Tuesday, August 23, 2016

tofino and vancouver, b.c.

When we got back from Banff and Yoho, we spent a few days on Vancouver Island in a town called Tofino. We enjoyed hikes along the coastline, surfing and the general relaxed beach vibes of Tofino.

My first time surfing. Tofino had great beginner beaches. Nobody ever talks about how heavy surfboards are!! Or maybe I'm just a pipsqueak. I dream of being an effortlessly cool surf chick that gets featured on Madewell's Instagram but judging from my first two surfing experiences and my poor swimming skills, it might just remain a dream.

Beach hikes that were much less strenuous than our Banff and Yoho hikes. Ynna Hiking Scale 1/10 difficulty, 6/10 reward.

One of two lovely Tofino sunsets. 
We came back to Burnaby to enjoy one more week of Preston's hometown. I could not get over the perfect summer weather especially after recently escaping the beginnings of what looks like another awful Dallas summer.

One of two local hikes. This is the top of Dog Mountain.
Another evening we went to Theater Under the Stars and saw Beauty and the Beast! Before the show we biked around Stanley Park.

Canada was great and another summer trip was just what I needed to soften my heart towards our neighbors up north hehe. Preston is always trying to convince me we should live in Canada and I always have the same reasons why I don't want to live in Vancouver and the #1 reason is the dreary weather 90% of the year. Every time we go back his family and friends are super honest with me and straight up say that it always rains. Meanwhile Preston felt the need to point out the lovely 75 degree and sunny weather the one week we visited every chance he got. Vancouver is a great city and everyone should visit :)

Monday, August 22, 2016

to banff and yoho we go

July 8 we flew to Vancouver to spend time with the Kutneys and see what British Columbia had to offer in terms of hiking, camping and nature in general. Spoiler alert: BC has a hell of a lot to offer in the nature department and everyone needs to experience it!!
First we drove to Banff National Park. We arrived the night of July 10, saw Lake Louise and slept in a hostel. On the morning of the 11th we rented helmets and began the Sentinel Pass hike starting at Moraine Lake. I got a glimpse of the unreal turquoise water at Lake Louise the night before and Moraine Lake further increased my amazement of the incredible blue water. 
Sentinel Pass was a series of steep switchbacks to the Valley of Ten Peaks (literally you could see all ten peaks it was gorgeous) which was a nice break before more switchbacks to the actual Sentinel Pass. We took a little break and proceeded to scramble up Mount Temple (enter hiking helmets) and got about a quarter of the way up before turning around. I was too cold and scared and there was snow at the top. According to the Ynna Hiking Scale and based on my fairly active lifestyle at the time, I would rate this hike a 6.5/10 for difficulty and 9.5/10 for reward. Elevation gain was pretty big and the first series of switchbacks was the hardest part for me. Views were really gorgeous though and worth the struggle.
Light scrambling up to Mount Temple before I got too cold.

Sometimes you need a mid-hike nap.

We camped in the Lake Louise campground the night of the 11th and 12th. On the morning of the 12th we took a shuttle to Lake O'Hara and began the Alpine Circuit hike. We had to reserve our spot three months before because the number of hikers is limited for this area. The terrain varied from straight up rock and boulder piles, grassy valleys and lots of little streams we had to hop across. Ynna Hiking Scale gives this a 5/10 for difficulty and 10/10 for reward. Truly incredible unobstructed views the entire hike. I got annoyed at how many times Preston had me stop so he could take panoramas.

I'm definitely not a hiking expert but my biggest tips are kind of no-duh but important:
1) Wear layers and avoid cotton. My biggest mistake was having a cotton tshirt/tank as my thinnest layer and the one closest to my skin. I sweat a lot and the temperatures on these hikes vary. Luckily when we went it stayed a pleasant 50-60 degrees but I'd sweat a lot going up steep inclines then cool down again and be stuck shivering with a damp base layer at a high elevation. Best piece of clothing I brought was my Outdoor Voices Catch-Me-If-You-Can hoodie. Perfect weight, great to wear alone or as an extra layer for more warmth.
2) Bring a raincoat! Check the forecast. We were lucky and only got some drizzles on the first day and got caught in the rain for about an hour the second day even though both days called for nonstop rain.
3) Bring snacks and water. Duh. I'm very obsessed with salty/sweet ratios so I had to have granola bars, gummies, pop tarts AND beef jerky, chips, nuts. I know there are fancy REI hiker snacks you can get too but these are just my faves.
Banff and Yoho were so beautiful and I recommend anyone who loves the outdoors to visit these parks as they are some of the most scenic places in North America.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

farewell dallas

Haven't blogged in months cuz we have been sooo busy being employed, unemployed, vacationing and moving across the country!!!
Preston and I quit our jobs on July 7, packed up our apartment and left the morning of July 8 for Vancouver, Canada. Amidst cleaning our apartment, packing up our car and throwing out what felt like half of our belongings, a peaceful protest in response to the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling was held across the street from our apartment. I can't emphasize enough the word peaceful- families with young children, teenagers, adults and law enforcement made up the crowd. We left downtown to drop our car off at a friend's house and took a Lyft back home to finish packing and cleaning. A few hours had gone by and we went downstairs to put things in the dumpster and saw all our neighbors gathered in the lobby and outside of our building. They warned us not to go outside and to be careful. Confused, we asked what was going on. We thought maybe the protest had gotten a little rowdy or maybe even violent. That's when the terrible events of July 7 unfolded from different neighbors accounts. We watched outside while scrolling Twitter learning new awful facts every few minutes. 
Peaceful protesting early evening July 7.

