Life Thrives Even Among Weeds

Posted in i live life now blog

We all have our reasons or circumstances for life not turning out the way we wished, not everyone grows up in the white picket fenced house with family dinners every night, a solid foundation of morals to grow up with or even a parent that cares properly for them. What struck me the most the other day walking through my yard is that life is still able to thrive even under conditions that are not ideal. This epiphany occured while walking past my garden, I am NOT a gardener at all and this year has been even worse since we have been gone for most of the month. To add insult to injury after I planted it there was no moisture for a while and I am not a babysitter so it sat and waited...

Eventually the weeds started popping up and I was reminded of one of Jim Rohn's famous quotes:

"If we relax, the bugs and weeds of negativity will move into the garden and take away everything of value"

I loved this quote when I heard it because if we are not vigilant about who or what we allow into our lives we become overrun by weeds and lost in negativity. You can still be polite and kind towards all but who you allow close to you is your choice based on their input into your life good or bad!

Among the weeds I did find this:

Somehow even life does proliferate among the weeds and it is flourishing creating new life, eating these peas reminds me that not everything good in life has to be cultivated and tended to consistently. That good things can grow amongst the bad. This is how troubled households create productive good kids who shouldn't have had any kind of chance at all.

If something wants to grow bad enough nothing can stop that desire...

Food for thought or something to eat?

I Live Life Now,

Lisa Stocking

CSEP-CPT

 

 

Toss Your Lunch Express...

Posted in i live life now blog

We planned to wake up the last day early and get a good start to ensure we made the shuttle at 1 pm. 12 km and everyone promised us that it only took 4 hours but still skeptical and wishing to enjoy the hike we left at 7 am! Giving us 6 hours to hike until the shuttle arrived.

 

There are many ways you can return to your original destination from the trailhead at Bamfield. Water taxi, have a friend pick you up, leave your vehicle at one end and take the shuttle to start at the other so you arrive having your vehicle waiting for you or as we did get dropped off at the trailhead and take the shuttle back to Victoria! More about this later.

We headed out for our final day a little short on food, our friends gave us a Clif bar each and it helped a lot. We didn't run out of food completely but it was tight and really that is the best instead of carrying extra weight for miles on end and realistically many other people overpack and are looking to lighten their load which works out well for everyone! We also took our time and enjoyed all the berries along the way: blueberries, huckleberries, salmon berries and blackberries were all treats to our dehydrated food palates.

Since we had extra time to enoy a few luxuries along the way we ate berries and then stopped to watch the sea lions. This rock was the closest you could get to see them and it was amazing to watch them interact, swim and fight! Very neat to watch for a while, I was glad we took the time to hike off the trail and see this.

The terrain changed again every kilometer it seemed and from rainforest to marsh to trees that seemed surreal it was always a wonder to look at.

The trail although a lot easier at times still had its moments, no matter what if there was a log blown down years ago it just became a staircase along the way...

We came upon the final creek and as close as we were to finishing we took the time to use the last creek to fill up all our water bottles because somewhere in the back of my mind was the idea that we had a long day ahead of us yet. You think your "done" when you hike into Bamfield but I was pretty sure that the bus ride was going to take a while since it leaves at 1 pm and we don't arrive in Victoria until 7 pm. 

As soon as we left the creek we realized that we could head to a beach access which we were told by previously experienced WCT hikers meant we missed the final ladders and had an easy 1 km to the finish! That is exactly what we did...finished on the beach and this is the last picture snapped with our cameras as they both died at this point; all photos here on in are iPhone photos! Good timing or what!

And just like that a week was done, we were finished the West Coast Trail! It was a great feeling to know for how many things could go wrong nothing went wrong not one thing! The weather was perfect from the usual rain and fog, we had great people to hike with, just enough food, great friendship and unbelievable experiences that will stay with me for life. When I speak about living life now this is what I mean, a person can wait forever to achieve their goals but now is here and ready for you to do it. There was a lot of planning in doing this but it was so worth the time, effort and cost.

Why do I stay fit? Why do I choose small choices daily that add up to big results? It's because being able to complete my dreams comfortably and enjoyably makes my life worth living! The views from this trail are engrained in my soul and I will remember it until the day I leave this Earth. My dreams may not be yours but even my hiking partner who never really saw herself doing anything like this five years previous enjoyed it as well. That is the great thing about having different personalities and people in your life; they push you to new limits and I am thankful to have so many friends that are willing to go on crazy adventures no questions asked!

While we enjoyed our last lunch, a gluten free version of rice noodle soup (Ichiban like) it was a happy sad moment to know it was over.

