Hiking Mt Finlayson near Victoria

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Yesterday I took an early ferry (7am..omg that’s early but great sunrise) to Vancouver Island to visit friends in Victoria. Luckily they are outdoorsy types so we took advantage of the warm, sunny day and dragged the kids on a hike up the backside of Mt. Finlayson in Goldstream Park.

You can scramble up the front side which is the most popular way to scale the 420m elevation but the last bit is steep and you have to cling to the cliff to make the last 100m. Not a good idea for anyone with a fear of heights. The backside doesn’t have the views but you get there just the same. Its 2km so not a big hike but perfect for families or occasional hikers. We did have in our group a foreign student from Shanghai who made the trek but not happily. We loved the hike but for her it was a slog. Apparently, they don’t have hills in Shanghai.

We also stopped a few times on the way up the mountain to geocache. This is basically looking for treasure that other geocachers have hidden. The treasure isn’t really treasure but it gets you off the trail and because sometimes you have to follow clever rules to find the cache it gets the brain going too.

You will notice in the photo with the BC Parks sign board there also is a bright yellow sign saying a cougar is in the area. I’m happy to report we didn’t see one.

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Celebrate Success

A few days ago I suddenly realized I had to celebrate. I won’t tell you why and it doesn’t really matter why. But when you have reached a milestone, taken a risk (whether or not it gave you what you wanted), stepped bravely into the unknown, or just feel like you’ve done your best..then its time to celebrate.

Maybe this is a part of Thanksgiving – being thankful to ourselves. So I bought some beautiful flowers and I am relishing their colour and presence in my living space. I really LOVE flowers. Enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend. Be thankful for successes, big or small and celebrate the richness of life.

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A Short Hike on Dog Mountain

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Vancouver is full of outdoorsy types and for good reason. The ocean, the mountains and everything in between makes getting outside a piece of cake. And you don’t have to go far or be a super athlete. There are hikes on the local hills that everyone can tackle and one of those is the 2 hour hike to Dog Mountain.

The trail has enough ups and downs to get the heart pounding a few times. And yes, there are rocks and wieldy roots from giant trees that you have to scramble over from time to time so you feel like you are doing a genuine hike. But its still only 2 hours and it comes with the prerequisite of any good hike – a spectacular view at the top!

It was a perfect day with blue, sunny skies, lots of smiles from friendly hikers with their dogs, and a good friend along to share the trail and spice it up with conversation. Oh..and a stop at the new MEC store on the way home to check out the coming winter’s new outdoor gear. A perfect Vancouver day.

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The Sylvia Hotel – A Vancouver icon

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I love to visit and write about exotic places but I’m lucky that exotic doesn’t always have to mean far from home.

Just down the street from where I live is the historic Sylvia Hotel. Built in 1912 and draped in colourful, insidious vine, its about as much a landmark as anything in my home of Vancouver could be. I’ve never stayed there but it comes recommended by those I know who have and its right next to English Bay and the beach.

I have come to appreciate the handy location of this icon. Inside its cozy bar and restaurant I have celebrated with friends and family, ┬ádone the ‘woe is me’ after a breakup, shared deep, longing looks and good wine with a love on Valentines, and had several first dates. All that 2 blocks from home. Thanks Sylvia!

http://www.sylviahotel.com

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Cycling is the cure…really.

So here is the deal. I have been suffering from stiff, achy legs and hips for months now and its gradually been getting worse.

It might be a lingering result of my car being rear ended 3x last September – yeah Vancouver drivers! It could be arthritic pain brought on by menopause. Yes, there is such a thing. Estrogen reduces inflammation and the drop in estrogen during menopause means inflamed joints are not as protected as they once were. And then to cap it off, in July I was tossed around by a mega wave in the Bali surf. My right leg was sent flying wildly offside spinning me around and wrenching my hips.

So how to fix said aches and stiffness. Green Tea extract is supposed to help balance hormones and offset menopause stiffness. So far its not working but I’m hopeful.

But here is this week’s aha moment. I’m not a regular cyclist but to take in our phenomenal September weather I jumped on my bike multiple times in the past few days. And to my great excitement…..drum roll….when I got off the bike my hips were no longer hurting and my legs weren’t stiff! I felt great! What a relief!

So there you have it. No medication required. Just a helmet, a bike and a spin on the seawall.

For more information on cycling benefits check out this tip from the Sport and Spine clinic in Abbotsford. http://www.sportandspinerehab.ca/tip.html

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Sombrio Beach on the Pacific Coast

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Yesterday was all about sunshine, pounding surf, surfers, and fresh sea air. We drove 2 hours north west of Victoria on the twisty, turny, old Island Hwy to Sombrio beach. Beware, the gravel road from the highway to beach is pitted with dips and potholes that can damage a low riding vehicle. I held my breath for much of it but my Mazda did it!

Sombrio is on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail..the last beach after French, China and Mystic beach. Its gravelly in many places..no white sand but its beautiful and spacious. The south end has an Oregon coast feel…large black lava rocks and smashing surf. You can camp here…that I want to do. But as September fades to Fall it will have to wait until next year.

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Yoga and Running: A perfect balance

I don’t seem to get any better (and by better I mean more flexible) at yoga and I’m pretty sure its because I run. Okay its also because I sit at a computer which is also really bad for your body and creates all kinds of tightness and misalignments.

Yoga and running go hand in hand. One stretches out your body and makes the joints supple and the other one tightens them right back up! My hamstrings and hip flexors don’t know whether they are coming or going. I’m no expert at either but there are those folks versed in both who we can all learn from. One is Mike Dennison who offers Yoga for Runners here in Vancouver. Check out what he has to say at http://www.mikedennisonyoga.com.

The photo of the beautiful man doing the mountain pose on the beach was shot by me in the wee morning hours in July on the island of Gili Air, Indonesia. I was so glad to be there for the sunrise…ahem.

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