Five police officers were killed and seven officers and two civilians were injured in the shooting. It was an act of hate and senseless violence so shortly after two innocent young men lost their lives. It was a terrible way to leave the city we called home for the last three years. I am thankful for the service of the Dallas Police Department and admire their bravery and strength in the face of such tragedy. 
Our street a little after first shots were fired.

I didn't love Dallas. It was way too hot, there wasn't anything to do outside and I couldn't for the life of me understand the in-your-face loyalty and pride Texans had for their state. Despite all these things, Dallas will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first place we ever called home. We left all our best friends and packed up everything we owned in our little Civic and drove to this blazing hot city in the middle of summer. We made amazing friends in Dallas. We got our first real grown-up jobs in Dallas. We grew together in Dallas and it will always be one of our cities.
July 8 right before going to the airport.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

numb

The shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007 is probably the first mass shooting I really vividly remember. I remember the horror and fear I felt and this immense sadness I had for people I had never met. I remember wearing ribbons for the victims and buying wristbands where proceeds went to victims' families. It was a big deal. In the past 9 years since Virginia Tech, I've lost count of the number of shootings that have occurred all over the country in schools, movie theaters and now a night club. I don't have any ribbons or wristbands for these people but my heart grows heavier each time, not only for the innocent lives lost, but the fact that my horror and fear has slowly but surely lessened with each shooting. Is it because I care less and less each time? I really don't think that's the case. But there is a part of me that recognizes the numbness I have towards hearing about another shooting. Isn't that insane? Another shooting. Because one or two isn't horrifying enough. But this is the truth. Mass shootings in the United States have become commonplace and ordinary news. We hear about them on the morning news alongside traffic and weather reports. "High of 85 and armed gunman enters movie theater killing 5 injuring 20. Accident on 35 and shooter enters Target killing 3 injuring 15."* Obviously I am in no way trying to make light of any shooting that has ever occurred in the United States in the past nine years, but simply want to draw attention to the fact that it shouldn't be normal to hear about a shooting and not feel anything. It shouldn't be a weekly news topic. Why am I not shaken to the core and brought to tears by every single shooting, large or small that occurs? Why do I feel so guilty when I hear about a shooting and literally feel a moment of sadness for the lives lost and then continue with my day? We all react to tragedy differently. There are some of you who have shed tears for every life lost and family affected by a mass shooting and some of you who feel more than a moment of sadness, horror and grief and have trouble continuing your day. I understand that. But I know I am not the only one who feels this numbness. It's not that we don't care. Of course, of course, of course we care. But we live in a country where in some states it is easier to obtain a gun than birth control. Where an individual who has been questioned by the FBI for possible terorrist ties can legally obtain a weapon and murder 50 innocent people and wound 53 more. We live in a country where you can buy an assault rifle. An assault rifle?? Why on earth does anyone who isn't in the military need an assault rifle? The lives and safety of other people will always be more important than any individual's need to own a gun. Period. The end. 

This is not meant to offend anyone. It is not meant to make light of a terrible, senseless and horrifying act of hatred. I wrote this because I am tired. I am tired of hearing about shootings as frequently as I hear about car accidents and heat waves. I am tired of feeling numb to an act of violence that should shock and scare me as much the Virginia Tech shooting did when I was fourteen years old. It is times like these when I feel small in the world and know that my thoughts mean very little and do even less towards changing the way our country runs. I'm not telling you who to vote for. I'm not fighting for a political party or condemning one. I am simply stating that things need to change when it comes to manners of civilians obtaining weapons. It shouldn't be as easy as it is. People shouldn't be murdered in this country by gun violence as often as they have been in the past nine years. Something is wrong and something needs to change.

My heart breaks for the families who have lost loved ones due to the horrors that happened in Orlando. Again, I feel small and my words feel even smaller, but you are in my prayers. You are in my thoughts. How much more terror, hate and sorrow must our country endure before we change? I truly don't know if it can endure much more. For now all I can do is write this and if anything, lighten the heaviness of my heart and even more importantly, continue to love. Even in this chaotic, scary, ever-changing world love has been the one thing that we can always offer and choose. And so I will end this simply by urging you to love and pray or hope for peace and change.


*events listed are fictional and did not actually occur but were written for dramatic purpose and are not meant to make light of mass shootings that have actually occurred in the United States

Monday, April 18, 2016

little ynna, long run

On Saturday I ran my first marathon! It was the Irving Marathon and it was super hard but Cheryl helped me through the last six miles when I thought I would have to crawl to the finish. 

I have always wanted to run a marathon and before training tried to run 5-6 times a week in the mornings for exercise. I toyed with the idea of doing a half marathon but somehow Cheryl (who has run many marathons and was basically my trainer via text message) convinced me to sign up for the full. So I started training in January and ran 20 miles and slow jogged/trotted/walked/whimpered 6.2.
I have always admired marathoners, but after experiencing one for myself, I have a newfound admiration for them. It's effing hard and my body has never felt like it had nothing left to give like it did the last six miles. But everything they say about how great you feel (mentally) at the end is true. I was so proud of myself! Even though my time wasn't great and even though I had to walk, I still did it and that was the only goal I had for myself. And now I'm honestly more motivated than ever to do another one just to try and improve from this one. Shoutout to Cheryl for helping me train and answering all my annoying questions and responding to every text after a long run. Shoutout to Preston for waking up early to drive us and sticking around to see us run and finish and for only getting a little annoyed with me on Saturdays for not wanting to do anything but eat and sleep after long runs. And shoutout to everyone who laughed at me when I told them I was doing a marathon and asked if I've ever done a half and I said no. Joke's on you hehe.

My slow poke stats^ But I did it!