“Pic of the Week”, April 13, 2018: Boo the Bear, Golden B.C.

Golden B.C . Grizzly Bear Refuge (35)

I’d like you to meet Boo, a grizzly bear. Boo is well known around the Canadian Rocky Mountain region because he lives at the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge and gets lots of visitors. His home consists of a fenced 22-acre piece of natural land (apparently the world’s largest protected grizzly bear habitat) where Boo has lived and wandered freely since 2003. Boo and his sibling were orphaned at only a few months old when their mother was killed by a poacher; sadly Boo’s sibling didn’t survive his first hibernation.

Boo has found a good home here in eastern British Columbia, near the town of Golden. He’s been known to escape during mating season (he digs out under his electrified fence), …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 9, 2018: Old Massett, Haida Gwaii

Q.C.I.  017.  Old Masset

Haida Gwaii — the island chain off the coast of British Columbia formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands — has a long history of terrific native artistry.  While visiting the islands, we made a stop in the small community of Old Massett which sits on the site of several historic Haida villages.  

It was in Old Massett that some of the Haida people who had survived the devastating wave of smallpox that arrived with white settlers started regrouping in the late 19th century.   Today, Old Massett is the administrative center for the Council of the Haida Nation. 

Old Massett is home to the Islands’ largest collection of contemporary totem poles, which are located throughout the village.  There are several skilled …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 25, 2017: A Rambler in Prince Rupert, B.C.

Q.C.I.  004 Prince Rupert.  Totem and Rhododendron by courthouse

I spent a rain-drenched day exploring Prince Rupert, B.C some years ago.  I’d flown to Prince Rupert (via Vancouver) to catch the ferry to Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) and had a full day to kill before departing.  As with any such travel opportunity, I pulled out my walking shoes and camera and tried to experience as much of the town as I could.

Prince Rupert sits on the Inside Passage just below the Alaska Panhandle.  A coastal city set against the mountains, it’s one of the few times in my life I’ve landed on an island airport and had to be ferried to the mainland.  The town’s industries are timber-related, fishing and mining, as is the …

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.All Trips / British Columbia / North America / Western Canada

A visit to the Burgess Shale. Stanley Glacier, Kootenay National Park

04. Stanley Glacier valley. Looking for fossils (54) Trilobite

One of the world’s most famous fossil sites is Canada’s Burgess Shale, which contains a large assortment of ancient and amazingly well-preserved (often soft-bodied) marine fossils.  Originally discovered at high altitude in the mountains of British Columbia’s Yoho National Park in 1909, the Burgess Shale was one of the important reasons for the designation of the region as a UNESCO World Heritage site.  There are two Burgess Shale sites in Yoho National Park you can visit, both long hikes with significant altitude gain.  One is to Mount Stephen and the other to Walcott Quarry.

Recently a sister site has been discovered further south in Kootenay National Park, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the original site.  That …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 5, 2016 : Exploring Vancouver’s Waterfront

10 Vancouver Conv Center

One of my favorite cities in which to go for a long walk is Vancouver, BC.  It lends itself to walking because its setting is incredibly beautiful, its architecture interesting, and there’s a lot of fascinating street art you can enjoy.  I especially like exploring the harbor area around the new Convention Center and Canada Place.

Pixel Orca, near the Vancouver Convention Center

Pixel Orca, near the Vancouver Convention Center

Situated just outside the Convention Center are several interesting works of art, including Pixel Orca, a massive outdoor piece that definitely catches your eye, partially because it’s framed by beautiful North Vancouver.  It’s a reminder that many Orca pods live off the coast of the city (which you might see if you take a guided boat tour).

The Drop, outside the Vancouver Convention Center

The Drop, outside the Vancouver Convention Center

The Drop, outside the Vancouver Convention Center

The Drop, outside the Vancouver Convention Center

The Drop  resembles a raindrop, but is made of …

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.All Trips / Alberta / Food / North America / Western Canada

Calgary Farmer’s Market

30 Calgary Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s markets in regions that have four seasons are, as you’d expect, different in character than those you find in tropical climates.  Harvest is seasonal, so the best times to visit them is during the summer and early fall.  Many Farmers’ markets in North America are only open during the summer months, shuttering for the winter.  But not so for the larger markets in big cities.

Those markets that are open all year round need to adapt to the changes in the season.  Most will be in an enclosed building which can be heated when needed (and which keeps you dry and cool in the summer, too).  The local produce in the winter season is much more limited and includes produce …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 8, 2016: A-Maze-ing Laughter

20 Vancouver laughing

When I last visited Vancouver my friend, Harry, took me for a walk around the city to include some of his favorite spots.  One of these was this fun statue called A-Maze-ing Laughter.  This is a fun bronze created by Yue Minjun in 2009; the piece was loaned to the city for its 2010 Winter Olympic celebrations. The sculpture quickly became very popular with Vancouverites and was purchased and donated to the City of Vancouver by Chip and Shannon Wilson in 2012.

The artwork is located in Morton Park along English Bay and consists of 14 separate figures, each 3 meters tall, each created in the artist’s own image while laughing.  There’s a separate concrete bench inscribed,  “May this sculpture inspire …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 18, 2015: Desert Bighorn Sheep

Valley of The Fire StateP Park  (139)

There are few climates harsher to survive in than the desert of the Southwestern USA.  Extreme heat in the summer, freezing winters, little rainfall, few watering holes, and limited grazing prove very challenging.  Few animals can make a go of it here and those that do have a low population density and are hard to find.

It’s a treat when you see some of  these animals, and we were lucky on our last visit to Las Vegas.  During a day trip to Valley of Fire State Park (about an hour northeast of Las Vegas) we spent our time hiking and sightseeing, enjoying the unusual, colorful eroded rocks.  As the sun was starting to set, we drove around a tight corner and …

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