Cool tool for trail running

This summer I've really had a great time trail running. The five peaks race series has been fantastic although I had to miss the Whistler race because it conflicted with my fieldwork in Victoria. Booerns. But almost every weekend without a race, with only a few exceptions, my friend Jane and I have been going to the North shore to find some trail. She knows the trails really well as she's been running around these parts for years, so mostly she's been my guide.

Although she's got the experience, I've got the technology. I usually run with my Garmin which is a GPS slash watch slash timer slash heart monitor, etc., etc. Recently I discovered how to upload our runs from the garmin to see them on google maps. THEN I discovered photo tagging on google maps and it just got cooler! Here's a link to our run yesterday around Buntzen Lake out in Port Coquitlam. Open the link then go to the right hand corner of the map image. Those buttons let you fool around with the view, including the option to see photos people have tagged onto the map, or the terrain view that displays the elevation contours. Super cool! Now you can see where I've been running!

Here's another run we did a few weeks ago on Mt Seymour. I screwed up my garmin for the first hour so that straight line across the map is just a default line from where we began on the right to where I turned on the gps unit. We pretty much ran an out and back except...well, see the crazy loop there? That was me getting us lost by taking a superfluous left hand turn. This run is now called The Epic Run because we were out there far longer than intended (due to getting lost) and we both ran out of water almost an hour from the car. To get us home we talked non stop about lemonade and iced tea, and gatorade and powerade. Usually I get through the second half of a long run by describing the lunch we'll have when we're done, but this time it was all liquid, all the time. Anyway, no harm came to anyone and now it makes a good story. Jane likes to let me lead but I'm terrible at trail-finding so we really should work out a better system.

Enjoy the maps! And take a look around at other cities and sites to see the photo tagging in action. Very cool tool.


Gots ta get PAID!

Just filling in anyone who was becoming concerned...after three and a half months of no income, damn if I didn't finally get paid!

I've held a new RAship for two months already and there was problem after problem with the forms to get me on salary for the work I was already doing. Stupid, ridiculous problems like the administrator coming to me and saying, "UBC payroll doesn't have your birthdate and they need that to process the forms." Uh huh. So how did they manage to pay me for the other five jobs I've held on campus over the years, and why didn't they (or YOU, ya donkey) check one of the 52 other places my birthdate is on file in order to find out? Ridonkulous.

The point is, I finally have a (modest) amount of money coming in again on a regular basis so I can rejig the domestic costs distribution Rocco and I had adjusted for my non-income status, and I may actually be able to pay my tuition that will come due in three weeks. PHEW! In the nick of time, I tells ya. The nick of time.


Photo fill-in

Here's what we've been up to this summer:

Hiked High Falls Creek in the Tantalus range in July with our friend Steven. It's an amazing hike with varied terrain including some sketchy climbs with ropes and chains, and a long logging road out. But all along the road you have this fantastic view all the way down the Squamish River valley. Stunning, really.

I've loaded up our new deck with plants and veggies. My favourite is an heirloom tomato plant I bought for 12 bucks that was already bearing fruit. The first massive tomato ripened quickly (it's on the little blue table there). Other things are doing quite well and I've found that Sophie peeing on the chard really forces the chard to perk up and grow like mad! :-)

I went out to Tofino for a quick surf holiday with The Duchess, her mom, and another Yukon friend. I finally got a ride! Three surf rides to my name now and I finally understand why it can be fun! The weather was crap but that doesn't matter once you're in the water. SO good to see D and spend some fun hang out time together.

We hiked up Mount Strachan last weekend in beautiful heat. Just at the start of the trailhead we saw a brown black bear - Rocco's first trail bear! It was pretty exciting, but really the bear had no intention of being distracted from his clover patch by a few measly humans. The view up top is pretty much incomparable, as you can see.

This coming weekend we're off to Vancouver Island so I can start my thesis fieldwork. I'm nervous and excited, and Rocco is to be my esteemed research assistant, thank goodness! Even though we have fit in lots of fun stuff this summer, school has been very, very busy for me and will continue to be for a while. Still, it means stuff is happening and work is being accomplished, and at least I can't complain of boredom. I hope all of you are also having a nice summer filled with adventure!


Something I haven't told you...

Shane gave me a Silvia for my birthday in June! I'm so in love with her! It's taken me a while to find the time to build a suitable premiere of my little beauty, but it's finally done. I feel like I've joined an elite club with this machine.