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Lion’s Valley – The Point of No Return

I seem to have these bizarre moments of needing to show off that I can be adventurous. Don’t get me wrong; I can totally handle being outdoors. I just don’t do quite as well when the outdoors touches me. For example, if I am walking along minding my own business and a bee comes out of nowhere, you’d better believe I am running for shelter. The hard part is, when I am with the kids I babysit, I have to pretend I’m super brave and ready for anything; even if I’m not the one leading.

Take the Lead

My Day Off.

When Michaela asked me if I was willing to participate in a little adventure, she already had the boys on her side, so I couldn’t refuse. I was out numbered 3:1. This is not unusual, but I would like to think I am fairly easy going and willing to try anything. Our adventure began in Lion’s Valley Park. I have been to Lion’s Valley probably a thousand times before, and that’s not an exaggeration. My backyard backs onto it, so saying I’m fairly familiar with this park is an understatement. I thought I knew every trail like the back of my hand. But, good ol’ Michaela opened my eyes. To be honest, I kind of liked my eyes shut! I was happy in my little bubble of organized trails that were well groomed and safe for walking.

I had already promised that she could take the lead, and the boys were more than pumped. I was pretty much there to hold onto the snacks and water, call attention to things to look out for, and whatever else they needed. It was kind of nice not to be in charge for once; I must admit.

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This view is just as nice from a registered path. I’m just saying.

Don’t Trust the 14 Year Old

She Overestimates Her Brothers.

Michaela led the way behind an electrical hut, across a river, and to the bottom of a hill. This path was in the complete opposite direction of my usual route. But I wasn’t bursting their bubble just yet. So this hill, I’m not talking about a speed bump. I’m talking, a very tall and very steep hill. If I was the one leading, we would have turned back right then and there, but I promised she could lead. Big mistake.

Michaela and I had to take turns pushing and pulling the boys up the hill. Every time I complained, she told me to suck it up and that we were almost at the top. Who does she think she is? My trainer? We were so far from the top, until suddenly, we made it. Before you place your judgements on my laziness, it took 15 minutes to hoist the boys up that hill. That’s 15 minutes of holding 60ish pounds without a break. You give it a try and let me know how you feel.

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I swear the three of them think I’m oblivious sometimes. But after that hill, we all need to chill.

Point of No Return

Just Kidding, We’re Returning.

The path, if you can call it that, was overgrown and nowhere near straight. Michaela kept insisting that she had been this way so many times before with her cousins. One of the boys told me to not be a scaredy cat, and the other wouldn’t let go of my hand. I’m getting mixed signals here. I’m uncomfortable and the boys were getting to that point too.

I guess you could say I was allowing Michaela to be the fearless leader while I was the fearful adventurer. It got to the point where the grass was so over grown that I couldn’t allow us to continue. Cue the moans and grumbles. I didn’t mind walking back the way we came, I was just dreading going back down that hill. I thought going up was hard, but going down was probably more dangerous.

The boys were exhausted, I was not in the mood to deal with whining, and Michaela was pissed that I made them turn back. What can I say? Since we weren’t on a registered path, we didn’t know who could have been creeping around up there. I mean it’s Oakville, and it’s probably one of the safest places out there, but still. I was done.

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Once we hit this point, I knew we were lost. Go on Michaela, admit it.

Pro Tips

I’m More Pro than Michaela.

As nice as it was to take a break from being the lead person, it was also kind of scary not knowing what was going on. To avoid being in a situation like me, follow my pro tips.

  • Don’t trust a 14 year old. She may say that she knows where she is going, but she doesn’t.
  • If you’re not leading, get the plan ahead of time. You can thank me in advance. Had I known the plan, the situation could have been completely avoided.
  • Should you wish to go off trailing, make sure your skin is covered. Poison Ivy is no fun and no one should have to experience it. Especially not a 5 year old.

 

Have you ever been on an adventure that was supposed to be epic and ended up with a complete fail. Share it in the comments, so I don’t make the same mistakes.

