star-crossed lovers

I once was chatting with someone on Instagram, a stranger, but definitely someone with a similar soul as mine. Not knowing anything about each other, he dove into asking me really in-depth questions. We also both share the same interests: yoga, writing, exploring. I was sure we were star-crossed lovers. I also came to discover he’s a Gemini. I’m an Aquarius, aka we are the perfect match! He then asked me to write a little story about meeting each other for the first time (because we planned to meet but it never happened)… so here is what I thought of and sent back to him:

 

April 11, 2017

Mother Earth was holding us in her hand; the sand beneath the blanket and our bodies was sunken in and curved upwards around us. The Universe and a bit of magic brought us together, I was sure.

I woke before you. When I did, as soon as my blinds crept open and I saw a dark sky of constellations, a rush of euphoria ran up my spine and into my mind.

There was the bright, full moon. The same as I saw it when I was in my backyard. Next to me, on my left, there was you.

I couldn’t believe I was dreaming of you already.

You seemed so… real. I was about to grab your hand to find out until your eyes shot open and I nearly lost my breath.

Instantly, you turned your head over to me. As soon as your eyes met mine, my heart did a backflip and I pressed my hand against it. It was beating so strongly and I could feel my heart rate sky-rocketing.

And then there it was: that smile of yours. More backflips. You reached over to grab my hand that was still holding my uncontrollable heart.

I didn’t think it could be possible but there were too many indicators that suggested this was actually happening. You and I were together, watching the stars, under the Full Moon’s spell…

There was your touch. The warmth of your hand on mine. The gentle stir of the wind through the trees. The calm ripples of the water. The chill in the air covering our skin in goosebumps. Then when you pulled me into you: the beating of your heart. Your intoxicating scent. Your dancing fingers along my spine; each vertebrae a key on the piano. Shivers. A feeling I haven’t felt in so long: home.

I fell into your arms naturally, the way anything natural happens. The pull of the tides. The wilting of flowers. The falling leaves. The setting sun.

I felt so at ease and I could not stop smiling. Neither could you.

The moon was almost too bright to look at but I needed to see it. Was it you, Mr. Moon? Did you ask the universe to bring us together? Were we both staring at you simultaneously from different places on Earth?

In the distance I could see the silhouettes of mountains. Silhouettes of tall pine trees. Where were we? I started to giggle. “Is this real?”

You laughed and squeezed me tighter, “Yes, silly. What was the last thing you remember doing?”

“I… I was meditating outside and looking up at the moon.”

“Exactly. Me too.”

I inhaled deeply and the scent of the crisp air was a mixture of firewood, pine and you. I still didn’t fully understand but it didn’t matter. Our souls were made from the same star and they were finally together. Together somewhere on a beach, near mountains. The Universe had extinguished the rest of the world and left us two alone in another realm of our miraculous world.

I’m home. I’m finally home. Tears of joy trickled down my cheeks. I couldn’t help it; I was overwhelmed with happiness. I hope the magic stopped the clocks in the process so we could lay here on this cozy wool blanket for more than only tonight…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To The Man Headed North on Line 1

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I’m not sure what it was about you that captured my attention first…

Maybe your laid-back business attire paired with a blue backpack full of pins that stated “yeah I may be professional but I’m also an explorer.”

Or was it the colour of your shirt that complimented your eyes and hair colour (which is a lovely warm shade of brown, like your sun-kissed skin).

Or the scruff that also indicated you might be some sort of travel-lover or a bit of a hippie like me.

Maybe the fact that you had a smaller body frame, and so do I.

You smirked at me slightly while passing me at the Bloor-Yonge station where I stood, awkwardly, knowing I looked like shit (I was hungover). It wasn’t a full smile so I didn’t fully smile back. I wish I had. Maybe this whole story would end differently if I did.

You walked further down as we waited for the Line 1 bus going North. My area was getting crowded, so I walked closer to you, my feet aching in my heels. In retrospect, maybe I was gravitating towards you and I’m using the crowd as an excuse as to why we entered the same TTC doors when the bus flew in.

I wish we interacted sooner. Initially, I thought you were with your mother, though. This lady seemed to have pointed out the North Line sign to you and followed close behind. When I recognized you were both strangers, I wanted so badly to say hello to you. Why couldn’t I? What was stopping me? Ahhh, of course: anxiety.

