exponential development

 a lot has happened in the past few weeks.  too much to do justice in the limited time zeke is happy in the window seat by himself.  ty has undergone another development acceleration, and this one, for better or for worse, involves lots of interaction with his baby brother.  zeke is more alert and interactive, laughing and exploring.
the attention is always positive in its intent, but not always positive in its outcome.  part of this may be my fault, as i recently introduced ty to the kung fu training scene with neo and morpheus in the matrix.  "good.  adaptation.  improvisation.  but your weakness is not your technique."
 but they love eachother, so i have to believe that will be the dominant influence in the final outcome.

 last week cherri came for a visit, and was a huge help taking care of the boys.  ty got to ride with grandma on a train.
 and make sugar cookies.
 and play in the leaves.  i'm sure all the interaction and extra stimulated play time had a lot to do with the boys' exponential development.
 ty recently experienced his first train ride, and it was every bit as exhilarating as he had dreamed.  we rode the skytrain about 5 stops to the riverside market in new westminster for a lovely lunch.  watching a boat and a plane while riding a train!  the thrill of a lifetime.

speaking of thrills, ty is also in a real bed now.  we found this old wood bed with drawers under it on craigslist.  i love finding old furniture made of real wood, not particleboard.  i also love reading stories cuddled on a bed instead of on the floor.  we've got the pool noodle trick going on in this picture, which didnt prevent ty falling out of bed every night for 5 nights in a row.  i really thought he would learn!  now he's got one of those netting fences and we're all sleeping better.

 speaking of real wood, a lot of trees were recently ripped up on our street to clear the way for a new house on an overgrown lot.  this will necessitate a rerouting of our running trail once construction begins in earnest, but for the moment it provides a nice easy access to the woods.
 zeke is loving the backpack now that he has some solid neck strength.  his favourite food is pureed pears, and i just slipped in half an avocado with no decrease in his apparent enjoyment.  he's a hungry boy; just look at him eyeing kylie's worldclass yorkshire puddings.
kylie just got this sweater in the mail.  it is quality wool outdoor gear and i am trying to convince her that this is a valid way to wear it and stay warm.  opinions?


into the alpine

  it has been a spectacular october, a perfect time of year to get in some epic bike trips.  i phoned around, but couldnt get anyone out midweek.  the forecast was too nice to pass up however, so with a careful route plan left with kylie, i set off for a backcountry trail a little over an hour's drive from our house.
 i parked and was riding by 6:30 am.  the initial trail was done in the awakening dark.  as the light strengthened, colours emerged, framing the wide singletrack leading up the shoulder of the mountain.
after two hours of climbing the first views of planned route opened up.  the trail i was riding reached the right flank of that rocky peak in the distance, which, employing a deliberate malapropism, i will refer to as mount hozermean.  the aforementioned edifice lies 80% across the border, and i've heard it's top secret.  so lets just keep this little trip between us.
 this view hopeful but sorrowful as well, because it meant i would have to give up some of my hard fought elevation, descend to the right and then ascend the spine of the mountain in the foreground.
 after a switchback descent, it was time for climbing again.
 this second push was rewarded with an entrance into open alpine.
love the alpine.  especially on a blue sky day.  at this point it was about 9 am.  pretty cold up there, but not windy thankfully.
the initial goal had been one of the peaks in the traverse, but from a distance i saw this beautiful ridge buttressing hosermean.  i had to check it out.

this entailed a descent into the valley between the ridges, offering gorgeous views on the way.  the trail was fast and narrow and i crashed here.  falling hurts a lot more without armour.

the hosermean ridge was every bit as wonderful as it looked from a distance.  although the trail was a bit overgrown in places it had a real garden of eden feeling to it.
gorgeous foliage with beautiful views in all directions.  warm morning sunshine.  no one else in the entire greater valley.  a perfect spot for lunch and a rest.

on the way back i took a side trip up the tallest peak in the ridgeline.  the trail follows the ridge on the left of the above picture.  fantastic views with the occasional bit of exposure.

another hour or two of biking and i'm a few mountains over.  hosermean slowly receding over my shoulder.
another nice spot for a break.  while resting here i thought i just had downhill riding left to take me to the car, but boy was i wrong.  it started with some sweet downhill, but then i had to ascend two or three more peaks, each successively higher.
finally i actually did reach the point where it was all downhill to the car.  this picture shows the day quite nicely.  biking the ridgeline meandering away into the distance and eating lunch on the shoulder of hozermean, the rocky double peak on the left.  then ascending the middle peak on the right on the way back.  i was pretty beat.

