happytrails08 happytrails08

1,334 posts   10,445 followers   943 followings

Leona  Inspired by nature 🌲 outdoor enthusiast • animal lover • North Vancouver BC, Canada 🇨🇦 🗻🌿

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Trees have been reaching for the sky long before us humans ever came into the picture.
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They store a rich history beneath their bark. Their rings telling us about ancient weather (storms, temperatures, etc), growing seasons, and climate patterns.
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Each tree, with their knotted and deeply grooved bark, is filled with remarkable stories.
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We can learn a lot from these humble giants.
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We just have to start listening.
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(📷: @vincentpagot ).
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#nature #trees #forest #explorebc #northvancouver #bcmc #vancouvertrails #neverstopexploring #earthpix #trailrunning #staywild #hiking

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Two years ago today my friend, Gord, went out for a birthday adventure in the mountains and never made it back home. He has still not been found.
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It’s hard to wrap your head around an incident without a proper closure. So many unanswered questions. Over these past two years, I have learned that the ability to create stories and endings in your head seems to be limitless.
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Every time I see, hear, or read about another hiker, or runner, or any person, go missing in the mountains my heart breaks a little. I find myself anxiously searching for updates and creating scenarios in my head, hoping their friends and family get their happy ending. It’s difficult to not take it personally. Because it could happen to any of us.
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Life is so precious and has no guarantees. I hope you surround yourself with the people, places and passions that inspire and fulfill you the most.
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We are all only here such a short time and we are all just trying to do our best to make the most of it. I hope you remember that too.
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We all have our own journeys to take and stories to tell. We may disagree on things but I truly believe that if you look close enough you will always find that our paths will cross.
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I hope you choose kindness and compassion over anger and resentment. The world can always use more kindness. I have definitely seen the positive impact of compassionate, kind, big-hearted strangers coming together. We truly are all connected.
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Thinking of you Gord ❤️.
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#celebratinggord #explorebc #nature #earthpix #mountains #neverstopexploring #staywild

We are living under a cloud of smoke again here in British Columbia. Over the weekend almost 150 new wildfires started, bringing our total in the Province close to 600 fires.
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600!
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Forest fires are a normal part of a healthy ecosystem. They burn through the dead and rotting trees. This enables nutrients to return to the soil and new vibrant, healthy flora to flourish. So they are not all “bad”. They have an important role.
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However, research has shown that the increase in rate, severity, intensity and size of fires could be leading to altered ecosystems and significant consequences.
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In this new growth, there tends to be a lack of biodiversity and barren lands leading to landslides and soil erosion. There are numerous negative impacts to wildlife, including loss of habitat and food. The aftermath of these fires can even impact our drinking water (think forest-fire related contaminates in water supplies). And never mind all the other negative impacts to our mental and physical health.
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For the past few years, I feel like the summers here in BC have had prolonged dry spells and heat waves. Creating the perfect “fire-starter”. There is evidence stating the increased fire activity is a direct outcome of climate change.
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These fires are affecting all of us and the wild places and critters we love. So please play safe out there and be “fire-smart”. Yes, lightning strikes cause some fires, but it is us humans that cause the most.
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But if you ask me, these wildfires are the symptom of a bigger environmental problem. And until we address that, our rapidly changing climate, then I don’t think we are getting rid of these fires anytime soon.
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Something to think about.
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But the good news is, we can each play an active role in that.
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Also, big thank you to all the firefighters out there. You’re all amazing 💜.
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(Smokey sunset pic 📷: @vincentpagot ).
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#explorebc #sunset #earthpix #nature #porteaucove #neverstopexploring #beautifulbc #staywild #theoutbound

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Just another pic of Mother Nature showing off again.
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You sure are beautiful ⛰🌿🌸💜.
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#explorebc #hiking #nature #garibaldi #staywild #neverstopexploring #optoutside #theoutbound #earthpix #outdoorvancouver #trailrunning