But I also blame technology and social media and the way the world “interacts” now. Everyone communicates via their smart phone and connections aren’t as intimate as they used to be. I don’t even remember how to approach or talk to strangers. Especially beautifully crafted ones like you.

Zooming North, I watched the flashing lights on the subway map, wondering which stop you were going to get off at. I was hoping it wasn’t soon and I was hoping you were getting off at York Mills (where I did).

On the seat beside me, a girl was leaning against a glass divider, sleeping. Well, it appeared she was asleep but she may have only been resting her eyes.

You were standing diagonally to the right of me, chatting to an older man whom I came to understand was a stranger to you. At first I thought you knew him. You stood facing him and I have no idea what you two shared but I envied how easily you were able to approach someone randomly and strike up a conversation… and hold the conversation. It was attractive and impressive.

Your conversation was funny; I finally saw your smile. Your biggest grin as you two shared laughs and I could not stop staring at you. I melted. You were the most handsome man I’d ever seen.

The two of you kept looking over in my direction and chuckling. I think you were laughing at Sleeping Beauty next to me and I couldn’t help but crack a small smile at the entire situation. I was, for a period of time, worried you were both laughing at me. At my stained shorts, my messy hair and my leftover make-up. Maybe you were laughing at both of us, at the type of people you find on the subway; haggard messes and people with narcolepsy.

York Mills was soon approaching and my time to say hello was running out. But how could I say hi when you were already talking to this man and now his (I assume) wife? I was sweating profusely both because I was full of nerves and it was a humid day. I could smell my B.O. and it made me self-conscious. Whatever. I’m just going to be confident anyway. I’m not looking my best right now but I shouldn’t care what people think. I gave myself a pep talk. I had to say something to this man. I’d regret it, I knew I would.

Maybe I could ask if they were laughing at me and apologize for looking like a homeless hooker but I’m glad to provide entertainment? Maybe I could simply compliment him?

The monotoned voice interrupted my thoughts. “Next Station is York Mills. York Mills Station.”

I stood up, hanging off a handle, hoping he’d smile at me or say something to me. The whole time I’m sweating, trying to find wiggle room into the never-ending conversation with this couple. But I only had seconds left.

The doors opened.

I looked right at him and could feel my face blushing. I smiled shyly, “you’re really handsome, I just had to tell you,” and I stumbled out.

As the doors closed he spoke out, “thank you! Have a great day!”

I instantly felt sad. It was strange. I felt like I missed an opportunity… it felt like I missed a chance to connect with a soul similar to mine. I wanted him to chase me before the doors closed and we’d never cross paths again.

The bus zoomed ahead of me and through the window, he waved, a huge smile planted on his face.

I hope he saw me smile and wave back but I might’ve looked up too late. I spoke to him too late.

On the GO bus back home all I could think about was him and I wondered which stop he got off at. Did he feel the same way I did? Did he wish he could’ve had another chance to connect with me? Did he want to run off that subway and discover who I was as much as I wanted to discover this captivating human?

It was around 5:30pm on a Sunday when this whole story happened. Where was someone dressed in business attire going? Does he work on Sundays? Was his home just a few stops after I hopped off?

To the man headed North on Line 1, where are you?

I want to meet you… again.

 

the yoga class that left me in tears

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This post is about my recent experience with Michelle Tamblyn-Sabo’s Goddess Flow yoga class that was taught on a Sunday evening at the Toronto Yoga Show.

I did not know what to expect, nor did I know what a “Goddess Flow” really was. I figured it would be a regular yoga class with a feminine flare. But instead, it was much, much more intense and far deeper than what I thought.

It began with Michelle introducing herself and telling the story of how she came to develop what she calls a Goddess Flow. All of us women in the class had our mats in a huge circle, all of our souls connecting, feeling, uniting.

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This is me paraphrasing and telling you about her story from my memory. I might be a little off and I probably forgot key details. But I will sum it up the best I can:

Michelle always practiced alignment in yoga; very linear and “by the books.” It wasn’t until she attended a friend’s wedding (where I think the bride was a yogi), when she discovered a different way of moving during yoga. Yoga mats were rolled out and they moved… less linear. It was sensual. Alignment didn’t matter. Movement was more about devotion, self-love and driven by the soul. It was sexy. I remember she mentioned that she felt awkward in the beginning. Moving in such a way, let’s say, by swinging our hips, shaking our breasts or flipping our hair, has all been sexualized and women feel shameful to move in this way. But – these movements are actually primitive. The shaking, the dancing… the fluidity and loving nature of it all.