Stay adventurous my friends,

The Basically Adventurous Jordanne.

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Albion Falls – It’s a Little Slippy

I’m all about spur of the moment, let’s make a memory decisions. But my memories don’t always turn out the way I plan them too. I babysit these two little boys and they like adventure. Which means, I need to be adventurous for them. I thought I would surprise them with a trip to Albion Falls in Hamilton. Go see a waterfall, walk the trail; they’ll love it. Little did I know how hard it would be to find this waterfall.

Google maps

Why Would I Trust a Mapping System?

Off we went, on a super awesome excursion. Best babysitter in the world award goes to me. I thought I was doing really well, but we may have been a little lost. I don’t know how many of you have actually been to Albion Falls, but this was my first time. Fun fact: there is no hike to get to this attraction. But, don’t you worry; we went on one anyways, completely by accident. We hopped out of the car, looked at our surroundings, and thought no way is there a waterfall on the other side of the street. It must be down this path. The trail quickly turned into a paved pathway. I thought nothing of it, other than; this waterfall must be a happening place to have a paved path instead of the usual gravel. Not that I was complaining.

So there we went, hiking up a hill for 20 minutes. The boys didn’t even complain, they were too excited to see the waterfall. Our path came to an end at a playground with a basketball court. Again, kind of strange. I told the boys the waterfall was just around the bend and Google mapped where we were. Google maps said we were further from the waterfall than when we got out of the car. What the actual heck? I don’t understand. I thought I was totally in control. I thought I had a good sense of direction, but apparently not.

So we kept walking. Walked down a path behind people’s houses, on the sidewalk through a neighbourhood, and ended up in another parking lot not too far from ours. Part of me wanted to give up, but I promised these little guys a waterfall. And you can bet we were going to find a waterfall. In this parking lot there was a crowd of people, so I used my common sense and thought, “let’s just follow the crowd”. I know I’m a genius; you don’t need to make a big deal out of it.

Google Knows Best

Right Where Google Maps Said.

Sure enough we cross the parking lot with the crowd and there are the falls in all of their glory. There were all kinds of people climbing on the waterfall, but I didn’t know how to get there. There was no trailhead other than a narrow path that went around the barrier and down a cliff. One of the boys wanted to climb down the cliff but I vetoed that plan real quick. As much fun as it sound to scale down to the waterfall, I didn’t think that was something I should do with a 5 and 7 year old.

Turns out, there is a stairwell to get to the bottom of the waterfall. And where is this stairwell you may ask. It is right across the road from where we parked. You remember the road I thought couldn’t possibly be the right way? Yup. That road. Part of me was glad to see a stairwell that would be easy for the boys and me to climb down. But my inner adventurer wanted a little more of a challenge.

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“Alright, Jordanne here’s how it’s going to go. You lift me to there and then you can figure out how to get up on your own.”

Be Careful What You Ask For

Ask and You Shall Receive.

I asked for more adventure, and that’s exactly what I got. The stairwell doesn’t actually go all the way to the bottom of waterfall. It, maybe, goes one quarter of the way down. The rest is mud and rocks. I felt like a parkour expert. Just a little less jumping across buildings and more hop down a small ledge and catch a child. The boys weren’t quite as experienced as I was. *Hair Flip* But I helped them out.

One of the boys is kind of like me. He is a little ambitious. But, who am I to crush his dreams. You want to climb the waterfall like all the teenagers? Sure, no problem. Let’s do it! Did I think about how a 5 and 7 year old’s legs are half of the size of a teenager’s? No. Did I consider how slippery the rocks are? Double no. But did we climb that waterfall? Of course we did. To put you out of suspense, the boys were fine. It was me you needed to worry about, but is that at all surprising? I didn’t think so.

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Post Jordanne fall.

Mind Your Step

The Twist in Events.

