we decided to leave richmond at 6am, so i should have gone to bed early. but instead i stayed up. i'm dumb like that. i cleaned and did my laundry, vaccuumed, waxed (ahem) and searched high and low for my memory card--found at the very end in, of all places, my camera bag. what a dirty trick. finally at 1:30 am i put myself to bed.
5:30 came cruelly fast. i dressed myself like so: 1.turquoise bathing suit 2.blue/turquoise leggings 3. wool kitten leg warmers (wool keeps you warm even when wet, so way to go laura) (and i just read that and it sounds like either the legwarmers are for kittens or made from kittens. make your own conclusions) 4. sporty wick away shirt with long sleeves and thumb holes 5. navy fleece. i took my fleece pants with me for later. the shoes were a conudrum because i didn't have winter boots except the ones edith left that barely fit me and so i wore my runners, but brought the boots. i also wore socks, don't think i didn't.
i was fifteen minutes late to meet lindsay in our work parking lot. her dad let us use his suv. thanks donaldo! we picked up pascale in front of her upscale olympic village apartment building. she brought snow shoes and snow poles for us all. thanks to her parents for those. our next mission was breakfast. so we went through mcdonald's drive thru. i couldn't resist the sausage mcgriddles. evil and delicious. pascale got the kale breakfast wrap. she wasn't too impressed and i know why. so i spilled her caramel latte almost the instant she received it. i didn't know it was on the console ok. luckily the drive thru girl gave her another one for free.
by the time we were heading through downtown and over the lion's gate bridge it was about 7 and the light was just beginning to seep into the sky. our drive was pretty uneventful. we talked and laughed and listened to music. in whistler we stopped so lindsay could pee and i could critique all the snow outfits while i waited.
our next stop was pemberton. we stopped at a little deli so we could get sandwiches to take with us. as i was getting out of the car i noticed a few tiny flakes of snow falling. a cute old first nations man was walking by. "did you bring all this snow?" he asked me in an old man teasing way. "i think it was probably you." i replied. "oh ok." he chuckled. anyways, i got a tuna on sourdough and a giant peanut butter cookie. i was hoping the cookie was chewy but it wasn't. sometimes life is disappointing like that. one must move on and build again. mustn't one. lindsay and paskee used the facilities again. i had nary an urge to pee. but i did have an urge for fruits so we went to the grocery store and i got an apple, an orange and a grapefruit.... and some sour candies. when i was going through the check out a guy behind me in line asked me "hey where'd you get that sandwich?" (because i was holding my deli sandwich wrapped in plastic on a plate) "oh, from over there, i pointed." he looked around the store. "i mean the deli just over there," i pointed. then i added for sarcastic good measure "oh i just made it myself in the store". "yeah right you just found the ingredients and whipped it up!" he laughed. then i dropped my sandwich and went to pick it up and dropped it again. hello pemberton, have a taste of my grace. later i saw that guy bee-lining it to the deli. you're welcome for the deli tip dude.
so when we were leaving pemberton we started to follow the directions to the hotsprings. took a road that lead to a country road that lead to a forestry road. that abruptly ended in a non-plowed heap of snow. two lonely tracks lead off into the deep snow. "you can't drive down there." i told lindsay but i think she knew. we parked on an ice patch which proved precarious to walk on but not deadly. two other girls pulled up beside us. they had a dog and they were looking for the hotsprings too. one of the girls was also from richmond. so we figured we would have to snow shoe down the road until we reached the trail head up to the springs. we fumbled about getting ready. i slid my fleece pants on over top of my leggings and leg warmers and put on my jacket. i struggled to put on the boots i brought but with my bum elbow i couldn't yank and pull them as i needed to squish my skyrise arches into the boot. pascale came over and tried to help me. she yanked so hard. for some reason it was hilarious to me. i couldn't stop laughing. she was so shocked about how high my arches are. paskee couldn't handle it. she gave up on the boot defeated and panting with the effort. i kind of keeled over laughing about it. so i decided to keep my runners on instead. the snow shoes would keep me mostly above snow level anyway, i thought. poor naive girl.... pascale also helped me with my snow shoes. she cinched them tight and pinched my toe. i surprised her with my yelp of ow! and she loosened it. then i looked down and my jacket zipper had come undone from the bottom and pascale had to help me undo that too. i swear, i felt like their little kid on this trip.
