Sunday, August 19, 2018

Scenes from √Čire (Ireland)

Remember the good old days? You know, the age when you could go outside without contracting emphyzema just by breathing? Those long lost days where the air wasn't a soupy, murky grey mucous... where you didn't need to consult the air quality index to decide if it was safe to walk out your front door? The days when we didn't envy the clean air of Beijing or Calcutta, where merely breathing wasn't a laboured exercise of choking down smog and ash. Yes, folks, I'm waxing nostalgic a little bit about those days before the smoke from the BC forest fires had ruined any plans for outdoor activities. I know it's only been a couple weeks, but it feels like forever. All that hyperbole to explain why we have not seen a mountain or summit in two weeks, and it's driving me a little stir crazy.

In my boredom of another adventure-free weekend, I found time to sort and cull through photos from last year's short visit to Ireland, where Alan and Cristoir showed us around their part of the world. Here's a short selection that includes the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol, scenes from Kilkenny, Trim, and Glendalough. More to come...

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The tour at St. James Gate Brewery.

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Views of Dublin from the Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar.

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Kilmainham Gaol (jail) in Dublin, the walls of which housed numerous Irish nationalist figures involved in the many attempts at independence.

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A well stocked bar at The Sitting Room cocktail bar in Dublin, upstairs of the delicious Delahunt restaurant.

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Kilkenny Castle.

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The Long Gallery inside Kilkenny Castle.

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Afternoon tea at Mt. Juliet Estate, Kilkenny.

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The stunning exterior of Mt. Juliet Estate.

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Smithwicks Experience brewery tour. And it's pronounced Smith-icks (silent 'w').

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Pretty little window along the main street of Trim, Meath County.

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Beautiful lush and gentle hiking trails in Glendalough, County Wicklow.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Trip Report - Mt. Bourgeau

Our friends invited us along to celebrate a milestone b-day with a hike up to the top of Mt. Bourgeau this past Saturday. We had the summit largely to ourselves after the threat of thunder and lightning chased off the larger groups that arrived a few minutes before us, only for the skies to clear up for a brief window. Serendipity!

While the route was mostly an easy hike presenting few difficulties, it was lengthy (25km roundtrip, ~40,000 steps according to our phones), and involved 1500m of total elevation gain topping out at 2930m above sea level. At one point, Anita had a bit of a meltdown as she complained of hunger with 'WHY IS IT FAACKING SNOWING ON ME WHEN ALL I WANT TO DO IS EAT MY SANDWICH DAMMMITTTT!!!' followed by an angry trudge to the top complete with stomping feet and an expression that screamed 'THIS IS BULLSHIT!'

All said, it took us around 10h40, with a stop for a b-day celebration at Bourgeau Lake on our descent, featuring cupcakes and tequila. Mountains, Summit Beer, Tequila, Cupcakes, and more Beer = a near perfect outing (minus the spousal meltdown).

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This was the point where the epic meltdown started.

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Marmot!!

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First it was rain, then it became pellet-ish snow, then it was thunder and lightning.

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Summit Brew: Citizen Brewing Company's NW Pale Ale

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