Shut up, Matt!

5.25.2010 | 3 Comments

My friend Matt takes great pleasure in trying to freak me out. Case in point:

I recently posted a wee blog about swimming and math (now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say), wherein I attempt to calculate how long I would need to swim in order to replicate the physical exertion I will be expending as I climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Matt responds thus:

Swimming horizontally equals climbing vertically? That is most definitely some odd reasoning, Byn 🙂 More like: 19,340 ft divided by an average building storey at 12ft equals climbing 1612 sets of stairs.
Or going up the Empire State Building’s stairs about 15 times.


His recent response is reminiscent to my first Got Math post regarding the fact that the height of Kilimanjaro is approximately 6kms, to which Matt responded:
Six kilometres straight up?! It’s like doing The Chief 8½ times. Without a break!


I’m trying to fake myself out of how difficult this is going to be, but that pesky bugger keeps trying to bring me back to reality with all his fancy-schmancy math mumbo-jumbo! I mean really, it’s like he’s trying to prepare me or something. Trying to make sure that I know what I’m getting myself into. Trying to show me that it’ll be really, really difficult when all I want to do is trick myself into believing that this is going to be a relative stroll in a warm country. He’s trying to be all caring and friend-like!  What a total jerk.

Oh, Brother…

5.18.2010 | 1 Comment

My younger brother Cameron is in the Air Cadets, and when he heard of my trip to Kili he wanted to help. Being a younger brother, his version of “help” is basically torturing me solely for his own amusement.


I think Cam has taken a particular interest in my Protein Bar Taste Test, and most likely because he can see how it tortures me so, and just how rotten tasting some of these bars have been. My abused stomach causes him much delight, I am sure.

Cam is a good kid though, really he is. He’s got a great imagination, and has a very wonderful sense of compassion. So when he found a way to help me out, he went above and beyond.

This is what Cam has given me…

What is in this bag, you ask?


Yes, those are what you think they are – MREs. That stands for “Meal, Ready-To-Eat”, and they are the rations given to armed forces personnel. Cam thought that it would be oh-so-amusing for me to use some of these things on my hike up Kili. Why? Because they’re disgusting, that’s why. Thanks Cam.

So, I rooted through the bag, and look what I found!

A new contender for my on-going, not-fun-anymore Protein Bar Taste Test!

What else have we got in here? Hmmmm…. let’s see…

Ok. Looks normal enough…

No problems there…


Oh, geez…


For some reason, this frightens me most of all. Well, until I looked at the drinks…

I have a feeling that the ingredients and product descriptions were very carefully worded, specifically to avoid lawsuits.

What in the WORLD am I going to do with this stuff?! EAT IT!? Pfffft… not bloody likely!

…OK! OK! I’ll eat it!  But this is just for Cam’s sake, because I know that HE has to eat this stuff from time to time, or else he’ll starve. From the looks of some of the “nutritional” ingredients and product descriptions, I’m thinking I’d choose starvation.

SO… I am going to take these MREs camping this weekend! That’s right, it’ll be me, Ali, Black Tusk, and a backpack laden with this horrendous, horrendous “food”. I have no idea what to expect (aside from some seriously amusing photos of my reactions when I eat this stuff… and most likely some sort of immodium-necessitated issue), but what the heck. Why not, right?

But before I decided to throw caution to the wind (and my taste buds into the great beyond), I figured that I needed to ask Cam for advice. This is the answer he gave me:  “always have lots and lots and lots of water when you eat those things! belch!!! with the jam, try to warm it up or something or else it just comes out like jello. oh and close your eyes when you eat the meals and try to imagine what the real food would taste like if you had it.”

Gotta’ love that kid, eh?

Thanks Cam!!  xo


Hiking The Chief – Take One

4.18.2010 | 4 Comments

Yesterday, Ali and I hiked up the Stawamus Chief in Squamish, BC. We’d both done the hike before, but never together. And so, I would like to apologize to all the lovely people who had intended to have a quiet hike in Squamish yesterday, only to have the quiet of nature ruined by the two of us as we laughed and snorted our way up in between creative bursts of Trademarkable cursing.

Hiking is serious business. You have to have the right gear, and you have to be prepared for anything. Right, Ali?

The right footwear is essential. For those of you that have been following along, you already know what a stinky copycat Ali is…

Sometimes when you’re hiking, you’re not feeling or looking your best. It’s important to always show your hiking partner some respect when taking their photo unawar…ALISON!

So, being that we were now both prepared for the journey, up we went! The Chief trail is really quite amazing, and when I remembered to look up, the view was always inspiring.

We soon came to a little rest spot where we took off a layer and had a quick rest. Alison suggested I go sit on a rock so that she could take a photo. For some reason, I was concerned about getting my pants dirty. I have no idea why.