We were hoping to get on the bus as there was a line-up of people waiting to get on standby, meaning they had no reservations. On the flip side we had reservations but for the next day since we started earlier than anticipated, good news is we had priority over the standbys, bad news it was on the Magic School Bus from hell (actually a fancy RV type bus but really it didn't matter which it was).

Step 1:

Load people going to Victoria first, you'll be last to get off: aka Us!

Step 2:

Pack backpacks onto shifty stand (that they fall off of later) and sit down with thirty other smelly hikers (barf).

Step 3:

Sit next to the smelliest person actually no they sat next to us (Murphy's Law)!

Step 4:

Feel sorry for the hikers starting at the other trailhead the next day that don't smell badly yet and have to ride on the bus with us smelly hikers...note to self take water taxi next time if doing this again!

Step 5:

Watch the colour drain out of everyones face including your friends and hold on for dear life while you ride down logging roads with a bus driver on a schedule; if you've ever been on the transfer buses in Cuba or Mexico where you've feared for your life that was a piece of cake!

Step 6:

Repeat for at least 3 hours until you reach pavement, now you are on windy paved roads! Sweet!

Step 7:

Pee break, food break and re-load, nope still nauseous...

Step 8:

Drop off last hikers at trailhead parking lot except we get off at a coffee shop just prior to it excited for a cappacino and forget to say bye to our new trail friends of a week (epic fail).

Step 9:

Get back on bus God help us we're not going to make it...sit in the front seat now it is slightly better slightly.

Step 10:

Get dumped off bus in downtown Victoria smelling like a 7 day hiker with no food left, some water and a saw swinging off your backpack; gee I wonder  why the taxis wouldn't pick us up! Plan B: just rent a car up the street, sweet victory is ours now!

 

Do you want to know the most ironic part of this trip, this was our room after we arrived at a boutique hotel we ended up renting the best room they had because on a Saturday night in Victoria you don't have much choice and sleeping on the beach was NOT an option. Even funnier yet we walk into a fancy hotel, rent the most expensive room (nearly) and explain to the concierge why you smell badly. At least she commented the next day that we cleaned up well! Too funny. That is what makes great memories, random stuff happening on trips.

 

And the ironic part? I was still up at 5:30 am in this gorgeous bed and figured why waste another beauty morning? The sun is rising and life is waiting. I went for an hour run through Beacon Hill Park and The Inner Harbour; was brought to tears by the beautiful views I was privy to seeing so early in the morning before anyone else was out.

I had no idea where I was going just that I wanted to end up near the ocean and right as I crested a hill I viewed this, the Terry Fox memorial where he was meant to dip his foot in the ocean had he made it across before cancer took his life. Yes, universe I'm listening loud and clear, some things in life are just not coincidences after all...

After a busy day of sightseeing and dining of real food, The Noodle Cart in Victoria has ridiculously good Thai food! YUM!! We ended our last night in Victoria having a float and sundae overlooking the harbour at sunset. Just when you thought life couldn't get better.

We walked back to our hotel both knowing this trip was a lifetime of memories in 9 days! We couldn't wait to see our families but in the end this trip has given me an inner peace I can neither describe nor share with you but I appreaciate this life, my ability to move and my world as I know it, I am so thankful for life to the core of my very being.

I wish for you to feel the same at least once in a lifetime.

I Live Life Now,

Lisa Stocking

CSEP-CPT

 

 

 

Snakes & Ladders...

Posted in i live life now blog

Best sleep ever we both exclaimed with delight as we woke up! Maybe it was being clean? Maybe it was the ocean and waterfalls lulling us into a deeper sleep or maybe we were just tired from lots of hiking over five days? Whatever the reason it was fabulous to wake up rested.

Day 6 had arrived and 14 km of easier hiking with it. Although everyone said it was an easier day there were some spots that I felt we should have been able to traverse easier than they were it wasn't as easy as the final 12 km ahead of us that's for sure.

Heading out of Tsusiat Falls in the morning with marvelous weather on our side again we were in the groove of packing up, hiking out and keeping a steady but enjoyable pace to still stop and see anything we wanted to.

There was a wicked section of ladders to exit out of this camp, I mean a set that tired you out and made your legs shake for a bit after but the highlight at the top was a smiling buoy greeting us:

Kinda looks like Homer Simpson to me...

Buoys were carved out everywhere along the way it was neat to read all of them. Buoys were your lifeline on the trail, they showed you where beach access was, where the campsite were and where it was safe to enter the trails. A neat system to keep everyone on the safe track.

Now expert whale watchers we saw whales while hiking, before leaving camp, in camp and everywhere!

