Mt Arrowsmith

Two weeks ago, Roxy, myself, and a few others went up Mt Arrowsmith (located around Port Alberni area). I’ve seen this mountain a lot of time while driving around the area. Today was the day to conquer it! It’s been on my list of mountains I’ve wanted to hike for a while. It is the highest mountain in the Southern Vancouver Island area. We went up Un-judges route and came down on Judges route.

Elevation: 1819m
Elevation gain: ~1000m
Total distance traveled: ~6km

We started hiking for a little bit and then lost the trail because an area of it got clear cut. So we had to hike through this but eventually found the trail markers again.

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Loving the exposure.

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We’re almost above the treeline!

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That’s where we’re going (to the right). Can see the summit.

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Walking the ridge.

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There’s the summit in sight! Getting there.

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We made it to the summit!

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Panoramic shot.

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All in all, it was a great experience. Everyone survived, and my knees were killing by the time we got to the summit. I guess I’ll have to work them a little more so they get used to it. Stoked for the next adventure!

Mt Horne

My buddy, Mason recently bought a bunch of camping gear, so we had to test it out! A group of us went camping for the weekend at Little Qualicum Falls. It was a great time to get away from the city. It was definitely something I needed. A few of us hiked up Mt Horne.

Elevation: 910m
Elevation gain: 750m
Total distance traveled: 9.78km

The trail was really steep… But we all made it (eventually). I slowed down the whole group because my cardio is garbage. But in the end, it was really rewarding. In my mind, summer has begun already!

This is the beginning. Just finding the trailhead.

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After the first steep part, we reached a railroad track which was level (thank goodness!).

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After a little bit, we had to head back up the steepness.

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We’re on the right track!

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The first glimpse of Mt Horne.

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Views along the way. Man is it beautiful!

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We made it to the top! Signed the registry and hung out for a bit. Victory!

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Mt HorneI was pretty exhausted afterwards, but it was so rewarding! I’m pretty stoked for the many trips in the near future!

Mt Wells

Well… I’ve finally decided to hike Mt Wells. I’ve been wanting to do this hike for a while, but never got around to it because I usually end up rock climbing here. This was my first hike of the summer so I’m a little bit out of shape. Luckily this was a fairly easy hike. So I think we’re off to a good start! And of course, had to grab a couple of geocaches on the way up.

This used to be a working 44km concrete aqueduct that went from Sooke Lake to the Humpback Reservoir. Then from the reservoir it would transport the water down to Victoria. But now it’s not needed.

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You can see Mt Finalyson in the distance (the really round mountain).

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At the summit.

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In the next picture, on the right, that’s Mt MacDonald – another place to rock climb!

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Jocelyn Hill

Lauren and I decided to hike Jocelyn Hill on a Saturday. I’ve never been here before, and Lauren hasn’t been able to find the summit after a few tries. So we decided to give it a shot. At this point I just got my new camera (Canon 5D MKII. Got it used, but it’s new to me). It’s a full frame camera, so only my 50mm 1.4 lens would fit on it. It was interesting trying to shoot with this lens but it got me to experiment with shooting/stitching panoramic pictures. There’s two in this batch that I had to stitch. It was lots of fun.

I woke up in the morning and saw there was fog. I was pretty stoked about it (Lauren wasn’t too happy about it). We met up and started heading out there. As we got out of town, the fog cleared up and it was blue skies! I was not impressed (Lauren was super happy about it). Seemed like we’re quite the opposite. But once we got to the peak, it was such an awesome view – clear blue skies with the morning fog lingering above the waters. It was such a great day!

If you like these pictures, you can follow my new photography business page on Facebook! (click here)

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Kinsol Trestle

The Kinsol Trestle has been on my radar for quite some time. It was built in 1920. Located near Shawnigan Lake, BC. And apparently the website says it’s the highest and largest surviving timber trestle in Canada and reportedly one of the four largest wooden structures in the world.

Not too long ago (maybe a few years?) the trestle got fixed up so it’s now 100% safe and people can walk over this incredible structure. Sooo Rhiannon and I decided to check out the place (we’ve both never been here before) and picked up a couple of geocaches on the way too. It was a great day!

The next picture is taken with a technique called HDR (High Dynamic Range)

In the next picture, you can see a gas pipeline going across the river. So crazy!

Geocaching at East Sooke Park

Wow it’s almost 2 months since my last post. I guess things got a bit hectic with work (finishing up my contract), looking for work, and dealing with other things in life. That’s just the way it is sometimes.

Well, the weather has been amazing this week, and I’m hoping it’ll stay like this forever! Matty and I took advantage of this by going out to East Sooke Park to do some geocaching. Recently there has been a geocaching event which resulted in A LOT of new caches at this park. Soooo we decided to tackle some. We found a total of 19 caches and we explored an area of the park which I’ve never been before so that’s always exciting!! Found some cool things along the way too!

