Asia on Tour – Kiha & the Faces – Slot Machine – MIYAVI – Vancouver 04/01/2017

It’s been six years since I’ve had the opportunity to write one of these reviews and that is definitely way too long.

So here we go!

Asia On Tour is a tour-event produced by Live Nation featuring three acts from different countries, in this case Kiha & The Faces from South Korea, Slot Machine from Thailand, and MIYAVI from Japan. Prior to finding out MIYAVI was doing the show with two other bands I had no idea who they were, and I will admit to being a little disappointed that it wasn’t going to be a one-man* tour. Still, I was going to get to see MIYAVI and I was not going to miss the opportunity. I did do a little searching for music by Kiha & The Faces as well as Slot Machine and found that both of them are available on Spotify. Found Kiha to have a bit of a funk-rock sound, really fun spoken-sung lyrics and a pretty good feeling. Slot Machine was a little harder, little more classic rock, singing in English and Thai, and they sounded a bit more like something I would listen to on a regular basis.

For those new to this part of my life MIYAVI himself has been a great big part of it for just over a decade. The first song I heard by him was probably Girls be Ambitious and I didn’t like it. When Sakihokoru Hana no You ni ~ Neo Vizualism was released in 2007 I was really impressed. What ultimately cinched it for me was the fact that he has a line in that song where he’s talking about becoming a big artist but also one that can be respected and whom his fans will proud of. That really impressed me; that it was something he thought about and even wrote into a song. More than that, the whole song is about being yourself, proudly and unapologetically no matter how much people try to suppress you. As someone who’s always tried to be that kind of person I really related to it and it made me give him a second chance. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to see him live in Canada, the US, and Japan. This show marked 22 live performance I’ve attended personally and 35 live shows I’ve ever seen (the remaining 13 were live broadcast shows – one of which did not have a real audience at all and was broadcast from a studio in Tokyo.)

MIYAVI’s musical style is ever-evolving and changing as he does. From early work that sounds a lot more heavy metal to an acoustic album really showcasing his particular style of slap-guitar to the over-embellished ethnically-proud Kabuki Rock, to the bare-bones guitar and drumkit setup that is his recent self-titled album his willingness to explore new sounds sets him apart even on an international stage. Live on stage he is dynamic and engrossing to watch, his excitement spilling over into the audience as he calls for us to jump and sing with him.

It was his music that brought me some of my closest friends, one of whom started me down this crazy tour adventure. We’ve had our share of adventures, so when I found out Miyavi was coming to Vancouver and I had no chance of making it to more than one show, of course I asked her to come to the show with me. Which would probably have been more reasonable if she didn’t currently live on the other side of the continent. Still, to my great joy she agreed, and booked her flight to Vancouver. I also invited my friend Jenn, whom I introduced to MIYAVI some time ago, probably shortly before my last trip to see him in Japan. The day before we were to head over to Vancouver I realized I had forgotten to book our hotel however between Jenn and I we managed to figure something out.

So of course we headed to Vancouver Friday night, heading straight from work to the airport to pick up Maura who was arriving just after 10pm.

Three years is a long time without seeing one of your best friends.

Having said that whenever we get together it’s like we’ve never been apart.

So Maura, Jenn and I headed off to our hotel in Downtown Vancouver. The Blue Horizon Hotel on Robson is quite a lot nicer on the inside than it looks on the outside. And it has a pool. Of course by the time we arrived at the hotel it was 11pm and the pool was closed and we were all pretty tired and hungry so we went to Frites for poutine. Because if you’ve got an American in Canada you absolutely must take them for proper poutine.

Naturally it was super delicious and afterward we wandered back to the hotel in the rain.

We did end up staying up until pretty late talking and I regret that I didn’t actually get much sleep (usual in a new place) but that’s never stopped me from anything before so Saturday morning I woke up and Maura and I headed down to the pool. Me to swim a few laps and practice my dolphin kick and Maura to wake up and sit in the hot tub. Jenn didn’t get much sleep so she stayed in bed for a while longer.

