Saturna Island- Biking/Camping Adventure

Saturna island is a tiny island, just 12 square miles in size, located between Vancouver and Victoria and is one of the 5 main southern gulf islands.  Although it is the closest to Vancouver it is by far the least populated with year round residents and gets the least amount of visitors, which was evident by the lack of people everywhere I went on my weekend trip a few weeks past!

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All geared up and ready to go!

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One of my favourite shots of this beautiful destination!

I spent a weekend biking and camping on the island, and I have shared my tips and tricks with you here, so you can enjoy a great weekend too!  
This is a perfect trip for you if:
–  you want a weekend cycling trip that involves manageable biking (still very hilly though)
–  you want to experience nature up close.  Saturna is definitely wild!
–  you are looking for a quiet weekend away from civilization.
–  you enjoy biking from beach to beach reading a book all day.
–  you are a solo traveller that want a safe location to travel to(no bears or wild cats to worry about)
–  you don’t have a car and are looking for somewhere to travel to on the weekend.
Here is a great map I used when touring around:
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Take a look at what I got up to and let me know if you have questions for planning your own itinerary! 
Day #1
To get to tsawwassen  by bike I took the skytrain from Vancouver out to Bridgeport station.  From there you take bus 620 to the ferry terminal.  You simply put your bike on the front of the bus, and you also bring it right into the skytrain section specifically for bikes.  I understand there is a biking route to get out the ferry terminal, I haven’t looked into it as in this case I was rushing to catch the ferry after work.
The ferry ride is about 3 hours and involved a stop on Mayne island to transfer ferries.
I ended up arriving in Saturna at 10 pm, which is not a good idea now that I look back on it.  I ended up having to bike 10 kms across the island to my campsite on an island i’d never visited before, at night!  I felt safe with the number of good lights I brought, but the freaky part was how uninhabited Saturna is.  Because the island is mostly forest I realized if I ran into trouble there were no cars passing by, and very few houses on the stretch to the campground.  I would advise arriving during the day 🙂
My campground was called Naveaz Bay.  I reserved my site in advance from the parks Canada reservation system.  It is only 5 dollars a night for back country camping sites across BC.  When I arrived in my site a group of girls had set up, and I had to kick them out!  Reservations are new for many of the parks campgrounds in BC.  While setting up my tent I was greeted by an owl and right away I felt the calm feeling of being on the gulf islands.  The bike in was a pretty crazy ride on a rough/semi gravel road, followed by a 1km downhill hike to the campsite, let’s just say, I was happy to be resting in my tent!
Here is a shot from the campsite:
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Day 2
When I opened up my tent on my first morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that my site was directly facing the ocean!  I hadn’t noticed because I arrived at night.  It was a beautiful surprise.
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Surprise!

After having some breakfast I took a walk to Echo Bay, located right near  the campsite.  The water was incredibly blue and it was a stunning site.
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From there I headed back up the hill to where I had parked my bike and took the 10 km ride back into town (just for reference this ride took me between 30 and 45 minutes depending on how much gear I was carrying, and I was riding a heavy hybrid bike).
Just before hitting the ferry terminal is the one general store on the island.  I was there on a Saturday which meant there was a market happening.  The general store is pretty fully stocked and on Saturdays the adjoining cafe is open for sandwiches etc.  It was a great spot to stop for a tea, charge my cell phone, and they also let me fill my water bottles up there each day.
After a rest I decided to bike down to Thompson beach, without realizing how massive the hills are on this stretch.  I was wondering why I saw no-one else biking or walking on this road.  I definitely had to walk a few of the hills, especially on the way back up which included a 20 percent grade hill that stretched on for at least a km.
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Instead of biking I would suggest leaving your bike locked at the general store and walking down- this would avoid pushing your bike up some of the massive hills!
Thompson beach was breath taking and picturesque, and just like everywhere on Saturna there were only about 5 visitors down there for the 2 hours I spent lounging on the beach.  There are some hiking trails to do here, but knowing I still had to trudge back up the hill I decided to forgo this hike.  Here is a list of the few short hikes on Saturna.
After the massive trek back up the hill and back to the campground I was pooped and ready to relax and call it a night.
Around 12 am I awoke out of a deep sleep because I heard something scratching at my tent wall.  Every time I heard it scratch I would jostle the tent to scare it away.  After 10 separate times like this I decided I had to turn on my light and see what was happening.  As the light flickered on a little mouse popped his head over my back pack at the end of my tent!  Wow!   What a surprise- what was he doing in there?
The next 30 minutes were pretty comical with me trying to get him out of there.  First I tried chasing him out, but he just kept hiding in my clothes and camp gear!  I ended up having to take every single thing out of my tent to get him out of there.  Quite the process for the middle of the night.  I realized he got through a hole in the tent and had to do some late night patch work.  So this is your warning:  don’t keep any food in your tent, and patch even the smallest hole in your tent.
Day 3
For my final day on the island I packed my gear up and hiked back up the hill to my bike.  I dropped my gear off and then walked the short trek out to Monarch head to get a beautiful view of the surrounding gulf islands.  I had just stashed my gear behind a  tree in the woods, but honestly the gulf islands are so safe there is really no need to worry about stolen gear.
The trail to Monarch head is short and including taking plenty of pictures and chatting with locals I completed it in less than an hour.
Next I biked back into town for a water fill up and a tea and then took the road down to Winter Cove, another beautiful ocean front area, perfect for a picnic.  There is also a short 1 km walk through a marshy like area (with board walks) out to an area called the Boat Pass, where boats enter through a narrow opening in the rocks to enter the cove.  Very beautiful views out here, especially of Mount Washington.  Winter cove is also a great spot for a swim.
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My trip ended with a pretty tough 5.5 km tide back to the ferry from winter cove.  I was definitely cursing not yet investing in some light weight camping gear on this ride.
The one area I didn’t make it to was East point, where the lighthouse is located and whales are often spotted.  I decided to save this for the next trip!  Also apparently there is a campground called Breezy Bay located just near the ferry.  I think this will be a good option for the next trip as it is more centrally located and wouldn’t involve the 10 km bike ride from Naveaz bay back to town to start each day.
Overall Saturna is a stunning small island that will get you feeling connected back to yourself and nature.  It’s also a great spot for a workout and adventure.
If you head there, be sure to leave a comment about your trip!

