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Memories of 2014

Memories of 2014

I usually like to pretend that I live in the moment, savouring where I am now, what I am doing and of course who I am doing it with.  But really, I live in the future.  I like to make plans and do research about where I’ll go next, how I’ll get there and what we’ll do when we’re there.  I almost never live in the past.  Once it’s done, I’m usually done and on to the next thing.

However, in this internet age we record everything and without even realizing it we are digitally cataloging our lives and making our pasts more accessible than ever before.  I have GPS tracks from all my adventures and my photos are automatically time and date stamped and grouped by location.  So I can tell you that I hiked over 700kms this year, took over 6700 photos and that I got lots of likes on Facebook and Instagram.  But of course the numbers don’t tell the story.  Each of those photos tells its own story and each of those kilometres does too.

Obviously since we have to live in the now, there isn’t enough time to visit the past and tell all of those stories.  But I scanned through all that data in my digital catalogue to bring you my favourite outdoor memories of 2014.



There was a lot of fog in January this year and it made for some spectacular scenery.  We did a rare sunny winter bike ride around the Seawall with some surprise fog at the end just as the sun was setting.

Foggy False Creek Sunset
The sunsetting on fog in False Creek after a winter ride around the Seawall


We had snow on the ground in the city for a few days in February, which is always beautiful.  We went for a walk in Pacific Spirit Park and finished on the beach at Spanish Banks where we ran into the most fantastic of guerrilla art installations, the Rainblossom Project.

Red umbrellas at Spanish Banks
Red umbrellas at Spanish Banks in the snow as part of the Rainblossom Project


After daylight savings time ended, I found that I suddenly had a magical extra hour in my day and I started heading out into the forest after work once a week or so.  This was when I really started to fall in love with the North Shore Mountains.

Dusk at Quarry Rock
Dusk at Quarry Rock


Every Easter I go with a group of friends to the Stein Valley for our first backpacking trip of the season.  We usually have a very Leave-No-Trace Easter Egg Hunt (we count the eggs to make sure we get them all).  This was our 6th annual trip and I’m not tired of the Stein yet.

Stein River
Hiking next to the Stein River at Easter


Each year we try to do one coastal backpacking trip.  This year we headed back to one of my favourite places, Olympic National Park in Washington do to the Ozette Triangle hike.  It’s a 15km hike through rainforest, along the beach and then back through the rainforest again.  It’s short enough that many do it as a day hike but we split it up over three beautiful days for maximum leisure time and exploring.  Oh and some spectacular sunset viewing. (Want to go to Ozette? Read my trail guide!)

Sunset at Cape Alava
Sunset at Cape Alava on the Ozette Triangle hike in Olympic National Park


There is no contest about what is my favourite memory from June: Iceland!  It’s by far the most beautiful and fascinating place I have ever been and even now when I think about being there my heart hurts because I miss it.  Picking a favourite moment from Iceland is pretty much impossible.  Instead, here’s a photo of just one of the awesome places we went: Jokulsarlon.

Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon
Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon


After staring at them lording over the other North Shore Mountains for my whole life, I finally hiked to the Lions on Canada Day this year.  The hike itself is long, steep and in the trees, but once you get on to the ridge crest and up close and personal with the Lions, it’s pretty jaw-dropping.

Hiking to the Lions
On top of the world at the Lions


Garibaldi Lake has a reputation for being spectacular, but it also has a reputation for being really stupidly busy so I hadn’t been there overnight in nearly a decade.  This August long weekend we headed up there for a few nights with friends and their kids (7 and 4 years old).  We did a bunch of day hikes from our base camp including the always awe-inspiring Panorama Ridge and its amazing views (the kids just hiked to the base of it).  It wasn’t as stupidly busy as I thought; we are the ones who are stupid for avoiding it for so long.

Black Tusk from Panorama Ridge
Black Tusk from Panorama Ridge


In late September we headed up to Semaphore Lakes near Pemberton, BC for an overnight trip.  It was an area I had wanted to visit for a long time and I wasn’t disappointed.  Since it was late season we had it to ourselves and it was fantastic.

Misty Semaphore Lakes
A misty and rainy morning at Semaphore Lakes


This fall as the weather worsened I found that my usual hiking companions had turned into fairweather friends, literally!  I often couldn’t find someone to go hiking with me so I started to go on my own more often.  Hiking alone is something that I find scary, challenging, and rewarding all at the same time and I’m slowly learning to love the solitude.

Hiking Solo on the Baden Powell Trail
Hiking Solo on the Baden Powell Trail (taken with a timer)


This year’s longest day hike was the 22km return trip to Elfin Lakes.  Early winter/late fall weather brought a little bit of snow and lots of ice to make the trip more challenging and arguably even more beautiful.

Elfin Lakes Trail
Glassy frozen Elfin Lakes


My Dad’s birthday is in between Christmas and New Year’s and every year we take him on a birthday snowshoe trip since we don’t mind hiking in the cold.  This year there wasn’t enough snow for snowshoes so we just hiked to Hollyburn in the freshly fallen snow and eerie fog.  It was a great way to end the year since I got to enjoy it with Dad, the person who taught me to love the outdoors.

Hiking Hollyburn in the snow
Snowy birthday hike with Dad at Hollyburn

Remember at the beginning of the post how I told you I like to live in the future?  Well stay tuned for my next post about plans for 2015 – the future is now!

What were your favourite memories of 2014?  Did you go to any of the same places that I did?  Tell me in the comments.

Taryn Eyton