34 kms, railway tracks, 25lb pack…

What a perfect day yesterday was for a walk up island.  A month or so back we made plans to have dinner with family (Pat & Inger – aka my dad & mom who I adopted over 20 years ago) and my BFF and sister from a different mister, Ingrid’s parents and my son Carey’s grandparents….. you get the connection now 🙂

Pat & Inger live in French Creek – just north of Parksville.  I thought it would be a perfect walk for me and then Victor can meet me up there and we would all have dinner and that is exactly what happened.

The walk up; loved it.  Saturday night I stayed at Victors and the next morning he kindly got up at 7am to make me coffee & breakfast (BTW Victor doesn’t do mornings LOL) as I got ready.

The trek…
Victor lives just off Dover Rd., North Nanaimo and I left from there and headed down Dover Rd.; along Lantzville Road until I got to the highway, walked about 1/2 block down the highway (just before the walkway overpass) turned down a side road, trespassed on private property to get onto the railway tracks.  Continued down the railway tracks through Nanoose Bay along the tracks; ventured down a service road that ran parallel to the tracks and discovered a hidden forest trail that took me to the main highway just before the Parksville turn off and continued down Hwy 19a to French Creek.

The journey:

Sunday, February 21st Video Blog

Corrections:  I did walk 40+ km last week; I forgot to mention that I participated in the 10km walk in support of the Coldest Night of the Year Saturday night.

Starting the day off with my man (Victor) making me breakfast and seeing me off was such a treat.

On the walk down Lantzville Road I had a short visit with John Dunn, John is someone I got to know while a vendor at the Lantzville Market and he is a Lantzville resident.  John really likes my 75% Purely Dark RAWkolate bar and would come to the market to treat himself and hang out and visit.  Continued down Lantzville Rd. to the tracks and continued down the tracks.

Once on the tracks I started thinking about (like I always do) why aren’t the tracks pedestrian friendly (filled with gravel) – the railway tracks on Vancouver Island are rarely used and it would be so perfect to attract tourists to the area.  Walking the tracks you get to see so much more of the island that you cannot see via the highway.  Anyways I enjoyed every aspect of walking the tracks.  The ocean view; the numerous bald eagles (saw 8 in total along my walk) and one eagle 30-40 feet in front of me while having lunch for about 3 minutes circling the pond – that was AWESOME!!!.  A ram, yes a ram on the tracks and swans.  Old buildings and hidden trails.  I discovered a hidden gem.  While walking the tracks it began to rain; which made the tracks slippery and it slowed my speed down – I was feeling frustrated and not enjoying the moment as much until I discovered a service road that ran parallel to the tracks and I ventured onto the road; then I discovered this trail that took me down a ravine to a creek and back up the hillside that took me back to the highway.

The hidden trail – you can access the trail entrance via the Visitor Centre (south Parksville) by the Craig Heritage Museum.  I want to go back there and walk the trail back down the service road to the end; then up a hillside trail and see where that takes me.  The trail is an easy family walk.

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Once on the highway I continued towards French Creek – stopping in at Thrifty’s to pick up some feta cheese and blood oranges (citrus from Buck Brand only comes out this time of year and only available at Thrifty Foods and every week I pick up a new kind of citrus – yesterday was blood oranges).

I texted Victor to let him know where I was; he already new because he installed find my phone on my phone 🙂 and he said if he saw me on the walk he would stop and pick me up and he did pick me up at the French Creek Bridge – the distance to the bridge was 33.95 kms 🙂  I could’ve walked the remaining 2 kms; then it would of been another 20 mins before I got to Pat & Inger’s place for dinner 🙂

The evening was awesome; great food, great company and it was our first time – just the four of us – to have dinner together.  Ingrid was planning on joining us; however she was sick and had to get back to Victoria for work the next morning.

Next Sunday I’m planning on walking to Cedar, BC from my place to visit my mom (which is a whole other story) and I shared some of it on the video blog.

As for my body – other than some slight tenderness; I’m feeling really strong & could easily go for a hike today.  Today we are going to finish with one last coat of paint in the spare room; then head to Rona to pick up the door and who knows what else the day will bring.


The gear…


Yesterday we finally made the trip to Victoria and made a decision and purchased new boots and backpack at Mountain Equipment Coop.

I bet your curious what boots & pack I got….

THE BOOT – the very first boot I tried on about a month ago was the Zamberlan made in Italy and it fit like a glove; sadly the local store didn’t have one size larger (I needed a size 7 for wiggle room).  Then a few weeks later tried on a Scarpa brand and impressed; great ankle support, fit nice in the heal however was too tight in the toes; not a lot of wiggle room and the store didn’t have a larger size.

Yesterday tried on a few other brands; I decided to purchase the size 7 Zamberlan boot – the very first boot I tried on – my heel sunk in perfectly, lots of wiggle room and when I tie them properly great ankle support 🙂   I wore them around the store as well as around Victoria and super comfy.  Tonight going to do a 6 km walk in them and get a true feel for them.

THE PACK – again a month ago tried on some women’s packs and the very first one I tried on was a Deuter pack for women.  This is the pack I did end up purchasing and for many reasons.