Considering it was POURING RAIN, and also considering what the rest of the trail was like…

We soon came to a spot that Ali had aptly named “The Big Rock”, and she was so tired she nearly flung herself off the edge in a fit of desperation. Thankfully there was something there to save her!

Gooooood doggy! Thank you for saving Ali’s life, little guy. She was much happier…

And while Ali was posing, I looked down and HORROR OF HORRORS!!

I GOT DIRTY! Look! See?! Right there – that little mark of dirt! Oh, the shame!! It was almost enough to keep me from throwing my body into some ridiculous pose so that Ali could be amused when she took a photo. Lucky for her, I’m stronger than that…

So anyway, after I dried my tears, Ali and I continued onward and upward. There was so much laughing that she and I had to stop on more than one occasions to either catch our breath, or beg the other person to shut up so that we wouldn’t barf up the 2 litres of water we’d both consumed up to that point. We have decided that we need to tip our guide A LOT of money, because the poor bastard is going to have to put up with us for seven whole days.

The trail was slippery. The trail was sketchy. The trail began to get more technical than either of us had remembered. It was raining, we were sopping wet, the clouds had socked the mountain in so views were non-existent…  but we soldiered on. Up ladders, clinging to chains, jamming our feet into pockets of granite, gripping the rock with our hands and breaking our nails… BUT… we made it!

However… we had NO IDEA where we were. Neither of us had come up this route before. In fact, when I looked down, I saw this:

See that ledge down there? THAT’S where I thought we were. However, being the extremely intelligent woman that I am, I quickly deduced that if that ledge were down there, and I was up here, then I could not possibly be on that ledge at that moment. I haz a smarts. But what I *don’t* have are navigation skills. Bad, guiding Robyn, baaaaad…

I’m sorry.

So anyway, after Ali and I decided that we didn’t really care where we were, we decided that the best thing to do would be to get off of this horrendously slippery, lichen-covered mountain as soon as we could. We tried our best to keep things on the serious side, but we couldn’t. We laughed and slipped, lost our grip when we doubled over and needed our hands to hold our sides, we fell into poor, innocent trees when someone said something that made us snort so much that we nearly lost consciousness. It was an epic descent.

However… there is a sad ending to this tale. My trusty camera decided that being trusty was no longer a quality that it wanted to possess. It died. Stupid camera. Drop it just *one time*, and it breaks. Get *a little* dirt in the dial (that now makes a crunchy-grindy noise), and it stops working. Pffft. Piece of crap.

On the up-side, I now am in the market for a new camera. But I am going to hunt down a decent video camera instead! Ali and I decided that our Kili climb should NOT go unfilmed, because it’s going to be so very, very bad.

And that’s just totally awesome.


Dea and the ‘Seven Day Hold’.

4.04.2010 | 0 Comments

And so, as I bravely unfurled myself from the fetal position, dared to rise from the couch-dent and leave my pity hovel, I realized that fresh air is somewhat invigorating.

Yesterday Ali and I decided to do SOMETHING, because we have been doing nothing for far too long, So many excuses! “The olympics are on… my knee hurts… I’m functioning on single-lung capacity… I don’t want to get blown off the top of The Chief and smoosh onto the Sea-To-Sky in all my gory glory…”  lame things like that. But today, we just got out there and walked. We decided to walk along the Deas Island trail in Ladner…

Or, ummm… Dea’s Trail…

Dea has such a lovely trail. Thank you for letting us walk your lovely trail, Dea!

It really is a beautiful walk. Full of the wonders of nature. Look! A rare Transiticus Busicus! How fortunate to get it on film!

In all seriousness, it IS a nice trail. It winds through Ladner for a bit, then crosses under Highway 99 by the tunnel, before leading one along the river to Deas Island Park

And once in Deas Island Park, you sort of wend your way through a quiet forest

Taking the time to just enjoy nature. Watching the birds on the river, smelling the damp, mossy forest, feeling the wind against your face as it blows through the trees, hearing the beautiful sounds of all that is natural and beau…


Anyway… Ali and I walked for 2 hours, chatting and laughing, wondering how we were going to actually pull this Kili Gala off, wondering how we’ll actually manage to do this whole ‘climb-a-mountain thing’, wondering how we’ll ever afford all the gear, wondering how we’ll fit everything that we want to do into three short weeks, wondering how we can not defecate for seven days while we’re climbing in order to avoid the whole ‘used toilet paper bag’ idea… you know, the important things.

It was a really nice walk and I totally recommend it to all Delta residents (Deltans? Deltaites? Whatever.) as a nice little jaunt through the large beauty of the small place in which we live. I felt a great deal better after my walk (especially after the epsom salt footbath), and I think the fresh air did me some good.

I haven’t been eating much, and so have lost a fair deal of weight, which has led to a diminished energy level. However, by next weekend I am sure to be back at 100%, and so Ali and I have decided that we’re going to take on The Chief on Saturday. I hope.

