Week 5: Portland, Oregon Coast, Bend, Crater Lake.

 

Portland is known for hipsters and outdoorsy people. My friend from uni,  Bridgo was always travelling more than me we always seemed to be in opposite hemispheres. Bridgo had only moved in a week before so it was pretty crazy that we made it work. She had just moved into a huge apartment with her gorgeous very friendly budgie Frankie. She had the two most important pieces of furniture, wine glasses and a  rug, that was all we needed for the next few nights.

Brad and i got out and tried to get out and see a little bit of the city, we went to Washington park to see the roses, most had been pruned because of the season, and rain. We went to walk the riverfront and RAIN. Powells book store and coffee shops were a drier places to spend the afternoon. In the evening we only had to brave the rain between breweries as we went on a self-guided brewery tour.

Brad had really wanted to learn more about coffee, since we loved consuming it. As an early Birthday present to him we went to a Barista Basic course at Nossa Familia coffee roastery. Erica, our Master barista coffee extraordinaire was fabulous. There was only one other participant in the class so we go to ask a lot of questions and focused more on tasting coffee and learning how the flavours can be varied. it was really fun, and the coffee was delicious. The next day we all felt like proper coffee snobs ordering cortado brevis and macchiatos. We attempted to go to Bagby Hot Springs, which was luckily a beautiful drive about 90 mins from the city. Luckily the drive was worth it because, when we got there we discovered that heaps of other people in Portland had the same idea and were waiting in lines to get their soak on. This wasn't just an open river natural springs but man-made wooden tubs in the middle of the forest. Still really cool, but not really our thing to wait in lines, we went wandered around waterfall instead unfortunately not warm though.

The next day we were again hesitant to leave the comfort of a warm space and go back to drinking wine out of plastic cups. We felt like we really had the authentic Portland experience, rain and all. Thank-you Bridgo, was so sweet to explore, taste and skip through the streets of your new city.

We thought we should probably compare some Oregon wine to the Canadian wine we had and stopped at “Alexi Vineyards” just outside of Silver Falls. The taste host recommended a local hike, “the trail of ten falls” which we did the next day. You can never see too many waterfalls, I think we must have almost seen every type after this hike. We got to walk under a few of them here if the wind was blowing the wrong direction you got a little wet, but it was, of course, raining anyway so we were already wet.

Brad immediately liked Bend, it had a cool vibe, it seemed like there was a lot going on in the community and with mountains and ocean close by there would be so many outdoor adventures. Part of our trip was to discover and think more about where we wanted to live, we had talked a lot about how we would like to always try and balance career and lifestyle. Bend seemed to have that. It did help also that it wasn't raining for the day we were there so just seeing sunshine made everything better. Brad wanted to move here. but the next day was showing sunshine and we were attempting to go to one of the snowiest places in North America, “Crater Lake”. So we had to take the opportunity while it was there.

It was Brad’s Birthday who doesn’t want to go see America's deepest lake on their birthday? This is usually a pretty easy task you can drive from the visitors centre 1.5 miles along the rim trail uphill right to the lake. Unfortunately for us, even though the sun was shining there had been a lot of snow over the last few days. It is one of the snowiest places in the US and averages 43 feet per year! We thought we would hire snowshoes, nope they only have those at rim village, which is where we were trying to get to, damn it. The rangers told us people had hiked up and there were a few paths we could follow. I wanted Brad to get his Birthday present so we rugged up and set off. The first part of the path was easy enough to find, but it would be two steps up then DOWN, we would sink into sometimes waist deep snow, it was so funny. There was no way we were looking cool walking in this. It was tough and slow going. We stopped and wondered many times if we were going the right way. Wasn't until about an hour on literally trudging through the snow we saw another couple. They were on Cross country skis seemed to be doing it much easier, they said they were making the path. They apologised for the path going all over the place, they had no idea where they were going. We trecked on saw some Aussies that had managed to hire snowshoes from a neighbouring town. We saw a guy who had tried to hike to the top in slip-on boat shoes, I guess he made it he was hustling back down when I asked him how he was going he showed me he said “ I can't feel my feet” he lifted a foot out of the snow and showed me he was just wearing socks. A stranger was not too far behind him carrying his shoes, he couldn't believe he had got that far. As we climbed the last steep 100 m the path was well carved and probably easier without the snowshoes. We saw the rim I waited for Brad so we could catch out breath and see it together and it was INCREDIBLE! Immediately worth the hard slog.We had also seen a couple of lakes but this one was ridiculous, we sat on the edge of the fence and looked down into the big drop, the water was dark dark blue, I guess due to the depth. The contrast to the snow was so dramatic. We had a snack and tried to stop our hands from freezing. We had made it just in time before what looked like snow clouds started to roll in. As I always say if you really work for it, you will appreciate the reward so much more. The way down was so much easier, you could pretty much run on your heels and let yourself sink. We had been in the snow for a couple of hours I tried to go fast to keep my body temp up. My feet were starting to freeze through my wool socks and waterproof boots, I couldn't imagine how that guy was going in socks! When we got down the parking lot was full with cars, people wanting to drive to the rim, of course they were ploughing the road and were hoping to get it open that afternoon. We weren't upset the adventure was fun. I hoped they did open the road, I would hate for more unprepared people to attempt a steep very cold snow hike. I saw the sock boy sitting in the back of an ambulance in a thermal blanket.

