Talent develops in tranquillity, character in the full current of human life. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
Hi Goils! Trust trip to Vancouver went well, Cora Lee. Been pretty busy ever since I waved goodbye to everyone.
I'm off to Market shortly. I told him I might not be here and he said that wouldn't matter as he would simply break-in, having much experience in this line of work! Lynne just called a few minutes ago and invited me to join them for a hockey game at 4:15 pm so I will go along. Curious to see the rink complex and have a visit with them. From what he said, they may well go back to Enderby on Sunday as their grandson's game is quite early that morning. Will know more after I see them, of course.
After market, I will stroll over to the Prague Café where the group Phantom rides with meet for java. Would like to meet some of the riders although not sure I want to ride with the Peleton, especially if they stop for coffee! On the house/trip front, not sure if you will have time or inclination, Cora Lee, but you might think of picking up a large bottle of olive oil and going to the bank to see about small rupee notes. Other than that, a couple of bottles of expensive malt, given your latest housewarming windfall! Fondestos, Much love, Cheers Dad/Patrizzio!
Hi Dustino! Great to bump into you at your day job! Ragin' Bull was a great help and we made a terrific start on shelving and replacing a window, aside from putting a dent in our wine cellar! On the cycling front, I'm trying to work my way up to Todd's level! Hope to see you, Dustino, behind tasting counter, not in lumber yard, before we leave for India on October 27th and/or you leave for Europe. Cheers, Patrizzio!
Pics: Tailgate with Cora Lee and Ragin' Bull; Do you know Elise Martin, daughter of owners La Frenz? She went to high school with Lindsey King, (now a librarian at UBC Okanagan), someone I worked with at the UBC Library. Louts at Quidni booth! Ragin' Bull with supervisor! Finished window and first set of shelves.
Pics: Hommage to Vivian Maier: Self-portraits with Specialized!
Up at 8:00 am for my Instante Regulare and worked away at email until Peter dropped by and we chatted about patio stairs project. Shortly after he left, I biked to Market. Had fun chatting with various vendors I've come to know, as well as friend Jake, (We went to United College in '65/'66.), and Murielle, one of the hiking group. I also chatted with Kate Hobbs who works at a vegetable stand. She and her husband are originally from Chesham and we have close friends, Pat and Jamie Gairdner, there. As they were off to England about three weeks ago I asked her to deliver a card to them. They did just that and so she had a picture for me of the delivery! Unfortunately, Jamie was not home as he was in Berlin, I believe, with the Bach Choir.
After Market I rode by the Prague Café and had a chat with my new cycling mate, John. We agreed we'd ride on Monday but by the time I was back home I realized I was planning to go hiking that day! Will send him a message and see if we can ride today or Tuesday. Lynne, (Barb, his wife, are both friends from Guyabitos, north of PV. They live in Enderby.), had called earlier that morning and invited me to join them for a hockey game around 4:15 pm. Their grandson was playing in a tournament and they had driven down on Friday to stay at an RV park nearbye.
After I was back at Base Camp I spent the rest of the afternoon putting up shelving above the hot water tank in the hallway closet, as well as installing shelving in the front entrance-way closet, the better to allow Imelda's shoes to be stored efficiently, as well as another shelf above metal coat rack fixture, the better able to store wicker baskets of gloves, scarves, wraps, and the like. Hadn't quite finished what I wanted to do in front closet when it was time to ride over to game. Was curious to see the rink complex and have a visit with the. Terrific to see them and meet their daughter, Kim, mother of Tristan, 15 year old hockey player. His team was ahead 7/1 when I was there so quite a polished group of lads, it seems.
Since they had not even visited with their grandson they declined coming over that night. They were all having dinner at Earl's after game and felt it would be too late to drop around afterwards. This being the case we arranged for them to come by for brunch this morning, before they drive back to Enderby.
Back home to finish shelving and clean up tools, etc. afterwards. Had a bowl of squash for dinner and then went to bed around 11:30 pm as I was quite sleepy by then.
Hi Photo as promised. Kate
Hi Kate: Just a quick note to thank you for the snap of Patricia as well as your Post Mistress duties. Both much appreciated! Since you didn't meet Jamie, I've included a few pictures taken when he visited me in Languedoc, in September of 2012. Hope to see you at last few Markets. Cheers, Patrizzio!