Bike, Hike, and Camp Whistler

Over the July long weekend, Kyle and I headed up to Whistler for some biking, hiking and exploring!  We were completely blown away by how extensive and beautiful Whistler was, compared to the small glimpses we had before while spending most of our time in the village.  Whistler is home to numerous lakes, full of beach goers on a warm day, extensive trail networks for biking, walking, and hiking (not including heading up the mountain), and plenty of photo stops to capture the various mountain ranges in the background.

If you are looking for a weekend trip that is:

  •  Family friendly
  • Cost effective (we spent $270 on food, gas, and lodging, the spa was extra though!)
  • Physically pretty easy (doesn’t involve major extensive hikes), as long as you are generally active you will enjoy this trip.
  • A perfect mix of roughing it, and luxury (spa day!)

Then this trip might be for you.

Our itinerary included:

  1.  One day spent biking the Whistler Valley Trail
  2. One walk to Lost Lake for a picnic dinner
  3. Short hike to the Whistler Train Wreck.
  4. Hike from One Mile Lake to Nairn Falls.
  5. Day a the Spa Scandinave.
  6. 3 nights spent ‘free’ camping.

Day #1:  Drive from Vancouver to Whistler.

We were hesitant about making this drive on a long weekend, but luckily ran in to virtually no stalled traffic.  The roads were heavy with cars, but we still made it in 2.5 hours to Whistler!  There are numerous paid campgrounds located in and around the Whistler area, everything from tent sites, to RV sites, to sleeping in yurts!  It’s much more of an affordable option then spending 100-300 a night on a hotel in Whistler.  We choose to go with the free option, because we have a self contained unit.  We often park on logging roads, and forest service roads, and find free campsites online.  We set up shop, pulled out our propane campfire, and enjoyed the evening.

 

Day #2:  Bike 30-40 km on the Whistler Valley Trail.

The Whistler valley trail is a relatively flat, mostly paved and hard packed gravel trail that connects Whistler Village to many of the surrounding lakes in the area.  You can take a look at this map that I used from the official Whistler website for an idea of how extensive the trail networks are:  whistler-hiking-biking-map.  The Website also lists shorter treks you can take on the trail, if you aren’t interested in doing the whole loop like we did.  If you are interested in seeing the exact route we took, check out the red markings I have made on the map here:  bike route marked (the drawn in red markings is our route).

The trail is off the main roads for the most part, so you don’t have to worry about cars and traffic.

Before we started the trail we headed into Whistler, grabbed a Starbucks and took in the sights and set up for the Canada celebrations.  Everyone was decked out in their red and white to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday!

20170701_094058.jpgWe started the bike ride from the main day parking lots (there are 5 huge lots located in the middle of the village- $5 a day for parking in lot 4).  Heading out the back of lot 5 we connected onto the trail and started the trek on the lost lake path.  From here you follow along lost lake before diverting to the left, rather than continuing around the whole lake.  Following the trail a little further we made our first photo stop- Green Lake. 20170701_105857

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I thought Green lake was the most beautiful stop on our ride.

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After Green Lake we rode along, while taking a few more pictures, until we came to a great snack stop at Meadow Park.  It was such a beautiful setting with families flying kites, dogs running around and jumping into the river, and people paddling their canoes down the river.

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Riding along Green Lake

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Green Lake with the mountains in the background.

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Geared up for Canada Day!

