Posts Tagged ‘Squamish’

Posts Tagged ‘Squamish’

Team Lug Nut – Steady as She Goes

5.24.2010 | 2 Comments

So, Ali and I left the city yesterday to enjoy some time in nature. Ali had told me about this great campsite she knew of in Brackendale that was right by the river, so I agreed to jam the car full of camping stuff, and pick her up at 9am.

Good morning! Ready to go, Ali?


And so, into the woods we go. After a wrong turn here and an “I don’t remember this” statement or two, we were finally on our way down the World’s Longest Backwoods Road which was rife with pot holes and death-wish squirrels. Ali realized that she had to make a work-related phone call, so I turned down the stereo so that she could book flights for someone and seethe in relative silence.

Given that we’re driving into the middle of Upper Cougar Crotch (as my mother likes to call any sort of wilderness-related destination), the fact that Ali lost cell reception wasn’t all that surprising. We drove on for a few minutes more until BLAM! I hit The World’s Largest Pot Hole dead-on and my front tire blew out.


That’s ok! We’ll just call BCAA… Oooooh, right. That no-cell-phone-reception thing. Well, looks like it’s up to us now. Hey tire… you, me… bring it on.  Awwwwwww, yeeeeah…

Now, for those that know me, you will recall that I have two rather large dog crates in the back of my car. Which, of course, are tied down with enough rope and bungee cord to create excitement in certain sections of the population. I’m not sure, but I believe a photo of my securely-tied dog crates was the feature picture on last month

Aaaaaaaaanyway… While Ali grabbed the “How to Change a Tire” book from the glove compartment, I set out to find a way to remove the spare tire from under the dog crates, without actually having to remove the dog crates.

Let me tell you this: changing a tire isn’t all that tough, but it does take some strength.  And a little bit of rhythm.

You kind of get a rhythm going when you’re jacking a car up, so I was really in the groove for a while there. But then Ali wanted to play, so being the generous friend that I am, I gave her a shot at it, too.

Jenn is not amused.  At all.  “Hurry up, Lady!”

And so, after completing the tire change, Ali and I were really quite proud of ourselves. After a well-deserved high-five, we posed for a photo with our conquered prey.  ALL HAIL TEAM LUG NUT!!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand then we drove back into Squamish and went to the Canadian Tire, crossing our fingers that it was actually open on a Sunday morning. Don’t forget the Tire of Doom! Buckle up for safety!

Now, I will admit it: I was scared to drive on that little tire, and the fact that it is referred to as a “donut” didn’t do much for my confidence. I put on the 4-way flashers and drove about 40km/hr back up The World’s Longest Backwoods Road toward civilization. 4 hours later (kidding!)… we reached Canadian Tire safely, and as I walked in the three people at the service counter stopped their conversation and just sort of stared at me. Looking down, I realized that I was probably the dirtiest I had been since childhood. Apparently this is not a good look for me. The nice lady at the desk said they were “booked solid” that day, but that she would squeeze me in ASAP. Ali and I went to grab a coffee and by the time we got back, the car was ready! …sort of.

Turns out that the rim was shot, and so they couldn’t put a new tire on. I would have to drive home on the donut. “Ummm… is that safe?”, I ask. The lady looked at me and said, “No. Not at all”, then handed me back my keys.

And so, I now have to drive from Squamish to Ladner, down the Sea-to-Sky hwy, in the rain, on a donut.

“Well, better put the 4-ways on”, says Ali, and away we went…

I white-knuckled it home, dreading that the donut would blow at any minute, and send the car careening off a cliff. In my head I had decided that should the donut fail on me, I would try my best to swerve left, so as to ensure that Ali would have a good chance at walking away from any accident. Was I nervous? Nooooooooooooooooo…

(Yep. Those are bite marks on my hand, as I kept chewing on myself to keep from screaming.)

However, we FINALLY made it home (after a few stops where I simply had to pull over and relax for a moment), and when we made it through the Deas Tunnel, both Ali and I took our first real breath since we changed the damn tire however many hours ago. Then we started laughing. Then we realized that we suck at camping.

Or, do we?

Yep, that’s right – we went back to my place, lit a pathetic fire in the fire pit on my balcony, ate some terrible hot dogs, and chowed on the Worst S’mores Ever. We finally got to experience camping after all…




In The Shadow of Motivation

3.26.2010 | 0 Comments

Last night I was watching TV at my mom’s, when I saw that the Knowledge Network was going to be showing a documentary called In The Shadow of The Chief. It’s a film about the first ascent of the grand wall of the Stawamus Chief in Squamish, BC. A friend of mine from long ago is in the film, and as I had yet to actually see it, I decided to give it a glance.

Talk about motivating!

In May of 1961, two young men (Jim Baldwin and Ed Cooper) looked up at the nearly 2300 ft of towering rock face of the “unclimbable” Chief and said to themselves, “let’s do it!”. While everyone else said they were crazy to put their lives at risk, they knew that they were doing something monumental and historic.

Their equpiment was less than ideal; having shoes that were full of holes and devoid of grip, an insufficient supply of ropes and bolts, and having no map to guide them nor any route to follow. To make matters worse, while they were on The Wall one day, some heartless knob decided to root through Ed and Jim’s tent at base camp, and stole their supplies and money ($8.00).

However… Ed and Jim had the support of the town, (that still thought the two boys were lunatics), and without that support, the climb could never have been done. They were supplied with new shoes, ropes, bolts, custom-made pitons, and food. After two weeks, their climb had become a massive media spectacle, bringing their story to others who offered assistance in any way.

It took them about a month to finally summit (a climb that can be done in less than one day now), battling intense heat on their backs, crippling cold granite under their finger tips, swarms of grateful mosquitos, and fearless scavenging rats. At one point during their final push to the top, they ran out of water and had to resort to sucking on moss for hydration (funny note: the media at the time reported that Jim and Ed were “sucking on moths” for hydration). But they did it. They did it!

As I look at my own journey compared to Ed and Jim’s, I marvel at their determination and cringe at my own silly fears. I have the best equipment, the greatest guides and porters, and am essentially going on a very long walk up a well-traveled mountain. I’ll be inoculated, sun-screened, hydrated, and camping in luxury. And, like Ed and Jim, I have my good friend with me, and the support of my community. I find it all entirely thought-provoking. And so, as I contemplate, ruminate and think, think, think, I guess I can really only come up with one thing to say about all this…

“Let’s do it!”.