Back in Action!

Hello everyone!

I took a little hiatus from the blog for a number of reasons.

Mostly, I was busy moving and getting my new apartment all set up. I love it! It’s spacious and sunny. I started growing herbs and vegetables on my balcony and I have a quick commute to work.

I also haven’t been doing a lot of hiking over the past couple of months as a result of me being busy, and my main hiking buddy being busy as well. I did go on a couple, but I didn’t get around to posting about them.

But! I did one on Monday and I will do a post about that soon, as well as some gear reviews.

I hope you are all doing well!

Adrienne

Eagle Bluffs Hike on Cypress Mountain

Eagle Bluffs Viewpoint
Eagle Bluffs Viewpoint

Due to the lack of snow received in the Lower Mainland this year, we were able to hike Eagle Bluffs on Cypress  Mountain (Distance: 8km
Elevation Gain: 350 meters) yesterday without snowshoes. It was a beautiful day for one of my favourite hikes. Previously I’d only done it in the summer so it was great to get to see it in another season – and without all the bugs!

It took us about four hours at a moderate pace with about a twenty minute break at the viewpoint. There were a fair number of people on the trail taking advantage of the good weather and lack of snow. The beginning section is made up of some fairly steep switchbacks which gets you warmed up really fast – and then it levels out and is quite pleasant for the rest of the hike.

This was the first time I used my new Black Diamond trekking poles – and the first time I used poles for a full hike in general. I really liked these poles – the handles were comfy and they were easy to adjust. The flick locks feel a lot more secure than the previous poles I had which just had a twist-lock mechanism – which failed, hence the new poles. I found it really made a difference to use them – my legs didn’t get as tired, and it helped with balance, moving quickly, and reducing impact on my knees. There are plenty of reasons to use trekking poles – you can read more about those reasons in this Outdoor Gear Lab article. I also found them useful for balancing during a stretching break!

The Eagle Bluffs viewpoint is breath-taking. The photo at the top of this post is the view from one angle. Here are a couple more:

Eagle Bluffs hikers, viewpoint
Eagle Bluffs hikers
Me looking out at all the freighters in the harbour.
Photo taken by Chloe Ernst. Me looking out at all the freighters in the harbour.

In the above photo I am wearing:

  • My new La Sportiva hiking boots which I am still breaking in. I find it takes me a while to get super comfy in any sort of trail shoe so I will reserve judgement on these for now.
  • My MEC Sandbagger pants that I absolutely adore. They are perfect for hiking because they are stretchy, durable and super comfy. I also like that they don’t flare out at the bottom – this helps prevent getting snagged on branches and roots. I also think they are cute enough to wear in the city before and after your hike without feeling like you are looking like a grubby hiker.
  • My MEC Ruby jacket is a great layering piece. It is light, thin and soft but provides a decent level of warmth. I was wearing this with just a technical T-shirt underneath for most of the hike. I just threw my North Face Thermoball jacket (see pic below) over top when we were stopped and I cooled down. I’ve actually been wearing the Ruby jacket a lot in the city as well. It’s cute and very practical. The Thermoball is super warm for it’s size and weight, and it packs down into it’s pocket so it’s really easy to bring anywhere.
  • My MEC Frigorific Headband (see below pic). I love this thing because I often get too hot to wear a toque while hiking, but this is perfect. I can wear it easily with a ponytail, and it lets my head breathe and not get too hot but keeps my ears warm.

So that was my Sunday! Hiking with one of my best friends to admire my favourite type of eye candy.

Selfie at view point
Yours truly in my happy place.

Bonus photo: This is the same view as the first photo in my post, but taken last summer. It looks different every time I go there!

View from Eagle Bluffs
Eagle Bluffs, Cypress Mountain

Get yourselves outside and into nature if at all possible! It’s good for the soul!

Family Day Rainy Hike

resevoir
Cleveland Dam Reservoir

Monday was Family Day in British Columbia so instead of going to work I got to go for a hike!

My friend and I decided to do the Capilano Pacific Trail from Ambleside in West Vancouver, up to the Cleveland Dam and reservoir and back down. We may not have followed the exact route as there are many trails in that area and we “changed it up” a bit, but the total was approximately 15 kilometres…wearing my brand new La Sportiva hiking boots that I got from MEC. A 15km hike may not have been the best idea for the first time out in new boots, and I did pay for it a bit, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected and I want to get them broken in quickly. At one point I stopped to put a bandaid on because I felt the beginnings of a blister and that did the trick. My feet were a bit sore for the next 24 hours, but I’ve had worse with shoes that were already broken in so I think these boots will do well with a few more wears.

There were some pretty rainy stretches on this hike, but luckily I’ve reached a point in my outdoorsy-ness where the rain doesn’t really bother me (as long as it isn’t absolutely pouring). It also helps that I have decent gear. Those new boots are waterproof, my Sandbagger pants are water resistant (and super stretchy and durable), and my North Face Venture Jacket is waterproof, lightweight and breathable. I didn’t put the hood up so my hair got pretty wet but the rest of me stayed dry and comfy. I used the jacket’s pit-zips for the first time and I was surprised how much of a difference it made when I was getting a little toasty! I definitely recommend getting a lightweight breathable rain jacket with pit-zips if you are going to be active outdoors in this region with all of our rain! I am not one of those people that can stay inside all winter and only be outdoorsy from May to September!

I was carrying probably about 15 pounds in my backpack because I’m trying to get used to carrying more weight on my hikes as training for backpacking. Even though I hadn’t been hiking in a while I did well with the weight and distance.

