A Travellerspoint blog

Day 69: June 24, 2012

Grouse Grind and the Sea to Sky Highway

semi-overcast 20 °C

Our journey from Chilliwack to Pemberton (our last WWOOF location) was one of our most jam-packed days yet! We woke up early to pack our things (leaving half of our junk behind at Morgon's) and hit the road with a strict time schedule! We did some research about hiking the 'Grind' and learned that at 12:00pm there is a Lumberjack show at the top of the mountain, which we thought was a must-see! Having said that, we needed to drive all the way from Chilliwack to North Vancouver and hike the Grind in 2.5 hours, we left Morgon's a little behind schedule at 9:30. Speeding on the highway wasn't really an option, so we decided to make up for lost time by powering up the mountain- the average hiker summits the Grind in 1.5 - 2 hours.....we killed it in 55 minutes, making it just on time for the Lumberjack show! The climb was one of the most physically demanding hikes thus far, it is nick-named 'Mother Nature’s Stairmaster': stretching at 2,800 feet, with 2,830 'stairs' (a variety of wooden steps, rocks, and roots) to climb.


When we reached the top, we cooled off in the 'Mister', and headed to see the Lumberjacks in action (a hilarious show including sawing competitions, tree climbing, log rolling, and wild acrobatics).

Emerging from the mist at the Grouse Grind Summit

We survived the Grind!




The Lumberjacks + the Emmas.... a great looking bunch!

Grizzly habitat at the top of the mountain!

Shannon Falls

Shannon Falls

Only a warning- our lucky day!

We took the gondola back down the mountain, had a quick bit to eat in the parking lot, and then hit the road to explore Horseshoe Bay and later Shannon Falls. After battling with a full parking lot at the falls, we chose to park Gerry in the bus loading zone and lucked out when we only got nailed with a warning ticket- what's a couple of traveling girls gonna do?!

The journey northbound on the Sea to Sky Highway was another incredible drive, we got our first glance at the Vancouver Island from a distance, we are itching to get there! We passed through Squamish and then Whistler where we stopped to fill up on maps / general info / deal finding material, and then continued our drive to the beautiful Pemberton! We are currently working in Pempberton at an organic vegetable farm, stay tuned!

Posted by mcmillanallen 21:23 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Day 54 - Day 68: June 10 - 23, 2012

Chilliwack, BC

sunny 25 °C

This was a transitional time in our trip because Emma Allen had to make a quick visit home to graduate from University! During this time Emma McMillan stayed at her brother’s place in Chilliwack. She helped on the dairy farm that he manages, and assisted with the settlement into his new house performing a total 180 makeover (inside and out). Lots of time was spent hunting for furniture deals and working on the house to make it livable and ‘homey’. She also had a wonderful visit with cousin Alison in Langely, where we hope to stop again when we are in the Vancouver area.



That's the face of a Morgan McMillan slave!

Meanwhile back in Ontario, Emma A. spent some time recuperating and touching base with reality. She spent Monday celebrating her completion of University where she walked across the stage to collect her degree!





Emma A’s trip home lasted from the 13th to 22nd, which left very minimal time to explore Chilliwack and surrounding area. We did however get to hike Mt. Thom with a group of wonderful local ladies- Laury, Lisa, and Mary, practice our beach bum skills at Cultus Lake, hike the Campbell Lake Trail, explore Harrison Hot Springs, experience Bridal Falls, and help out on the farm. We had some good times with Morgon, 'Patches' (a young German working on the farm) and the rest of the crew at TNL cattle. Patches bothered us constantly about our pro sports priorities- while we followed the Stanley Cup finals, he refused to watch and sat in the next room talking about soccer statistics and how he would rather be doing anything else. The tables turned when he cheered on the German soccer team, while the rest of us sat in the next room bitching about the fake injuries and impressive dramatics during the game. We'll miss you, Patch Attack (we know you love the nick name we gave you)!! Although we are leaving the farm, we plan to help out at the Vancouver Island Show in July- we can't wait to see ya'll again!!!

Cultus Lake, totally gorgeous!

First swim of the season, soo chilly!


Joe, in BC!

Exploring Bridal Falls, what a hidden gem!

Bridal Falls

Campbell Lake Trail - one of our favourites so far!



Just a casual bail - serious Tough Mudder training!