Climbing massive rocks to the middle of the waterfall was the easy part. I mean I lifted the boys and my legs were long enough to step up. There was a very small part of me that thought the water would be warm like on a beach in Mexico, but it really wasn’t. The water was cold, the rocks were slimy, and I was just pretending I was having fun for the sake of the boys. I really just wanted to get out. I think that is where I went wrong. And, maybe because I shouldn’t have been walking on the edge. But, the best babysitter in the world couldn’t just let the boys walk on the edge of a waterfall, I would lose my title. I quickly learned there is a reason people don’t walk on the edge of a waterfall.

We were walking along, minding our own business and BAM! Jordanne goes down. Chill. Don’t assume the worst! I didn’t go over the edge. I did however, twist my ankle and land fully in the water. The boys keeled over laughing, and I tried not to cry. With my ankle wedged between two rocks and my now soaking wet pants, I smiled at the boys as if I was totally fine and purposely fell to make them laugh.

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Not gunna lie, went back with my friends to take some pictures.

Pro Tips

I can lead the tour to this waterfall now.

Best Babysitter in the World Coming Through. This family excursion is easier than it appears and seems wildly adventurous for kids. So basically, it’s my ideal outing. I don’t know if I would let the boys walk though the waterfall again though.

  • Waterfalls just might be in a place that you least expect, like across a road. Don’t think that you know better than Google Maps, you probably don’t.
  • Be ready to tread through algae filled water. It’s an experience. Try not to be too grossed out. It could be worse, it could be too sharp to walk on or infested with creepy crawlies. To be honest, it probably was, but I’m going to pretend it wasn’t.
  • If you’re bringing kids, keep in mind that their little legs might have some trouble climbing up and down the rocks. Be prepared to carry them.

 

You know that song about not chasing waterfalls? Go against it. Chase them and make a memory. Maybe just avoid walking on the edge of them though.

Have you ever found a waterfall where you would least expect it? Let me know where the next waterfall I should chase is located.

Stay adventurous my friends,

The Basically Adventurous Jordanne.

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Sunshine Mountain in a Blizzard

When my mom told me that we were going to Banff, Alberta for reading week last year, I couldn’t have been more excited! Shopping in the village, cozying up in a chalet with a view of the mountains, and hot chocolate galore! Can a winter vacation get any better? I think not. Of course that’s not the sort of vacation we had. Any one surprised? I’m sure you can imagine how stunned I was when I found myself on top of the mountain at Sunshine Village in the middle of a whiteout.

Snow Shoeing

But Actually, Where’s the Snow?

When I heard that we were going snow shoeing, I actually laughed out loud. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground that would most likely melt within an hour or two. I thought my mom had lost her mind even more when she started to lay out snow pants, heavy coats, gloves, hats, and winter boots. I am not one to argue, but this was a little ridiculous. Being the good sport that I am, I pulled on my Uggs and folded my Aritzia jacket over my arm. And thank goodness I did.

Rocky Mountain Adventures

The Snow Gods.

You would think I would have trusted the professionals, but I didn’t. Our guide loaded up the van with goggles and snowshoes. Seriously? There was still no snow! We started driving, and guess what happened!? Just kidding, I’ll tell you. We drove for maybe five minutes towards Sunshine Village and I kid you not, there was a blizzard! Not light flurries, but massive chunks, like snowballs, falling from the sky. And as we got closer to the mountain, it only got worse.

Pulling into the crowded and snow-covered parking lot, I looked down at what I planned to snow shoe in. I was totally prepared for a snowstorm… NOT! My fashion forward jacket was probably the only that could come close to being considered appropriate attire. But, lucky for me, my loving mother brought an extra pair of snow pants for me. And, the goggles I scoffed at minutes before were on my face. Thank goodness for prepared people!

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Can we just take in how much snow is on me before we started snowshoeing!

The Trip up the Mountain

All. The. Way. Up.

