A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent (which I cannot deny myself to be without being impious) will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.
-Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ok, I know that may sound a bit arrogant, but Mozart definately was. So anyway, when we last tuned in, Soarpheat was getting ready to go on a sea kayaking trip with Chris's girlfriend Ashley and her family. Having never gone on a trip like that, none of the participants knew what was going to happen, but each had their own ideas. However, the events that took place over the next several days were far different from even their wildest expectations.
The first stop was the dealer of kayaks on Quadra Island. The Houghtons had gone into this trip thinking that Chris's truck would be sufficient to haul the boats, and Chris was thinking exactly the same thing about them. This was important to both parties because neither believed that they had the capacity to take any
boats. Needless to say, after a joint creative strapping session, we were able to put one of the huge tandem kayaks on my car (made difficult because of the fact that there was also my 13' kayak, a huge carrier top, and my bike already up there), and one on top of the Houghtons' rental car (made difficult by the fact that it was a little Galant with no roof rack and a roof that dented under a minimal amount of weight) without damaging either vehicle. We were ready to go, providing we didn't drive too fast or hit any substantial bump.
That night we camped at a nice little campground on Quadra.
The next morning, bright and early, we boarded the ferry that would take us to Cortez Island, the small bump of land from which we were going to set off on our expedition. After spending a good amount of time unstrapping and moving and loading all of our boats, we parked the cars and were ready to go. Our first paddle was about 3 nautical miles across a place called Desolation Sound. It was aptly named, as even though this was some of the most gorgous scenery I'd ever seen, there weren't too many animals aside from all of the otters, seals, birds, and sealife; and very few signs of people aside from approximately 500 other boats and campers in the area. Hmmm... perhaps it looked different when Cpt. Vancouver discovered the area. Regardless though, it was truly breathtaking and I found myself developing a love of kayaking around coastal island mountains. It is strange to me that it took me so long (nearly my whole life) to see the beauty of an area like this, especially considering how close Kentucky is to the ocean and to big mountains. Oh well, I guess that I just didn't keep my eyes open.
The trip however was fantastic. We spent 6 days taking in the scenery and getting more comfortable in a boat. By the end, we were all pros at packing and paddling these boats. This was the first multi-day kayaking trip on which I had been a participant, and the experience was definately worth it. At first, it felt somewhat daunting to me, but as I got more into it I realized that was silly. I camp well, I pack well, and I paddle well. It makes sense that I was able to do the three together at least well enough to have fun. I still have a lot to learn though, and I hope that I will continue to further my sea kayaking education in October.
After our paddling trip, we finally made it on to the Canadian mainland by taking yet another (our 9th) but possibly the most beautiful ferry of the trip. We took the 6:20 ferry so we got to see the early morning ocean mist retreating back up to the magnificient mountains. Nice. Once on the mainland, we went up to Whistler Mountain. Apparently (and most of you already know this and probably think I'm dumb for not, but that's ok) Whistler is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics. New construction is happening all over the place in preparation for that. They're building an awesome new peak-to-peak gondola on the mountain itself, as well as doing massive transportation construction on the main road going to the mountain. They're also doing big improvements in Squammish and Vancouver. It's going to look pretty sweet when it's all done. We did some hikes on and around the peak and I learned that Whistler was renamed Whistler (used to be London) in the 60's because of all of the marmots that made the whistling noise that they make so well. So Whistler was named after marmots. Some of you might find that funnier than others, and that's ok.
All of the super touristy stuff though was far too expensive, so after a couple hikes we headed down to Squammish to camp our last night in Canada. At camp, I happen to run into a NOLS group led by one of my instructors (Bob) on my IC. That was cool, I hadn't run into a course in the field during a personal trip yet, and I enjoyed the novelty of it. I gave Bob a slice of the cheesecake that Ash and I were having for desert. Personal trips are nice. The next day, we headed down to Vancouver to see the club where Ash's dad won the West Canadian Men's Open when he was 19. Apparently he almost went pro, and most of the people that he beat during that tourniment did in fact go pro. It's kind of like I know a celebrity.
That day, we continued south across the US border and stayed at a hotel near the Seattle airport because Ash's family had incredibly early flights the next day. I had an early day too. Over the previous several days, I realized that my brakes were going out quickly and my first priority on this day (the 23rd) was to get my car fixed. I was also having trouble with the 4WD Low, and I thought that it was going to be a horrible transmission thing. Well, they (the mechanics) first informed me as to the proper operation of my 4WD Low so that it would work. I felt profoundly stupid, lucky, and relieved. Overall it was a good thing. The brakes needed replacing though so they did that and I was totally done within a couple hours. Yay Ford.
Now, we are still in Seattle because Ash has a very exciting job interview with the director of PR at the REI headquarters. I'm pretty excited for her. That's really all the news, as I still don't know what my day will be tomorrow. Happy Trails!
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