Here are the hike stats, pretty darn slow: 

We ate at a very homey diner in a log cabin down the road, I got Brad some boysenberry pie as a substitute for birthday cake. It was getting dark around 5 pm, we were going to make our way to the coast and decided we would find a hotel halfway. For the first time the fuel light came on in the car. Of course when we were in the middle of nowhere in the dark, no phone service. At the start we weren't worried, Dad always told me you probally still have at least 80 miles before we really run out. Brad started keeping track of the distance, 30 miles in found a small town, no gas station. 20 miles another smaller  town , a gas station, YES! oh nope, gas station closed. We had to decide if we were going to sleep there the night and wait for it to open, or risk it. We kept driving. It was tense, we were trying to stay positive, it was so dark and we did not see another car. Brad was trying not to rev too much. Then at the 78 mile mark we found it! So relieved. Thanked the guys working there for being open.

 

After the amazing day at Crater Lake was what I think one of the toughest parts of the trip so far. Rain rain and more rain. Brad Nicknamed the state “ORAINAgon”. When you're living in a van rain is tough. You can't escape it. You don't want to go walking around in the rain knowing that you won't have a place to put your dry clothes and warm up. Defiantly hard to keep our sprits high when the sky just kept falling. It was a slow day as we drove towards the coast. We had heard all great things about the Oregon Coast, I am sure it would have been beautiful in some sun. The sky cleared when we woke to drive to California.

 

Week 4 - Back in the U.S.A - Seattle and Olympic

Week 4 : Back to the USA, Seattle Olympic

 

Our last border crossing back into The USA we had everything in order but had to go inside and get answer a few questions. I had to try really hard to not burst into laughter, something I sometimes do when I am nervous or it's awkward. It seemed awkward to me how serious and stern faces the officers were, all I wanted to do was try get them to have giggle or at least crack a little smile. No luck.

Seattle greeted us very warmly, our friend from Chicago Margaret had offered to put us up for a few nights it was so nice! We love Jentastic but it felt so good to just spread our stuff out and sleep in some warmth and as much as I love Brad I think it was good for us to have conversation with someone else, crazy prevention. Margaret was new to the city but seemed to already have her bearings. All in one day we went on a city hike, tasted trendy coffee & craft beer. We ate Cuban food at “Bongos” and busted out some Karaoke at “Waterwheel”. So much fun. Highly recommend both places if you're looking for an inexpensive low key night in Seattle. Waterwheel was such a small karaoke bar and nearly everyone in the bar got up to sing it was great.

The city really gets behind the football so the next day we relaxed and sipped more coffee while watching the game.

Weather was usually a determining factor in when we would hit the road. Weather predictors, like google seem to cop a lot of criticism, but we had found them to be pretty spot on for us, sometimes even predicting when the rain will hit within 20 Mins, giving us time to get back to cover. Olympic National Park was our next stop and they had already got some unseasonable snow. We had to hit the road, it was tough to leave when Margaret had made it so comfortable and easy. Thank-you!

It was only a couple of hours drive to down south of seattle and then up the east side of the park to get Port Arthur entrance. We had not read too much about Olympic but it had got a few thumbs and and was in our way.  The national park takes up a lot of area. (Approx 3734 square kms) I was starting to learn that looking at maps does not give you a good idea of the size of anything in this country. .  We drove right around the eastern side and to the North Village Port Arthur.