From another blog post, I learned that gondolas are the way to go if you want to get up a mountain. Especially when this mountain is a million times the size of Ontario’s mountain. We went up and up and up in an enclosed gondola. I know, Sunshine Village is so accommodating to people afraid of nature. Maybe I should mention that I am scared of heights. Not the kind of scared that makes you pass out or puke, but the kind that gets a little light headed and uses soothing words when I am more than four feet off the ground.

Getting off of the gondola, I was caught off guard by the insane amount of skiers and snowboarders. These people are all here because they want to be. Like they are willingly plummeting down the side of a mountain for fun. Not exactly something I would call fun, but hey you do you.

Alright, there I was, ready for snowshoeing. Come at me bro. Let’s do this. Where does our guide go? Another ski lift. I’m sorry, what? You want me to go up higher? Like into that white wall of snow? The white wall of snow where you can’t see two inches in front of your face? I think I’ll pass.

Up We Go

Still Going Up.

You guessed it! I couldn’t pass. I hopped onto the rickety ski lift. Please note that this one was not an enclosed gondola. I was really, really happy I took the goggles our guide offered me. At the top of that ski lift, there was no one but a sign that read, “Trail closed due to weather conditions” and us. Oh darn, I guess we’d better turn back. Nope our guide ducked under the caution tape and said, “I guess it’s a good thing we aren’t taking their trail then.” Has he lost his mind?

I feel like this is a good time to point out that I have never been snow shoeing before. My parents, on the other hand, have been quite a few times. I paced myself, one step at a time. Left. Right. Repeat. My mom wiped out a few steps in and it was hilarious, until I took my first spill. To be honest I don’t even know how it happened. One minute I was walking along just fine and the next I was face first in the snow. At least there was a fluffy layer to break my fall. The hard part was standing up again. My feet were like three times the size and it just became a struggle. But after a few more tumbles, I became a pro a standing up again.

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I can’t even tell you which fall this was. There were just too many to count.

Be Warned

Stay on the Non-Existent Trail.

I guess our guide noticed how often I was falling because he stopped us for a pep talk. I think it was mainly directed at me but my parents were suckered in too. He pointed to a block of wood that stuck out about three inches from the snow and said, “This is a trail marker. It is six feet tall. You are standing on six feet of snow right now.” Just give me a minute to panic and then I’ll continue. AHHHHH. Okay, I’m ready to continue. “Do you see how there is a hole surrounding each tree?” *gestures to ridiculously tall trees* “If you fall into one of those holes, you will be at the bottom of a six foot hole.” *looks directly at me* “It is very difficult to get someone out of one of those holes. So, while you are walking be sure to steer clear of them.”

I know you’re all probably thinking I fell into one. But I promise I didn’t. Gold star for me! I still face planted several more times, though.

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Snowshoeing is not just walking. Don’t be fooled by anyone that tells you otherwise.

The Best Part

And I’m Serious!

Guess what! We got to go tobogganing on our snowshoes. I had so much fun I kept re-climbing the hill and going down again and again. It got to the point that they told me I needed to stop. And how did they get me to stop? Our guide brought us hot chocolate! It may not have been in a cozy chalet, but it’s pretty awesome to be able to say that I had hot chocolate on top of a mountain during a whiteout. If that isn’t adventurous, I don’t know what is!

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Not pictured: The wipe out at the bottom.

And do you want to know what else happened? As we are standing on the side of the mountain, enjoying our hot chocolate, our guide said, “Fun Fact: You are in British Columbia right now.” Like holy cow! I came to Alberta and now I am in BC. I am such a tank. I can rule the world.

Do you guys know what this means? I had an amazing outdoor adventure! I know it’s shocking. But it’s true, I did. Despite falling countless times, destroying my Uggs, and being on top of a mountain in a white out, I had a blast!

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Finally, a successful adventure!

Pro Tip

If I Can Survive, You Can Too.

Snowshoeing was the highlight of my reading week in Banff. Sure there were a couple of mistakes that I could have avoided, but now you can learn from them.