This day for me was a bit of a trial to see how long it would take us to get out on the final day and it was frustrating to realize this "easy" section still took us 6 hours to do 14 km and I was a little worried that we were not making the 1 pm shuttle out without leaving at 5 am from camp in the morning. Along the way we saw some fresh bear scat which made us a little more aware in the deep brush to be noisier than usual. Our final destination for the day was Michigan Creek campground and our last overnighter on the trail.

These boots were made for hiking and we had 12 km left of our 75 km journey and amazingly enough my feet never had a sore spot, blister or issue the whole way! Buy good boots!! Don't think you have to break them in, they should fit great the minute you try them on as mine did, your body will thank you for it. One group hiking around us spent too much time on the beach and burnt their feet...OUCH! I can't imagine how it felt to hke with sunburnt feet.

We descended one of the final ladders before camp this day and just as I was coming down nearly to the bottom I grabbed the ladder rung but instead it squished under my hand; I screamed like a little girl! It was a slug on the ladder stretched out the same way as the rung....ewwwww! It made for a good laugh at my screaming though!

Our final 2 km was spent walking on the rock shelves as the tide was coming in, this created a phenomenon as the cold ocean wind was blowing and the hot sun was heating the rock shelf creating a tidal "sauna" effect of steam that we walked through. It was our ocean hiking spa treatment or so we told ourselves over the final stretch. We had a few other hikers within beach viewing distance from us but there really wasn't many at all at this time.

We were plugging away looking for the best path to travel over the rock shelves and not become stranded on a rock island with too much water around it when suddenly we looked up and saw buoys, we were here! It was 1:30 pm on a glorious hot day and we were one of the first to camp again. Getting to camp early was a pleasure because as enjoyable as the trail was it was a lot of the same roots, trees, mud, ladder repeat whereas you could lay on the beach while watching whales and tan. Who doesn't enjoy that?

We plunked down our packs and didn't set up anything, after enjoying a midday lunch we dozed on and off in the sunshine with literally hundreds of whales spouting in front of our camp.

Nearly half asleep I felt something touch my leg without thinking too much about it I thought it was just a piece of seaweed flapping in the wind. Just then my hiking partner says: "That's a snake!". A little garter snake decide to join our tanning party needless to say though I didn't fall asleep. Soon more hikers began arriving and we eventually set up our tent as the day wore on. We really just soaked in as much of this wonderful relaxing amazing atmosphere as possible.

As the sunset and the evening wore on I looked out onto the rock shelf directly in front of our camp and went for an evening walk around the tidal pools. Tidal pools exist with small sea life that are dependent on the water coming in and out from the ocean tides. This evening was a stellar example of so much life around our world.

Three starfish all different colours stranded together on the rock shelf made for a really unique picture. This may be one of my most favorite pictures of the trail it was just so neat to see maybe because there was always three in my family growing up. As the sunset lowered behind the trees there was a hint of sadness that our adventure was ending tomorrow but at the same time I was ready to go home unless my family magically appeared in camp and we stayed for a while longer!

This last night was a night of reflection and it brought a tear to my eyes knowing this would end, it makes you very aware that most happiness in life comes from the journey not the destination. All memories are derived from the steps between each goal or point in life. You remember where you got to briefly but most times ponder on the microgoals and victories between them the most!

Last day tomorrow, wow a week went so fast!

I Live Life Now,

Lisa Stocking

CSEP-CPT

 

 

 

 

 

Waterfalls, Hippies & Beauty!

Posted in i live life now blog

Day 5! 16 km day of hiking, an average day on any other trail this would seem not too bad, The WCT= longest day on the trail!

I woke up early after maybe the worse sleep of all on the trail, too cold to fall asleep, then fell asleep to have the wind wake me up on and off. Is this night over yet?

Tired, grumpy and coughing from the cold my daughter shared with me prior to leaving the trail I was up at 7 am which was really sleeping in on this trail. Tearing down camp in the morning the wind blew in one of the most clear stellar mornings yet. While enjoying our coffee and oatmeal (I'm done with oatmeal for a while after this trip!) we just finished saying how neat it would be to see some whales yet to complete our trip.

Imagine, as though our thoughts were heard there appeared whales spouting right in front of our camp while we sipped on our coffee. It was one of those moments I will remember forever as a highlight of life. 

With low tides to our advantage we headed out along the tidal rock shelf that was teeming with sea life. 

As we hiked over boulders in some spots and beach walked on others we arrived at a huge cliff face that had a rope on it to lower yourself down or the sane option of taking the inland trail for 500 ft via ladders. We opted for the ladders and made our way around back to the beach and some easier hard packed sand walking. After what seemed like forever we finally stopped for a break on the beach.