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Coming into Meadow Park:

 

Beyond Meadow Park we followed the trail for about 10 minutes of quick riding before coming upon some beautiful ‘wildlife viewing platforms’, which made for some good photo taking.

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Soon after we reached Rainbow Park, the first major beach area that we had come across on the bike ride.  It was loaded with families having picnics, and young adults blowing up their rafts and mattresses, piling on the cases of beer and chips, and getting ready for a river float.  This was a great stop for lunch, AND there was even a man selling Gelato- what a find 🙂

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Rainbow Park

Past rainbow park you head uphill for a bit, before turning left and riding on the road for a short period of time before connecting with the trail again.  From there you ride along and circle around 2 of Whistler’s smaller surrounding lakes:  Nita Lake and Alpha lake.  Both of these lakes were also filled with people sunbathing, and enjoying a day off work for Canada day.  To finish off the ride we circled the lakes, and rode back to the vehicles and grabbed our dinner gear to head down to Lost Lake for a picnic.  Make sure you have some energy left, because it’s about a 30 minute walk from the parking lot to the lake.  It was well worth it though, to cook a delicious Indian dinner and enjoy the views.

We topped off our night by watching a free outdoor public concert put on by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, a special performance by Canada Day.

Day #3:  Whistler Train Wreck Hike and Spa Scandinave

The Whistler Train Wreck hike is a short, easy hike, perfect for all fitness levels, and especially kids.  The train derailed in 1953 and the train cars were never removed from the forest.  As a result people have come down and painted art and graffiti on the cars.  For full details on how to get to the hike, check out the trail description HERE .  The trail is short, maybe a 30 minute walk from the vehicle, but involves a beautiful crossing over a raging river on a suspensions bridge, as well as you get to check out the 7 art covered train cars (2 are hidden a little further down).

 

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Disclaimer:  Don’t climb up here 🙂  

Now for the best part of the trip!  We spent the rest of the day at the Spa Scandinave!  For $70 you can spend as many hours as you like following their hydrotherapy circuit, this means spending 15 minutes in a hot environment (sauna, steam room, hot tub), followed by 10-30 seconds in a cold pool, followed by 15 minutes of relaxation in front of one of their fireplaces, in a hammock, on one of the beds indoors, or on a comfortable reclining bed/chair.  The place is completely silent, and is heavenly.  I began to feel every little cell in my body relax as we enjoyed our day here.  It is well worth the $70.  For more details on the spa, check out their website here:  Website.

Day # 4:  Hiking from One Mile Lake to Nairn Falls and back.

Our 3rd night we had spent camping north of Pemberton on a friends piece of land.  We enjoyed the morning with them, and only had a few hours to do a hike on our way back.  With so many beautiful hikes around Pemberton, we ended up choosing one just off the highway for convenience.  We pulled over at one mile lake- which is the lake just outside of Pemberton on the Sea to Sky highway.  From here you can follow the trail network all the way to the Nairn Falls campground, and then complete the 1.5 km from the campground to the Falls.  The whole trek was about 8 km’s total.  You get some good undulation with the trail, but nothing too strenuous.  The trail is very well marked from the lake, simply follow the signs for the Nairn Falls Connector.  Alternatively, you could also add a 1 mile walk around the “One Mile Lake”, which we chose to forgo and take a dip instead!

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The waterfall is huge!  Very hard to capture it’s power.

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And that was the end of our weekend!  We made our way home, stopping along the way to take a few more photos of the mountains (which I can’t get enough of).

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The “chief”

I hope this blog was helpful to spark some ideas for you for a short, active, enjoyable, and relaxing weekend up in Whistler.

Get outdoors, and explore 🙂

Katherine

 

Daily routine for “Healthy Knees”. Perfect for runners, cyclists, and hikers!

  • Do you love to run, cycle, or hike, but often get sore knees afterwards?
  • Do you get pain when going up and down stairs in your knees?
  • Is it hard for you to get up and down from the floor because you feel too stiff, or your knees are hurting?
  • Do you find it hard to get into a deep squat position because your hips are too tight?

This is a perfect routine for you to do daily!

Today I bring you the exact stretching and rolling routine I do almost daily to promote healthy knees!  Tight quads and hips are my nemesis, and it means I work on these stretches daily, as well as before and after physical activity to prevent my knees from getting sore or swelling up.

The Routine

To Start:  Start out by giving some of your major muscle groups a nice roll out using yoga-tune-up-therapy-ball-plus-w-toteyour Yoga Tune up Ball.  Yoga Tune up Balls  are by far the one and only ball I recommend for effective self myofascial release.  The balls were designed for this purpose, unlike a tennis or lacrosse ball which were designed for sports!  The yoga balls are the perfect density to create a deep and effective release to the muscles, as well as they grip and move the skin around nicely, promoting further effects that you don’t get with a tennis ball.  If you need to buy a pair I recommend starting with the Therapy Ball Plus set in a tote:  Follow this LINK to order them from my referral site with Yoga Tune up.  The therapy ball plus set is the perfect size to get into both big and small muscle groups.  The alpha ball is the one you will see me using in the videos, as I prefer this one for use on my larger lower body muscle groups.  The smallest size yoga balls are good for release neck, chest, and upper back muscles, as well as feet.