  • Check the weather network before you leave for your trip. Even if you are travelling within your own country, the weather changes from province to province. And can even change within a matter of five minutes.
  • Trust your guide, when they say there will be snow, there will be snow.
  • Don’t laugh at someone when they fall in snowshoes. I guarantee you will take a tumble at least once; especially if it is your first time snowshoeing.
  • Bonus Tip: Bring your mom with you! Moms will pack extra snow pants for you.

 

Have you been on any seriously awesome adventures like this one? Let me know in the comments if you have!

Stay adventurous my friends,

The Basically Adventurous Jordanne.

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Spread Your Wings and Never Return!

Sometimes I have these moments of intense bravery. They usually backfire, but it’s the thought that counts. Yesterday was one of those days. I’ve been to the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls before, and it wasn’t that bad. The last time I went, I was eight and not nearly as afraid of the world as I am now. But they are just butterflies, how bad can it be? Awful. That’s how bad.

Gathering Recruits

Who’s In?

I’m the type of person that needs a buddy to do pretty much anything, especially when it requires bravery. It’s kind of like a security blanket. You can do stupid things with friends and not get dirty looks from people. But if you are on your own, people hard core judge. So I began recruiting. I asked everyone I was remotely friends with. I had the same response from everyone. The wide-eyed, mouths hung open, looks of pure disbelief. If I’m being honest, I probably would have given myself the same look. It’s no secret to anyone that creep crawlies give me the hebegebes.

Because I am a brave warrior, I decided to go on my own. I don’t remember being scared as a child, after all they are just butterflies right? What’s the worst thing that could happen? It land on me? They don’t bite or sting or do anything as far as I know. They just float around looking pretty.

The Main Entrance

The Road to Misery.

As I got closer to the conservatory, not gunna lie, I started to. Maybe I’m not a brave warrior, I’m just a blogger with some serious dedication. Just getting to the building was a whole lot of nature that I hadn’t prepared for. Have you ever heard that sound a squirrel makes? It’s a mix between a choking cat and a barking dog? That sound was coming from all directions. I couldn’t see them, but I could hear them. It was basically a sign to turn back, but I didn’t. I walked into that building calm, cool, and collected. For the most part. Okay, so I wasn’t so calm or cool. I had collected my thoughts on why I shouldn’t be there though. Does that count?

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Looks kind of harmless from the outside, doesn’t it? It’s a trap.

First things first

A Little Bit of Education.

Before going in for direct contact with the butterflies I was ushered into a mini butterfly exhibition. Almost like a science fair. Honestly, I would have been totally okay with staying in that portion of the conservatory for the rest of the day. All the butterflies were dead and behind glass. And there was a movie at the end! Maybe I shouldn’t call it a movie, it was more of a how to interact with the butterflies. What if I don’t want to interact? Can you please tell me how not to instead? No? Okay cool, no worries I was just kidding anyways. Oh do I look like I might faint? Oh no I’m just naturally pale.

The Main Event

My Own Personal Hell.

I was only having a minor panic attack after the movie. Nothing I couldn’t handle. Here is the part that got me. I followed a little girl, probably about four years old, into the glass bubble. She took maybe 2 steps inside and turned around with her arms spread with a massive smile on her face showing the THREE butterflies that landed on her. I am done. I’m dead. Someone carry me outside. I was beginning to think I had a death wish. Can you imagine my death certificate? “Cause of death: Butterfly panic attack”.

Butterflies were literally everywhere. Yeah I know, duh, it’s a butterfly conservatory. But, there was an insane amount. You know when you walk through a swarm of gnats? It was like that but with butterflies. The only difference, with gnats, you can swat until your heart is content. In a butterfly conservatory, not so much, you will probably get kicked out.

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I wish all of the butterflies were like these one. Behind glass.

Gotta Go

And Never Return.