Back at the hotel room we got showered and changed and then headed down to breakfast at the restaurant in the lobby. That sorted we wandered out of the hotel around ten o’clock, heading down to Venue to find out that no one was there.

It seems I had forgotten that the line up doesn’t start in Vancouver until quite late. So we went to McDonald’s to use the bathroom and get a couple drinks and use their wifi. We figured we’d join the line when it got some more people. So about half an hour later or so we found a couple girls wander in to McD’s and then wander out again and we decided they looked like they were going to the concert and so we went out to look and they were there!

So of course we sat down, and shortly thereafter made some new friends, Brittany and Chantelle. Like Jenn this was their first MIYAVI show, as they were both too young to attend the 19+ show back in 2010 at the Commodore. I still think it’s super exciting to meet people who are just seeing him for the first time; it only happens once in your life no matter how many times you see him after that. And honestly I was pretty stoked to be seeing him for the first time in six years. So we hung out and chatted for awhile, and then a couple of the guys from Live Nation Asian Concerts (@livenationasn) came out and asked if they could interview us about the tour. Ethan sat down with us and we chatted on camera about the tour and our expectations and the idea of bringing Asian artists to other countries around the world. That was probably an hour or two into us hanging out and was the moment we FINALLY learned each other’s names.

It’s also worth noting the look on Ethan’s face when I said I had already been to see Miyavi 21 times and then Maura pointed out how many shows she’d been to (we’re talking multiple hundreds here).

Still they left and we continued hanging out, taking turns going to grab food or drinks or going for a walk and counting down the hours till the show. People started showing up about 4:30 in the afternoon, which I finally remembered happening the first time I saw him in Vancouver as well. Still, I wouldn’t have changed anything; hanging out with Chantelle and Brittany was awesome.

So when people finally started showing up we looked slightly less odd sitting in front of the venue, and several people came up to ask us when the will call tickets were going to be picked up. Most of the people in line were waiting for them (myself included, since my tickets didn’t actually arrive). We also made friends with a girl named Veronica, who then introduced us to her sister Kat and their friend Lee. So now we were eight!

About six pm they came out and started wrist-banding the people who’d won passes to the meet and greet. Kat and Veronica flipped a coin since they’d only gotten one meet and greet pass and Kat won. So when they were wrist-banding the five of us, I passed mine to Veronica. Which made all of us cry.

Honestly though, I’ve been lucky enough to meet him more than once thus far, and I’m sure I’ll get the chance again. What’s more I had the opportunity when working with MasaKarasu to attend as Press when we went to Houston for Anime Matsuri and saw him there, so it was perfectly acceptable to not get into the meet and greet especially since that was my first show. I love MIYAVI to death, but we’re really awkward in face-to-face situations. So Everyone went into the Meet and Greet with the other two bands and Miyavi about six-thirty leaving me outside, and I found a girl who wanted to come to the show it turns out that Veronica had a spare ticket so she got in for free. Pay it forward and all that. I was really glad I could pass on the opportunity to meet MIYAVI face to face for the first time to someone who hadn’t had the chance.

Fast Forward to them letting us in, and I totally forgot I needed two pieces of ID – fortunately that went okay – and we were IN. Maura had scored us front and center up against the stage since we had to check my backpack and Jenn’s jacket.

Venue Nightclub first impressions: A lot smaller than The Commodore. The upper balcony level gave a great view of the stage. Stage was quite high-I couldnt really even rest my arms comfortably across the top of the amp in front of me. Still, better the three tall chicks stuck behind it than people who weren’t that tall. Venue didn’t seem all that full for the first couple bands, but I thought the turnout was better than the show back in 2010.

Lights go out and the show starts.

Kiha & The Faces came out for their 45 minute set, and they were super fun. It was cool to see their fans in the audience singing along and we all rocked out together. Definitely a band I’d consider seeing again. Super chill vibe from them, definitely funky and a good time. Couldn’t tell you their set list, but that’s to be expected. They were good with the audience, and I was really impressed.

After a short break we got Slot Machine.