  •  I know the Electra Health Floor on Burrard in Vancouver sells the smallest size, yet this is the only location I know in Vancouver that sells this specific brand.

Next- It’s time to roll 🙂 

To start the stretching and rolling routine, I prefer to start with the fascia release, to get my body ready for a good stretch.

I like to apply a 7/10 pressure onto each muscle, this way I am not at risk of damaging anything, but I know I am applying enough pressure to actually create a change in the fascia tissue.

Quad Rolling:

Video Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1bFRZ1d5CU. Watch the video, then read the text, then try the rolling.

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When we refer to the ‘quad’ we are talking about the Vastus Laterialis (blue), Rectus Femoris (yellow), Vastus Medialis (red), and the Vastus Intermedius (not shown as it is deep to the other muscles).  quadrices  The various techniques I show in the video are much more effective then simply rolling up and down along the muscle (which is done most traditionally in gyms), and will ensure we loosen up all aspects, and all muscles, of the quadriceps.

Start with:

  1.  Putting the ball up near the top of the Vastus Lateralis (close to the hip, and more towards the outside of the leg) and allowing your full body weight to sink down and over the ball (it’s not moving though).  Try to let all the tension leave your leg.  Take 5 deep breaths here.  Slowly choose about 8-10 different spots along the width and length of the leg to relax and breathe into.  By choosing 8 spots you should hit up the full length of the Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, and Vastus Medialis.
  2. Next, drag the ball side to side along the quad muscle, and slowly make your way up and down the leg.  The slower you move the better.  Try and stay relaxed (which can be hard when the you can feel the ball travelling across your leg muscles, and sometimes they feel like tight ropes!).
  3. Next, drag the ball up and down the length of the quad muscle.  Start with the outside of the leg (Vastus Lateralis) and slowly go all the way from the hip to the knee.  Do the same for the inside (Rectus Femoris) and the middle (Vastus Medialis).  You will see me propping myself up on my other side on a bent knee, this is taking some of the pressure off the rolling leg.

After about 5-10 minutes on each leg your legs should feel wonderful!

Glute Rolling:

Video Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03TsxcLU2JM.  Watch the video, then read the text, then try the rolling exercises.

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  1. gluteuscls Start by rolling the ball around in circles around the Gluteus Maximus  X 10 rolls
  2. Next, spend some time rolling into the side glute muscles (Piriformis and Glute Minimus)- if these are too tight you can do this up against a wall.
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  3. Finally, lay on your side and roll side to side over your side hip.  Remember- stay off the bone!  You will be rolling just below your hip bone, and will be hitting the Glute Medius, the top part of your IT band, and as you come into the front you will start to hit your Tensor Fascia Latae.

 

 

 

Calf Rolling

As you can see below, there are MANY muscles the make up the lower leg.  The primary muscles we will aim to target are the Gastrocnemius (middle photo, they have cut off the muscle, but just have shown where the muscle atttaches), as well as the Soleus, which is deep to the Gastroc.  The Gastrocnemius is your main calf muscle that is visible from the back of the leg.  We will also be working on the front of the lower leg, and the main muscle we will be releasing is the Tibialis Anterior.calves.jpg

Video Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4E5YOwqkH0.  You might want to watch the video first, then read the text, then come back again to the video and try it yourself

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  1. First ensure that the lower leg you are rolling is placed fully on the floor in a perpendicular position to your body (the knee should not be lifted off), as shown in the video.  The inside of your lower leg is the part of your leg facing up, and the part we will dig into first.
  2. Then begin to draw the ball up and down along the line where your shin bone meets the muscle, you are working on the medial aspect of your Solues here.  You will know you have hit the right spot because you will feel it!
  3. Also spend some time in the ‘meaty’ part of the muscle belly, near the top of the lower leg.  This is part of your gastroc.  You see me doing this in the video after rolling up and down along the shin bone.
  4. Then, Drag the ball all the way down close to the ankle, and spend some time digging around down here, close to the achilles.
  5. Finally- you can come up onto all fours and drag the ball along your Tibialis Anterior and Peroneous muscles, by dragging the ball along the lateral aspect of your shin bone.  I spend a lot of time here in the video, especially up close to the knee as this is a tender spot for me!

 

Now onto the Stretches!

#1:  This is my number one stretch for getting the major hip flexors & Rectus Femoris on one leg, while stretching out the glutes of the other leg.  I am using my couch to do the stretch today, but I often use the bench at the gym.

