aaron's test of manliness

last week we participated in the wedding of our good friends aaron and suliana.  before aaron could be married he was required to submit to several tests of manliness, witnessed by his closest friends.  these tests were to be performed in an alpine environment and it was for precisely these tests that our family was crossing the rockies on that fateful day that levi was born.

we were supposed to rally in lethbridge tuesday morning but levi was born on monday, so the group met without me and hiked up the valley to set up camp and do some recon.  i set out early wednesday morning to join them.
starting early meant a lot of wildlife on the trail.  i saw some deer and sheep and early on came across these giant tracks.  30 min before i hit the trailhead it had been pounding rain, so they were very fresh.  we saw the big griz on the mountainside that evening.

soon i found the campsite.  well positioned and with a sweet tarp shelter up against a giant rock.  although it was not an official test of manliness, it was good to see that aaron was capable of erecting a tent and shelter and staying dry during a mountain thunderstorm.
after a second breakfast of bacon and pour over coffee we set off up the drainage immediately above the camp.  our goal was victoria peak, the tallest in the front range.  as mentioned, the others had done some recon the night before and it was decided that to reach the peak we should proceed up the mountain.  this strategy worked well.

after bushwhacking through the initial scrub we arrived in the subalpine and the going became much easier.  this is the only picture i took of myself and for some reason it was in black and white.
just as the scree started getting loose we hit snow.  except for the occasional post hole it was easy going.  we called it the snow highway.  it was on this snow highway that aaron passed his first official test of manliness by hitting a tree with a snowball, dead centre, first try.  under threat of pain.
after the snow it was back to scree until we attained the ridge.  at this point we were higher than most of the peaks around and the view was stunning.

in a truly rare southern alberta peak experience, there was zero wind at the top.  it was eerily still, and downright warm when the sun was out.  we spent a comfortable hour and a half picnicking on the summit. being the tallest peak in the front range gives victoria a special view, prairie to the east, glaciated peaks to the west.  more tests of manliness were passed here.

chris dominating the mountain.

on the way down, aaron once again proved his worth in the art of shale boarding, or perhaps snowshaleing if we are to be all etymological about it.
aaron also proved his ability to self arrest on steep snowslopes.  a lower section had some steep whoops and i convinced aaron to glissade them against his better judgement.  there was no cliff exposure, just some nice soft trees to stop his fall should he fail to stop himself.  once again he performed under pressure.  he's a keeper su!

all of the above readying aaron for his final test and the subject of our next post: aaron and su's wedding.


Levi Douglas

Introducing Levi Douglas!  Levi is the name of a good friend and Douglas is after my grandfather.  Born Monday June 9 at 6:50am in Revelstoke, BC on his way to Lethbridge.  As many of you know we were driving to Lethbridge this week to attend our friends Aaron and Su's wedding.  We had planned to have Levi in Lethbridge (and actually my plan was for the summer solstice) but as we all know babies like to be born on their birthday. ;)

We had left Chilliwack on Sunday afternoon and stopped in Revelstoke for the night.  I did check to make sure there were obstetrics there "just in case" but really thought we wouldn't need it at all.  At about 4:30 I woke up with some mild cramps and thought hmmmm, I hope these stop soon.  I woke up Marc and we decided to just get on the road.  As we were loading the car around 5 the mild cramps became much less mild and I began panicking a little bit.  "Am I in labour?"  "What are we going to do with our children??"  Marc was very reassuring that by the time I was fully in labour I wouldn't really care what we would do with our children.  We decided to go get breakfast and then assess our options.  On our way into the Tim Horton's parking lot Marc looked over and I was pursing my lips and saying "hoo hoo hoo hoo".  We drove to the hospital.

We checked in (the first question out of the nurse's mouth was - "And can you tell me why you are driving over the mountains at 38 weeks?") and after a VERY intense hour and a half Levi Douglas was born.  His brothers were at the foot of the bed in a chair alternating between watching the iPad and hopefully not being too traumatized by a screaming mommy. They were amazingly well behaved and like Marc said I really did not care what they were up to when it came down to it.

The chair sitting did not last too long after Levi was born.  Soon there was a lot of wheel chair pushing and some wall bashing.

Marc soon took the boys for donuts and then to the park and I had some rest.  They came back to a second breakfast of tasty Froot Loops brought up specially by the hospital dietician.

Both boys have been great new big brothers.  Ty in particular has been wanting to hold Levi all the time and is very gentle with him.  He is happy to sing him lullabies and tell him stories and mentions often how cute he is.

By the time Levi was born Marc's parents were on their way, (Marc's mom had just flown into Calgary from Ottawa and arrived to a text saying that Marc's dad was on his way and that they had a new grand baby and had to come pick up their other grand babies.) ;)  The boys were getting quite restless and I was feeling the need to strap them into something so they couldn't move.  The hospital policy was that we had to wait 4 hours before leaving and so after Levi was 5 hours old we decided to drive to Golden to meet Marc's parents and drop off our other two kids.  

Zeke taking Levi's suitcase to the car
Meeting Nana at a park in Golden.  It was a bit surreal being at this park as Marc and I had lived in Golden for a summer and this park was right by our apartment.  I came here often to read and it was very odd being here with my three children, having given birth a few hours ago.  We also went to one of our favourite restaurants - Jita's to get lunch after the boys had left.  While I was in the washroom Jita asked how old our baby was and visibly started when Marc said 7 hours.

Marc and I decided to drive to Canmore and stay in the Paint Box Lodge.  We had stayed here last summer when we had a kidless weekend after Fraser's wedding.  They had a room available and when they heard we had a very new baby they upgraded us to a beautiful suite.  I must say staying in a beautiful hotel room with two bedrooms is optimal after one has a baby.  Marc and I spelled each other off and actually got some sleep which has never happened while I was in the hospital.  I highly recommend this route.

The next morning after a breakfast of orange pancakes, fritatta and homemade bread we drove to Lethbridge to introduce Levi to the rest of his family members.  The Paintbox didn't have any paper cups so Marc filled a sippy cup full of espresso.  Good morning!!

Welcome little Levi!  If your birth is any indication we are in for a wild ride with you. ;)


biking reunion

 a few weeks back my good friend and original mtn biking partner danny did a road trip to the west coast to bike in chilliwack and squamish.
 the first day out i took him to xcellerator in abbotsford.  a beautiful trail.  the second day we road squidline plus on sumas.
 the boys loved danny.  he is good with kids.  likely b/c he has 5 of his own.  danny has a unique wisdom and gives advice worth listening to.  i forgot how much i enjoy seeing how his mind works differently from my own.
 midweek we ventured to squamish to reunite with our mutual friend chris.  chris and his wife yael toured us on the local trails and hosted us luxuriantly at their beautiful home.
 the aptly named "marc my words" is my new favourite trail.
 the evening was anchored with a fire in chris' backyard.  good time to reconnect.
 and then the next day right back to biking.  squamish is gorgeous.
good times with good friends.  hopefully to be repeated soon!