so we started out, spirits high. snow shoing was a lot more difficult than i remembered. but it turned out my shoes were way to loose because of the way i was sitting with my feet in the air when paskee tightened them. so this time lindsay tightened them up for me. and we went on again. it still wasn't easy. the tracks in the snow were too narrow for snow shoes so we had to walk in the high part between the tracks, and the snow was hard and icy on top and uneven at times so that one side was very high and one side low and also you broke through the crust all the time. it was a good work out, let's just say that. (purple faced pics of me below). i took off my jacket layer almost right away and never needed my scarf or gloves. i was always behind but i didn't mind. i cared more about keeping a pace that i could maintain for a long time. after a couple of kilometers and many puff puffs and huff huffs, i caught up to paskee and lindsay who were waiting for me. paskee had taken off her snow shoes long before and she suggested that i take off mine and walk in the packed snow track. so i did, and so did lindsay. wow, it was so much easier! and my feet felt so tiny! so it was great for a couple of meters...then the tracks were completely gone. and the long trek of walking like a drunken yeti in other people's foot prints in the snow began. here i should say that i'm the only one who decided to use the snow poles nnd i was grateful about a billion times that i had them. they kept me from falling and twisting my ankle innumerable times and gave me a point to propel myself forward with. my triceps and inner thighs got the best work out.
during this time i spent a lot of time on my own. i told the girls not to worry about me. they waited for me every once of a while. i sang songs and had some talks with heavenly father about things while i huffed and puffed. i thought a lot about struggles and how they are so important to make us stronger. and how if god just took our struggles away we would not progress or grow. but instead he often just gives us just the little oomph or strength we need to get through the hard things. and he's with us coaching us through or encouraging us if we need it. struggles can be hiking in the snow when you are out of shape or a spiritual or emotional thing. it doesn't matter if you are still struggling with something. the struggle is not failure. failure is when you give up and quit struggling. and i don't think god minds so much if we aren't perfect and if we are having a hard time overcoming some things, as long as we keep trying and struggling and growing. because then he can help us. deep thoughts.
so anyways at around 3 km we met up with the other girls and had a pow wow about the directions. i kind of felt that we had to go about 8km on that road until we got to the trail head. that's what i could tell from the directions. but they all hoped that we were closer. so we struggled on for another kilometer. at one point i was so tired and needed a break. i saw a tree over on the side and tried to make it over, but the snow got thigh deep so i just sat in the snow on my jacket and ate my grapefruit. way up ahead i saw the girls turn back around the corner. then all the girls came back. the other girls said they were going back to the little bridge and taking the trail up from there. i knew that was wrong and tried to tell them but they didn't really want to listen. we all agreed that we couldn't go longer on the way we were going because we wouldn't have time to get back before it got dark, if we did. it was around 2pm by this time. so we let those other girls and their cute dog go ahead and headed back ourselves. this time we stayed together more. and we took breaks to eat our sandwiches and take pictures. we sang some fish and chips and vinegar and did some disney song name that tune. it was fun and more relaxed. when we got to the bridge there was some temptation to go up where the other girls said they were going to go, but we didn't. i mean i wasn't tempted. i knew it wasn't the way. but it was hard not to have made it to the hotsprings. because they just looked so amazing. but we will have to try another time, and maybe go with someone who has been there before.
when we got back to the car there were a bunch of young people there. one of them had gotten their car stuck in the snow. they had attempted to drive down the unplowed road. they made it out just as we walked up. so this guy told us it was 4 more hours hike from where we had left after our 4km. everyone had a different thing to say about what was the right way. they all headed off to another hotsprings and i pulled off my sopping went fleece pants and runners, and put on new socks and wore my crocs that i had brought to wear in the hot springs. i felt so exhausted but satisfied and good too. a nice feature of lindsay's dad's car is the butt warmers in the seats. it was a really beautiful evening and the sun was setting in a spectacular way as we made our way home. we tried to find some other hot springs in the area but my phone died and paskee came up with a bright idea. we would go in the hot tub at her apartment! haha, so that's what we did.
we stopped to go to the bathroom in whistler. i was so dehydrated that i still didn't really need to go, but i went anyways. we listened to a lot of david grey on the way back. paskee loves him. i like him too.
when we finally made it to pascale's we were so bone-weary. her boyfriend steve met us in the parking garage with the parking pass and helped us carry the gear up. we got to see their place which was very nice. steve seemed like a really nice and friendly guy. he kept up a steady cheeful chatter, offering us drinks and showing us this and that. to get to the hot tub we had to go out of the building and to the next building and past a friendly security guy. there were a few kids in the pool and a lone guy in the hot tub. we took over the hot tub. it felt so good. when we got too hot we dipped in the pool and swam around a bit. then we went into the sauna and then back to the hot tub. suddenly we realized how hungry we were. i had the weak hunger trembles, even. even that! so we got dressed and went upstairs and paskee and steve made us a really yummy caesar salad and pasta dish. steve told us all about fresh olive oil in his earnest and enthusiastic way. we watched many episodes of the office while we waited. then after dinner we had scoop of ice cream and by that time it was ten thirty and lindsay and i left. i got back to my house by 11. a long day full of adventure. a good day.