Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Marché cosy time

Every year I look forward to the Le Marché St George winter pop-up shop which used to be held in the charming apartment above their café. It's now just part of their new shop in an industrial building, which of course they have transformed into a magical place. I gifted myself with a pillow made with wool fabric from Oaxaca. The earthy, wabi-sabi bubble world they create—filled with wrinkled linens, rustic pottery, chunky wools, dried foliage, and scented soaps and candles—is a salve against the plasticy consumer world, and aesthetically-wanting urban views...

Hand pies

The thing about tiny pies is, most of it is crust. Like 95%, since the fruit shrinks down in cooking. And folding that tiny circle of pastry over chunks of apple can raise irritability levels.

I used this recipe for the crust, and huge surprise, it looks nothing like the picture. Altho I have to admit, hers look pretty "rustic" too. The filling is 4 granny smiths with 1/4C brown sugar sautéd briefly in butter, with 1tsp of spices. Tiny pies!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Sea to Summit trail (second time)

The last .5km did me in again! But another great climb. Sea to Summit

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Finally tried this hipster joint. Good curry wurst, fries, and beer. Bestie! Thanks, Mark!

Speaking of Chinatown's transformation, here's a recent documentary film about it that you may enjoy. It's a little disturbing to see Bob "Condo King" Rennie portrayed as some kind of a saviour though. A post on my visit to his gallery in the renovated Wing Sang building here.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

St Mark's Summit

We've been working up to this one... Really nice hike with beautiful payoff. Some of the reviews had me worried, but we did this in only 4 hours, including 20 minute lunch break. At a moderate fitness level (me), this was not gruelling at all (keep in mind that by gruelling I mean feeling uncomfortable during, or completely shattered at the end. This is still strenuous—full disclosure, I had a long nap afterwards, whereas my super-fit freind caught a matinée). There are enough flat groomed areas to make it pleasant at the beginning and end. A couple of pretty meadow areas with ponds, and about 3 peek-a-boo views of the sound and the Lions. There are just enough steep technical areas (mostly gnarled roots, not too much rock) to make it a challenging workout. We had one pratfall (not me this time).

Only 3 tips. Follow the Howe Sound Crest Trail "East" (I don't think there were any "St Mark's" signposts), prepare to get muddy feet, and get there VERY early, or on a weekday. This was the busiest trail, with lots of people to navigate around on the way back down. Plus, just a few too many at the top. We wore bug spray, but saw no mosquitoes. Peak was a bit chilly. Long-sleeved layer recommended.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Brothers Creek Loop Trail

It took 3 hrs 20 mins to do this hike, including the Blue Gentian Lake and Lost Lake loop (not shown on this general map of the trail), but excluding the recommended detour to the Candelabra and Big Fir which we sadly missed due to bad signage. We saw the "5 and 6" sign post, but did not know it lead to the old growth trees. There really should be detailed printable maps for all these hike. I make my own, but they're not perfect.

We took the advice of commenters and went west/clockwise along the the Baden Powell Trail close to the power lines rather than follow the directions by starting up the Brothers Creek Fire Access Road. This was in order to begin the trail with the steeper incline and stairs on the Baden Powell Trail which is easier on the knees. However, this was not a great idea either, as much of the fire road is loose rock, which is not so pleasant to descend and easy to slip on.

If you do go west/clockwise, you'll hit some wooden stairs at the 15 minute mark, and then a marked lookout. Someone left an old chair you can meditate on. Minutes after the lookout we got lost by continuing up a trail that wasn't a trail (you'll know you're on it, because it goes up towards the waterfall and is not safe). We retraced our steps and then saw the hairpin turn (with no marker) we missed that leads down to some primitive stairs and a bridge over the creek.

It took 1 hour to get to the main bridge at the tip of the loop. Beautiful shady trail with waterfalls. Lots of twisted roots underfoot, and a rock bed creek to cross (it was low at this time of year). At the west side of the main bridge we took the Blue Gentian Lake Trail (the Lost Lake trail is on other side of the bridge). Blue Gentian is the nicer of the two lakes, and has a picnic table—perfect time and place for a lunch break. It's pictured above. This side loop detour took 1 hour. Map that includes lakes loop.

The return part of the main loop took another hour and 20 minutes. As I mentioned, much of the road is loose rock, but also has some flat spots. Whereas the scenery on the west/Baden Powell section is gnome country (moss, undergrowth etc), the scenery on the Fire Access Road becomes less dense, with soaring second growth trees. Lots of huge old stumps, and a section of charred stumps from a 1916 fire. There are other historical reminders of logging here, such as skid roads made of logs, and the remains of a mill boiler house and steam sawmill foundation (marked, but easy to miss if you are looking down).

The view of the city above is just after the gate you go through to get to the trail.