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My visit to the West Coast
By:  Andre Marchand   (2010/08/05)


For the last two weeks I have had the pleasure of visiting British Columbia and training on the West Coast. I made the trip with my fellow team mate Katie McMahon and her family of cross country ski enthusiasts. We visited our relatives and trained in new places. The following are the highlights of my trip.

Climbing Mount Albert Edward:

After landing at the airport late Friday July 20th (it was technically the 21st by the time we left the airport) we took one day to sleep off the jet lag before hiking Mt. Albert Edward. Based on some quick research after the hike I learned that Mt. Albert Edward is the 6th highest peak on Vancouver Island and has an elevation of 6870 ft. I climbed every foot of it! We started the hike pretty early in the morning since it was supposedly a “2 day” trek according to tourist info… not for us. It took a total of 10 hours to get to the peak eat a quick lunch and descend back to the parking lot. We had estimated that it would take quite a bit less time than that but because we spent 8 of those hours walking on and through snow which really slowed the pace and tired out the legs. This extra five feet of snow also covered just about all the trail indicators and directions so we spent a lot of time hoping that we were heading the right way. Thankfully everything worked out despite our interesting choice of paths to climb this massive mountain!


One of the "interesting" paths that we chose to reach the top... straight up a snowy cliff!


The peak of Mt. Albert Edward looks deceivingly close... 


...but thanks to the soft and slushy snow we still had about 2 hours ahead of us!


Katie and I triumphantly standing at the summit.

You can't really tell from the picture but we are actually only a few feet from a 5000 ft drop!  I threw a rock over the edge and listened for the sound of it hitting the bottom... the sound never came.


A nice shot of the mountain ranges in the distance from the top of Albert Edward.


The steep descent down... time for some downhill skiing in trail shoes! 

Probably the funnest way to get down a mountain.

Riding the West Coast:

Since I hadn’t brought much more than shorts and running shoes I did most of my hours running or hiking. However anyone I’ve talked to who mountain bikes and has been out to B.C. strongly recommended experiencing the west coast mountain bike trails! I am now one of those people. If you enjoy mountain biking and you’re visiting B.C. you have to go for a ride! We rented mountain bikes from a local bike store in a small town called Dodge, and with some recommendations of which trails were the best we headed out for our ride. We rode for three and a half hours along narrow bridges, drops, wicked down hills and of course some steep climbs!!! I was glad we had gone to the trouble of renting bikes, it was definitely worth it.

Surfing on the shores of Tofino:

To top off the whole thing we spent 2 days in Tofino where I got to try surfing for the first time… it was awesome!!! It took about an hour or so to get used to the strength of the waves but by the end of the first day we had all managed to stand up on the surfboard and ride a wave triumphantly to shore. After a short morning run we went to long beach for the rest of the day to hone our skills as surfers… and yes I counted my surfing as a ski workout toward my weekly hours J


Me surfing the waves in Tofino. 

Thanks for reading. 

Interesting Reading. . .
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