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!



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!


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…


Cornices on show on the West Lion and the three peaks of Unnecessary Mountain

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, we hiked part of the Howe Sound Crest Trail from Cypress Bowl to Lions Bay last June. The section that traversed the three peaks of Unnecessary Mountain (on display in this photo) was some of the loveliest sub-alpine terrain we’d hiked. Just beautiful country.

If anyone wants to discover this view for themself, head up to Artisan Square on Bowen Island. Good chocolate and treats up there too 🙂

A sea of mountains

View from the stern – peaks of the Howe Sound Crest Trail on a lovely sunny afternoon

After our quick trip into Lighthouse Park, the sun came out for us as we took our bikes over to Bowen Island to meet up with friends. Since the bike racks were at the back, we were the last to offload so we hung around and admired the view across the water. We’d hiked that line of mountains on a muggy day in June last year, something we’d wanted to do for a few years. Beautiful hike, but not to be underestimated!

Getting closer…

Yay! The white fawn lilies are beginning to bloom; spring is really close! This is the very same flower that I photographed in bud two weeks ago 🙂

I couldn’t resist calling into Lighthouse Park again a couple of weeks after spotting the first fawn lilies in bud. I was delighted to see that the same flower I’d photographed a couple of weeks ago was still there and now out in full bloom.

It’s a surprise to me to see the lilies blooming before the trillium: it took a few seconds of determined squinting to spot the single trillium bud poking through the soil. I’m sure they’ll catch up soon enough.

No bald eagles this week, but we did get a nice close up view of a cute little winter wren.

And then the clouds cleared as we sailed over to Bowen Island to meet up with friends, the spectacular peaks of the Howe Sound Crest Trail gleaming white against the now-blue sky.

Crocus explosion!

Crocus explosion! And they’re exploding all over the city.

Crocus explosion! #falsecreek #olympicvillage #vancouver #vancity #crocus #flower #spring

A post shared by Andy Gibb (@_andy_gibb_) on

I’m not a huge fan of all the various cultivated flowers, but I make an exception for snowdrops and crocuses, especially when they’re planted in large numbers and they all bloom at once. Last year I found a garden with a fairy ring of white crocuses in it – very cute. This year it was the turn of the purples to catch my eye, and I’ve seen a few around the city, usually at the base of trees. This particular bunch was exploding in a flower bed in the Olympic Village. The yellow of the stamens against the purple really caught my eye.

Speaking of eyes, my eyes have been really itchy this week so spring is definitely fast approaching.