Photos: 1) Good morning, Mount Baker! You are very clear today. 2) Canada won 26 medals in the 2010 Winter Olympics, just in case you didn't know. 3) Gorgeous scenery while snowshoeing at Cypress Mountain. 4) Goodnight, Vancouver Island. See you on my next visit.
It's another early morning. Anyone sensing a theme yet? Believe me, it's not intentional - I'm just one of "those" people. Anyway, I'm up early enough to take another set of photos of the sun coming up behind The Bridge! It's another clear, sunny day so Mount Baker is hugely visible in the distance. Exciting! This does not happen too often when I'm out here.
I use the time to tidy up around the apartment, hurl my scattered belongings into a pile that does NOT look as though it's all going to fit into one bag for the return to Calgary, and write a few postcards.
I hustle outside to meet Sare at the appointed time, but have a few minutes to photograph some poor cherry blossoms with frost on them. They seem rather confused: keep trying to bloom or give up and hibernate until this "cold" snap passes for good? Oh good, Sare's here! I haven't seen her for a few years, and we've a date to go snowshoeing at Cypress Mountain this morning. Last time I saw her, we did the Grouse Grind with her daughter, Claire. Any friend who enjoys being out and active is a good friend to have!
I'm not sure I've been up Cypress recently. I know my mum, Joyce and I went up Mt. Seymour for a looky-look last summer, but now I'm excited to see where (some of) the 2010 Olympic events were held at Cypress. It's like visiting history :). Wow, what a perfect day to drink in the great views and scenery! It's sunny (RIDICULOUS! I know, two days in a row!), blue skies, sparkling white snow, lush green forest. Oh-em-gee! We get our tickets and rentals sorted out, then sit down to figure out how the snowshoes attach to our feet.
Soon enough, we're stomping our way out onto the first uphill section. Given the fact that I last snowshoed when I was about 11 years old, in the old-school heavy wooden shoes, these lightweight, modern aluminum ones take a big of getting used to. I can't help feeling that I'm dragging my feet, normally a habit I abhor and avoid at all costs. Meh, who cares? It's gorgeous up here!
We consult our trail maps on occasion, winding our way uphill through the fantastic old forest. Oh cool! A deep snow sinkhole! Avoid, yes, but it's awesome to look down into it. Man, these trees are amazing, and everytime I look up, the sky is nothing but blue. The sun makes the snow gleam and I'm happy (and sweating like crazy). Sare and I manage to have great conversation as we shuffle along. We cross the nordic trails cautiously as some of these XC skiers look a bit intense as they whiz by. We've essentially got our trails to ourselves and there really aren't too many people out overall. I should come out here during the week more often!
A short break at the high hut involves some medicinal Snickers and water. I'm not going to argue with that. A cute little squirrel and some other snowshoers are nice company. Sare and I opt to continue slogging upward to the top of the nordic area. After all, that's where the great views and rarified air are, haha. I'm trying to figure out why I'm still breathing heavily uphill when I've been living at altitude in Calgary for the last 8 months. I'm acclimatized by now, and Cypress is at a lower altitude, but alas. I see no major advantage yet.
Winding our way back down to the lower hut in a big loop, we stop to admire views and pick trails. At one point, I can see the mountains in the Fraser Valley way off in the distance. That's how I know it's a nice, clear day :) No wonder my grandma loved the mountains. It's so much fun to be stomping around out here in such nice weather with great company. We encounter a mad group of students hacking around with XC skiis outside the lower hut, and duck into the quieter back room for a snack.
Refreshed and re-energized, we make our way back to the parking area in time for a photo to prove we returned safely. Back at the apt., we bid each other a fond farewell and I opt for the elevator to give my tired legs a break. After a rest, I run some local errands, snag a few photos of the end of the sunset, and tuck into bed early to enjoy my new book. Tomorrow is my last day here.