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" Dream. Commit. Succeed. "

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Home is where the heart is?

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It seems unanimous this year: everyone on social media is more than happy to say goodbye to 2016, which was a terrible year. Although I must admit that 2016 was quite a tough year around the world (although, in all honesty, I suspect it was always was the case, we are just more aware of it now with the easy access of media and (fake?) news across the globe.), 2016 has been for me a turning point in my life.

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This last year has been the culmination of so many changes I have worked so hard to make in my life, personally and professionally. A year ago, I was getting ready to call a meeting with my supervisor to announce I was leaving – leaving behind the stability and security, selling my car and furniture, storing whatever stuff I had left in boxes, packing my life in my backpack for the next 6-7 months and coming back to a whole, new, different life and career.

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I knew these choices would bring me lots of good (and bad) moments, ups and downs, certainty and doubts, hellos and goodbyes – but I was far from realizing just how amazing the journey would be.

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To all of you out there, I wish that next year (and all the others) is as beautiful, transforming, exciting and inspiring as the year I just spent. And I can already hear some of you thinking: “Well yes, that is easy to say when you travel the world and have amazing experiences every day”. Well – to that I would say one simple thing. Get out of your comfort zone. Whatever it may be. And embrace the new experiences, welcome new people in your life and cherish the goodbyes – for these are proofs that you had something (or someone) worth missing in your life.

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It hurts not to be able to celebrate New Year with all of you I met on my path – my biggest wish would be to have a chance to hug you all and let you know how much you have all made a difference in my life.

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Just for now, I have trade the long hikes and travels for an intensive year in school and a lots of physiotherapy (because active lifestyles also come with some need for maintenance, ha!), so that I can really have this lifestyle that I have always really dreamed of, but was too afraid to go for.

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Whatever your dreams are, for the year to come, I wish you to be able to face your fears and do it anyway, embrace your vulnerabilities, listen to your guts (usually it’s the way to go) and keep on exploring!

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Happy New Year!

 

 

 

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Ptarmigan Ridge, Mt. Baker, WA, USA

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Distance from Vancouver: 2h45 plus border time
7hrs, 18.0 km round-trip
Elevation gain: roughly 530m

On day 5 of my Mt. Baker trip, the last but not the least, we packed up our camp at Silver Fir and drove back up to Artist Point to hike Ptarmigan Ridge. I have hiked this trail last year, although we didn’t get much of a view of Baker due to the fog. This time however, we couldn’t have asked for a better weather to be on the trail – we had a clear, blue sky most of the day and the best views of Mt. Baker I never had. This was definitely the highlight of the trip and makes me feel so grateful to live that close to such beauty!

The trails starts at Artist Point and follows the same common trail that we took to head to Chain Lakes earlier that week. After about 1 mile on the traverse on the back of Table Mountain, we reached a junction with Ptarmigan Ridge Trail (to the left). From there the trails goes around and eventually drops about 60m in the valley before heading slowly back up as you walk towards Coleman Pinnacle and Baker in the background.

Continue reading “Ptarmigan Ridge, Mt. Baker, WA, USA”

Table Mountain and Artist Point, Mt. Baker, WA, USA

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Distance from Vancouver: 2h45 plus border time
From Artist Point to Table Moutain round-trip: 2hrs, 3.2km round-trip
Elevation gain: roughly 200m

On our fourth day, we finally started to see the sun clearing out of the heavy clouds. Mt. Shuksan and Baker were just teasing us slowly by revealing the views of the glaciers, the peaks and the valleys we have been walking in for a few days without really catching a glimpse of.

With a few hours of sunlight left, we decided to hike up to Table Mountain first. The trail is mainly flat at first, and then goes up in zig-zags all the way to the top of the mountain. Take your time and enjoy the view.

We really took our time to explore and walk around on the top of the mountain. It is worth going around and try to see from both sides of the mountain, as the views vary greatly. You will also see the Chain Lakes Loop trail at the bottom, both on the long ridge heading to Ptarmigan Ridge trail intersection, but in the valley heading up to Herman Saddle too. Continue reading “Table Mountain and Artist Point, Mt. Baker, WA, USA”

Chain Lakes Loop, Mt. Baker, WA, USA

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Distance from Vancouver: 2h45 plus border time
From Artist Point to Mazama Lake round-trip: 2hrs, 6.4km round-trip
Elevation loss: roughly 200m

For our second day in Mt. Baker area, we decided to head to Chain Lakes for camping. We knew from the Glacier visitor center that the weather wasn’t good for the next 2 days, but we wanted to try to get something out of these few days off in the area. We figured it would be a nice area to camp at, and as we were only about 1h away from the parking, we could always get out quickly if the weather got quite ugly. In this area you will have to pay 5$ US per day to park and visit the park during the day. Make sure you show your proof of payment in your car before heading out!

And so we went – we drove all the way up to Artist Point in the Mt. Baker area. From there we followed the main indications towards Chain Lakes Loop. We did not hike the entire loop, although I have done it a few years ago on snowshoes. After one mile on a pretty steep traverse (the trail itself is quite flat), follow the sign on the right towards the Chain Lakes trail. Continue reading “Chain Lakes Loop, Mt. Baker, WA, USA”

Nooksack Crique Trail, Mt. Baker/North Cascade, WA, USA

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Distance from Vancouver: 2h30 plus border time
3-4hrs, roughly 11km round-trip
Elevation gain: 195m

Back to Canada and ready to keep exploring, I decided to spent my last week of my 7 months trip/vacations very close-by. We planned a nice 5 days trip to the North Cascades and Mount Baker area in Washington state. Because we were both a bit injured and wanted to relax during the week, we opted for a flexible itinerary that would allow us to go back to the car every 1-2 nights. Lighter backpacks also means more games to carry for rainy days!

We crossed at Sumas crossing through Abbotsford early on our first day and stopped at the IGA and the liquor store right after the border. From there, there is another 45min drive to the Glacier visitor center. I strongly recommend stopping to check on updated conditions about the trails and the roads.

Weather wasn’t quite on our side at that time, so we had a long 30min chat with the park ranger to discuss various possibilities of trails and camping spots for a rainy day. We decided to start in the valley instead of going up in the Mt. Baker alpine area. We knew the rain would come in early in the evening, so we chose to hike the Nooksack Cirque Trail, which follows the river on a pretty flat and covered trail. Continue reading “Nooksack Crique Trail, Mt. Baker/North Cascade, WA, USA”

Iceberg Lake and Skywalk South, Whistler, BC

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Distance from Vancouver: 2hrs
6-8hrs, 18.5km loop
Elevation gain: roughly 1100m, depending on starting point

I have been dreaming of hiking this trail for the last year or so, when my friend first told me about it. It has been created by tons of volunteers of the area and was meant to offer a great alpine experience to hikers in the Whistler area. The trail was opened very recently and was designed to link with other pre-existing trails, creating a network of trails that gives you tons of choices once in the mountain.

Because the trail is relatively new, there wasn’t a whole lot of information online about the different trail possibilities. For example, I found that most of the information would refer to Skywalk Trail, but really were indications of how to get to Iceberg Lake, without really being ‘on’ the Skywalk trail itself. The trailheads for the actual Skywalk North and South trails are located up in the meadows near Iceberg Lake on Rainbow Mountain. Continue reading “Iceberg Lake and Skywalk South, Whistler, BC”

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