And they killed it for us. They came on stage with this mafia-gangster vibe in 3 piece suits and a lot of swagger and they rocked hard. Their vocalist has a great range, really reminiscent of the great rock voices from the 70s. They sang in English and Thai and I’ll admit I was a bit sad they when they were heading off stage. Definitely a band that’s made my regular playlist. Totally worth giving a listen. They’ve definitely got some new fans from the show myself included.

But of course I was really there to see MIYAVI and I feel a little bad for not being able to give a better review than what I’ve already posted but the Samurai Guitarist just totally blew my mind.

And you know, the fans surprised me. After the first Vancouver show, I admit I expected some less than stellar behavior and I was wrong. There’s always a moment before he comes on stage where I brace myself for the possible push from behind. And I get it, people are excited and they want to be close and touch him and know he’s real and they want to see him and it’s exciting and if even a couple people push it escalates just by the number of people. But there was nothing. Everyone cheered when he came up and we were LOUD but there was nothing. It was like everyone was on the same wavelength and maybe it was because there were fans of the other two bands there as well but it was amazing and it was the first time I’d ever seen a North American audience with no push at all.

And MIYAVI just came out with his guitar and just blew me away. In part it was the sudden, powerful realization that being on the floor at a MIYAVI show, and seeing him in front of us ready to rock is coming HOME. I hadn’t felt it for six years and I’d forgotten how good it is to come to that place, where we are united in one purpose and it’s rocking the hell out of wherever we are. And our eyes met and we both knew exactly what we were there for. No doubt, no fear, no second thoughts. Just the same desire to rock out together.

I can’t tell you the setlist exactly, because I honestly don’t know most of it.

His first song was without words, just him and Bobo and Lenny doing their thing. I’m sure it’s a song though. *Laugh* Honestly I think he played two more vocal-free tracks before he played the Mission Impossible Rogue Nation theme, and we were rocking. The whole audience was just giving him back the energy he was giving us and it was amazing.

After the first song (where he stayed sort of in the middle of the stage), he came out front and stood right in front of us at centreish stage, and it was the first time I saw all the hands in the air and not one of them reach out for him. And he walked away and came back and the same thing happened. No one pushed forward to grab at him (and it would have been so easy, he was like RIGHT THERE) and it changed everything. I say this because I’ve seen him at a half dozen shows in Canada and the US, and more than a dozen in Japan. The best MIYAVI is the one who is totally comfortable with the audience. If he can trust us with himself, 100% he will give us ALL his energy. And for the first time in North America I saw him REALLY getting into it with the audience. He was at the front of the stage, he was on his knees less than a handful of inches from us, he was playful, intense, and FREE. I saw him playing on his knees for half a minute at the very edge of the stage right in the faces of the girls next to us. And it was BRILLIANT.

I think after The MI:RN theme he played What a Wonderful World (Day2 Mix). But he had us singing the chorus, though he did help that one.

He played Live to Die Another Day, his new song for the new Day 2 Album, but I don’t think he sang it. (Little bit sad in retrospect cuz it’s awesome) and it might not be the same as the album version – I think (now) he might have played Steal the Sun, but I’m not sure (and if he did I don’t think he sang it….) definitely Firebird, Long Nights, Cry Like This and the Day 2 Mix of What’s My Name. That I know of.

Dim it was interesting; I’m sure by now people have seen the video posted by Miyavi_Staff on Instagram, reposted by Miyavi where he slipped into the audience. That was Dim It, we were rocking out and suddenly MIYAVI. We had NO IDEA what was going on. We weren’t really paying attention to him (Maura and I weren’t, anyway) and suddenly he kind of landed on her face and everyone was moving and I raised my head and WTFMIYAVI. I swear to god I was terrified he was going to fall off the stage. And mostly really confused how it happened. Or like…how he got there. ONE MINUTE AGO HE WAS ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE STAGE. We figured he slipped, since we like to think he didn’t MEAN to kick Maura in the face. I really sincerely hope he’s careful in the future. MIYAVI falling off stage and getting hurt again is probably one of my biggest fears. But we kept him up and it didn’t even faze him (well, it didn’t show anyway) and it really felt like he trusted us to not assault him or you know, let him hit the floor. And then he got up and we went back to rocking.

