After noticing that the parking lot at Deer Lake was closed, like so many other places during the pandemic, I, half-joking, suggested that Christian should build a bike canoe trailer. By now you would think, that I would know better than suggesting projects jokingly. However, now a month later it is here, and I must admit I am pretty stocked about it.
Last weekend we took the trailer on its first real test ride - a self propelled canoe trip of False Creek. To the regular self propelled community that might sound rather tame, but when you factor in the three kids it takes it to a new level.
This weekend parks started to open up and we were itching to get out of town for a bit. However, with none of the local provincial parks opening up and the advice to still stay local, we settled for a new to us river within Metro Vancouver, the Alouette River. It turned out to not be a settle after all.
We put in at the Harrison Road crossing. The parking lot was busy, but we still managed to get a spot, and it wasn't long before we were on the water. It was just after low tide, and we paddled up stream without much effort. We spend 3 hours exploring up one of the North arms. We were almost stopped by a log across the river, but Christian insisted on pulling it free. I was a little worried that it was going to capsize a boat down river from us, or get stuck downriver trapping us up river. Luckily neither of these things happened, and Christian declared his sense of adventure for-filled. I guess expectations are low these days. Eventually we were stopped by the combination of the river narrowing and the flow increasing, so we turned around.
It has been about two and half month since the WHO declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic. It has been 2.5 months of being at home with three kids. I am exhausted, but also realize that I have Pandemic Privilege. We have lost little income, we live in a house with a garden, we have access to technology, I do not need to work while trying to look after my kids, and one of our childcare providers are also our housemate. Yet I have still been grieving our loses. In March I felt like I had settled into a good routine with a new baby, a toddler and a 1st grader. I grief the loss of my leave time, that special time to get to know and bond with the new baby. I grief the missed weekend camping trips and our two month travel plans at the end of this leave. I grief the missed visits from my parents living overseas - will they get to meet their granddaughter before she is a toddler?
I also feel tired into my bones, anxious about the future and overwhelmed by the endlessness of it all. The laundry, the cooking, the conflicts, the cleaning, the everydayness. I miss my friends, I miss going away on the weekends, but most of all I miss going camping with friends. Camping is a break from the everydayness, a chance to leave the chores behind (physically and mentally), a chance to reconnect without interruptions, a chance to let go of worries and anxieties.
Although we might have gotten married at the VOC's Brian Waddington Hut, their Brew Hut holds a special place for our family - especially with kids. It was our first backcountry overnight trip with F (pre blog days), my first winter backcountry overnight with F but not Line (even though we didn't actually make it), Line's first overnight trip with both kids but not me (she made it), and our fist splitting of the party due to kid meltdown (in F's defence there was a lot of bugs... but N handled them just fine).
Catching up on old half-written posts, but the 2020 race day was recently announced, which reminded me of this long-standing draft...
We were both in a slight state of shock as we drove onto the Nanaimo ferry Friday night at 8.25pm. Just two hours earlier Christian had returned home from work finding all three of us sleeping. We had all fallen asleep at nap-time, but just didn't wake up at our usual time as we were all jet-lagged after returning from visiting family in Europe just two days earlier. I was especially tired as I had made a trip to Seattle the previous night to pick up a used cargo bike (yes, we are now a two cargo bike family). Christian woke us up wondering what the plan was. As per usually we had not managed to book a ferry despite knowing that we needed to travel to the island on a long weekend, so our original plan was to aim for the first ferry Saturday morning. However, with a four hour nap it was clear that the kids would not be going the bed anytime soon, so we quickly decided to leave as soon as possible. I had by some miracle managed to pack during the day, so we quickly packed the car, made some dinner and drove to Horseshoe Bay. We were pretty stoked about making it onto the 10.40pm ferry, so you can imagine our shock as we drove straight through the ferry terminal and basically straight on to the ferry at 8.25pm. The ferry wasn't even full. Now we just had to hope that my jet-lagged, pregnancy brain had remembered everything we needed (and wanted) for 5 days of beach camping.
