A Wedding in Mexico

On February 1st Tracy and I headed down to Mexico to witness two of our best friends getting married. There were over 50 other guests who came down as well which made for an absolutely great trip. We met many new friends and also reunited with some old ones.

Our resort, the Ocean Turquesa, was just south of Cancun near a little town called Puerto Morelos. As you’ll see in the photos, the resort was beautiful and had everything that one could want. We were close to a lot of different activities so you were definitely not trapped on the resort property. We took a trip into the jungle to a little market/spa and into Puerto Morelos one day. We also went down to Playa Del Carmen which was about 45 minutes away and spent the morning along the shopping area and beach. Near the end of the week we visited a little zoo/sanctuary that was close to the resort called, Crococun Zoo.

Crococun Zoo, was set up as a refuge and breeding program for the crocodile population in the area because they are being forced out of their natural habitat by all of the resorts which are being built up and taking over the swamps and mangroves. Over time they became a refuge for all kinds of exotic pets which were confiscated by the authorities or given up by owners who didn’t realize that it might be hard to take care of a 16 metre (50′) python… They had a group of wild monkeys in the area as well who love to hang around because the tourists have food so they get a steady diet of fruit and vegetables.

The day before we headed home Tracy and I went for traditional Mayan massages at The Jungle Spa. On Sundays the property has a local market which we visited earlier in the week but they main business is a spa staffed by local Mayan women. The business was started by a woman from the US who wanted to give the local women a way to support themselves without having to work for one of the giant resorts (who only pay between three and seven dollars a day). 75% of the proceeds go directly to the women who provide the services which gives them a livable wage which they can support their families with. Tracy found out about this spa before we headed down and thought that we should give it a try. I’m so glad that we did as I’m sure I will never forget the experience. They have a style very similar to massage therapy that you would receive here in Canada. It was a little painful but so worth it as over the next couple of days you could feel everything loosen up.

We took advantage of the resort as much as possible as well, just relaxing by the pool, wandering the property, and catching up with friends we don’t get to see as much as we would like. Almost every night there was a group of us going for dinner or we would all meet up at the lobby bar and share some laughs and stories about our various adventures.

The wedding couldn’t have gone better; the weather cooperated nicely and the setting was gorgeous. After the ceremony Brad, Marie and I set off to take some portraits around the property. They asked me if I would do their portraits as they trusted me over the other options provided by the hotel. It was fun to spend time with them on their special day and I was more than happy to help out. Also a big thank you to Tara who took great photos of the ceremony while I was just standing around…

I would have loved to get this post and pictures posted sooner but the six weeks since returning have not been kind to me. I returned home with a case of salmonella poisoning which lasted for over two weeks and then just as I was feeling better I came down with shingles… which I’m still fighting. So editing and sorting photos took a little longer than expected. But the good news is they are all done and ready for viewing.

I broke the photos down into three galleries. As always there are few photos included here but the full gallery/slideshow can be seen with the links.

Hope you enjoy!

The Trip (slideshow, gallery):

The Wedding Day (slideshowgallery):

The Resort (slideshow, gallery):

Small Update

Hope the holidays treated you well!

The last several months have been super quiet for us activity wise. Work has been a bear lately with a lot of stress and a lot of hassle and the new year is looking like more of the same. I’ve never been one to have their job get to them but this is has been a rough ride. I’m looking at some down time soon which will be very welcome and hopefully generate some pictures too.

Even though it feels like forever-ago, our Christmas was fantastic. We had lots of time with family and friends mostly visiting and getting to spend time.

Beside work, the new year is shaping up to be a good one. We have some talk of a climbing trip in April to start the season and then as much climbing and camping as we can fit in over the rest of the Summer. Tracy will be in school for part of the summer but should be able to get out atleast a little.

I know its a little early to start planning for things in the Summer but I’m hoping with a little planning that I’ll actually be able to eat up some of my 38 days of vacation… that amount of vacation time takes some planning otherwise I end up carrying every year. Also having an idea of when I’m going somewhere I can book camp sites ahead easily.

Hopefully we’ll be more active soon with some more photos to share. Until then, take care!

Mike

A blog neglected

Over the last while my enthusiasm for blogging has waned… I guess I’m pointing out the obvious here.