I did kind of accidentally hit him in the leg though, but that’s not my fault he came out of nowhere while I was headbanging!

From the moment he came on stage I felt like he really was embracing the statement he made recently that he really wanted to make his guitar sing. And did he ever. I think there are really few artists who could come on stage and basically just jam without really performing the fan favorites or you know singing the whole song and still completely captivate the audience. And he did just that.

He really really did.

This was the BEST show I’ve ever seen. I walked in in expecting to rock out maybe to some of the new songs and maybe a favorite or two, but I got so much MORE than I expected. I got probably the most interactive show I’ve EVER SEEN in North America, and I got to see MIYAVI at I think his absolute best, totally comfortable on stage, totally comfortable with the audience, totally free to party with us and not for us. We’ve all heard him talk about how he wants to unite the world with music and I’ve known for a long time that he wants us to go there with him but I have never seen it so clearly as when he was on stage in Vancouver and we were all in it.

So in closing; if you are willing to give him all your energy and give him space to trust you with his person he will reward you with all his energy and passion. When you can be on the same page with him, 100% willing to go wherever he leads you will see a MIYAVI like you’ve never seen him before.

And when the night ends he will come out and high-five you and you will leave so high and so much a part of something bigger than any one of us. You become a part of our family.

CoMiyavi means I’m never alone.

CoMiyavi is Family.

*One-Man is a term used for a tour or show consisting of a single act, no opening bands at all.

World Falls Down – Labyrinth of Jareth part 1

I can’t remember a time I did not love Labyrinth.

Labyrinth_ver2It feels like it has always been with me, always been a part of who I am. I’m sure that when I felt like things were most unfair, Sarah’s growth as a person helped me understand that sometimes things happen to us that aren’t fair. It sucks, but that’s just how it is. The fact that sometimes your words can get you into more trouble, and you should be careful what you wish for. That words have consequences. That David Bowie is amazing and gets away with wearing some really, really tight pants.

For those who are unfamiliar (and I keep finding you…) Labyrinth was a film released in 1986 starring Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie. It also features a horde of creatures designed by Brian Froud and brought to life by Jim Henson. It tells the story of Sarah Williams, a self-important fifteen year old who believes that her father and stepmother are out to ruin her life and resents the half brother she perceives as usurping her place in her father’s affections. A moment of weakness and bitterness and the words are said; ”I wish the goblins would take you away.”

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He also wears REALLY tight pants.

Enter Jareth the Goblin King, capricious ruler of the Labyrinth and its denizens. He sings. The songs are unsurprisingly catchy and deep; they were written by Bowie. He announces “what’s said is said” and the only way for Sarah to retrieve her wished away brother is to run the Labyrinth and reach the Castle Beyond the Goblin City. Which she agrees to do. Adventure ensues with the heroine learning valuable lessons about life and growing up.

The short of it is that Labyrinth has a very loyal fan base. We’re quiet about it for the most part, but heavens forbid you tell us you haven’t seen it.

So imagine my awe when I find out that every year in Los Angeles, California there is a two-night masquerade ball called the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade. Besides wandering in the woods my favourite thing is getting dressed up, whether for a fancy event or for a costume event. My boss at the time sent me the link on Facebook one week before the 2013 event. I came into work two days later and he came up to me and apologized for not being able to give me the time off because this was obviously an event that caters directly to me. Well, one year later I had the time booked off and was headed down to LA for my first LoJ.

The site states a very specific, if vague dress code: Formal wear with a mask or a costume befitting the Fantasy theme-imaginative costumes are strongly encouraged.

