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A Weekend Escape to Wine Country

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As a child the Okanagan seemed as if it was a world away. Over mountains, across streams and in a foreign world lies the mysterious Okanagan. Or, in a more mature point of view it is about a 4 hour drive. As a quick escape the towns of Oliver, Pentiction, Osoyoos and others make a great weekend getaway where you can enjoy lakes, sunny skies and of course delicious BC wine. That was just the plan a few weeks back and here are a few photos from that endeavor.

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The 2013 Quebec Ride To Conquer Cancer in Photos

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For the second year I had the opportunity to help support the Quebec Ride to Conquer Cancer. This ride runs from Montreal to Quebec City where 1800 riders banded together and raised $6.4 million dollars towards cancer research and treatment. Better known in beautiful Quebec as “Cyclo-défi Enbridge contre le cancer” this is another amazing event! I am proud to have been able to offer tech support on this and many other Ride to conquer Cancer events over the past 5 years. Next up is Alberta on August 10-11th.

Here are a jumble of photos from the ride!

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Day Hiking in Golden Ears park

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Golden Ears Park is closer than you may think. As one of BC’s largest parks spanning 62,540 hectares this is a fantastic destination for a day-hike or an overnight camping excursion. Located at the north-east tip of Maple Ridge there are hundreds of options for you to choose from. Below are just a few photos from the short lower-falls hike that will take you along a relatively flat, out and back hike to a beautiful waterfall. Return this is a 7km hike that will take a little over an hour at a decent pace.


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Escape to Portlandia

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Hiking Angel's RestSpring is here and instead of exploring the local hills and valleys we made like hops and head down to Portland Oregon to see the sights. Spending four nights in the beer, food and culture focused city we were able to hike, bike and of course drink some beer.

Making this trip never seems to get old. A quick 6 hour drive and you are suddenly in a totally new city that is not totally unlike Vancouver. Great people, great food, great beer and a whole lot of fun. If you are thinking about where to go for your next vacation check out Portland, you will not be disappointed. I will be brief in the write up and let some photos tell the story. Alternatively there is another article from this trip on beermebc.com.
 

Cheers!

 
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Winter is behind us and Summer is just around the corner

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Dustan.Sept-40Dustan.Sept-79Spring is arriving and with that comes the clearing of our local trail systems. While snowshoeing may have been the preferred means of travel in the past, these times are changing. With the warming air comes the absence of snow and the drying up of the forest floor. It may only be February but the trails are a sure sight that winter is behind us and summer is just around the corner.

More to come soon.

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A hike before a wait….

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For the past seven months my Canon 7D has had the annoying battery-communication error message that seems all too popular these days. With a reasonable time ahead with no photo obligations on the horizon it is finally time to send the camera off for repair. With that in mind, there will be no photos for the duration of of the repair.

If anyone has had this issue on their 7D it is apparently an issue with the battery connection. The camera is unable to communicate properly and as a result can not read the status of the battery charge. Additionally the battery discharges when connected at an increased rate as compared to standard timing. The camera does actually work as it should but is simply a PITA along the way.

Here are a couple photos from North Vancouver’s Deep Cove Quarry Rock hike to tide wait.

Until next time.

Dustan

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Slakov Woodventures – Exquisite Custom Furniture

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A recent project of mine was the building of a website for a Sunshine Coast furniture maker named Jim Slakov. His work is intricate and meticulous offering great inspiration when trying to capture each piece in a photo. In a make-shift studio environment I captured each of the pieces and built a website to house them. If you appreciate artistry and craftsmanship then you will love Jim’s work.

 

Have a look at Jim Slakov’s work and Slakov Woodventures’ new website at slakovwoodventures.com

 

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A Vancouver Evening Floats By

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The City of Vancouver is an amazing place and I have been lazy. My lack of updating this blog has no excuse… So here is something.

My deck is also an amazing place… and it has an amazing view of the city. When the wind comes in from the west on a semi-clear evening the clouds do a dance. This is the show through my window that I love to watch.

A Destination Sensation – Mexican Wedding Style

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My sister is now married… kind of a weird thing to say but the inevitable truth and I can honestly say that she made a great choice.

On that topic, the latest endeavor was in the Mexican Mayan Riviera for the Mexican destination wedding Taking place at the Gran Bahai Principe Riviera Maya Resort the event brought family and friends together for an amazing week in the tropical sun. While this is merely a taste of the photos taken it will have to do for now.

 

for more photos check out the flickr set.

 

 

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The Resort basking in the moonlight

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Wedding Preparations

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A father’s proud moment walking his daughter down the aisle beach

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Waiting patiently drink in hand

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A moment of bliss

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Congratulations on a beautiful wedding

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Jumping for joy!

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There was a little bit of a dance storm to follow the ceremony

Finding Freedom: An Escape Into BC’s Backcountry

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The following is an article I wrote for the 2012 Norco Brand Book. All photos are by Pat Mulrooney. For more photos from the trip this is from though, have a look at this blog article.

