Majestic Beauty: Hurricane Ridge

Every so often I come across somewhere that is so beautiful it’s hard to put into words.  This summer, that place was Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.  Coen visited with his parents in October 2016 and showed me several stunning photos, including one of my all-time favourites of him!  Coen really wanted to show it to me and we thought about visiting in March but the 17 mile drive up from Port Angeles can be dicey in the winter so we decided against it.  When he suggested we go a few weeks ago I was all for it.

20953564_10159102122575363_6680963219486937819_nAs we began the drive into the Park raindrops appeared on the windshield.  “Are you kidding me!?!” I thought.  The summer had been ridiculously dry and THIS was going to be the day it rained?  REALLY!?! Thankfully it didn’t amount to anything as we kept driving.  It was pretty gloomy (you actually want some clouds for a more dramatic feel but the nice fluffy ones) but we stopped at a couple lookouts anyway.

When we arrived at the Visitors Centre parking lot I put a hoodie on for the first time in I didn’t know how long. Ugh. It was super cloudy, misty and pretty drab looking.

20882918_10159102123440363_7779499128002091599_nWe heard an announcement about a guided walk along the Cirque Rim Trail with a Park Ranger and figured we may as well do that in hopes that the weather would clear up while we were on that.  The walk was excellent and we learned about the FBI!  Fauna, bacteria and insects, of course!  At one point there is a gorgeous view of the Straits of Juan de Fuca.  You can even see a bit of Vancouver Island!  Sadly my pictures don’t do it justice.

Lo and behold the weather improved throughout the duration of the walk!  Much of the cloud coverage had blown away, the sun was shining and my hoodie came off pretty quickly!  Before we had started the walk Coen pointed at Sunrise Point which is at the top of the High Ridge Trail and said we would go there after.  Every so often I would look at it and say, “You really expect me to hike up there?” or “I’ll never make it.” Now according to the website it’s actually only a 0.5 mile loop with a 0.1 mile dead end spur trail to Sunrise Point, with a 220 ft elevation change which sounds pretty manageable.  However, I’m an expert at getting all into my head and psyching myself out.  Thankfully, Coen often challenges me to do things I don’t think I can do.  This was one of them.  So, off we went, with him encouraging me one step at a time (it really wasn’t that bad.)  I was rewarded with some pretty great views from Sunrise Point and along the trail.

When we got back to the Visitors Centre the view was so much better than earlier.  I found it absolutely gorgeous.  Quite breathtaking really.

The gift shop has all kinds of things.  Coen bought me a benchmark key chain to commemorate our visit!  He also surprised me with a certificate when we got home.  So cute!

I highly recommend visiting!  I’m so thankful we did and wouldn’t hesitate to go again.

I asked Coen if he wanted to add anything.  He said, “I like Hurricane Ridge because you can see over the mountains. It’s pretty and good for a nice walk or tour.”

Check out https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/visiting-hurricane-ridge.htm for info!

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Tourist in My Own City: Tour Guys Downtown & Waterfront Walking Tour

Back in July I blogged about the walking tour I did of Granville Street and Gastown.  I had such a good experience that I wanted to check out another of the Tour Guys Free Walking Tours!  Coen and I decided to do one while he was here, opting for the Downtown & Waterfront tour.  We extended the invite to some of my friends and four of them joined us!

The tour began at Pacific Centre.  The first building we went into was the Hotel Vancouver, where we learned a little about the history.  From there we visited Christ Church Cathedral.  I had never been inside; it was small but beautiful!

 

We checked out the Marine Building next.  Another I had never been inside!  I’d never noticed that some of the detail on the building is marine-related!

 

From there we walked to Canada Place.  On the lower level there are a few exhibits that are worth checking out, including a podium, torches and medals from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.  There is also a variety of First Nations artwork. The exhibit pictures are from when Coen and I checked it all out in March.  I didn’t take any pictures inside this time.