Oh, and have I mentioned how beautiful the west coast is?

Recon Mission at Sugarloaf

Nashira had a day off last Saturday, so we decided to do an exploring trip. Throughout the week I kept checking the weather forecast because the weather has been pretty bad lately. It kept going from being sunny to raining less than a millimeter to showers. So we had to play it by ear.

Saturday arrives and it was sunny, so we decided to go for it. We decided to go hike Sugarloaf which is a rock climbing area that we’ve never been before. There has been talk about a large loose rock on the face, so we were going to investigate this. We got to the pullout where we’re supposed to park, and we started hiking. About 15 – 20 minutes into the hike we had to cross a creek. This was the bridge to cross it… Could you tell it was made by rock climbers?

Just over an hour later, we made it to the top! Loved the views!

It turned out to be such a beautiful day except it was windy once we got out of the protected areas. We had lunch up on the top, and then scoped out the rock climbing situation. It looked like there’s a lot of potential there. Throughout the hike, we kept going back and forth saying how we should’ve lugged all our climbing gear up the hill… But we didn’t… And besides, the rock was sort of wet anyways, so it wouldn’t have been fun. Sigh…. This trip was such a tease. Can we have summer now, please?

I Think We’re Off to a Good Start to the Year

On Tuesday, John, Matt, and I decided to go snowshoeing just outside of Port Alberni. We decided to snowshoe the Saddle Trail which is a trail that leads to the saddle between Mt Cokely and Mt Arrowsmith. It’s about a 4km round trip, and this was going to be my first snowshoeing experience!! We weren’t sure if we were going to summit a mountain or not. Just had to play it by ear. So off we go! Here we are at the start of the trail. We were lucky there wasn’t that much snow on the roads so we were able to make it to the desired spot.


You can see in the next picture that is where we’re roughly going… Straight ahead into the mountains (and the trail starts on the right).

This was about halfway (or just over halfway). No one around. Beautiful views. It was perfect besides the fact that I’m totally out of shape, so I was really tired at this point, and it was also raining/snowing so I was pretty wet by then. This was also the spot where the snow was deep enough for us to actually start snowshoeing! Yay!

We’re almost at the top of the saddle! It was beautiful! This part got really windy I guess because we were out of the trees. But at least my feet were still dry!

We made it to the top of the saddle! The wind got a bit crazy here, and it hurt when ice hits you in the face… So we had to wait it out until we were able to get a group shot. We’re soaked, but we’re still smiling. Time to run down the hill on the nice soft snow! What a great trip. Hopefully there will be more to come! … Must… Snowshoe… More! … And maybe get a Gortex jacket.

If you missed my previous post (HDR pictures of the Saddle Trail), check it out here – Week 44 of HDR Project: Saddle Trail

Operation GeoTriad

Ok, so instead of splitting this up into a 3 part blog, let’s just have one huge post! There’s not going to be as many updates because Summer is over. So I apologize in advance. But here’s hoping my adventures will continue!

Sept 30 – Me, Pete, and the 2 Shannons decided to hit up Seattle and Portland for the weekend because we wanted to do the GeoTriad, and the fact that Pete has never been to the westcoast of the States. Every time Pete visits from the UK, the four of us get together and make an epic geocaching adventure. This time, we thought we’d go for the gold. The GeoTriad consists of three stops – Groundspeak HQ (Seattle), first geocache location (just outside of Portland), and Mission 9 of the Project Ape series (East of Seattle at Snoqualmie Tunnel). Sooo here we go!

DAY 1:

Friday morning. We all meet up at Shannon’s place, and off we go! First stop, Groundspeak HQ in Seattle. We got Pete through the border with no problems (phew!), and by the afternoon, we were downtown. We were a few minutes early for Groundspeak HQ, so we decided to grab a cache or two. We parked my the Aurora Bridge and started our adventure.


Groundspeak HQ! It was awesome to finally check out this place. First out of three of the Triad!! We Met some fellow cachers and the people who work there were super nice. They even have a TV screen showing the logs that people have recently logged. It updates every 30 seconds.


Box of swag!


Signing the logbook after we took some pretty ridiculous photobooth pictures.


After picking up some TB’s and GeoCoins, we were ready to do some more geocaching! We found this awesome troll guarding the bridge.

Next stop, the Space Needle.

View from the top of the Space Needle. Just in time for the sunset.


Panoramic shot from the top. Click on it to view high res.

Once we got back to the bottom, we continued on with our caching adventure. We were heading over to our next cache, and then realize there was a huge group of cyclists gathered around a really sweet fountain. There were cyclists going around the found which was really cool. People were sitting at the bench where the cache was, so we had to just hang around until the crowd left.

Not sure what this place was, but the lighting and stuff looked really sweet.

