TWIR #119: hot, hot, hot

Summer took a stronghold on the Okanagan this week and man was it hot hot hot. I’m not complaining. I’ve found that as long as I’m not directly in the sun’s rays, I can actually tolerate the mid-30s heat. It’s quite nice to sit in the shade and still feel the heat. That said, the heat still interferes with outdoor workouts in a big way. Typically easy walks start to feel like major challenges and I’ll spend hours trying to quench my thirst after any outdoor adventures. On the plus side, I suppose I’m drinking a lot more water than I used to. Alas, let’s see what the week had in store.

Saturday
Activity: mini hike
Relevant Stats: 5.5 km
Observations:  I dragged my parents up a short-but-moderately-challenging viewpoint trail close to home. It was already hella hot depsite only being mid-morning, but on the plus side their was more shade on the trail than I remembered.  We also took a stroll downtown after our hike, and refuelled our tanks with beer and appies.  After nearly a full day in the sunshine, I was exhausted by about 7pm and struggled to do anything other than sit on my patio staring off at the hillside. That’s the mark of a good day, though, right?

Sunday
Activity: family walk (i.e. rest day)
Relevant Stats: 4.6 km
Observations: Although I’m not considering this a workout day, it was a good slog uphill and felt infinitely harder because of the heat. There’s even a giant staircase at the start of this trail, and obviously stairs = legitimate exercise. I made my father walk through tall grass, though, which he did not enjoy given his life-long fear of ticks. I also dragged them up to another viewpoint because, well, I suddenly felt the urge to show them everything they could possible want to see in our new town.  It was exhausting but I am pleased to share we all emerged unscathed (at least physically) and enjoyed an otherwise quiet Sunday at home.

Monday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 35 min.
Observations: A weekend of outdoor and sunshine time left me feeling all sorts of tired on Monday. I tried my best in my workout but I am not sure that it was all that challenging. I’ll give myself one point for making it to the gym, but zero points for pushing myself.  That’s still a net positive, though. Otherwise, I spent the day hiding from the sunshine and heat.

Tuesday
Activity: mini hike
Relevant Stats: 40 min./4.3 km
Observations:  Tuesday in a nutshell was so. very. hot. And yet we still chose an outdoor workout, because who really wants to go to the gym when it’s gorgeous out? We hit the local trails for a short loop. While not particularly tough, I promise you that the heat made it seem like Everest. It was a welcome relief from an incredibly long and busy work day, but at least I was able to do some of my work from my shady (and yet still super hot) patio.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: This week’s torture was bear crawl squares, which is when you do bear crawls forwards, then sideways, then backwards, then sideways in the opposite direction. They were as unpleasant as they sound. She also doubled down on walking lunges by making me do them for not one but two lengths of the track and with more weight than usual. I have said it before and I will say it again: walking lunges for one length of track is okay but two lengths is not.

Thursday
Activity: strength training + trail walk
Relevant Stats: 45 min. strength + 40 min. on the trail
Observations: I had to make this an early morning workout, which you know I hate.  I planned to focus on my arms, but sometimes when I’m tired working on my legs just seems so much easier and more appealing. So, as I’m sure you’ve deduced, I ended up mostly doing leg work.  My most proud accomplishment of the day, though, was heading out after work, in the extreme heat and slightly smokey air no less, to hit the trails. It was hot as hell, I felt like I was going to die from thirst, but I still did the full loop. And then I ate a bunch of ice cream. Sigh.

Friday
Activity: unplanned rest days
Relevant Stats: shopping + golf + pizza
Observations: Look, I’m not one to make excuses so I’ll spare you the rationalizations. I felt like taking a rest day so I took a rest day. Sometimes I just have to listen to my body. So instead of working out, I did a couple hours of work in the morning, went to find some shorts because this week of heat has taught me that I do not own enough shorts for this climate, and watched a lot of British Open coverage. And I don’t even feel guilty about it, which tells me it was the right call.

And with that the weekend is here in full swing. On my docket, I’ve got some hiking, some golf (playing), some more golf (watching) and some good old-fashioned lazy time. I’m also pleased to announce that we’ll get a brief reprieve from the heat in our neck of the woods, which is always nice every once in a while.  Hope that your weekends are similarly balanced with fun and activity. Happy weekend y’all.

