The O.C. Tour

And when I say O.C., I am NOT referring to the annoyingly cute teenagers, the huge houses on the hill or the gorgeous beach that is portrayed in the show of the same name. The places we went to had none of the above.

This time, instead of going to the beach, my friend Mira and I took a long awaited road trip from Washington (for those of you back East, that is "state" not "DC") to the great land in the north, Canada. I have been to Canada twice before - once to see Niagra Falls with the fam and once to Vancouver to meet up with some friends that I met in Australia. This time was a bit different than either of those. This was going to be that "active vacation" I have been so looking forward to.

And active it was.

The first day was (unfortunately) spent in the car. We drove from Seattle to Whistler, which is a gorgeous drive along the coast with the ocean to the west and the mountains to the east. However, due to the upcoming Olympics (Winter 2010: Vancouver) there is a lot of construction going on along the highway. They seemed to be widening the road and (very unfortunately) building several massive condos along its sides. After finding a campground we walked into town and scouted out possible activites for the next day. Another thing I have not done in a long time is camping. And it is not too bad... we set everything up fairly easy and then got to the fun stuff - poaching wood and making (playing with) a fire.

The next day was spent hiking and biking and bear watching. Yup, there were bears! I almost ran one over with my bike, then almost ran another over with the car. The day after that was spent hiking, bathing in freezing cold (snow run off - it must have been 30 degree) water and driving to our next destination (a small town between Salmon Arm and Shuswap). Soon, we developed a routine - get up, take a hike, coffee, eat, take a hike, eat, drive, eat, play with fire, take a hike, play with fire again, go to bed. Rinse, repeat. Man I don't think I have eaten so much in a while. The hiking really works up a huge appetite!!

Our route went to Banff National Park (first National Park in Canada), the town of Canmore (about 75 miles from Calgary), Lake Louise, Yoho National Park, Glacier National Park, the town of Kamloops (with a wine region - who would have thunk it?), the town of Banff and lastly back to Seattle, where we happily showered and did laundry. Oh and of course ATE. Again.


Miles hiked: 50+
Most miles in one day: 20+
Miles driven: 1500
Highest mountain: ~3954 meters/~12,000 ft
Highest mountain climbed: ~2200 M/~6600 ft
Number of men in the hot springs who had man boobs: 14
Number of wild animals spotted: too many to count (4 bear, 2 moose, 12 longhorn sheep, 4 mountain goats, 9 caribou, 10 deer and multiple squirrels, chipmunks and birds)
Bricks of cheese eaten: 3
Bottles of wine drank: 6 (hey we had to try the local fare!)
Cups of coffee drank: 25
Amount of wood poached: a lot
Number of scratches from poaching wood: 15
Coldest night: 2 degrees C (about 34 F)
Warmest day: about 70 degrees
Amount of time spent in freezing cold water: 2.54 seconds

Last but not least, here it is....The real reason behind the name of the tour.

O Canada!Our home and native land!True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

(to listen, click here)

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