Lynn Peak

Nice day to hike up to Lynn Peak. Busier than expected, trail is still as awful as ever, but the forest flowers are beginning to bloom and looked great in the sunshine.

Lynn Peak was Plan B: we wanted a hike with some elevation gain, but didn’t feel like driving very far or getting sunburn in the snow. Our original idea was to hike up to Norvan Falls but that felt like it would take too much time (being about 15 km in length). However, Lynn Peak is always longer than I remember so in the end I think we took a very similar amount of time…!

  1. The view from the Lynn Peak lookout isn’t the best on the North Shore, but it’s nice enough on a sunny day. Downtown Vancouver is mostly hidden so it’s a good thing that Mt Baker was shining brightly to the south-east to give us something pretty to admire. The cliff bands break up the monotonous green on the long flanks of Mt Seymour to lend some interest to an otherwise dull foreground.
  2. The trail up to Lynn Peak is mostly like this: rubble. It’s not fun hiking, which is why I’m so surprised we saw as many people as we did. Thinking about how most people find out about their hikes these days, I should be less surprised as I doubt many of the people we met had read a trail description or hiked it before… Still, I know the trail well enough these days that I can tune out the worst of it and enjoy the sections through the remaining delightful old-growth forest.
  3. Horned tree stump. In a previous photo I called this a “viking tree” but I’ve since learned that vikings didn’t have horned helmets. I’ve renamed it the metal tree \m/. RIP Ronnie James.
  4. Even on crummy trails there’s usually something of interest along the way. This patch of mushrooms caught my eye as we walked back down, nestled in the hollow of a decaying tree. It was great to see them looking so fresh as we’d seen a different patch earlier that were more dried out.
  5. I drove Maria nuts taking photos of coralroot last year so I had to let her continue hiking while I stopped to try and capture them today 🙂 They’re definitely tricky to photograph, though I was pleased to capture this one in the sunshine moments before the sun moved round to the next patch. I expect they’ll start flowering proper this week.
  6. I just couldn’t resist another bunchberry photo, especially as the florets were just starting to develop. It’s been fun watching the various dogwoods flower this year.
  7. The trickster on the search for handouts at the lookout. I waited for the raven to tilt its head before I took the photo to try and catch the sunlight glinting in its eye and I was delighted to capture it at the right time as it tilted its head again a second later. Someone was feeding it bits of a Nanaimo bar, and I can do no more than just shake my head. Of all the foods to offer wildlife, highly processed sugary food is the very worst. I’d disapprove if they were handing out nuts; to feed it a sweet dessert is just asinine. Alas, in a crowd of indifferent onlookers it’s difficult to speak up. I think I did make a partial point though as they left when the feeder was congratulating himself on making a “connection” with the raven. I joked that if he had food then he had a connection. He laughed it off but I think it made the point. Will they do different next time? I doubt it.
  8. Just as we reached the trailhead again I spotted the tall green stems of rein orchids among the giant leaves of skunk cabbage in a marshy area. To my surprise the camera on the phone focused beautifully on the flowers of the orchid, and I’m really pleased with this photo. It was a delight to see these flowers again, and to be able to photograph them without being set upon my countless mosquitoes…!

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon of hiking.

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Signs of autumn

Spring may be within sight, and I love the spring for the new growth. But I know many people favour autumn for its colour and feel. So this Thursday, let’s throw it back to a few autumnal shots from a couple of years ago.

1. Mushroom season is here – shaggy ink caps, I think.

I had just left work and was heading to the bus stop when I spotted a couple of mushrooms poking up through the grass. Then another, and more, and then this group which stopped me in my tracks. I took the photo with my phone, and thought about repeating it with one of our SLRs. Alas, not two days later the city had been past with their mowers and cut down every single mushroom on the verge. Mushroom massacre! So I’m really glad I took that chance and grabbed the photo when I did.

2. A sunny thing happened on the way to the Kits Farmer’s Market

It’s always nice when the sun makes an appearance in Vancouver, and today the sun lit up the yellowing leaves on the catalpa trees beautifully. I don’t like catalpas as a rule; there’s something about the colour of the leaves, and the fact that they’re big and floppy just puts me off, plus they produce these sticky slippery bean-pods after the leaves drop. But there’s a short time when a bit of sun catches them just right and all is forgiven.

3. A big big-leaf maple leaf

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A big big-leaf maple leaf

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By contrast, I love big-leaf maples! The size of their leaves is incredible and the trees grow all manner of moss and licorice ferns. When my parents visited Vancouver a few years ago, I found a large leaf and handed to my mum who took it home and put it in a frame on the wall 🙂

However, not everyone shares my appreciation of these trees. They’re not popular near buildings as they can rot from the inside and collapse or fall without warning. Water can collect in the boughs where it can cause large branches to rot and fall off. I’ve heard the term “widow-maker” in conversations about big-leaf maples… But without those constraints, I think they’re awesome trees. And the leaves can’t be beaten. I mean, just look at the size of that one!

4. A 21st century Halloween horror!

Aaaaaarrrrrggghhh!!!! What a nightmare, eh? I spotted this pumpkin on the doorstep of an apartment building in Mt Pleasant and couldn’t resist…

Photogenic fungi

A photogenic pair of fly agaric mushrooms in early morning light.

Another photo from 2011 and part of my “Once Around the Sun” project. I’d seen this pair of fungi a couple of days earlier and ear-marked them as one of my daily photos. I also could see that they were well-placed to catch morning sunshine, and as luck would have it, not two days later we had a sunny morning. I took myself, camera, polarizer (to cut reflections), and tripod to this street corner and set up my shots. I took my time and went home with a few different angles. But I liked this one best with just the right mix of light and dark, depth-of-field, and colour.

Toppled

A toppled fly agaric mushroom gives a great view of its gills

I’ve tried several times to get a good shot of these mushrooms (or toadstools as we’d call them back in the UK). They’re sprouting up all over the city at the moment in greater numbers than I remember seeing before, which I’m guessing is due to the excessively rainy October we just had. Alas, getting the right angle and getting the camera to focus on the right part of the fungus has proved annoyingly difficult so far. So I was actually quite pleased to find a pair of mushrooms that had been toppled over (or perhaps had fallen on their own) with their gills all lit up in the afternoon sunshine. No issues with depth of field, no issues with the camera focussing somewhere else – just perfect!