Category Archives: Travel

Running a Trail Race in Italy: The Montanaro Trail in Tuscany

Tuscany Views

I’m going to give it away from the beginning. Our first international race; our first DNF. It doesn’t feel great to admit it, but it was most definitely the right thing to do, and I would not have given up the experience for the world.

Elevation Profile

DD had to do it. He had to find a race in Italy, and not just any race: some mountain trail ultra in a small town in Tuscany where the website was/ is entirely in Italian. Thanks to the wonders of the Google translate Chrome plugin, we were able to muddle through the posted information and various directions. I tried hard not to look too closely at the Elevation Profile.

We couldn’t find any information in English, apart from the aggregator website that listed trail ultras in Europe – where DD first found the link. We did stumble upon 2 videos (here, and here) past participants had taken of the race. Looking over past participant lists indicated that all the last names were pretty much Italian. We might possibly be the first native-English speakers who would be running in this race.

Continue reading


West Coast Trail Day Five

Saturday, 1 August, 2015. Camper Bay to Gordon River. 13km or 8 miles.

Our goal - Gordon River and glorious view of Port Renfrew

We woke in the dark — 5am — the earliest we had gotten up on the trail. Others began stirring as well. But although we were probably the first ones up, we were among the later ones out of camp, as we wanted a hot, hearty breakfast prior to heading out. Other groups who left before us indicated that they had a “no cook” policy that morning. DD tried as much as possible to get intelligence from whoever he could, chatting with some folks who had arrived at 10pm the night before (they had started from Gordon River, and it took them some 8 hours[!] to reach Camper). Another pair of hikers told us to expect more log crossings and boardwalks.  

Continue reading


West Coast Trail Day Four

Friday, 31 July 2015. Carmanah Creek to Camper Bay. 16km or 10 miles

Carmanah Camp Morning

Yes, Carmanah was foggy once again, and this time, I had a bulk of my clothing still damp from laundry the night before, including my one(!) pair of hiking pants.  There were not too many campers at Carmanah that evening – DD and I counted some six groups there, which made the campsite seem relatively uncrowded in comparison with some of the other campsites we’d seen and experienced.

Continue reading


West Coast Trail Day Three

Ditidaht Nation Campsite

Thursday, 30 July 2015. Tsuquadra Point to Carmanah Creek. 16km or 10 miles.

It was damp at the Ditidaht Campsite. So damp that not one piece of the laundry we did the night before dried. But it was going to be another slow morning, as DD wanted to take his time, explore, and let our things give up a little more of their moisture. Thankfully, the sun was cooperating that morning.

The night before, our hosts had warned us of the “mice problem” at the campsite, and they had allowed us to hang our food bags on the hooks of an open shed next to their cottage. Apparently they do not have bear problems and therefore bear boxes were uneccesary. Sometime in early morning, I heard a tiny scuffling noise, and opened my eyes to see a small form clambering along the outside of our tent, inside the rain fly, but still outside our shelter. With a cry, I batted it away, murmured “mouseykins” sleepily to DD’s “what? what’s wrong?!” and fell back asleep almost immediately.

Continue reading


West Coast Trail Day Two

Foggy Morning at Darling River 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015. Darling River to Tsuquadra Point

We woke to fog coming off the sea. We took our time that morning, drinking coffee, making breakfast – this morning it was cheesy grits and ham – a perfect savoury meal made with Bob’s Red Mill Grits, simple dehyrdrated deli ham, and some generous tablespoonfuls of dehydrated milk and cheese. DD especially wanted to explore the tidepools exposed by low tide. I did not go out as far, fearing that my $2 Japanese rubber slippers, rubber nothwithstanding, might not be a match for the slippery, wet rocks strewn with seaweed.

Continue reading


West Coast Trail Day One

Where Darling River meets the Ocean

Tuesday, 28 July 2015. Victoria to Pachena Bay; then Pachena to Darling River, 8.7 miles.

The alarm went off at 5:15am, so we could take our last showers before our 6-day trek in the wilderness. 6 Days with 2 outfits, 2 pairs of underwear (DD brought 3, which made me jealous), 2 pairs of socks and sock liners.

Royal Scot Hotel Room 

We also made hotel coffee, and slurped down some Shin Ramyun ramen we had found at the 7-11 the night before. Continue reading


West Coast Trail Day Zero

View from Clipper Ferry

Our day of travel began by arriving at SFO in time for our early 7:30am flight. With priority status from splurging on First Class (using points), we checked our backpacks at the Virgin America luggage counter and breezed through security since we both also had TSA Pre. We got to our gate comfortably with thirty minutes to spare, but unfortunately our flight was delayed for about an hour.

When we reached Seattle, we then had to wait in a very long line and for what seemed to be an inordinate amount of time for a taxi. Not sure what was going on, but it seemed that Uber/ other ride sharing services was still prohibited from operating at the Seattle airport. Continue reading


West Coast Trail Planning

West Coast Trail Vancouver Island 

When I proposed that we spend our 10-year anniversary of being together at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island, DD jumped at the chance to say “Well, why don’t we also hike the West Coast Trail?” The West Coast Trail, as it turns out, is a 75 km, 47 mile trail on Vancouver Island that brings trekkers through a meandering path of rainforest and beach, with various types of terrain – boardwalks, mud, fallen trees, boulders, rocks, soft sand, firm sandstone, and ladders. Lots of ladders, apparently. Continue reading


Laos Zipline Jungle Adventure Days 2 and 3

In addition to ziplining…

There were some sounds of scuffling in the night. And there might have been what was a rat or mouse fight near the wooden walls by Dan and Katrina’s beds. I might have woken at one of the sounds, but I don’t recall as clearly as Dan or Adam did. Apparently there was a bit of pounding and a “shut up!” as well. I did wake to go to our en suite bathroom in the middle of the night, but thankfully did not encounter any creatures.

Continue reading


Laos Zipline Jungle Adventure Day 1

3-Day, 2-Night Zipline Adventure with Green Disovery Tours

In December 2013, DD and I took a monthlong trip to Southeast Asia. We spent the most time in Thailand, with shorter visits to Laos and Cambodia.

Thanks to our friend Adam, who also had relatives – his brother Dan and Dan’s then-girlfriend and now wife Katrina – visiting around the holidays, DD and I got to tag along on what was billed as a “zipline jungle tour adventure” with a stay in a “treetop hotel.” Sarah was unfortunately not able to come along because of a little one being due.

It was one of the most amazing experiences I’d ever had in my life and a definite highlight of our trip.

Continue reading

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...