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Gilded Invitation (VIP Ticket) from the Court of Sypher

Obviously I am perfectly comfortable wearing outdoor gear and traipsing through the woods. That was the original point of the blog, after all. But you may not have known that I am also a huge fan of pageantry and haute couture designers. I love getting dressed up–like REALLY dressed up. Costumes, formal wear, the whole gamut. I’m a self-taught makeup artist though I don’t typically wear it on a day to day basis. I love costumes, and I love being able to go big with them. A quick gander through the photos on the Labyrinth webpage was at once intimidating and inspiring; costumes from professional designers, headpieces that left me speechless with awe, gowns and armor and fauns and nymphs and familiar characters and original characters and there was nothing I saw that told me my imagination needed to be reined in. Every photo told me that the only way I would be satisfied was to pursue a design of my own creation, and to design it as if I knew what I was doing.

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Original Sketch (I draw!)

So I prepared a gown unlike anything I had done before; thirteen metres of chiffon draped and pleated to craft a form-fitting bodice in the front and leaving my entire back open (I have an extensive back tattoo, and it seemed a pity to hide it). Of course, being a perfectionist I put it off to the last minute and made the thing in two weeks. I cried when it came together at the last minute and it worked. I beaded the straps, hand stitched the pleats, crafted the crown out of wire and picked out some simple gold jewelry. And I commissioned a sleeve of red scale mail, because I was, after all, a dragon.

And so I was headed to the ball.

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Photo: John Truong

My first year was the last year LoJ was held at the Park Plaza hotel. There are things I remember so fondly about that venue, but the air conditioning isn’t one of them. My dress, completely backless and sleeveless was a blessing as it allowed me to keep from overheating. Small blessings.

That weekend I found a place for the other side of myself.

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Photo: John Truong

I’ve known for most of my life that the readily accessible outdoors here on Vancouver Island made it a near-perfect environment for me. But there has never really been a place here for the part of me that goes above and beyond where costuming is concerned. For the first time in my life I found myself not the best dressed and It was amazing. I will remember forever the person who told me I did not look like a first-year. That was the moment I really felt like I had found a place where my attention to detail was truly appreciated and understood. Because as someone else told me; it was the details that took the ensemble into a higher category.

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From Sketch…

Last year, I took my friend Susanna’s words to heart. We go bigger every year.

1400 goose feathers, individually ironed, trimmed and stitched later, and I stand firmly beside that idea. But the real star of the show were my wings.

I had this idea for an owl-woman, which evolved into this white bird-woman. And of course she needed wings. The wing-design I found was truly amazing; it did not require an extensive harness and while contemplating the design I realized I could alter the design slightly to reduce the number of necessary visible fixtures. Adjustments made, I arrived Saturday night with a 12-foot wingspan, completely articulated, that disappeared when I put my arms down. Even better, I still had free use of my hands. After rock climbing, the hardware at my wrist–which may have seemed heavy–was not

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…To Angel – Photo: Greg Autry

so bad and I did not notice more than a slight tiredness in my muscles unless I held the wings open for several minutes. I could even dance with them. This was also the first year (and so far only year) where I had a Friday costume that was both simpler and completely different from the Saturday plan. It was a few pieces I already had, modified into a wildcat-woman. It was a great success, though not so much as the wings.

So this brings us to this year, 2016.

At the time I started writing this I had several ideas planned out, and had already assessed the he work involved with bringing them into being. But with the depression hounding me, the motivation to start working on a project that required so much time and effort seemed beyond my ability. So I opted to pursue a different kind of costume.

Several hundred dollars later I have become the owner of a wedding kimono and uchikake (over-kimono?). Plus a wig. I have decided to go to the ball as a kitsune-a Japanese fox-demon-in Oiran dress. Oiran are the prostitute-sisters to Geisha. Traditionally their hair is even more elaborate, their hair accessories numerous, and their Obi tied in front. If I can pull this off, it will be extremely visually stunning.

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Wildwoman – Photo: Greg Autry

Of course, I am finishing this entry after the event itself and I know how it turned out.

But the point of this blog entry, is that there is another side of me that does not involve trekking out into the woods by myself.

And there are adventures that happen as much in your head as they do in real life, and this is definitely one of those.

So keep adventuring, but even more than that, keep dreaming.

-Not Lost Girl

(Photo credits: John Truong and Greg Autry)

What events or situations have stirred your own creativity? What dreams have become tangible for you? Tell me about it below.