We did not know much about Olympic National Park, and it wasn't one of the top parks people recommend, I am sure as you're reading this you are wondering yourself so here is link. https://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm. we weren’t expecting much. At the info centre we found out the park is known for four areas, Pacific coastline, alpine region, tempered rainforest, and forests on the east side. We had already drove past the east side so guess we saw that.The Alpine region is where all the snow had accumulated, and it was so unexpected that there weren't even snow ploughs working in the region yet. We had seen a lot of mountains so honestly we weren't too upset.

We checked out Crescent lake that afternoon and did a small hike to a waterfall. This already WOWed us , everything was so green, moss covered the trees, Brad described it best when he said he felt like we were in the Avatar movie. There just flickers of fall leaves still hanging on, which added to the color and the uniqueness, nothing like we had seen so far on our trip, or ever before. It was so damp in the air, we finally realized what people mean when they say it was more of wet cold, it really gets into your bones differently. The lake was different aswell there was a dense fog hanging on the lake, it was very still gloomy. Even though the temperature was higher than a lot of the other places we had been too. We wanted to find somewhere warm in stumbled upon an old fire house… which had been converted to a bar. Station 51 tap house had some weird and unusual beers from the region plus the Packers game,  Melbourne Cup and pool. So we played some pool, I won this time (yyeeesssssss) and we had peanut butter porter for desert.

Not beach weather the next day but we headed to the coast anyway. The beaches were so rugged, there huge amount of debris on the shore. Which made it un- imaginable to swim when there is a possibility of running into a tree.  We were the only people there, another time it was great to travel in shoulder season.

As we made our way to Hoh rainforest we saw the landscape change quite rapidly to high trees and dense shrubs.

Hoh was similar to what we had experienced around crescent lake but more extreme and consistent. We explored the spruce tree trail, hall of the mosses and the Hoh river trail, all crazy atmospheres in short spaces. Here there was also a little bit of creepiness being the only people on the paths in the rain-forest, and the dampness constantly in the air. I may have just been on edge, but that night sleeping at the campsite by the extreme in the rain-forest was not great. Brad and I kept waking each other up intermittently saying “did you hear that?” there were all sorts of noises by our van, and in the distance. I concluded it must have been the freaky big crows/ravens we saw jumping across the roof. That helped me sleep so I kept with that.

 

After a rough night we were hopefully that the weather on the Northern Oregon coast would turn it up for us. AND we had another friend willing to house us in Portland.

 

We took our time to get there. We stopped at many viewpoints along the ocean, including Cape Disappointment, which except for the rain wasn't that disappointing, quite nice actually. We also made a stop at the classic beach town of canyon beach, which would be my summer destination, they had huge public beaches and a good fish and chip shop with a super over friendly server 😉

Week 3 - British Columbia: Kelowna, Vancouver Whistler

Finally, Fall! The snow started to disappear and we saw some autumn colours peeking through. 600kms Jasper to Kelowna was the longest drive stint we had done so far. I highly recommend Tim Ferris’s podcasts he interviews some amazing people. My favourite so far has been author Walter Isaacson, he shared lessons from Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo da Vinci, obviously all quite successful people. Walter recognised a common trait these men all had was “curiosity”, always questioning and exploring. I liked to think that's why we were travelling because we are always curious about what else is out there. I also then felt better about the questions I was was always hounding Brad with.

If you haven't noticed, franchise/ chain restaurants seem to be more common than the independent cafes, not owned by corporate giants. So we loved a unique cafe we found in a small town. It felt like we were in Grandma's kitchen eating sandwiches surrounded by Canadian hockey memorabilia.

Just outside of Kamloops we were detoured because of a police operation. Not too worried about it at first we thought we would just check out Sun Peaks village ski resort, it was super quiet, like a ghost town. We continued on our detour, up until this point we were very trusting of google maps. “Pretty cool, we will get to see some different farmhouses and land we wouldn't get to see if we took the highway,” Brad said this as we started winding up a very steep narrow hill. He was soon eating his words and saying things we wouldn't say in front of our Grandma's. I was co-piloting trying to stay positive and say we were nearly there, even though we lost reception and I had no idea where we were. We crawled our way up the road. It was rough. And made our long trip even longer. Let's just say Jentastic is one tough cookie and survived without a scratch.

