Thursday, June 21, 2012

Turning wind to Granite Walls.

It was hit or miss.

Many a thing stood in the way of making June 21st 2012 an epic. The first being that I worked until 11:45 pmthe night prior. Arriving home, I slumped on my house mate's floor and told him what some co- workers had told me some hours earlier... that June 21st was not in fact the longest day of the year and that the Chief trail was closed due to rockfall. A quick Google search revealed that yes, indeed, the trail was closed and  June 20th, the day that we had just bid farewell, was the longest day of the year.

What was the point of waking up at dawn anymore? We couldn't bag the peak and we had missed the longest day. It all seemed more trivial especially because dawn was still so early ( but not the earliest) and work finished so late ( 4 hours sleep max on the radar). We really had to re assess our goals, our objectives, and our motivation. Why did I want to do this?

We carved out an answer, recollecting our reasons; it was all quite simple: We love the sun.

Living in Squamish alone makes you grateful for sunny days, but long sunny days are priceless.  It does not matter that a few minutes were shaved off our fun.... we still have 16 hours and 24 minutes of sun in the sky to be grateful for... and having a day off ( and having told an inter-web of social circles the preliminary hatch of the plan), gave us no excuse.

Today, we will make the most of it.  Today we will celebrate the beginning of summer.

 Bedtime on Summer's eve: 12:45am


Woke up at 4:40am. looked outside and felt cheated, the sky was already light.
By 5:10am, myself and Jimmy were on the trail, moving quick, silenced by the thunder of the creek on our side. As someone who usually wakes up at 10am, I could not believe how much light was on the trail. It could have been mid day! We slipped under the signage and cautiously made the decision to make our mission light and speedy. Returning before 7am would insure no interactions with BC parks. The rock in the trail was huge. A not so subtle reminder that rocks do fall, and when they do, they are unpredictable.

The summit came quick and before 6 am we were watching our snowy neighbors illuminate, cut between stratus clouds and rigid coastal shadows.

The fog has lifted. The sun is up, it's morning.


Right after the fog lifted, it fell heavy. I was tired. Feeling the effects of late work and early rise, my all too spoiled body stiffened and fell under an thick blanket of fatigue. As Jimmy was whipping up some amazing looking pancakes, I tapped out for a sun- nap.

3 hours later, the adventure continued.


10:00am: Kayaking was looking iffy, as no other kayaker's were capable of joining and Jimmy has neither experience nor gear. As for biking, I had no bike. We decided to use what we had... we had climbing gear. Peasant's route, a 6 pitch climbing route up the Grand Wall of the Chief was our objective.

It was hot. The air was humid and the bugs were out full force. With seeping rock and sweating hands we tackled the classic. The beautiful belays in between pitches lay as reminders to how damn lucky we were to be there. All the while, the Grand Wall route loomed. It hung over our petty goals, teasing us to try. Come Mid july, when the skills are honed and the days reliable... try we will.

After 2.5 steady hours of upward momentum, we were rappelling from the top anchors. Minds steady and legs wobbly, we hiked back to the car. Drove to base camp and decided it was time for a hardy meal. 


I tried to avoid it, I searched for more options, if there was anything else I could do. But when it came down to it, you cannot complete a day in Squamish without a bike ride. Jimmy and I packed up and made our way out of town,  by help of the little green wagon. For the first time in 4 years, I mounted a bike and rode a trail.

It was easy, apparently.

Pedals, handlebars, weight distribution... Jimmy reminded me that it is just like climbing, stay relaxed, allow your body and the bike to do the work. I followed the trail, stopping and stuttering the first time around. Steeper sections were walked and strange noises were emitted when roots or rocks were hit without enough momentum. I felt new, I felt beginner, and I loved it.

We flew out of the woods, back on the road where we started. Jimmy patiently waiting for the word... " Let's do it again!" He laughed and we pedaled back in, dialing the turns and the speed, trying a bit more, a bit harder. And then I stopped. Jimmy was ahead. The afternoon light warmed the lime green moss on the trees, branches arched like rainbows across the canopy, the world was a hundred shades of green and brown.

To end the day off, we drove up to Alice lake. With Mount Garibaldi as background, we stripped to the bare minimum and sprinted in. More refreshing than coffee. We were both ready for more.

After some nachos and beer at the Howe Sound Brewpub...

Dusk settled in over the slack lines of Nexxen beach. Friends came out of the wood work and with stereos and hoola hoops. We slacked and danced and wandered the beach. It was 10:30 before I would call it dark. Slowly but surely, we all dissipated, most with jobs the next day, but smiling because summer has begun!


75% complete... kayaking was lacking but not because of a lack of energy... just a lack of resources.

no car. all human powered.
no naps: more time.
No work the night before maybe?... ya that would be nice.

Have a great summer everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Lauren, you are one amazing girl! I can't wait to have our Squamish adventure together!!! :)