A Little About Why I Climb

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Climbing outside makes me extremely apprehensive.

I am afraid of heights. Not in the way where I get vertigo or can’t go to the edge of something and look down-if supported I have no problem with that at all. Rationally I understand that the harness and rope are as safe as we can make them and the gear we attach to is the same. I am also aware that things go wrong. Part of my brain is constantly reminding me that a bolt could blow, a rock could fall on me, something could go wrong and I could die. I do not find this feeling exhilarating or liberating.

I really just find it terrifying.

Much of the time I spend on real rock, especially if lead-climbing, there is a part of me that is out of my mind with terror. If you could play the soundtrack in my head you would have one voice that is shrieking mindlessly and another calmer voice talking me through it.

Breathe. Hand up. Foot up. Shift your weight. Reach. Breathe. It’s ok. You’re safe. Trust your feet. Nice. Take it easy. Relax your grip. Breathe.

Clipping myself to a steel bolt on the side of a cliff hundreds of feet in the air with a couple carabiners and a bit of rope does not exactly make me feel safe. And yet despite my fear I continue to do it. If you ask me why my first answer is probably not going to be anything about ‘fun’.

Climbing is amazing.

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The view from the top of “Emergency Rainbow Generator” 5.7 – Quadra Island

The reason I climb isn’t because I always find it fun. I climb because the awe I feel when I am standing at the top of a climb on Quadra island and seeing a massive stretch of Vancouver Island and all of its largest park. Or looking out across Howe Sound and the Tantalus range as the sun goes down. Or standing at the foot of The Chief in squamish and staring straight up at 9 pitches and 1000 feet of the most beautiful granite I’ve ever seen.

These moments are what keep driving me outside.

Standing in awe of nature, and in awe of the human spirit that inspires us to scale a sheer cliff face with fingers and toes and constantly push the limits of what is possible.

It’s pretty awesome.

And before I forget: Today I am choosing to be thankful for my friends, who want to do all the things I do and then some. They encourage and push me and help me do better.

-Not Lost Girl

What leaves you in awe? When was the last time you felt that way? Let me know in the comments!

(Today’s Post inspired by The Daily Prompt: Awe )

Kayaking in April

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What an awful day to be on the water – Finlayson Arm, looking in.

Like most outdoor enthusiasts I am obsessed with the weather forecast. Sometimes I check it multiple times a day just to make sure it hasn’t changed (or to see if it has) so that I can decide what to do with my free time. Sunny weekdays mean climbing outside; sunny weekends mean mostly climbing outside but sometimes other things. Rain means I should probably go camping because climbing is out of the question in most places (but not all places).

Last week the forecast called for lots of sun and we got out on real rock down at Macaulay Point/Fleming Beach for most of it. Saturday was supposed to be beautiful, Sunday adequate. I was looking for friends who were going climbing Saturday, since I already had plans to climb on Sunday in Nanaimo. Except that on Friday my friend suggested going kayaking on Saturday. An all day adventure on the ocean. Like any sane person who has only recently taken up a sport and only done it once in the last several years I decided that I would totally go!

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Worst Day Ever, I’m telling you.

We met up downtown and headed out to Brentwood Bay, where my friend Natalie stores her kayak and gear with Pacifica Paddle Sports. The owners of Pacifica, Peter and Sandra have been in business for 14 years and now have two locations for paddlers to get on the water. What I love best about this place is the sense of welcome Sandra and Peter have given us the two occasions I’ve rented from them, which makes me feel good about giving them my money and supporting their totally local business. Seriously two of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve met; they’ve really encouraged us to get out and enjoy the water. Kayak rentals start at 38$ CAD for two hours (28$ if you show up after 5pm) and increase in price per hour or day depending on how long you’re going to be using it. For an 8 hour rental the cost is 58$ plus tax. I can honestly say I thought rental equipment would be more expensive, though if you’re going out every day or weekend it does add up pretty quickly. They are always willing to discuss destinations with you and know the area really well and can help you plan your itinerary which really helps when you’re just starting out.