The next day wine was obviously needed. The Okanagan region is known as an up and coming wine district. At the second vineyard “The Hatch” they admitted that Canadian wine was known as ‘Crap’ for a long time but was hopefully starting to change. This was my favourite of the three wineries we visited. The taste host  (I don't know what the official term of someone who pours your tastings is so I’m going to just go with that) was very bubbly and gave us lots of little “ahhhhhaa” tidbits. The wines were all named after the fantasy animals on the labels, that were created local artists, because “WINE IS ART”.I liked this perspective and decided I would think of that every time I will be drinking wine as appreciating art.

We bought a couple of bottles to give as gifts for our friends who were kind enough to give us some shelter and showers over the next few weeks We headed to Vancouver for a Halloween. An Aussie couple Kristy and Brad, who I had meet the year before while out visiting another friend invited us to their spooky shindig and said it would be sweet as to park out the front of theirs. Funny enough VAN culture in Vancouver was a big thing. Almost every 2nd block there was a van that people could have been potentially sleeping/living in. We quickly brainstormed a costume from what we had. Brad wore his Packers jersey and I fixed a sling out of a plastic bag - Aaron Rodgers with a broken collarbone, I was just a crazed fan, if I had packed art supplies I would have made a sign that said “Aaron have my babies”, Or “i will heal all your pain ;)” The party was great, fun to hang out with other like-minded people. Funnily enough, half the people at the party,  had at some stage lived in a van. They and shared lots of tips and stories.

Brad had a soft spot for Vancouver, one of his favourite cities. After our morning coffee (our daily treat) we walked......and walked. We checked out the Granville markets downtown and Stanley Park. It was beautiful sunny Sunday, with a little chill in the air this is what fall should feel like. Google maps did a good thing this time happened to track us the whole time, unaware that this was our longest hike yet 30kms of city strolling! We talked about times in both our lives when we planned or tried to move there. Maybe one day we will.

All my other visits to Vancouver I had always heard about , The Grouse Grind, I had to see what it was all about. Brad didn't know what he was in for, he just agreed. I knew as soon as we walked under the tree coverage and up the first few stairs,  it was not going to be an enjoyable scenic hike but exactly as it was advertised, a grind. A 700 m ascent in just  2.8 kms. I put my head down and just got into a zone, could feel my quads working, my heart was pounding like crazy, but I loved it. I created my own challenges along the way, overtaking the people in front of me, and from halfway I tried not stopping till the top. We made it with little jelly legs, now all I want to do is go back and beat my time 1 hour and 4 minutes I can definatly do better know I know what I am in for.  We descended down the BCMC Trail, it took us just as long as the way up. I do not recommend this. Don't be tight arses like us, pay for the gondola down and save yourself some hurt the next day.

As expected the next day we were sore, luckily we found a hot tub at Squamish pool on the way to Whistler and a sweet midday entry deal for $2.  This was one of my favorite unexpected experiences, I chatted with a lady who was in her seventies. She told me about her upcoming swim meet and how she has overcome her nerves and now loved to compete, her travels around the world and her anticipation for the upcoming ski season. She was not letting her age slow her down, she was trying to fill it with more and more new things, so inspirational to see. 

Brads first time in Whistler he could immediately see why Aussies were so drawn to it. a village right at the base of two epic ski mountains. We started planning how we could spend the winter season there and snowboard every day. Pretty quickly found out that there is a massive accommodation shortage in the village, still didn't stop us from trying.

We took everyone's advice to drive north to hike Joffre lakes. A three lake hike, each lake sunken between mountains. The most upper lake with the clearest view of the glacier. Again we felt like we were in a Canada postcard.

One of my best friends from home connected me with his sister who lived there. After one night street vanning she hosted us in perfect timing. 8 inches of snow fell that night we decided to stay an extra day. We went on a beautiful little hike through the fresh snow, most of the time fantasizing about snowboarding  and researching rental apartments. We were determined to figure out how we could live in Whistler.

But for now farewelld Canada. And hoped to get away from the snow until we had our boards.

#mwmontheroad Week 2 ALBERTA, Canada

 

Brad and I were both familiar with the great North, we have both lived here and embraced Tim Hortons, hockey and maple syrup. We were excited to see explore more!

