Saturday, October 30, 2010

Getting Ready to Persevere!

ONE MORE SLEEP until the 2010 Perseverance Trail Run in Cumberland!

This just in: 186 pre-registered racers! That is a record by far! Woweeeeeeeeeee!

It has been a busy week and an even busier 24 hours with all things Perseverance. I finally had a chance to pre-run the finalized 10k course last night and it WAS AWESOME! I had so much fun and I think our racers are going to love it. New technical sections and a demanding finish will have you loving it! It will be a challenge but the feeling at the finish line will be well worth it!

See you there! 9am-10:15 registration, 11am race start, No 6 Mine Park, Cumberland!!

Prize boxes are filled to the top from our amazing sponsors...

Admin bins are ready to go...

Courses are marked and triple marked...

Mark from Valhalla Pure hands over a generous box of loot for our racers...

Hi Tech hands over the 2010 Perseverance Race T-s in festive 'cranberry'...

Happy Trails!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Perseverance Trail Run October 31st!

The annual Perseverance Trail Run is coming to Cumberland this Sunday, October 31st! The race starts at 11:00am with registration taking place between 9:00 and 10:15am at No 6 Mine Park in Cumberland. This fundraiser is a great way to support the Cumberland Community Forest Society in their efforts to protect valuable forest land now and in the future. If you are a trail user in Cumberland then you don't want to miss this opportunity to support those who protect this beautiful forest area.

This years event, co-sponsored by Extreme Runners and Equilibrium Lifestyle Management (ELM) will feature a 3k cross-country course and a 10k mountain run with all proceeds donated to the Cumberland Community Forest Society. All racers will be entered to win one of many fantastic draw prizes from our generous local sponsors and post race food will be provided by Thrifty Foods, Tim Hortons and Mudsharks Coffee! This year there will be a special prize for the best costume so don't be afraid to get into the spirit of Halloween on race day!

Register by Friday October 29th to save on late registration fees! Pick up registration forms at Extreme Runners, 436 5th st, or go to to download the brochure and entry form.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The rest...

After the ELM trip was over and the ladies had left Peru for home, Brad arrived in Cusco and we began our own South American adventure. As per my previous blog posts we visited the following areas: Cusco and Sacred Valley part 2, Lake Titicaca (highest lake in the world and home to the famous 'reed' islands), Amazon Jungle and then up to Ecuador, Quito and the Galapagos Islands.

Here are some pics to give you a taste of the rest of our journey together...

Lake Titicaca and the sweet people of Ccotos. Off the beaten track is an understatement. We stayed with a host family who shared a glimpse of their rural, and so beautiful, life with us. This tiny farming village on the edge of the highest lake in the world (3700metres) was the 'simple life' in it's purest form. The time we spent with this family will be one of the most memorable experiences of our lives...
Our young 'guide' at the top of the Mirador-lookout- above her home on lake Titicaca. We also visited the island in the background where a very tiny community of 30 people exists. Apparently they wanted to get away from the 'busy life' of the lakes edge...kinda like Cortez...but WAY more.
The famous reed islanders. What began as a hideout for slaves during the fuedal days of the Spanish conquest, has become the Disneyland of lake Titicaca. Yes, these people do still live on floating reed islands and make all of their boats, homes and furniture from the reeds, but I am not sure the song and dance and flourescent clothing is exactly from the 'old days'.
Sad but reality, these islands are an example of the impact that mega-tourism can have on micro-cultures once the word gets out. Fun to see but next time we would just google it and avoid the crowds.
Chinchero, Sacred Valley. This is one of our highlights from the entire trip. A womens' traditional weaving association where patterns and techniques are passed from generation to generation. These women gather weekly to weave, set prices and send their work to market. They have created a future for themselves and for their children.
These designs are pre-Inca extremely labour intensive. Each pattern is created using a series of 'string counts' and steps- and all of the instructions are passed on orally- nothing is written down. We were awed not only by the skill of these women, but by their strong will, independance and sense of self. In a land of male domination and machismo, the autonomy of this small group of rural women was a rare and inspiring sight.

AND some of the wildlife...if you like animals you have to go to the Galapagos and the Amazon:)
Galapagos Iguana eating a cactus- who else would eat them?

The famous Blue Footed Booby! Giving us a rare glipse of the nest...

Sealions everywhere in the Galapagos and they aren't moving for anything! They have the right of way, like all animals on the islands, and you have to walk around them if you want by.

Marine iguana's crawling out of the ocean and onto the a scene from a horror movie! They are harmless (I think) and rediculous actually...they move in slow motion...

Awe....more sealions...

A real flamingo on the wild!! That's right, we visited Isla Isabella for a few days of R&R on the beach and lucked out when we came across a small flock of flamingos feeding in a lagoon. Do you know why they are pink? After seeing the pink coloured lagoons they feed in now we know why!

Turtles turtles turtles. They are old, huge and everywhere on the Galapagos. This is Lonesome George...heard of him? He is about 90 years old and has been in a protected area for the past 40 ... because... he is the last of his species. When George goes, so does his kind. Sad, but I real reminder of why these special islands need the protection they are finally getting.

Tarantulas, scorpions and snakes were on the list of jungle critters that we had the pleasure of seeing on our Amazon trip. YIKES! The first night we got to the jungle we went on a guided night walk...pants tucked into socks!

This is the biggest moth I have ever seen in my life. It was as big has Brad's hand!

Sunset on Lake Sandoval in the Amazon Basin of Peru. If you can imagine the sounds filling the evening sky...parrots sqawking, bugs screeching (yup, big ones) and howler monkeys roaring at unbelievable volumes. The jungle is anything but quiet!