Spending so much time on or in the water as a child means two things: I know very well that anyone can drown and I’m not afraid of it. Sometimes I’m afraid of the things that are in it; the time we took the canoe out to see the Orcas that had wandered into Finlayson Arm (I grew up on that fjord) I was very aware that there were four very large creatures with teeth diving beneath us. The dorsal fin on the bull was probably close to five or six feet high. It was intense. And amazing. We may have been hoping to see whales on Saturday(which we did not).

Despite being on the water so much the very first time I got into a kayak I was in my twenties. I loved it but have had few people since then to go with and have never been able to justify the expense to take up the sport though I have wanted to for nearly a decade. Since that first paddle I’ve had only a few more experiences until Nat’s birthday when we rented kayaks from Pacifica and paddled down Todd Inlet, coming back just after dark. We paddled through a swarm of Moon Jellyfish the size of dinner plates which was kind of amazing.

So naturally a few months later it made total sense for me to hop in a kayak for eight hours.

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Couple enjoying a hiking break at McKenzie Bight

We started out just just after 11am and on Sandra’s suggestion decided to head down Finlayson Arm toward McKenzie Bight for brunch. The water was perfect for this direction; the tide was coming in which meant the current was going in our direction (though not too quickly) and the breeze helped keep us cool.

I love being on the water; this has always been true. Saturday was no exception.

Brunch on the beach was relaxed, but as we watched a kid scrambling over the rocks as his parents sat on the bluff with their dogs we realized that our childhoods prepared us for this. The kid was clambering along the rocks and his parents weren’t paying attention and we both immediately had the same thought of ‘what terrible parents’ followed by the startled recognition that this is what our parents did. We were raised on playgrounds that were wood and steel and full of wood chips and rocks and we played till dark and sometimes after if we didn’t have school. Sometimes we fell and got hurt, but most of the time we didn’t and it was okay. We learned that our actions sometimes have pretty painful consequences and how to assess the risk in a situation.

IMG_5332_EDITI envy kids their ability to heal; as an adult getting into physical adventures it’s a lot scarier to know that some things just won’t heal fully if they get hurt. I envy their sense of immortality, though it’s also terrifyingly ignorant.

After brunch we packed everything and ourselves back into our kayaks and set out to paddle across the Arm to Spectacle Falls. The wind was with us for this stretch and it was easy going. If we stopped paddling we still went in the right direction.

Spectacle Falls is pretty and remote; accessible only by boat but a casual paddle from Brentwood Bay and it’s a beautiful little rock beach with a small pool at the bottom for swimming in the warmer months. We had a second lunch here and watched a bald eagle try without success to catch his lunch. I made the quickest lens-swap ever on my camera to catch him.

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He circled over us a few times after failing to catch lunch.

As we had lunch the tide was coming in quite noticeably and the wind had picked up. The next leg of our adventure would take us back the way we had come to the mouth of the arm and up the west edge of the bay to Mill Bay before turning around to paddle back to the dock. We were going to be paddling into the wind and against the current.

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This photo isn’t cropped.

It actually ended up being not bad; we made quick and steady progress into the wind as we came up the arm and into the bay, then tucked ourselves in along the coast and out of the wind line and made good progress. We stopped in the middle to put our boats together and talked about climbing accidents and rescues and the dangers of our chosen sports. It was quite a bit later when we continued, but the sun was still warm and the wind had started to ease.

By the time we pulled up our kayaks onto the shore at the Mill Bay Ferry Terminal for dinner we were warm, tired, but still going pretty strong. Eating our sandwiches on the beach as the ferry loaded and headed back across the bay we were already turning our eyes to the mouth of the bay and the islands beyond. Salt spring Island has climbing after all, and what better way to get there than to hop in a kayak, currents or no?

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Really though. Worst day ever, right?

Still we had to return my kayak if not Natalie’s and we weren’t prepared to be out overnight (though we had enough food…) so we slipped our kayaks back into the water and settled ourselves back into our paddling on water like glass. The tide was high and the wind had died and we had perfect conditions as we made the wide crossing of the bay. This time we did not stick to the coast, but pointed our noses toward the docks.