Our border crossing went quite smoothly, although we were a little disappointed we couldn't take advantage of the duty free, we could have used a couple of bottles of wine to give to our friends we were visiting in our first stop Lethbridge. Until we were going there I didn't know it existed. A friend from Chicago had just married a Canadian who called this place home

Just like all Canadians he was very friendly and welcoming. We had our first meal that wasn't cooked in one pot and a pan in 2 weeks. After hiking almost everyday we felt like we deserved a beer or two.

We asked Eric what to do in Lethtbridge the next day “honestly, I don't know. So with that we were out. The next morning we left them to work.

We headed to Calgary for Brad to reminisce about his year studied abroad at the university of Calgary. We walked around the campus and realised how long ago it was since we were studying and noticed how young everyone else looked. Our stay was brief, there wasn't much else to entice us into Calgary on a budget. Yes not the most fun part of the trip but of course we have to have a budget so we can make it through roughly two months on the road.

Most of our desired destinations were National Parks. Which helps budget activities. Because hiking is Free! Plus you get to take in a lot at a slow pace, you have plenty of time to think, it takes you to places otherwise inaccessible. So with that in mind….

We headed back to the Rockies! I have a friend who always raves about Canmore. So I asked her what hikes to do she gave me a great list of about 5 or 6. The young guy at the  infocentre informed us that nearly all the recommended hikes had closed due to snow, ice or road closures.  There was a small walk just outside of town to It was getting late in the afternoon so we did a very populated short hike not far from the town centre, described as the most bang for your buck, as it took you past a waterfall and aqua lakes in 6 kms of easy walking. We decided to take the more challenging of the two paths. This happened to be the first hike Brad and I lost the path. We were distracted by the waterfall and ended up scrambling up rocks and going in a circle before finding the path again, luckily before dark.

We spent a couple of days around Canmore and Banff and all snowy hikes;  Chester Lake, Sulphur mountain (and got the free gondola down) and the Lake Agnes tea house trail to discover the tea house was closed.

Canmore and Banff  are cute little mountain with lots of different local shops all styled with wooden features to fit into the backdrop of the snowy peaks. So incredible to think of the people that live in these towns and see these towering beauties everyday. We wondered if they would get accustomed to seeing them all the time and not gawk at them like we did every time the sun hit them from a different angle.

We had been praying for good weather for our drive to on the Icefields parkway, which is known as a gorgeous but sometimes treacherous drive. On the Tuesday the 24th Mother nature came through again, so far she has really been looking after us. I think it's good Karma because we paid our fees at the “honesty box" at the unmanned campsites.

We took our time on the drive stopping to view the aqua lakes, glacial streams and more mountains!

We found a beauty little spot out of the wind, thought we would cook up some snags (sausages for the unAustralians reading this) for lunch, I realised it wasn't weird for us anymore to just cook wherever. But for other people it probably was.
While turning the snags Brad looked over and saw this girl taking photos and without any shame got right up close and took some videos. Her dad told us they just arrived from China and hustled her into their car. They started driving off slowly as we sat down to eat. Then their SUV stopped and reversed, she wanted more photos, she thought it was so fun or maybe a little funny that we were eating here. (people do pay big for these kind of views). We kinda felt like zoo animals, but had to get a photo with them.

Speaking of animals we didn't see any this drive.

We slowly rolling into Jasper late afternoon. Brad was driving I was finding a radio station, through a traffic light intersection I did a double take to the left, STOP! MOOSE! I swear there is a moose walking down the side of the road, maybe it was a statue I said doubting myself. Brad did a U-turn and went down the adjacent street. Oh not a moose, but it was the biggest Bull elk I have ever seen! He was just wandering the side of the road then casually crossed when it was safe to do so. After this we saw signs everywhere not to approach ell so I don't think this was an unusual occurrence on this town.

We noticed this mountain town had a little more of a community feel and the shop fronts weren't as “matchy" as the other towns.
We wandered around to get our bearings. Walked past a community board filled with posters, lots of events and activities. Which was great because i had spent about an hour online trying to find “what's on” on Jasper and found nothing. I guess they get word out the old fashion way here. Our evening activities taken care of, Tuesday, Wednesday night a showing of the top Vancouver Mountain Film Festival at the legion centre. Thursday night Free learn to Curl. In the days we went to malign canyon, the five lakes and moose lake. Moose lake I thought must 've been named as such to attract tourists. That's theory was quickly dismissed. As we pulled up in the parking lot we saw some people creeping around the trees right besides the lot. We wandered over and searched on the trees. A MOOSE! (for real this time) it was apparently only a baby one, but looked big to me. He was lying in a bed of snow not phased by us. We walked around the trees then spotted the Mum, then I could really see the size difference. So cool to see them so chill, that then motivated us to go on a hunt for the Dad. We traced some hoof prints in the snow and some poop, no luck.