1.  easy to adjust for hip positioning
2.  padding along the lower back and hips
3.  built in rain cover
4.  breathable (along the back)
5.  lots of pockets for separating items
6.  45L however can go up to 55L if needed
7.  can access items from the top or along the side
8.  separate compartment for dirty clothes on the bottom of the pack

The two major items for me to start training I have and that is so important to me right now.

THE RAIN – Living on the west coast of Canada it has been constant rain; for days and days and days.  The rain has been so major here that our highways cannot drain the amount of water fast enough causing major puddles and for those inexperienced or have shitty tires are losing control and wiping out.  There has been major accidents (single car from what I’ve seen) along our highways here on the island.

Due to all this rain; I decided to opt out of the tent right now and buy a poncho.  While at MEC; asked if there was any poncho’s?  NO  don’t sell them.  Both Victor & I were like WTF why wouldn’t you; we live on the wet coast LOL.  We finished up our purchases and left the store and just across the street was this store called Pacific Trekking.  I’m like wonder if they have a poncho; sure enough they DID!!!!  I purchased the yellow poncho (for visibility) cause the only reason I would wear it is when it is pouring rain – like today 🙂  the Poncho I got was the JR Gear Poncho.


Will be trying out this poncho tonight; report back how well it handles our super wet and windy weather tonight 🙂

This is the first of the gear and in the new year will start purchasing my other gear; like tent, camp stove, sleeping bag, clothes, etc.

Can’t believe April is right around the corner and I know it will come FAST!!!

Vida (aka LIFE)

The decision…

Just over a month ago I made the decision to sell 90% of my possessions and begin planning my backpack  trek across Canada.


My response when asked “Why wouldn’t I”

Honestly, there is more to why I’m doing this despite how worried my family & friends are as well as having to start my life over when I return.  The situation presented itself “time wise”; what I mean by that is my cousin is selling her house (which I rent the suite) and I’m going back to school in September. I decided to take advantage of this opportunity to reinvent myself; also I have the support of my best friend and lover, Victor.  Without his support this would create many challenges for me that I’m not sure I would have the mental stamina to take on such a grand adventure.

My departure date is Friday, April 15, 2016.  In the meantime I have begun prepping myself physically and mentally.  My physical preparation includes walking, stretching and pull-ups as well as incorporating kickboxing techniques to keep my hip flexors flexible.  Two to four times a week I walk a minimum of 5 km; averaging 10 – 12 km – pending time as I still have a very successful business (which btw I’m selling and have a few meetings this week) that needs my attention as it is gearing up to the  holidays and this is my busiest “money making” season.  Whenever I have at least 2 hours to spare I’m walking – I take advantage of walking to get groceries, to visit Victor, or just to get out of the house and especially after a craft fair where all I’m doing is standing/sitting and indoors.

I’ve been able to work through some of the issues with walking – my first major issue was a “nasty” inch wide blister on my left foot – my fault as I was not wearing proper socks; now I double sock it and my blister after two weeks has healed – makes planning walks easier.  Also the weight of my “day pack” has caused my traps to tighten and when I walk more than 10km my traps get so tight that it looks like I’m perma shrugging – LOL.

Next week Victor & I will be going to Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) in Victoria, BC to get me my first pair of boots as well as try on some packs and I will begin training with my new gear so I’m not in shock when I do leave 🙂

Mental preparation has included listening to lots and lots of motivational speeches – Les Brown & Wayne Dyer to start and I’m welcoming other suggestions – please comment below a motivational speaker you think I would love to hear and one who will inspire me – thanks in advance (TIA)

Also planning my itinerary – that has been exciting.  I’ve started printing off maps of each province and marking distance (kms) between destinations; along with which markets, farms and/or health food stores are in the area. My goal is to walk 40 – 50 km per day eating 60% local food and 75-80% once in the height of the growing season.  I only have 4.5 months to get across Canada from where I currently reside, Nanaimo, BC Vancouver Island to Newfoundland.

There you have it; a whole new life awaits me and I haven’t felt this alive in such a long time, so I know this is what I need to do.

Vida aka Life

7 days til Italy

#1 on my bucket list – visit Italy with my girlfriend.

In June this year we booked our flights to Italy, and we leave in 7 days (October 19th).  We leave Vancouver airport the night of the 19th, arrive in Amsterdam on the 20th, then a connecting flight to Rome that same evening.  We’ll stay in Rome until the 23rd, then head up to Siena.  While in Siena, we will be staying at an agriturismo for 3 nights.  We’ll explore Tuscany and visit Florence.  Then we head over to Pisa for 2 nights, and this is where I’m anxiously wanting to stay, Vernazza, Cinque Terre for 4 nights.  While in the Cinque Terre, we’ll hike the coast and visit the other 4 small villages: Monterosso, Manarola, Corniglia, Riomaggiore. 

Being my first time in Europe, I really wanted to experience the culture, so while I’m there, I’m not going to worry about my “raw” lifestyle.  I’m looking forward to having fresh pasta, raw mozzarella cheese and Italian wine, in moderation of course:)

I’ll be posting pictures of our trip and the places we are staying.

Enjoy life and laugh.