Grizzlies – Smarter Than Your Average Bear

Who knew Grizzlies could count?

So today Rick and I were supposed to summit Mount Temple – an 11624 foot behemoth a stones throw from Lake Louise. To say we were stoked would have been an understatement. In fact, we spent a significant amount of time last night organizing our gear and laying everything out for the trek, including setting up a 4:45 am wake-up call.

I won’t lie, 4:45 am was painful. Really painful. But it wasn’t so bad considering what we knew we were about to do. We showered, packed, and made our way down to the main floor so that we could grab breakfast and our boxed lunches.

Shortly after 6:00 am we met up with Jason – the same fearless guide who led us up Cascade Mountain. Sadly, that’s when he had to inform us that Temple wasn’t going to happen. Not for weather, and not for dangerous conditions, and most definitely not because we weren’t up to the challenge. Temple couldn’t happen because of a law. A law about bears.

Seriously.

Grizzlies are clearly refined – dining only on meals of three or fewer hikers. Four would just be gluttony.

Specifically, the area that Mount Temple calls home is also home to Grizzly Bearsan important part of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem1. And because Grizzlies live in the shadow of Mount Temple, a law has been enacted to protect both bear and hiker. That law states that hikers may only enter the land of the Grizzly if they do so in groups of 4 or more2. Further, all members must maintain a maximum distance of 3 metres between each other. In other words – hikers need to stay close together – and not wander off from the group.

Unfortunately, despite our big smiles and bigger personalities, Rick, Jason, and myself were still only three people. Three is clearly less than four.

But not to fear, dear readers, all was not lost. Not by a long shot. Because Jason – our most excellent guide – had a fallback plan. That plan was to climb not one, but two mountains in place of Mount Temple – Mount Fairview (9003 feet, 2744 metres), and Saddleback Mountain (which isn’t as tall as Fairview – but I couldn’t find exact numbers on it). While neither mountain is as tall as Temple, both offered a spectacular view of the surrounding area.

Mount Fairview – conquered!

The day was fantastic – the weather was perfect, the views were amazing, and it was rather awesome to be able to climb two mountains when we had only thought we’d be climbing one. On top of all of that, Rick and I were able to cross off a few other of our to do items that had been given to us by several friends. Those items included: yoga on a mountain, singing for my friend Mel – a.k.a. @consuming_copy, and a jump shot or two (all provided below for your entertainment).

Anyway, now we’re just relaxing and enjoying the beauty that is the Fairmont Banff Lake Louise Hotel.

And don’t worry folks, we haven’t forgotten about Mount Temple. Rick and I will return – perhaps next year – to knock that off of our list.


Rick has conquered Mount Fairview.
Taking a moment to reflect on the climb.
Getting my jump on.
Enjoying the scenery.
Because it needed to happen.
Not my best bridge pose – but the rock was a little bit awkward.
So much epic scenery.
A tasty brew to celebrate our climb

Be warned – I can’t sing.


1 As posted on the signage we saw as we climbed Mount Fairview.

2 Who knew that Grizzlies could count? Clearly they are smarter than your average bear.


What’s Another Half Kilometre?

Mount Temple – we’re coming for you.

After another most excellent breakfast at Bow Valley Grill in the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel1, Rick and I wandered around Banff – taking a stroll down Banff Avenue to do some people watching, grab a coffee from Evelyn’s, and enjoy the crisp mountain air that had descended on the town. It was a casual saunter with no particular goal in mind, other than to enjoy ourselves before packing, boarding our bus, and making our way to Lake Louise. More specifically, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

The bus ride was fantastic, as it provided me the opportunity to see more of the mountains and natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. I was mentioning to Rick that it had been well over a decade since I had been to Lake Louise, and the last time was in the winter. As such, I was stoked to be making the trek in the remaining days of summer.