Our first day trekking we climbed 1115 m and down 40 m (it felt comparable to climbing Grouse Mountain 2 or 3 times) with our campsite at 3100 m. It was an incredibly hard day. It is amazing how elevation can really slow you down, every step uphill was exhausting and we had to stop often. We were told we were lucky cause the group who left the day before had to turn back due to the heavy rains. Not so sure we are lucky as we slogged through thick mud trails slipping all the way up.
Lunch consisted of a cheese and tomato sandwich, baked potato and fried chicken, always with juice and hot tea or coffee. Recovery was pretty quick when you stopped for a couple of minutes, but the break did not energize us enough for the next 2 hours. We trekked through beautiful pine forests although most of the time we spent carefully watching each step. Campsite was a welcome site with hot tea and cookies awaiting our arrival. Dinner after hiking always tastes delicious - fried potatoes, swiss chard with garlic, red rice, pork with carrots, cauliflower, green beans and cabbage. Everyone was in bed by 8 pm.
The second day our trek begins uphill through a huge rhododendron forest. We trekked for 17 km, ascending 425 m and descending 50m. Campsite was 3650 m. Thought the day would be easier but wishful thinking. One younger couple, about 35 years, had to turn back. They were really fit, working out every day, but Ike was suffering from altitude sickness and the diamox was not taking affect. We trekked up and down for 4 hours before stopping for lunch at noon. Clouds rolled in and we ate lunch standing in the pouring rain. Lunch was chicken, red rice, white rice, potatoes, squash, chilies cooked in cheese and spicy fiddle heads. We were supposed to reach our campsite in 4 hours, but because of the rain filled mud trails, it took us almost 5 1/2 hours, some took 6 1/2 hours. Our campsite was in the middle of a swamp and the worst of it was having to find the toilet tents in the middle of the night as the rain continued all night.
Day 3 and still no sign of sun. Some comments heard throughout the day: Ute (who was with us on the Annapurna trek) "Isn't it a shame we can't enjoy the scenery!." Tracy - "Who said this is a moderate trek?" Mike - "This is comparable to skiing a black diamond run!" Stephen - "What the F___ am I doing here when I could be sitting in front of a fire drinking scotch!"
Every one here who has trekked the Annapurna base camp has said this trek is way harder. Another couple had to drop out of the trek this morning - Katherine was totally exhausted and couldn't take another step. We started the day still climbing, but with all the rain, paths turned into muddy creeks and creeks turned into rivers. It is very difficult walking through ankle deep mud wondering if your boot will stay on. Reached the peak at 4200 m but couldn't see anything because it never cleared up. Finally caught site of our camp and got so excited thinking it was only another 15 minutes away.
But then we had to cross this freezing raging river hopping over very unstable rocks. Got through that only having to climb onto boulders 2 - 3 feet high. Finally to get to camp we had to wade through another swamp - total of 45 minutes. I was so cold by the time we reached camp that I couldn't stop shaking. Ted had to help me get out of my wet clothes, into dry clothes and into the sleeping bag with our water bottle filled with hot water. It took over an hour before my teeth stopped chattering. Later found out that Marian was suffering the same. Camp site today was at 3600 m. Took us about 8.5 hours.
[Patrick James Dunn Hi Kids! Great shots! When I was in St John's in 2007, with Sarge, staying with Peggster and Mr Fixit, I rode up twice. Each time I could never see the city, as fog, in May, was so thick that I couldn't even see my arm in front of me! Fortunately I had had so much Screech that i could ride blind, blind drunk that is! Great to see view so thanks for snaps! Cheers!]
