Reflecting and relaxing

Linus Peak and the Fawlty Tower reflected in a snowmelt pool

I learned a lot about meadows this weekend. We pitched our tent on a dry patch, confirmed by sitting down for a couple of minutes and getting up with a dry bum. And yet not 10 m further upslope from our spot was a respectable patch of snow gradually melting into a little pond. To my surprise (and photographic delight) the reflection of the peaks encircling the meadow in the pond was near perfect, and I couldn’t resist snapping a few shots.

A tiny creek drained across the meadow away from our tent, but no water seeped through to our campsite, a quirk of local soil and rock types I guess. Our tent site sprouted a number of creeping phlox flowers which I’ve only seen growing in dry areas, so that’s something to watch for in the future when searching out a place to pitch a tent!


Room with a view

Room with a view – it was nice to celebrate National Trails Day by meeting the folks who’d built the trail we hiked to get here. Thank you!

We weren’t really expecting to get out on a backpacking trip so early in the season, but I was inspired by a recent visit to this area by a friend (whose photos showed the snow disappearing fast) and by my glacier lily sightings from earlier in the week. More on the glacier lilies we saw here in future posts, but after a long drive it almost felt like cheating to spend so little time hiking to reach the alpine and set up our tent in a nice dry snow-free patch of meadow.

The order of the day was definitely relaxation, and so rather than try and bag any peaks, we just hung out. The sun was warm (almost too warm!), the nearby creek was the perfect volume, the flowers were blooming all over the place, and there were no bugs to bite us! We couldn’t believe our luck. Of course, camping so high (we were at 2150 m or 7050 ft) it got pretty chilly after the sun went down but we were cosy enough in our tent.

I was almost tempted to claim a summit, but I just couldn’t be bothered to move as the following day dawned. A fantastic leisurely and relaxing weekend 🙂

Flowers and mountains

Flowers and mountains – the summer hiking season is here 🙂

Who can resist the bright colour of Indian paintbrush against green foliage, blue sky, and white mountains? Another photo from my Wanderung hike up to Elk Mountain last Tuesday.

Wriggly road

Wriggly road – my favourite stretch of the bike ride in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. Well, apart from the downhill bits 🙂

The bike ride up to the Seymour dam is, for the most part, pretty boring and not very photogenic. The exception is the last km or so through a grove of beautiful old-growth forest, and this section where the road makes these very cute little wiggles back and forth. I was hoping to catch some fellow cyclists to add some human interest, but the light level was too low to avoid motion blur. So this will have to do.

Look what I found!

Look what I found! 🙂 My first glacier lily of the year, near the summit of Thurston Peak. One of about 50 flower types we saw yesterday – the summer bloom is well underway! A glorious day of hiking finished off with great pie at Chilliwack airport.

What more can I say, really? The patch of glacier lilies I knew that grew on Elk itself was long past flowering, though the chocolate lilies were pretty much at their peak. Our goal was to reach the summit of Thurston (on my 5th visit here), but at the back of my mind was the chance that we might see some of my favourite flowers where the snow was lingering. About 50 m short of the peak (such as it is…) I saw my first glacier lily of 2016. Yay! I let the others go on while I picked my way through the spring beauty to get my obligatory lily shots. Of course, when I joined them at the summit I saw even more 🙂 And, just like those on Zoa Peak that I saw last year, they were tiny! Some of the flowers were barely the size of my thumb.

And then to top it all off, we got pie at the airport. Oh, and the views from Elk were quite nice too! A pretty good day in my books 🙂

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 🙂