At some point during the ride Rick pointed out Mount Temple that sat directly in front of us. Compared to the nearby mountain summits, Mount Temple clearly stood out. We both smiled knowing that tomorrow we’d be making the climb to the summit2, which towers 1788 feet (545 metres) above Cascade Mountain – a total of 11624 feet (3543 metres) above sea level. Since Lake Louise is a mere 5449 feet (1661 metres) above sea level, we’re aiming for a rather epic elevation gain tomorrow.

Our room with a very fine view.

Anyway, as the bus pulled into the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel, I was awestruck by the amount of snow still covering the peaks of the nearby Mount Victoria. I was also blown away by the natural beauty that lay before me; the mountains, the glaciers, the water, the forests. Words and pictures can’t begin to do it justice.

Following check-in and visiting our ridiculously awesome room, we headed to the boathouse to begin one of our in-between-mountain-summitting adventures. Today that adventure was to spent about an hour and a half canoeing Lake Louise3. Awesome!

We met our guide Bruce, and our seven fellow paddlers – who hailed from Washington and Texas – and quickly jumped into the canoe. Well technically first we were equipped with life jackets and paddles, and then we had to learn how to paddle properly. But after that we jumped into the canoe, ready to conquer the lake – or at least enjoy her beauty while floating on top.

Canoeing Lake Louise. Clearly we’re enjoying this.

Rick and I were seated near the rear of the canoe – close to the guide and the Canadian flag. Having all been properly seated we were off – cutting the waters along the shore so that we could easily spot wildlife should any make an appearance. While we didn’t see much in the way of wildlife4, we heard some pikas, and saw a sandpiper as well as several people rock climbing5. I was mesmerized by the forest, the Victoria Glacier, Mount Fairview, Mount Victoria, the Big and Small Beehive, and the glacial blue glow of the lake (a result of the rock flour that flows into the lake as the glaciers melt). It was almost surreal – a perfect and seemingly pristine example of the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies.

Anyway, tomorrow is another early start as our attempt to summit Mount Temple begins at 6:00 am – which means we need to be up by 4:45 to make sure we are packed appropriately, fed sufficiently, and fully geared up for an epic climb. So with that I am off to bed – to dream of things that I can only hope are as beautiful as the place we’re currently staying.

Goodnight all y’all.


Some other pictures from our day about Lake Louise:

Our very schwanky room with a view.
Our welcoming gift. Yes, we are clearly very spoilt.
A little note to greet us on arrival.
A breathtaking view of the lake, and Mount Victoria behind it.
The grounds of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

For some reason, whilst canoeing, I couldn’t stop thinking about this song (a cover of Neil Young‘s Pocahontas).


1 Holy lord I’m in love with the maple bison sausages. So freaking tasty. And stewed fruit. My mouth is watering thinking about both.

2 Weather permitting of course. Our fallback mountain is Mount Fairview.

3 The original schedule had us doing the Shore Line Stroll.

4 Most likely all trying to avoid the hundreds of tourists walking the paths around the lake.

5 Rock climbing at Lake Louise – something that I should probably add to my Not-So-Bucket-List list.


Hike. Spa. Repeat.

Ya. I’m cool like that.

It’s amazing what a good sleep, an amazing breakfast, and an hour-long sports massage will do for an I-just-climbed-a-mountain weary body.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Rick and I conquered the first of three mountains that we must summit in order for Rick to receive a very palindrome-y cheque for $26762 for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. We’ve so got this.

While yesterday’s mountain conquering was just what I needed, it left my body completely exhausted. And while my everything hurt, and my everything’s everything also hurt, I couldn’t help but smile. The feeling of standing on top of the world is incredible. It’s overwhelming to be able to look a full 360 degrees at so much of this country’s natural beauty. And it’s awesome to be able to do this with Rick. As far as people go, he’s pretty cool.

Manly tools.