Not sure how much farther we had left to go until Nitnat Narrows and the crab shack we enjoyed a little longer break. While eating our gummies, chips and Clif Bars we spotted something in the water really close to shore that looked like a moving boulder. It was a grey whale with her calf rubbing on the barnacles 50 ft from shore....WOW!

Although really hard to capture on film, the dark line in the water so close to the beach is a whale. We watched her for half an hour until we had to move on. Even the guiding group that was leap frogging with us on the hike took pictures and marvelled at the sight remarking that it is rare to see this behaviour so close. To us it was magical, to really comprehend what we just watched. Sometimes this trip just seemed to line up so perfectly it seemed as though we were being guided by angels watching over us.

Nearly to the half way point in mileage here we were still in awe of the gigantic trees everywhere, I am hanging off a branch of this tree and look like a dwarf! This picture was just after we crossed the Cheewat River (or river of urine) yum, it's mineral content is so high that on this stretch of hiking we did not have access to fresh water for 14 km of the hike. We stocked up before we left camp which made our packs heavier for sure!

After another hour of hiking we arrived at Nitnat Narrows, a pleasant stop with a patio restaurant that serves crab, halibut and salmon all freshly caught that day. Oh, yum!! This drylander was happy to experience fresh seafood and a baked potato.

It was another great place to visit with hikers headed out the opposite direction and hear stories of the hike, this point in the trail is one of the few places you can "cut" short by hiring the people of the Narrows to haul you 21 km upstream to their town where you can get a ride back to civilization at that point. People who are short on time or just want to experience half the trail do this quite often.

It is so neat to watch a business formed from simply having hikers in the middle of nowhere who will pay nearly anything for good food! Although in my mind $20 for food that is fresh is cheap when in a restaurant at home you would pay $40 for frozen seafood. I was amazed to watch from the dock all the fingerling salmon and shiner perch that would eat the crab leftovers, all new species to observe.

After our lunch which included fresh garden radishes, watermelon and a Campino candy from Hippie Doug the ferry operator we headed back on our way after we safely crossed the Narrows!

Fed, watered and ready for the difficult draining beach walking that was ahead along with a hotter day. Again we headed out aware that high tides may effect our hiking but we were ready to tough it out by tanning on the beach if need be! Coming up was The Hole In The Wall and Tsusiat Falls our final destination.

After a long hike in the bush trail which we throughroughly enjoyed being out of the sun and heat in we popped out onto the beach and into DEEP sand. It felt like you were standing still moving...ugh! Thank goodness we knew great views were ahead to keep us going.

The Hole In The Wall did not disappoint, it was a very cool rock structure wore out by the ocean and had seals right beside it on their sunning rock. The map states that you can't get through the wall if the tides are too high but yet again the tides weren't too high to get through so after a quick water/food break we headed out again with only a mile left to our final camp for the night!

Tsusiat Falls:

We arrived in camp at 5:30 pm it was the trails most popular campsite but it is so large you don't notice how many people are there! It was finally hot out with no wind and we were dirty from five days of hiking and no shower. Set up the tent fast, shut it to make it really hot inside and throw off your stuff to enjoy a hair washing and shower in the falls.

Oh, being clean felt so good!

After cleaning up we meandered over to the outhouse, I had been pre-warned it was hard to find but it was over a 1/3 of a mile from our camp due to tides washing out the beach near it! Not only that you had to leap, catwalk on giant driftwood and use a rope to climb a mini cliff to ascend towards the outhouse. It was a plan before you have to go kinda hike to the toilet!

Cozy, dry and ready for bed we had our smaller supper later on because we had enjoyed such a feast earlier then sat around the campfire enjoying good company and more amazing sunsets. This blog has seemed so long but so much happened in one day that it was really in my mind the best day of all (for real this time!). Second last day coming up tomorrow and our last night on the trail...happy/sad emotions all at once. Missing my family a bit finally and wishing they could share this beauty as well. It really is life changing being out on this trail.

I Live Life Now,

Lisa Stocking

CSEP-CPT

 

 

 

Turtles, Burgers & Boardwalks

Posted in i live life now blog

I awoke thinking it must be raining; nope it was simply that foggy out that everything was soaked.

Moving our stuff out of the tent we had to promptly cover our packs with our rain covers to keep them from being soaked. We were so cold! One could understand how people become hypothermic on this trail when it rains, it was just windy not even rain but the dampness in the air was all encompassing.