I personally like hiking in weather that creates moody skies and mists because I get to see beautiful sights like these:

Capilano River
Capilano River
Looking out from above the Cleveland Dam
Looking out from above the Cleveland Dam
IMG_2455
Looking back at the Lion’s Gate Bridge as we head back to the car.

Don’t let less than stellar weather stop you from getting outside. With the right rainwear you can be outdoorsy all year long in the Lower Mainland!

A New Direction?

Hello everyone!

I have taken some time away from the blog because I am reconsidering it’s direction.

As mentioned previously, I have developed a passion for hiking over the past couple of years. This passion is growing and I am looking to get into backpacking on overnight and multi-day trips.

I think this might be a better use of my blog, and because it is my passion, I will enjoy the writing more.

I will still post about simple living and happiness periodically, but you can expect to see a lot more about hikes and hiking gear in the future.

I hope you will stay with me, and I thank you all for reading.

ETA: I have made my old posts that don’t relate to the outdoors private.

Practicing Positivity – My Jar of Awesome

My Jar of Awesome
My Jar of Awesome

Happy New Year everyone! I’ve been absent from the blog for a while. I had a nice break from work and I took a break from the blog as well in order to spend time with friends and family and to really and fully relax for a while.

I have a little tradition I’ve been doing for the past two years that I’d like to share with all of you as it has been very rewarding for me.

I call it my Jar of Awesome – but you can call yours whatever you like if you decide to do this as well.

I started it in January 2013. Every time something awesome happens – a fun day, an accomplishment, a friend having a baby…the list goes on – I write it down on a little piece of paper and pop it in the jar.

On New Year’s Day I spill all the little pieces of paper out and read them over. I find so much joy in doing this! I tend to forget a lot of the great things that occurred over the course of the year and being reminded of them and remembering those moments brings me into such a positive mind frame to start the new year.

I then write them all down in a moleskin notebook so I have a permanent record that I can look back on over the years.

There are a few reasons why I do this:

  • It’s a fun and happy tradition to start the new year.
  • It helps me remember all the good things that have happened over the course of the year, allowing me to reflect on it positively, and allowing the negatives to fade from my memory as much as possible.
  • I feel that in the future I will be very glad to have a record of all the happy events in my life over the years.

This year before emptying my jar I thought to myself “I don’t think I will have as many as the last year, I don’t recall as many awesome things this year.” Lo and behold, there were actually more than the previous year! Many had escaped my memory and I was very glad to be reminded of them.

Tip: After doing this for two years now, I’ve learned that it is a good idea to date the events, and it’s nice to include a few notes about some of them to help you remember. For example, if my note is that I attended the Vancouver Film Fest for the entire weekend, I might add a note about who I went with, who I ran into there, and what bands I discovered I really liked.

I also like to throw in concert tickets and similar items to paste into the book as well, to make it like a scrapbook. I’m also planning to print out pictures of some of the events to include as well.

This practice has been so much fun and really helped me to be positive and grateful for all the good things in my life. I hope you will choose to join me while the year is still young so that next New Year’s Day you can relive your best memories from the preceding year as well.

A Beautiful Day for a Hike

Yesterday I had a wonderful day doing what I love the most – exploring nature with a friend. For the locals: We headed out to Buntzen Lake in Port Moody. We did the loop around the lake, with a detour at the north end to go around another small lake and catch a glimpse of Indian Arm.

Hiker on trail
That’s my friend leading the way.

I love hiking year-round. The benefits of fall and winter hiking include the fact that you don’t get as hot and you don’t have to fend off the bugs!

And, you get to see some cool things, like this:

I love watching steam rise out of the trees to join the passing clouds.
I love watching steam rise out of the trees to join the passing clouds.

 

mountain in clouds
More cloud appreciation.

We stopped at North Beach for a snack and a stretch and got to appreciate the view.

Hiking shots
View from North Beach, Buntzen Lake Hike, Port Moody, BC, Canada
dock on lake with sky view
Dock at North Beach, Buntzen Lake

And then we continued on along the trail taking in the sites of the lake, moss covered trees, trail-side mushrooms, streams, and several waterfalls.

IMG_0594It was a gorgeous day for a hike. I only wish the pictures could do it justice. If you are able to, I highly suggest you find a friend, pack a bag and head out into the woods!

Make sure you are prepared though – hiking safety is important!  Check out the Mountain Equipment Co-op website for some tips and tricks.

The First Post – Who am I and what am I going to talk about?

Me on a foggy hike
Photo taken by Chloe Ernst. That’s me on a foggy hike.

I was feeling a lot of pressure to come up with a great first post for this blog…but I wasn’t getting it done so I’ve decided to just start writing and see what comes out.

My name is Adrienne, I’m currently 34 and live on the West Coast of Canada. I realize at this stage of the game West Coast Blog Lady or West Coat Blog Woman would have been more appropriate than Girl, but those don’t have quite the same ring to them, so let’s just go with it okay? Thanks 😉

I assume this blog will likely evolve over time and I may end up focusing more on certain topics than others. Originally I was trying to narrow down what sorts of things I would write about – but honestly I don’t want to limit myself. I want to talk about whatever is on my mind. However, the sorts of things you can expect to read about here include:

  • Cultivating positivity and gratitude in your life
  • Happiness
  • Self-reflection and self-improvement (I’m constantly trying to improve myself and my situation and believe the world would be a better place if we all took the time to do more of that)
  • Simplicity
  • Healthy living (something I strive towards but am not great at – yet!)
  • West Coast stuff – I’m a big nature lover and like to camp and hike so I will likely be posting things relating to those passions

I hope you like what you find here.

Edit May 22 2015: I have decided to focus this blog around hiking and other outdoor adventures. Oh and I’m 35 now 😉