Today is our day to relax. That meant sleeping in – or at least attempting to sleep in. When first I woke it was 5:15. Clearly I said screw you clock and dozed off. I woke up again about an hour later. Instead of getting up and potentially waking Rick, I decided to enjoy the cocoon that I had made for myself and reflect on yesterday’s adventure. Eventually I jumped out of bed and hopped into the shower. I was surprised at how good my body felt given how exhausted it was the night before. Regardless, the extra hot shower was exactly what I needed.

We made our way to breakfast at the Bow Valley Grill on level M1 of the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. Breakfast was delicious – bacon1, eggs2, stewed fruit (including prunes, apricots, and raisins)3, chicken and bison sausage4, coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Definitely just what I needed.

After breakfast our spa day began. Now let me just say that I’ve never had a spa day before, but I now understand why people do this. I haven’t felt this relaxed in ages.

So relaxed

First up: an hour-long sports massage with Courtney. The massage started out rather gentle. I won’t lie – I was worried that I’d end up with a relaxing massage instead of the deep tissue massage that I needed. But Courtney soon proved that she knew what she was doing. Deep breathing is really the only way to get through a deep tissue sports massage; well, deep breathing or cursing like a sailor. Since I only just met Courtney, I opted to protect her innocent ears from an onslaught of profanity. She found all of the spots – especially those around my hip flexors – that needed serious attention. And holy hell did it hurt. But in a good way. Afterwards, I can honestly say that I felt about a million times better.

Rick and I sat around afterwards enjoying our post-massage bliss, hydrating with lemon water, and then with cucumber-mint water. We’re nothing if not fancy. We also wandered the spa to see the facilities – as we have access to them for the entire day. We may or may not have also shaved given that the spa provided all the necessary tools for such an activity. I won’t lie – it was pretty awesome5.

After lunch we returned to the spa to enjoy the mineral water baths, the sauna, the eucalyptus steam room, the water falls, and the hot tub. To say that it was relaxing and just what our muscles needed was an understatement. I could definitely get used to living like this. Hike. Spa. Repeat.

Speaking of repeat, we’ve got a date with a hot tub and a steam room. It’s a rough life, but someone has to do it.


As promised, here are some other pics from yesterday’s trek to summit Cascade.

Making our way through the trees.
The Cascade Amphitheatre – early on the way to the summit.
Just above the tree line on our way to the summit
The summit is to the far left in the backgroun.
At the summit. Freezing, but happy.
Rick – all smiles.
Our hotel. Or as @therobcampbell suggested, Gillis Manor. Ha!

1 Yum!

2 Which, on first bite, turned out to have cheese in them – so I had to opt out of eating them.

3 Surprisingly very yum!

4 I want more of both of these.

5 This may or may not have to do with the fact that, at the age of 37, I still only (need to) shave twice a week. And it may or may not have to do with the fact that I still feel like a big boy when I’m doing so.


The Conquering Of Cascade Mountain

On top of the world. Or at least Cascade Mountain.

This post is likely going to be short because my everything is tired. In fact, my everything’s everything is tired. I had no idea that was possible.

The day started really early – the alarm went off at 4:45. I would suggest that a wake up of 4:45 in the morning while on vacation is evil, but there was a really good reason for our early rising time. That reason – conquering Cascade Mountain.

And conquer we did. The day was long but amazing. Over ten hours of hiking across about 16.5 km of stunning natural beauty, and with an elevation gain of about 1300 metres. Insane!

Three other people joined out adventure: Jason our guide from Yamnuska, Natalie our nature expert from Parks Canada, and Jeff from Banff Lake Louise Tourism. The trek wouldn’t have been the same without them. We had a blast, and shared a lot of laughs and a lot of the natural beauty and wildlife that Banff and Lake Louise have to offer.

Anyway, the adventure was incredible but I am spent. I’ll post more tomorrow after our spa day and massage (graciously provided by Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel). That’s right – tomorrow is spa day and massage day. And we can’t wait for it.


;

Rick and me at the top of Cascade Mountain.
Bighorn Sheep – just some of the wildlife we saw today.
Me in the Cascade Amphitheatre

The Word Of The Day Is Spoiled

Pffft. Cascade Mountain – you ain’t so big.