We walked along the waterfront to Jack Poole Plaza, where the Vancouver 2010 Cauldron is and walked to the small area on top of the Cactus Club where you can look down on the plaza as well as see the Convention Centre’s green roof!

20729323_10159080658150363_8285027017256694845_nThe tour ended there so we headed to Railtown to check out the Belgard Kitchen (http://belgardkitchen.com/) because Lori had been wanting to try it for awhile.  It was yummy and worth a visit!

We wandered around Downtown Vancouver afterwards.  What a great day with some of my favourite people!

Check out http://www.tourguys.ca/vancouver for info on the Tour Guys Free Walking Tours.

Summer’s End

And just like that, summer is almost over.  Where does the time go?  I’ve been in a panic to get things done; it’s not like I’ve had the past eight weeks to do them.  The weather is ridiculously hot; my condo feels like a sauna.  How am I supposed to tackle all my little chores?  It’s like I have no choice but to visit places with A/C; like my massage clinic and Earls (hellooooo, Happy Hour) later this afternoon.

Despite having so much time off it’s always hard to go back to work.  I look forward to seeing last year’s class on the first day.  I love hearing about their summer adventures and sharing mine.  Truth be told, I miss my little nuggets over the summer.  It’s a strange feeling to spend Monday through Friday with them over the school year and then to not see them for two months.

It seems like just yesterday I was leaving my classroom for the summer and now it’s time to go back to set things up for next week.  The anxiety is kicking in…what grade will I be teaching?  Who will be in my class? What is going to be best for all my little learners?  How can I reach each and every one of them? What can I do to ensure they all feel loved?  Should I set my classroom up differently this year?  What should I keep the same?  What should I do differently?  So many questions, so few answers, and some of those questions will remain unanswered until I meet my new students.  It’s virtually impossible to know what I should do until I get a feel for my new kids – their interests, their needs – all that jazz!

So, fellow teachers, try to let go of those anxieties – there is nothing we can do at this point – and enjoy the last week of vacation!f33a217f3c6955931cfc3a000f13bebc

 

Challenge Accepted/Tourist in My Own City: Fort Langley

Earlier this month Coen and I visited the Fort Langley National Historic Site (http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/bc/langley/index) but when we left we couldn’t find any parking to check out the town.  Yesterday I met my friend, Christine, and her adorable little man, Jackson, for lunch in Langley and decided I would check out Fort Langley afterwards.  It was an insanely hot day so my first stop was Wendel’s Bookstore and Cafe (http://www.wendelsonline.com/) for a cold drink. 20170828_155458 It was a cool little spot with a small bookstore on one side and cafe on the other.  I ordered an unsweetened Iced Tea to-go.  It was super refreshing!  My parking spot was only good for 30 minutes so I hopped back in my sweltering car and drove across the little bridge to Brae Island Regional Park (http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/parks/parks-greenways-reserves/brae-island-regional-park).  I enjoyed my Iced Tea while taking a short walk on one of the trails and checking out the view of the Fraser River.

Afterwards I headed back over to Fort Langley and found another parking spot.  I popped into a few shops, including TAP (http://www.tapstore.ca/).  I’m pretty much obsessed with lavender so I picked up some tea and lip balm!

2017-08-29 11.49.00I haven’t tried the tea yet, but I love the lip balm; the lavender scent is amazing!

My last stop was the Blacksmith Bakery (http://www.blacksmithbakery.ca/) which my sister-in-law had told me about.  It DID NOT disappoint.  The service was great and my Iced Peppermint Mocha and shortbread were delicious!20170828_160958
I could see myself setting myself up with a drink, a snack and my laptop to get some work done!

While I didn’t spend much time in Fort Langley, I got a little taste of what it has to offer.  I definitely want to explore it a little more one day!

Fear

Earlier in the summer I bought a new journal.  I didn’t need one but it looked so pretty sitting there on the shelf and the quote on it “spoke” to me.  It was also on sale and, well, I’m a sucker for a good deal.20170729_111815

“She decided to start living her dreams.”  What was it about that quote?  The word DREAM has been one of my favourite words for a few years now.  I don’t really know why but if I wasn’t scared to get a tattoo (I’m a wimp) the word would be somewhere on the inside of my wrist right now.  Clearly I’ve thought about it.