Day 4 was to be the longest day at 6 or 7 hours. Bhutan is not very experienced in the trekking industry so the times they estimate are usually 1 & 1/2 times longer. One person did make it to camp in 9 hours but most took 10 hours - we took 11 hours. The morning started fairly easy at 3600 meters but 5 hours later we were still at 3600 meters after climbing up and down treacherous landscapes. At one point, our guide rolled up his pant legs and hopped into the river with his boots on, to help us cross a very fast flowing river. We walked along 12" wide muddy mountain ridges where you had to walk slanted into the mountain for fear of going over the cliffs. Today was really tough on me as I was struggling with my breathing at around 11 am. The headache I had earlier was getting worse. Then the dizziness started and nausea and suddenly I had no energy whatsoever. Each step my muscles just totally gave way. I took ibuprofen and drank some electrolytes but for the next hour I could barely take 1 step at a time. Some of those steps were either climbing or descending 2 or 3 feet heights. After 7 hours we finally reached another 4200 m peak and began our descent down to 3500 m. Even then we still had to climb up & down. Unlike the Nepalese Sherpas and guides, the Bhutanese guides do not stay with you unless you are in real trouble (and only if they know ahead of time - as with another young couple who struggled today). So not having any guides close, Stephen, Ted & I got lost. You are told to always look for horse or mule dung and follow that path as there are no signs anywhere. Well at one junction, we took a wrong turn because we thought we could see someone's footprints and pole marks on the trail. It turned out to be a steep path up to a temple heading the opposite direction from camp. One part of the trail we had to drop our poles down, hang onto a limb of a tree and swing down to the muddy path. It was getting dark by this time and feeling pretty scary. It was so misty that you couldn't see very far ahead, so we started yelling for anyone close by. Finally about 5 pm, one of the guides came up to meet us and got us down to camp an hour later. Another 4 people arrived shortly after us. But the worst was one woman still hadn't arrived by 7:30 pm. One guide was with her the entire time, but they sent 3 others back up to find them. One of the guides ended up carrying her the whole way down to camp, arriving at 10:00 pm in total darkness. Although our itinerary said it was a 11 km trek today, it was actually 23.5 km. They measure distance from point a to b but do not take into consideration all the ups and downs or winding curves. There had been some talk of taking a shorter trail earlier in the day but the paths were knee deep in mud and totally unpassable.
Our last day - hurrah! It was only to be a 2 hour decline but we knew it would be 3 - 4 hours. Wanted to get a group picture before we left but dropped the camera face down in the mud. Most cameras not working anyways because of the moisture. We took it quite slow going down, but by now everyone had fallen or slipped at least once during the trek. We were all covered in mud from head to toe and after only having a wash basin to bathe in once a day for the past 5 days, the group were pretty rank. It began to rain so the mud trails were starting to turn into gushing rivers. Again we were clinging to branches and swinging down. At some points it was easier just to sit in the mud and slide down. The horses and mules carrying all the camping equipment were also sliding down the trails. When you heard them coming, you had to quickly try to get out of their way or you could easily be tossed over the edge. It was worse on the trails following the horses because the paths became muddier or slippier. By the time we reached the end, everyone had sore knees or hamstrings or aching bodies.
So although it sounds really tough, it most certainly was. Do we recommend this trek? Definitely not. It was an experience none of us will forget and will give us lots to talk about for years to come, but I think it may be time to hang up our hiking boots. But don't get me wrong - we are pretty proud of ourselves that we survived fairly unscathed, and every evening when we reached camp, the camaraderie we shared was pretty amazing. Great group to be with - special moments and tons of laughter. Next time we want to see giant rhododendron forests and the Himalayas, we will google them.
Ted's knees held out great, but his toes are not looking too good with all the blisters. We're looking forward to sitting on a bus for the next couple of days while we tour Bhutan and then on to India. Love to all, and miss you all more than you know. Our swampy campsite. Somewhere behind us are the Himalayas. Having lunch. What most days looked like.
Thanks, Patrick. That's great and I am looking forward to see you on the 17th and 18th. The Aunt Leah's event is at the St. Mary's Ukrainian Cultural Centre, is it not?
Thanks for taking care of tickets, and absolutely, Greg and I will support the silent auction and/or make a separate donation to Aunt Leah's. I might hit my mother up for a donation too. I mentioned that Greg and I would be going to this and she knew all about Aunt Leah's, and said that it's a good place. And she is discerning about such things, having been very engaged in church and community initiatives such as a homeless ministry and the Coast Mental Health facility at Dunbar and 18th. In all honesty, prior to Chloe's involvement, I had not heard of Aunt Leah's! The latest issue of Granta is India-themed so I will endeavour to read it in time to lend to you. See you soon. Janet
Hi Janet! So pleased to hear that your mother knows about Aunt Leah's, engaged in good works as she is. Any support of AL will be much appreciated so thanks, in advance. I'm sure Cora Lee, (She is in Vancouver for her Book Club tonight. Grogg and Lurch were here on Thursday night and dropped her off, en route to Parksville, on Friday. She and Chloë went to hear Chris Hedges that evening. She will bus back tomorrow.), will be keen as mustard, so to speak, on Granta as well, so thanks, but only if it works out. Take care of yourself. Chat soon, I trust. Fondestos from Lady Mary, in absentia, to you, Janet. Cheers, Patrizzio!