Thursday, September 04, 2014

West Coast trail

The West Coast Trail runs along the coast of Canada and it was based along a trail used by shipwrecked sailors who were trying to make it back to civilization.  There is also a history of the First Nation people using the trails.  In these days of GPS the trail has outlived it's utilitarian purpose and not has become a site of recreation for any number of campers and hikers. 

I started out the trip in Victoria and met my friend Anthony.  Victoria is upper class hippy-ville.  Boutique restaurants and an assortment of craft and novelty stores.  Beautiful weather and a bevy of tourist related activities greet the visitors to this city.  Anthony and I stayed in the Youth Hostel although the bar across the sleep that played live music into the twee hours was no help to our sleep.  We woke early: 5 and head out to catch the bus to Bamfeild.  It was a long and arduous 5 hour trip along some very dirt roads.  Eventually we made it to the ranger's house and we were told that it was very busy and we might bot be able to get on the trail for several days.  My heart sank.  This is what I feared: being unable to touch foot on the trail after traveling across the globe.  But we were put on a waiting list and headed to the nearby campsite to wait (days?!?!).  The camp site had all sorts of amenities including hots showers and firewood.  The view was beautiful and the sky clear.  Hold tight for pictures.  My friends should be sending them.

"Friends" you may ask?  I thought it was just you and Anothony?  Ahhh.  This is another story and another aspect of the trail.  It is quite busy and trail hikers end up being social.  But let's continue with out story for now..

The hike was 6 days and 75 kilometers.  We made about 2k per hour and on average hiked about 12k a day.  So this would mean a good solid hike of 6 hours and we would be rolling into the camp ground at 3 or so.  We would grab a nice spot, set up our tend and have time for relaxing and taking a dip in the very very cold ocean/river/lake/waterfall.

The trail was built like an obstacle course.  There was beach hiking, woods hiking, ladder climbing and zip-line zipping.  The beach was either sandy covers or large haphazardly tossed boulders.  On our second to last day we had two hours of boulder hopping.  Many people (and by "many people" i mean 1 or 2) get K.O.-ed by the boulder field.  They slip on the black moss and hit their head and face.  I myself did a little scamper dance and landed on my butt with one such encounter with black moss.

The woods usually had boardwalks but many of the board walks had rotted away or they were never there in the first place to rot away.  So the above was a typical trail for about 20k.  Tangled roots and mud pits.  As such many people wore GATORS which look like plastic leg warmers but serve the purpose of keeping your feet dry when you tread through muddy and wet places.  But we took to the trail during the DRIEST SUMMER ON RECORD.  So a lot of the problems you would hear about from the past were not present during our short 6 day excursion. 

We made friends with a lot of people because at the end of the day we would end up camping at the same site.  This made the trip much more social than most out door camping you would do. 

All in all it was an amazing trip and I hope to go back to Canada sometime real soon!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

the trip...

Headed out to the tip of the penisula about 300 miles south of Osaka. Started out the day and headed an hour south and was picked up by my friend Terry. Terry O'brian is English and retired and set. He has a big van so after scooping me up we set off. The first part of the trip was interstate highways and tunnels but as abruptly as falling off a cliff the scenery turned to seascape. Large anthropomorpic rocks lay crouched just off the shore.

We arrived at our hotel which was a little Greyhound Bus Station-ish but no complaints. The scenery was great even if 5he curtins were unchanged since the 1950's.

The next day we followed the shore and then took a sharp left and followef a ribbon of a road up into the mountains. The scenery was bold and green and boarding on Canadian-esque.

Along the way we took a wrong turn and ended up going along a fisherman's road. Things started to get rocky. I hit a rock wrong and my tire deflated with a quick pshhhhhhhh.  In a manner of seconds my back tire was reduced to r7bber. And that was only the first of many flats. All in all we us3d up our paches. Soon Terry got fed up with flats and storms (oh did I mention we got  caught in a storm?!?!?!?) and we headed home.

The last day was short. Terry was knackered.  We headed out at 11 and did some coastal riding. At 2 or  so Terry has injected himself with several Ref Bulls to prop up his exhausted body. `Let's head home he said to me whilst sitting down at the convience store nursing a red bull.  It was fine with me. My goal was to enjoy the bike trip and not break any records.  Wr came back and fouNd the van. We returned home and I readied my self for my next big trip: My voyage home!!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The 1,000 year old tree...

Took to the hills.  Climbed over Minoh (where the monkey's live under the waterfall). Then came into a small valley where here us a tree that is (according to a plak) 1,000 years old.  And int the tree lived 7 tiny baby owls. 

