“Pic of the Week”, March 20, 2020: Alpenglow on the Kootenay Rockies

03 Kootenay Rockies, February

I was passing through the Kootenay Rockies of Eastern British Columbia at dusk, just as the sun was setting.  That occurs early during the winter months, around 4 – 5 pm.  It was a clear day and I could see a bit of the alpenglow on the snow clad mountains. 

The alpenglow is a band of reddish light observed in the direction opposite of the setting sun, and occurs just as the sun dips below the horizon.  It’s best appreciate on the mountain tips, as you see here. The phenomenon lasts just a minute or two, then it’s gone.  But it was a lovely scene.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

 

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

A visit to Skedans, Haidi Gwaii

QCI Skeedans 2003 044  Skeedans Island Totems and Guardians

One of the most memorable day-trips I’ve ever been on was to the remnants of the Haida village of Skedans.  It’s a remote and rarely visited place.  Sadly, not much remains of the village, captured near its prime in the image below this paragraph (from 1878), rich with great totem art and beautiful longhouses.

1878 photo of Skedans village. Courtesy the Library and Archives of Canada

1878 photo of Skedans village. Courtesy the Library and Archives of Canada

Skedans is located on the northeastern shore of Louise Island, at the head of Cumshewa Inlet in Haida Gwaii (formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands), off the coast of North Central British Columbia just south of the Alaska panhandle.  That sounds really confusing, so to help you better orient yourself to this remote place, here are a few maps I think will help:

Overview of Haida Gwai's location

Overview of Haida Gwai’s location

 

Location of totems and old Haida villages, Haida Gwaii

Location of totems and old Haida villages, Haida Gwaii

Skedans is also known variously …

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