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Start by setting up with one knee on a soft surface, and bring your other leg up onto the couch.

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This is what that stretch looks like from the top.

Next, to make the stretch deeper:

#1:  Reach back and grab the ankle of your back leg.

#2:  Gently squeeze your glutes and press them forward towards the couch.

 

The final stretch is the #1 stretch I recommend, especially for runners!:  

A stretch for the outside hip/IT band/outer hamstring and lateral aspect of the lower leg.

First- watch the video, then read the text, then try it:

Video link:  https://youtu.be/WIvUR-XKcyM

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Instructions:

  1.  Start with your leg straight up in the air, slight bend in your knee.  Use any strap you have handy to hold your leg up there.
  2. After about 10 deep breaths here start to draw your leg across your body.  It should only move a few inches, and your hip bones should stay evenly weighted on the floor.  10 breaths here.
  3. Next- Drop that leg all the way across your body, trying to keep it as straight as you can, and open your other arm into a torso twist.
  4. This is a major stretch for me, and super effective!

 

In Conclusion:

  1.  Do these as a warm up and cool down after your running, cycling, and hiking to prevent hip and knee issues.
  2.  Do these daily to work on your hip mobility to prevent knee, and lower back problems.
  3.  Ensure you are breathing and relaxing into each stretch and rolling position.
  4. Most of all- Enjoy!  I hope it all feels great afterwards.

 

 

 

  •  Katherine

 

 

Summer Hike Ideas: Mount Strachan

Now that we have finally been graced with some nice weather in Vancouver, it’s time to hit the trails!

Mount Strachan is a beautiful and challenging hike on Cypress Mountain, and one I recommend if you are into:

  •  Circle route hikes (it’s not an out and back trek)- lots of variation in scenery
  • Good views on a nice day
  • Big uphill scrambly portion “Christmas Gully”
  • Site of a plane crash & wreckage
  • Easy to access from cypress mountain.
  • Beautiful views of the Howe sound and Garibaldi mountains on a clear day

Mount Strachan is:

  • 10.5 KM’S
  • 550 M Elevation gain
  • Not an easy hike, good amount of rocky portions to navigate.  I would rate this hike as intermediate.
  • Best done between July and October once the snow has melted (the scrambly portions are pretty dangerous if still wet and slippery).

The trail starts from the Cypress Ski Mountain resort.  For complete directions please refer to this website.

The first part of the trail meanders through the woods alongside Yew Lake.

Keep an eye out for beautiful birds:

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And beautiful huge trees!

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After reaching a few junctions and crossing a few bridges you reach the Bowen Lookout, overlooking the Howe sound with a beautiful view of Bowen Island.  This is a side trek trail- and worth checking out:

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After trekking through the forest you will reach a wooden map board, and then two wooden bridges.  This is where you enter Strachan Meadows and are about to start the climb up the gully to the top of the hike.  There aren’t many marker points through here, but just stay left of the gully and follow the rocks, and the eventual trail path to make it to the top.  It’s a bit of a slog, and scramble, but have fun with it 🙂

Once you get to the top, there is an option to head right or left, head left first for the first viewpoint.  You will go right later before you start your descent over the other side of the mountain.

You get a really great view of the Lions (middle photo), another very popular hike here in Vancouver.

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Once you’ve rested up it’s time to head over the second lookout.  You walk back towards where you came up from Christmas Gully and then head straight across to the second lookout.  It’s very easy to navigate.

Once you’ve had a good look at the second lookout it’s time to start heading over the back of the mountain heading in the opposite direction that you came up Christmas Gully. Walk along the rocky surface at the top of the mountain a little ways down along the ski lift, aiming to find two orange markers that will get you on the descending trail back in the forest.  It took us a bit of time to find these.  We saw other people coming up different routes, so be sure you find the trail markers and forested path or else you will miss the plane crash!

Within 30 minutes of descending you come across a plane crash from 1963!  This was a T-33 Navy jet on a training mission.  It took several days to locate the crash site, and much of the site is still preserved- as you can see!

After the plane crash we found the route not to be very well marked, and in some cases we were worried we had got on the wrong trail.  Ensure you have these directions with you!  The downhill portion seemed to take a very long time, which is why we had thought we had gone the wrong way.  It also seemed like we were heading in the wrong direction, but the trail eventually veers back towards Cypress mountain.

As we were finishing the hike we came upon a plethora of “BEAR IN AREA” signs!!  I was happy to have seen these all at the end, so I didn’t have to be too freaked out while we hiked 🙂

 

I hope you get out and enjoy Cypress Mountain and the Mount Strachan Hike.  Let me know if you make it out.  If you get a nicer day then we did I would love to see your photos.