We followed a river road down to Ichikura Dam.  Then it was a small path through the woods where we stopped at a small Japanese restaurant.  After which we picked up where we left off and headed home via the river road.  The sky darken and we were caught in a storm.  A warm summer rainfall.  It was good.  Life was good.  Came home tired.  And headed out the door to my friend'S house where he was having a house warming party.  It was warm.  And good.  Lots of good.  Came hope and fell into a stupor that eventually tapered off into a kind of sleep.  Woke up the next day and realized that I had slept 9 hours.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The last day...

On the last day I have a CHRISTMAS PARTY.  How is the CHRISTMAS PARTY?!??!


For some schools it's a lot of fun.  But other kids just don't get into the spirit.  Here is one present, 100 yen ($1) maybe something bought on the way to school at the convenience store wrapped, no not rapped, just crumpled in a wod of newspaper.  IT looks like trash hunh?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My tips for people who want to RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!

have I got tips?!?! THis man has got tips!?!? Ask me anything and i will always give you four solid tips!!!! For running:

1. Set goals. I say you should try to do a 5k in 25 minutes.

2. If you set your goal w/a 5k run don't train more that 20 minutes. That's why I make the 5k my race. Longer race means more time.

3. Do 20 minute runs 2/3 times a week. Do short sprints 2/3 times a week. For the short sprints find a nice park/river side or a nice trail. Sprint for about 1 minutes and then trot for about 20 seconds time should again 10 times. Your sprint time should not exceed 10 minutes (for a 5k). You can mix this up (5 sprints at 2 minutes) but your total times should not exceed 10 minutes. So in summary: 2/3 week long slow run and 2/3 week sprints.

4. Have fun. Sometimes when it'S raining it hard to get started. But I am not talking about this kind of non-fun. If you feel sick/hurt take a break. Enjoy it!

Monday, October 21, 2013

THe jump!!!!!!!!!!!!

THe land....

The background story....

Monday, September 23, 2013


The scene of the crime: SHIMANAMI...

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SHimanami is a string of islands in southern Japan that are connected by elevated bike paths.  Along the way you can take in the sea breeze or marvel at the suspension bridges or even stop at some of the museums like the Towel Museum.

My friend Anthony and I went out on the road and headed across the islands.  It is 150k round trip and as we set out, I was already getting tired.  usually you don't loose energy until the very end.  Bicyclists call this "bonking" or running out of energy.  This happens because as it turns out cycling is a very fuel intensive activity and it requires lots of energy.  More so that you would initially suspect.  It isn't uncommon to be eating 5 meals a day.   On the first leg of the journey I was already bonking.  We came to the last bridge and crossed it and coasted down to this beautiful hotel that was located along the sea side.  I took a chair and went to sleep.  There was a 30 minute wait for the meal, which turned out to be perfect.  I slept.  Then I ate a large meal (vegetables, pizza and tomato cheese) and I was ready to jam again.

On the way back we went off the path which proved to be a top idea (tip of the hat to Anthony).  The side roads allowed us to explore the island.  As it turns out, the bike trail follows the mail highway and it is more geared towards getting to point B as fast as possible.  But the side-roads took us through the countryside and the alleyways of island life.

We were out on a limb and we had a gander at the map again.  We were far out as it turns out with many a mile till our finish line.  We came back and it was getting darker.  Anthony got a terrible headache.  We stopped at a pharmacy.  We found some Bufferin and this Japanese power drink.  Anthony immediately got better and we immediately set off in the dark with a new spring n our step.

At 8 o'clock (12 hours after we originally started) we came gliding up to the last ferry.  We paid the 100 yen for the ferry crossing and soon we were on the other side back at the finish line.  Anthony wanted a ONSEN (Japanese hot bath) so we took a taxi driven by the Japanese version of mad Max down these alley ways and finally at the site.  The bath proved to be a brilliant idea (another 2 points Anthony!).  By the time we crawled back to the hotel it was 30 minutes to 12.  We eeked past the midnight deadline.  Tired and exhausted (but clean) we made it to our beds and disappeared into a deep sleep.

Oh and did I say crawl...?!?!?!

Another story.  We were looking for a hotel.  And there was NOTHING left (because it was a Holiday).  But then Anthony found a 1 and a half star hotel.  "Don't expect too much" said Anthony.  As it turns out, the hotel was a top of a hill...

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...and the only way to get to the hill was to carry your bike and all your luggage to the top of this hill.

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But the hotel was great (another 2 points for Anthony???).  The dorm room had thick futon beds.  The price was cheap.   And the food was delicious.  It was Thai themed restaurant and there was nothing wrong and everything right about what was available.  The atmosphere and the view and the price were all so cool that it would be difficult for me to find something I didn't like.  The climb was a doozer though.   IT was a boot camp every time you wanted to go home.