The Grind 

The Grouse Grind

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Hiking Adventures 

A friend and I were trekking along a trail on Cypress Mountain yesterday and all of a sudden a blur of shiny black fur lept across the trail, about 25 feet away. “Is that a huge German Shepherd? Where are his owners?” I thought. Then I saw s cute, little, round beach ball of a baby black bear scurrying behind. My brain took a quick second to compute. Bears!!!

My friend and I looked at each other, then hung on to each other, then slowly backed up and finally turned and “calmly” walked away, with our hearts pounding almost out of our chests. We did not want to threaten Mama Bear in any way, shape or form.

Eventually mama and her baby went deep into the forest and we guardedly continued up the mountain. 15 minutes or so later we heard a splashing sound and peeked through the branches to see another big black bear hanging out in a stream.  I didn’t stick around to get any photos but this was turning into a bear~y exciting, adrenaline rush of a hike.

I don’t have a lot of one on one experience with bears (we used to drive to the dump when I was growing up in Ontario to watch black bears go through the garbage and I saw a grizzly in Alberta but I was safely locked in my friend’s vehicle) but I remembered a hiker telling me about his close encounter with a grizzly in Alberta and how, after that solo experience, he would only go hiking in groups of six or more as bears won’t bother that many people grouped together. I don’t know if this is true but I believed him and when I spotted a family hiking on the trail just ahead of us. I called to them and we formed a bear-proof pack (there were 6 of us including my dog) and hiked safely together up to the view point and back.

There were no more bear sightings that day. Maybe our little group scared them off or maybe the bears had better things to do deeper in the forest. Either way, we had an awesome day in nature, made a few new hiking  friends and walked off the mountain with a good story to tell.

Deep Cove & Quarry Rock

Ever wanted to slow your life down to a simpler, sweeter pace? Whenever I’m feeling a little frazzled and need to get my Zen back, I beeline to Deep Cove.

deep cove

Deep Cove is a little hamlet in North Vancouver. Its main street is home to an old fashioned general store, an ice cream shoppe and an always overflowing restaurant that specializes in home-made, honey-glazed donuts.

Leave the main drag to wander along the water and you’ll be lucky enough to see vistas like this..

deep cove

deep cove

Then walk a little further to the edge of the forest and you’re on the trail to Quarry Rock. The hike is about two hours round trip and will get you huffing & puffing and sweating several times over those two hours. But, its saving grace is that is has a lot of flat areas to catch your breath as well. And while you’re catching your breath you can’t help but notice that you are in the middle of an enchanted forest with mossy branches, oversize ferns and beautiful, tall trees.

quarry rock 022

quarry rock 020

And then, when you reach the clearing at the end of the trail, this will be waiting for you…

quarry rock 045

Not too shabby.

What to bring:

  • One or two bottles of water
  • Lunch to eat on the rock overlooking Indian Arm
  • Sunscreen
  • Your camera
  • Your dog

What to wear:

  • Layers – it can be cool in the forest and hot on the rock
  • Hiking boots – the trail is super rooty

There. You’re all set. Happy Hiking.

California

My little furry sidekick and I just got back from a week of sun, sand and surf in California.

It was just what I needed with a ton of beach time, listening to the waves and feeling the amazing power of the ocean, a couple of days in Malibu with my friend, Tammy, and a lot of eating and drinking (I had my must-visit restaurants and farmer’s markets all lined up). I met up with one of my favourite food bloggers, Sue of Birgerbird, for lunch. And I even spotted Gene Simmons of Kiss, filming an episode of Family Jewels on the rooftop patio of my hotel. Since Kiss was the first rock concert I ever saw, when I was 14, I was maybe a little overly excited to see this now reality tv star.

Another thing I did on this trip was continue to unplug from my beloved Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram, and Pinterest (whew!) by leaving my laptop at home. Although I could still access my social media loves from time to time via my iphone, I was hardly online at all for the whole vacation and it felt amazing, like a true break. I spent my down time reading (no kindle, just old fashioned books) and writing (old school, with a pen and paper journal) and daydreaming on my balcony, watching the waves of the Pacific crash against the shore.

So, now I’m back home sweet home with a bunch of photos, a recipe or two and a few stories to tell…

pacific

the pier

sand in your toes

pink hibiscus

Beast the chihuahua

El Matador Beach Malibu