Just about two years ago, I received a DM from a French guy in Whistler. It said something like “Amazing photos! Don’t stop ;)”.
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I had no idea who he was at the time. But after a quick scroll through his IG feed, I decided he didn’t seem like a creep, and I replied. Fast forward a few messages, and we decided to meet up and go for a hike. We chose the beautiful Watersprite lake in Squamish. Half way between his place in Whistler and my place in North Vancouver.
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We parked just off the highway and I jumped into his vehicle (mine is not a 4x4). It was Vin’s first time to Watersprite and my second.
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We missed a turn-off heading to the parking lot and took a long, bumpy detour to get to the trailhead. But we eventually made it in good spirits. Even when a little lost, I liked how he stayed calm and unbothered.
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It was a perfect, cool, crisp autumn day and the hike was stunning. We had the lake to ourselves and enjoyed the peace & quiet, each other’s company, and the beautiful scenery.
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As we were heading back, I was ahead and saw a little garter snake on the trail. I picked him up. And then much to my delight, I saw another. So I picked that one up too (they were both super sluggish in the cooler weather but warmed up quickly in my hands). I proudly turned around to show Vincent my new little friends.
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Well, unbeknownst to me, Vin is seriously afraid of snakes. So much so, that he will not run certain races that have reports or signs of snakes. He’s a true Ophidiophobe.
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He stopped dead in his tracks and would not come closer to me. I even think he started walking backwards. I released my little friends back into the bushes and rambled off a few facts about garter snakes and we continued on our way.
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That was our first “date”. We have shared so many incredible adventures since (even Vins first encounter with a rattlesnake!).
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I have written about it before, but I had honestly given up on love. I just figured it wasn’t for me.
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And yes, it hurts to have your heartbroken. To be disappointed and to be let down. And yes, sometimes it feels easier to build walls to keep people out. But those walls also keep pain in.
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I’m glad I let my guard down again.

I celebrated B.C. Day the best way I know how...by taking a hike through coastal forests, that led me to views of the beautiful ocean from the top of a mountain.
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I love Canada, especially British Columbia. I feel connected to the land here and I feel at home here in B.C. I often say I feel “lucky” to have been able to move here 18 years ago and make it my home.
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But here’s the truth. I’m not just lucky, I’m privileged. Luck and privilege are not the same thing.
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Did I work hard to get here? Absolutely. Have I known pain and suffering? Yes. Has everything come to me easily? Heck, no.
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But I have benefited my whole life by living in a society, that was literally built for me. Our systems of governance, economics and social beliefs were evolved from our histories. And here in Canada (and many other parts of the world) these “histories “ are written from a single lens, a perspective that is outdated and marginalizes certain people.
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For me, recognizing my privilege does not come with sense of guilt. It comes with a demand for equality and need to ensure that everyone is treated with the same levels of respect and given the same opportunities.
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So yesterday, as I celebrated “my” beloved BC, I also thought about the diverse Aboriginal people of this land.
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I cannot change the past, a past that is painful for too many, but I can try my best to practice actively listening to Aboriginal voices, stories, and perspectives. I can actively try to build better relationships and help to dismantle prejudices that have historically divided Canadians. I still have work to do. But I’m trying.
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I am forever appreciative and grateful for the diversity of cultures, people, flora & fauna, and ecosystems found here. This is what makes Canada/B.C. so special and beautiful.
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Because I love it here so much, I am committed to ensuring that I do my part to keep the land healthy for ALL future generations.
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I hope you take the time to learn about the history, land, and people you share your space with. I promise it will enrich your life too.
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Happy B.C Day, to all my fellow British Columbians. How fortunate are we...
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#bcday #explorebc #hiking #nature #staywild

The stillness and silence of a reflective lake will always make me slow down and remind me to just breath.
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Happy Friday, everyone. Have a wonderful weekend :).
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#hiking #explorewashington #nature #neverstopexploring #trailrunning #pnwonderland #optoutside #earthpix #staywild

