Cameron Lake Lookout

Recently I have been wanting to get out and explore more of our beautiful island. For those of you who do not know me, I am not generally an athletic person. I am not on any sports teams, I do not exercise regularly and I am no fan of running. I want to be though, I want to be that person who is super healthy and goes on hikes and adventures. In an effort to progress in that way, I asked my wonderful friend Britt to take me on a hike. May I also add that I envy Britt when it comes to leading a healthy and athletic life and that she is such a beautiful person and amazing friend. That being said I also dislike her when it comes to doing activities, she has built herself into a workout machine. She pushes beyond my limits, from Zumba to climbing a mountain. In my opinion everyone needs a Britt is their life.

At first I thought I might bring my kids along but decided against it because every momma needs their alone time. I traded my mother In-law babies for her puppy! Thank goodness I did, because even the start of the trail proved to not be baby friendly. Never the less I was super excited to accomplish even the smallest feat of climbing to this lookout. I am always surprised at how much better someone can feel after they have accomplished even the tiniest thing.

The hike was only about 30 minutes long, but it was all hill. I tried my hardest not to complain every time we rounded a corner or came to a split pass only to find more hill. Nobody likes going on adventures with a whinny wiener. I took my time, tried to pace myself per Britt’s instructions. At points during the hike that Britt had to run up hills ahead of me to get her workout in, now you can see why part of me envy’s her. Being able to galloping like a dear up a mountain and even carry the puppy up hills that were too steep.

Although I hate hills I had a fun time and by the 15 minute mark I stopped caring about the hills and only thought about how nice the view would be. The view hiking up was incredible, I always forget how dense and green our forests are. There were outstanding views of the mountains and logging roads in the surrounding areas. When we finally made it to the top, It was breathtaking. I had never seen Cameron Lake in all it’s entirety, stunning, to be able to see something you have seen a hundred times before from a completely new view. There were benches at the top as well, although my mind was boggled about how someone hiked them up there, I was relieved they did.

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After posing for photos we decided to trek back down. Easier said then done, Britt had to carry the puppy most of the way down because it was so steep. Some minor slips and falls, left Britt with a nasty arm scratch. The puppies and I made it out unharmed. When we were nearing the end of the trail Britt noticed that both our legs were shaking, from balancing and fighting gravity. Over all it was the second best hike I have had on the island, the first being to a place called Underwood and maybe sometime I will write about that one too!

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Thanks for reading and If anyone is interested in giving it a try, the trail head it easy to find. If you are coming from Parksville, look for an area on the right side of the road right before you hit Cameron Lake provincial park. You will be able to see a rail road in front of where you would park your car, follow it to the left over the trestle and right after, you will see a tiny trail on the right. You follow that all the way to the top.

Happy Hiking!

 

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Avoiding certain death. Let us play the game. We can play, now. Make plans. You are going to need them. It is not teamwork because we are both selfish. You are disgusting.  You are the kind of girl who just sits there & cannot accept a thank you. So like who is really at fault.

The words of someone you love, acid to the core, you walk out thinking, It’s me, them, us, this, that. A never-ending search for the meanings to an end. You can see the good, you can see the light & everything to fight for the right. Just outside arms reach, you push for the air to fill your lungs… but they fall flat. Mature move is, to forgive and hope for the best. Yet your full of detest.

Your Happy Place

When I breathe words I don’t mean.

My body overrules my intentions.

Swinging back and forth,

Like a child on a tire swing.

I want our hearts to be happy,

But my heart is selfish.

 

I don’t think I’ve ever spoke or publicised anything of my own thoughts. I love the concept of writing a blog, you really put yourself out there for anyone to see. I wasn’t a strong student, I am not a strong writer either. It’s a little terrifying pushing that publish button, then it’s out there. Spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes and poor topic subjects. It’s all out there, it doesn’t matter if you correct it later. It could be the first impression someone has of you or the last impression you make on someone. A million people could be reading your words or no one at all. Thank you to anyone who has read any of my posts, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my thoughts. I’d also like to shout out to my beautiful man Curtis for putting up with every single one of my never-ending ideas and their outcomes!

 

 

 

Tacofino

Tacofino is a name everyone in British Columbia and frankly, all over Canada needs to know about. When I moved to Port Alberni back in 2012 one of the first things I wanted to do was to try surfing, again. When I used to come out to Ucluelet from Ontario to visit my father, he would set my brother and myself up with surf lessons in Tofino. Thankfully it wasn’t hard to get my wonderful, new-found friends to take me to Tofino and help me get set up.

