I started rowing in my first year of university and instantly fell in love with it. As an outdoor adventurer, athlete, and water lover the sport just seemed a natural fit. Over the past two years, I started taking the sport more seriously and started training several times a week with the intention of competing and performing at competitions. I soon after qualified for the provincial team and have been training 10-16 times a week since, depending on the training phase we are in. These sessions include: rowing, cycling, running, weight training, and more.
This past year I started winning local competitions, placed second in a two-person crew boat at a competition held in Canada with competitors from around the world, and placed seventh in Canada at the National Rowing Championships.
I have always loved outdoor adventure and have kept hiking and road cycling as a normal part of my training plans, so it seemed a natural fit to extend my stay following the National Rowing Championships held in Burnaby, BC. One of my friends from university lives in West Vancouver, so I met up with her and we went hiking every day for the three days following the culminating competition for the year.
The below experiences have been amazing and life changing for me. I have never been an adventurous spirit, but my father, Brian has encouraged me to join him on these trips and I am forever grateful for that. I am a very different person before I took on these expeditions and I have changed for the better. Adventures teach you how to be mentally strong and not take things for granted. When you are in a state of angst or pain – you learn about yourself. When you learn about yourself you can teach yourself to be more confident and have less fear. Below I am writing about my experience kayaking/camping in the Yukon and Alaska. Read more about my experiences road cycling in Mallorca and alpine touring in British Columbia.
Yukon/Alaska – 60-Day Kayak/Camping trip
My biggest achievement to date was in the Summer of 2018 when I completed a sixty-day kayak trip with my father and two friends. Looking back, it is almost a blur. The days seemed to blend together as one. However, its funny, if you brought up one specific event on any day, I will remember it as if it was yesterday.
Our trip began in Skagway, AS and finished in Nome Alaska. This expedition consisted of 50km of hiking, and more than 2,500 miles of kayaking. We began kayaking in Bennet Lake, BC in the headwaters of the Yukon River, and we paddled down the winding, 2,000-mile Yukon River all the way through to the Bering Sea. We saw all sorts of animal life – black bears, grizzly bears, walrus’, muskox, grey wales, beavers, seals, Lynx, moose and even puffins!
There were three stages of this trip. A six-day hike over the Chilkoot Trail, kayaking on the Yukon river, and ocean kayaking in Norton Sound, AK. All three of these had their own distinct difficulties:
Chilkoot Trail Hike – A very difficult hike compounded with having to carry our gear for the entire trip made this trip difficult enough to maximize our exertion all 6 days. A portion of this climb consisted of a vertical snowshoe up through the pass – a particularly difficult portion of the hike. If you fell it could be a forty-foot drop over nothing but rock. The most difficult part of this hike was the weather – finding a balance of staying warm, but not too warm was challenging. If you overexerted yourself, you would get too hot, if you were moving too slow, you would freeze. I learned that the hard way to keep it blunt.
The Yukon River – A mix of unmatched beauty and slight disgust. The Yukon River is a special and unforgettable portion of this entire trip. When we first put the boats in Bennet Lake, we were in awe of the tremendous beauty and mountain ranges. Forty-five days later, the variations of terrain were astonishing. We saw swamps, dry-lands, old townsites, and enough mosquitos to last a lifetime.
Norton Sound (Pacific Ocean – Alaskan Sea) – My personal favorite part of this trip and the final portion of our trip. The Norton Sound kayaking was only two weeks, but stunning scenery and an abundance of wildlife made this forever memorable. Bluffs of puffins or walrus’ bumping your boat, Norton Sound was an amazing final touch to our adventure. Some of the most interesting terrain I have had the pleasure to experience was here in the Sound. It felt almost unworldly.
The final days of this trip I was overcome by emotion; a feeling that, to this day, I will never forget, was a sensation self-realization. Once we ported the boats in Nome, AS, I had a feeling that I can do anything and nothing is in my way. I felt untouchable. It is something difficult to describe – something that will forever make me hungry for success and have no fear of failure. From that moment on I have felt that, with the right preparedness and commitment, I can conquer anything and everything without fear.
The below experiences have been amazing and life changing for me. I have never been an adventurous spirit, but my father, Brian has encouraged me to join him on these trips and I am forever grateful for that. I am a very different person before I took on these expeditions and I have changed for the better. Adventures teach you how to be mentally strong and not take things for granted. When you are in a state of angst or pain – you learn about yourself. When you learn about yourself you can teach yourself to be more confident and have less fear. Below I am writing about my experience cycling in Mallorca, Spain. Read more about my experiences alpine touring in British Columbia and kayaking/camping in the Yukon and Alaska.