The drive back to town Brad noticed that we maybe getting a little desensitized to the mountains, maybe it was possible. Time for a  change scenery. Even though felt a little more like winter than fall, we loved Alberta.

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#MWMontheroad Week 1- Wyoming & Montana

Wow Wyoming!

I know I havedn't been to all 50 states but I think Wyoming is my favorite.  

January 2016 we went to Jackson hole for a 4 days snowboarding. It was probally the steepest mountain I had ridden but it was uncrowded and stunning. On blue bird days you can see the tetons.  I love the little unpretentious cowboy town and that the people we sat next to at the bar after a day on the hill were always up for a chat. I left telling everyone it was my new favorite hill. 

This time we slept in a truck stop on the outskirts & briefly stopped by Jackson to get a "cowboy coffee" and some supplies for our trip. Things us Aussies weren't so familiar with like bear spray and snowchains. People say Australian animals are scary......but we don't have bears, coyotes, mountain lions or wolves!  After watching you tube videos of bears breaking into cars we were relieved to find out that only Yosamite bears that have learn that trick. And we would be alright storing food and sleeping in our car. 

When we felt as prepared as we could be we headed North to our first National Park Grand Tetons, I actually didn't know too much about the park, not quite as popular as it's northerly counterpart, Yellowstone. So we weren't sure what to expect. Paid $80 for our annual national Parks pass, which was a bargain I reckon.  We stopped at the ranger station she let us know that there was only one camp ground open everything else was closed for the season. We knew that coming mid October was late for the season, but it was the timing that worked, and we were going to make the most of it. 

We started out with a two smaller hikes Taggard Lake and the hidden falls. We found a free campsite outside the National park with an amazing view of the mountains. As the temperature dropped we built a fire & cooked some canned chilli, saw the stars for the first time in a few months. 

We woke the second morning in the van as the sun was rising we the windows all seemed fogged and frosty, we stayed snug a little longer, wearing our beanies. As it got lighter I tried to wipe the windows...."wait asecond, its not fog its snow". 13th of October 2.5 inches. We put on all our winter gear, and hiked up signal mountain,  10.9km loop through the snow defiantly made our legs aware we had been living in the flat Midwest. We slept well that night in considering it was -9C.

As we drove headed to Yellowstone we still were still wowed every time we saw the tetons from a different angle, they looked spectacular in the morning sun. Tetons were defiantly more spectacular than we ever anticipated. 

Driving the main "attractions" of Yellowstone felt like we were on another planet, geysers; steaming, spraying, and bubbling from the ground and Microbacteria coloring the waters all the colors of the rainbow. Between sights we were eyes peeled to the plains looking for wildlife. Bison were exciting the first time, then they were blocking the road. Then we saw a grizzly in the middle of the road ahead, so excited! To then being very disappointed when it was a baby bison running awkwardly down the road. We saw the most elk when we drove into the small village of Mammoth in the far north of the park, walking around like they owned the town. The rangers at the campsite (the only humans we saw) gave us lots of great tips and a site with a sweet view of Bunsen peak which we decided to climb the next day. 

Pre hike we went to went to boiling river. Another natural phenomenon. Where magma heated water spilled out into a chilli glacial stream. It was steamy along one side. As the hot water tricked down, we walked in a little to close, HOT! Balanced over the rocks 2 steps to the right and, COLD! There were 2 couples we could see sitting in pools watching as Brad and I winced and awkwardly tried to find that happy medium. When we did it was heavenly, and there no rush to leave. Mid morning we made it to Bunsen peak, a decent accent of 400m it gave us a an idea of the sheer size of the park aswell as thecanyons and dense forest. Still no bear sightings. 

Pretty much as soon as we entered Montana it was winder than the windy city. When we saw trucks pulling off the road, before they were blown off we thought we decided we would do the same we spent the night in Choteu. Turned out to be a bonus because we found a unique drive through coffee shop the best americano's we had had so far. 