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Mid-Week Tangent: cake-ploration returns with the real cake of my dreams

It’s been a long, long while since my last cake-ploration. In fact, I’d all but given up on ever finding the perfect chocolate cake. As it turns out, I didn’t need to scour every bakery under the sun to find the perfect chocolate cake because it was right in my family the entire time.  My mother, wonderful woman that she is, baked a chocolate cake for my 39th birthday and lovingly transported it all the way from Alberta to BC, and I am here to tell you that it is hands down the best chocolate cake I have ever had. Without further adieu, let’s cake-plore this cake!

I mean, the photos suck, but check out that frosting.
So excited to eat it, I got part of my finger in the photo.

What was it: a classic double-layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

Where’d it come from?: Yes, I know I told you it came from my mother, but my mother, while a fabulous baker, is not a recipe developer. And while she baked this cake with love, she also baked it with inspiration:

–the cake itself was Ina Garten’s Beatty’s Chocolate Cake . It combines two classic moist makers: vegetable oil and buttermilk. Ina knows her cake and brownies, y’all. And her chicken. Really, just try Ina.

–the frosting deviated from Ina’s recipe because I am not one for all the fancy trappings of certain frostings. I’m certain my mother either used a recipe from an ancient Five Roses Flour cookbook or possibly the back of the Rogers’ powdered sugar bag. Either way it’s a classic american-style buttercream  frosting and that is exactly what my simple palate most desires.

What made it magical: Aside from the fact that my mother made it for me even though she actually does not enjoy baking layer cakes, what made this cake magical is its supreme moistness and simplicity. As mentioned above, Ina is a baking goddess. Between the recipe itself, which I also forgot to mention includes an entire cup of freshly brewed coffee, and my mother’s somewhat excessive investment in Bernard Callebaut cocoa powder, the cake is rich, chocolately, ultra tender and supremely moist. Even a full five days after its baking, it continues to deliver on moistness and flavour. That, my friends, is quality cake.

My mother also understands what no bakery will ever understand about me (nor why should they as they don’t exist merely to cater to my frosting preferences): I like my frosting insanely sweet and I like an atrociously nauseating amount of it. This cake is perfect because it delivers on ultra sweet and lavishly thick frosting. There’s so much frosting that the first night, when I cut a positively massive piece for myself, I actually had a moment when I thought it was too much frosting for me. This has never once happened in my life. I’ve since decided it is not too much frosting, but rather the perfect amount, so long as I eat a normal person’s portion. Though difficult to show that level of restraint, I’ve managed to keep my portion size more moderate since the first serving. When consumed in moderation, it is simply the best cake ever.

I’m sorry that you can’t experience the wonder of this cake for yourself. Although, as I type this, I wonder if you really wanted it and could express your genuine-and-bordering-on-obsessive desire to have a perfect chocolate cake of your very own, would my mother perhaps acquiesce and ship one to you? It may be more plausible than I think.  I make no promises, but it might be worth a shot, right?

p.s. If you’re curious about this cake-ploration business, you can read alllll about it here, here, here, here, here, here , and one more here. Yeah, I’ve eaten a lot of cake.

Training Tuesdays: lesser considered risks of outdoor workouts during summer

When I think of the risks of outdoors workouts during the summer, I think of things like heat stroke, sunburn, dehydration, maybe even a bear encounter. But today I’m here to warn you about a lesser considered risk of the outdoor summer workout: sudden and incredibly painful bug bites.

Don’t laugh. This is a real thing, and I have many, many examples to prove just how terrifying and traumatizing it can be.  I’m not talking about run-of-the-mill mosquito bites. Sure, they’re annoying and itchy and I’ve known some people who even develop some very disconcerting welts from mosquito bites, but you don’t feel a mosquito bite when it happens. Other insects are not so gentle. Still don’t believe me?

Exhibit A: the nostril bee sting event
While running through one of Vancouver’s city parks, minding my own business (a recurring theme in all my stories, I assure you), I somehow managed to inhale sharply at the exact same time as a bee flew past my nose. I also inhaled with such force that the bee ended up lodged in my nostril where, quite naturally, it absolutely freaked out and stung the inside of my nostril before I was able to exhale with enough force to dislodge it. It was terrifying, particularly because it was my first bee sting and I didn’t know if I’d be allergic. I can still vividly recall both the pain, and wondering whether any cars would even stop if I were to suddenly collapse from on an allergic reaction on the sidewalk of the Stanley Park causeway.

