Monday, 28 April 2008
So, that Thursday we went back to Vancouver, but we hadnt really realised how bored we were with the city. Bored is perhaps too strong a word - as its a great city for sure, but we really felt that there was nothing we really wanted to do or go and look at there, and, we had pretty much run out of money by then, so we didnt want to just go palming around the shops again. TC had mentioned an area we'd missed, so we went and had a coffee up there - the London road area of Vancouver, then we went back to the Arcteryx factory shop (didnt buy owt), and finally (as we were both flagging) to the Museum of Anthropology, which is quite interesting.
The politically correct term for the indigenous population of north america is 'First Nations people'. The museum is largely a collection of 'First nation' artifacts, few of which are older than 100yrs (their chosen medium for totem poles is red cedar, and I think it must be quite soft and therefore doesnt last well) but the museum (and anything you do see on display elsewhere) seems to skip over the whole episode of the colonisation of the area by europeans - which is a bit wierd. Actually, reading that back, it occurs to me that the reason there is nothing older could be becuase they never kept anything. I suppose what I wanted to see was some of their culture and heritage, some of their legends and folklore, rather than just exhibits with no text about why it is what it is.
Had a walk to granville island for tea and then wandered home with a bottle of wine. Had greatly enjoyed staying in vancouver, but really looking forwards to getting back to the countryside on Friday.
Friday arrived and typically we spent ages getting stuff together and getting out. I was like a cat on hot bricks - psyched to get out climbing. Made it to Squish for about 1300 and met up with Anne, Tim and now Matt Birch. Started off at the ZeroZero/harry met sally bloc and managed to do all the moves on harry met sally. Set about trying to link it, but could feel it biting hard into my skin, pretty sure I could do that one given more time, but wanted to climb more and moved on to this amazing problem with a daft name which is something like 'Sharma dyno problem'. I couldnt do any of it. Amazing looking problem though. Moved to a problem I was trying previously and continued to fail to do it. Anne was trying Homeboy sit start, so I joined her for a bit and between us we figured a sequence. Its made all the more interesting because theres a super low start where you start in a cave beneath the boulder, then, hugging the roof, you squirm out to join the sitter and continue up from there. Very good. My skin is nearly through by now, and after a quick look at some hideous projects Matt, Tim and I have a quick gander at Wormhole (or world?) Matt does it, and I might as well have not had a go as everything hurts too much and have to sack the session. Drive to the sushi shop but theres a massive wait so its back to the ranch for Pizza and wine. Talk shit until 2200 and turn in. A long day awaits.
For some reason, I couldnt sleep. I was perfectly comfortable, warm, etc, but I just couldnt get off. Last time I noticed the time was 0230, and I think I managed some sleep because the next time I looked it was 0540, then 0845 - I must have been dozing. Got up, did some sorting and Anne, Tim, Josie and us two departed to hike the chief. It was a gorgeous day. Felt decidedly shaky after a few minutes, and had to consume emergency rations on the shoulder before the final summit push as was feeling quite sick. This made me feel much better, and after a bit of lunch on the top we zipped back down and the Honey monster and I set off home. Lovely to see the family Clifford (and Matt) and tres cool to be able to stay in such nice surroundings at their house. Zoomed back to Vancouver, made it in an hour, popped to a shop to get these shoes I was after, and then back to the hire car office, which we didnt actually know where was. We had to have the car back by 1600, and it was 1554 and there was no sign of the damn office! drove like a lunatic and eventually found the office, but they were shutting, ran in and managed to give them the keys before they could lock the door! phew. Cab to airport. YVR must have been recently renovated as its amazingly nice! ate, drank coffee, mooched - got on the plane. 8 uncomfortable hours (and no sleep later) we arrive in Glasgow. Depart Glasgow early and arrive back to Manchester at 1350. Bags are all off ok and in reasonable time, and we get a lift to the outlaws to collect the car and have tea. Both feel wacked.
Made it back to sheffield at about 1930, after a drive fuelled by tea and red bull. Managed to stay up until 2100 and then slept until 1130 this morning. Little cat is very happy to see us, house is still here and all allright. We have had a lovely time, but Its still good to be home.
