2017 in 12 Photos

I’ve been terribly remiss in writing about my travels over the last year but I’ve had some great adventures. At the end of one year and the beginning of the next, I love looking back and reflecting on what I’ve experienced. Here are a few of my favourite memories from each month of 2017.

January - I discover my new favourite place to hike & cycle - the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona
January – I discover my new favourite place to hike & cycle – the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona
February - Crisp early mornings give way to scorched afternoons
February – Crisp early mornings give way to scorched afternoons
March - the desert comes alive with the colours of spring
March – the desert comes alive with the colours of spring
April - My first cycle race, the Round-the-Isle Randonee on England's Isle of Wight
April – My first cycle race, the Round-the-Isle Randonee on England’s Isle of Wight
May - I discover the soft rolling landscapes of England's South Downs Way
May – I discover the soft rolling landscapes of England’s South Downs Way
June - Iceland's thundering waterfalls
June – Iceland’s thundering waterfalls
July - An unusually dry summer makes for great mountaineering among BC's rarely visited peaks
July – An unusually dry summer makes for great mountaineering among BC’s rarely visited peaks
August - I discover just how hot the Grand Canyon can get on my first full crossing from the north to the south rim
August – I discover just how hot the Grand Canyon can get on my first full crossing from the north to the south rim
September - I do my best to capture the beauty that Ansel Adams discovered in California's Sierra Nevada
September – I do my best to capture the beauty that Ansel Adams discovered in California’s Sierra Nevada
October - Cycling through Vietnam and Cambodia, I discover some wonderful people and delicious food
October – Cycling through Vietnam and Cambodia, I discover some wonderful people and delicious food
November - I'm awed by the unbelievably massive mountains on Nepal's Annapurna Circuit
November – I’m awed by the unbelievably massive mountains on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit
December - Sunset over the Himalayas
December – Sunset over the Himalayas

Here’s to more fun adventures in 2018.

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2016 in 12 Photos

Another year is about to close and a new one beginning with endless possibilities. I love taking a few moments in the short days of winter that come around New Years to reflect on both the ups & downs of the last 12 months. Here’s what my year looked like…

January - Cycling to the Edge of the World Tasmania, Australia
January – Cycling to the Edge of the World
Tasmania, Australia
February - visiting the famous The Twelve Apostles along Australia's Great Ocean Road
February – visiting the famous The Twelve Apostles along Australia’s Great Ocean Road
March - awed by Bali's new year celebration, Nyepi
March – awed by Bali’s new year celebration, Nyepi
April - salt cracks form octagon shapes in Death Valley's Badwater Basin, the lowest point of North America
April – salt cracks form octagon shapes in Death Valley’s Badwater Basin, the lowest point of North America
May - cycling through the tail end of winter on the Icefield Parkway
May – cycling through the tail end of winter on the Icefield Parkway
June - caught in a snowstorm while traversing off-trail through the front ranges of the Rockies
June – caught in a snowstorm while traversing off-trail through the front ranges of the Rockies
July - mountaineering in BC with the ACC
July – mountaineering in BC with the ACC
August - Rio Summer Olympics!
August – Rio Summer Olympics!
September - sharing great times while trekking through the rugged landscape of Ladakh, India
September – sharing great times while trekking through the rugged landscape of Ladakh, India
October - in Idaho, the higher you get, the higher you get
October – in Idaho, the higher you get, the higher you get
November - stumbled upon a UFO recovery and repair service
November – stumbled upon a “UFO recovery and repair service” in Southern California
December - desert magic in Sedona
December – desert magic in Sedona, Arizona

With 2016 come and gone, I wish you the best in 2017. Happy adventuring!