The wind had calmed a little as we ended the continued the trek to St Marys on the East side of Glacier National Park. The West side of the park and the most popular scenic drive "Going the sun road" was closed As we were driving parallel to the park we could see the mountains growing out of the plains, their tops were whiter and steeper than we had seen so far. The park was even more deserted than the last two, the campground was in "primitive", no running water, pit toilets and unattended. We saw one car and spoke to a local Montana lady who said she just came out daily to look for bears, she had seen a 4 or 5 this week but none the last two days, she thought maybe the wind had scared them off. We did a short walk (I think it was the only one open) It was enough to see where the summer wild fires had hit, it was pretty devastating but you could already see regrowth which was a positive. We then hid out from the wind and rain at May Glacier campground where there were at least 4 other cars and planned a bigger hike to a for the next day. 

We were recommended the Grinnell Glacier hike. The Glacier discovered by Grinnell who over 2 decades helped to establish the area as a National Park. In 1926, Grinnell noted in his diary that "the glacier is melting very fast and the amount of water coming from it is great. All these glaciers are receding rapidly and after a time will disappear." Now might be our only chance. 

The hike was close to 19kms with over 600m elevation gain, the toughest we had done, we had to cross a stream, climb over huge fallen pines on the trail and tramper through knee deep snow. It was also the most impressive. For the first half of t hike we saw no other forms of life, it was just us, in a huge valley surrounded by mountains. A couple caught up to us that described the park as a shopping mall in summer, i would much prefer to wear a few layers than deal with that. The Glacier was even more silent, we could hear the ice cracking and moving. We imagined when it would have been a much bigger part of the valley. The way down we stopped noticed more the multicolored rocks and mountain goats high on the ridges. 

I cant believe it has only been one week. I feel like we have seen so much. We have slowed down and started to notice the small things. 

What we have learnt so far.  

  • Your ankles and feet work hard on uneven surfaces. You need to move them in every direction. We have been doing ankle C.A.R.S in the mornings, balancing and loading laterally. 
  • Turkey chilli from trader Joe's is surprisingly satisfying  
  • If you wake up and can't see out the windows you might be covered in snow.  
  • Weather reports seem to be surprisingly accurate these days. 
  • You can get a lot done in a day even when you don't set an alarm. 
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Movement with meaning #MWMONTHEROAD

#MWMONTHEROAD

 

Living a healthy life is so much more than looking good. Health is not just about the physical body but also the mind and spirit.

I think true health requires a balance of work and rest, challenge, and ease. You must be mentally challenged as much as much as you are physically worked.

Just as lifting weights gets you physically stronger. Stepping out of your comfort zone helps you grow, and become mentally stronger.

So that's why I am living in a van for the next 2 months!

When I met, my now husband Brad we both had bucket lists. Some things were very different, some things were very similar.

One of the top things for both of us was to road trip around the US.

We lived in Chicago for 15 months and had an amazing time but when it was time to leave, rather than going home to Australia, we decided to hit the road.

Now it's not ideal, we could have saved more money, we could have planned more, it could be the start of summer rather than the end.

But that all adds the adventure, the challenge, and the experience.

We are focusing on the National Parks, we both have a love for mountains and the Rockies are some of the best.

My goals for the journey are.  

1. Mobility practice daily. Minimum C.A.R.S

2. Read daily. 

3. Write daily, blog posts or personal journal.  

So follow along and ask any questions.  

I can't wait! 

 

This is our new friend "JENTASTIC" she is going to take us on an adventure.  

This is our new friend "JENTASTIC" she is going to take us on an adventure.  

Goals on the Mind?

I never used to set conscious goals, I liked to just think I would always go with the flow. I used to say if you never have a plan you cannot be disappointed. 
Now I think, can you really be fulfilled if you don't know exactly what you want? 

The first thing that made me think about writing some goals down was a book called100 things, written by  Sebastian Terry. An Aussie who recalls his journey to tick off 100 bucket list items. Some of his “things" just requiring balls, like skydiving naked. Some more complex and requires a lot of time and planning, like delivering a baby. As he moved through the list in no particular order that sometimes things would just unexpectedly fall in to place to lead him to complete the next goal. 

Brian Tracey says. 
“If you write down your goals, even if your not CONSCIOUSLY working towards them, your SUBconscious mind will be” 

My induction at Lululemon included listening to the Brian Tracey audiobook, "GOALS: How to get everything you want faster than you ever thought possible". I had to complete all the goal setting tasks.  
That's the first time I really wrote down some well thought out goals for 1 year, 5 year and 10 years. And I was very motivated….. for the first week. Then I threw the paper in the drawer and didn't think about it. 

