Brandywine Glacier

Another angle on the Brandywine Glacier from last Friday.

I’ve been following the progress of photographer Quentin Lake as he hikes the entire coastline of Britain, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing his photographs and what he makes of the landscape (and seascape) around him. His ability to find interesting shapes and patterns has inspired me to look for similar things when I’m outdoors. In particular he frequently manages to find angles and intersecting lines that make for visually striking photos. This photo of the edge of Brandywine Mountain and the glacier below is my attempt to mimic this style. It’s not perfect (the shadows are a bit distracting in my view), but I’m still pretty happy with it.

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Bears in a tree

Bear! Where? Up there! A mother and cub in a ponderosa pine. Bears have been visiting Hardy Falls for the past several years, and the park is usually closed at this time of year to let them feed in peace on the kokanee salmon that spawn in the creek

In September 2011, one of our contacts on Flickr had posted photos of bears near Hardy Falls, and after our annual visit to Naramata for wine, dance, and music we called in to see if we could catch a glimpse. Well we got more than a glimpse! Within minutes of our arrival, a bear ran along the top of the canyon rim, down to the creek and across before racing straight up one of these big pines. What we didn’t see was the other bears with it – turns out we’d spotted (and been spotted by) a mother and her two cubs. The second cub had clambered up a different tree. It was the first time we’d seen a bear climb a tree and we were immediately in awe of its abilities.

Satisfied with that encounter, we left the bears alone and carried on up the creek past the spawning salmon to visit the waterfall. On our way back down another bear ventured down into the canyon, running across the path not 10 metres ahead of us! It disappeared into the bushes to our right though we did see it again briefly as it paused by a fallen log. We walked on out back to the car and the long drive back to Vancouver. Every year since then the park has been closed to allow the bears to feed in peace.

Brandywine Falls

Cloudy days have their upsides – can you see the person sitting at the top of the falls?

I’ve taken more than a few photos of this waterfall but somehow it’s always been a sunny (or at least bright) day. On the plus side that means I’ve often captured a rainbow. Today Jen and I called in after our hike to Joffre Lakes and as I was sizing up my shots, I realized that the light level was low enough for me to get a longer exposure. So I dropped the ISO down to 100, closed the aperture down and put the polarizer in front of the lens. All this got me a half-second exposure – perfect, though I really had to work to keep the camera steady against the railing. But I managed (thankfully there weren’t any people walking around on the wooden platform) and I’m really quite pleased with the photo.

Then I noticed the person sitting at the top of the falls… I’ve stood near that point and I can promise you it’s a pretty scary place to be. But on the plus side, remember what I was saying about getting a sense of scale with waterfalls? That person at the top immediately makes the 70-m (230-foot) drop look like a long way. For that, I’m grateful to whomever they are.

Leaf no trace

It’s leaf no trace Tuesday! 🙂 The rhododendron bushes added a great splash of colour to the forest at Joffre Lakes, and made the lakes look even more spectacular. I was puzzled by a few things along the trail that were packed in but not packed out: a broken Thermos flask just left on a rock, gas canister for a camping stove, the inevitable plastic water bottle (half full), and most bizarrely, a trio of hardback books propped up on a rock as if on sale. Seeing the books (which were not there on the hike in) reminded me of the time when we found a copy of Gideon’s bible perched on a rock. That rock was on the trail to – you guessed it – Joffre Lakes. I don’t get it. Is there something about this trail that compels people to leave stuff behind?

It's leaf no trace Tuesday! 🙂 The rhododendron bushes added a great splash of colour to the forest at Joffre Lakes, and made the lakes look even more spectacular. I was puzzled by a few things along the trail that were packed in but not packed out: a broken Thermos flask just left on a rock, gas canister for a camping stove, the inevitable plastic water bottle (half full), and most bizarrely, a trio of hardback books propped up on a rock as if on sale. Seeing the books (which were not there on the hike in) reminded me of the time when we found a copy of Gideon's bible perched on a rock. That rock was on the trail to – you guessed it – Joffre Lakes. I don't get it. Is there something about this trail that compels people to leave stuff behind? #leavenotracetuesday #lnt #LeaveNoTrace #joffrelakes #joffrelakesprovincialpark #hiking #explorebc #beautifulbritishcolumbia #fall #autumn #bcparks

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A lovely cool overcast day to hike up to Joffre Lakes. Our friend Jen hadn’t seen them before and we figured that now was a good time to visit as the summer insanity had subsided. That’s not to say it was deserted – we encountered many people along the trail (a sizeable fraction of whom were committing the cardinal backcountry sin of wearing jeans) – but it was still a mostly peaceful day.

I’ve only visited the lakes in summer too, so it made a nice change to visit them in the autumn as the berry bushes changed colour. Lots of yellows, golds, and reds today which made for a wonderful contrast against the colours of the lakes. It was a good reminder of precisely why this hike is so popular.

A dozen years later…

Winter is coming… Garibaldi gets a dusting of fresh snow. Today is 12 years since I first saw this view 🙂

Sometimes things just line up right. Like yesterday’s fine weather and the fact that it was almost 12 years to the day that I first hiked to Elfin Lakes. I couldn’t resist organizing a hike to recreate that first trip – our first proper hike in BC (the Grouse Grind doesn’t count) and our very first hike with Wanderung. I remember feeling a little underwhelmed as the day was hot, the trail was hard and dusty, and we struggled with the distance: my feet were really sore by the end of the day. Twelve years of hiking in BC has me viewing this hike as being pretty easy these days – after all, a couple of years ago we backpacked up to the shelter (11 km) in 3 hours. At night. However, I have come to appreciate this trail more and more over the years for the gentle gradient and expansive views it offers compared with so many of the local trails.

Brandy, wine, ice

Brandy, wine, ice. With Pyroclastic and Cayley for company.

Perhaps my favourite photo from yesterday’s hike to Brandywine Mountain. This summit has quickly become one of my favourite with its relatively easy access (with a car that has enough clearance and oomph to get up a steep, bumpy logging road), gorgeous meadows, and absolutely stunning views. Ridiculously scenic is how I describe this hike/scramble.

More details can be found on my trip summary on Live Trails.