Thursday, November 27, 2008

November in Squamish

I spent the past few weeks enjoying all the things Squamish has to offer in the month of November. Ok ok, I know, this part of the world isn't exactly known as a great place to be in November. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Seasonal Affective Disorder :-( was invented here. That said, I have been managing to get out and do all kinds of cool things despite the dank air, rainy skies and short days.

I have been getting our for tons of cool runs and hikes with my dog. I have even tried to get out on my skis a bit, although we really need another few big dumps before it is really practical to go ski touring. I went to the Squamish River in Brackendale to check out the bald eagles, seals and all manner of ducks and sea gulls feasting on dead salmon. I even got out for a few brief outdoor bouldering sessions in the Apron Talus.

Here are a few snapshots and video clips from my staycation over the past few weeks:

Yum yum, rotting salmon

"Would you please take my ass off this leash so I can go eat some rotten fish?"

Evan and Benny flailing around in the brush below the Anniversary Glacier

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Road Weary Traveller

Being on the road is so great. Life is distilled down to the simplest tasks and I find myself pulled into an entirely different rhythm than I follow at home. I am awake at dawn or slightly before. I get up, pull on some clothes - whatever is handy and bunched at a ball by my pillow, more than likely exactly what I wore the day before - and crawl out of the tent. I give Benny a scoop of food and pee behind a juniper tree. Rummaging through the food bin in the truck I find the coffee, the cereal and I hunch down over the stove in the sand, making coffee. It is not what I am doing which is very remarkable or different from "home life", it is what I am NOT doing. I am not washing my face, brushing my hair, carefully picking out clothes, changing my underwear (OK OK, I don't entirely abandon this sanitary practice, it is just relegated to a less than diurnal occurrence), looking in a mirror, eating at a table, using running water, flushing a toilet, making the bed, taking out the garbage, getting ready for work. When on a road trip, it's as if I am taking a scalpel to my life and scraping away all the fluff, leaving behind the sinew, muscle and bone of eating, sleeping, playing and the barest minimum of chores and menial tasks. You will note that I have lumped 'going to work' in with the 'fluff' which shows my firm belief that if you don't want much, you don't need to work much. Unfortunately I am a bit past this point with a car, a dog, a mortgage, a student loan and all the fabulous trappings that keep me grinding out the work days (actually I really love my job and would be lost without it).

After the month that has passed since my last post I have climbed, drove, hiked, played with my dog, slept in a tent, slept in a truck, and crisscrossed five states and one province. It's crazy, but already, only a few days after being home it has all blended into one blurry memory. As far as climbing trips go, it was a pretty good one. I climbed quite a few new things (routes I hadn't done before), I got to read a bunch of great books, I took my dog on some beautiful hikes, I got to climb with some fabulous female partners and I got to spend a ton of great time with my husband Evan after a busy guiding season.

The crazy thing is, by the end of the trip, I was craving home so strongly that I didn't even really care what I climbed. Getting back to my own luxurious pocket of space in the universe was what I wanted more than ticking a route or struggling my way up a multipitch. Now that I am back here in Squamish in the rain I ask myself if I am crazy to have wanted to be back here. But the bottom line is, it just feels good! I have no shortage of things to do here, between training for my ski guide program by running, tuning up my beacon and crevasse rescue skills, and trying to get out on my skis before my guide training (and somewhat of an ACMG pre-test) begins on November 28. I also have yet ANOTHER iteration of my thesis to format which involves scanning through a 180 page document looking for spacing and heading mistakes. Attending yoga classes is also high on the list. Since I started doing yoga a few years ago, I have found it makes me feel SO GOOD to do regularly, but I fall out of practice periodically and going to classes makes me inspired to continue. Finally, some indoor training is in order for me. My power and strength slowly dwindled away this fall and I am psyched to train, possibly at the Squamish Bouldering Co-op if I can justify the steep membership fee.

Finally, some photos from my trip. You will notice there are hardly any. That's because my camera stayed in it's safe place under the seat in the truck for most of the trip. At least it didn't get any sand in it.

Me on Freerider
Chillin' at the Alcove on El Cap
Evan pre stomach flu at the Alcove on

Starting up the West Face of El Cap on a frigid day
(we had to bail cause we couldn't feel our fingies and toes)

On Beggar's Buttress

Emily Stiffler posing on Beggars Buttress

Benny getting busted inside the tent

Evan cuddling Benny while Benny winks at me

Indian Creek sunset from our campsite

Sunset at Indian Creek

Sunrise at Indian Creek

Evan basking in the sunrise on one of our early start mornings to beat the heat on our projs

Sunrise over Reservoir Wall