  •  Katherine

What to do when someone calls you fat

Earlier in the week I overhead a comment that sounded like someone was speaking about how I have gained weight.  I cannot 100 % guarantee this was the comment, but whether or not it actually happened is beyond the point.  People make rude comments to each other about age, weight, height, life choices etc. all the time.  Also, this might be an easy comment to shrug off for many of you.  For a highly sensitive person, whose struggled with having positive body image my whole life- this was a doozy!

When this comment happened I really wish I would of had the guts to stop in my tracks and address the issue head on, but unfortunately this is a skill I am still lacking (and need some practice in).  Instead I chose to pretend for the time being that I must of misheard, and went on with my day.

But I noticed the comment sticking with me throughout the rest of the day as I worked with my clients.  Did I gain weight?  I am not sure!  I haven’t weighed myself since 2013 (you can read more about that story HERE).  I slowly started to get slightly self conscious…maybe my clothes had gotten a bit tighter?  When suddenly I had an amazing realization (thanks to 5 + years now of self awareness and personal development work!).

What did I realize?

When someone comments on you this comment is coming from their reality, their head space, based on their day, and their mood, their feelings about themselves and their own bodies.  I found this amazing meme on a Facebook page I follow regularly called GO Kaleo:

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Hate/Judge it’s all the same..

Although intellectually I was able to process this understanding, I still at the same time was feeling a bit insecure.  I decided I needed to carry out an action plan so that this one little comment didn’t ruin my day, and my week.

Here are some of the things I did to work past my insecurities:

#1:  Many of my friends know about my journey of learning how to EMBRACE my body and learn to love it, even if I am not 125 pounds and 15 % body fat (You can read more about that journey HERE).  So the first thing I did was text a few friends about what happened and how I was feeling.  I made sure to finish up the text by saying ‘I am texting you this so you can remind me to continue to EMBRACE my body, have a positive body image, and not fall back into disordered thoughts and eating”.  My friends were very encouraging and supportive, as always, which helped.

#2:  Next I actually went to Instagram and Facebook.  In my journey to teach myself body positivity I found a lot of good resources online from people all over the world who were all shapes and sizes and whose main message was to take care of ourselves, without restriction, guilt, and shame.  I came across an Instagram account that I thought was profoundly honest, hilarious, and totally up my alley.  Her name is Kate, and she is in recovery from some very debilitating mental illnesses, one of which she is currently battling being eating disorder recovery and having positive body image.  The first video I saw was her dancing crazy around in her living room in her underwear to help herself and others overcome negative thoughts and the need/desire to appear perfect.  You can check out her Instagram.  After reviewing her account, and a few others I follow on Facebook I was once again in a great state of mind, realizing that there are so many other women like me everywhere who are tired of trying to look a certain way, and don’t want to be judged for it either!

#3:  Ok, now here’s the funny part.  After watching Kate’s account I decided that I also wanted to “Dance it out” on video.  I flipped on a song, and pressed record and OMG the craziest dance moves came out, and sure put a smile on my face.  It’s impossible to be depressed or anxious when you are dancing around like a fool in your living room.  The best way to get out of a funk is to get up, throw on a song and dance!  And guess what?  I am going to share my dance with you 🙂  You know why?  Because I want you to smile.  I want it to bring some happiness to your day.  Sure I look like a fool!  My hair is hanging half out of it’s pony tail, I’ve got the most ridiculous facial expressions, and my dance moves are wild.  And sure I fear that you will judge me and think I am nuts.  BUT in the end I want to spread more joy, and love, and goofiness, and silliness in this world- rather than judging others.  And I think this video will help.

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Watch the Video Here

After I made the video I sent it to a friend and dedicated it to all the people in the world who are judged daily.  We can find ways to not let these judgments bring us down- but instead lift us up!  Which brings me to my next point.

#4:  After having this experience I decided that the only plausible thing to do was to spread a tremendous amount of kindness into the world, to counteract for all the judgement and hate.  I made an extra effort to smile at others, express thanks and gratitude, say hi to people I don’t normally, and treat others with the respect they deserve.

In 1970, the average age a girl began dieting was 14, according to The Eating Disorder Foundation. By 1990, that age had dropped to eight.  Each new study on children, dieting, and body image reveals only more appalling details. In 1991, 42% of first-through-third-grade girls reported wanting to be thinner. That same year, a study found that 51% of of nine- and 10-year-old girls felt better about themselves while dieting.  SOURCE

The world needs more women of all shapes and sizes looking, feeling, acting confident.  Not putting their bodies down!  

In the end I had a FREAKING great week.  Whether or not I have gained weight or not, I now know that I can manage these comments and don’t let them tear me down.  I didn’t force myself to overexercise the rest of the week.  I noticed when I wanted a bit of extra food because I was hungry, and noticed how that negative self talking voice in my head tried to stop me (but it didn’t).  I wanted to share for reference how I might have reacted to this comment 5 or 10 years ago:

  • When I was in University if someone called me fat I would have:
    • Put into immediate action a plan to get on a better diet.
    • Forced myself into more exercise that day then I wanted to.
    • Felt low, crappy about myself and my abilities.
    • Felt like a failure that I can’t live up to societies standards for weight.
    • Felt anxious, started to avoid eye contact.
    • Limit my social time to spend more time trying to lose weight.

