Descend With(out) Caution: VanCity and Buckin' Hell Trail Race

Photography by  Ty Holten

Photography by Ty Holten

I showed up to Vancouver with a pair of muddy trail shoes, a hydration pack slightly sticky still from the Great Gu Incident of July 2019, and as many intentions as I could cram into my sister’s snowboarding duffle bag from the early 90’s. I use the word ‘intentions’, well, intentionally. I didn’t really have any concrete plans for this adventure, aside from showing up to a race I had been warned might leave me screaming obscenities (if I had any energy left to scream). And along the way, the trip bent and wobbled and curved; leading me towards people, places, and moments I will remember fondly. This is my new favorite way to travel, sans a concrete plan. Adventure, people…ad-ven-ture.


I direct you to this informal Table of Contents. If you are browsing through for race tips about Buckin’ Hell (produced by Gary Robbins & the Coast Mountain Series), go ahead and scroll to the bottom. BUT FIRST…hear me out. My articles and travel guides are ‘through composed.’ Each paragraph gently holding your hand and leading you effortlessly into the next. And pretty soon, you are across the finish line with a cold bev of your choice. Sounds so nice, right?


I have a confession. I did not spend my ENTIRE trip in Vancouver. In fact, upon landing at YVR, I got the hell outta dodge. Rented a car and drove a solid 4.5 hours east towards a town called Kelowna in BC. But that story is for another article. So let us begin at the rental car return garage in Vancouver. I meandered my way towards the SkyTrain platform (an incredibly convenient and fast means of transportation to get you from the airport to Downtown Vancouver. See schedules here).


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When I travel for races, I like to scope out some eateries ahead of time that are going to be GREAT choices for athletes. It was easy to fall in love with Buddha-Full. I visited the location off Dollarton Hwy in North Van (they have another location in Lower Lonsdale AND a rad mobile eatery they call the ‘Buddha-Bus’ that can be found all over Vancouver). I got to sit down with owners Geremie Voigt & Kyla Rawlins to ask them how Buddha-Full came to be. “We used to have donated church pews as seating in our original location.” Voigt and Rawlins created this hip, vegan-friendly haven from essentially nothing. The donations of the community and the passion they both poured into each work day from sun up to sun down. Buddha-Full was the first organic, raw vegan and gluten-free cafe on the North Shore, opening its doors for the first time in 2010. Now that is pretty cool.

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From their colorful and fun food photography on social media to the thoughtful and welcoming decor of their actual eating spaces, I was sold even before the first forkful passed my lips. Check out my favorites below (or visit their full menu here).

Bohemian Soul Bowl

Bohemian Soul Bowl


lemon tahini + roasted yam + carrot + beet + chard + cashew queso + short grain brown rice + purple cabbage + sauerkraut


diced kale + house made zesty peanut dressing + carrot shreds + organic smoked tofu + hemp hearts

Lobo Smoothie

Lobo Smoothie


sprouted almond mylk + organic peanut butter + hemp protein + banana + dates


gluten free oats + quinoa flakes + sunflower seeds + almonds + dried fruits + coconut + flax + chia + turmeric + ceylon cinnamon + maple syrup + banana + raspberries + mylk


orange + turmeric + carrot + black pepper + ginger


espresso + coconut oil + hemp hearts (sugar-regulating)

Buddha-Full Granola Bowl

Buddha-Full Granola Bowl

Golden Aura Juice

Golden Aura Juice

Katie Godec