My favourite part of the inside was the exit. As soon as I laid my eyes on it, it was like an action movie. A slow motion montage of me bolting to the door, dodging the massive wing span of several butterflies, manoeuvring my steps to avoid crushing the ones that sat on the path, having my matrix moment ducking under the swarms. Yes, it was as intense as I just made it seem. No I don’t have photo evidence of my skills, so you will just need to take my word for it.

I’ll bet you’re wondering how long I was actually in the bubble for. Get this. I lasted a whopping 3 whole minutes! I know it’s a record. Can you call Guinness World Records for me, please? I was horrified. And that’s not even an exaggeration.

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I’m not even going to try to count them. But look at them conspiring their attack.

Pro Tips

Definitely Not my Happy Place.

In this case, I wouldn’t call myself a pro, but I won’t tell if you don’t.

  • Go with a group. Strength in numbers. You may not out number all of the butterflies, but you can at least give them a run for their money.
  • Mentally prepare. When I say they were everywhere, I mean it. On the ground, in the bushes, the ceiling, the walls, EVERYWHERE. If you can’t handle that, save yourself the $21.
  • They have a very nice gift shop. I spent more time in it that I did in the bubble. And I’m okay with it. I got a few nice mementos.

I’m just going to stay over here with my Snapchat filter and never return to the conservatory ever again. Like ever. So please don’t ask me to go. Please tell me I’m not the only one that nearly died in the bubble.

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See! Look how happy I am with the fake ones.

Stay Adventurous my friends,

The Basically Adventurous Jordanne.

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Fire Ants, Sunburns, and Fish, Oh My!

I think it has been established that I am not exactly the outdoorsy type. But when you go on vacation to who knows where, you don’t want to be trapped in a hotel room the entire trip. Am I right? In 2012, I went to Cozumel, Mexico for 3 weeks to get an English credit. Yes, you read that right. Yes, it is actually a thing that people do. For me, the crazy part wasn’t taking English in Mexico; it was the going away with a group of strangers for 3 weeks.

Class on the Beach

Not Your Typical Resort.

I’ve been to Mexico before, so I assumed this trip would be more or less the same. I was picturing, and I’m sure you are too, the 21-floor hotels, with a million pools and hot tubs that over look the ocean. Doesn’t that sound nice? That’s not where we were.

Casa Del Mar has 4 floors, one pool, no elevators, and a mini forest in the middle. Do you know what that means? Anytime I was outside of my room, I was in nature. Want to walk to the vending machine that is just down the hallway? Ok, sure. Watch out for geckos and cockroaches. I know, how did I survive?!

The worst part of the hotel was that we had to cross the street to get to the beach. We actually had to cross a bridge and walk down stairs to a platform with a makeshift beach on it. Did you think we were at the ocean yet? Good, because we’re not. To get to the water, you have to go down another set of stairs. That didn’t really bother me though; I wasn’t going in the water anyways.

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Let’s just take a second to appreciate the metal stairs and the lack of white sand.

I’ll Be Over Here

Out of the Sun.

I don’t really do oceans because, I know this may be a huge surprise for you, but there are fish in them. All types of fish. Big ones and small ones, friendly ones and deadly ones. I wouldn’t call myself an expert so I just steer clear in general. Besides, I would much rather lounge in a pool away from the slippery creatures.

As you can imagine, I was perfectly happy reading King Lear on a hammock on the “beach” platform. The other girls not so much. They wanted to be able to tan with their towels in a row and walk into the ocean without taking the stairs. That’s how we found out that our hotel has a private beach advertised as being only 10 minutes away! I must say, it felt more like 20 minutes, but that could be because there were 11 of us crammed into the back of a 6 person van. But hey, it’s Mexico and like we said countless times on the trip, YOLO!

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Did you actually go on vacation if you didn’t write your catch phrase in the sand?

Let’s got to the Beach

Belting out Starships.

After the 10-20 minute bumpy, cramped, and stinking hot cab ride, we arrived at the private beach. And, man oh man, was it private. So private, that we were the only ones on the beach, along with maybe 5 hotel staff members. I was a little disappointed because, once again, there was only one pool. Not that there was an abundance of people, but still, I would like to have some options.