Exhibit B: the first wasp sting incident
While descending one of the most brutally steep and unpleasant trails in the Fraser Valley, in the heat, and by myself because my friend had left me in the dust, a wasp decided to worsen an already hellish day on the trail by stinging me through my hiking pants. I felt a surprisingly sharp and painful sensation in the tender flesh of my upper thigh and the little bastard had the nerve to stay there, affixed to my pant leg (and possibly my leg too). At least I was able to exact revenge by swatting it off and crushing it with the sole of my hiking boot. I spent the next 30 minutes wondering, once again, if I was having some sort of allergic reaction, convincing myself that my tongue was swelling and breathing was becoming more laboured. It was not, but you still begin to wonder if you might pass out in the middle of the woods never to be found again. It wasn’t that well travelled a trail, after all.

Exhibit C: the second wasp sting incident
This isn’t truly a workout-related incident as I was actually just casually walking in my neighborhood. Still, the perils are no less real. Imagine standing at an intersection waiting to cross the street, not moving in any aggressive manner, not violating any insect’s sense of space. Now imagine being viciously stung on your upper arm, through two layers of clothing no less. This particular sting left a puffy, painful red splotch on my arm for well over a week. I never feared wasps until that very moment, and now assume they are all out to get me.

Exhibit D: the flying ant bite
The latest of my random and deceptively painful bites occurred this very past weekend. I was out with my parents, showing them some of our local trails. We had almost fully descended and the end was so very close to being in sight. And then I felt it: a sharp, sudden, excruciatingly painful bite on the side of my neck. Of course, I then somehow got the culprit tangled into my shirt/backpack strap while trying to slap it away, leading to a rather melodramatic freakout. My mother, thankfully, remained calm and managed to get the offending insect off me. And wouldn’t you know it was a flying ant?  I did not know that flying ants bit people, I did not appreciate it in the slightest, and it certainly hurt more than I would imagine an ant bite hurting.

Clearly the bugs are out to get me, and I’ve now presented some compelling evidence that you best be on the lookout for all manner of biting and stinging insects while embarking on outdoor summer workout adventures. You may think it can’t happen to you, but I assure you it can. Stay bug safe out there, my friends.

TWIR #118: birthday week!

It has been a grand birthday week. In my great tradition of maximizing birthday celebrations, I had an entire pre-birthday weekend, followed by my actual birthday, then followed by a post-birthday weekend visit from my parents. I consider it a great feat that, at the age of 39, I have still been able to maintain this level of birthday buzz. Despite all the celebration (i.e. cake and gelato and all the other things), I have not let my workouts fall by the wayside. Here’s what I got up to.

Saturday
Activity: mini-hike
Relevant Stats: 5 km
Observations:  We kicked off my birthday weekend with a quick getaway to one of my favourite places: Revelstoke. When we arrived, the weather was questionable, which wasn’t so much an issue except for that the Mountain Coaster (!!!!!) was on weather hold because of the rain. Thankfully this allowed us time to stroll through the farmer’s market where I discovered home-made stroopwafels (yes, I had to get one).  We then decided to take a chance on heading to the ski hill and we timed it perfectly. We got our tickets to the mountain coaster just as the weather hold was lifted, waited a mere 15 minutes, and then were blazing down the side of the mountain in our tiny and terrifying little cars. After the ride, we found two short trails at the upper gondola. While the views weren’t great, it was nice to be in the high alpine, smelling all the fresh air and trees, and getting some exercise. We then headed to our hotel where we discovered that the local brewery had moved to within walking distance of our hotel (extra impressive since we were staying at a place slightly outside of town!). There may have been birthday flights and birthday pretzels with beer, cheddar, and bacon sauce. I have no regrets.

Sunday
Activity: hike
Relevant Stats: 9.4 km
Observations: We awoke to vast blue skies and sunshine, which of course meant MORE HIKING! We drove up to the Roger’s Pass Summit to visit one of my absolute favourite hiking areas.  We picked a relatively easy trail at Illicilliwaet campground, partly for its ease, but also because it was one of the few trails that was totally snow free.  There was, however, a bear warning, for grizzly encounters no less, so we had to make a lot of noise as we hiked. Well, that and also there were about 40 other hikers on the trail throughout the day, which is way more people than I’ve ever seen while hiking in that area.  I forgot how much I loved the mountains in this area. Sigh. It was a spectacular hike and we got in and out before the clouds started to roll in.  On our way home, we tried to stop into the brewery for more beer and some nachos that had looked amazing when we saw other people order them the day before, but sadly they weren’t open on Sunday. Small towns, sigh. But it was a wonderful birthday weekend regardless and my heart was full from being in so much nature.