In all the excitement of the day I found it funny that all my friends kept talking about was this fantastic place called Tacofino and that they had the best burritos! When we arrived I realized it was a food truck, to boot it was bright orange and for those of you that don’t know orange is my favourite colour! I was pleasantly surprised and excited to try their food. My friends were correct indeed, it was and still is the best burrito I’ve ever had.

If you visit Tacofino or Tofino in general during the tourist season (Mid June – Mid September) don’t be surprised if there are a lot of people and a long line up. Good thing is that the service at Tacofino is incredible, because they are very popular! They have limited outside seating which has pros and cons. In the rainy season there is no cover, so I usually eat in my vehicle. Which I don’t mind because I would rather devour my burritos like a savage animal that hasn’t eaten in months, without being watched by strangers.

Even right now while writing the article I am drooling at the mouth thinking about one of their chicken burritos. They have an awesome menu, displayed front and center outside of the ordering window. It features an array of Burritos, Tacos and Gringas ( kind of like a small quesadilla ). In my opinion Gringas are the perfect thing for kids, gooey, delicious and less messy than a taco or burrito. They serve one of the best fish tacos I have ever had, but my favourite is their chicken burrito. It is filled to the max with fresh ingredients and it is massive! Like most other places you can add certain things like guacamole and cheese for a price, usually $1.

If the food isn’t enough to convince you make a visit then the fact that is neighbours, a chocolate shop, art gallery, a bakery, little convenience store, long luxurious beaches and much more should do it. In general, if you’re looking for a fun road trip destination, then the little hippie town of Tofino is a place you should add to your list! If you can’t make it to Tofino then head to one of their many other locations in Victoria or Vancouver!
P.S even in the off-season there are many things to do, accommodation prices are lower and the storm watching is PHENOMENAL!!

You can check out their website at http://www.tacofino.com or at their FB page www.facebook.com/TacoFino-Tofino/

 

Hone & Strop, First Hair Cut

Today, actually since my 2 year old had his first real hair cut, I’ve wanted to write a post about this particular barber shop called, Hone & Strop, located in Port Alberni, British Columbia. I started hearing good things about this place even before it opened, rumours and whispers of new age barber shop opening in our small town. Already knowing that the customer service in the store it shares space with was excellent, I had high expectations. To say I was impressed with the set up is a complete understatement. Down to the details of the sign out front, to the unique and modern style inside the shop itself. I don’t think I’d be out of line to say it brings some much needed “Umph” to the 3rd Ave district.

My son Jackson is two, if you’ve ever met a two year old then you know that they are energetic and that is an understatement. I had absolutely no style in mind for Jackson’s hair but, I knew it was time. We went in for our appointment and we were warmly greeted.  They needed a minute; so we looked around and they gave no objection to Jackson running around and touching EVERYTHING. We didn’t have to wait long to meet our barber Garrett, the first thing Jackson noticed was his apron. He was fascinated, I think because he has a little one just like it for doing crafts.

Once Jackson was all settled, he brought out the cutest dinosaur cape for him to wear and he loved it. Jackson previously had his hair cut by myself and his aunt a couple times. One time I had to shave his head and it was awful, so he was mostly desensitized to the buzzers. I was afraid the haircut would be uneven because he kept jerking his head to get a look at what Garrett was doing. It turned out great though, perfectly even, thanks to Garrett’s clever child distracting tactics.

After finishing with the haircut Garrett kindly offered Jackson a treat. I know that some moms are cautious of sweets and candies so,  I was pleasantly surprised when he pulled out a pack of little fruit gummies! Paying for the haircut was easy breezy! They accept debit/credit and cash. Lucky for me, I went in before their upcoming price change. For kids under 12 it is was $17; soon it will change to $20. I’m sure some people are thinking that it might be a little steep for a child’s haircut. I think that it is more than worth it though, for a professional, stylish and quick haircut. They also offer a variety of other services including a hot shave. Overall it was a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to book another appointment, for myself this time!

You can also visit them at their website, http://www.honeandstropbarberco.com or at their Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/honeandstropbarberco/

Free Online Courses with Coursera

Recently I decided to look into distance education and online learning. Now being a stay at home mom with limited income, I wanted to see what was out there for free online learning. Just to brush up on math, science or whatever else I could find.  I was actually a bit annoyed that Coursera kept coming up every time I searched for free online courses, I thought it was a scam.  I kept thinking there is no way that Yale, Duke and many other prestigious universities and colleges would be offering their courses online for free, also it wasn’t offering the kind of basic courses I was looking for. The idea threw me off completely, so much so that I didn’t even bother looking more into it until a couple of months later when I finally got fed up with trying to navigate through endless college, university & other education websites.