Here is a fun fact about me. I burn way too easily. So, as all of my new friends lined up their towels in a row, I took refuge under a palm leaf hut to slather on sunscreen. Does anyone else put on sunscreen? No of course not! They all drench themselves in tanning oil. I swear they could have been an advertisement for Hawaiian Tropic.

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*Not pictured: tomato red sunburn. 

Attack of the Fire Ants

I was Just Minding my own Business.

Since I was stuck on the beach cooking from the inside out anyways, why not get some reading done. After all, this was a school trip. I planted my feet so deep into the sand that it began to feel cool. I was completely in the shade, so what could go wrong? You know me too well. Of course something went wrong.

Have you ever seen a little ant on your leg and thought to yourself ‘awe how cute?’ Me neither. Do you want to know how I noticed this little ant? I’ll give you a hint. It didn’t tickle. Instead, it was the sharp pinches it took as it made its way up my leg.

Here is what I want to know, why are none of the other girls that are lying in the sand getting bitten? It is still a mystery to me. But nevertheless, I set up camp beside the rest and began to burn. Not tan. Burn. Let me remind you, I was the only one to put on sunscreen. I was also the only one to get a tomato red sunburn. Lucky me.

Oh ya, Snorkelling.

Can’t wait…

After the fire ants and sun burning, I was ready to head back to our shack of a hotel and call it a day. It was in that moment that I really wished we were staying in a hotel on the beach. I was ready to leave, but no one else was.

I thought this day couldn’t get worse and then the overly excited words of Stephanie Trudell rang through my ears. “Let’s go snorkelling!” I have never seen a group of girls that were half-asleep tanning and thumbing through magazines jump up so quickly.

I think we already talked about my fear of the ocean, right? The whole fish thing? I prefer to explore coral reefs with Dory and Nemo from the comfort of a theater seat. Had I not been burning up, I would have said hell to the no. But anything to get me out of the sun was good enough reason for me.

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Please! Get me out of the sun!

But Actually, Can we Leave Now?

There Could Be Sharks!

I might exaggerate sometimes, ok most of the time. But being in the ocean was terrifying. Have you ever had that moment when you realize death is upon you? I have moments like this a little too often for my liking.

For example, my shoulders finally had some relief from the direct sunlight and I was snorkeling in peace. But not for long. I swam with the rest of the group trying to stay reasonably close to the shore. I guess I didn’t noticed how far I was out until I saw a baby swordfish… Turns out it was a harmless trumpet fish, but still I nearly fainted. At that moment, I noticed how deep the water was. Not that I have ever seen a great white shark before, but a shark could definitely fit where I was swimming.

Please hold for my Olympic swimmer moment. I’m ready for the podium. My front crawl, damn, I’m sure I broke some kind of record. Yet all I could think about was Bethany Hamilton, the girl that had her arm bitten off by a shark. I kept my head down (only coming above water for air when completely necessary) and swam for my life.

Reaching the shore with all of my limbs was one of the most relieving moments I have ever experienced. Sure I might be overreacting, but I totally could have died.

Pro Tips

Not Just an English Student.

I learned a ton on this trip, and not just about King Lear. Spending 3 weeks away from home in a tropical area taught me some pretty life altering things.

  • There is no such thing as too much sunscreen! You think SPF 30 once a day is enough? IT’S NOT! I learned that the hard way. More than once, actually. Take my advice on this one, wear as much sunscreen as possible and use the highest SPF you can find.
  • The Taxi driver will tell you how many can fit in the car. They are usually right; after all it is their car. Don’t try to make a clown car out of it. It is safer and more comfortable to stay within the limit.
  • Fire Ants will find you. You may think you are safe curled up on a beach chair, but you are not! I don’t know how to avoid them but just be aware of their existence.

 

Have you experienced any of my horror moments? Leave a comment below and tell me how you cope.

