The update – June edition
Well, it’s been a fun-filled couple of weeks in our world. I’ve tried my best to keep up with my writing but it’s been quite challenging this past month. Lately, it feels like we’re always on the go, so writing and blogging has unfortunately taken a back seat. The realities of raising two young boys, I suppose.
The weather in Vancouver has also been outstanding, making it very difficult to spend the day indoors hunched over a laptop when the sunshine is calling.
So, today I find myself compelled to write an update on what’s been happening around here and what’s on the travel agenda for July.
The month began with a return to our happy place – Whistler
While on the drive up to our favourite Canadian mountain resort, we made a stop at British Columbia’s newest outdoor attraction – the Sea to Sky Gondola.
Located in the town of Squamish, about half way between Vancouver and Whistler, the gondola takes visitors up 885 metres above sea level to the Summit Lodge. The lodge has a massive patio and viewing deck that overlooks Howe Sound and the Squamish Valley.
Our time in Whistler was exactly what we needed. We spent our days swimming in the pool, wandering around the village and enjoying some quality time with our boys. They constantly amaze us and remind us that the best things in life are the simple moments shared with loved ones, like throwing rocks in the river or staying up late to eat popcorn and watch cartoons (okay, maybe I can live without the cartoons).
Next up – a return visit to Sin City
This trip to Las Vegas was unlike previous visits. This time, I joined a group of old friends for a Bachelor Party, so the agenda revolved around excessive partying and debauchery. Surprisingly, this is easy to come by in Vegas… who knew?
I’ve always wanted to attend a Bachelor Party in Vegas, so it was an easy decision when my oldest bestest bud said his brother wanted to do Vegas for his bachelor festivities.
Because this was a fairly unplanned trip, I had to work my magic to make it affordable. I was able to do Vegas on the cheap by redeeming loyalty points for both my flights and hotel. All in, I think I paid about $100 in taxes and fees for hotel and flights. Not bad, eh?
I ended up booking my accommodations at the Holiday Inn located near the Mandalay Bay, which was very basic but did the trick. It didn’t matter though, because I barely spent any time at that hotel aside from a little shut eye. The group I was with had a large suite at the Mandalay Bay, which was a quick $8 taxi ride from my hotel, so I spent most of my time partying with the them at the Mandalay Bay and its casino. It’s a pretty nice hotel with a massive outdoor pool and patio (unfortunately I didn’t end up spending any time at the pool). The Sports Book at the Mandalay Bay is also one of the best on the Strip. We enjoyed watching the Stanley Cup Finals there.
Now, I’m not going to get into the details of the trip because apparently what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. And, well, some things are better left unsaid, especially in the public domain.
Let’s just say that we rarely saw sunlight over the 3 days. And the flight home sucked, bad.
Next up – competing in Tough Mudder in Whistler!
I returned to Whistler for a second time in three weeks to compete in the annual Tough Mudder event. For those unfamiliar with Tough Mudder, here’s how it’s describe on its website:
Tough Mudder is a team-oriented 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit. Tough Mudder puts camaraderie over finisher rankings and is not a timed race but a team challenge that allows participants to experience exhilarating, yet safe, world-class obstacles they won’t find anywhere else.
The Whistler course is labeled as one of the toughest on its circuit because of its rocky mountain terrain and unpredictable weather. This was my first attempt at completing Tough Mudder, so I have nothing to compare it to. I’m not a runner and I don’t compete in physical events like this – so this event was quite the challenge for me.
I had been training for the event for a few months, so I was feeling pretty good until the aforementioned trip to Las Vegas. That definitely took me back a few steps.
As you can see from the above photo, we had the largest group competing at the Whistler event. There was 60 of us in total, separated into 4 groups of 15 people.
When the event started, the weather was cool and overcast. This was an ideal temperature, given that Whistler had received plenty of sunshine the previous few weeks. The last thing we wanted was to run and tackle obstacles in the scorching hot sunshine. I sunburn very easily, so I was a tad concerned I’d get heat stroke.
Well, be careful what you wish for! About 2 hours into the event it started pouring rain. I don’t mean light misty sprinkles, I’m talking full on down pour of torrential rain. Many of the obstacles require you to jump into cold water pools or wade through wet mud, so we were already chilled to the bone. The rain shook us to the core and pushed us to our limits, both physically and mentally. It got the point where some participants had to pull out of the race due to hypothermia.
I’m super proud of myself and my team for completing the grueling course. We climbed over walls, crawled through a tear gas chamber, jumped off a plank into freezing cold water, scaled the side of a mountain and got electrocuted as we pushed past the finish line. It took us 5.5 hours from start to finish. I’m not sure if I’ll do it again, but I’m stoked to have completed it at least once in my life.
I’ll leave you with a Tough Mudder quote that I really like: “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
Next up – #LetsGONB trip to New Brunswick!
As I sit here typing away, I just received an email with the final itinerary for our upcoming adventure. Next week, from July 12th to 18th, we will be joining a group of 8 family travel bloggers in New Brunswick. We’ll be bouncing around the province showing you the family friendly side of this treasured part of Atlantic Canada.
We’ve never been to New Brunswick so this will be a trip filled with firsts. Stay tuned…. we’ll be revealing our itinerary in an upcoming blog post.
Well, that’s a wrap. Time to go outside and enjoy the rest of this gorgeous summer day in the Pacific Northwest!
Happy Canada Day to our fellow Canadians… and Happy 4th of July to our American friends!