 

Riding a bike today holds the same joy that it did as I shed my training wheels two decades ago. In my three-foot-tall world, riding a bike was new found independence; it was something that I could be in control of. My bike was a glimpse into the world beyond fences, doors, parents and rules. My bike was my first taste of freedom.

Today life is different. Gone are the worry-free days of childhood, replaced with the rigors of responsibility and the daily struggles and routines of grown-up life. While challenges have shifted away from worrying about being picked last in gym class to paying bills and staying ahead at my job, the solution to today’s problems remains the same. My bicycle is my escape, my carefree source of exhilaration. I have moved beyond the sidewalks and playgrounds, past the city streets and local hills of my youth and into the backcountry. When I am away from the rustle-bustle of life and deep in the wilderness — that is where I feel truly free. I am free to explore, free to sort out the troubles of my mind and free to ride!

My local riding spots may be a daily reminder of what is important and what can be forgotten, but escaping into a distant backcountry adventure can be the perfect way to get a clear view of the road ahead. One place that provides such an experience is the Chilcotin mountain range of British Columbia; it serves up a childlike sense of exhilaration in adult-sized portions. Taking off for an extended weekend with friends is an excellent way to forget about our First World problems and get back to the basics, back to freedom. A couple of months ago this was the ideal backdrop for a well-needed recharge and escape from the everyday, so a couple of friends and I decided to get back in touch with what is important.

Accessing the Chilcotin area via floatplane, we embarked on a three day journey through this remote, beautiful and challenging terrain. The access alone was a step into the dark. Once the plane slipped over the horizon and the sun faded into the evening sky we were on our own. Life went back in time, leaving us with a starlit sky, our friendship and our bikes. Ripe with anticipation over the next days’ adventure, we called it an early night and tried to get some sleep.

The next morning I awoke to a frost-laden bivy, and the crisp mountain air was refreshing as I drew in a lungful. It was peaceful and serene as the sun crested over the surrounding mountains and we started the day off with a cup of hot java to warm our spirits and insides. As the line of sunlight made its way down the hills and into camp, the air warmed, the ground thawed and we packed up for our first day of adventure. We set out at a lazy pace to warm up.

The mountains were tall and the valleys deep, making our travel slow and methodical. Throughout a 10-hour day we traveled through snow and rivers, over high passes and across lush valleys, rarely witnessing any signs of civilization. It was just us: three friends and three bikes travelling through the wilderness, experiencing childlike freedom and awe at the world around us.

As the day wore on, the promise of camp was a carrot on a string: dangling just over the next rise, down the next hillside, out of reach and out of sight. After what seemed like forever we finally reached camp. With the sun sinking into the horizon, a fire replaced the warmth and light from above. The cold evening air settled in and we gathered closely around the fire as the stars made their appearance in the sky above.

A dinner of dehydrated chili and some warming whiskey seemed oddly elegant in this rustic, sparse setting. Our rations may well have been filet mignon as we huddled around the fire talking about the day’s adventure and savouring each and every bite of our meals. My legs ached and my mind buzzed with the thought of the next day’s journey. I slipped back into my bivy home for a second night and sleep rushed over me instantly.

The next morning the sun climbed over the hills, chasing the shadows away and the cool air bit hard. Our legs feeling the fatigue of the previous day’s long work, we started with a hike, a steep ascent over a shale slope towards our destination. As we pushed onwards we thought about the looming journey through an unknown region of wilderness.

We aimed to crest through Castle Pass, an area where the wind, rain, ice and snow had chipped away at the ancient peak, shaping it into a massive tower that overlooks the entire range like an ancient sentinel. On the final ascent to the pass, breathing was deep in the thin mountain air and our concentration was firmly focused on our goals. The weight of my pack added to the fatigue in my legs, making them feel heavy and awkward as every step was a challenge. This was the joy; the torture is what drove me. I was here to push myself, try new things and experience that same freedom I remembered from my childhood. Knowing that the vicious climb would be rewarded with a gluttonous, seemingly endless descent on the other side kept me going.

As we approached the summit of Castle Pass, we saw the horizon slowly emerge, giving a sense of scale not only to the location but also the accomplishment of conquering this climb. Exhaustion gave way to elation – this was the freedom I came for. We stopped to reflect on the magnitude of our achievements and serenity of the moment. It didn’t matter if this was my local trails or a multi-day journey — cycling is about freedom, adventure and achievement. Riding my bike is where I can focus on what is truly important and forget the rest. Without my bicycle I would not have the clarity in other aspects of my life I require on a daily basis. This is where I find my clarity.

Cresting this pass was the moment where my mind was able to free itself from the shackles of daily life. This was by no means the end of our ride but it represented the pinnacle of freedom. At this point, life was simple and focused on what matters: friends, nature, my bike and me. This is where I felt freedom and the same simple sense of bliss that my bike introduced me to so many years ago.

May your bike be your inspiration.

Dustan

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