Monday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: Ain’t nobody got time to take a rest day on her actual birthday! Plus after a weekend of trail happiness, I was excited to focus on strength again. I hit the gym for some leg and glute work to balance out the weekend’s cardio and loosen up some tight muscles. And it worked. It was a solid workout, with some birthday box jumps for good measure. And then we enjoyed a gourmet birthday dinner of grilled hot dogs, cider and gelato bars.  Considering I had to work on my birthday, which I loathe, it was still a great day.

Tuesday
Activity: rest day
Relevant Stats:  mid-afternoon walk + so much Staircase
Observations: Tuesday was jammed with meetings so I’d planned to make it my rest day so I wouldn’t have to cram a workout in at a less desirable time. Still, we managed to get out for a mid-afternoon walk in the relatively cool weather. We also watched many, many episodes of the  Staircase which, if you haven’t watched, is completely engrossing. I’d seen a 48 Hours Mystery or Dateline episode about this murder case years ago and it had stuck with me. I hadn’t known until recently that there was an entire 13-episode series on Netflix that dives deeply into the case and the life of the man accused. We couldn’t stop ourselves from watching. You should too.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: My sciatic nerve was feeling a little touchy when I arrived at my trainers and, while she respected that, she didn’t take it easy on me.  In fact, I had to skip. Ugh. I haven’t skipped in years now. All the bouncing used to aggravate my SI like nobody’s business. Now that my SI is in a better place, it doesn’t hurt to skip anymore, but damn it is hard.  However, I discovered one of my most useless life talents: I am an incredibly coordinated skipper. I skipped the full sets without tripping up the rope. I may not be graceful and coordinated anywhere else in life, but I’ve got skipping in the bag.

Thursday
Activity: cardio warmup + strength
Relevant Stats: 10 min. spin + 30 min. strength
Observations: Ugh, I had to do a morning workout to fit it into my day. Morning workouts are so rare these days that my body is just completely unprepared for being forced into doing anything without being generously plied with coffee and food.  Still, I tried. I biked to try to wake my legs up, then did some solid leg and shoulder work.  I made it home just in time for work, and then powered through the day before my parents arrived to celebrate my post-birthday weekend. If you’re wondering whether my mother brought the most thickly frosted home-made chocolate cake ever along with her, you’d be correct. I love birthdays.

Friday
Activity: hike
Relevant Stats: 12 km (!!)
Observations: Another hike! If you are counting, this made for three this week alone. We had brilliant blue skies and insane heat (well, I find anything above 25 to be insane), so I took my parents to a trail that’s well-shaded so we wouldn’t all melt. While the trail wasn’t particularly challenging, it had a fair bit of uphill and it was the longest trail I’d done in quite a while so I patted myself on the back for it.

And now it’s the weekend and we have at least one more mini-trail adventure on the horizon, more cake to be eaten, and more celebrations in the name of me to be made. Hurray! Happy weekend to all of you. May you find yourself surrounded by family and friends, good times and at least a little bit of summery sunshine.

Mid-Week Tangent: the mountain adventure you didn’t know you needed

Ahhh, the mountains. The mountains bring silence, solitude, and communion with nature. They provide the perfect breeding ground for adventure, be it hiking, biking, climbing, or mountaineering…or roller coasters?  Yes, that’s right, I said roller coasters. Down a mountain.

While most of us, myself included, go to the mountains to take a step away from civilization, now you can buck all that nature crap and fly down a mountain, loosely tethered to a metal track, at speeds of 42 km/hour. And I have to say, even as someone who legitimately loves nature, you need this coaster in your life.  For the not-at-all-bargain price of $23, you will get 3-4 minutes of sheer terror masquerading as fun.