In total awe of the natural beauty


Enjoying the perfect post-hike meal: free gelato and espresso (what can we say, we are professional deal-finders at this point)


Posted by mcmillanallen 20:30 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Day 40 - Day 54: May 27 - June 10, 2012

Merritt, BC

overcast 15 °C

Burnt Ridge Ranch is a popular and desirable WWOOF location which we had been looking forward to since the beginning of our trip. Paul and Dorothy Molnar live in Merritt, BC (the country music capital of Canada- wicked!) on a small ranch with horses, beef cattle, chickens, dogs and cats! Paul is a veterinarian with clinics both in town and at home, and Dorothy (and daughter Sarah) run a bakery / cafe downtown. The WWOOFer job description mentioned that we may have the chance to help at the bakery and/or the vet clinic, but we had no idea how involved we would actually be! Within an hour of arriving at the Molnars, we helped Paul with an emergency sick dog drop-in, which unfortunately resulted in having to put it down. This came as a total surprise to us- it was very emotional but humbling and interesting!
We were so lucky to take part in all three areas at Burnt Ridge Ranch; the vet clinic, the bakery, and the general farm duties. We learned so much about what is involved with these various jobs / lifestyles, and met some amazing people along the way! Here are some highlights of each atmosphere:

Merritt Vet Clinic
Our responsibilities at the vet clinic were minimal, although we were able to shadow the vets / vet technicians, and even sit in on some surgical procedures and ‘on-location’ visits at farms in the area! Witnessing the surgery to ‘geld’ a horse was interesting to say the least! When Paul was doing the removal of the horse’s hardware, he said out loud to everyone helping “now that my friends, is the sound every wife loves to hear!” This made for a good laugh!
We also witnessed a young dog being spayed, tattooing the register number inside a puppy’s ear, foaling a horse, and other basic check-ups. All in all, our time spent at the vet clinic was educational and lots of fun!





Brambles Bakery
How can we even begin with the bakery?! Everything seemed to be a blast there- the food, the people, the environment, and right down to the fact that there were four Emmas working most days! Our responsibilities at the bakery developed rapidly, beginning with tons of onion chopping to eventually doing some of our own baking, preparing, and serving! Let us first give you a little run down of what Brambles Bakery has to offer! This busy spot is certainly the place to get a great cup of coffee, lunch, baked goods, breads, or just one of their famous ‘sticky buns’! They cater big events, make wedding and other special cakes, and host big meetings / luncheons in their dining hall. We knew we were in heaven within the first five minutes of arrival when we were being offered samples of different desserts (fresh out of the oven Rhubarb Torte) and all-you-can-drink coffee! There was always quite an array of delicious treats, soups, salads, sandwiches, and gourmet coffee. We quickly made the goal of trying everything at least once, and never having the same thing twice....which we obviously accomplished (we are now punishing ourselves with ‘Insanity’ workouts and 10km hikes because of our lack of self control). We hit our ultimate low when we spent a Friday evening drive to Kamloops eating a paper bag full of goodies (which was meant to last the entire weekend) - we resorted to the plus size stores at the mall that night. Although we may have nicked our fingers, accidentally tweaked some recipes, and gained five pounds each, we had a total blast at the bakery and it was without a doubt one of the highlights of our trip across Canada so far!







Fun on the Farm
Herding chickens, feeding the motherless calf ‘Laura’, rounding up cows (on horseback), collecting eggs, and gardening are just a few things included in our daily chores at the ranch. There was never a dull moment with these animals. We fought with the dogs constantly so they wouldn’t murder any more chickens after a bad accident. We attempted to lasso a cow on horseback with limited experience and riding skills....this was a near death experience, no joke! We totally domesticated a calf after giving her a human name and petting her while we fed her (complete cityiots ahaha). Quite often we had to wrestle with the cannibal chickens to collect their eggs, we developed some war wounds after getting pecked and attacked on multiple occasions (note to selves: never, ever decide to have chickens, it’s worth the $3.00 to buy eggs from the store). Overall, we learned a lot about the beauty of life on a ranch in Merritt, BC.

Making noodles from scratch!


Setting aside our duties as WWOOFers, we spent lots of quality time hiking, exploring, yard-saling, deal finding, socializing, cooking, and baking! We shared lots of laughs with our new friends from the bakery, the vet clinic, and other WWOOFers. Thank you to Paul and Dorothy for providing us with a wonderful, enlightening experience in Merritt! You have a lovely family, and are surrounded with such great people that we hope to also stay in touch with for many years to come!





If you are ever in the Merritt area, you HAVE to stop at Brambles Bakery for an Chai Tea Latte and a sticky bun, tell them that ‘the Emmas’ sent you, and you just might get a free sample ;)


Posted by mcmillanallen 21:17 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

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