I haven’t had the motivation to get on here to post. I have a ton of photos from the summer to process and then I’ll have some stories to tell. For the last month though I have had no drive for getting in and editing and I haven’t actually touched my camera in over a month, except to clean it and charge the battery. I guess I’m taking a break for now, not an intended break, but that’s whats happening.

Anyway, things are good with us and life is moving along nicely. We are climbing a ton and getting out to see friends fairly regularly.

We had the chance to get up and visit with my parents last weekend for a good visit and belated thanksgiving dinner. We finally cooked a giant ham we had been saving for a special occasion and it turned out to be even larger than we thought. Six of us ate all we could, I gave some to Mom and Dad and then we still took three and a half pounds home with us. Now we get to make soup and other delicious meals with the remains.

I hope things are good on your end and as soon as my motivation returns I’ll have some pics to post.

Take care!

Mid Summer Update

Hey Hey!

I know it’s been quite some time since the last post but I’m still here, just much less frequently than in the past. I enjoy writing, I’ve just been terrible at making it happen. After three years of posting, taking a break once in a while isn’t so bad. Hopefully there are still some people reading this…

This has been a great Summer; the weather has been unbelievable and we’ve been out enjoying it as much as possible. July was packed with so many events and August is booked up with more adventures and things to look forward to.

Tracy’s adventuring has been a little limited because of a terrible sprained ankle which is getting better by the day but still hinders her mobility. Lots of physiotherapy and ice has done wonders though so a full recovery is in sight. She’s a trooper and comes out for as much as she can manage without re-injuring herself. Climbing has been off the agenda until this past weekend but now that she’s back to it I think recovery should be quick.

In July we celebrated my Niece’s first birthday and then I was off to start celebrating my own with a beer fest and dinner with friends. The following weekend Tracy and I got out camping at Lake Cowichan for a few days. The next weekend was our good friend’s Carolien and Bruce’s wedding in Vancouver. The following weekend I made it out to Mt Wells on the north end of Victoria for an afternoon of climbing.

For the Long weekend in August I travelled up to Strathcona park (west of Campbell River) for a three day climbing trip with a couple friends. At the beginning of that trip I got to spend a day with Clayton which was awesome. I haven’t seen him in person in almost three years so I really enjoyed catching up.

I was looking through Lightroom catelog and see there are quite a few little trips and things since the Spring that I haven’t gotten through yet so I have a lot more to post here in the next while.

For now here are the photos from the past month and a bit.

Hope that things are going well on your end and I’ll do my best to post some more updates sooner rather than later.

Cheers!

Kathryn’s First Birthday (gallery, slideshow):

My Birthday (gallery, slideshow):

Check out the comments in the full slideshow link for a little beer fest story :)

A nice lady offered to take this photo of us and then got all bossy… Tracy bought this cake for my birthday which was probably the best black forest cake I've ever had.

Bruce and Carolien’s Wedding (gallery, slideshow):


Crest Creek Climbing Weekend (gallery, slideshow):

Bye-Bye Google Reader

So its not news that Google has decided to discontinue the Reader service. I was hoping that the “will of the internet” would reverse the decision by Google and they would keep the service that many thousands still use. So far this hasn’t happened and rumour has it that the Google Overlords are not bending .

I know that the days of RSS are numbered but I really like it so I’m not letting it go easily. The common response I get when I ask for a suggestion to replace RSS is “Twitter”. I tried using Twitter but it really isn’t the same and I haven’t been able to use it as effectively as Reader… Where Twitter seems to be fine for following the news and news-like sites, it falls down when trying to follow personal blogs which are updated infrequently… just like mine. I have been told by a number of people that they likely won’t read this blog once Reader dies because I don’t post enough (and I know I don’t, so there is no dispute).

So the point to all this rambling is a question. What are you doing for RSS now that Reader is going the way of the dodo?

I started exploring new services that have popped up in an attempt to fill the void but I haven’t found anything that really works well. Feedly seems to be pretty good so far and is improving all the time so I’m giving it a shot with varied success.

I’d love to hear what you are using or if you are just giving up on the idea of RSS altogether.

Hope things are well on your end.