Let me start by saying that I absolutely adore a good roller coaster. The bigger, faster and more terrifying the better. But here’s the thing I realized riding this relatively tame mountain coaster: apparently I have a lot more faith in roller coaster engineers than mountain coaster engineers.  Also, most modern roller coasters have you so strapped in that the element of risk seems incredibly low.  On this little number you are out there, by yourself, loosely belted in to a tiny little toboggan style sled that barely seems to contain a grown adult. Translation: it does not feel safe.

The track itself is this narrow piece of metal that hardly seems designed for this type of ride. I am sure it has been rigourously tested, but the rational mind rarely influences the emotional mind that screams: I AM GOING TO FLY OFF THIS TRACK…and not only might I fly off the track, but we are in bear country which means my badly bruised and broken body has the added risk of becoming a lunch time grizzly snack. Yes, this is the way my mind works.

Despite going at speeds that I don’t correlate with being overly fast (the maximum is 42/km hour, and that assumes that you don’t pull back on the accelerator at all), when you throw in more than a handle of hair-pin turns on a tiny track, it feels faster and more dangerous than any roller coaster I’ve been on in years. Thankfully you do get to choose your own adventure in terms of speed and. You have a throttle that allows you to decelerate to a near crawl should you choose to, or to go blazing down the mountain at full speed like you have a death wish or at least no healthy sense of fear.

Me? I told my partner that he had to ride in the car behind me so I could go as fast as I wanted because he said he was scared. In the back my mind, though, I sort of wondered if I’d chicken out and did I ever. The second I launched myself out of the starting gate, I was pulling that throttle back like nobody’s business, petrified of taking a turn at full speed. My partner on the other hand? I could hear him hooting and hollering with glee. And he caught up with me. Sigh.

If it sounds like I thought this ride was awful, I assure you it’s the polar opposite. It was freaking fantastic. It was terrifying, mind you, but it was fantastic. Had it not come with a $23 price tag per ride, you bet your ass I would’ve spent the entire day riding that thing until I worked up the nerve to do it completely sans breaks. Alas, I only had my one opportunity (this year, at least). But to any thrill seekers out there, this thing looks tame on the surface, but I promise you it’s a mountain adventure worth having.

Monday Musings: on 39

Today marks the occasion of my 39th birthday, otherwise known as the last year of my 30s. I don’t care if a million other people out there don’t think that turning 40 is a big deal. I am not looking forward to it.  In general, aging is not something I enjoy pondering. To me, aging is a reminder of my mortality and who really wants to consider her own mortality, lest of all on her birthday?  I know, it’s a bummer of way to start a post. I promise you, I don’t plan to whine and lament about growing older. Not in the least.

In fact, my 39th birthday week has been nothing short of wonderful. There have been surprises, a mini-road trip to one of my favourite mountainous regions, three consecutive days of trail adventures, cake, gelato, and lots of extra quality time with my favourite person.  I cannot complain about that. And thus, this will not be a whine-fest.

On this, my 39th birthday and final year of my 30s, instead I choose to reflect on what I view differently leaving my 30s than I did when entering my 30s. It’s hard to go back in the old memory bank and recall myself as a plucky 30 year old, but I shall do my best.

When I turned 30 I believed that your career was something you ‘figured out’ and in which everything would neatly fall into place once that ‘figuring out’ was done.  At 39, I see career as something infinitely more fluid. I see career changes as par for the course. As someone with diverse interests and skills, I cannot imagine limiting myself to just one thing forever.

When I turned 30 I used to think that having a life meant going out, more specifically to bars, and always being part of a social scene.  I used to feel almost shameful turning down plans to stay home, so much so that I would often go out because I felt I should…and then spend the better portion of an evening longing to be doing something else. At 39, I see life as all the small moments of contentedness, whether they be at home or out. I certainly have no desire to hang out in bars. Pyjamas are just way more comfortable.

When I turned 30 I used to think that I had to kill myself to be fit. I equated fitness with hours logged, which is why I’d hike 40-50 km in a day, or run 20+ km at a time, or work out on my lunch break and after work. Ugh. I cannot imagine such obsessiveness-feigning-as-devotion at this stage of my life. My focus at 39 is maintaining enough strength and endurance to increase my odds of a long and happy life without giving up time with those I love just to work out.

When I turned 30 I thought I would never buy a house and I am currently sitting on the patio of a house that belongs (almost in full!) to me. You know what? It’s not so bad.  I mean, it helps that we’re not saddled with a horrifyingly large mortgage, but it’s also because I’m more content to settle somewhere and make a longer-term home.

