Tasty Lake

This area gets more popular every year. Back in 2011 it was possible to camp here and be the only group. I’m not sure that’s true any more – we had planned to backpack here on the weekend of 23/24 July but changed plans once we saw a group of at least a dozen setting off as we pulled up… It’s a wilderness camping area with no facilities but I suspect it’s now in need of an outhouse to keep things clean.

After setting up our tents, four of us set off up onto the Flatiron for a gentle ramble with scenic highlights. This was the view back down towards the tents. As we arrived, part of the cornice on the snowpatch below broke off and rumbled down the snow slope – the fragments can just be seen on the lower slopes near the lake. Our plan for the next day was to summit Needle Peak. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas and we awoke to thick fog and limited visibility – not the kind of day for climbing a peak! And so I was thwarted again in attempting to get to the peak, but I finally made it in 2015, and it was worth it – it’s a fun scramble (if nervy in a couple of spots) and the views are simply stunning. Can’t wait to go back – on a quieter day.

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Beach bear

It’s waterfall/wildflower/wildlife Wednesday, so I’m posting one of each from our recent Cape Scott trip. If you go down to the beach today, you’re in for a big surprise… The two of us were just about to exit the forest as we reached Experiment Bight when we looked up and saw this bear digging in the seaweed on the beach, exactly where we were going to hike. It took over two minutes of bear-soothing chatter to get it to move along far enough for us to make a quick move over the shingle and out of its way. As it walked past, I swear it gave us the most reproachful look ever!

It's waterfall/wildflower/wildlife Wednesday, so I'm posting one of each from our recent Cape Scott trip. If you go down to the beach today, you're in for a big surprise… The two of us were just about to exit the forest as we reached Experiment Bight when we looked up and saw this bear digging in the seaweed on the beach, exactly where we were going to hike. It took over two minutes of bear-soothing chatter to get it to move along far enough for us to make a quick move over the shingle and out of its way. As it walked past, I swear it gave us the most reproachful look ever! #wildlifewednesday #bear #blackbear #capescotttrail #capescottprovincialpark #experimentbight #hiking #backpacking #camping #optoutside #explorebc #explorevanisle #vancouverisland #bcparks

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It took us until our fifth day to see a bear. We’d had a close encounter of sorts at Nissen Bight, where a bear had ripped apart a log right next to the food cache while we were relaxing on the sand. I always want to see bears, but I have to admit this was about as close as I ever want to get to one. Even though this was a peaceful encounter (we had time to switch lenses on the camera!), there was always that thought at the back of my mind about dealing with an angry bear. Thankfully we just had to deal with a grumpy bear who just wanted to seek out breakfast. Once we were past we looked back to watch it dig into the next patch of seaweed in search of tasty morsels. Tasty to a bear, that is.

The King of Gentian

It’s waterfall/wildflower/wildlife Wednesday, so I’m posting one of each from our Cape Scott trip. King or blue gentian lined the trail at most of the boggy sections, adding a splash of colour to an often uninviting landscape. The nice thing about these sections, though, was that they were brighter than the deep rainforest. Plus they smelled just like the New Forest where I grew up. Loved it!

Gentian is another one of those flowers that stops us in our tracks, much to the amusement (and bemusement) of our hiking friends. We’re not sure why, but it could be that it’s relatively rare (if locally abundant). There’s a spot near Vancouver where this blooms in late August (called Blue Gentian Lake for obvious reasons!) but it’s always nice to find it elsewhere. We found our first patch on the way in to San Josef Bay, and then more (much more!) in the peat bogs as we neared the northern coast. We saw so much that in the end even I walked past without stopping to take pictures. Eventually…!

Fairy glen

It’s waterfall/wildflower/wildlife Wednesday, so I’m posting one of each from our Cape Scott trip. This little fairy glen waterfall was the source of our drinking water at San Josef Bay. It might look pretty here but it was the colour of tea, and had a taste to match!

We’d been warned about the state of the water on the Cape Scott Trail. At San Josef Bay, we had to hike through to the western end of the second beach to find this little trickle. But what a pretty little trickle! I loved the double cascade and the way the water foamed slightly and how it spread out over the surface. It was tricky keeping the camera steady enough for this as it’s about a quarter of a second exposure. I find it much easier to brace myself when using the SLR for these kinds of photos; holding the little compact camera out in front of me (and in portrait orientation) required me to be very calm and relaxed, and to remember the trick of taking the picture as I exhaled. Of the 4 that I took, it was my second shot that was the winner.

Then there was the matter of the water that we’d filtered – it truly was the colour of weak tea but I have to say the taste was much milder than I expected, so we were quite able to drink it straight from our Platypuses.

Tent by moonlight

We’re just back from two weeks on Vancouver Island and have some catching up to do 🙂 We took over 2000 photos and filled 3 16GB memory cards… In the meantime, here’s a shot of our tent lit by moonlight at Baby Bedwell Lake from last Friday after the mosquitoes had finally gone to bed. I was hoping to catch a Perseid or two but caught a satellite instead. You may be able to make out the Andromeda galaxy, M31, if you look closely enough…

This night we’d retired to the tent before it got dark as the mosquitoes were getting way too annoying. Which meant we had to get up again before settling down to sleep to attend the call of nature. By then the moon had risen and was illuminating the landscape around us perfectly well for me to see without my headlamp. And the bugs had gone, so I was able to lie on the rocks for a while and just enjoy the warm night air. By now everyone else had crawled into their tents and the campground was still and quiet. Perfect conditions for a few night photographs.

I remember being captivated by a long exposure photograph taken under full moonlight that showed a landscape and stars. Since then – which was back in 1990 or thereabouts – I’ve wanted to recreate something similar. This is a 30-second exposure – not long enough really to capture the light properly, but it’s always hard to tell at the time since the camera screen is so bright relative to the surroundings. Next time I know to try for a minute or so. And now that it’s later in the year, the moon will be higher in the sky and thus a little brighter too. OK – roll on some nice September and October weekends!

Cape Scott

Cape Scott 2016: 60 km of coastal rainforest and beach hiking. Six days of beautiful sandy beaches, the waves lulling us to sleep, eagles & ospreys, water the colour of tea, and a bear that didn’t want to be disturbed from its beach breakfast! 🙂

Not much I can add to that really – I was blown away by how nice it was, and the trip far exceeded my expectations. We weren’t expecting to see sand dollars, but of course they’re still a novelty for us so we couldn’t help but collect a few of the best specimens on the beach. It’s not for us to take them home so we thought we’d just take a photo to remind ourselves, especially as we’d collected a nice array of different sizes. Initially I was just going to line them up in size order, but then I got the idea to create a spiral pattern. Maria then added the words, and finally the little heart in the middle 🙂 That pretty much sums up how we felt about the trip.

Becher to it

Not much of a view from Mt Becher today, but still a lovely hike through subalpine forest

It’s the start of our holiday and of course the sunshine by the coast gave way to clouds in the mountains. And not just any clouds, clouds at the perfect height to obscure the views. Still, we enjoyed the hike, and it reminded us how much we liked the terrain of the Forbidden Plateau. I attempted a few misty meadow shots but none really grabbed me. In the end I liked the simplicity of this view of tall trees and little people.