Despite sleeping through my alarm this morning, I managed to make my way successfully to Calgary where I met Rick who was patiently awaiting my arrival. We spent an hour or so in the airport; chatting, feasting on some Timmies sandwiches, and catching up, before we boarded our bus to Banff.

The 1.5 hour drive felt quick – likely because I was captivated by the scenery, and also because Rick and I had a lot of catching up to do. In all seriousness, I love the mountains. I feel at home here, and could imagine myself living in this area at some point in the future.

But I digress.

Our room comes with a fancy antlered mirror.

We arrived at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel around 3:00 pm and were assigned our room – correction – we were assigned our upgraded room. You know – the room with a view.

Let me just take a moment and say holy crapshite this hotel is amazing. The room is absolutely spectacular, consisting of a bedroom with two queen size beds, an enormous bathroom, and a living room with fireplace and an amazing view of the mountains. How spoiled are we? Very is a bit of an understatement.

Sunset, Banff style. I approve.

The mountain views continued as we headed downtown for dinner. Everywhere we looked there was something amazing to see. From the clouds over the mountains, to the rays of the setting sun transforming the peaks into amazing shades of blue and purple – I felt completely overwhelmed by the beauty of it all.

Following dinner and return to our room, we were surprised to learn that the hotel had further spoiled us with a basket of fresh fruit and a note from the Regional Vice-President and General Manager of the hotel. I won’t lie, I feel a little like a rock star. I think that I could get used to this.

Anyway, our hike starts tomorrow at 6am. Which means I should get my tired but very hyper and spoiled self to bed.

Night all y’all.


Counting Down The Hours

I tell time in the language of nerds.

In just over 12 hours I’ll be jumping into a Red Car taxi to head to the airport. In just over 15 hours I’ll be safely on board my WestJet flight to Calgary with seatbelt buckled, tray & chair both in their upright position, and all electronic devices securely stowed beneath me or in the overhead compartment above. In fact, in just over 15 hours I’ll probably be listening to the flight attendants as they give me the rundown of the safety features of the aircraft.

Sadly, I’m so excited about my trip I’m pretty sure I won’t hear a word they say.

Fortunately this is not my first flight and I’m rather confident that if I need to respond to a serious emergency, I’ll do so with an appropriate sense of style, decorum, and logic1, 2.

Photos like this are a given. What other pics are you hoping to see?

This means that I have only a few hours left in which to finish packing all of the various things that I need for my 9 day mountain climbing adventure, and only a few hours to wrap up several work-related loose-ends. Most of those loose-ends are related to the course that I’ll be teaching this semester3. Fortunately they aren’t very taxing so I plan to make quick work of them before I head to bed.

But work-related things are not the point of this post, especially given the fact that I technically started vacation the minute I left the office on Friday.

Instead, this preamble is all a rather long and winding build up to the point of this post. As you all know, Rick and I will be climbing three epic mountains. We’ll also be hiking around Banff and Lake Louise on our non-mountain-climbing and non-massage-getting days. And of course we’ll be taking many photos because the mountains are just too damn amazing not to photograph. There will be jump shots, and pictures of us overlooking vast expanses of nature. There will probably be silly and ridiculous photos. There may even be some cl-ass-y photos5.

But, dear readers, what photos do you want to see? What shenanigannery should we get up to? We’re looking for any ideas. Serious, thought-provoking, hilarious, dangerous-looking but not really dangerous6, cl-ass-y.

I can’t promise that we’ll do everything that you might suggest, but we’ll give it our best.


1 In other words, I’m likely to piss myself and cry like a baby.

2 As an aside, some people have asked me in the past whether or not I label myself as Dr. when I purchase a flight. In short – no. In the event of a medical emergency, I don’t want anyone wasting time coming to me to say “Doctor, Doctor, someone’s bleeding from their left phalange4. Please help us.”