It was five years ago when she realized she needed to create something to empower women, to gain back our confidence, our femininity, our power and our devotion to ourselves and to love. Yoga, to her, didn’t (and shouldn’t) be linear for women. Women are not linear beings. She realized after the wedding that she wasn’t ever focusing on her lower chakras; she spent so much of her time in her head and focusing on spirituality. She had been neglecting the lower part of her body. Because her lower chakras were being forgotten, she was not whole but fragmented instead.

This resonated so deeply with me when she was telling it that I had to hold back tears. It was as if she was describing myself. We are, actually, animals. We are beautiful, wild creatures and we need to be able to connect to both our primal and spiritual qualities. We deserve this. We deserve to unleash our sensuality and move freely during yoga in a non-linear way. If it feels right for your body, do it. If it doesn’t, then don’t. “Fuck alignment,” she told us.

We learned about all the Goddesses through a slideshow and how each of the Goddesses she chose helped shape her style of yoga. She has a list of them (and more about her yoga on her website).

I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know how intense this would be. Someone told me we would be making sex noises and I didn’t know if I wanted to hear the old lady beside me moaning. Would we be grabbing our boobs? Touching ourselves? I was anxious and excited; living outside of your comfort zone opens a door of self-discovery.

Before doing yoga, Michelle had a bunch of things in the center of our circle for us. There were essential oils to rub on ourselves – each one a different scent. I picked Joy. There were also these Truth Bomb cards and each had a positive little quote on them. We also chose a tarot card/some sort of Goddess card. I lathered my wrists and neck/behind my ears in joy and brought my two cards back to my mat.

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We began by sitting on our mats and meditating. Michelle guided us with beautiful words of which I cannot recall – I simply remember floating.

In the centre of the room was her mat, where she was there to demonstrate how the movements worked. If I can remember correctly, we began by doing cat/cow but by adding a circular rotation and we were encouraged to really let our soul feel the movement and let it guide us. We then went on to perform more movements on the ground and then in warrior poses. Everything we did though was not a simple stance that we held; we moved sensually, often moving our hips and running our hands up and down our bodies and through our hair (we were told to let our hair loose during her class).

It felt almost like a soulful, sensual dance. And while we were doing the basic movements, we had freedom to make each one our own and add in our own arm reaches or twists in our body – basically letting ourselves feel the music and letting our souls dance to it in a way that felt good for each of us individually. None of us looked the same, where as in a standard yoga class, you could snap a photo and see everybody in the same warrior two pose.

At first, it was difficult and awkward getting my body/hips to circulate the opposite way, but I started to do my own thing and the most brilliant thing of all happened: I didn’t care what anyone thought. I tuned out the room and listened to my body. I was smiling. My hair was a mess and I was a sensual being.

I had a note written for this blog that said “child’s pose with intense eyes!! talk about this.” But the memory has become so faint that I barely remember what this was referring to. As I close my eyes and place myself back to this evening, I vaguely recall having to use my eyes in a powerful way; with passion and with intent as if I were ready to pounce on my prey (or whatever I wanted). Even a simple pose (child’s pose) became so much more than a “resting pose.” It was remarkable.

During one of our dancing warrior poses, Michelle instructed us to shoot an arrow at our dream or goal and envision it ahead of us. I had/have so many so it was difficult for me to focus my attention on one goal and aim for it. We shot our arrows and pulled in our goal or dream with our invisible rope and did that repeatedly. It was a fun little exercise and it put energy out into the universe towards what we want to attract. It’s kinda like telling It what you want: “hey Universe, this is what I’m aiming for! Pull me closer!”

The next portion of the class is difficult to put into words. I want to dance for you or show you a video. I simply cannot express internally what was going on but I’ll give an effort.

“Why do we have to be limited to moving on our mats? Walk off and away from your mat and use your hips as you walk.” Michelle demonstrated as her swaying hips and dancing soul lead her off her mat.