Now I should probably take a step back and explain what Coursera is exactly. It is an education focused technology company, based out of California. Coursera works with universities and other organizations to provide online courses, specializations, degrees in all different types of subjects, such as engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer sciences and others. It is available to anyone who has an internet connection and I am in LOVE with it. Now like I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t have the basic courses for anyone looking to upgrade at a high school level. A lot of the courses are specifically catered to professionals already working or learning in their field of interest.

I tried out multiple courses, some were to help me get a vision of what I might like to go back to school for and another just because I was interested in learning more about the subject. The time for each course can vary from 4 weeks to 12 weeks, also at the end of the course you can choose to purchase a certificate of completion. I have opted to wait to purchase my certificates, just because at the moment I have no need for them. The two courses  I have finished are Our Earth’s Future through the American Museum of Natural History and The Horse Course through The University of Florida. I have nothing but nice things to say about these two courses! They have very interesting video lectures, the information was spread out evenly throughout the allotted amount of weeks. Overall it was a pleasant learning experience. I am enrolled in some more heavy-duty courses also like, Our Earth’s Energy Future through the University of California, San Diego. This is course is longer than the first two mentioned and has quite a bit more material. Going into this course without any real knowledge in the area was a little bit intimidating at first because I could tell that the target audience were people who were currently going to school for environmental sciences or worked in that field already.

Even though this course is a little ahead of where I am at the minute I still find it extremely fascinating. If you’re like me and life gets a little hectic, they have the option to stay where you are in the course and keep your marks so far but take a break and wait for the next session. Their online discussion board is also something to beam about, at first you don’t realize how many people are taking the same course as you. At one point during a lecture the teacher pointed out that there were 11,000 plus students enrolled in the course. You see all these different points of view from all around the world. Different discussions lead to different threads and if you have a question there is almost always someone there who knows the answer.  The assignments are quite fun and I realized quite a bit about myself and my household carbon footprint while doing an assignment from Our Earth’s Energy Future. The assignments are peer graded, due to the number of students. There is a negative side to this, if you’re late getting an assignment in you may not have anyone to grade it if everyone has already moved on. Now if you pass the assignment, but it’s late it is ok, you can still pass the course. I find that to be a bonus.

There is a lot more to rave about when it comes to Coursera but I’ll and keep it short for now. Thinking about how much closer this site brings people to learning has made it a joy to write about. I recommend that everyone takes a look through their catalog of courses and try it out, whether it be for fun, building up your resume or to advance your career! Also if you have any questions the staff at Coursera is extremely helpful and efficient. Comment if you have a story about Coursera you’d like to share!

 

 

 

Writing my first blog

As I sit here amid crying babies, whining toddlers, husbands who can’t seem to find anything, mountains of debt and a wondrous world to explore; I find myself writing a blog. I can’t really explain why it is that today of all mornings I decided to take my turn at attempting a blog. But as it is here we are, I guess I should start by introducing myself.

My name is Victoria Snow, I live in Port Alberni, British Columbia. Although I am not originally from the west coast ( Hello Haliburton Ontario! ), both my parents are from either side of Canada. My dad is from Vancouver Island and my mother is from Newfoundland. How I wound up in the most beautiful place in the world is another story completely. I have a wonderful family 2 little boys, Jackson (2yr) & Mason (1yr) and I am engaged to a very handsome man named Curtis. I consider myself extremely blessed to be surrounded by beautiful people on a daily basis. This is not to say that I feel blessed all the time. I’ve had my far share of ups and downs as I am sure all of you have as well.

This may be part of the reason I wanted to start blogging, to be able to share my experiences with anyone who finds comfort in reading about them. If I can write about something that might help others than it might be worth it. I am new at this, I really don’t know much about the online world, so please try to be kind but I also love honesty. I appreciate feedback and look forward to hearing it.  Set topics aren’t my thing. I want to share as much of my experiences as I can; wether it be about travel, food, friends, products or family. Hoping to meet some new people along the road, find more blogs to follow and learn as much as I can.

Thanks for sticking with me this far! Feel free to leave comments and ask questions!

Oh and I guess I forgot to mention there are these nifty little links to my Facebook, Twitter & Instagram as well!