Happy Hidden-Chocolate-Egg Day!


Whine Warning in Effect

4.03.2010 | 0 Comments

FINALLY! I can breathe, I have some energy, I’m not coughing up small bits of highly important internal organs… today is the day! Ali has had a fitness goal of climbing all 3 peaks of the Stawamus Chief, so we’re going to do that today. I’ve got my lunch packed, my camelback filled, my hiking boots in the car… what’s left? Oh! Better check that weather report before we head off…

Let’s see.. mmm, hmmm… Squamish – ah, here we go! So, ‘5 degrees Celsius’. Not a problem. That’s practically balmy for Squamish!  ‘Light rain’ – pffft, no worries there at all. ‘Wind warning in effect for Howe Sound’.


Hmmmmm. I *really* want to do this hike. But do I *really* want to be standing atop one of the world’s tallest granite monoliths in a gale force wind storm?

Processing… processing…

*dials phone*

“Hey Ali. Soooo… how are things? Mmm, hmm, that’s great. Good to hear.  Yah, so, about this hike today… oh, yah, yah, I’d still love to go! Absolutely! Funny thing, though… I don’t really want to, you know… DIE or anything, so I was wondering if you may want to do something a little… lower. Sure. Sure. Yep, you bet. Mkay, see you then. Bye-bye”

So, today is the day! Ali and I are finally going to walk the trails around Ladner…


Freakin’ Freak is Freakin’!

4.02.2010 | 0 Comments

Hahahaha…. yah, so you know this cold I’ve been fighting? Apparently, it’s the flu. I DIDN’T KNOW!

But really, how DOES one tell the difference? I figured it was just a cold for the simple fact that 1) I didn’t feel like I was going to die, and 2) I didn’t WISH that I was going to die. But as I attempted to eat my lunch at work yesterday, and got winded from the process of eating a cracker, I figured something was wrong. But meh. What are you going to do, right?

So… I had to call Ali and tell her that we were NOT going to be hiking The Chief today. She was very understanding, and I believe her response was something like, “well DUH! What do you think I’ve been trying to tell you, jackass!?” or something equally as touching and compassionate. Ahhhh, good friends.

It really sucks, because I honestly want to go hiking! I did an interview with Kristine from the South Delta Leader yesterday, and she asked me if I felt prepared. I think I laughed at her. I am so NOT prepared. I’m realizing that more and more as the days go by, and it’s freakin’ me out, man.

I went to my site yesterday to have a look, and clicked on the Delta Hospice Press Release, and when I looked at the map of the route Ali and I will be taking up Kilimanjaro, I almost started to hyperventilate. “Only a crazy person would do that!” I said.

I’m feeling well qualified.

Anyway, I was able to get about 11 hours sleep last night, and that helped a lot. I’ll take one more day to lay low, and then I’m going to carry on.

This sucks.  *crosses arms*



The First of Many

4.01.2010 | 3 Comments

Ahhh, the first post on my new site. It may take me a while to get the hang of this new place, but I’ll try to learn fast. So? What do you think? Like the new digs? Look around and you’ll see some new stuff here and there.  I’m so glad you came by!

I’m back in the world of the healthy… I think. I took 2.5 days off work, and I think it really helped. Just to sit on the couch, read, nap and drink tea was far more healing than anything that Tylenol or Nyquil could provide. However, I *did* have some Neo-Citran, but that’s just because I like how it tastes (I know. I’m weird that way). The stuff had actually expired in 2006 (you can see how often I get sick), and came out of the package as a lump of bouncy crystal log instead of cascading like a healing waterfall, but it still tasted ok.  What?

Tomorrow Ali and I are hiking The Chief in Squamish. We’re doing all 3 peaks. I think. Now, considering I get winded when I talk on the phone, this hike may be a bit difficult for me. I was going to cancel, but I thought to myself, ‘what if I get sick like this on Kili? I’d still have to carry on!’ So… I’m hiking The Chief tomorrow.

If I were in pain I wouldn’t do a hike, because that could obviously do a lot of harm. But since it’s just a cold I’m recovering from, I’ll be ok.

Ali, on the other hand, I’m not so sure about. She’s going to be hiking with me for hours as I snurffle, hack, cough, spit, choke and blargh. I’m sure she’ll have a lovely time.

Happy Faux Friday, and welcome to ClimbForHospice.com! Wheeeee!


*sneeert* ugh… *snurfle*… Blargh.

3.29.2010 | 0 Comments

I’m not feeling super fab today, so this blog post will be a short one. I need to go to bed. Ugh.

Sometimes I get the urge to just get in my car and go for a drive. One of my favourite things is to rock some snacks and a swack of water, and just go for a long, winding drive up the Sea-to-Sky highway. There’s something so fantastically rewarding about driving from Delta to Whistler to fuel up my car.