I will post some more pics on the elm facebook page and you can look forward to a slideshow in the future...I have plenty of videos to share as well so keep checking back!
Now, back to reality!

7 Days of Trekking

How can I sum up 7 days and 90kms of trekking with 12 amazing women in Peru? I can't. When you spend 7 days camping, trekking, eating, sleeping, laughing, crying and celebrating between 3600 and 5000 metres above sea level you make a life full of memories. Here are a few photos to give you a taste...

HURRAY. Champagne, tears and an amazing sense of accomplishment when we reached the 'Sun Gate' entrance to the 'lost city of Machu Picchu'.

Typical landscape on the Salkantay trek - 'Peruvian Plains' look like Saskatchewan- only vertical. Here we are after summitting our highest point of the trek 4900metres Salkantay pass.

Typical campsite on the Salkantay trail. Valley floor, river running by, last rays of sunlight at days end. Days went from crazy windburn and sunburn hot to sub-zero nights in the mummy bags.

A rare ridge walk on the Salkantay trail - which really wasn't a trail at all. This 'route' was extremely off the beaten track with only about 4 groups visiting it each year. We simply followed herding paths and terrain features through the massive valleys leading to Machu Picchu. We were in for a shock when we hit the busy 'streets' of the Inca trail.

5 star dining? Nope- this is what we came to expect from our camp cooks! School trained chefs shocked us with their nutritious and beautifully prepared dishes during our trek. Some of the best food we had in Peru was created on a 2 burner propane stove under a canvas tent. These guys were amazing and somedays it was their food that kept our feet moving up and over mountains.

Cusco and the Sacred Valley

I have been home for nearly 2 weeks and loving fall life in the Valley:) I am working on my Peru Trek 2010 slideshow and the first step is rotating and sorting through literally thousands of photos from the trip. The next few blog posts will give you a taste of our amazing journey in Peru.

Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Salineras- salt 'mine' near Ollyantaytambo (say that one 5 times fast). I had no idea salt could come from a river but here in Salineras, at 3600m, that is exactly how they capture salt for the people. Family run pools collect fresh flowing salt water from a creek coming out of the mountainside. Once the pools evaporate the owners scoop up the salt and sell to local buyers.

Fields near Maras (circle terraces see below). The rural people of Peru are herders. Everywhere you see sheep, cattle, horses and even llamas being tended by people of all ages- usually women and small pre-school children actually. At 3900metres you wouldn't think to find herds of animals let alone communities of people...but that is exactly what you find in Peru.

Spanish conquistadors made a lasting impression on Peru. Women have held onto Spanish dress and their hats really demonstrate this. Every region sports a different hat. From 'Panama' to 'Matador' style hats, the women of rural Peru are rarely seen without one. Photographers dream with the long braids and tall hats everywhere...

Market places are full of local goods and this is a snapshot of the produce you might find. Yes, that is purple corn! They have many many different types of corn in Peru- and each grows best at different elevations. This purple corn is rarely eaten on the cob- instead they make a delicious drink from the kernals called Chica Moreda (purple corn) which is fantastic and refreshing.

Cusco- what the Incas believed to be the centre of the universe. An Incan Emperor built Cusco's main streets in the outline of a Puma. Pretty cool. 3500metres ish.

The children of Peru are so special. Rural children are poor, are required to work hard alongside their families and they have limited access to education and opportunities. And yet they smile... alot. They laugh, they play and they shine. The smiles of these two young girls light up my heart. We were lucky to have the opportunity to visit and bring school supplies to an extremely remote village in the mountains of Peru. This amazing experience will be a highlight of my life...

Mud bricks laying out to dry. All of the houses and buildings and rooftop tiles in Peru are made of this mud/clay...the red colour against a blue sky will forever be burned into my memories of Peru...

Hints of the ancient Incan Empire is everywhere you go in Peru. In Cusco, all of the old colonial buildings are based with original Inca sculpted stones. Incan hands shaped these stones and it is easy to become lost in their mysterious stories...

More rocks! That was our favorite saying by the end of the trip as we visited countless Incan temples, villages and agricultural sites. Saqsaywaman (everyone loves saying that) was a favorite- just minutes from Cusco, the walls that remain are a massive demonstration of Incan architechture and military strategy. And they didn't even have the wheel...

Shopping! Of course we had many opportunities to visit local markets and browse through beautiful handicrafts. Peruvian markets are loaded with colourful alpaca blankets, sweaters, toques and scarves. They are friendly, family run stalls where the people smile and greet you kindly rather than harass you into buying from them.

Old meets new in Cusco. Many female rural herders come to the tourist mecca of Cusco to try and make a few dollars posing for photos in their traditional clothing with their alpacas. Some disagree with encouraging them to leave their farms...but life is hard in the mountains so every bit helps them survive.

Moray - pretty cool huh? This is believed to have been a meteor crator when the Incas came upon it. They terraced the slopes to create an experimental greenhouse - where each level is a different temperature. They learned which plants grew best at which temperature so they could better produce food for their massive empire of people. One of many many mind blowing sites...

Friday, October 15, 2010


I am back from my amazing South American adventure! 5 fantastic weeks felt more like 5 months with all of the travelling we did and all of the different places we saw. From Lake Titicaca to the Amazon jungle, we travelled from one extreme to the next in 17 different planes!

I have attempted to begin posting photos from my trip more than a few times now. But each time I just can't do it- some kind of 'photoblock' happening. After sorting through thousands and thousands of photos I keep running out of time and patience so nothing happens!

Here is one photo to tide you over until I find the time to get more up on the blog. And stay tuned for details on a slideshow of the Peru trek!