The music picked up with a quicker tempo and we followed her lead, stepping outside of the rectangular box and outside of our comfort zones. Initially, I was thinking far too much. What movements should I do? Where in the room should I go? What do I do with my arms now? Can I repeat that move if I just did it? Is anyone watching me? This is exactly like improv dancing and I hate improv dancing. Those annoying thoughts quickly diminished when I started focussing on what I was hearing and how that was making me feel. Essentially, I was bringing myself into the moment and out of my head. So then another brilliant thing happened: my mind was silenced and I danced around with a miraculous amount of energy and emotion. I have no idea what I looked like but I remember hearing Michelle speaking over the music to me: “Yes! Beautiful!”

After the class, numerous yogis wanted a chance to talk to Michelle. I did, too, because her story made me cry and the class created so much magic in my soul and in the room. While my friend and I waited for our turn, we started crying uncontrollably. We weren’t sad; we cried because of how beautiful the experience was. Michelle saw us and we all embraced in a hug.

I am so blessed to have been part of that experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you Michelle. You are a beaming ray of light and you helped set my soul on fire. Now, time to unblock these lower chakras…

Love & light,

Nadia

 

 

 

the universe left me confused after not making the bachelor canada

There was so much preparation for nothing. So many misleading hints that I’d make it. Little signs. The amount of time and effort I put in to this process all seems like a waste.

It began with an audition video and a small series of questions I had to fill out in both the online form and in the video. Initially, I was worried; there wasn’t much leg room to say anything or do anything I wanted to make the video entertaining. Answering the required questions took up the full two minute time frame they provided.

After submitting the (what I thought was embarrassing) video, I didn’t expect much else. At least I could say I applied. To my dismay, I received a call from The Bachelor Canada the following week.

“We loved your video and we would like to have you in Toronto for an interview February 11th. And we want you to dress as if you’re stepping out of the limo on that first night.” First of all – this call came in at 11:11, which has always been a time of good luck for me. Secondly, the scheduled interview was on the same date I met Rachel Brathen (my idol) the previous year. No. Way. This was a sign from the universe, I knew it. I had such a good feeling… it was like it was meant to be.

Of course, I tried not to let myself become too optimistic and “expect” to get on the show. But the previous events and what comes next and on the day of the interview all seemed to convince me to disregard the fact that I may not succeed.

The next step was another questionnaire to fill out – this one was 107 ish questions long. I spent roughly 7 hours completing it. It was a very long night and I was confident with my answers; I was both serious about finding love and humourous with the light questions.

Let’s not forget the dress code I was informed of during that initial phone call. Dress as if I’m stepping out of the limo the first night… immediately I pictured myself in a stunning, flowing maxi dress. Nothing in stores came in my size or looked right on me; I had no other option but to order online.

I fell in love with a long, red dress on LuLus.com. I read the reviews of other tiny girls similar to my size. Girls who were my height, girls with my boob size… the reviews sounded promising; the length didn’t drown them and an xxs fit snug. Perfect! I had to order express shipping for it to come in on time and I wasn’t at all worried about it not fitting.

A few days before the interview, my beautiful gown arrived and the whole thing seemed so surreal… I could actually be walking towards a handsome bachelor on tv and partake in a crazy, dramatic show.

Unfortunately, the dress and its straps were a little too long. The dress already costed $270 and now I’d have to spend money on alterations. I also had to order heels for the occasion because, well, I don’t really have any.

Since the phone call and leading up to the interview, I was communicating with Nathan* through emails. He sounded incredibly stoked to meet me and it made me excited and had me thinking that I might already have the upper hand. I’d done a video and form submission, I answered 107 personal questions about myself and I had a single interview. I wasn’t part of the “open casting calls” that were occurring in Toronto that weekend. That had to mean I was already ahead of the game…

I practiced walking in the dress in my new heels with the alterations and it wasn’t so bad if I lifted the dress slightly as I walked. I felt so glamourous. I felt like a bachelorette.

The morning of the interview, my sister helped do my make up and she did my hair. (I’m not exactly girly so I suck with these things)

On the way there in an uber, I held two of my favourite crystals in my hands (yes, I brought them for good luck!) I held them each tightly and prayed to the universe that everything would go well and I’d make it on the show.