3 A third year Computer Science course titled Systems Design and Analysis in Application.

4 I assume this is a medical emergency. I really have no idea. I’m a Doctor of Statistics dammit, I’m not an expert on phalanges.

5 There may even be – Pffft. You know these are going to happen.

6 Because my mom would be most upset if I did anything dangerous.


More Stoked Than Stoked

Banff Avenue - Cascade Mountain
Cascade Mountain – We’re coming for you. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve spent the bulk of my day thinking about, planning, and pulling things together for my big adventure.

I still can’t believe I leave on Monday. From the moment Rick notified me of his win, to the last day of the fundraiser, and yes even up until this very moment – just over 36 hours before I board the plane for Calgary1 – it still seems like a giant dream2.

What I find even harder to believe is the fact that Rick and I will be climbing the first mountain – Cascade Mountain – on Tuesday. For those curious, the trek is estimated to take 10 to 12 hours, and the summit is at 9836 ft above sea level.

Based on my previous mountain climbing experiences, 9000 ft is usually where one starts to feel the effect of altitude. I know for me that’s the case. Fortunately, both Rick and I have been in high altitude situations before, so I know we’ll be able to manage.

Ice axes! W00t!

Anyway, as I said, I’ve spent the day getting some things organized for the adventure. Rick has done the same – making a trip to Mountain Equipment Co-op to pick up some necessary equipment as outlined in our trip package materials. This includes a new backpack, water bladder, and headlamp for me.

Fortunately we don’t need to buy everything as it would get slightly expensive. Banff Lake Louise Tourism has told us that they will provide us with the following (should we need them): crampons, ice axes, and a sit harness.

All of these things make me smile like an idiot. Crampons? Ice axes? Sit harnesses? Sweet baby Jesus these climbs are going to be amazing.

I am freaking stoked. So stoked, that the word stoked doesn’t really fully explain in any adequate way how stoked I truly am.

STOKED!


1 Not that I’m counting or anything.

2 If it is, I hope I don’t wake up until the adventure is over because it’s going to be awesome.


I Couldn’t Say No

Why? Because my life isn’t full of enough crazy adventuring.

Alright, I realize that I have an epic adventure starting in a few short days – you know, that little thing where I fly out to Calgary to meet up with Rick and then climb a few mountains, all the while raising money and awareness for The Kidney Foundation of Canada – but I have just signed up for something because I absolutely couldn’t say no.

What have you gotten yourself into now, Gillis? you might be asking yourself.

Well, I have just finished registering myself for the Easter Seals Drop Zone.

What the hell is the Easter Seals Drop Zone? you might now be wondering.

I’m glad you asked.

The Easter Seals Drop Zone is an event that occurs in many cities across Canada. The idea – raise $1500 for Easter Seals, and then get the opportunity to rappel down the side of a large building.

So let me summarize: if I raise money for a worthwhile charity that helps children with disabilities, I get to rappel myself down the side of a building?

How can I possibly say no to that? I’m so in.

This is me rappelling into Rats Nest cave last October. Drop Zone will be longer, and in the light of day. W00t!

Since my local Drop Zone event is happening in Kitchener (October 1 for those interested in watching me temp the Fates), I’ll be launching myself off of the Marsland Centre building. For those curious, it’s 13 stories high (which is approximately 150 feet tall according to the interwebs).

Of course I still have to raise $1500. And so, if you are interested in helping me out once again, please go to my donation page (by clicking here, or by clicking on the Drop Zone logo over there to the right) and contribute whatever you can. And if you aren’t able to donate, please spread the word. And perhaps come and watch me dangle my butt over the side of a 13 storey building.


Is It Monday Yet?

And our grand adventure is one day closer. Can you tell that I’m excited about my trip out west to visit Rick and climb three epic mountains? Because if that wasn’t clear, let me state for the record – holy shitballs I’m excited!

In fact, I find myself giggling every now and then throughout the day when I think about what we are about to get ourselves into. Te he!