Following dreams…easier said than done, for me anyway but I would hazard a guess that it’s true for many others as well.  So what is it that holds us back?  That nasty four letter word…FEAR.  But fear of what?  Fear of failure.  Of disappointment.  Of being hurt.  Embarrassed. Rejection. Of feeling unloved. All of these scary things lead to feelings of fear, at least for me.  What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?  What would you do if nobody was judgmental? What if you could just brush things off and never feel that gut-wrenching feeling of being hurt?

When was the last time you faced a fear?  For me it was on the last school day in June.  I sang…by myself…in front of the whole school: students, parents, colleagues.  AND my own mother came!  Was I scared?  Yes.  Nervous? Absolutely.  But, I DID IT! And did I feel good after? I felt amazing!  Was I proud of myself?  Hell yeah!  Honestly, it was one of the greatest feelings finally doing something that I had wanted to do for so long but had been too scared.

I ended up brainstorming a list of things I fear…in that journal, of course!20170827_113046I’m sure if I took more time I could come up with many more and probably categorize them to find a general theme.  Maybe that’s a task for another day.

Anyway, I told Coen I was writing about fear and he reminded me that we all have fears.  And what was the worst that could happen?  And that time usually heals most wounds.  That led to my Pinterest quote search.  Gosh I love Pinterest!  A few of my favourites include:

 

I also ended up reading the memoir “My Year with Evelyn” by Noelle Hancock.  It’s all about fear and follows Nicole’s challenge to do one thing every day that scares you (thanks, Eleanor Roosevelt!)51f6bdfbb4eff6d2cf34d523867e494f

I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet, but it’s definitely something to think about!  I totally recommend reading “My Year with Eleanor”; it was pretty insightful.  I borrowed if from the library but you buy it online.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/My-Year-Eleanor-Noelle-Hancock/dp/0061875015/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503861796&sr=8-1&keywords=my+year+with+eleanor

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/My-Year-Eleanor-Noelle-Hancock/dp/0061875015/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503861885&sr=8-1&keywords=my+year+with+eleanor

The memoir gave me a lot to think about…and maybe it will inspire another post at a later date.  Happy Reading!

Tourist in My Own City: North Vancouver

It has been awhile since I posted anything; it feels like a whirlwind of a summer.  Two months seems like a crazy long time, but every year it feels like the last week appears out of nowhere!

Rewind to three weeks ago.  It’s the August long weekend and Coen had been here for a couple days.  We decided to check out Deep Cove and Lynn Canyon Park.  Did I mention it was the long weekend?  And the Monday to boot.  Not the most brilliant idea I’ve ever had.  Let’s just say that all we saw was what we could from the car windows, ha!

After the disappointing start to our day we decided to head to The Tomahawk Barbeque (http://www.tomahawkrestaurant.com/) for lunch.  Okay, it was actually me that decided.  I had seen it on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and had been wanting to go but never had the opportunity.  It was definitely worth a visit.   The First Nations decor was pretty cool and the food was yummy!20663627_10159066911670363_8793271893259460597_n

After lunch I tried to think of what we could check out that was in the area and recalled seeing someone post on Facebook about going to Cleveland Dam (http://vancouversnorthshore.com/things-to-do/attractions/cleveland-dam/) so off we went.  The haze from the forest fires was terrible at the time but I imagine it would be quite pretty with clear weather.

We went for a short walk down to one of the view points.  There were hiking trails, but I was wearing flipflops (of course) so those were out of the question for that day!  I imagine the trails would be worth checking out another time.

Afterwards we went to The Village at Park Royal (http://shopparkroyal.com/village-park-royal) and had a look around.  We grabbed an iced tea from David’s Tea and people watched on a bench.  It was a great end to what turned out to be a pretty awesome day!