We arrived just after dusk and clambered out of our kayaks sun baked, sore and happy.

We had blisters and bruises and our muscles ached but it had been such a good day.

IMG_5421_EDITAlready we are making plans for another trip; salt spring for climbing, or investigating some other islands with cliffs on the water that might lend themselves to some ‘deep-water soloing’ (climbing without a rope on rock over water that is deep enough for you to fall into if you let go).

One thing’s for sure; I’m stoked to get back on the water.

And last minute adventures are almost always the best kind.

-Not Lost Girl


When was the last time you went on a last-minute adventure? Tell me about it!

Fear: the Art of Courage

IMG_1378EDITI was going to write about something else this week. I had almost a whole post written down and then something tripped in my brain and I decided to write a completely new one.

Today I’m writing a little bit about fear.

Lots of people have written about this, many of them with more credentials than I have. The only thing I really know is that I’ve been afraid of things my whole life and maybe you’ll agree that qualifies me to talk about what I know of it and how I deal with it. The one thing I know for sure? You’re the only one who can do anything about it.

Continue reading “Fear: the Art of Courage”

Rope Rescue in Strathcona

 

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A mini-rack of sport gear for Rope Rescue. All fits into that 35L pack. For now.

Several weeks ago some friends were talking about doing a rope rescue course up at Crest Creek, a well-known climbing area in Strathcona Provincial Park. It’s been developed over the last several decades by the Heathens, a mountaineering and climbing club based out of Campbell River, BC. Being pretty close to broke and stuck with no fixed plans for Easter weekend, I naturally decided that the course was the thing to do.

 

I headed home Thursday night to pack my gear and once again realized that as a climber, camping trips are really quite difficult. Where a weekend camping trip requires only one pack, a climbing trip requires two. Per person. One pack is my life; tent, mat, sleeping bag, clothes, etc. The other is my gear. Climbing shoes, helmet, rope, draws, slings, carabiners, cordelette, webelette, water, belay devices, pulleys. This weekend packed twenty four meters more cordelette into my bag than I had previously ever carried. It’s a 35L bag with only three pockets. The time to upgrade is coming quickly.

Continue reading “Rope Rescue in Strathcona”

7 Things to Consider when Going Solo Camping

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“Wet” Coast Rain Forest

It may surprise you to know that in the three weeks since going camping solo for the first time that I have not become an expert.

I have, however, spent a significant portion of my life outdoors in various conditions. Some far more reckless and ill-advised than others. This has given me a rather odd perspective; despite struggling with anxiety and self-confidence I have spent a lot of time in the woods and feel familiar and comfortable with them in a way that I do not in other situations and circumstances. The risks seem much more tolerable and manageable than they do in many social situations.

Continue reading “7 Things to Consider when Going Solo Camping”

5 Reasons You Should Go Solo

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Hiking in as the sun goes down – Juan de Fuca Trail/Mystic Beach trail

Realizing I want to go camping on the beach and finding people who also are free and want to go camping on the beach are two very different things. This was the situation that started me down the (very short) path to my first Solo camping trip. It was not long or particularly strenuous, but it was something just outside of my comfort zone. Now that I am safe at home I have had time to reflect on it and now I know I can do it, so there are very few things stopping me from doing it again. In fact I find myself thinking that I should do just that.

Still, the fact that I did this and it was kind of scary made me think that hey; someone else might like some encouragement to go do this very thing. So I present to you my top five reasons you should totally go solo.
Continue reading “5 Reasons You Should Go Solo”

Go It Alone – First Solo Camping Trip

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Alone on the Beach

I have discovered recently that fear has played a massive part in all of my decisions to date. So, in an attempt to over come this thing I have begun doing things that are kind of outside of my comfort zone.

Like any reasonable person this means picking things that make me nervous and doing them anyway. One of those things. is rock climbing because I love it and honestly I am absolutely afraid of heights. This is not a blog post about rock climbing, however, so onto the other thing.
Solo Camping. Continue reading “Go It Alone – First Solo Camping Trip”