I have never had a lot of friends. I wouldn’t really say it’s entirely by choice, perhaps because I’m shy, awkward and quiet.
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I had one friend in elementary school. I met her when I was 3 and we are still friends. I met another friend in high school, and 25 years later, we are still good friends too. Both are much more outgoing and social than I am. But my quietness doesn’t seem to bother them. They accept me as I am.
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One of them got a boyfriend in high school and the other switched schools, so I spent my lunches and breaks by myself. The cafeteria terrified me so I would just sit in front of my locker and play solitaire, read, write or doodle.
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Every now and then, someone would stop by my locker and talk to me. But most the time I was alone. I was truly more comfortable sitting there than joining a random group of people in the noisy cafeteria. I never went to prom or formal. I spent my weekends biking to bush parties or driving aimlessly around with a crew of other “outsiders”.
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When I can get lost in my own thoughts and imagination I am content. My over-active brain can keep me occupied for hours. However, every now and then, I would compare myself to my peers. Why was I so weird? Some well-intentioned folks (and some bullies) would remark on my quietness. Tell me I needed to come out of my shell. This just made me more awkward.
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It has taken me my whole life to accept (and even embrace) my introverted ways. I’ve even overcome a lot of my shyness (definitely not my awkwardness though ha) and grown my circle of friends. But I’d be lying if I said I never experienced moments of envy for the socially-gifted.
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But as much as I admire those who can captivate a room with their stories and energy, I respect and honour the gifts a quiet presence brings too.
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Each one of us has a unique story, voice, and gift we share with the world. Every single one of us.
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People have commented on some of my posts and applauded my “vulnerability”. To me, I’m just sharing a story. I’m using my voice in the most comfortable way I know how. By writing. (Thank you for listening).
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I hope you embrace your beautiful story and voice. The world needs you, just as you are.💜

Every day you wake up, every little moment, every breath, is an opportunity to redefine yourself and your time here.
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I see so much power in that.
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#hiking #earthpix #pnwonderland #explorewashington #neverstopexploring #nature #trailrunning #staywild #wildernessculture #theoutbound

I really love going to places that make me feel small. It is one of the most liberating feelings.
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I hope you find these places for yourself too. I hope you cherish them and respect them and allow them to remind you of who you really are.
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I hope you let these places inspire you to create your art, whatever that may be.
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And I hope they remind you that your journey may take you to some unexpected places, with some unexpected views, but you just keep on going. Your path may change, over even feel like it’s back-tracking, but your journey will last your entire life. It is an ongoing process with as many changes, bumps, twists and turns as you need. So just keep going.
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Happy Monday, everyone. I hope you all had a great weekend.
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(📷: @vincentpagot ).
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#explore #explorewashington #mountshucksan #nature #chainlakesloop #hiking #neverstopexploring #trailrunning #staywild #pnwonderland #earthpix

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Hello, beautiful.
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I have no idea what the futures holds. None of us do. So I’m going to try my best to focus on today and let go of both the past and any future expectations.
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Embrace where I am today.
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And today, feels pretty good.
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#explorebc #nature #hiking #earthpix #neverstopexploring #pnwonderland #mountains #garibaldiprovincialpark #wildernessculture #trailrunning #staywild #theoutbound #vancouvertrails #outdoorvancouver #parkscanada #bcparks

In yesterday’s post I talked about hitting “rock bottom” (thank you for sharing all your stories and kind words).
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I recounted a few factors that contributed to it; break-up, bruised ego, health issues, financial instabilities. But the truth is, I had been slowly falling for years.
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I was not really happy (but not sad either), not really inspired (but not exactly unmotivated), not really in love (but I didn’t really know if I believed in love). I was just kinda existing.
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I was living a bit of a “I guess this is it” life. Perhaps I was just comfortable. Perhaps I felt a bit settled and it was easy for once. Perhaps I was comparing myself to a standard of where a 30-something-year-old should be in her life.
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It doesn’t really matter why though, does it? I wasn’t truly happy. And I knew that deep down inside my heart (I think my ex knew too - and that wasn’t fair to him either). I was cheating myself out of a life I deserved. And in doing so, impacting those around me.
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I think I needed something dramatic to shake me and wake me up and get me to move on. (and oh boy, I sure got that).
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Moving on is difficult. Even when you’ve accepted that the “home” you have created is not actually yours. It is still hard to leave.
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But once you’ve found the courage to take the first step (or you get booted out the front door, in my case, ha!) you get to choose how to move forward. You get to choose how you paint your brand new canvas. And I see so much power in that.
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It won’t always be easy. It won’t always be pretty. It will be a lot of hard work with some painful realizations along the way.
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You will cry. You will have to learn to forgive (yourself and others). You will have to learn from your past mistakes. And then you will move on. Only you have the ability to turn the page and start writing a new chapter.
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To those feeling stuck, unsettled or unhappy; I hope you find the courage to take your first step towards change. It doesn’t have to be a big one, and it will be scary, but I promise you are stronger than you know.
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You can reinvent yourself as much as you’d like and you don’t have to let that one "thing” you hang onto be the thing that defines you.
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❤️.

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