Right off the bat we were able to beach boogie due to low tides, I’m not sure who coined the term but in some spots it should be called the beach dragfest ugh! We disliked hiking on the beach. Our first part wasn’t too bad as it was as on rock shelf but we quickly caught onto the fact that black slime meant face plant, green slime meant go slow and you’d be okay and long green plants meant you could go fast! We hiked over tidal shelves, deep sand and rocks, thinking we had only gone 2.5 km we were feeling a little dejected that we hadn’t gone very fast or far since it felt like forever that is until we rounded the corner to Chez Monique’s voila we were there! 

Just prior to rounding the corner I was turned around taking a photo of my hiking partner as I stepped back to get a better angle when; flip....I turtled!! For those of you unfamiliar with the idea of turtling while hiking it means you fall over on your back and due to the amount of weight holding you down you are stuck! Like a turtle on its shell. There I was turtled. This was the day we both turtled mine was on dry land, my friends in water (no pic of this unfortunately).

It made our day to know we had gone farther than we thought! Chez Monique’s is a restaurant we dined at on day four, it has no water, power or restroom for that matter which made drinking the coolers we bought nearly intolerable since one cooler in two coolers out is usually the rule. We ordered the world famous burger and I wasn’t really even craving anything at this point but we planned to eat here as a meal that we didn’t pack to save weight.

Our burger was honestly amazing! Even in a “fancy” restaurant it ranked as a quality burger, along with some salad and couscous. Worth every penny. (Disclaimer: you do get a bun with it but I eat gluten free so I ordered sans bun!).

We filled up here on chocolate bars, apples, mangos, coffee and chips. Some to eat there and some to go! Good thing I only drank one cooler while dining somehow the boardwalk got a lot less stable as we continued to Carmanah Lighthouse.

We visited with some great people at Chez Monique’s as we continued onward we visited with them every night from then on. The tides were too high according to the map and tidal charts to hike after the lighthouse so it gave us time to lie on the beach and tan while our gear from the morning dried out.

Yes, this was our view while waiting...pretty tough to suffer through but we made it!

We watched sea lions until the tide started to recede. Headed out walking ready to wait if we had to due to impassable areas with the tide. As luck would have it we didn’t have to wait at all! We ended up in camp by 4 pm after a leisurely day of drinking and eating along the trail. 

The campground at Crib’s Creek was beautiful, lots of beach and people around. Our tent with a view as great to get out of the sun with and watch the waves before supper. We enjoyed a campfire with our new friends and a spectacular sunset listening to the sea lions in the distance.

We were tired and ready for bed, as soon as the sun set it became really cold and windy, hoping it was blowing in even better weather! Although I shook myself to sleep two hours later from being chilled, I just kept thinking it was the best day ever each day and yet one wondered if it was possible that it could get even better yet?

I Live Life Now,

Lisa Stocking

CSEP-CPT

Ladders, Bridges and More...

Posted in i live life now blog

Due to the close proximity of all the other tents we were up at 5:30 am since so many others were mulling around to get an early start on their day. Some hikers going the other direction would be hiking all the way out to the trailhead where they would catch the shuttle home; more info on the shuttle or West Coast Trail Express when we ride it out our last day!

Since we (me) was up early and my hiking partner conceded to wake up early since I was already awake we were up and ready to rock and hike by 7:20 am and from the previous evenings campfire talk about discover the "worst" part of the trail ahead. We stopped every hour for a short water break and every two hours for food and an extended break. The rainforest was a wonderland of ferns, moss, firs and foliage we had never seen before. Then along the way we hit an alpine, bonsei marshland that seemed out of a movie.

 

Boardwalks, a little mud and ladders made for an interesting day. This section included the biggest set of ladders, a suspension bridge, a cable car, bogs and the final destination being a sweet little swimming hole and a beautiful campsite with a view of Mt. Rainier as well as stunning tide pools. We expected far worse than it was from the scare talk the night before.  

The ladders were long and at odd angles but they were possible as long as you didn't allow your mind to do the climbing and just allowed your body to do what it was good at; move. It was a tiring day as many of the days were but the rewards and views at camp most days surely made it worth the discomfort.

It took us 6 hours of hiking to reach Walbran Creek from Camper's Bay which covered a distance of 9 km over the toughest part of the trail although I still maintain that the first 5 km was much harder technically due to the rocks, terrain and climbing. Yes, there were ladders on this part that were long and arduous but not impossible. The worst part is waiting for others to climb down or up the ladder systems and required more time because of this.

We were exhausted from being up so early in the day and hiking hard, we hiked in a bit of a mist for the day but being inland the whole day on the trail it was nice to have a cool day to hike. Once we arrived at camp we just laid our tarps out and rested as the sun burned through the clouds to shine on us while we dozed on the beach. Although this was the premier swimming hole on the trail, the wind was so cold we couldn't force ourselves to jump in and have a hiker's bath. We washed some clothes, then set up the tent and enjoyed the views.

