If you are ever passing through, grab a bite to eat at the Truffle Pig. Obviously we were attracted to the more phallic looking dishes they were serving that evening. Cheers.
Winter began to subside. We made the best of it and still got in several more pitches of ice.
Finally winter ended and summer begun. With our lease up (in Canmore) and much reluctance, we began to head South, although the pleasures of Canada would still be plenty
On our way back to the States we stopped in Penticton,BC. Penticton holds some of the finest sport climbing (@ Skaha Bluffs).
Climbing @ Skaha Bluffs
What is there to do in Skaha (aka Penticton, BC) while not climbing? Go wine tasting of course. The Okanagan Valley contains some of the best wine tasting (Blasted Church, Stag Hollow, Hillside Estate, La Frenz, Summer Hill) we’ve ever had. Our intention was to stay for a weekend but we nearly stay for two weeks.
With California (aka J-tree, Bishop, and Yosemite) still in our sights, south we must go.
Good-bye for now Canada WE MISS YOU!!
Final Days on Ice
Drove 4 1/2 hours to Jasper to check out the far north ice climbing scene. The National Park campground had a bathroom with showers and heated floors! This was an exceptional week of ice climbing and a day of back country skiing for MB’s first time.
The dogs had a blast hiking in the snow and neither Hell Cat got sick.
On the way home, we decided to camp at a pull out near a climb we planned to do early the next morning. It had been snowing all day while we climbed. It snowed throughout the night. We woke to about a foot and half of new snow. A Park law enforcement person knocked on our door while we were engrossed in a game of Yahtzee to tell us the road was closed due to an avalanche and we had to drive the 2 hours back north to Jasper. We did though there was no visible road and we arrived at a locked gate and had to call to be let out. We were told the road might reopen in 2 days with a “low confidence” level. Sheesh. We decided to drive the long way around as MB was taking a class and a friend was coming in from Boulder. It took 10 hours to get home!!! due to a blizzard and then an ice storm that froze the interstate and sent 35 cars sliding off the road.
So the original plan was to spend the winter in Canada ice climbing but we took our sweet time getting here. It’s possible we were apprehensive about going some place too cold for the camper. We had experienced a plethora of problems in Montana’s subzero temps that involved the camper, truck, and ours & our pets’ sanity. Fortunately, we secured a condo for a few months to call home.
We have ice climbed a ton.
The Winter Carnival was a blast. The town of Canmore puts snow on main street and daily grooms it for cross country skiing. There were even dog sled races.
We attended the local ice climbing event where we met Tom and Lora from Bozeman who we ended up ice climbing with.
We took a much needed skate ski lesson after trying to figure it out on our own.
We really feel at home here and have made an effort to attend the community meetings and local events. LOVE CANMORE!
You’re all probably tired of the same stories, so here is a little dittie we forgot to tell about Cumberland:
-Two Albrechtsens go into bar.
-Drink two pictures of Thirsty Beaver beer
-Contemplate getting tattoos
-Instead, spent hours dodging saliva spittle from a highly inebriated local who we fondly nicknamed The Wolf man. You see, The Wolf man owns a full bred wolf he got “legally” from the Indian reservation. After hangin’ with him for a couple hours, there were 2 things we were very clear about: “Wolves hate men and would kill me (Greg), but MB would be just fine.” He repeated this nearly ever couple minutes so we’re certain it’s true. And, wolf saliva can cauterize wounds. MB never learned this in mammalogy but we now are well educated on the matter. Cheers.
FINALLY, that shining orb in the sky came out so we pretended to be climbers. Oh, Smoke Bluffs how we’ll miss you.
Following a full day of climbing, we awoke to rain! Not to be discouraged, we packed up the gypsy wagon, let Misha drive, Magoo navigate, and headed for the Vancouver Aquarium.
We saw a two-toed sloth, a fish that eats monkeys, an awesome bat display, a frog with eggs embedded on her back, beluga whales with a baby, jelly fish, a tiny monkey, and tons more frogs. Ironically, being at the aquarium and all, our favorite displays were the frogs. The jelly fish came in a close second.
Monkey eating fish
Goodbye British Columbia….for now.
We made it back to the mainland and ran into more rain in Squamish. We decided to take a rest day and do laundry. While there, we realized we didn’t have enough cash to finish our load. I jumped in the truck to drive to an ATM machine and started pulling out of the parking lot. I immediately noticed that the dogs were running along with me and thought, “That’s not right. They should be tied down.” I stopped the truck and jumped out to find that the dogs were tied TO the truck!!! I nearly had a coronary. Greg came running out and angry words were exchanged. The dogs were fine and Greg and I made up and that was the end of that.