When I turned 30 I thought that I would never end up in a relationship. I’ve been incredibly lucky to spend the last 3 years with the very best person (for me), someone who makes every day and even the most mundane things the most fun I can imagine. The most fun.

See? I promised this wouldn’t be a whine fest. So far, 39 is looking pretty good, despite my lingering fears of aging, so I’m going to raise a glass of wine or beer or cider (or perhaps one of all three) and celebrate this day in style: with a gelato bar that I’ve somehow managed to save for three whole days.  And if that’s not a sign of maturity from aging, I don’t know what is.

TWIR #117: short weeks that feel long

I had a three day work week this week, and it felt like the longest week ever. I was tired, grumpy and completely unmotivated the entire week, at work and in life. My greatest accomplishment this week was booking a (much needed) hair appointment. So, while my energy and productivity were at all-time lows, at least I got rid of several inches of dead, dry and frizzy hair. Small wins.

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: 7 km walk…to get beer and appies
Observations: I considered not making this my rest day, but it was cool and overcast and a lazy morning sounded infinitely better than a workout. So that’s exactly what I did. But we did go for a 7 km walk…it’s just that it was to get a beer and deep fried pickles. Still, it was better than driving to drink beer and eat deep fried food, right? Right.

Sunday
Activity: hike
Relevant Stats: 7 km
Observations: Cool weather and intermittent rain made this hike much less exhausting than our usual weekend hikes. We had to park in a different lot because we went so late, so we also got some extra distance this time around.  We finished off the day with some seriously epic golf watching (i.e. one european tour final and one PGA tour final). Laziness is totally justified after a short hike, right? Right. Am I fooling anyone other than myself?

Monday
Activity: stairs
Relevant Stats: 33 min.
Observations: This was not a good stair day. I felt like I was dying. The only thing that saved me was that it was cold out. But by the 25 minute mark I was ready to call it quits. I managed to force myself into a few more sets, until my legs were starting to shake during rest periods. I figured that was a sign that I had done enough. I rewarded myself with a new bathing suit and a flashy flamingo beach towel. Okay, those weren’t really rewards for my workout, but I was pretty excited about the flamingo beach towel. It’s actually meant for children, but that can be our little secret.

Tuesday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations:  My SI had been causing me grief since Sunday, not in a crippling way but just a minor-but-annoyingly-present way.  I tried to fix it with careful glute and leg work, but it didn’t do me any good this time around. Single leg squat jumps did me in and I proceeded to feel sorry for myself for the rest of the workout because I had to start taking it easier.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: Two words: hammer curls. Ugh. I just don’t understand my trainer’s need to make me use my biceps. They are just not designed to lift weight. I was only using 20 pound weights and it felt like my arms were going to fall off. Seriously, after six I actually couldn’t force my arms to curl. I think my trainer finally took pity on me and believed I wasn’t faking, because she let me downgrade to 15 pound weights. Other than that, the session was an exercise in playing it safe since my SI was still having issues.

Thursday
Activity: cardio + strength
Relevant Stats: 30 min. spin + 25 min. strength
Observations: The legs were not enjoying spin. I was amazed that I made it a half hour on the bike. Even hills weren’t panning out and I am always game for hill sets.  Thankfully my strength training somehow managed to loosen up all the tight muscles that have been causing my SI grief, so at least there’s that.  I finished my day with my aforementioned haircut, and although it rid me of a lot of my hair, it is easily the worst haircut I’ve had in a decade. The girl was very, very nice, but she did not understand the subtle intricacies of my hair. Related: I miss my old stylist and regret not booking an appointment when I was last in Vancouver.

Friday
Activity: hike
Relevant Stats: 5.5 km
Observations: It was cloudy when we left the house but the sun came out blazing the second we hit the trail. It was a hot one out there but we made quick work of a short trail so that we could commence birthday weekend celebrations for my birthday week. Because if you’re not doing a whole birthday week, you’re doing your birthday wrong.

And now that birthday weekend is in full swing, I’m in my happy place. I have not one but two of my favourite gelato bars in the freezer (don’t worry, I won’t eat them both at the same time) and we’re heading to the mountains for a quick overnight tomorrow. Even if it’s not your birthday, hope you all find some weekend joy over these next few days. Happy weekend, y’all.