Slight delay in getting this blog uploaded as we’ve been away from an internet connection for the past while. We last left you with us about to set off north along the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. Another incredible road to add to the lengthening list of incredible roads we’ve driven. We spent a night in Jasper, spoiled ourselves on a big diner breakfast the next morning and set off west.
A day later, on the steep road down into Whistler we had our first car trouble. Sam’s inexperience with driving (before setting off on the trip he’d only driven once since passing his driving test, on flat rural roads in Iceland) was largely to blame for the four smoking, seized brakes that greeted us at the bottom of the mountain descent – we didn’t know that the T&C’s ‘L’ gear was meant to be used when descending steep slopes and so drove the 3-ton fully loaded minivan down the mountain solely on the breaks. Oops. We started joking about the fact that we at least made it to the other side of the country but to be honest, we all thought it would be the end of our beautiful trip. The car was towed to the nearest garage in Whistler – a place on the edge of town called Barney’s. There, we sullenly unpacked our gear to spend the night in a nearby campsite contemplating our options. Happily in the end, the mechanics simply needed to flush out our boiled brake fluid and top it off again. We were on the road towards Vancouver Island again the next morning, having found the name of our car, Barney.
That evening we had our very first view of the Pacific Ocean. As we drove north along the road to Tofino we had glimpses of it through the trees but it took until we arrived at our campground to get a proper view. Every night of the journey so far we’ve been following the setting sun west. At Tofino we ran barefoot down a sandy beach towards the ocean. In front of us the sun approached the horizon and we felt a quiet contentment knowing that we’d reached a huge milestone in our journey. We had driven across Canada, as far west as we could possibly go.
We slept that night within earshot of the waves rolling onto shore and woke the next morning to the same sound. After months of cold Canadian winter, Tofino became our little paradise. Sun, sea sand – it was perfect. We could stay there forever – all these feelings, just from our first morning in the campsite.
Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each Friday. Every month, we’ll be choosing a theme that fits with the Osprey lifestyle. It’s August which means it’s time to take advantage of the last weeks of summer, and what better way than getting in the water? This month we’re all about swimming holes, waterfalls, ocean breaks and waterways of all kinds. Welcome to the Osprey Friday Round-Up!
It’s the last Friday in August… how are you going to spend it? Out on the water hopefully!
The first steps toward carbon freedom were canoe trips on the Bitterroot River near my home in Missoula, Mont., with my friend Nick and his dog Katie. This was necessity, not environmentalism: Nick had a car, but no canoe; I had a canoe, but no car; and we both had bicycles. Attentive scouting revealed a 13-mile stretch between small towns in which the Bitterroot was paralleled not only by Highway 93 but also by a bike path. En route by car to the put-in, we left our bikes at the take-out; then, after floating, we cycled back to retrieve Nick’s Isuzu to take us home. Katie ran between us. Given her tendency to hop in and out of the canoe, the bike shuttle offered more than good exercise and great views of the Bitterroot Mountains: It gave us a chance to dry off after three hours of splashing.
Still, it felt wrong to drive at all. Enter the packraft. Sold by Alpacka, a small family firm in Mancos, Colo., the best packrafts are extremely durable, ultra-lightweight inflatable rafts designed expressly for those who want to reach river’s edge on trail mix alone. The simplest craft weighs just over three pounds and deflates to the size of a couple water bottles — perfect for stuffing in a backpack or bike bag. Because the raft then expands to roughly 3-by-5-feet, paddlers can fit not only themselves but also their disassembled bikes inside.
Speaking of rivers, did you hear that an enormous underground river was recently discovered in the Amazon? The massive water system is thought to stretch for 3,700 miles across the Amazon basin with an average width of about 200 miles. Wow, pretty cool.
Busting out the canoe this weekend? Gear Junkie has the gear list of gear lists if you’re headed for Boundary Waters. Hint: it requires hammocks and espresso.
And just because it’s Friday, we’ll leave you with this photo from surf photographer Clark Little that’s sure to get you off your couch, into your car and out to the waves.
A year ago to the day I stood on the bridge in downtown Missoula trying to get a good photo of kayakers surfing the standing wave. Now I’m deciphering the best method for getting up on surfboard without the dozens of spectators thinking I’m a joke.
I’ve been skiing for so long that I’ve never felt like I needed to learn the sport. I started off in ski school thanks to my parents at the ripe old age of three and have been on various teams since then. Now that I am trying to learn some new sports, I have come headlong into an issue: how do you do it?
As we’re speeding to the close of 2010, a lot of folks are starting to think about the last year — the adventures, the people and many times what they’ve missed out on. While these memories usually fuel the New Years resolutions of the next year, why not take some time to think about your bucket list? Yep, we’re talking about that list of things you want or need to do before you die.