Day 2 in Squamish: more bloody rain which ruined our picnic and foiled our attempts at climbing for the day. We headed for the library to catch up on emails and Facebook.
The theme song for the summer owl crew was Brown Girl in the Ring by Boney M. You shouldn’t even look it up because you’ll never be able to stop singing it. Lo and behold, a book by that name was on the shelf right behind MB! Tra-la-la-la-laaa…..
I sure hope it stops raining…so I don’t have to see MB make this face again.
Tuesday Morning we wake up to blue skies!! Time to hit Whistler for one last day of downhillin’. But first things first.
After the great riding in Campbell River, we drove south to ride Cumberland and oh what a surprise! Today was the “pre-qualifier” for the Square Dancing Competition for the B.C. Senior Olympic games.
After such an inspirational display of athleticism we decided that rain or shine, riding was to be had.
Our recommendations: Two & a Juice, Buggered Pig, Teapot, Thirsty Beaver, Blue Collar, Crafty Butcher, Space Nugget, and Short & Curly.
Breaking the mold, the next day we opted for some lift service action on Mt. Washington. It’s quite a bit smaller than Whistler but well worth it!
The last day in Cumberland was spent once again on the fantastic single track network accessed right from town.
Our very own Buggered Pig! …………………………………Thirsty Beaver trail
………………….Trail art ……………………Skinny dipping at the reservior. Magoo opted to keep his clothes on.
MB almost mowed down this Western Toad. ……One of many of MB’s traumatic tumbles.
With Duncan, Campbell River, and Cumberland under our belts, the last best place to ride on the Island was the “Doumont” area in Nanaimo.
When we first got there, we decided to take a little stroll with the pooches to get them some excerise before we went for our long ride. That’s when MB wiped out in the first 30 seconds on the trail.
Little did we know, Nanamio had other more sinister surprises for us.
Sweet “technical” single track:
Yes, you read it right. The waste water treatment plant spreads it’s “waste” across various parts of the forest… and we had to ride through 100 yrds of it in an unmarked appliation area!!!!! Sorry no pic’s but we couldn’t bear to stop in the sludge!!!
After we got over our complete disgust, we were able to return to some great riding along the trails: Poop Chute(hahaaaa!!!), Bruin, Mai U, Cuppa Tea, Space Balls (aka the sludge area), Gateway, TNT, Hades, Penny Lane, Styx, Beeline, Trouble, and Wolverine… to name a few.
Sastified with what Nanaimo had to offer and excited for the mainland, we packed it up and headed for the Ferry to Horseshoe Bay.
Apparently the drive was more than Mr. Foon could handle
We rode: Schools Out, Chicken Run, DeAnalyzer, and Lower Danilizer at Mount Tzouhalem. It was fun but the random trail construction was a bit out of control.
We rode Tri Mac, Riley Lake, Lookout Loop, Enchanted Forest, Three Pigs, Lost Lake, Mudhoney Pass, Upper & Lower Deliverance, Alligator Rock, Stickman, and Grilled Cheese.
Back at the camper Willow was just doing her thing…eating, pooping, and running on her treadmill.
10/4 Imagine that…we’re still in Revelstoke and to think most of the locals live here due to the 40ft snowfall average! We climbed again and had a rather fabulous day of it. Ate poutine which is this very elegant dish of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Quite yummy in our tummies.
Then we drove to Kamloops. First I’ll just say, “Kamloops Schmamloops”. We couldn’t find camping anywhere. The only campground we located charged $22 a night, which was a crime because the place was so ghetto that they should have been paying us to stay there (the city posted warnings the water should be boiled before drinking!!). We drove around until 1 am and got so tired, that we just pulled off onto the shoulder of a country road.
10/5 Ok, so we were not thrilled with Kamloops. We had heard the biking was good but the place looks like Wyoming: windy, cold, and lots of wandering cows. There were signs of rednecks everywhere such as garbage left all over and the wilderness totally toe-up by 4 wheelers & motorcycles. Oh, and there were swastika symbols spray painted on the wilderness maps so we were unable to see where the biking trails were supposed to be. Nice, eh? Who knew there were rednecks in Canada?
10/6 Today was a “Big” driving day. As soon as we were well caffeinated, we: packed-it-up, packed-it-in, and packed-it-out…ready to begin, or whatever. Anyway, we head off to WHISTLER!
We arrived in Whistler and booked a 3 night stay at our favorite condo (no camper tonight!) and immediately saw a family of black bears on the walkway behind our condo. They were so funny. The cubs were running around a stack of concrete blocks as the momma was trying to find them (see pics).