Yesterday I gave you a rundown of the general schedule. A few of the things on our schedule were news-to-me. That is, while I knew that we’d be climbing Cascade Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, and Mount Temple, I had no idea that we’d

  • be taking a shoreline stroll of Lake Louise with a Heritage Guide,
  • be hiking to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House to have lunch with the owner and learn about their history,
  • be involved in as large a press event as what is described in the tour package we’ve been provided1.
So freaking beautiful! 

From what I can tell, the shoreline stroll will be exactly that – a guided walk along the shores of Lake Louise where we’ll learn about the history of the area, and the environment around us. It surely will also provide us with ample opportunity for some seriously amazing photos.

The hike to Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House will involve a 5.5km hike from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel. As with the shoreline stroll, we’re likely to see some amazing natural wonders including waterfalls, glaciers, and of course the mountains surrounding the area. And according to the interwebs, Victoria Glacier is only another kilometre away – so who knows, we may end up there too.

Fortunately we will also have free time to explore Banff and Lake Louise. Which means we may have time to go canoeing, or biking, or any number of the other activities that are offered.

Holy shitballs I can’t wait.

Did I mention that I was excited?


1 At the top of Sulphur Mountain on Monday September 3rd, we’ll be presented with a cheque for The Kidney Foundation of Canada2 by Julie Canning3 and Stuart Hart4. We’ll also be joined by GlobalTV, Banff Crag & Canyon, The Rocky Mountain Outlook, The Calgary Herald, and The Calgary Sun5.

2 I can’t even begin to imagine how amazing that is going to feel.

3 President & CEO of Banff Lake Louise Tourism.

4 Director of Sales & Marketing Development, Banff Lake Louise Tourism.

5 Which means that Rick and I are likely going to be interviewed and photographed. Which also means that we need to look our best. But don’t worry folks, we’ve already discussed this. Mountain climbing is nothing if it’s not stylish. Ha!


Thank You Thank You Thank You

Yes, let’s.

In case you hadn’t already heard, the fundraising campaign for The Kidney Foundation of Canada ended today. The total raised: $6762. Since Banff Lake Louise Tourism is matching the first $5000 raised, that brings our official total to $11762. And of course, once Rick and I climb Cascade Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, and Mount Temple, Banff Lake Louise Tourism will hand over another cheque for The Kidney Foundation to the tune of $15000. All together, that’s $267621. And we couldn’t have done that without you.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

Of course Rick and I still have to climb those three mountains, but that’s the easy part, right?

For those curious our schedule is as follows:

  • August 27 – Fly to Calgary via WestJet, take shuttle to Banff, check into the Fairmont Chateau Banff Springs hotel.
  • August 28 – climb to Cascade Mountain summit (10-12 hours).
  • August 29 – enjoy spa day number 1.
  • August 30 – check out of Fairmont Chateau Banff Springs hotel, check into the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel, complete the Lake Louise Shoreline Stroll.
  • August 31 – climb to Mount Temple summit (10-12 hours)
  • September 1 – hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House for lunch.
  • September 2 – check out of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel, check into the Fairmont Chateau Banff Springs hotel, enjoy spa day number 2.
  • September 3 – hike to Sulphur Mountain summit (1.5 hours), followed by press event.
  • September 4 – check out of the Fairmont Chateau Banff Springs hotel and head home to Guelph via WestJet.

Honestly, I can’t wait. It’s going to be a very busy 9 days, but it’s also going to be completely amazing. I’m stoked that we get to hike 3 different mountains, I’m stoked that we get to stay at two luxury hotels2, I’m stoked that we have extra hikes that I didn’t know about, I’m stoked about the spa days3, and I’m stoked that I’ll get to do all of this right before the semester gets going.

But most of all, I’m stoked that we are able to do this and support such an awesome charity.


