Oh, Cana….Gold Bar || Road to Enlightenment

Having a little bit a fiesta on the boat over here. I got a wedge of brie and some yerba mate and I’m listening to KEXP. Some kind of DJ. It JUST got fully dark outside, today the sunset after 6pm, all was glorious, I walked to the Locks where I did my physical therapy and hung out with the cormorants a bit.

So today I did the following: This morning I got in my car and drove up to Greenlake. I thought I was gonna go to the Whole Foods on 65th but then I was like fuck it and got on I-5 going north. The plan was to go to Gold Bar and hike up to the boulders and just kinda look at them. Maybe touch them a bit. Maybe just sit there in the forest next to them. Maybe just think about them. Maybe not even make it all the way to the boulders but at least give it my damndest. Then I thought, Screw that, I should drive up to Canada! Well, not all the way to Canada of course, but at least to the Peace Arch Park, where I could at least SEE Canada, where I could go up to the very border, maybe even dip a hand in or a foot in. I’m not sure how they have things set up out there, but from what I understand the American side of the border is open. Who knows when the border will actually open. This is something I check almost every day. I google “US canada border” and check out the results. It’s been a year since the border’s been closed. It’s been OVER a year since I went to Canada. I remember it perfectly. I caught the train after work on a Friday (I think). The train got delayed, because Amtrak is a disaster. I got into Van at midnight. And had a glorious, glorious, weekend. Went swimming at the Mt. Pleasant community center pool with my friend Jeff. Pretty sure I did a gainer.

ANYWAY, I thought about driving up to Canada this morning, even thought about getting a hotel in Bellingham, but at the last second decided to just keep going towards Gold Bar.

(K, had to turn the radio off. And have some more brie. The wedge is gone. I’m gonna have some weird dreams tonight.)

ANYWAY, ok. Where were we. Oh yes, I went to Gold Bar. I debated whether to put the pad on my back for extra exercise but then decided if I could make it all the way up to the boulders, three miles, and back, that would be quite the achievement. Last time I made it probably less than halfway. And keep in mind the steeper parts are towards the end. ALSO keep in mind it looked like it was going to rain. But I pressed on.

After about 10 minutes on the trail I passed a guy walking the opposite way and he didn’t even look at me. Didn’t say hello, didn’t even look at me. There we were, two dudes in the middle of thousands of acres of DNR land, passing on a one-lane dirt road, and home-slice doesn’t even look at me. What a weirdo. What. A. Damn. Weirdo. Or maybe he was a COMPLETELY normal guy. Maybe I’m the weirdo. It’s not like I said hello to him. I just kind of looked at him. And then he passed. And I thought, That guy probably hurts people and enjoys it.

Anyway, I made it up to the boulders. My knee felt pretty good. Just before getting to the boulders it started to rain/snow and I took refuge in the forest, under the BMOC boulder. Not that that really helped, since this boulder isn’t really overhung. But parts of it are kind of overhung, I realized today. This bloc has three lines on it, all of which I’ve done. A great V0, a short but fun V2, and a cool V3 that traverses from the V0 into the V2. Today I just caressed the beginning crimps of BMOC V2 a bit and wondered what it would be like to climb it (again). Thought about where I’d put my feet. Then I took refuge under the rock again.

(It’s officially pouring outside and my boat keeps lurching back and forth and I hate it I hate living on a boat I want to get the fuck off this thing slash I’m going to Leavenworth tomorrow for the love of god).

So yeah, that was the mission.

It was…..pretty awesome.

It was wonderful to be in nature.

And wonderful to touch some boulders.

-Marko

Vancouver, How I Love Thee (#7)

Oh, Vancouver, how I love thee. Let me count the ways…

  1. They call you the City of Glass. With your hyper-modern, mostly-glass apartment buildings, I understand why.
  2. You feel like Seattle, but something’s just a little bit different. Is it the plastic money? The location just a bit further north? The beautiful accent where “been” is pronounced like “bean” and every statement ends with, “Hey?”
The view from the Granville Bridge.

3. You have so much water, so many beaches. English Bay, Jericho, Kits, the Spanish Banks, False Creek, Lynn Canyon, Horseshoe Bay, and all the water surrounding Stanley Park. I need water around me at all times, and you provide it.

4. You have plastic money. In a world where every civilized nation is turning to plastic money because it lasts longer, doesn’t tear, and you can get it wet, you haven’t been left behind. Meanwhile in the States we cling to the very traditions that will be our downfall.

False Creek.

5. The proximity to unfettered nature. Drive a half hour and you’re on the Sea to Sky Highway, mountains looming in the distance, a fjord at your feet. What is that little town with the massive rock face watching over it, the world-class kiteboarding? Oh, right, it’s Squamish, and it’s delightful.

6. The wonderful cafes and restaurants. Mingle with hipsters over a turmeric latte at the Federal Store, or pop into the one and only Rick McCrank’s very own skate shop, Anti-social.

7. People in Seattle are pretty damn chill, pretty damn polite, but Vancouver takes it one step further. Please, bump into me so I can tell you I’m sorry. Please, go in front of me in line. Please, have my last beer and marry my sister.

8. Your green areas. Stanley Park is a world unto itself. And then there’s Queen Elizabeth Park, the Spanish Banks, UBC, and all the spaces in between.

9. No better place in summer. When it’s 60 degrees outside (18° Celsius?) the clothes start flying off. Again, like Seattle, but again, just a little bit better.

10. The quality of life. Everyone seems happy in Vancouver. I’m happy when I’m in Vancouver. Hopefully, I’ll live here one day. But even then I’ll keep counting the ways…

-W