After navigating around the hotel to where the auditions were being held, I finally found – who I assumed to be – the producers or casting crew sitting behind a check-in table. Across from it: lights, cameras, contestants and interviewers. Almost instantly, and with much enthusiasm, Nathan leaned forward, “You’re Nadia! It’s so nice to finally meet you!” (Seriously, he seemed overly thrilled to meet me in person and it came across as a really good sign).

After changing into my limo-appropriate red gown and cute heels in a tiny stall, I walked (as I practiced) back towards check-in and ET Canada and girls who were being interviewed and photographed.

I’m not trying to be cocky, but as soon as I came into view, I turned heads. Never in my life has that ever happened! I was just a regular girl, but in that moment, I felt famous. I have to give most of the credit to the dress; everyone was commenting on how stunning and beautiful it was.

I  was directed towards a room next to check-in where rows of chairs were set up. A handful of other girls were there filling out paperwork or sitting, waiting. Waiting for what? I thought. Shouldn’t they be having some sort of group interview? Not ALL of these girls submitted a video online. I also noticed I was the only one who seemed to be the most “glammed up.” What’s a better word for that? I looked elegant, I guess. Most girls wore little, cute dresses and those who were auditioning on the spot weren’t dressed up at all. I felt a little out of place… but I also felt like I already made it.

On the back of my number, 0563 (or 0365?), were several questions I had to answer before heading back out to the crew. I scribbled so fast, I don’t even know if it was legible.

ET Canada then wanted to spontaneously interview me, claiming it would be “great preparation for the actual interview.” I agreed, but soon came to realize the questions were very silly and would not actually help prepare me in any way. Maybe for people who haven’t been on camera it would be good practice having one in your face, but I grew up in the entertainment industry. So, even though I only guessed one quote correctly from a selection of old, romantic films I’ve never seen, it didn’t really matter because it wasn’t the real interview.

I didn’t wait long to be lead to the room where the interviews were being held. As I waited outside the door to be called in, there was a girl sitting near me on her laptop. We got chatting and then she offered some advice. “From what I heard, they like hearing that you’re a big family person. Talk about kids and family somehow.”

I’m not going to reveal what questions were asked or too many details, because I’m pretty certain that’s against something I signed… but I can tell you how I felt bout the whole thing.

It’s a bit of a blur now, but I wasn’t as nervous as I expected myself to be. I let myself have fun with it and I stayed true to who I was. And for that, I am proud. They were smiling and I made them laugh so I was feeling good about it. I’m no Corinne, but I thought I was definitely good enough to make at leeeast the top 10 or 20. Also, my answer to her last question was, in her words, “the best answer I’ve heard all day!”

[side note: Corinne was on the most recent season of The Bachelor with Nick Viall]

On my way back to the bathroom from the interview, I was stopped by three students in uniforms. “Oh my gosh, excuse me, hi!” “We know you haven’t made it yet but we are already you’re biggest fans and think you’re so pretty and genuine!”

What. Is. Happening?!

“Wow, thank you so much!”

“Mind if we take a picture with you?”

We took selfies and then they took photos of me by myself.

Before taking off they admitted that they already told the casting crew that they should pick me. I was incredibly flattered and they were making the entire experience even more surreal than it already was. If random people were already wanting me to be picked then I must have made a damn good impression!


On the streetcar ride back to my sister’s, as I replayed everything in my mind, something wasn’t sitting right with one part of it all: I didn’t say goodbye or thank the casting crew.

In the moment, I didn’t even think of it. I thanked the woman who interviewed me, changed and left. I also thought Nathan might be too busy with more sign-in’s and I didn’t want to interrupt.

But in hindsight, I probably should’ve went back. It’s my only regret.

I can’t put what happened next into words because the conversation was a bit far-fetched on the spiritual side, but a random man started speaking to me by asking what my dress was for. He assured me that I was probably getting the part. How would he know? It was odd. But I rationed that it had to do with all these little green flags: the fans, my great answer, the date, etc… basically the Universe telling me this was my calling.

Tuesday rolled around and I sent an email to the casting address, thanking them for their time and wishing them a wonderful day of love (it was Valentines Day). By Thursday, I hadn’t received a reply so I gave Nathan a call with the number he gave me in one of our previous conversations.

Again, so much enthusiasm: “Nadia! So good to hear from you! It was so lovely meeting you. How are you?!”