Smith Rock, Oregon

A few weeks ago we headed down to a little part of central Oregon called Terrebonne. The small town is surrounded by ranch land and is home to about 5000 people year round. Right on the edge of town is somewhat of a climbing mecca called Smith Rock.

The area came to prominence in the early 80’s and is said to be where sport climbing started in North America. For years the area was flooded by climbers who were drawn to the giant rock formations because of easy access and the potential for hundreds of new routes to climb. The area still draws thousands of people every year but as the sport progressed Smith became one of many sport climbing destinations.

We had heard about this place over the winter and were told that we could climb it in April if we were willing to put up with cooler temperatures and variable weather. Given that we can’t climb anything around here until May at the earliest the idea of taking a road trip to Smith sounded great. I did some research on the area and we decided to give it a shot as the weather was looking favorable and we were looking for a short get-away before Tracy started school again.

We travelled down on the 2nd of April and came home on the 8th. The drive was about 11 hours each way including ferries and border crossings so that ate up two of our 6 days but in the end it was definitely worth it. We spent a day touring around the area checking out breweries and wineries and taking in the scenery. Then a couple of friends (April and Al) joined us for three days in the park. We managed to get in two full days of climbing and then a day of hiking around before heading home.

The park was fantastic with over 1800 routes to be climbed, miles and miles of trail to be hiked, and access to a lot of mountain biking; there was something for just about anyone. The park was really well maintained and the climbing areas were setup with platforms at the base of each route so that the belayer could be comfortable and you could keep your gear close by. I did a lot of lead climbing over the two days as most of the routes (97%) were lead only, meaning there was no walking access to the top. I really enjoy the challenge of lead as it makes you really concentrate on what you are doing and on the rock in front of you. Unfortunately, I also got to take my first lead fall outside which was a little terrifying as I fell about 20 feet before smashing myself up against the rock. Tracy had no problem catching me and I managed to finish the route after I recovered my nerve… great team building exercise.

Our trip was great and we are looking forward to getting back down there again. Likely we will try and get down again next spring to get a jump on the season a little. Now that our season here is opening up we are looking forward to getting out a lot more.

Hope that things are all well on your end!

Smith Rock 2013 (gallery, slideshow):

Most of the gear we needed for the tripSmith Rock ParkThe Monkey's Face - 400 foot spire - not quite ready for that yetSmith Rock Park - West SideCrux brew pub - so good - some of the best beer ever.Crux - was once an auto shop - now is a great brewery.Cinnamon Slab - our first wall on the tripLooking south from cinnamon slab towards astrix pass and the dihedralsAl and his lunchTracy and AprilWhy does safty gear always make me look so bad?Double rainbow right after a giant storm passed throughSmith Rock Park - looking southSmith Rock Park - looking towards the northView of where we were climbing most of the timeHiking day - west side of the parkDamn geese are so loud.Juniper berriesSome of the grasses around the park - also allery nightmareClimbers up at Misery RidgeClimbers up on 5 Gallon BucketsThe Good Earth - our vacation property - that hot tub was a blessing at night

 

 

What a difference a window makes!

Okay I’ve been a lazy blogger this last while and although I would like to write more I just haven’t been doing that much to “write home about”. The winter is usually a hibernation time for me so I don’t do much out of the routine but the days are getting longer and the weather is warming up (I was just outside in shorts and a t-shirt) so more adventures are just around the corner.

Work has been going really well this past while and it’s gotten a lot better since I changed offices. For the last 2.5 years I’ve been stuck in a windowless internal office which was less than stellar and was really effecting my mood. When I moved in there I was told that it would only be for a couple years and then we would change around. So when the two year mark came and went without so much as a word about it, I started asking questions about when and where…

Eventually a co-worker agreed to switch with me and the move happened last week. I have to say that it is a far superior situation to what I had before; I have a window that gets morning sun and stays nice and bright all day long. I’m still in the basement of the building but the view isn’t what I was after, I just need light. I’m sure that after my co-worker spends two plus years in the hole he’ll understand.

Other than that things are going pretty well with some interesting trips planned for the Spring and Summer. My arm injury is getting better all the time but it’s still a little painful here and there. If someone had told me it would take this long to heal I wouldn’t have believed them, but my massage therapist says this is normal for the damage that I caused…. lesson learned.