Thursday, 24 April 2008
Which is an added bonus as I will get to climb on Friday! Then we fly out on Saturday.
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Canada, particularly BC, is a great place to live if you like activities. Where I am staying there is surf, a beautiful beach and its a temperate rainforest (not sure what activities you do in a rainforest), but then you look over the trees and there's snow capped mountains beyond! So there's alpinism, surfing, rock climbing, mountain biking, everyone runs all the time and all manner of other incidental activity such as horse riding. And, everyone here is dead healthy, the pubs shut at 10, everyone eats at 6 and the night clubs start at 7!
So. Tomorrow we,re thinking of exploring more of the island and then heading back to the city for a night before possibly having a look at Seattle. Back to squamish on Friday to climb. Matt birch arrived at chez Clifford today too, and it will be nice to see him/get inspired!
Tuesday, 22 April 2008
There is talk of more whale watching tomorrow, but we'll have to see. Money burn rate has increased massively so we're going to have to rein some of our ambitions in I think! Better go. Have many recollections to recount but no time to order thoughts now.
Monday, 21 April 2008
Sunday, 20 April 2008
Followed Tim's directions up the sea to sky highway (would be beautiful, but being renovated ready for Olympics) and arrived in squamish in about an hour. The house is amazing. You could go for a run without leaving the garden (admittedly not a long run), and the garage houses an amazing board! No need to even go to the rocks! Had a cup of tea and enjoyed a bit of Clifford hospitality before heading out to the rocks (little Josie at day care).
Its just like magic wood. Only bigger, and from what I have seen so far, rougher granite. That's not all of it though - there's still a lot I haven't seen. Did a bunch of cool problems to warm up and got shown when Harry met sally and something called 1010 on the same bloc round the corner. Super crimpy basic power problems - I might actually do something this trip!
tc demonstrates 1010 (v10) and I recognise small but positive holds. Its cold and I am not warm. Do the last move, then do a move lower, then the two together, then the really hard first move, but I don't actually do that one and think its quite hard. Have a minute or two and sit myself at the start. Nail the first move and shuffle feet, second hold is a sharp gaston, but its positive and I can bone it. Walk feet round for the awkward up deadpoint, lash out and amaze myself by sticking the hold, just the easy lock to the top and its done - get in! Immediately I have done more than on some full week long trips! We move to a pinchy 11 and Anne does a cool slab to the left. U manage the first move once on this problem, but skin feels super thin and I don't do much else. The girls walk to another block and Tim and I go up to an amazing 12 that he did a start to - it looks incredible. Originally it was climbed from a jump start and given 12 for that, but he managed to climb into it but doesn't think it adds anything! Anyway, it looks fully amazing, but I don't pull on. Yet. We go to check out the egg - a super classic 11, and I can't do the first move. The climbing here is not all basic at all. Tim explains that 1010 is a very basic problem! We walk through to the chaka demus and pliers block and I get to look at dream catcher. It looks awesome. And in a very imposing setting. I also get shown the singularity, and there are holds, but I can't really see how bad they are, but there's certainly no chalk on them. I,m a bit in awe. Look at an 8b route on the bloc facing dream catcher and still a bit dumbfounded we walk on to see the girls just beneath.
There's another couple of 10's here that I try and feel I could certainly do. We jet into town to collect Josie from daycare and pop in the supermarket for provisions. Its a bit of a culture shock being in squamish after the city. Its really low rise and spread out, the city is so dense and bustling. Kinda wish we'd come here first!
Go home and play with Josie. She is so cute. Such a happy lovely child! After tea she goes to bed and we all retire to the second of the Clifford living rooms for a chat and a beer. Everyone is tired and we turn in at 9pm!
This morning we languished until 830 and I felt snotty and rubbish. went into town to check out rob Smith's recommendation of Mr d's. Apparently Mick Adams couldn't finish a lumberjack breakfast, so I had to try. neither could I. Had to leave nearly two thirds of it as the sweats were starting! Left and family Clifford and us two walked around beautiful alpine lake before we decided to head up to whistler for a look around.
