Camping in EC Manning Park

Camping with Modo
A few weekends ago, we booked a Modo car, loaded up our camping gear, and drove out to Manning Provincial Park for the weekend.

Shadow Falls Derek Falls Wildflower Walk Naturalist Guided Tour
We did a few light hikes – Three Falls, Lightning Lake, and the Wildflower Walk.

Campfire Cooking
We relaxed by the fire and cooked good vegan food.
Vegan Camping Breakfast Stirring the Yams Making Chili Roasted Corn

We stayed at Coldspring Campground. Pro tip: the campsites at the far end (#30-44) are farther from the highway and more secluded. It was a nice campground and conveniently located within the park – close the Lightning Lake day use area and Manning Resort, where there is a general store and a good source of fresh water (the wells in the campground had a boil water advisory).
Tent Sleep-in Modo Tarp Holder Lightning Lakes Relaxing Sneaky Chipmunk

More pictures.
EC Manning Park

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The Trouble with Chia

Chia Seeds in the Wash
Gum, pens, tissue paper, and now chia seeds. Add another item to the list of things banned from the washing machine. Unless you’re going for the chia pet look.

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10 km in under 40 minutes

MEC Race Five 2014-21
I’ve accomplished my last remaining running goal. I’ve finally run 10 km in under 40 minutes.
running_pr
I’ve been trying to go under 40 minutes since high school and I’ve come close on a few occasions, but it has remained an ellusive target. After I ran the half marathon in May, I knew I was fast enough and fit enough to break that barrier, and that this opportunity might not come again. I quickly signed up for the next 10 km race in Vancouver – MEC Race FIVE , a 10 km loop around the Stanley Park seawall in July.

Two months passed and summer got in the way of training. I didn’t run nearly as much as I should have. Ultimate Frisbee once a week was my best workout, and quick sprints don’t prepare you for a 10 km race.

On race day I had serious doubts about going under 40 minutes. Two weeks before I tried running race pace and could barely maintain it for 5 km. I told myself and my friends that the 40 minute milestone would have to wait. I was going to run a comfortable pace and enjoy the beautifully sunny and super hot morning in Stanley Park.

When the gun sounded, the adrenaline spiked and I quickly found myself racing along just behind the leaders. I ran the first kilometre in 3:26, the second in 3:41. I knew I couldn’t maintain that pace. I was almost a full minute ahead of my goal. I quickly reset my frame of mind. The 40 minute 10 km was achievable. I just had to settle into a steady 4 minute pace and hope I could sustain it for long enough.

KM SplitsI ran the next two kilometres around 4:00/km, but then I started to tire. My pace dropped to 4:13 and the time I had banked in the first 2 kilometres slowly faded away. By the 8 km mark it was all gone and I couldn’t will myself to go any faster. I was kicking myself for not doing more tempo training. I almost gave up mentally, but I noticed that my GPS watch, which I was using to track my pace, was way behind the kilometre markers on the course, by almost 200 meters. Either the course was short or my watch wasn’t tracking properly. Either way, there was still a chance I could run the race under 40 minutes.

That was enough to will me on. I picked up my pace for the last kilometre and crossed the finish line with an official time of 39:48. 8th place overall.

Achievement Unlocked

Official race results
GPS watch timing on Strava
MEC Race Five 2014-57

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Greater Vancouver Hike – Sea to Summit

Upper Shannon Falls Viewpoint
Date: July 1, 2014

Location: Squamish, BC (map)

Description: When a private company decided to build a gondola next to my favourite day hike, I was worried that a great recreational area would be turned into a tourist trap. Luckily, other than greater difficulty finding parking now, the changes have been overwhelmingly positive. The Sea to Sky Gondola opens up a lot of new recreational opportunities, including a great new one-way hike under the gondola from the base to the summit (the Sea to Summit Trail), plus it provides access to a number of hikes from the top.

The Sea to Summit Trail will inevitably be compared to the Grouse Grind, but they are nothing alike. The Grind is an gruelling workout, the Sea to Summit is a real day hike, with fabulous viewpoints, varied terrain, and spots to take enjoyable breaks. The only similarities with the Grind are the licensed patio at the top and the gondola waiting to bring you back to the bottom.

