Monday, June 29, 2009

Nootka Trail

Last week I backpacked the Nootka Trail with two friends from Battle Ground over four days. The difficulty level was at least that of the Wonderland Trail which I did around Mt. Rainier last summer. We also had to deal with some nasty weather as we were pelted by sideways blowing pouring rain nearly the entire second day of our hike. The hike was a great experience though and it was a good way to end my short summer break before the beginning of my third year of medical school.

After driving about midway up Vancouver Island we reached Gold River, BC where we boarded a pontoon plane to be dropped off at Louie Bay on Nootka Island.

Driftwood provided plentiful fuel for a bonfire with which we entertained ourselves on the first night of the trip. The weather so far had been partly cloudy but perfect for hiking in.
The perfect weather did not last and the second day of our hike nearly everything we had was at least damp, even with the protection of a rain poncho. We made it to Calvin Falls, the largest waterfall along the coast on the second day.
At Calvin Falls we found a makeshift hut which saved us from getting any more soaked the night we arrived. We made a fire and dried out our clothes at Calvin the next morning. I also took advantage of the creek to wash my hair and face.
Along many parts of the trail there are many tide pools with some interesting sea life. Not visible in this picture are the many different species of small crabs we observed on the trip. We also had a wolf run through our campsite on the first morning and saw many bald eagles. We saw a lot of bear tracks on the beach but didn't see any bears.
The third day we hiked from Calvin Falls to Beano Creek in good weather. The fourth day from Beano to the tidal lagoon provided some of the most picturesque views from the tops of sea cliffs we hiked over.
From the tidal lagoon it was a short hike to Yuquot the small village on an Indian reservation on the southern tip of the Island. Yuquot has a lot of interesting history. It was one of the most important ports on the west coast at one time, it was near the site of Spain's most northerly outpost and it was the site of the meeting between Captains Bodega and Cook when Spain ceded what is now British Columbia to the British in 1792.
Now all that remains at Yuquot are privately owned cabins, a Roman church with many native wood-carvings and a lighthouse. From Friendly Cove at Yuquot we caught a small ferry back to Gold River where we had parked our car to get on the plane.
As with other backpacking and hiking trips I've done, hanging out with friends was the best part. But Nootka offered an amazing amount of natural beauty, wildlife and history.

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skys,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.


Sunday, June 21, 2009


Well, it's over. I took the test, probably the biggest of my life so far. I was thankful that my parents agreed to drive me down to the testing center in Portland, giving me some last minute studying time. I even got one question right as a result of that time on the drive down. The test itself didn't seem too bad, other than the length - 336 questions, most of which were vignettes of patients with one mystery disease or another. I used a program called USMLE World which has thousands of practice questions with good explanations for the correct answers. Out of any step 1 prep I did, the USMLE World questions were the best. I tried to make a habit of listening to sermons after studying all day most days for the last few weeks. I've become a big fan of Paul Washer lately and some of the best sermons I listened to last week were of Washer preaching on the Song of Songs. I'm headed up to Vancouver Island in Canada tomorrow morning for a backpacking trip on Nootka Island. Expect some pictures next weekend.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Random Update #4

The last few weeks have been a sort of blogging hiatus for me as I've put most of my time and energy into preparing for the Step 1 USMLE, otherwise known as the medical board exam. Many would say that this is the single most important test that a future physician will ever take. This test does a lot to determine a medical student's competitiveness for various residencies after med school. I'm taking the test on June 20th in Portland, Ore., and I'm attempting to spend 8-10 hours studying each day up until then. I'm very happy to be back in Battle Ground, Washington where I've mostly been hanging out at a local coffee shop to study.

One of the big events during my "break" this year was the wedding of one of my best friends. My friend Josh and his bride, Lacie, tied the knot at Vancouver Apostolic Lutheran Church on Saturday. I was honored to be a groomsman in the wedding which was the best I had ever been to. The wedding was very focused on how the marital covenant finds its definition in Scripture and the officiant gave a short message where the traditional, Scriptural view of the complimentary roles of the man and woman in marriage were presented. He also talked about the way in which the marriage relationship reflects the relationship between Christ and the Church. But above the message and the presence of friends, it was the powerful and blessed presence of the Holy Spirit which truly made this wedding a wonderful experience.