Hey all and greetings from sunny Vancouver! Mikey and I made it to the West Coast Monday night with a great backpacking trip behind us and another fun drive done. We are now in “retreat mode” as we prepare to welcome a new group of young adult cancer survivors tomorrow morning and kick off another weekend of self-exploration, vulnerability, community, discovery, and connection as we share stories together.
On that note, I’d also like to encourage anyone who is a young adult cancer survivor or knows one to check out the upcoming YACC conference this November. Here’s a blurb about what the conference is about; I can speak from personal experience to the incredible people you meet and healing that occurs through these events, but here are a few more details:
Young Adult Cancer Canada is inviting all young adults dealing with cancer in Canada* to join us in Ottawa from November 3-7, 2011 for the 5th Annual Survivor Conference. We will spend four days building our community, sharing our experiences, and learning how to make the rest of our lives the best of our lives with others who truly “get it.” The weekend will feature professional speakers, workshops, small group discussions, and free time to connect on a personal level.
The Survivor Conference is also our annual reunion where past program alumni are encouraged to come back and reconnect with the friends they have made in the past while they’re making new friends.
The program is free for survivors and one supporter, all we ask is that you cover your travel to and from Ottawa. We’ll take care of the rest from your hotel room to your meals. We also have some travel assistance available and great fundraising ideas to help you cover some of the cost of travel.
*diagnosed and currently between 18-39.
Similarly, I thought it’d be neat to give you guys an update on another cancer-related subject: The Great Fundraising Act! As expected (the blogging world is so kind, giving, and supportive!) was an unbelievable success for Susan! Through the gifts, donations, and online auction lead by Janetha, $26,432 was raised! Check out this post for all the details and auction results.
Before we jump into the weekend of experiencing our own supportive community, I thought I would submit an under-the-wire WIAW and give you a little review of our *epic* journey: 55 km (34.4 miles) in 3 days!
Pre-Trip Prep Excitement!
We stayed in a cute little bungalow where we were able to spread our gear out and pack for our trip. In the midst of it I started reading Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run out loud and was absolutely drawn in by this compelling, true, informative history of running and epic story of the “Running People,” the Tarahumara. I can’t wait to do a reivew on the book because we finished it in one weekend and it’s already impacted my running!
Day 1: Dejected Downpours
It POURED on us the first day and keeping morale high was difficult to say the least. We decided to set up our camp at Floe Lake, 10 km from the trailhead, and spend the rest of the day staying warm, dry, and reading (like I said, we couldn’t put the book down!). Our plan was to see how the weather was in the morning and go from there, knowing that we didn’t want to spend 3 days backpacking in pure rain after waiting for a forecast of sun.
Tent Time + Crazy Running Tights (thanks mom!)
The sun came out and warmed us up, cheered our spirits, and gave me a chance to get some push ups in!
Day 2: Determined to Do It!
With no rain overnight and clear skies in the morning, we were thrilled to continue our trip. That meant we had a big day of hiking ahead though: 30 km (more than 20 miles) and climbing up and over 4 mountain passes! We got an early start and took in the experiences of the day as they came, pass by pass, hill by hill, snowfield by snowfield, rockwall by rockwall.
We rolled into camp, feet aching but feeling proud, at 6:20 pm after leaving Floe Lake at 7:45 am. LOTS of movement and miles behind us, we were happy to find a great site, set up our tent, pull out the book and start dinner. We ended up staying up late (when camping, we’re usually in bed anywhere from 7 – 9!), still engrossed in our book and relaxing together. What a great day and fun evening to share out on the trail together.
Day 3: Happily Hittin’ the Trail
15 km after a morning of sleeping in, we were done! We caught a ride hitch hiking almost immediately and got dropped back off up the road at our car where we initially went into the woods. What a great trip! We’re so glad we kept walking after day one.
And here it comes: pictures of the last week’s meals! A little bit of backcountry flavor mixed with some city tastes for your viewing enjoyment…
Wine & Watermelon…now there’s some good pre-trip fuel!
A tupperware of Almond Butter+Organic Strawberry Jam and some organic loafs = perfect healthy fueling food!
NIBS! Gotta love candy on the trail (right, Janae?!).
Bob’s Red Mill 7 Grain Oatmeal and some peaches with almond butter…almost as good as I’d eat at home!
…a meal well deserved post-backpacking!
Tofu Yaki Soba (think buckwheat noodles with stirfried veggies and tofu) plus an unpictured bowl of Miso Soup (which I slurped down before I could even get a photo!). Not shown: a delicious mint ice cream cone for dessert!
The Lentil Veggie Burger at the Blue Dog Cafe in Invermere, BC: good, but great.
…plus coffee on a very rainy day.
Roadtrip eats included the Sunflower Rye Loaf (leftover from backpacking) and a Happy Planet green drink – more sugar than I’d hoped for, but great ingredients I was happy ingesting!
A night out with friends in Vancouver: a bucket of shrimp for Mikey, shared edamame for us both, and a bowl of Thai chicken soup for me!
And that brings us to today, where I woke up early, enjoyed a speedy 10 mile run, did some filming with our university for an upcoming promo/donor/prospective student film (so fun!), and met with our fellow facilitators to get ready for the retreat! I’ll be back later with a Backpacking 101 post I’ve been thinking about lately for anyone planning to get outside this summer as well as with a review of Born to Run. For now, I better hit the hay – I’ve got morning miles to run and a full day of meeting new people and hearing some incredible stories ahead!
Hope everyone’s had a great week so far and that the rest of your days include moving more and eating well! Until next time, live well & be well,