 

  • 5 Years ago, someone did call me fat.  This was during a period of time that I had gone from basically not eating food, to eating food again, and I had indeed gained weight.  My reaction at the time, was a little healthier. I:
    • Called a friend and cried.
    • Doubted myself, my ability to eat food and exercise in moderation, and would have continued contemplating some kind of diet/exercise program I should be on to satisfy others needs for how I should look.
    • At this point I was working with a nutritionist who supported me in not heading down that downward spiral.

It is so refreshing for me to see that although it took 5-10 years I was able to transform many of the thoughts I have had about my body, and my relationship with food from my whole life.  

I wanted to write this to all women, because I know that we all suffer to some degree from this obsession to look or be a certain way.  Please reach out to someone you trust and get some support if you are in a guilt, shame, depressed, anxious, self hating spiral.  Remember- all the little negative comments you say about your body add up.  Stop saying the little ones:)  And finally- it’s ok to be upset and sad about something someone else said.  In the end, don’t let it break your spirit.  Set up an action plan (like mine) for when you are down and need some uplifting!

If you know someone who this might help today, please pass it along 🙂

Love to all you body positive warriors out there!

 

Workout: Legs, Core, Triceps, Back, Abs, and Hip symmetry!

Hey Gang,

Wanted to share with you one of my workouts from last week.  The exercises are low impact, but can be very challenging when done properly.  I did each exercise in a Tabata format, which means I did 20 seconds of hard work, followed by 10 seconds rest, and repeated that 8 times for each exercise.  This means I got a good workout in all in under 20 minutes!  I promise, even though it’s short- you will feel a burn!

The purpose of my workout was to really focus on alignment of my spine, as well as engaging my inner thighs in my motions to square and strengthen my hips in alignment.  As someone who has always liked to squat a heavy weight, I had slowly developed some imbalances in strength in my hips.  Heavy squatting is often done with a knee and toe turn out, which works more your outer hips.  Slowly over time my inner thighs started to become quite weak, which was showing up as knee issues during running and hiking.

If you want a whole body, low impact, medium intensity routine to add to your week, give this one a try:

Exercise #1:  Hamstring curls.

These aren’t your typical hamstring curls!  To start, place a yoga block between your knees.  Your job will be to squeeze that block together to activate your inner thighs and abdominals to a greater degree, and stabilize your pelvis during the motion.  Once the inner thighs are active, press the hips up in the air using the glutes.  With the glutes in the air, extend your legs out and then pull them back under your body using your hamstrings (backs of your legs).  Ensure your core is absolutely braced the whole time.

Hamstring Curls Video Link

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Exercise #2:  Lat pull down with leg lowers. 

This one will work your core, as well as your back muscles (lats).  You will need to have a space where you can hook a band up behind your head, to use as resistance for the muscles.  Once you are set up on the mat, like I am in the photo below, you are going to lift your knees up into a 90 degree position.  Then, exhale and strongly engage your core, followed by a straight arm lat pull down combined with dropping one leg to the floor (takes a bit of coordination!).  Some things that often go wrong in this exercise and cause pain:  allowing your ribs to ‘pop’, allowing your core to disengage so that your lower back is doing all the work.  Go really slow with this one, use your breathing and core engagement to make it effective and challenging.

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Exercise #3:  Tricep pull down with ab/inner thigh squeeze.

Here is a great exercise to strengthen the back of your arms, while at the same time working your inner thigh and abs.  Laying on your back, using the same band set up as the exercise above, and bring your knees up to the same 90 degree position.  This time, hold a block between your knees.  Your job is going to be squeezing that block together the whole time (which also nicely activates your core).  Keeping your elbows pinned on the floor, slowly squeeze your arms into a straight position.  Make sure to lock your wrists out!  Keep those abs tight, as always.

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Exercise #4:  Side Plank with added stability requirement.

Here is a challenging side plank variation (not for beginners).  If you are new to side planks, you can try just holding a side plank from your knees/toes, or moving your top leg with your bottom knee bent.

The reason why I love this exercise:  It requires you to brace strongly with your core (to protect your back, and work core stability), while you breathe and move your leg back and forth (mimicking more of a functional movement exercise).

Give it a try!

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Side Plank with Stability component video

Exercise #5:  One leg Squat

One leg squats are extremely hard, and require a tremendous amount of flexibility, mobility, and strength.  In this example I am strengthening the ‘squarenesss’ of my hips in this position and movement.  I am using a bar as gentle support to help me out of the bottom of my squat, but most of all I am really squeezing against the yoga block with my inner thighs to stabilize my pelvis, and activate my core.  My goal is one day to do a pistol squat!  A beginner friendly version would be to do a one leg glute lift, like I showed on the previous workout blog, which you can find HERE.