We had a relatively short night on the side of the highway by the Big Cedar trailhead. Kids were up early, so we decided to go check out the big cedar (it was big), before driving the rest of the way to Tofino. In Tofino we stocked up on a few last items before heading out towards Vargas Island in our hired boat with Pascale and her two four-year old kids. Christian decided to paddle out to the beach, since conditions were good. After a 20 min boat ride we arrived at a quiet beach in a calm bay. It looked perfect. The rest of the day was spend exploring the beach, setting up camp and relaxing in the sun. Later our boat came back with Adam, Tracy and their one year old daughter, and shortly after Christian arrived. In the early evening Jeff arrived by kayak with his 11 year old son.
After our trip to the East Coast of Canada, I flew to Europe with the girls while Christian returned home. After spending a grueling 35 hours in transit, we arrived in Harrachov in the Czeck Rebuplic. Here we spent a week playing, relaxing, and joining lots of different fun activities with my mom, her partner and all of their children and grandchildren. After our family holiday I had convinced my sister and her partner to come hiking with us in Krkonose National Park. I had not made a particular plan; but some last minute messaging with a friend at home with polish connections settled out the plan. A friend of our friend even booked our accommodation.
After waving goodbye to the rest of the family we drove to Karpacz on the Polish side of the border. We had some trouble locating diapers last minute, but we did succeed before taking the gondola up to the alpine. It was busy - very busy - like Joffre Lakes can not even compare busy. We headed off towards Dom Śląski, where we were planning on hiking back across the Czech border, but the trail was closed for maintenance, so we had to back track a bit along the Polish-Czech friendship trail before we crossed the border and hiked the last little bit to our hotel, Luční bouda, for the night. On this trip I was carrying N, and my sister and her partner were carrying all our stuff, which luckily wasn't too much as we didn't need to carry dinner, breakfast or a tent.
Apparently it's called 'mizzle' - a mix of mist and drizzle - but whatever the name it seems to be the dominant weather pattern here, on the easternmost piece of rock in North America. Although F definitely has her objections I actually kind of like it. It's much more comfortable for hiking with a heavy pack than hot sun, and it even keeps the bugs down somewhat. We saw a lot of mizzle on our trip, along with hot sun, a few icebergs, some world-class scenery, and more whales than I've seen in the rest of my life combined (by at least an order of magnitude, and despite living on the west coast for the past 14 years, with three month-long kayak-based trips in there).
For our daughter F, aged 5, it would also be the longest hiking trip she's done by a wide margin. 75 km over 10 days / 9 nights, with 8 of those nights in a tent. Of course, the same could be said for our almost 2 year old N... but she was carried for substantial portions of the trip. That, combined with Line being 5 months pregnant, made us wonder if we'd actually complete the trip at all... but with the help of another family (Scott and Sandra who have a 7 year old, E, and a 4 year old, H, of thier own) we decided to keep with our plans and at least attempt it, even once we knew kid #3 was on the way.
Our friend Pascale has gotten into the habit of booking a group site on Newcastle at some point in June. This was the first year we were able to join. We have however been to Newcastle before. Last time was in fact N's first camping trip at 5 weeks old. Originally we had planned on just walking on the nanaimo ferry, and walking along the waterfront to the Newcastle ferry. Wednesday night Christian suggested that we try to bring a canoe, since the kids have this newfound joy of canoeing. I have been trying to pack for our trip to Newfoundland next week, so even the thought of finding a canoe and organizing the stuff seemed overwhelming to me, so I told him that he would be in charge. By Friday evening he had borrowed a canoe, removed the roof box from our car, and packed most of our stuff. We were ready to go.
Say Nuth Khaw Yum
Recent tips and thought
Pandemic pondering and wandering
Tweaking our haul-a-day
Making kids crampons
Digging a snowcave
Make a kid towing harness