Skoki Loop in Late October

Skoki Loop in Late October

Skoki is one of the most popular backpacking areas in all of Banff National Park and usually you have to book months in advance if you want a chance at grabbing a spot in one of the crowded campgrounds. Unless you go in October, that is. After the warm days of summer have turned crisp & cold and before the ski lodge opens in December, you might just have this famous trek all to yourself. That’s what Sil and I found on our 4-day hike & snowshoe last weekend. Continue reading “Skoki Loop in Late October”

Backpacking from Exshaw to Cougar Creek

Backpacking from Exshaw to Cougar Creek

I was looking for a challenging, largely off-trail backpacking trip to do just before the arrival of summer. The mountains sandwiched between Canmore, an increasingly busy and overgrown former mining town, and Lake Minnewanka, the longest lake in the mountain parks of the Canadian Rockies, are surprisingly untraveled despite being so close to so many people. With three days to spare, I decided to hike a (nearly complete) loop from the industrial town of Exshaw to Canmore’s Cougar Creek. At 60-km long and choked with flood debris, this proved to give me just the right amount of challenge. Continue reading “Backpacking from Exshaw to Cougar Creek”

Cycling the Icefield Parkway

Cycling the Icefield Parkway

I first cycled the Icefield Parkway three years ago with a great group of friends. It was a really fun and memorable trip. We stayed together in hostels and shared delicious meals every night. There were lots of stories and laughter. That trip was at the end of summer and I’ve been thinking about returning to see this famous scenic road in spring ever since. I finally had the chance this year. Continue reading “Cycling the Icefield Parkway”

2015 in 12 Photos

As 2015 draws to a close, I feel the need to look back and reflect upon the year. I’ve had some great adventures and lots of good memories.

January - Sea kayaking in Belize
January – sea kayaking and whitewater canoeing in Belize
February - learning jungle survival skills with two ex-military in Belize
February – learning jungle survival skills with two Guatemalan ex-military
March - Getting accredited as a PADI Scuba Rescue Diver in Honduras
March – getting accredited as a PADI Rescue Diver in Honduras
April - trekking in Nepal
April – trekking the Manaslu Circuit and barely surviving the earthquake in Nepal
May - walking across Scotland from coast to coast as part of the TGO Challenge
May – walking across Scotland from coast to coast as part of the TGO Challenge
June - Absorbing backcountry skills in Colorado
June – absorbing backcountry skills in Colorado
July - Hiking the famed West Coast Trail in unbelievably dry conditions
July – hiking the famed West Coast Trail in unbelievably dry conditions
August - Navigating crevasses and conquering alpine peaks in BC
August – navigating crevasses and conquering alpine peaks in BC
September - Canoeing peaceful lakes in Alberta
September – canoeing peaceful lakes in Alberta
October - volunteering with rescued puppies in Turks and Caicos
October – volunteering with rescued puppies in Turks and Caicos
November - Cycle touring through Sri Lanka
November – cycle touring through tea plantations and cloud forests in Sri Lanka
December - living like a local in Melbourne
December – celebrating my 7th and final continent in Australia!

My first 5.10a

My first 5.10a

I’ve just lead my first 5.10a! For those less familiar with rock climbing grades, that’s a level of difficulty that takes some real effort to reach. One guide describes it like this…

5.0-5.7: Easy for experienced climbers, where most novices begin.
5.8-5.9: Where most weekend climbers become comfortable.
5.10: A dedicated weekend climber might attain this level.
5.11 & up: The realm of true experts; demands much training and natural ability

Three years ago I sprained my ankle quite badly in a climbing fall. The ironic part is that my climbing partner and I were practising falling intentionally as an exercise in getting over the natural fear that we all feel when there’s nothing but rock and air below us. There was more slack in the rope than we’d realized and I fell further than expected. My ankle twisted as I bounced off the cliff right before the rope caught me. So much for an exercise in getting over the fear of falling!

Even though I went back to climbing again not too long after the injury, it’s taken me a long time to make a lot of progress in terms of skill. This summer and, in particular, the last few weeks something seems to have changed. We’re having some beautiful autumn weather with crisp mornings and sunny afternoons. I’ve been climbing at a new crag that I just love. It’s protected from the wind and the leaves are all changing colour to a vibrant yellow. Maybe it’s my love of autumn or perhaps it’s just that I’ve climbed a fair bit this season, but I found myself trying harder routes and doing well on them.

First 5.10a!
First 5.10a!