I explained that I wanted to thank him and everyone else and that I wanted to know if there was a certain date I should be hearing back by.

“If you don’t hear from us by March first then you can assume you didn’t make it. So wait until then!”

And we said good bye as if I’d be talking to him again. But maybe this was simply his personality. Who knows.

Painfully, March 1st arrived with no phone call yet. How have they not contacted me yet? Are they doing this to get a surprised reaction out of me? My thoughts were racing. The previous night, I started to tell myself I wasn’t being chosen. I had to start accepting it so when then end of March 1st came, I was already easing into the rejection.

Still. I had hope.

I kept my phone on silent (with a vibrate) in my pocket during work hours (when it should’ve been in my locker). I wasn’t expecting any phone calls, so if my phone was vibrating, it could be The Bachelor and I didn’t want to miss their call.

The hours dragged on. and on.

My stomach started vibrating. “I need to use the washroom quickly.”

And I bolted to the staff washroom to check my missed call.

“Hi Nadia. I’m calling from Brampton’s Job…” and I hung up.

The days following, I was in disbelief. I still am. I thought I had it, I really did. At first I wasn’t so sure, but everything fell into place and all these little signs and good vibes elevated my confidence. I am bummed, but I’ll probably try out again next year. And if they chose Mike Ogilvie as The Bachelor, I won’t even be able to watch the show knowing I could’ve been there having an amazing time getting to know him!

Two months of 2017 dedicated to The Bachelor. But, you regret the things you don’t do more than the ones you did.

ps. sorry my first 3 fans!

 

May we all find love within ourselves before loving another soul

-Nadia

 

*Name changed for privacy

 

destination: panorama ridge

I regret not writing about these adventures right after they happened. My memory is a little foggy; I can’t remember details or exactly how I felt during this lengthy trek. I do recall memorable things that happened and some mental notes I made along the way. I’ll share with you what I can dig up in my brain’s adventure folder.

This hike was longer (especially since we walked to the destination and back down in the same day). In total we hiked 30kms in one day. It wasn’t as challenging as Wedgemount because it wasn’t as steep and I wasn’t carrying my giant backpack with me (I was carrying a small one). I remember when we passed the 3km mark I was in disbelief; it felt like we’d been on the trail for hours and we only zigzagged for three kilometres. Making it to the destination didn’t even seem doable.

Again, I was hiking with my super fit friend and when she hikes, there are limited amounts of stops/breaks for water and catching our breath. She’s so intense. I learned during our previous hike that she was doing military training back home and concluded that this was why she was insanely fit. The most difficult thing for me as we ascended towards Panorama Ridge was convincing myself to keep pushing onwards when all I wanted to do was stop, catch my breath and chug some water. I had to keep up with my super-powered friend.

I lagged behind a bit but I had to force myself to keep going. After countless switchbacks that seemed to never end, we reached the meadows. I felt as if I were in a fairytale or Disney movie. I can’t even describe in words how beautiful alpine meadows look on a sunny day, populated with a rainbow of wildflowers. We hiked about halfway through the fairytale when we finally stopped for a break. We all collapsed on top of large rocks and consumed our lunches, all of us well-starved.

Our lunchtime was disturbed by mosquitos (or mozzies as the Aussies out west call them) and Whiskey Jack birds. I didn’t find the mosquitos too bad at this part of the hike but one of my other friends couldn’t stand them and inhaled her sandwich very quickly. I wasn’t too bothered until a Whiskey Jack lunged from a tree and smashed into my sandwich, which was in my mouth! I was too afraid to eat at this point, in the case another bird swooshed at my face and plucked an eyeball out. Too disturbed by these creatures, we carried on, finishing our meal as we walked. Black Tusk was in view, in the far distance to our left, but there was no sight of our destination yet.

There’s a section of the hike from the meadow to the beginning of the journey up the ridge that is foggy in my memory. I can recall a section of long grass and little “lakes” down below in the distance. From where we were, they looked like ponds.

At some point the terrain descended towards the ponds and in the distance we could see the ridge. But to get there involved a lengthy scramble on an incline for the remainder of the hike.

The last stretch – reaching Pano Ridge – began with a foresty area where TONS of mozzies swarmed around. I remember we were sweating at this point, which probably attracted more of the little buggers. It was SO bad; I remember feeling like I was going insane. I was constantly swatting the air and plugging my ears, but I also had to use my hands during times and I wished I had thought about bringing ear plugs.