Sea to Summit Trailhead Crowded Chief Trail Passing under the Gondola Hiking Chain
The Sea to Summit trail follows a number of existing trails. The first trail marker is at the gondola base, but most hikers will start at the Chief or Shannon Falls. The trail follows the Lower Shannon Falls trail, climbs the staircases at the beginning of The Chief trail, and ascends the Upper Shannon Falls trail (trail map). The Chief trail is the steepest part of the hike and can get quite congested. Once the trail branches off to Upper Shannon Falls, it becomes less busy. The second half of the hike is virgin trail with more exposure to the sun. There are two options for getting to the summit, you can stay on the Sea to Summit trail or take Wrinkle Rock. We took Wrinkle Rock, which seemed like the more popular route. It is shorter but involves some steep, rocky sections with chains to help pull yourself up.
Old Logging Road Exposed to the Sun Sea to Summit Rope Climbing Finished the Hike

There are two great places to take a break near the midpoint of the hike. At the top of Shannon Falls there’s a spot where you can relax near the creek. 15 minutes further, there’s an excellent viewpoint of Howe Sound.
Upper Shannon Falls Rest Howe Sound View

Sea to Summit Elevation MapThe Sea to Summit is a moderately difficult hike. There are some long, steep sections that will get the heart pumping and a few areas where chains are needed to pull yourself up some rocky areas. The trail covers 6.6 km with nearly 1000 meters of elevation gain. We completed it in just under 4 hours, moving at a leisurely pace with lots of breaks. This isn’t the Grind, so you don’t have to feel like you’re racing up, although a few trail runners did pass us.

There’s a number of things to do once you get to the summit. Most hikers will want to head straight to the Summit Lodge, where there are washrooms, refreshments, and food. There’s also an amazing view from the patio, a suspension bridge, and a number of viewing platforms. Don’t expect to find lumberjack or birds of prey shows – it isn’t nearly as commercialized as Grouse Mountain (at least not yet).
Sea to Summit Patio Sea to Summit Suspension Bridge Suspension Bridge Posing

The summit provides access to several other hiking trails – ranging from some short and family friendly strolls to backcountry access to hardcore trails like Al’s Habrich Ridge Trail. The only one we did was the quick Panorama Trail. It’s more of a walk than a hike, but worth exploring for the epic Chief Viewing Platform, which gives you a sweeping view of Howe Sound and all three peaks of The Chief. It costs $10 to take the gondola down.
The Chief Viewing Platform

More trail descriptions on the Sea to Sky website and on Trailpeak.

Time: 5 hours if you want to enjoy yourself
Hiking the Sea to Summit Trail (including Wrinkle Rock): 3 hours
Lunch Break at Upper Shannon Falls: 30 minutes
Relaxing at the Summit: 30 minutes
Panorama Trail: 15 minutes (plus 15 minutes for pictures at The Chief Viewing Platform)
Gondola Descent: 15 minutes
Hike to the Parking Lot: 15 minutes

Transportation: It is only a 60 minute drive from Vancouver to the trail head. You can park at either Shannon Falls or The Chief parking lots. Avoid the Sea to Summit Gondola parking lot, as it has a 3 hour time limit. Directions.

Pictures: Sea to Summit Hike 2014
The Chief
Sea to Summit Hike Busy Chief on Canada Day Sea to Summit 1/4 Mark Sea to Summit Gondola With the Soft Rocks Rhea Hiking Upper Shannon Falls Jig Upper Shannon Falls Tight Squeeze Upper Shannon Falls Viewpoint At Upper Shannon Falls Lightning Strike Survivor View of the Gondola Narrow Trail False Summit Virgin Trail Hiking with Dogs Sea to Summit Gondola Sea to Summit Gondola Please Leash Your Dog End of Wrinkle Rock Sea to Summit Gondola Terminal Finished the Hike Sea to Summit Peak Area Beautiful Terminal Building Suspension Bridge Sea to Summit Hiking Board Chief Viewpoint Howe Sound Sea to Summit Gondola Sea to Summit Gondola Gondola Descent Wayward Hikers The Chief Sea to Summit Gondola View Sea to Summit Gondola

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Culver City Salads is Going Solar

going solar
Culver City Salads is a Vancouver food truck that serves up delicious, 100% vegan salads. They want to replace the gas generator they use to power their fridges with solar panels. Check out their indiegogo campaign where you can support them by buying a Salad Card.