I hope that things are going well on your end and I hope to be posting again soon.

Over the past while I have shot a few things so here they are:

Pics from the last while (gallery, slideshow):

I like this stuff though it looks messy...A local kitchen store does a chocolate tasting every other week… sooo goodMy friend April asked me to help her out with a portrait for a websiteOld office in basementNew office in basement - you'll note this one is much better :)Office with a view.

5 Week Cold…

So, I heard about this “five week cold” earlier in the fall and seemed to avoid getting sick as our department all came down with general sick. However, The Sick found me right after the last post I made and has hung on for what feels like forever.

For the last several weeks I’ve been a bit of a mess but it’s passing and just in time as the weather seems to be getting warmer and the cherry blossoms are starting to come out and the city is starting to look nice again as color starts to show up.

Also there is talk about getting outside for a climbing adventure in the near future, hopefully we can work out some details and make an early spring trip.

I really don’t have any photos to share right now but I’m hoping that can turn around soon.

Take care and avoid those with a “light” cough…

Cheers.

An unfortunate start to 2013

Not much to report around here these days. The start to the new year has been a little quiet mostly due to Tracy and I getting sick with flu/colds that wouldn’t go away… So lots of time spent in doors feeling less than awesome.

As a result the picture taking opportunities have been limited, though, with luck I’ll get over this latest cold in time for the weekend and it will be sunny… a lot of luck.

I do have five whole photos to share! I forgot to caption them so I’ll quickly explain:

  • Cats are always willing to have their pictures taken.
  • The giant bowl is carved from a single piece of jade… about 4 feet wide at it’s widest.
  • Cookies I promised to make for Tracy while she was sick with the flu which were great… didn’t even burn them.
  • The book showed up in the Psychology Department addressed to Dr. Michael Cave… they called to see if it was me. Turns out to be the book I was published in and they sent a copy to all of the authors. That kinda made my week.

Also decided it was time to change the theme again (let me know what you think).

Hope things are well on your end and you’re avoiding the sick thats going around.

Cheers!

January 2013 (gallery, slideshow):

 

2852 Kilometers + 14 Days + 1 Engagement = Nova Scotia Road Trip

So finally have all the pictures processed and laid out… I guess they have been for about a week now but I’ve been either fighting the flu or procrastinating on getting things done. I’m not actually sure why I’ve been procrastinating on this project at all. I really enjoyed the processing (even though due to some problems I had to process them all three times) and learned a ton. Maybe I just like to procrastinate…

Anyway… The Trip!

So much to say … i’ll try and keep it short.

Last August, we headed to Nova Scotia with Brad and Marie for a two week road trip around a province none of us had spent any time in. The trip was broken into two pieces.

For the first week we rented a beach house just south of Halifax in a little town called, Hubbards. We used this as home base for day trips around the south part of the province. We travelled to Lunnenburg (where the Bluenose is moored), Peggies Cove, Acadia University, Digby and of course Halifax. We enjoyed a couple afternoons at the beach relaxing (in the fog mind you… apparently thats just normal on the east coast) and making sure the entire trip wasn’t spent in a car or rushing from one location to the next.

The second part of the trip was our drive to the north touring Cape Breton. We drove up the east coast of all the way through Sherbrook and stayed the first night in Baddeck. From there we started on the Cabot Trail around the north where we stayed in Cape Hope and explored around the very north for an afternoon (discovering St Margarets Bay, and Meat Cove which was way out in the middle of nowhere). The next day we headed down to Sydney and into Fort Louisbourg. If you ever have the chance to visit this Fort you must go as it might have been the highlight of our trip as far as attractions go. There was so much to see and do we could have spent two days there.

Tracy and I also had the fortune of witnessing to our friends Brad and Marie get engaged which was awesome and we couldn’t be happier for them.

We had such an great time with two of our best friends just enjoying the summer in a great part of Canada.  Thanks for a great time Murry and Be-rad.

(Don’t forget that using the arrow keys will make the picture change faster if you use the gallery link below…)

Hope you enjoy them!

Nova Scotia – August 2012 (Gallery, Slideshow)