These are pictures from the beginning of our road trip out West from Edmonton to
Tofino on Vancouver Island.


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As part of our vacation, we decided to do a hot springs tour. I tried to capture pictures from all of
the hot springs we went to with my super-cool waterproof Olympus Stylus 770 SW. It's the bomb! This is
from Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park on our trip from Edmonton to Whistler. This is the little
change house looking to the south.


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A view to the north from the pools.


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I tried to set up a picture of Natalia and I soaking.


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Natalia and I both like the Miette hot springs as it's the hottest in the Rockies.


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We took the north route through the mountains coming down from Jasper through Valemount to Kamloops and then
through Lilloet before dropping on one of the steepest highways I've ever been on to get to Whistler. This is
somewhere on the Sea to Sky highway. I tried to use engine braking coming down some of these mountains
and thank goodness Natalia has a sensitive nose since my brake regenerators starting to smoke and we had
to let them rest.

Climbing in Squamish with Jeff Hemphill


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Since the classic link-up was occupied, Jeff and I warmed up on the Laughing Crack , a pretty
nice finger and hand crack in the Smoke Bluffs area. This is a view looking down to Jeff belaying me.


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This is the view from the Smoke Bluffs looking out to Squamish. Allison will love the fact that you
can see the Howe Sound from here.


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On the way down, I put in a directional to work on a 5.12b slab called Resoler . Neither Jeff
nor I were very stoked about this climb. Here's Jeff trying to find some friction that didn't exist.


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We determined that this is foxglove and it was all over the cragging area.


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After waiting on the rain to stop (have you noticed a pattern that it always rains when I climb
with Jeff?), Jeff and I got on a 3 pitch connection starting on a 5.9 called Old Age . The
guidebook says that this climb has "excellent situations". Starting with this tree, Jeff wound up
leading a really interesting route that actually had a move where you reach back with your left arm
to use the backside of a rock that your back is frictioning on. Pretty cool to do with a backpack too!


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The second pitch of our link-up was a 5.8 crack called Sprarky's Crack and yes Jason Stowers,
I actually led it. It kicked pretty hard with a left lean, but I actually had both feet in the crack for
some part of the climb. Then, the top pitch was an odd 5.10 connection to Wonderland . I'll admit
that I pooped a little on the top of Wonderland when it slabbed out and started traversing. Not cool.
Either way, we made it, and here's Jeff on the top.


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A nice panoramic for the ladies.


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I didn't thoroughly love the last pitch of this, but I'm getting better on crack. I haven't had to
give anyone a cam for getting my ass off the rock in awhile.


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After getting off the top here, we played around on Pixie Corner , a pretty neat set of
double parallel cracks.


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This thing was tiny. I think it was a pika.


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Jeff and I decided to spend the day with our ladies and so we went for a little tour around Whistler.
This is Natalia in the Upper Village pretending to be prissy and pretentious. I think these gloves go
for $500 or $600.


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We played a little minigolf since it was an activity that Lisa felt comfortable doing at 5 months pregnant.


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Jeff and Lisa on Blackcomb Mountain playing a little golf.


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Natalia approaching the green.


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Our second climbing day saw us checking out the local crag in Whistler. This is in a subdivision called
Nordic on the Swiss Cheese wall. We also climbed a pretty nice 5.10d (nice redpoint from Jeff), Paul got
schooled on a 5.11a, and then even fell on a 5.9. It was a record-setting day, but the rock was fun.

Vancouver Island


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We missed the first ferry but hung out in the ferry line and had a picnic. Then, we boarded for Vancouver
Island and the beautiful town of Tofino.


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I've determined that I'm not allowed to buy bags of cookies anymore. Oreo cookies was the culprit here.
Natalia said, "I want some milk", and I thought this was a great idea. Then, out of nowhere (her pockets)
Natalia pulled out three Oreos and proceeded to dunk them. Nice work!


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We stopped in Port Alberni for a bite of dinner on the way out to Tofino. It's a nice town
which is actually a port, despite being ~ 100 km from the ocean proper. A long, narrow channel heads out to sea
from the port.


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Another food lesson was learned that day. This one, "Don't eat softening hard ice cream when it's windy.
Natalia was such a mess, we had to pull out the Wet Wipes.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve


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Along the west coast of Vancouver Island is a beautiful stretch of coastline protected as the Pacific Rim
National Park. Natalia and I went up for a picnic up on Radar Hill. This is the view from the top of the hill.


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Natalia and I on Radar Hill, Pacific Rim National Park, 8 July 2008.


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We then went for a short interpretive hike in the rain forest just east of Long Beach. It was a great
boardwalk trail with giant cedars, Douglas firs, and lots of old growth. Most of the trail was though
a range of ages of rain forest and almost all of it was on boardwalks to preserve the undergrowth.


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This is a bridge made entirely of a massive fallen log.


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The inside of a hollowed-out cedar.


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Natalia and an old cedar.


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You have to watch out for trolls in these parts.


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Even Natalia climbed up to check out the inside of the tree.


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Not sure what's up with Miss Photogenic here.


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That's better!


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Natalia named this plant "dinosaur salad". It turns out it's actually skunk cabbage.


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Nice find! Natalia found a big banana slug.


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This tree was something like 600 years old. I bet it uses Viagra to keep its bark that firm...


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The view out along Long Beach from Wickaninnish interpretive centre. Big long sandy beaches made
me think of Oregon a lot. This was my first trip out to Tofino but was Natalia's second. For more
information on Pacific Rim, check this out: LINK .


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A great sign in Tofino.


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Natalia definitely enjoyd the beach time, although I don't think she'll let me consider this our
"hot beach trip" that she wants so badly.


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Natalia decided she wanted a proper camping meal and so we had hot dogs and crazy banana boats.
Here I am getting smoked out and cooking a hot dog.


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Here is Natalia preparing her banana boat. I had never even heard of these things. It turns out that
she had never made one before, but knew what she wanted. This is a banana with chocolate chunks and
marshmallows inserted. Then, it's wrapped in tin foil and placed in the fire.


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Natalia with the finished product. Notice how happy she looks!


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Hmm, melted chocolate and banana craziness.


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The next idea was to add peanut butter to this concoction.


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She couldn't be any prouder than if this were her first-born child.


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The cooking process.


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Natalia gives this her stamp of approval.


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Yeah, it looks like a mess to me too.


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It turns out you can actually eat it with a spoon since the banana gets so soft.

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