Monday, July 15, 2013

It was a Knee Knacker Weekend!

Saturday was the 25th Anniversary running of the Knee Knacker, Canada's knarliest 30 mile/50km trail event. It starts near Horseshoe Bay and finishes in Deep Cove, North Vancouver. It follows the Baden Powell Trail and has 8,000 feet of ascent and 8,000 feet of descent. This year Dave and I decided to buddy up and do it together. Neil was out there ahead of us completing his 8th Knee Knacker, this was my 4th and Dave's 6th Knee Knacker finish. Another ultra to take me closer to my goal of completing 50 Ultra marathons by the close of this year.
Dave and I crossing the finish line in 9.5 hours. It finishes in Deep Cove, a beautiful spot.
Sunday, we added a bit more insanity and headed out to the Hanes Valley to explore a route to Crown North 1, a new Peak added to the Bagger Challenge Event. The route has some very helpful chains to hang on to as you descend the wet slippery rock. Once we were in the vicinity we marked the trail we will attempt to ascend on fresh legs one day soon.
Descending on the boulder field into the Hanes Valley.
Craig and I, taking in the peace and tranquility of the Hanes Valley.  
Ascending the boulder field after exploring the route that will hopefully take us to Crown North 1.
Craig and I appear to be racing up the boulder field - who won? ;-)
We then carried on and bagged Grouse, Little Goat and Dam Mountain.
Craig (he was down from Kamloops for the weekend), Dave, Neil and myself.
Congratulations to all who participated in the 25th Anniversary of the  Knee Knacker. Well done Team Dodg (we were once 5 and known as Team Dodgy). Liza moved to Calgary, Craig has moved to Kamloops that leaves Dave, Neil and I to conquer the Bagger Challenge Peaks this year - go team Dod! For the Knee Knacker, Dave and I were team DO. And team DO did it. It was a good 50 km journey Dave - thanks for the company! We did well, sorry you met those dreadful black flies.
Next Ultra Event is Squamish 50 in August. Many days of Peak Bagging to do before then.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Needles

Saturday morning Neil, Dave and I headed out to tackle the 3 Needles - South, Middle and North Needle. We parked at Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve and rode our bikes 5.5 km to the start of the trail at Hydraulic Creek. The climb up Hydraulic Creek is a very steep one. This is my 4th time up to the South Needle but I have never ventured further to the Middle and North Needle. It was a warm day and I wore long sleeves and 3/4 bottoms to try and protect myself from the scratches from the bush - it helped but I felt over dressed in the hot sun!
We were enjoying the views on the Middle Needle when who should appear coming from the direction we were about to go but the Bagger Champion Bill Maurer. We had corresponded with Bill earlier in the week and knew he was planning to go in the opposite direction and expected to see him out there somewhere. Nevertheless, this encounter on top of the Needle was quit incredible, we didn't see anyone else all day. A special moment - the Bagger Champion and the Bagger Queen meeting on top of the Middle Needle!
Dave, myself and Bill.
I'm there - the top of the North Needle.
Neil and I - North Needle
They are called Needles for a reason, we went down this to the patch of snow in the Col below.
The journey down. It is straight down behind Dave - is a shear drop off. I have never hung on so tight to roots and blueberry bushes. I could tell that Dave and Neil were nervous for me (and for themselves too!) in some sections.
This photo shows the thickness of the growth we travelled through, no trail. I was very thankful for all the bushes to hold onto.
Pushing and pulling through the bushes - it was a lot of bushwhacking!
Down and back to our bikes. Another 5.5km ride back to the truck - we did it TEAM DOD!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Canada - A Boat Ride a Bike Ride and a Few Bags.

Happy Canada Day!
This was a long weekend to celebrate Canada's 146th birthday. The weather was hot - 33 degrees C. We celebrated by hitting the trail all 3 days - which felt great. Saturday Neil and I revisited the Baden Powell trail out of Grouse to remind us about this section for the up and coming Knee Knacker in 2 weeks time. Last weekend we climbed Black Mountain to remind us of that section of the Knee Knacker. We climbed Black Mountain in the reverse direction for Vancouver 100 - I'm not sure which is worse going down Black Mountain or going up Black Mountain??

Sunday a group of us went to Bowen Island to climb Mount Gardner, both Dave and Craig had never climbed this one. Craig was back in town. Marla and Chad joined us as well. We took our bikes on the ferry and enjoyed the short but heart thumper of a ride to the start of Gardner. It was a warm day for the climb. Beautiful views at the top!

Rewarding Views!

We took a few minutes to enjoy the warmth of the day and the sights.
Coming down - nice trail all the way.
What a contrast to last weekends outing. Dave, Neil and I went up Suicide Bluffs, another in the Bagger Challenge on Mt. Seymour. The snow was still deep and dangerous with plenty of post holing.
Suicide Bluffs with plenty of snow remaining.
We came upon this tree with Christmas ornaments all over the ground underneath it - there must have been a Christmas party here! Perhaps they snow shoed in? Sounds like a fun party!
The remaining members of Team Dodgy!