As we sat around camp and filtered water for the day we watched a family of children aged 10-14 hike in with their parents and grandparents, what a neat group to watch hike together. It would make for a lasting family legacy to hike this trail together but I marvelled at the thought of the kids and grandparents hiking over what lay ahead of them. I'm sure they completed it but wow was all I can fathom to say at the tenacity it took for them to finish it. I truly mean anyone can hike this if you are patient and believe in yourself to finish.

Supper was courtesy of Mountain House and boiling water to rehydrate it. Later that evening after we were fed and watered we headed out to look at tide pools, our first real chance to see some ocean life on the trail.

There is no way to put into words the views and expanses around us in every direction, it was stunning no matter where we were whether it was the trail, the beach, the ocean or rock shelves. When you are in this environment it makes you feel so small and you begin to realize that your small world at home is really just a drop in the bucket of what the Earth has to offer.

The air had a dampness more than usual and we were chilled and ready for bed by 8:30 pm; not your average hiker party animals by any means! We were tucked in and fast asleep quite quickly but sleep eluded one of us as her sleeping pad went flat....it seemed we rarely each had a good nights sleep at the same time!

The wind blew hard this night and lulled us to sleep along with the ocean waves crashing on shore...sweet dreams of tomorrow's burgers along the trail.

I Live Life Now,

Lisa Stocking

CSEP-CPT

 

WCT Journey Day 1

Posted in i live life now blog

The West Coast Trail is touted as one of the top hikes in the world! Here is a more indepth description of this trail for some background information on what we travelled. 

Arriving in Edmonton the evening prior the alarm went off at 5:30 am to awake us for the last shower before heading  into a week of hiking and creek baths. Boarding went smooth onto a half full plane when we touched down in Victoria at 8:34 am (one hour time change). A smiling face greeted us and it was wonderful to have someone pick us up that we knew at the airport.

A quick stop over at another house to pickup our bearspray and stove fuel (you can't fly with explosives? imagine), I previously sent these by courier since we arrived too early in the day to buy supplies at any stores with this type of merchandise. After a few U-turns and a quick fuel stop for both the vehicle and ourselves we headed out on the windy roads toward Port Renfrew.

There is great debate over whether to start from one end or the other but logistically we wanted to have a shorter day when we got off the plane since we were going to attempt to start the trail on standby. Each day there are a limited amount of spots to hike the trail from each end that are reservable, after that you can show up at the trailhead and ask to get onto the trail when there is an opening. Every day there is 5 standby spots from either end that open up, we were hoping to get on the trail by Monday at the latest, we landed on Sunday. 

Once we arrived in Port Renfrew at exactly noon we walked into the office secretly hoping to get on that day and get started...voila we did! Just like that. She asked us to return at 1 pm to go through orientation and then catch the ferry ride at 2:30 across the bay to begin our journey!

Wow, did not expect that even though I wished for it.

Careful what you wish for...we knew the first 5 km was really hard but you can't imagine it until you start walking it. Immediately off the bat we started hiking up and up and down steep rocks, roots and everything between. Ladders, logs and sometimes no path in which you had to look and find an arrow pointing up a rock face where there really was no path. My wow's were either an exclamation of how are we going to get through this or the beauty surrounding us you just never knew which one it was.

The soothing part about it being so hard is we knew it couldn't get worse later on, within 3 km we came upon a massive donkey engine that was hauled up there somehow by people much tougher than us! 

Not being from the island all the landscape was magical to us whether it was a weed or a beautiful plant we were in awe of the diversity here. I read later there was over 100 types of ferns and 300 kinds of moss on the trail. You couldn't look up from the trail very often to look at it but when we stopped for a rest we drank it all in drunk on the magnificent land our Earth offers to those who are willing to receive. Finally, near the intersection we saw people, they were camped alongside a creek at a non-campground. We asked why there were there and they said they didn't want to do the climb down into Thrasher's Cove they were being lazy? I thought hmm is it really that bad? Yes, yes it was.

Find the hiker on the ladder in the trees in this above picture...good luck!

Once we reached the intersection we headed to Thrashers and basically you drop 55 stories in 1 km of trail, already on tired legs we went down the kilometer of hell so happy to see camp we could have cried. Instead we set up camp, got water and had supper! Our tent was about 10 feet away from the high tide line since the campsite is very small and getting there late means you don't have much to pick from. I was awake all night waiting for the water to come in our tent since I was paranoid about the ocean being a drylander I don't have much experience or trust in the water and how it behaves.