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One leg squat Video link

So have fun with it!  Let me know how you do, if you need modifications, and if you find it fun 🙂

And remember- consistency is better than intensity, better to do a small workout every day then just a few intense ones each week.

Hot Springs & Hiking Near Whistler

Need a weekend getaway to somewhere peaceful, and out in the middle of nowhere?  Want to combine this with a great hike?

One of my favourite weekend trips Kyle and I have taken over the past few years was out to the Skookumchuck Hot Springs located north of Pemberton.  Although a bit of a drive from Vancouver, if you make this trip into a weekend away, and include a nice hike on the way back then it’s well worth it.  Or you could pay to spend the weekend at the hot springs and relax the weekend away.  To read more about the hot springs themselves, where they get there name, and the history of the area, follow the links from this site:  LINK

The hot springs are nothing fancy in themselves, but they are definitely relaxing, peaceful, and set in a very beautiful location.  If you aren’t into roughing it a little bit, this won’t be a trip for you!

The first step is to gear up with your tent, food etc. and head out on the 3.5 hour drive north of Pemberton to the hot springs.  There are really great driving directions found on this site:  LINK.  That link is also the site where I found all of my original information for planning this trip.  On the way there we made a few pit stops to stretch the legs.  One in particular was Nairn falls, which was located about 20 minutes north of Whistler on the right hand side of the road.  We also stopped at Shannon falls viewpoint, near Squamish.

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Here are some shots I took from the car on the way up, trying to capture the beauty!  It was quite a drive, but relatively easy to navigate given the directions above.  Be prepared for quite a long stretch of gravel road near the end of the trip.  It was fine in our truck, and at the point of our trip would have been ok for travel in most vehicles.

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When you arrive to the hot springs site (after travelling on a gravel road for quite some time!), you can pay for your campsite before entering as there should be a person working at the gate who will take your payment and let you in.  We paid $30 for 2 people to camp for the night, and also purchased firewood on top of that from him (which wasn’t a great price, so if you can bring your own I would recommend that).

The campsites are beautiful!  Located right along the Lillooet River

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Pretty good spot to set up!

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10 steps down from our campsite

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Looking left along the river from our campsite

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Looking up from the river’s edge to our campsite

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Looking down at the river’s edge from our ‘tent’ – aka we sleep in the back of our truck!  Luxury camping.

Once you set up camp, throw on your swim suit and head over to the hot springs.  They are very close to the campsites, just a couple of minutes walk.  Oh and beware- swim suits were optional, especially as the night rolled in.

The hot tubs are heated from an underground hot spring, which is visible, but you can’t bathe in that one because it is deemed too hot!  Instead, the hot springs are funnelled into a collection of random old hot tubs, wooden tubs, and large blue bins!  It is really nothing fancy, and a pretty eclectic bunch of bins and tubs, but as long as you aren’t expecting Spa Scandinave style you will really enjoy it! Each tub is heated to a slightly different temperature so you can rotate around and find one of your choosing.  They even had one freezing cold tub, which felt amazing and invigorating to jump into in between the hot ones.

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A view of the hot ‘pools’ with the spring located to the back left

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A couple of the tubs.  The closest one in the photo was the freezing cold one!

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One of the other larger hot tubs located near the back.  This one really was an actual hot tub like you would have at your home- out in the woods!

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Where the hot water comes from.

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Another view.  You get the idea- it’s nothing fancy!

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loungin’

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So relaxing, you can barely keep your eyes open!

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I love this photo!  Kyle looks like a little happy kid in a play pen!

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Tub hoppin’

That night was very early night considering how relaxed we felt after a few hours of tub hopping, and how peaceful it was to sleep beside the river.

After one night of camping and enjoying the pools we decided to make our way for a hike before heading back to Vancouver.  Unfortunately we became so incredibly relaxed from the tubs we didn’t make it to our ultimate goal of hiking Joffre Lakes, which is more of a major hike in the area.  Instead we ended up wandering around Alice Lake, and finding two short hiking trails that suited us better.  Alternatively, a nice relaxing, but long trail would have been checking out Chekamus lake (if you go up in the summer).  We went up in the winter months, and weren’t sure if the road was 100 % accessible or if there was snow on the ground.  Chekamus lake is a relatively flat hike, about 14 km, and would make a perfect end to your weekend.  If neither of those sound interesting, chose another one off of this extensive list.

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On the drive home

One final tip:  We stopped in Pemberton at a coffee shop and got some delicious muffins the next day.  They were so good that after splitting one we went back in and got some more.  The bad news, I can’t remember the name of the shop.  If you know it you must comment so everyone else can enjoy!

Let me know if you make it out here 🙂  I hope my pictures did it justice and you find it just as relaxing as we did.