Sunday, July 18, 2010

From Beach to Peak - a fun filled Saturday in Vancouver!

Grouse Mountain and Range from Jericho Beach
Crossing the Hikers Parking Lot - nearly finished!

A Glimpse of Howe Sound from the Trail.

Nice view through the trees!

It's a warm evening - Margaret, Francine and me!

The crazy ones on a Saturday night! Neil, me, Margaret, Francine, Wendy, Al and Paul taking the photo.
Beach badminton...many of us had a go!

A view of the city from Jericho Beach.

The proud Aunt and Uncle!

Kendall and Chris - speech time!

Kendall and Chris
Saturday the weather in Vancouver was perfect for 2 planned outings. First our niece Kendall and fiance Chris' engagement party on Jericho Beach. It was a fun filled afternoon of meeting their friends and a gathering of relatives. Chris is Australian (living and working in Vancouver) so his relatives were missing but we will be meeting many of his family and friends next June. Thankfully they chose the weekend after the WHW for their wedding - that was close! which will take place in Vancouver. It was a great beach party with Gordie barbecuing burgers, lots of mingling and the competition of beach badminton on going. It was a good mix of people - neighbours, family, friends and their co-workers. Neil and I had packed our running gear with the option of joining some runners who were planning a night run in Squamish starting at 7pm. The party wound down as planned late afternoon and we did have time to drive to Squamish. Traffic was heavy getting away from the beaches due to the popular Folk Festival taking place. We made it to the start of the run at the Brennan Rec Center in Squamish with 5 minutes to spare. Others started to appear and Wendy informed us of the planned route for the evening and that it would probably take us 4.5 hours. It was a beautiful clear warm evening about 23 degrees at 7pm. We set out about 7:15 and wow it was warm. My pack felt heavy with the extra shirt/vest/lights all the possibilities for the night. After some climbing the temperature started to cool which was a good thing! Brian met us at the half way point with some water which was so appreciated by all of us - I would have ran out. It was so warm I was drinking more than I anticipated. I put my head lamp on at this stop and was turning it on soon after. Wow did the lights go out in the woods! We were out there to practice some night running for a few in our crowd that are doing the STORMY 100 miler in a few weeks. Neil and I are planning the 50 mile event but saw this evening as an opportunity to run on the course and to do something a bit crazy! I have heard from others who have done this very technical section in the dark how tough it is and how scary it is with the wildlife out there. The forest is quite dense and wow is it dark. It was the first time I experienced some nausea from running in the dark - I think because the trail is so twisty and technical. The faster runners went ahead and Wendy, Francine and I were pulling up the rear. It was very magical watching the headlights ahead of us weaving through the woods. Note to self - if you ever do STORMY 100 - have a pacer through the night! I would die of fright out there on my own. We were trotting along quite nicely when we hear a bird singing - we comment that it's a bit strange to hear a bird at this time of night when all of a sudden to our right there is a big GROWL...we all confirm with each other did you hear that?? Yes - we all hear it! It was definitely a bear out there somewhere. Within seconds we hear it again GROWL...Wendy shouts it's above us on the rocks. WOW did we kick it up a notch. We hit a section of stairs and I think I was taking them 3 at a time. We caught up with the guys and they go...what's up?? BEAR we shout...keep moving!! I have come upon many bears in my trail running experiences in the day light. But I have never been growled at! It was so freaky only hearing it - so close but I didn't dare take my eyes off the trail or I would have been in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. We heard a few other grunts and noises in the dark before we finished exactly as Wendy had predicted in 4.5 hours. Neil and I had to drive back to Maple Ridge...2 hour drive. We stopped at the 24 hour Tim Horton's drive through for a coffee to keep the driver and co-pilot awake. It was 2:30am when I last saw the clock once home. That was a full day - a beach party and a night run with trail friends and wildlife!!

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