Stay adventurous my friends,

The Basically Adventurous Jordanne.

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Let’s Climb Blue Mountain

Spending a weekend in Blue Mountain or in cottage country is supposed to be relaxing, right? Apparently I was wrong. Instead of lounging by the pool, all-inclusive meals, sand between your toes, and sun shining on your skin, Blue Mountain is where the adventure begins. By adventure, I mean the hiking and biking, climbing and paddling type of adventure. Not so much the luxurious massages and tanning sessions I am used to.

The Adventure Begins…

With The Right Outfit.

The my entire family set out to participate in the 25 mile Centurion bike race, I mean psshh anyone can do that. I didn’t want to be left behind, so being the go-getter-girl that I am, I decided to take myself on a little adventure of my own. Hiking up Blue Mountain. I know that people say that there are no real mountains in Ontario. But I can assure you that I was, indeed, climbing a freaking mountain.

The most important part of an adventure, in my opinion, is selecting the right outfit. Let’s talk about it. Mobility is key. I opted for Lulu Lemon Capris and a Nike T-shirt. And, I kept a sweater tied around my waist just in case. I didn’t even think about touching it once I started the incline, but you never know, I could have needed it. Be warned get the right type of shoes. This is not a ‘no worries I can do this in Flip Flops’ kind of climb. Believe me, I tried. This is a strictly a hikers or sneakers kind of climb.

The Climb

Cue Miley Cyrus’ song.

I am a competitive dancer certainly not a climber. I can kick, jump, and turn for days, but marching up a mountain with every step having my knees come up to my belly button was not what I was expecting. I will not lie to you; climbing the mountain the day following a torrential down pour was not my best idea. But I already told a few people I was embarking on this dangerous, life changing, earth shattering journey, so there was no option to turn back.

With every step, I regretted not taking the Gondola. I would even settle for the Ridge Runner (the rollercoaster ride through the forest). I mean I did try to get out of the sun and go through the tree covered mountain bike path. But that was a bad idea. I do not recommend it. It was nice getting out of the heat for five minutes, but it is a mountain bike trail after all. And mountain bikers, going who knows how fast, aren’t exactly welcoming to hikers. I found out the hard way. Don’t worry. No one was hurt.

In addition to the not so friendly mountain bikers, turns out spiders like constructing massive webs in the forest. Those webs stick to your arms and face and are nearly impossible to remove. So keep dragging your hands across your skin, you’ll never find where the web actually is, but it is oh so satisfying to keep trying to rid yourself of the creepy crawlies.

Did I mention gnats? They were everywhere! I’m sure I looked like I was having a full on fist fight with my imaginary friend, but in reality I was swatting gnats out of the air like it was nobody’s business. You can call me the gnat ninja if you want.

View from the Top

Don’t be fooled.

When I finally reached the top, an hour and however many minutes later, it was beautiful. The view of the village, the lake, golf courses, everything was awesome. But I would have seen the exact same view if I took the gondola.

I don’t believe the whole ‘it’s more satisfying when you have to work for it’ bit that people say. No. If I took the gondola, I wouldn’t be sweaty. I wouldn’t be parched. And the view would have been the exact same! I don’t seen the people that took the gondola gasping for air.

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Pro Tips

I’ve done this once, so you can trust me.

Now that I am pretty much a professional mountain climber, here is what I have learned:

  • Bring water! I don’t mean pick out a water bottle that matches your outfit and forget it in the hotel room. I mean bring water with you! I promise you will need it.
  • A hair elastic is a must for all longhaired adventurers. I mean, make sure you have your hair down and fluffy for the selfies to prove you actually went outside, but other than that you’ll want your hair up.
  • Have a hotel only steps away. You will get sweaty and want a shower. Plus, a change of clothes immediately after your excursion is a luxury that should not be forgotten.

 

Leave a comment below to share your latest adventure horror story or to suggest what I should do next!

Stay adventurous my friends,

The Basically Adventurous Jordanne.

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