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My Picks for Vision Vancouver Nominations

vision_candidates
There are so many talented individuals running for Vision Vancouver nominations for Park Board and School Board. I’m glad they’re giving members an opportunity to vote in open nominations. It’s weird how rare that is for civic parties. It was a tough choosing who to support, but I decided based on personal conversations, their websites, and endorsements. Here are my choices:

Parks Board

  1. Graham Anderson – passionate cyclist, founder of cargo bike delivery company Shift
  2. Brent Granby – super knowledgeable on civic issues, great twitter account
  3. Trish Kelly – local food advocate, brought Meatless Mondays to Vancouver
  4. Coree Tull – Double Rainbow Dodgeball, endorsed by Nathan Cullen

School Board

  1. Joy Alexander – experienced in the educational system, plus a cyclist and runner

Photo by Constance Barnes on twitter.

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5 Peaks – Alice Lake – My First Trail Run

2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-83
I ran the 5 Peaks – Alice Lake 11 km Enduro Race last Saturday. It was my first trail run and one of the hardest races I’ve ever done. The hills chewed me up and spat me out. But it was also one of the most scenic and gratifying races to finish.

5 Peaks
2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-7I have nothing but good things to say about the race organizers. The 5 Peaks race was easily the best organized and most fun running event I’ve been to. Kudos to the organizers. The pre-race emails were informative and funny; the race package included snazzy arm warmers (much better than yet another shirt); the course was well marked; and the post race festivities involved sunbathing, a dip in Alice Lake, and copious amounts of fresh fruit.

The Race
5 Peaks - Alice Lake
I started the race in the first wave, which may have been foolish but a few friends convinced me that’s where I belonged. I kept up with a lot of the runners, but it was my first real trail run, never mind my first trail race, and I was unprepared for the toll the hills would take. I was fine for the first 6 km, covering the rolling hills and steady uphill climb at a good pace. The 2 km descent down Credit Line was fun, but I felt like I was going stupidly fast, on the verge of wiping out, and I was still being passed by quite a few runners. I got good advice from a guy on my tail who told me to mimic the technique of one of the ladies who had just passed me – long strides with careful foot placement. I tried. I guess this is why people practice running trails before races.

After the long descent was a brutal uphill climb that felt like it would never end. I was glad I wasn’t the only one struggling to even walk up the hill. It took all my energy just to keep my legs moving. I was dehydrated and spent. Occasionally the trail would flatten out for a few meters, but it was difficult to get running again. Once the trail peaked, it immediately plunged back down. Near the bottom of the descent I rolled my ankle. Luckily the last 500 meters was on mostly level ground and I was able to keep running without much pain. My heart rate peaked at 194 bpm as I sprinted for the finish line.

I was worried about passing on the narrow, single track sections of the race, but it was surprisingly easy. When I heard someone running behind me I would slow down a bit and leave some space for them to pass. Most runners would yell “on your left” as they approached and “thank you” once they were by.

Photos
5 Peaks posted 434 photos on Flickr. Sadly, I’m not in any of them (need to work on my smile while running) but Scott and Simon are.
2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-200 2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-247 2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-107 2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-377 2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-136 2014 MB 5 Peaks BC Alice Lake-389

The Result
Time: 1:04:18
Overall: 33/223
Men 30-39: 14/41
Strava Activity
Full Results

Final Thoughts
I found trail running to be more fun than road racing, but a lot harder on my body. I’ll need to practice more and strengthen my ankles before I run another race. I guess it’s time to suck it up and ride the bus to the north shore mountains on the weekends. It’s just hard to justify hours on the bus when Vancouver’s nicest flat trail, the seawall, is seconds from my front door.

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