Happy Snowdrop Saturday 🙂 They’re just starting to bloom in the gardens of Vancouver.
Remarkably, this is my 100th post on Instagram. I started on Instagram as an experiment back in July 2015 for two reasons. The first was simply to get to know Instagram as a platform from the perspective of a long-time Flickr user. The second was as a place to put my (crappy) phone photos (hence my [former] Instagram name, fonetoes, as in photos from my phone – it seemed clever at the time…).
I had a number of preconceived notions about Instagram, some of which have been proved right, but mostly I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the quality of photographs I’ve seen. I still prefer Flickr as the primary location for our photos, but Instagram does have a fun element to it that Flickr doesn’t satisfy.
I quickly realized that just uploading my crappy phone photos wouldn’t be a very satisfying use of Instagram, so I began to include the occasional photo taken with one of our SLRs. But the convenience of uploading direct from a cell phone is hard to beat. The next best thing is to have a camera that can link up with a phone and so maintain that ability to see something, take a photo, and upload it. And so I bought a Sony RX100II which can do exactly that, and I’ve been very happy with it as it gives me the best of both worlds.
Of course that means I’m now having a bit of an existential crisis as my username isn’t really appropriate any more, but my first choice is not available. Looks like I’m stuck with it.
Update: except it turns out that I’m not stuck with it. I found a new name I could live with. My own. 🙂
For all of us who missed Throwback Thursday, there’s always Flashback Friday! Today I dug back into the archives for a photo taken a decade ago, almost to the day. We were new to snowshoeing and loved getting out into the snow at every opportunity no matter the weather. I never thought it would happen, but these days I’m a bit of a snow snob, and won’t go out if I think it’s not going to be good snow. Snowshoeing has also become so popular on Vancouver’s North Shore mountains that I find it way too busy up there now and the fun has gone out of it. If only I were a morning person so I could get up early enough to beat the crowds…
Some things don’t change: the whisky jacks are still as cute as ever, and are always on the lookout for food. But over the past 10 years I think that ravens have become less timid, have muscled in on the whisky jacks’ action, and are now more likely to be the ones stealing your food when you’re not looking. Keep your food close to you, and your backpacks closed, lest they make off with anything colourful – I know someone who lost their microspikes to a raven looking for food!
This is the scary view of Helmcken Falls, just a few feet from a sheer 140-m plunge into the bowl below. Unlike the main tourist viewpoint, there is no safety fence here, nothing to stop you falling into the maelstrom below. Make no mistake, this was a damn scary place to be – the falls are really loud and intimidating, and the edge of the cliff overhangs slightly. The four of us found that the best way to deal with it was to sit or lie down a few feet back from the edge; that felt much safer. There was a small tree to hang on to which we used to peer over the edge. Still gives me butterflies…
The get a more visceral sense of where this photo was taken check out the short video clip I took: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUmSwOK4tFk
To get here is a 45-60 min walk on a level, forested trail. To be honest, it’s a pretty boring walk but the adrenaline rush of being so exposed more than makes up for that!
Photos of Helmcken Falls really do not do it justice; you have to see it with your own eyes to appreciate the scale and power of the falls and the bowl into which they drop 140 m (460 ft). This viewpoint across the valley is safely behind a fence and offers a fantastic view of the falls. I could have stayed here all day.
One of the problems with photos of waterfalls is that they are static; video helps get a better idea of the scale and movement of the water. This short clip was taken at the same viewpoint as the photo above: https://youtu.be/81rix6hTbo4
The jagged peaks of Mt Hozameen, as seen from the Heather Trail near First Brother in Manning Park. This photo was taken on a snowshoe trip back in Mar 2013 where a group of us headed up the Fat Dog trail and continued up into the alpine to reach the Heather Trail. This was my third attempt at this trail, both previous attempts failing to get this far due to time constraints. It was worth every step.
To me, this mountain is one of the most recognizable features when hiking in Manning Park, though it’s not in the park itself, lying a few kilometres south of the Canada-US border. The closest approach is a little-used trail along a ridge that leads to one of the border monuments (Monument 74), but the view isn’t so good from there as the peaks are significantly foreshortened. I think the best view is from either Line Goat or Snow Camp mountains on the nearby Skyline II trail.