It was getting late, so we decided to call it quits on the caching. We then drove to a pizza place called Juliano’s to get some pizza. We didn’t know what to expect because obviously it was new to us. We found this place on the interwebs as my friend Shannon can’t eat any gluten, and this place offered gluten free pizza. So it was worth a shot. You pretty much build your own pizza with your choice of sauces, cheese, and toppings. I had a calzone while the others ordered pizza. I must say it was the best pizza I’ve ever had. I said it SO many times on the trip that I can’t eat regular pizza anymore because this place just raised my standards.

Happy happy happy!

DAY 2:

Woke up at 8:00am. Checked out of our hotel at 9:00am. Went to Trader Joe’s for some stocking up on food, then off to the second destination of the Triad, the original cache location just outside of Portland!

We arrived in the early afternoon. We found the plaque where the original stash was. SO COOL!!


We are such nerds…

After a few hours of hiking around the area, we decided to check into our hotel in Portland and explore a bit. The place we stayed was so awesome! We drove downtown afterwards and parked at a parkade. Once we got out, who did we see?

Jimi Hendrix!! That’s who!

Anyways… Let’s continue our caching adventure! We went all over the place. We even played at an old school video arcade place where it only costs 25 cents a play! It’s like I’m reliving the 90’s all over again! We also checked out Chinatown.

One of my favourite things about Seattle and Portland was all the art that’s around the city. There’s so many cool things around the place that it’s great for photographers.

After walking around for quite some time, we all got hungry. So… It was time to test out restaurant #2 we found on the internet – Deschutes Brewery and Pub. We waited about 45 minutes for a table because the place was packed! But we were glad to be finally in.

The problem with going to new restaurants is, you end up staring at the menu for 5 – 10 minutes not knowing what to get. Our server came and I made up my mind… Until he said that there was a $15 special on beef ribs. So I HAD to go for it along with a pint of Mirror Pond pale ale. Oh my goodness… Everything was SO good!! So far it’s been a pretty amazing trip with lots of amazing food and amazing friends and amazing geocaches.

Did I mention that the food was amazing?

DAY 3:

Got up early again, checked out of the hotel, stocked up at Trader Joe’s (again), and off we went to our last destination of the Triad – Snoqualmie Tunnel. This is where Mission #9 of the Project APE is. But apparently sometime stole the cache in the summer, so we didn’t get the original Project APE cache. It’s a tribute cache which is a bummer, but oh well… We’re still going to do it!

Once again, another afternoon start. So far we’re doing pretty good about staying with our “planned” schedule. We weren’t sure how long we’re going to be here for, but here’s hoping we’ll get out of here by dark. We had to hike about 6.5 km. Sooo here we go!

Team Awesome… Assemble!!

Hey, look what we found! A container for a rocket! I think we’re off to a good start in our caching adventure. So awesome!

An hour or two later, we got to the site where the APE cache was. Operation GeoTriad accomplished!! It felt GREAT being able to do this. Afterwards, we awarded ourselves with the GeoTriad coin we all picked up from Groundspeak HQ in Seattle. That sneaky Pete had these coins with him the whole time while the rest of us thought they were in the car. Amazing amazing amazing!

Here’s the GeoNerds at the APE site with our coins.

Oh, here’s the cache.

Once we celebrated and gave each other high-fives, we checked out the Snoqualmie Tunnel. It’s an abandoned train tunnel that’s 3.7km long. It was so awesome because you could just barely see the end of the tunnel on the other side. Unfortunately we didn’t venture that far in there as we were pretty tight on time. We’ll definitely have to come back!

We decided that on the way back we HAD to drop by Juliano’s again to pick up some pizza because it was so epic…. And that’s what we did.

It always sucks having to go back home… Back to reality. But it’s been an awesome trip!

Finally Made It Out To Squamish!!

It’s been a pretty crazy summer this year! It’s been rainy and cooler than usual. It’d be nice every day and then it’d rain when I wanted to go to Squamish. It was weird! But finally August rolled around and the weather started feeling more like summer. So obviously I had to head out there and boy does it feel GREAT to finally meet up with the Chief once again! Me, Rachael, Lynn, and Emma did a day of hiking all three peaks (since I’ve never been to third peak yet). And the next day it’ll be rock climbing!! Super stoked!!

We started hiking it, and wow have they developed the area. There were SO many stairs now! (Boooo!!) It’s starting to feel like the Grouse Grind – hate hate hate!! I guess it’s becoming a really popular place to go. But anyways, here’s the first little stop.

There’s a cool secret path (sort of) that easily links up the first and second peaks without having to backtrack. So to get to the first peak, there was a ladder with steps made from rebar drilled into the rock. It was super cool! Rachael and I scrambled up there while the other two waited for us. This pic is up at first peak facing the other direction.

A panoramic shot of Second Peak! (click on these pictures for higher res)

And here’s the crew!

There’s this amazing chasm between second and third peak. I’m pretty sure this is where you can set up a highline…. Tempting… AND super crazy!

Third Peak!! Thanks for the awesome times!

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