1 Want to know more about the $26762? Check out this post on my prof-blog.

2 Which are both beautiful.

3 MASSAGE!!!!


Last Call

Tomorrow – Wednesday August 22nd – is the last day of the Big Mountain Challenge fundraiser for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. At last check you have collectively donated $6402, crushing the goal of raising $5000. And since we’ve met the goal to raise $5000, Banff Lake Louise tourism will match that value.

Putting it all together, and assuming Rick and I summit Cascade Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, and Mount Temple between August 27th and September 4th, Rick Chin’s Big Mountain Challenge will have managed to raise at least $26402.

And that dear friends is amazing! I can’t even begin to describe how awesome it feels to be part of something so freaking incredible.

But we aren’t out of the game just yet. We still have time to raise more money – more money to search for a cure, more money to save countless lives, more money to hopefully prevent anyone else from developing kidney disease. It’s an ambitious goal but it’s something that we can do – if the scientists and researchers and medical professionals have the funds they need to keep searching for answers and bringing us that much closer to a solution.

If you haven’t donated yet but were intending to, please do so now (or before 11:59pm MST Wednesday August 22nd). You can donate by clicking here.

If you have donated or are not able to donate at this time, please share this post via Facebook, Twitter, or word of mouth.

Please also consider signing (or obtaining) your organ donor card. If you are in Canada you can easily register by clicking here. Many people with kidney disease die each year because there aren’t enough kidney donations to go around. And better still – since you have two of them – being a living donor is completely within the realm of possibility.

Thanks again for all of your support. We’ve got one more day of fundraising left – let’s make it a big one.


Video Evidence

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

For those who read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I completed item #279 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list1. You’ll also recall that I had mentioned that I was in the process of processing video evidence of my adventure.

Well dear readers, I’ve just finished processing said video.

And so without further ado, I give to you the video evidence of my CN Tower Edge Walk adventure that I have painstakingly uploaded to YouTube through the super tiny pipes of the interwebs. You are welcome.

The video should give you a general idea of our 30 minute 356 metre high Edge Walk adventure, which includes such fantastic feats as dangling our butts off of-, and falling face first over- the edge. Sadly, despite the awesome video, it really doesn’t do justice to the full experience.

For those who may be curious, I’ve also posted this post on my other blog (click here) because I wondered how long it might take for me to hit the ground if, by some extremely miniscule chance I slipped over the edge and both tethers happened to break at the exact same time. Because curiosity is far more intriguing when it’s morbid.

That’s a rule, you should write it down.



1 Item #279 being the CN Tower Edge Walk.


The Edge Walk

Look ma, no hands!

I would have sworn that the CN Tower Edge Walk was on my Not-So-Bucket-List list, but apparently it wasn’t. I repeat – wasn’t. Given that this has been on the list in my mind since I heard about it last year, I’ve turned wasn’t into was by retroactively adding it to my list today. It is now item #279.

And because I completed the CN Tower Edge Walk today, I’m very quickly crossing item #279 from my list. I’m nothing if not efficient.

The walk itself was incredible. After being very securely tethered to the tower by not one but two ropes, we – we being me, Gerarda, Alan, Randy, and two other people (Mark and Deborah) who joined our group – took our first steps 356 metres (1168 feet) above the streets of Toronto.

In a word – amazing.

The adrenalin rush was almost immediate. The view – especially given the clear day we were presented with – was fantastic. We were able to see Niagara Falls and Rochester New York from our vantage. And of course, we could see Toronto in all directions. It was simply stunning.

Our first challenge was called Toes Over Toronto. The goal, walk to the edge of the ledge to the point where part of our feet were off of it. Then, let go of our support ropes. Crazy exhilarating. It’s amazing how much the body does not want to do it.

The second challenge – turn around, sit down, and then slowly walk ourselves backwards over the edge. Once there, extend our legs and enjoy the feeling of leaning off of the tower. For me, this was very much like repelling. Exhilarating, amazing, and absolutely insane. I’d so do it again.

The last challenge was the biggest of them all. Face out from the tower, walk forward, and then lean out as if diving off the tower. Amazing!