Room with a view! Yes, that is the ocean and our driftwood wave break in front of us.

Since we arrived at camp 4 hours after leaving the trailhead it was now 6:40 pm or 7:40 pm Alberta time and we had be flying and travelling since 5:30 am! We were spent. To bed as soon as we had all of our stuff in order, we had a shorter day ahead so we planned to sleep in, not that I slept much worrying about the impending wave I thought would take us out!

What would we see tomorrow? How would we feel? What would the trail be like? So many thoughts about what lie ahead anticipation and excitment about it all!

I Live Life Now,

Lisa Stocking

CSEP-CPT

 

 

 

One Week Lost...Much More Gained!

Posted in i live life now blog

People tend to evaluate their weeks by the amount lost very rarely are they boasting about what has been gained in the week; today I sit in front of this computer scared to write...no words can do justice to the thoughts, feelings and emotions gained from being on the West Coast Trail (WCT) for a week. No cell service, no deadlines, no questions about how to lose that last 5 lbs, no worries or thoughts that are self defeating or pointless.

What I gained in a week on the WCT may be well enough for a lifetime to literally change me forever. 

There's always the epic view pictures from everyones trips out here, they really are that stunning and unfortunately since I wasn't the photographer who lugged his Nikon DSLR camera 75 km over trails unfit for animals my pictures will speak perhaps not as loudly as his will but the words I have inside are stuck a little and over time will unfold.

In 75 km (100 km by another friends GPS; the 75 km is if you went in a straight line which you never do) I was humbled by vastness, greatness and unbelievable surroundings that seemed not to be from this world. Even if you can't hike the WCT head out to the Juan De Fuca trail or others that can give you a taste of this beauty. The rawness and sheer beauty out here is amazing. WOW was the only word I used for the whole week, this could mean beauty or how the hell are we going to get over or down this trail??? it was a challenge not an impossible one but one where you had to think a lot on the harder parts of the trail, no rest for the wicked or you were down a very steep cliff with only ferns to break your fall over the rock and maybe a fir to slow you down.

In the week I was lost I learned a lot about myself, patience is a virtue...to rush on this trail is to miss it all. Hike for a week and not really see anything if you wish; we saw a lot of things that many didn't! Have you ever been 50 ft away from a grey whale and her calf while she rubs on the barnacles to clean herself? Wow, even the guides on the trail took pictures since it is so rare to see this close up! Humbling, touching and surreal.

We saw eagles, otters, mink, sea lions, seals, whales, slugs and I mean slugs tons of them yellow, black, white, green you name it! Oh and snakes particularly one that slid around us while tanning on the beach. Did you know if you lick a banana slug your tongue will go numb? It's their self defense mechanism. Otters sleep holding hands in the water to avoid drifting apart and getting lost. Whales don't sleep and anenomes use their mouth as their other end as well? See all the infomation you can learn out in the middle of nowhere lol!

 

For now one day after being home I am trying to sort through pictures and emotions from the trip, we had perfect weather not a drop of rain and only one morning of fog I don't think we could replicate this great trip again if we tried! 

So, my question to you is this: Instead of focusing on what you lost this week what have you gained? Weight loss is such an easy focus but really means not much in the big picture. Being strong enough, fit enough and ready to enjoy adventures such as this is what your focus should be. Yes, many fitness levels can hike this trail but do you want to feel like death warmed over completing it or would you rather feel great the whole time because you put in the hours beforehand to enjoy an epic journey?

More blogs to come day by day from the trail...stay tuned!

I Live Life Now,

Lisa Stocking

CSEP-CPT

 

WORKIN OUT WCT STYLE!

Posted in i live life now blog

This summer is full of many adventures for me and I am pleased to offer a taste of what I will be doing over the next couple of months!

This week I will be on the infamous West Coast Trail located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. There is over 100 ladders to climb, mud bogs and tough terrain so in honor of this you shall enjoy a great leg workout with me:

Complete each superset back to back without rest 3 X then rest before the next set if needed!

Set #1 

Mountain Climbers 1 min

Wall Squat Hold 1 min

Set #2

Burpees 1 min (count how many you do!)

Lunge Pulse 30 sec each leg

Set #3

Squat Jacks (Power Jacks) 1 min

Single Leg Squats 30 sec each leg

Set #4

Speed Skaters 1 min

Lateral Lunges 30 sec each side

To mix this up complete an upper body workout on the off days or cardio between! 

Good luck and I will return with lots of pictures and stories to tell...

 

If You Can't Say Anything Nice...