Mallorca, Spain – Road Cycling
Mallorca has now become another yearly event for my family and I. My personal favorite spot to visit, Mallorca, is an island part of Spain situated in the Mediterranean, just east of the Spanish mainland. Mallorca is a gorgeous yet rugged island full of all sorts of terrain. My first ever cycling trip was in Mallorca and I was nowhere near prepared for the level of fitness required to get through these stages.
Our annual Mallorca cycling trip is a six-day cycling event with a mix of both rigorous and fairly undemanding days. Three of these six days are big climbing days and the remaining three are shorter and more recovery focused. Undoubtedly the two most difficult climbs on the island are Sa Calobra and Puig Major respectively.
Sa Calobra (The Snake) is difficult climb of 670m in total elevation gain. The beginning of Sa Calobra is right at sea level and consists of a 9 KM climb at a gradient percentage of 7%, average. By the finish, you essentially have nothing left in the tank. It is a perfect test of cycling level – no matter if you’re novice or experienced, every rider will have an empty tank at the finish of Sa Calobra. The time of completion will be different but it pushes everybody at all levels.
Puig Major is a slog. 14Km of climbing at an average of 6%. Not a steep climb, but a long and draining ascend to the top that we usually tackle at the end of long day. This climb is all patience. If you over-exert yourself too early, you won’t have the juice to get to the top – but you will also have to stay focused on keeping a good pace or else you’ll never get to the top. Once you reach the top of this climb – there is a massive sense of relief – not only because of the fatigue but also a feeling of self-satisfaction. When I first conquered this beast, I had a feeling of completion that I have never have ever felt. A beautiful feeling of self-fulfilment came over me, more than anything previously in my life.
The below experiences have been amazing and life changing for me. I have never been an adventurous spirit, but my father, Brian has encouraged me to join him on these trips and I am forever grateful for that. I am a very different person before I took on these expeditions and I have changed for the better. Adventures teach you how to be mentally strong and not take things for granted. When you are in a state of angst or pain – you learn about yourself. When you learn about yourself you can teach yourself to be more confident and have less fear. Below I am writing about my experience alpine touring at Lake O’Hara Lodge in BC. Read more about my experiences road cycling in Mallorca and kayaking/camping in the Yukon and Alaska.
Lake O’Hara Lodge, British Columbia – Alpine Touring/Skiing
Lake O’Hara is situated in Yoho National Park just west of Lake Louise, AB.
Lake O’Hara has been somewhat of a yearly excursion for our family. We tend to plan our week to visit in Mid-February. Temperatures may reach as low as -35 degrees Celsius at the lodge making this trip not only difficult in nature but also a real test of character. My father, Brian has been going up there since he was my age (23) and introduced me to the experience when I was as young as six years old.
The week in O’Hara begins with a challenging, mostly uphill 11KM ski into a lodge in the core of a breathtaking mountain range. Throughout the week you ski out to different destinations – a mix of both climbing and downhill skiing, or alpine touring. Always returning back to the same lodge (Lake O’Hara Lodge), you still manage to go miles in every direction. A massive backyard.
Lake O’Hara is the essence of the Canadian Rockies – the natural beauty of this spot is uncontested. There is nobody for miles in all directions. The feeling of seclusion is a little bit intimidating at first, but becomes more peaceful as time passes. The ability to put on your skis and 30 -45 minutes later be on top of a mountain range is a remarkable experience.
This trip has its physical challenges, but for me its more of a social event in a secluded part of the world. There are no phones, no Wi-Fi, and no television. It’s a week of camaraderie and friendship with the ability to exercise and be active. I look forward to Lake O’Hara every year, and O’Hara will always have a special place in my heart.
Location: Lake Bled, Slovenia
Just a little over a year ago I took a spontaneous trip with one of my closest friends, Emily. I flew from London to meet her in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. I didn’t know much about Slovenia beforehand but was eager to explore! One of our most memorable days in Ljubljana was our hike around beautiful Lake Bled and the Ojstrica and Osojnica hills.
Ojstrica and Osojnica are perfect for those looking for an easy hike with a beautiful view. The highest point is the viewpoint at Mala Osojnica at only 670 m. The whole trip is roughly an hour, which gives you plenty of time to explore the surrounding bay. The hike itself starts at the edge of a meadow and leads you down an unmarked path into a forest. Following the path through the forest soon brings you up Ojstrica and later to the summit at Mala Osojnica. At one point, we encountered what I like to call the Stairway to Heaven. The summit itself features a beautiful benchtop with a truly breath-taking view of the lake. As you can imagine, we spent awhile at the top taking a few photos and stopping for a rest. The descent is slightly more difficult and can be quite steep – although luckily for us it was dry that day and not particularly slippery.
When our world opens up again, if you’re heading to Slovenia and want to get a little outdoor adventure into your trip – do check out Ojstrica and Osojnica at Lake Bled!