Friday, September 18, 2009

The West Coast Trail and Juan de Fuca Trail

It's official! I've booked a ride on the Victoria Clipper from Seattle to Victoria for 3:15 PM tomorrow afternoon. =) My plan is to find a place to spend the night in Victoria tomorrow night (so far, I don't actually have any reservations anywhere, but I have all my backpacking gear--I can stealth camp if I really have to! Ha!)

Then I'm off to Bamfield and the trailhead for the northern terminus of the West Coast Trail. I have to take an "orientation class" before they'll give me my permit--you know a trail is tough when you're required to take a class about the trail before they'll let you on it! Then I get to hike the next 50 miles through knee-deep mud, up and down 30 stories worth of ladders, cross two rivers on boats, and numerous serge channels on hand-drawn cable cars, all the while timing my hike on the beach to make sure that a high tide doesn't drown me. If the rain doesn't drown me first--this is a rain forest where precipitation is measured in feet rather inches. (Actually, being Canada, it's probably measured in meters rather than centimeters, but you get the point.) The area regularly gets more than ten FEET of rain per year. What's in it for me? It should be fun! And it's allegedly the most scenic trail in the entire North American continent. =)

Once I claw my way off the trail, I'll end up in the bustling little town of Port Renfrew. Rather than go home, I've decided to extend my hike by doing the Juan de Fuca Trail, another 30 miles along the Vancouver Island coast before getting a ride back to Victoria. The Juan de Fuca Trail conveniently starts right by Port Renfrew, so I don't even need a ride to that trailhead. It's also supposed to be a tough hike, and is allegedly the second-most scenic trail in the entire North American continent.

I'm not exactly sure when I'll finish, but I'll get a ride into Victoria once I finsh both trails. I'll stay in Victoria and play the tourist until October 1st when I'm booked to return to Seattle again on the Victoria Clipper. Hopefully that night I'll be online and post that I survived the hike. Until then, if you wonder what happened to me, that's it! =)

-- Ryan

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Death in the Family

It is a sad day in our little letterboxing family today--Janet, better known as Blooming Flowers to most of us--passed away. She had been diagnosed with Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) earlier this year, which would ultimately cut her life way too early.

I've gotten a few people e-mailing me thanking me for the Blooming Flowers theme up right now, but I would like to make sure that everyone knows that that was Wassamatta_u's creation. He created it for her shortly after she was first diagnosed with AML, before *I* even found out she had been diagnosed with the cancer, and put it up again first when she was rushed to the hospital and today when she passed away. He jokes a lot, but he's actually a pretty thoughtful guy. =) But he really deserves all the credit for the theme. I just let him put it up.

On another note, there is a tributes page set up on Atlas Quest in honor of Blooming Flowers. If you have a fond memory of her or incident to tell, please share it with the rest of us. Or even just to offer your sympathies and prayers for her and her family.

While reading her profile today--strange that I'm compelled to do things like that after someone dies, as if trying to get to know them better after the fact, but I particularly enjoyed her answer to the question about what animal she would be and why, writing, "A cat. I like to lay in the sun and be pampered."

Here's to laying in the sun and being pampered. =)

But our little community will still miss you.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


The official Atlas Quest 2010 Letterboxing Calendars are here! I have two calendars this year--the usual, run-of-the-mill original style calendar with photos taken by letterboxers from all over the place.

Then there's what I call the Tortuga Edition because it has only photos that I took. While looking through my own pictures for the year, it seemed like I took an unusually large number of photos that I liked and turned them into a calendar. I don't really expect that calendar to be especially popular, but I figured my own family members would probably like it better when the holidays come rolling around. ;o)

But I've made it available for anyone who would like it--the photos are pretty good, I think!

I'm also doing things a bit differently this year than in past years. In years past, I would collect a bunch of calendar orders then order them in bulk, exactly the number of calendars I need. This time, I'm still ordering calendars in bulk--but I've already ordered them. Ordered them this morning, in fact. So rather than taking an unlimited number of calendar orders, the number of calendars this year are limited in quantity. Just 100 of the "original style" calendar, and just 10 of the "Tortuga edition."

When they run out, I won't be taking anymore calendar orders. Eventually, I'll get them online so you can order them directly from, but they'll cost more there and probably not until October at the earliest.

I should also point out--you can order the calendars now, but I only put in the order for them this morning, so I won't be shipping them out immediately. It should take an expected "3 to 6 days" for the calendars to be printed, and probably another good week or so for the calendars to be shipped via ground across the country. Then I need to repack them and ship them on to you. At the very earliest, you probably won't have a copy in your hands for at least two weeks from today, but they should arrive by the end of the month. =)

If I used one of your photos in the calendar, I'll be sending you a free calendar. Don't include the free one in your order if you wish to order additional calendars. I'll contact each of you personally about how to get your free calendar.

And remember--Atlas Quest is always ready to take more photo submissions for the 2011 letterboxing calendar. Just go to the Project X page for rules and the submission form.