After running 2.5 hours without pain on Wednesday, I decided to hike with my friend Jen McGuiness and her dog Neve (snow and water loving elite athlete) instead of risking another set back. Time to heal and train adventure style.
Jen and her amazing dog Neve
Instead of following up yesterday’s successful run with a longer run on Thursday. Our goal was to hike along goat ridge from Murrin parking lot in Squamish. We awoke Thursday morning to light rain and grey skies. No worries, this after all was a chance to spend time with Jen and her dog Neve as well as get in some good elevation meters. I met Jen back in December and we have yet to go on an adventure together. This was our day and hopefully more to come. Jen is a ski patrol at Blackcomb in the winter and on the glacier for the summer. In between she is a sea kayak guide, rock climbing instructor, as well she has a CARDA certified avalanche dog which keeps her busy. She is living the dream in my eyes, living with true passion with work she loves and plenty of time to do the things she loves such as ski touring, rock climbing, hiking, running, biking, and paddling. She’s definitely someone you would want to know if the world were to go to shit. She knows the mountains, terrain, fauna and flora of the coastal region quite well.
Neve (aka Nester, the Nevster, miss Neve)
Neve is the other super athlete that accompanied us on our trip. Neve goes almost everywhere Jen adventures. She has spent eight days ski touring with Jen doing at least double the distance as she would constantly be trotting from back to front as Jen skied along with her friends. She is such an intelligent, fit,and fast dog that its humbling spending time with a her in the mountains. She is trained to save lives, to find people who are buried or lost who are out there pursuing their passions for the outdoors.
Thursday was a cool wet morning and as we began our hike into the lush green coastal forests of Squamish. I couldn’t help but smile and think how lucky I am to be living in such an amazing place. Jen marched on and upward and I followed close behind, legs and lungs struggling a bit from the previous trail runs but, it’s good training to work through tired legs. The trail is on the north side of highway 99 just east from the Murrin lake parking lot. Neve with her superior lungs and legs took the lead turning around to see if we were coming and back tracking to make sure we were not slowing down. I can only imagine what she must be thinking “Come on guys, lets go there’s more to see” We made a quick early lunch stop at Petgill lake where we huddled under a tree to keep dry and warm. Aside from a sucker whole in the sky most of the trek up was misty and cool.
Jen eating lunch while Neve motions to the lake (she loves water)
Jen entertained me with stories of alpine adventures, Neve’s endless aerobic capacity and future hikes. For example Jen thinks it would be an awesome idea to ride up 1000m to a trail that leads to Sky pilot mountain and then run/hike up and come back down. Sounds fun to me and we don’t even need to drive anywhere.
Intended Goat ridge and other possible options (sky pilot and copilot)
Then I thought maybe one day we could hook goat ridge onto Copilot and Skypilot mountain and loop back down. Though this would require 40km of trails with a grade four downclimb from what I have read. Anyways, as we reached snow Neve became even more excited. Running here and there on the snow, this is her terrain, she is in her element. At 1130m we decided to turn around due to poor visibility and lots of snow. The top was at 1790m. We will return when the visibility is better and perhaps there is not as much snow to hike on. On our return Jen took a huge spill due to her wearing approach shoes on slippery roots in which she rolled off a five foot hill. I gasped but once I knew she was ok it was probably the funniest thing I have seen in awhile.
Jen and I before turning around
Andrew and I on Sigurd valley trail
I rested up on Friday so I had fresh legs for a hike with Andrew the following day. He is my hiking/training partner for the race. I choose to add a long hike once a week for Leadville 100 since I will be power hiking at least half of the race. He is also my boyfriend, the one who filmed and edited the trail running video and also my support crew for the 100 mile race in Leadville, Colorado. Since he doesn’t run its a chance to have fun in the mountains while getting in some quality time together outside.
Andrew is a photographer by trade and he brought along a hiking pole in which he can screw on a camera at the tip of it so it acts as a tripod or steady cam. Ingenious!!
Hiking pole which turns into a tripod/steady cam
Andrew is a photographer by trade and he brought along a hiking pole in which he can screw on a camera at the tip of it so it acts as a tripod or steady cam. Ingenious!!Again another person who is doing what they love.
me taking in crooked falls
We choose to hike the Sigard creek trail to the second view point. The weather finally cooperated and we had a beautiful sunny day with lovely valley views, steep winding coastal forests, powerful rushing waterfalls and good conversation. This trail is steep in section, muddy and boggy in others as you travel through mossy greens, old growth forest, to the sounds of crooked falls and the creeks above to our final high point. We enjoyed lunch near crooked falls and a snack a top a knoll over looking the valley below before returning back down. Elevation gain was 825m and our high point was around 885m taking us around five hours to complete round trip. Though the kilometers are low, the intensity is still high and does not cause my back or leg any pain. It’s was an amazing weekend spent with one uber inspiring dog(who knew a dog could inspire me so much) and two inspiring and humbling people. I feel excited about my move to Squamish and all the trail, hikes and mountains around the sea to sky corridor yet to be explored. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful, exhilarating and spirited place.
View from our high point, cloudburst mountain in the background
on our way down, Andrew tree hugging an old growth tree.
Have fun out there!