Floral assortment

An assortment of flowers near Mystery Lake for wildflower-Wednesday: bunchberry, paintbrush, and fireweed. I was surprised to find bunchberry still blooming, and this was the first time I’ve seen paintbrush on the North Shore. The fireweed photo is actually from Callaghan Valley (though there was plenty blooming next to the Mt Seymour parking lot), against a backdrop of thick smoke from the BC wildfires.

Guess who just found out how to post a slideshow on Instagram? Yay 🙂 I’ll try not to overuse it, but sometimes it’s nice to include a few photos in a single post to tell a wider story. The only downside is that it looks like the photos are forced to be square and I hadn’t prepared these photos with a square crop on mind, so I don’t feel they’re displayed to their best advantage.

Judging by the freshness of the bunchberry flowers, I’d say the North Shore (or at least that part of Mt Seymour) is about 3 weeks behind its usual bloom. We also saw quite a few fresh Queen’s cup, which was another lovely surprise. But the biggest surprise was the paintbrush: my eye was caught by the orangey-red colour on one of the ski runs, and then I found more along the edge of the open slopes just before we entered the forest. I’m pretty sure that I’ve never seen paintbrush on any of the North Shore mountains, though I have nagging memory of maybe seeing it once before somewhere else on Mt Seymour. I’ll need to scan our (ridiculously large) photo collection to be sure!

The fireweed photo is a bit of a cheat as it was taken the day before but I really wanted to show the smoky atmosphere in the background that couldn’t be seen in the fireweed photos I took in the parking lot. It was bad enough to put us off our original hiking plans…

Sastrugi

Seymour sastrugi for today’s winter-wonderland Wednesday.

I didn’t have any waterfall, wildflower, or wildlife shots in mind for this week, so I came up with a new Wednesday tag – only to find that it’s been used at least 300 times before. Ah well, so much for originality.

Anyhow, this is yet another photo from my trip up Mt Seymour from a couple of weeks ago. It’s always windy up there in the winter, and with the lack of trees on the summit, the snow is sculpted into a fantastic array of shapes (i.e., sastrugi). I must have taken a dozen or more shots of various curves and lines – always tricky to make them look good with white-on-white details, but this arrangement was placed just right with distant mountains and the dip in the bluffs.

When I first looked at this shot, though, I wasn’t happy with it – the sastrugi was not a big enough feature. I wasn’t even thinking of Instagram when I cropped it, but found that the square crop really allowed me to highlight the snow in a way I was happy with. Definitely one of my favourite photos from the day.

From sky to sea

Vancouver in view – admiring our fair city from the North Shore mountains.

Another shot from a recent hike up Mt Seymour. At the time, the photo was really just a record of the view, but when I processed it I figured that a square crop would work quite nicely with the foreground snow, then the line of cliffs at Suicide Bluffs, the city coastline and beyond to the chain of mountains on Vancouver Island all leading the eye through the picture. Some of those things may even be on third lines, but that wasn’t the case when I actually took the photo! 🙂

Seymour shadow selfie

A selfie of sorts – my shadow at the top of Pump Peak (First Peak) on Mt Seymour, looking over to Tim Jones Peak, Third Peak, and beyond to Garibaldi.

Another beautiful day in the mountains, and a mid-week chance to have the summit of Mt Seymour’s First Peak to myself – or so it appears, at least! But perhaps my favourite photos of the day were of patterns in the wind-scoured snow. Maybe I’ll post one or two of those later…

Cloud waves

Waves of clouds lapping at the forest. A throwback-Thursday sunset from 5 years ago, when Venus was sparkling in the evening sky as it is right now. We often seem to get the timing wrong for our first snowshoe of the season, inevitably starting out too late and arriving just after sunset 🙂

And so yet again we reached our destination just after sunset. At least with Dog Mountain we hadn’t had to slog up a steep slope to get there! I’ve seen many sunsets in the mountains, but this still ranks as one of my favourites. It had been a cold, dank day down in the city and we were hoping to find a bit of warm sunshine above the inversion layer blanketing Vancouver. Except with one thing and another, we were delayed getting under way and, with the route to Dog Mountain being in the trees, we didn’t get to see the sun itself in the end.

But what a consolation prize! Above the cloud deck, which extended across the Salish Sea to the mountains of Vancouver Island, the south-western sky was tinged a glorious yellowy-orange, Venus dazzling in the blue. Below us, the clouds appeared to ebb and flow in the tree tops, giving us the appearance of waves lapping at the shore. We lingered until the sky turned from pink to dark blue, and the orange band on the horizon began to fade before hoofing it back to the car and back into town for some hot food!

Snow in the city

White out. Is it really a Flashback Friday if it was only last week? After a few days of very welcome sunshine, we’re back to views like this, even in the city!

It’s been a couple of years since we had snow in the city, and I must admit I haven’t missed it one bit! Still, it was kinda nice to watch the snow fall in great big flakes, and pile up in soft layers on our patio table and in the trees. It was even fun to walk out in it for a while, although it did get a bit wet later in the day. So I figured that this photo from last Friday when Brenda and I went snowshoeing up at Mt Seymour was quite appropriate, as the view in the city was very similar to this!

First snowshoe

Our turnaround point on the way to Mt Seymour. No marker poles, no obvious trail – we were going from memory and reading the terrain. I don’t know if I’ve ever broken trail on this route before 🙂 I don’t recommend this unless you know what you’re doing.

Brenda came to visit today and despite the awful weather, her and I went snowshoeing up on Mt Seymour. Of course, we still had fun even though we spent a good five minutes sitting in the parking lot debating whether to venture out of a nice warm car! It was mostly cold sleety rain, which stung our faces when the wind was against us. For a short time it did fall as snow, and hard enough to begin filling in our snowshoe tracks. We saw only a few others, some of whom clearly had backcountry experience and were enjoying the chance to be outside, though one group of cold, jeans-clad hikers wondered when the rain would turn to snow – we were only 50 metres from the parking lot and they already looked too wet to continue. I hope they turned around sooner rather than later…

I wrote up a short report and posted some pictures on Live Trails.

It felt good to get a hot drink at the end of the hike, followed by a hot shower and some comforting food once back home!