I decided to go for a drive this past weekend, and as I drove through Squamish, I looked up at The Chief and realized… well, I’d realized that I’d forgotten about The Chief.

This weekend, Ali and I are going to hike The Chief. I’ll leave the climbing to the pros. I’ll just take a stroll up the back…

Time for sleep now – here’s to dreams of Squamish. xo


Mujer e Escalon!

3.26.2010 | 0 Comments

Alright Gingell – it’s you and me again on Sunday. Mano e stair-o. (errr… mujer e escalon?)

But this time… I’m bringing reinforcements.

Oh, we are ON, dude! Yah, that’s right, you heard me. You’re goin’ down, my friend.

Welcome to Humiliationville, Gingell. Population: YOU.




Fred Hates Me

3.26.2010 | 0 Comments

Yesterday I went to Fred Gingell Park and for the first time, tackled the steps. There are approximately 200 steps up from the beach below. Factor in some non-staired parts, and it takes me approximately 320 steps to get from bottom to top.

Ahhhh, what a view!
But that does seem to be a loooooooooooong way down. Maybe I should rethink this plan. But wait, what’s this? One, two, three… that’s a lot of rocks! See, the way it works is, you walk down the steps to the beach, collect a rock, then hike back up the steps and place the rock on the railing to keep track of how many ‘laps’ you’ve done. Look how many this person did! Maybe this won’t be so bad after all!

And so, with my headphones on, and my iPod joyfully playing DJ Doboy techno music, I begin my first descent to the beach. This really isn’t so bad at all. I think I was getting worked up for nothing. My over-active imagination strikes again! I get down to the beach, marvel at the view, and pick up my first rock.
My friend Sal said that if I do the stairs 10 times, it’s the equivalent of doing 4km. Perfect! I started calculating in my head that I’d need to do the stairs about 25 times to have completed 10km. No problem. And now… I climb! I started off at a light run, figuring at least I should run the first time up!

At about stair 42 I began regretting the pasta I had about an hour earlier.

At stair 58 I began regretting the idea I had to climb these stairs about a day earlier.

At stair 63 I think one of lungs exploded and I was forced to stop. Maybe this isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.
Oh dear god, what have I done? I have to do this AGAIN?! Are you kidding me? There is no way I am doing this ten freakin’ times. As I pathetically keel over halfway up my first climb, I’m beginning to wonder if my 9th Grade experimental smoking habit has come back to claim my lungs once and for all. But NO! I must press on! I can DO this! GO! GO! GO!

I put my head down, and start again, taking it more slowly this time. It’s easier, but by no means easy. I get to step 120, look up and am greeted with this view:

The view it receives is this:

As you can clearly tell, near-vomiting is not a good look for me. But I keep going, keeping my head down, gripping my little rock, and just hoping I come to the top soon. I do. I rest.

I am met by another resting woman who indulges me in a conversation about cheesecake. I think I love her. But before I can try to convince her to ditch this whole climb-a-bunch-of-stairs thing and go to White Spot with me, she says, “I don’t think I can do more than 2 laps today. I’ve already ridden 35km on my bike this morning”. Oh yah? Have you? Have you really? Well, *I* made muffins. AND I even walked to Save-On to buy the ingredients. SO THERE.

I leave my new cheesecake-tease friend behind, starting down the stairs again, inspired by her commitment to fitness. I lie. I just wanted to get away from her because I was embarassed by how tired (beet red, panting, sweating like a pack mule) I was after ONE lap. Me and my bravado started running down the steps as I waved goodbye to her. Stupid ego.

So, I came to the conclusion that I will be coming back to do this again, and so why do I need to do ten laps the first time? I can set a goal for myself, and work at acheiving it. Today, I promise myself that I will do five laps. That seems fair. I also promise myself that the next time I attempt to do something for charity, I am going to work very hard at promoting the Cheesecake Chow and Nap-A-Thon for Animals. I can’t wait to start training for THAT!

Anyway, down I go, up I climb, down I go, up I climb, and lo and behold, I am soon looking at this oh-so-wonderful sight:

I DID IT! I have completed five laps of the Fred Gingell stairs! I do not know how long it took me, because I deliberately did not time myself, for fear of being overly judgemental of myself. Once I am able to do ten laps (in hiking boots, mind you), THEN I will begin timing myself and working toward a new goal.

And so, as I climb the last stairs to the park, (being met so gracefully by some guy smoking as he passes by), I marvel at how tired I am!

I had no idea it was going to be this hard. But I’m willing to come back. I’m willing to train. I’m willing to set goals for myself and acheive them after trials of hard work and dedication. And maybe by the summer, I too will be on my bike, riding from Ladner to Fred Gingell Park and then doing ten laps!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHahahahaaa… yah, no.