Posted in i live life now blog

I've noticed that with time I become quieter and quieter (some may disagree), but perhaps I'm starting to learn the lesson if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all. Although many times over I think a lot of nice things and don't say them out loud which is a shame.

Many people I admire from afar the accomplishments I see such as walking on the track each day for their own health, someone making a wise choice in a restaurant when they don't know I'm there or simply someone out for a run in the trails I love seeing people moving, living and loving life. I wish more often I would tell them so. Perhaps I'm hitting the six month slump but I just feel like I don't have it to give freely lately, no fight left, no heart or passion to give to others. I have enough for myself and family but past that it is a struggle.

I think a lot of good things, I also think a lot of bad things you could say. Maybe I should work harder, fight harder for things in my life but I don't. My attitude is: life shall unfold as it is meant to be because after last year there isn't much fight left. I don't need to be right, I don't want to be validated and I just am enjoying existing. 

There is still a lot of joy in simple things such as the sun rising in the morning, watching clients sweat and playing catch with my kids. This slow down that has been imposed partly by my own choosing and partly as the ebb and flow of training in summer time when everyone heads outdoors and it has been wonderful but underneath there is still a subtle tinge of sadness. And you know what sometimes it's okay to be sad we all have those days.

They say after six months is when it gets hard; I know this and I have felt it before whoever "they" is would be correct six months after a major life change is always when the floor falls out from under you. Fortunately, at the six month stage I have wonderful plans made with people I love and adventures I never dreamed of twenty years ago when I believed you just got married, gave up and became trapped in your own life. 

If anything I have learned to be adventurous as you never know when you won't wake up. Enjoy each day, explore life like a child with wonder and say I Love You to everyone that needs to know often. 

Sitting down at my computer today I have felt the need to write for a while but just couldn't muster the idea of what it would be...this is what came. Obviously it has sat unabated for a while but when I checked it has been nearly three week since I have wrote although it felt like yesterday. The weather has been good hiking or being outside on the deck listening to the frogs has felt much more important.

Only The Good Thoughts Are The IN Thing!

Posted in i live life now blog

You know you've hit a button when people threaten in a passive aggressive manner of what you've wrote, it is my truth for myself and my life, how I see the world through my experiences and days on this Earth. It is what people have told me in passing, what they are frustrated with or tired of constantly doing the same thing over and over expecting different results each time they try.

To this I am done. It is a thought gone on the clouds of negativity to only harness the good in my life instead. My frustration for what is a billion dollar industry will be lost in the sky; why? Because those who wish to argue the subject and continue to make money off of it will continue to battle til the end about why they are right and there is no right or wrong only what is good for you, yourself and your body. My focus will be on what is good for my body and what is good in my life. This is why we live in a free world. It is my choices that define each day and the rest of my time on Earth.

What is good in my life? This breath I just took and then the next for it creates all the possibilities of what is in each moment. Whether I go outside for a walk or cook healthy food for myself this breath is what created it all. Nothing else. These breaths continue to allow me to laugh with my family at supper, watch the sunrise in the morning or simply be still each breath follows the next in an unconscious pattern. 

Our lives are lived and died in our head we can still be breathing and yet not alive at all because we are so trapped in the negativity that runs over and over in our minds that we can't even be thankful for what we have right here and now. At some point in time when a person is ready for change you start to realize that you are responsible for everything in life because our choices are what gets us from A to B. Even if bad situations, unthinkable situations occur in life we still can have a choice in what we will do with our reaction to it. Smother ourselves deeper in negative thoughts or understand that there is still always a choice to be our best in bad times not just a victim of what is happening to us.

Fear is the biggest fuel to all fires we fight to put out. Fear keeps us afraid of change in our lives even miserable but comfortable is better than the unknown happiness that may await us because we don't know what is out "there". 

Take a chance on "there" and spend five minutes with some positive thoughts, gently nudge those negative one's out as they arise, recognize and release them then focus on a new positive thought to replace it. This is so hard but is the beginning to life changes in our bodies and mind as one. No special diet required, no extreme fitness plan and no one selling you anything. We need to stop being sold and told and begin to love and change our own minds to nurture ourselves as though we would our best friend. Perhaps for one day talk out loud to your best friend the way you do to yourself and see how long this person hangs around...yet we talk day in and out to ourselves in such a harsh manner.

What is good? I am a kind, loving, caring, compassionate, passionate, driven, fun, active person who is always excited by the world around me. How would you describe your best friend? Then that is how you should describe yourself, the two should be similar.

 

Start a new day, a new choice towards a change you can create and maintain for this life!

I Live Life Now,

Lisa Stocking

CSEP-CPT

 

 

 

 

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