Its about another hours drive up the aforementioned sea to sky highway, and some pretty spectacular stuff to see on the way. I felt really snotty and energyless when we arrived, so bought and necked some more decongestant pills which sent me wired. Urgh! Hung out up there until tea time when we drove back to squamish for some tea.
The honey monster and I discussed our plans for the week ahead. We always said this wasn't going to be a climbing trip, and with her back still hurting most activities are off the menu for a few days, so tomorrow (Sunday) we're going to do a bit of a walk and the climb, and then Monday we're going to head out to the island to check out the Pacific rim national park. Also, the sunshine coast. Anne and Tim told us all about it and it sounds amazing. We always like to explore on a holiday, so that's what we're going to do.
Friday, 18 April 2008
We got there by float plane, which was dead cool. Its a 30 minute flight and the plane takes off from Vancouver harbour and lands in Victoria harbour. The harbour of both is right in the mix, so there's no messing with transfers or taxi's or owt, you're straight in on the ground floor (or first floor as they say in this continent). I was waving my camera about when we got on, and the pilot asked if I would like to sit in the co pilots seat! I nearly wet myself with excitement! The co pilot was pleased too, although it did get a bit cold in the cockpit with the no trousers rule.
We had half an hour when we arrived before we were due on to a zodiac caterpulting through the waves in search of cetaceans. The man on the counter seemed very genuine (they all do here, this is a nation of the most helpful friendly people you could wish to meet. From a cynical UK perspective you feel suspicious, but they really do seem to want to be nice) and he reckoned there had been no sightings, and it would be warmer in the afternoon. We agreed, changed our times and went off in search of food.
Wandered around the shops and visited the BC museum before heading back to the harbour for action. I think I'd been feeling a bit flaky anyway, and was a bit dreading this seaborne adventure, but she was really psyched. We arrived, checked in and got fitted out with flotation suits. She wanted to sit at the front of the boat, and inspite of the mans advice that 'it was a real yahoo ride up front' I thought it would be quite fun too. And it was - for about 10 minutes - of a 3 hour trip.
Within the breakwater it was fine, absolutely fine. on the open water the waves felt massive (don't think they actually were), and we were charging through them, it was dead exciting, bouncing right out of the water at times. I was loving it, but when the boat slams down with a crack into the next wave and you're not braced for it, it whallops your lower back. I half stood and braced with my legs, but the poor monster took the full ride a couple of jarring times. We waited until we slowed down and moved back up the boat which lessens the amount of pitch, and it was immediately better. Except that by then I was already feeling crook. All I could do was stare at the horizon and concentrate on my breathing. Totally convinced was I that sickness was on the way. Monster seemed fine. The tour continued and we saw dalls porpoises, seals, otters and eagles, but no whales. Moving back a seat and some respite in calmer waters saw me right and I was feeling chipper by the time it came to crossing the rough bit again. Blimey. It was worse. Even from the new back seats I had to pointedly stare straight ahead and answer questions with single syllables.
Made it back to terra firma, but the bloody flight then had the indecency to be bumpy too. In a little plane you feel everything and I was on my last legs by now, but thankfully I managed to hold it together and made it back to VC with contents of stomach intact. Couldn't face a cab, so had a walk to the nearest starbucks for a cup of tea.
Both managed to wolf some feed down but had full sea legs (the effect of still thinking you are afloat even when totally stationary) on getting home. Rubbish. Her back is ruined, so I've been out to get ibruprofen and she is in bed as I type this. Hope the morning does not bring with it much pain for the little frog. I feel a bit achey myself to be honest.
Last night in Vancouver tonight. Had enough of the city now, although very cool, that's it now - I feel like I have done it. There's nothing else I would like to see or do here. Probably! It is an amazing place, I have never heard of anywhere else where there's mountains in the back ground, skyscrapers in the centre, and then a beach in the foreground! Amazing. And the people are lovely.
