It's been a few weeks since my last post, I wanted to leave it a little bit so I had a bit more to report than, went to the shops and bought bedding. I feel I may have left it a little bit too long though because since my last post I have moved into my house for the winter, started a new job and started getting settled in town.
So, lets see how long this post will get before I get bored of typing.
After my scary drive over Rogers pass in the dark, I had arrived in the town of Golden, nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the Columbia Mountains. It's a small town in an amazing location if you like the outdoors. There isn't a huge amount in the town but there is enough, including a one screen cinema and a small indoor climbing gym, all my evening entertainment sorted. Once arrived I met my new house mate, Matt, and unloaded all my belongings, for at least the next year, into my new house. I had not seen this building other than in photos on facebook, I had taken the gamble and arranged...
How my car earned his name Christof the Chrysler. This story needs a bit of the back story...
While I was having my wheels fitted I managed to meet up with two cool chicks from Squamish and I headed up to Whistler with them for opening day. I was super excited because this was the whole reason I was here, finally some time on the hill. It cost me 130$ inc tax for a one day pass but even though we got there a bit late and the lifts shut two hours early, I needed that day for my soul!!
While we were up at Whistler I was pleasantly surprised at how clear the roads were of snow, I could get up here with my mud and snow tire no problem. I made this comment in the car on the way back to Squamish and I was very quickly filled in with how bad it can get, especially on a fresh snow day and if there is loads of traffic on the roads the ploughs can get blocked and slowed in clearing the roads, which then causes accidents, which means more delays to the snow ploughs and so starts the cycle. I was w...
So after buying a car I now have to get used to driving it, in a new country. I'm not unfamiliar with driving on the right hand side of the road because of all my European adventures. I have only driven a left hand drive car once before though and I found it very difficult to get my road position correct, lets just say I hit the curb on more than one occasion.
I was very grateful to my new Aus friend Kellie for coming with me to get the car. She kept a cool head the whole time I was driving it on the main roads for the first time. My biggest fear was turning left across all the traffic, I hate holding people up and feel a pressure to turn. It turned out to be not as bad as I thought. With Kellie navigating I could concentrate on my road position, there were a couple of close calls at the start, nearly took out a couple of wing mirrors but we made it. I even drove through all the traffic in Downtown.
The biggest challenge I have found is the right of way at a 4 w...
I've been in Canada for just under a week now, it feels like a lot has happened and at the same time not a lot.
Our flight left the UK at 11 am from Gatwick, that meant that to avoid traffic on the M25 on a Monday morning we left Birmingham at 4 am. We had a smooth drive, dropped off out hire car and then waited for check-in to open. Everything went smoothly on the UK end. We even had time for a cocktail at the airport!
We landed in Toronto an half an hour late and this is where things went less smoothly. The que to get through immigration was massive. We were stood in line for just over an hour. Once at a desk the Visas didn't take long to sort, we were both granted 2 year visas, I hadn't expected this because we both only had 1 year travel insurance but I wasn't about to complain.
Due to the long immigration que we missed our connecting flight. The lady at the desk for West Jet was used to this it seemed and booked us on the next available flight. We had landed at 2.30 pm Toronto...
This trip has been several years in the making. Ever since I did my season in France I have wanted to go for a season in Canada.
So last year around now I applied for my Visa. The process has changed recently and it's a lot less stressful than it used to be. Create your account, enter into a pool and hope you get picked.
Okay, there is still a little bit of stress, there is no guarantee you will get picked, so apply early. I got picked and by the start of January I had my visa confirmed. Phase 1 complete!
So as I wasn't intending to go until October 17, I relaxed, plenty of time to sort a job and flights.
Around June I started my initial searches. Just checking websites etc. I was originally looking to go to Whistler for the season but worryingly all their winter jobs fairs were coming up soon but in Canada. I couldn't get there that early so I was hit with a bit of panic! They mentioned a fair in the UK but you needed to go through one of their jobs a...
My first big adventure was when I went to Svalbard with BSES (now British Exploring) in 2005. It was to be trip that built my confidence and gave me the drive to eventually do my first solo traveling.
I was 17 at the start of the trip and 18 when I returned. Yep, I turned 18 on the ice fields of Svalbard, not most people's idea of an 18th celebration but it suited me.
I found out about the trip when I was in my first year of 6th form. It didn't take much reading about the expedition to get me excited and determined to take part. I dragged my mum along to an open evening and whoever delivered it did a good enough job to convince my mum it might not be a bad idea.
As soon as I signed up, every bit of money I earnt from my Sunday job went towards it. I had to fundraise by doing small events, like be totally silent during school hours! However my greatest success in raising money for the trip came when I submitted an application to the local Rotary Club, I was awarded a large chu...
Today I had a great time on the river with a group of all female paddlers.
I consider myself very fortunate that I have plenty of paddling friends both male and female. Although I never really think much of it, I would say I spend most of the time paddling in groups with higher male to female ratios, especially on the rivers. So it is nice every now and then, when the stars align to blast down some rapids with an all female cohort.
We paddled a local river to us called the Dulas, in Mid-West Wales. It's a great river that provides different challenges depending on the water level you run it at. Today the river was on medium, perfect for fun and brushing up on skills.
We had a clear bank brief on signals, group organisation and what to do if you swim. Helen and I would rotate leadership, Steph wanted to blow some cobwebs away and this was Heathers second ever river so she was just super excited!
Once on the water Heather launched herself into practicing ferry gliding and breaking in and...
This weekend saw me climbing on Holyhead in great weather with Sarah and Alex. This was my first couple of days building on the skills I learnt on my MIA training. I did the training back in April and I was energised by the course to get out and climb. I also wanted to start consolidating before I forgot too much.
Sarah and I arranged the trip weeks ago, she wanted to get back leading Severe and I wanted to help support her. Alex, I had recently met, he had had his first taste of trad lead climbing and he was keen for more. Holyhead mountain seemed like a great option, plenty of Severe and Vdiff climbing for a weekend, friendly and accessible single pitch but also the added bonus of the sea cliffs near by if they wanted me to take them on something a bit more exciting.
As the weekend approached I continually checked the weather, keeping my fingers crossed it would at least be dry. While there was scattered showers forecast for the mountains, Holyhead looked good to go.
To start to answer that question I have to go a long way back. I was fortunate growing up that my parents liked going for walks as a family in the countryside. My sisters and I were allowed to explore as children, we climbed trees and played in rivers. My mum encourage us to do plenty of after school activities, during my education I had regular swimming lessons and then at various times tried tennis, horse ridding, netball, hockey, football, sailing, I was in the sea scouts for a while and yoga.
When in Junior school we used to love playing cowboys and indians or cops and robbers with our next door neighbour. This would involve two of us running off and hiding in the close that we lived in and the other two having to search them out. A common hiding place were a huge pine tree (huge to a ten year old), we would climb up untill we were above the roof of the garage. If we were sure our parents weren't watching we would climb down on to the ga...