A hazy view

The Stawamus Chief as seen from the Tantalus Lookout, about 17 km away through a hazy valley. The colour version of this photo had next to no contrast or detail, but converting it to black and white allows for a clearer view.

I took this photo on our way back home after a day out in Whistler with my Mum and Dad. It was a clearer view than in the morning, but not by much. I really like the fact that Shannon Falls are visible, and it puts them in perspective next to the giant monolith of the Chief.

Strawberry fields

Fresh strawberries grown at the UBC farm and picked in this morning’s driving rain

Today was the annual Day of Giving where Telus employees and family help out with community projects across the country. This year we decided to help out at the UBC farm, and were looking forward to a nice morning of light farm labour. The weather had other ideas, though, and we had the heaviest rain we’ve had in months descend on us this morning. We got soaked as we worked our way along the rows of strawberry plants, picking the ripe fruit for sale at their farmer’s market. After an hour or so of picking in the pouring rain, the organizers decided that we’d done enough and we needed to go and get warm and dry. No one complained about that! We did at least get to taste what we were picking – as expected, the berries were absolutely delicious! Definitely in a strawberry mood now 🙂

Flying mirror

Flying in mirror formation

Flying in mirror formation #crows #throwbackthursday #TBT #OATS #OnceAroundTheSun

A post shared by Andy Gibb (@_andy_gibb_) on

I always liked this shot of two crows as they flew past our balcony. It bugs me that the photo isn’t as sharp as it could be, but it’s good enough 🙂 Re-reading my OATS blog entry for this photo I was reminded of the moments leading up to taking the photo, which again makes me glad that I wrote down those memories.


Wild strawberries! I’ve seen the flowers so often but the berries only rarely so this little patch was a treat. It was tempting to try them but in the end I thought the squirrels needed them more than me.

Wild strawberries grow all over the place in southwest BC, from sea-level up to the sub-alpine. I see the leaves and the flowers but only very rarely have I seen the actual fruit. The first time was on a hike in Wells Gray provincial park, and then again near Lake O’Hara. Apart from that strawberry sightings have been pretty much non-existent.

This little patch was on one of the western paths in Stanley Park in the section that suffered so badly in the storm of 2006. About a dozen strawberry plants were in simultaneous flower and fruit, and it was so very tempting to pick them. Then I remembered two things: 1) the fruit was at ankle level, which means dog level and everything that implies; and 2) that I can buy strawberries at almost any time of year (especially right at this moment) and I really didn’t need anything to eat at that point, whereas the animals that call Stanley Park home only have this little window of opportunity to feast on strawberries. So I left them alone. It just felt like the right thing to do.


Pinnipeds! A rock full of sea lions (both Steller and California) for throwback Thursday

Five years ago on the Victoria Day long weekend, we spent a few nights near Lund on the Sunshine Coast. We treated ourselves to a day trip out to Mitlenatch Island where we got to see countless sea lions, seals, dolphins, and wildflowers (on the island, naturally). The fine folks at Terracentric Adventures shared their vast local knowledge and history, and fed us a tasty lunch on the beach. A great day out – highly recommended if you’re in the area!


Munch, went the bear. This was going to be a Leave-No-Trace Tuesday post about not feeding wildlife after reading about that guy feeding a bear on the road to Tofino, but then midnight came and went and it morphed into a Wildlife Wednesday post instead 🙂

My parents are visiting for a week, and with a nice sunny day forecast I couldn’t resist taking them on a tour of the Sea-to-Sky highway up to Whistler. We drove up the Callaghan Valley road, ostensibly to visit Alexander Falls, but I had bear sightings at the back of my mind. I’ve driven up this road perhaps half-a-dozen times or more and only seen bears once before. Today we got lucky, and had the road to ourselves while we stopped to watch this bear munch away on the grass. That was good enough for us – and then we saw a second bear on the drive back down the road!


Ghostly white salal flowers. Had a relaxing walk through Lighthouse Park today, spotting Columbia lilies, starflower, coralroot, wild rose, and salmonberry along the way. Plus we saw several very vocal eagles, Anna’s hummingbirds, an Audubon’s warbler, noisy wrens, and a gorgeous Western tanager (a first!) – and a sea lion too 🙂 A pretty good haul for an hour and a half’s wanderings.

Salal flowers are most often tinged with pink so I couldn’t resist getting a picture of these pure white versions. We’d seen some white ones on the hike to Lynn Peak yesterday though none were in good light and I decided to just wait, given that salal is very common around here. Turns out that I didn’t have to wait very long 🙂

It’s always nice to wander around Lighthouse Park, among the big firs and cedars, and constant birdsong, even when it’s busy and you encounter noisy groups complete with unleashed barking dogs. We turned off onto a few of the less-well travelled trails and left the noisiness behind.