Thursday, 17 April 2008
They have this amazing chain of wholefood deli shops called capers. Incredible organic and healthy foods within. We have started eating there to combat aforementioned engorgment. Had a wrap from there and hired a tandem.
Stanley park is an amazing thing. think of a peninsula of land, with the most high rise bit of the city occupying most of it - this is downtown Vancouver. The city extends round onto the land either side of the peninsula too, in fact, that is just the centre district. Anyway, the tip of the penis is Stanley park, which is billed as a taste of wilderness in an urban setting. Well, maybe if you had earplugs in and had been taking mushrooms. If you consider bingham park a taste of the peak district then you get the idea. Anyway, its about 11km around the sea wall, and wobbling slightly on our new steed, we quest off around the park. Very pleasant. On getting back to the start you can follow trails through the middle of the park, so we do. It quickly becomes clear that our tandem is intended for tarmac use only. Its ok going up, but coming down again the tyres strain on the rims, and after a particularly enthusiastic descent we puncture our back tyre. Ah well, this at least secures us a discount.
Bus back home as both are tired. Don't know what we will do for tea tonight. Might go and get a salad from that capers place again!
One last thing - I don't get how intersections work. When there's lights and you are on red its still ok to turn right I think, and if you are going left then I think you pass on the wrong side of an oncoming left turner or something. Its wierd. And when there are no lights, its first person to the line who has priority. On the subject of transport, the buses here have a better charging model than we do. Rather than buying a ticket on each and every bus you travel on, you get one ticket that allows you 90 minutes of travel on any bus you like. Which is handy if you keep getting on the wrong ones.
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Quested off to new areas after boutique suggestions from a waitress. Found some really nice shops with individual Canadian designed pieces but nothing that captivated the monster. Thing is that you'd have to go for the whole look, individual items would look out of place on there own. Its like shopping at ikea, its fine if you plan to do the whole house or a whole room, but single items don't work alone. Anyway, found amazing lunch café in boho area (as much as can be in north America) and after more trawling headed back to town. Found some really posh shops and I bought some jeans, she still didn't manage to get owt. Town is ok, but its either chain shops you can get in the uk or its reet posh designer stuff. Anyway, got the bus back to 4th and found better shops which were more our style. Age bought a hoody which is lovely, and after a trip to the bakery (yes, more food!) we walk home for a rest. Half an hour later we start the half hour uphill to Vij's which is a host recommended Indian. Its lovely. The service is amazing and the food is unlike anything I have tasted so far. Reasonable too. Waddle home and that's were I am writing this from. Tired and I have shin splints. But, feel settled now. Accomodation is lovely, have seen all the city and even booked whale watching trip by seaplane on thurs.
Can't wait to get up to squamish now to be honest. Have pretty much exhausted squamish.
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
Anyway, weather is mint. Hope it holds into next week when the activities begin!
Monday, 14 April 2008
Sunday, 13 April 2008
Flights all fine, just very long. Now in flat in kits, tres cool. Its like I imagine north America to be but without the Americans. Brilliant. A city surrounded by snow capped mountains but with beaches and sun sets and everything - its bizarre, its like it has it all. So tired.
Saturday, 12 April 2008
So, this is the first of the mobile blogs, this one from Manchester airport t2 on the way to Vancouver. We are both dead excited. I imagine I should be able to drop a few mobile blogs whilst on the move, but I would also predict that they will be brief, as sitting tapping away on my blackberry is not very social.
Its raining in the uk. Weather in VC looks loads better. Going to have a beer!
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
I hope the shepherd is perhaps warning that its going to be cold, as I am hoping to climb outside tonight. Sky over Leeds is overcast but quite bright, and the horizon looks clear. Forecast is reasonable, and I have my sights on yorkshire grit. The car is loaded with pads, I anti hydral'd last night, didn't climb yesterday....
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Monday, 7 April 2008
Thursday, 3 April 2008
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
Anyway, here are some pics from the trip (I have linked them all to the FlickR pages, so click on any of them to see it bigger) :
Finally, from the last day, here is a camera phone video of Harris attempting Theoreme at Volx. It looks brilliant I think.