Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Camping and Othello Tunnels

So this weekend I had the tough decision of heading to seattle for a friends keggar birthday party, or spending some quality time with my brothers camping. I decided to choose the latter and on friday afternoon packed up my brothers Mitsubishi Delica and headed out to Hope for a little bit of nature. First stop was Taco Luis for some lunch. One solid burrito later we were back on the road, although about three hours later than we had anticipated. Second stop was to visit our cousins out in Aldergrove. It was nice to sit on the porch and catch up with my cousin Gabe, wander through their forest and visit the various animals. They have a wide collection of domesticated pets including "Cookie" the pot bellied pig.

After quick visit we made our way to Chilliwack to meet up with Miles' old roommate Steve and do some shopping for the trip. Heading east we decided to give Jones Lake a shot for a campsite and had to switch the vehicles into 4X4 mode to climb the steep snowy road up into the alpine lake region. The higher we got, the more snow we saw and quickly realized that we may be in for a lot more than we bargained for as most of us hasn't brought much winter clothing or any winter boots. We parked the truck and made our way onto the snow where we snapped a few pictures, debated the pros and cons of camping in such a cold and wet area and promptly hopped back in the van to find another spot.

Eventually we found Silver Creek just outside of Hope as the sun started to fall. Needless to say we weren't the only ones with the idea of camping during easter long weekend. We had a really hard time driving the logging road at night, searching for a vacant spot at the side of the creek. Two hours later, a dozen U-turns and a crew of tired disgruntled travelers later, we found a cozy little spot not far from where we had originally been driving.

Steve's friend Brent and Dean shower up just after we had arrived, we started a fire and the festivities began. Due to our late arrival time, we ended up having a few drinks an bullshitting until early in the morning. The next day was fantastic weather and we took our time cooking breakfast before heading out to Silver lake and taking a ride in Brent and Dean's zodiac.

We camped out one more night as the rest of the crew left to return for Sunday dinners in Vancouver. Beautiful weather prevailed and as we left the next day we decided to make a side trip to Othello Tunnels just past Hope on the Coquihalla Highway. Amazing tunnels originally built as part of the Kettle Valley railroad, they are now a provincial park that is well worth checking out. Massive dark tunnels, carved out of the rock that open up onto amazing views of the whitewater of the river flowing underneath, it is certainly a technical marvel considering when it was built. If you're passing through the coquihalla area, I highly recommend checking it out.

After all the adventure, beautiful scenery and random delays, I was really glad I made the effort to spend some more time with my brothers before I leave for Europe. It was nice to reconnect with the majestic British Columbian wilderness one last time before I leave to embrace the european culture. Although I am ready to taste the sweet beers of europe, I know a piece of me will always be here captured by the beauty of the west coast.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Works in Progress

So recently I was asked to film a video of my friend Shera Kelly singing her new song "Cowboy/Vagabond". She had found the perfect tree that she wanted as a background and needed somebody keen to film the whole thing. Luckily I had just recently purchased a Canon 7D and decided to give it a shot. It was my first experience filming on a digital SLR camera in HD video. About fifteen minutes and two blazing hot memory card later, this it what we came up with! I hope you guys dig it, as I sure had a lot of fun making it. And be sure to check out Shera's tunes and upcoming shows, as she is a fantastic songwriter and performer.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Three weeks and counting

So it's officially three weeks until I depart. It's been a while since I've felt this overwhelmed! There is of course the massive overbearing list of things to do before I go, people to see, stuff to sell, things to store and of course travel plans to make. I am somewhat shitting my pants with the unbelievable thought of getting to travel again. At the same time it comes as a bit of a shock as I now realize what I am giving up in Vancouver. Over the last three years in Vancouver I have been developing new friendships, trying new activities, gaining new skills and making important connections with people I care about. Now it seems that I will somewhat be giving it all up to travel again.

It's been a tough three years for me being back in Vancouver. I know many of you are sick and tired about hearing me bitch about wanting to travel, see new things and escape the grasp of North America. I bet many of you are saying "it's about damn time!" and to be honest I don't blame you. For the last three years you have to hear me bitch about how much I missed travel and experiencing different cultures. Well I am finally making that leap and moving on. What lies beyond the horizon? I have no idea. But as my previous life experiences have taught me, life may not go according to plan, but in the end everything will be alright.

Now so far, the "plan" is to head to Croatia and meet up with Jon and Sanja in Dubrovnik. I am trying to figure out what I plan to do this winter after all this travel. I've always been intrigued by my Ukrainian heritage but have very little connection to the "homeland". Even to drive through the Ukrainian countryside and see the same sights and smells that my great grandfather experienced as a child would be an honour. To really see where I am from and experience the culture. Now I'm not going to push my luck, but I would love to meet a long lost relative and get to really see what the martyniuk name comes from. Now the odds of that happening is at this point pretty slim, but heck I'm not getting an expectations up. I would be happy to do a shot of vodka in a crappy little bar with a local who has lived his entire life in his hometown. Just to get a taste of what it is like to be a Ukranian.

As for now that is all still a pipe dream. But what is real is that I have a ticket booked out for Tuesday May 10th from Vancouver to Frankfurt. The rest is up in the air. Just the way I like it.

I am taking a computer this time so keeping a blog updated should be a bit easier this time. I'll try to post pictures and videos to accompany those posts so you have something fun to look at. Perhaps I can film some clips and figure out a way to make money to keep this habit of mine fed. Maybe one day I'll have my own "Departures" like travel show that allows me to explore the world for a living. Ahhh one can only dream...

48 Hour Adventure