After we cleared the little wooded area, the mozzies calmed down and the next stretch involved hiking up rock piles and navigating around them. It was quite intense but knowing it was the final challenge instilled a dose of extra adrenaline into my veins.

Once we accomplished the rock pile climb, it was then a scramble to get to the summit of the ridge. All of us had to climb on all fours, cautiously scrambling in a staggered formation so none of us would accidentally knock rocks or boulders down onto someone’s head. My thighs burned and burned and I kept looking down, focusing on where I was grabbing and stumbling.

We then reached snow and had to scramble up quite a steep ascent to reach our destination.

When I stood on top and gazed around… I felt so liberated and so free. The toughest hikes are always the most rewarding. I was in awe. My eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing; nothing looked real. I LIVE here?! I actually live here. I felt so lucky, so blessed. This is what I live for. Climbing mountains, challenging myself and having these spectacular moments when you accomplish your adventure.

I stood still for a few minutes staring down at Garibaldi Lake. I watched the clouds make dark patterns over the blue water and I was in a state of euphoria.

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A pano from the top of Panorama Ridge

I don’t think I’ve ever had dinner with a view as magnificent as this. We sat on some rock ledges at the very top of the ridge and munched on more sandwiches and snacks. We had to refuel before beginning our descent, and choosing to eat at the top wasn’t a difficult decision.

I could’ve sat there longer, so much longer, but the others wanted to get moving.

We had two choices. Either go back down the way we came – trek down the snow and scramble down the rocks. OR we could do what we saw a few others doing: slide down a snowy part of the ridge on our butts.

… HECK YEAH we chose to butt-slide! Here’s a quick video of the end of our slide:

Sliding Vid

There was a sliding path already laid out ahead of us thanks to previous butt-sliders. All we had to do was make ourselves slide-able so that we could actually use our bodies as sleds. We saw some people with garbage bags. That would’ve been a smart idea but we didn’t even think of the possibility of sliding down the ridge.

I put on slushy pants I had in my pack and tucked my coat into the pants (no snow would ride up my back this way). The pants I wore had a “slippery” type of material, so I had a feeling I was going to go faster then anticipated. My backpack was secured to the front of me so I could fly smooth sailing down the mountain.

The only man in our group went first; of course we made him be the crash test dummy. At least, in my mind, this is how I remember it going down. But I also remember his girlfriend wanted him to stick with her because she was wearing shorts and the snow rode right up and gave her butt a nice freeze!

I was last. I remember catching up to everyone going down. At the halfway mark, I made my friend with the shorts move aside otherwise I’d collide into her. In the video I linked you to above, you can see how much quicker I slid down compared to my friend wearing shorts.

Let me tell you… this experience surpassed my expectations! Honestly, it felt like a wild, dangerous (and freezing cold) water slide.  I couldn’t see a thing; snow was splashing into my face causing me to shut or squint my eyes. My hands were numb as I flew down the mountain. The snow sneaked into my hiking boots and drenched my socks, thus also numbing my feet. The “slide” had hills and bumps on the way down and plenty of times I caught some air, igniting the adrenaline in me. Since I was curled into a ball (unless my legs were straight to use my feet as breaks), my body spun on the way down and I’d be backwards at times. So frighteningly fun. Do this next time you hike up to glacier areas of a mountain and don’t forget a garbage bag! Warning: for adrenaline junkies only. 😉

Our drenched clothing and numb limbs made the first quarter back very uncomfortable. That, plus my bladder was aching. I need to remind myself to buy one of those funnels for female hikers to use while standing before my next adventure.

It wasn’t until the meadows when I finally began feeling better physically. That didn’t last long, though, as the remainder of the hike took us on a lengthy descent. I wanted new knees. I wanted to collapse and take a nap. Unlike the Wedgemount hike, during this one I was able to keep up with the group on the way down. Conversations about almost everything kept me distracted until finally the parking lot was in sight. ALAS! Relief. We did it. I did it.

If I could hike 30kms in one day with barely any breaks, what ELSE could I hike? How much further am I able to push myself?

I’m still so curious as to what my physical limitations are. Sometimes I see photos of people climbing Everest and I wonder… could I do that one day?