luckily at that point i had nothing left but buff singletrack through an old burn, and eventually through dense forest.  super fast and fun, with slabs of rock or gnarled roots making sweet kickers all  over.
for the first time i can remember, i had the cartoon experience of being lifted off of my bike by my backpack.  i came cooking around this corner, saw the tree and ducked down low thinking i had made it.  suddenly i'm sitting on my butt on the trail, my bike continuing on without me.  i can't show you my bruises, but i can show you the bruise i am currently sporting from that tree that jumped in my way in the whistler bike park.
it's much more yellow now.

sorry, back to the trail.  the singletrack continued down the slope, fast and snaky.  as mentioned, once this trail started going down, it meant it.  losing 800m in 8km of trail is a lot of fun.

speaking of elevation, this elevation vs. distance map makes it clear what makes this ride so amazing.  the elevation is all gained early, the entire day is spent in alpine and subalpine meadows, and then you get to come ripping down at the end.  sweet.
45km of heartpounding singletrack through incredible country.  the roundtrip was just under 8 hours.  the trailhead is just over an hour's drive from our house.  i won't give you the directions online, but come on over and i'll take you there!


fall in BC

fall has been good to the fraser valley.  our days have been full of sunshine.  never let it be said that we failed to protect our fair children from UV rays.

not because it's true, just because i don't want people talking about us that way.  a while ago our neighbours gave us their old dog bed.  niko likes it, but the boys love it.  a great way to lounge on the deck.
speaking of decks, it's time for a new one.  we knew when we bought our house that the deck and particularly the stairs wouldnt last, however i thought we could make it until springtime.  one stringer required buttressing earlier this year, and i was procrastinating on doing the other side.  it seemed ok until a few weeks ago, but having no guests i still didnt get to it.  whoops.

ty has been engaging with music more and more.  his favourites are the drums and the piano.  he is also big on singing his abc's.

last week the waning blackberry crop brought us to vedder mountain as a family.  it's a place frequented by myself and niko, but never the entire family.  biking the vedder trails has given me an inside scoop to the best blackberry spots.  unfortunately a local bear had the inside scoop as well, and we saw many trampled sections with the berry clumps sucked clean.  we were still able to pick enough to make a pie before dusk, and then we took ty on the bike trails to get back to the car.

ty likes trailrunning on little mountain, so i anticipated his enjoyment of the big boy berms and bike jumps.  we were not disappointed.

after running downhill for about 5 minutes, ty entered a trancelike state (previously noted in niko) in which all concerns aside from speed receded into the background.  he would trip and fall, only to jump up, give a little shake and take off.  one of these recoveries was digitally captured and is featured in the opening seconds of this clip.  forgive the extreme shakiness; it was hard to keep up with ty on the trail while filming and carrying zeke on my back.

this weekend was the st. pauls hospital whistler emerg conference.  a time of biking, eating, learning, biking, networking and biking.  there was a pretty packed schedule, what with all the biking, so kylie and the boys stayed home while i refreshed and flexed my brain.

a few friends attended, including graham, a BC emigree like myself, who also can't believe how amazing his backyard is.  i only took 3 pictures the entire weekend.  on the way to whistler i stopped in north van and biked on the famous north shore with my buddy chris.  the first full day of the conference graham and i enjoyed the lift access trails in the bike park and after an exhaustingly full day i slammed myself into a tree on crack addict and called it a day.  there were evening lectures schedule, but i opted to lie in the hottub and use the jets on my bruises so that i could get in a big xc ride the next day.

pictured above is the start of "kill me thrill me" which led to whistler's famous "comfortably numb" (picture below) which was an accurate description by the end of the afternoon.  i made it to the evening session that day, but unfortunately the keynote address was the worst lecture of the weekend and i went for a walk and talked to kylie instead.

after the conference was over, a stop in squamish on the way home was essential.  our good friends chris and yael have recently bought a house here, and chris was excited to tour me through his new backyard.  here is chris on the climbing trail leading to "angry midget".  what fun.  nice backyard chris.

we got in one more camping trip for the season last week, but sent our computer off for repairs with our pictures on it.  hopefully it comes back soon and hopefully time machine works.  until then, keep fit and have fun!