Over a year later when cleaning out my room to head back to Australia. I found the list and couldn't even remember the goals I had written. I had had 3 goals for 1 year. 
Work goal was to teach a specific number of classes and clients per week (which at the time I thought was too ambitious) DONE. 
Research all yoga teacher training and decide what to do DONE. I was 1 week from finishing my yoga teacher training. 
And the other, I can't remember but I know I had also completed it.

Wow maybe what Brian was saying was right, my subconscious mind and maybe a little help from the universe were working towards those goals even if I wasn't thinking about it. 

Since then I have always written goals down, short term and long term. 
I like to break my goals up into categories: work, health, lifestyle, and extreme and a little obscure. 
I also often reassess my goals as my thoughts,  opinions, and things in my life change. 

If you want to chat about where you should start, or if you want someone to say your goals out loud to contact me. 

Exercise is Medicine, Movement is Life

 

"Exercise is medicine, movement is life" sums up my philosophy. 

I wish I coined the term. Legend surfer and snowboarder Gerry Lopez shared the phrase in a short documentary about living in Bend, one of those dreamy places where you have mountains and oceans within reach daily.

Just like Gerry I thought, damn that's right on. Exercise is medicine. Movement is life. 

I have been lucky to see first hand how a lot of peoples lives improve from movement. Movement is life because we were created to move. We were once hunters and gatherers, moving constantly. Now in more recent times becoming more sedentary, and consequently increases in lower back pain, obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions. 

I believe there are some health problems that can be helped and/or cured with a little bit of exercise and movement daily.  And there are researchers out there trying to prove it. Dr.  Tarnopolsky and and his team are focused on using science to  prove the long term benefits of exercise including, but not limited to: slower aging, better mood, less chronic pain, stronger vision. (read more about it here

“As time goes on, paper after paper after paper shows that the most effective, potent way that we can improve quality of life and duration of life is exercise.”

 

Almost anyone you ask will be able to express some of the benefits of exercise they feel including better mood, decreased anxiety, increased energy, less pain & better sleep. Studies, where blood work is taken. also show these same positive changes.

 The feeling of bliss or euphoric after exercise is commonly described as the"Runners high". Endorphin's were thought to be the reasoning behind this. Interestingly, more recent studies seem to be finding that the brains endocannabonid system plays an equally important a role. The bodies natural cannabonoids and produce a similar high effect as induced cannabiods, like the ones found in cannibis/marajuana. So you do get a natural high! 

“ If there were a drug that could do for human health everything that exercise can, it would likely be the most valuable pharmaceutical ever developed”. 
— Dr Tarnopolsky

 Exercise is not just to loose calories, that is actually way down the list of reasons why I exercise. I find joy in exercise because I am conscious to all these positive changes, I can feel them. 

Move your body everyday and it will Thank-you.

 

Want to learn more about incorporating movement and exercise into your lifestyle. 

Do your practice and all is coming.

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 Work gets rewards. 

No long term fixes are achieved in the short term. No mastery happens over night whether it be physical skills; yoga poses, sport specific movements or mental skills; concentration, meditating . It takes time. 

We live in a world where everyone is looking for a quick fix, marketing is defiantly making matters worse. From pain killers to detox pills to ab machines and all sorts of cosmetic "fixes" that I have no idea about. Some people begin to believe that everything should happen in an instant. 

Over time we create habits because it takes time to create those habits it takes time and effort to create new ones.

 We are what we consistently do.

If you are sitting slouched over a desk with your upper spine in constant flexion, for up to 8 hours a day your body gets very accustomed to that position, it becomes comfortable. You stretch for 2 minutes when you go to the gym, which position do you think you will revert back to? But with consistent practice and conscious effort, you can start to make changes. Your nervous system will start to recognize these positions you're putting your body into.  The change may not happen immediately. This is when you need to remind yourself -

Practice, all is coming. 

To stay consistent in your practice it may help to: 

  • Set an end goal,  then break it down into smaller goals or stepping stones. 
  • Recognize small achievements. 
  • CELEBRATE small successes
  • Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process. 

Not sure how to start setting your goals? book in for a free goal setting consult.