hoping to get out of it. I'm sorry we didn't get to touch base when you were in Kingston but I'll see you in less than a month. :)