The beginning of a year-long journey

Throwback Thursday to the day 5 years ago almost to the day when I embarked on a photo-a-day project, which I called ‘Once Around The Sun’ (for obvious reasons…). It pretty much started on a whim as I was exploring Lighthouse Park in search of fawn lilies. I didn’t find any that day, so I started with this unfurling trillium flower instead. Little did I know just what I was taking on 🙂 But, hey, now I have a year’s supply of TBT photos to choose from 🙂

The project turned into a blog too if you want to find out how it all ended: once-around-the-sun.blogspot.com.

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Water-colour

Takakkaw Falls and a late afternoon rainbow for waterfall Wednesday

I took the above photo on the same day I took the photo of the moon over Cathedral Crags. I knew there would be a rainbow in the spray, as a few days earlier we’d ended a guided hike to the Burgess Shale on a sunny afternoon and had seen one then. Seeing that rainbow gave me the idea to return here with my parents on an even sunnier afternoon, and we weren’t disappointed!

International Day of Forests

A trio of giant cedars in Stanley Park to celebrate International Day of Forests. Trees such as these are Canada’s cathedrals and should be treated with the same reverence.

Before moving to Vancouver, I imagined it to be a rainy, darkly-forested place where the sun rarely shone. Instead I was won over by the incredible huge trees – the red and yellow cedars, Douglas firs, and Sitka spruce, some reaching ages of many hundreds of years. And then I was horrified by the clearcut logging wiping clean entire valleys of old-growth forest.

When I lived in the US, there were several occasions where Americans expressed their wonder at the preserved history of Europe, and lamented their own perceived lack of antiquity. It occurred to me that, in their vast trees of the temperate rain forest on the west coast, the US and Canada has ancient treasures that are long gone from Europe. These trees are as old (and in some cases older) than the grand stone cathedrals, and that people would never stand for the destruction of such architecture to make way for lesser buildings. So why are there not more people standing up against the destruction of these old forests? These forests are Canada’s (and the USA’s) history, and at least some of that history should be left intact for future generations to appreciate.

The downside of popularity

The awesome view remains the same but this destination has suffered as a result of its popularity – the bare rock on the right used to be a lovely carpet of moss. And then there are the inevitable fire rings, and branches cut from living trees… Sigh…

I knew that this destination had been popular based on the number of social media posts I’d seen, but I still wasn’t prepared for the change that has been wrought here in the near six years since I was last here. All the soft moss we’d sat on has been worn away by countless feet. My only consolation is that at least it shouldn’t get any worse…

Behind you!

Don’t forget to look around when in the parking lot for Joffre Lakes – early morning sun on Saxifrage Mountain, July 2008

Joffre Lakes is a very popular destination on account of its three beautiful lakes and a stunning glacier above the uppermost lake. A group of us decided to do a backpacking trip through Wanderung, but in order to be sure of getting spots for our tents, everyone except me went up on the Friday. I had to work… so I ended up leaving the apartment at about 3 am Saturday morning. After a brief stop at a sobriety check-point on the Lions Gate Bridge, I was on my way. I stopped again to admire the full-ish moon setting over the Tantalus Range and then pushed on through a rain shower near Whistler up to Pemberton and onto the Duffey Lake road.

The clouds cleared as I reached the parking lot and I pulled on my boots and backpack. By 6:15 am I was on the oh-so-peaceful trail. But before I got underway, I looked around and noticed the morning sunshine striking the snow fields and glaciers on Saxifrage Mountain. Of course I snapped the photo and got on my way. When the time came to put up a set of photos on Flickr, we decided against including this one and it was only looking back at the original set of photos recently that I rediscovered this one. With my Instagram cap on I realized that it would make a pretty decent square crop – not something we used to do back in 2008 – and so with a bit of tweaking to give it a little more “oomph” I added it to my Instagram feed.

Made me glad to be a digital pack-rat, at least for a moment!

Icebergs

Throwback to a Thursday back in August 2011 when we cooled our heels on some icebergs while admiring the Angel Glacier

There’s a story behind every photo, some of which are longer than others…

Picture another beautiful September day in the Rockies, another day of touring with my parents, showing them the best that Jasper has to offer. We headed up to Mt Edith Cavell for the gorgeous view of the Angel Glacier, which is about a half-hour drive out of Jasper. I was watching our fuel level as usual but had made the mistake of relying more on the number of kilometres we’d driven on the current tank rather than paying attention to the gauge itself. As we rounded a bend, the yellow “low fuel” warning light came on. At least we were fairly close to the parking lot and I did my best to go easy on the accelerator.

Rather than have all four of us make the pointless return trip to Jasper (and concerned that sitting at the side of the road waiting to get more gas was not a fun way to spend hard-earned vacation time), I suggested that everyone else enjoy the morning while I went off in search of gas. Good plan, I thought. And so I headed off back down the hill (thankfully!), the yellow light my more-or-less constant companion. I even took to dropping the car into neutral to use less fuel. Yay for steep hills!

Finally, I got back down to the main highway and turned towards Jasper. I am naturally light-footed on the gas but I was even more careful than usual, keeping my speed down as much as possible. Fortunately, traffic was light and I didn’t hold up any other cars. After a very nervous 10 minutes or so I eventually came to the traffic lights outside Jasper and could finally breathe a sigh of relief. I pulled into the gas station and filled up.

Now it was time to rejoin the others. I have to say I missed my old Integra on the drive back up the hill – being the only person in the car I could throw it around a bit more (the handling of the CR-V isn’t great, but it does stick to the road pretty well), and I thoroughly enjoyed my return trip. I parked up and jogged over the old moraines to find Mum, Dad, and Maria relaxing by the side of the glacial lake. Indeed, at one point Maria did actually have her feet up on a little iceberg near the shore, literally cooling her heels 🙂 Now to relax!

Power

Close-up of the base of Helmcken Falls – the rain in Vancouver feels a bit like this at the moment 🙂

Another view from the south rim of the bowl into which Helmcken Falls drop. I really like this close up shot of the water at the base of the falls where it’s spraying back up again. It begins to capture the incredible power of this waterfall.

It’s Waterfall Wednesday again, and tonight in Vancouver it feels like we’re living at the base of one giant waterfall from the sky…