Beach love

A Valentine’s Day greeting on the beach.

A Valentine's Day greeting on the beach #beachlove #blackiespit #beach #crescentbeach #shell #clam

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I’d seen many great bird photos that had been taken in Blackie Spit park so I thought I’d check it out myself on a dull, blustery Valentine’s Day. I saw a couple of eagles out on the mud flats, and an armada of unidentified dabbling ducks, but that was about it. I guess – like many “good” birding spots – it’s not that the birds are always there, and getting a good photo requires being in the right place at the right time. Walking back along the beach towards the car I spotted something bright and colourful on a log, which turned out to be a painted clam shell above. I thought it was an apt message for the day, and much easier to photograph than a distant bird.

Lupines and Paintbrush

It’s wildflower Wednesday again – lupines and paintbrush on a green backdrop.

Manning Park is famous for its wildflower meadows and the first time we hiked the Heather Trail we found ourselves stopping every few minutes to photograph yet another patch of flowers. We’d just spent the night camped by Poland Lake and had already filled our eyes (and memory cards) with flowers of all colours. I was especially pleased to find some good patches of my favourite, glacier lilies in an open meadow not far from the lake. After a decade of exploring the BC backcountry, I’ve come to realize that the alpine wildflower displays are what I look forward to most of all when it comes to summer hiking.

Pierce Lake

Lower Pierce Lake with Mt Cheam and friends on the horizon, taken from the summit of Mt MacFarlane. Beautiful place, but sadly too-often visited by campers who either don’t know or don’t care about Leave No Trace. Campfires and litter are the worst problems (sometimes together) even up here above the treeline.

We camped by this lake, and were very grateful to whomever had tidied up before us, which included dealing with multiple old campfires that had been set right in the middle of the best camping spots. I mean, really – who does that? Still, we had a fantastic trip and this view made it all worthwhile. We also saw a mother bear and her 2 cubs!

Lower Pierce Lake with Mt Cheam and friends on the horizon, taken from the summit of Mt MacFarlane. Beautiful place, but sadly too-often visited by campers who either don't know or don't care about #LeaveNoTrace. Campfires and litter are the worst problems (sometimes together) even up here above the treeline. We camped by this lake, and were very grateful to whomever had tidied up before us, which included dealing with multiple old campfires that had been set right in the middle of the best camping spots. I mean, really – who does that? Still, we had a fantastic trip and this view made it all worthwhile. We also saw a mother bear and her 2 cubs! #LeaveNoTraceTuesday #PierceLake #LowerPierceLake #CheamRange #mountmacfarlane #chilliwack #chilliwackrivervalley #explorebc #beautifulbritishcolumbia #mountainlife #backpacking #hiking #scrambling #lnt

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This trip was probably the toughest overnighter I’ve ever done, as we hauled our full backpacks 7 km and over 1000 m in elevation to the lake on a hot September day. We set off for the summit the next morning, climbing another 800 m to the top of Mt MacFarlane. While getting to the lake was a slog, the hike up to the peak was a joy as we picked our way through meadows and scrambled the ridge to the top. And what a view awaited us! A sea of jagged peaks all around, including the striking Border Peaks and Mt Slesse. Such an incredible sight. Next time we’ll camp at the upper lake – provided we can backpack a little lighter!

Garibaldi

Last light on Garibaldi. Pink snow and a pink sky.

This photo was taken from the pedestrian bridge over Highway 99 at the parking lot for the Stawamus Chief. When the light gets this low it’s a bit of a challenge to keep the camera steady because the bridge flexes as people walk on it. Not much, but enough to jiggle you and/or the camera. The other problem with taking this shot is you have to be very careful not to drop anything into the four lanes of speeding traffic below… Tip: either pocket your lens cap before walking onto the bridge, or get one that attaches to your camera.

Superb Owl

An intense glare from a northern pygmy owl, for Superb-Owl-Sunday 😀 I saw this pun earlier in the day and couldn’t resist contributing an owl picture of my own.

I was on my way back down from the top of Hollyburn when I heard a nuthatch in a nearby tree. I stopped and readied the camera only to be distracted by movement. I caught a fleeting glimpse of a thrush-sized ball of feathers as it landed a few metres up the trail. I raised the camera, fired off two shots, and then it flew off again.

Witch hazel

Winter blossom from witch hazel, the first cheery reminder that spring will be along soon, at least here in Vancouver 🙂 Normally these bloom mid-January – maybe they’re late this year, or perhaps they bloomed on time and it just took me a fortnight to notice… Either way it always cheers me up when I see them.

I’ve been walking in to work as often as I can since the start of the new year, and I noticed these blooms for the first time just this week. How did I miss them before? I must have walked past this tree half-a-dozen times, and somehow had completely missed them.

I always like to see the unusual yellow filaments of the witch hazel flowers as they’re one of the first (if not the first) plants to bloom as the days begin to lengthen. Helps me make it through the dismal grey days of January.

Squirrel!

Neither chipmunk nor marmot (I’ve heard them called both) but a golden-mantled ground squirrel. On a rock at Moraine Lake. Eating, and looking cute. Naturally.

Another photo from our 2011 trip to the Rockies, we saw lots of these little critters including one that ran right across our picnic table in search of a snack.

It shouldn’t annoy me but it does when people call them chipmunks… I just want to yell, “THEY’RE NOT CHIPMUNKS!” Chipmunks have a stripe across their eyes; these critters do not. And marmots are waaay bigger 🙂