Honestly, the adventure is beyond words. I’m currently processing a video from the day so will post that as soon as possible.

As for me – I’m off to bed – but I’m already thinking that I have to do this again.


Zzzzzzzzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I am exhausted. So much so, that I crawled into bed at 9:30 and I’m fighting to stay awake long enough to write this post. I won’t lie – it’s a bit difficult as I keep finding myself dozing off. It doesn’t help that Elliot is sprawled out across me looking fuzzy and cute as he dreams of chasing mice, or whatever it is that Elliot dreams of.

Hmmm, apparently I just dozed off again. Amazing. It’s somehow 10:09. This is going to be the best post in the history of posts.

I digress.

You might be wondering why I’m so tired. I’d like to say that I ran a half marathon today, or that I did something requiring substantial physical activity. Sadly, neither of these are the case. I awoke today, as I have for the last couple of days, to the sounds of 9 industrial fans and 2 industrial dehumidifiers trying to dry out my normally dry but recently saturated condo. While I can normally sleep through anything, I think I have discovered that I’m not getting the best sleep with the constant drone of the fans. I woke up exhausted.

Now let me describe what I mean when I say exhausted. I woke up after 7 hours in bed, and all I could think was I need more sleep. Regardless, I got up and started cleaning up my kitchen – at least as much of it that I could – and organizing the piles of boxes in my living room. Within a few hours, I had to have a nap. Elliot agreed.

After about a half hour nap, I got up and started cleaning again. Elliot did not seem to be amused, but the boxes weren’t going to organize themselves. Sadly, it wasn’t long before I needed to go lie down again. Seriously.

Sadly, I’ve felt this way all day – do a little work, need to crawl into bed and sleep. I’m thinking that if this continues, I’m going to have to find somewhere else to sleep, somewhere with 9 less industrial fans and 2 less industrial dehumidifiers. I’m really not a fan of feeling this lethargic and exhausted.

Anyway, this is why at the ever so rock-star hour of 9:30 I made my way to bed. And it’s also why, almost an hour later, that I’m finally calling it quits on this post.

Night all y’all.


Unfreaking Believable

W00t!

Sometime this afternoon – around 3 pm based on when Rick sent me the update – we reached the goal of raising $5000 for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. This means that Banff Lake Louise Tourism will – once we hike Cascade Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, and Mount Temple – present Rick with a cheque for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. And not just any cheque. A cheque to the tune of $15000 plus the matching $5000 that you’ve just helped us raise.

That’s $25000 guaranteed to The Kidney Foundation of Canada!

That is freaking unbelievable.

What’s even more impressive is how fast it happened. Let’s recap shall we?

  • The fundraising page (found here) was made available to the interwebs on August 13.
  • I posted about the page on August 13, around 4 pm.
  • By the end of day 1, you’d generously donated a crap-load of dollars.
  • By the end of day 2, you’d doubled that crap-load of dollars into an even bigger crap-load of dollars.
  • By the end of day 3, you’d upped the donation level to about 90% of the goal! Seriously – you people are amazing.
  • By about 3 pm today you’d surpassed 100%.

Let me restate that. In approximately 4 days you have managed to donate over $5000 to The Kidney Foundation of Canada. That is EPIC! And because Banff Lake Louise Tourism is awesome-sauce, they are doubling each and every one of the dollars you donated.

I honestly can’t even begin to describe how awesome it feels to be part of something so amazing. Thank you all for your support.

However, we’re not done. We have until Wednesday night to collect as much money as we can. Any extra dollars collected will be the proverbial icing on the cake, the cherry on top, the extra sprinkles, the holy-shitballs-you-people-are-amazing.

So let’s do this folks. Let’s see if we can’t keep this going, because the money we raise is going to mean a lot to so many people. And who knows, that dollar that you donate might just be that dollar that finds a cure for kidney disease, or prevents another person from developing it. And how amazing would that be?