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Situated on the “Sunshine coast” of Eastern Vancouver Island, just off Canada’s west Coast, Courtney is a small town in a lovely setting.
I was visiting my aunt and cousin, who live here. As is my habit, I like to get out and explore, so we drove around at dusk. I could tell we were going to have a nice sunset so we gained a vantage point and enjoyed its tranquil beauty. It was a nice way to spend a some time with a dear relative.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)
During the past decade or so, I’ve often encountered colorfully painted animal art on the streets of many cities. The plasticized animal varies from town to town — sometimes a bear, sometimes a moose, sometimes a deer. But invariably they’re nice works of art making each of these cities a little more beautiful and interesting.
A few years ago, while visiting Vancouver, I discovered dozens of these killer whale statues around downtown. All were beautifully decorated and each had a unique personality. The water off Vancouver’s coast harbors large numbers of killer whales, so their choice as animal mascot is a good one for the city. These few especially appealed to me — a trio in Vancouver Canuck hockey jerseys (so …
I just enjoyed a beautiful drive in Canada’s Rocky Mountains this past weekend, through the Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass and on towards the Elk River Valley in southeastern British Columbia. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous with the larches in their orange-yellow canopy. I had no idea there were so many larches in these evergreen forests.
Those who live in milder climates may not be familiar with larches. They’re deciduous pine trees (conifers) that change color each fall, shed their needles and regrow them in the coming spring. They add a great variety of color to the mountainous forests in the Northern states and Canada, although these colors are short-lived, lasting only a week or two at most.
Thought you’d enjoy these images!
(Click on …
Johnstone Strait is a segment of the Inside Passage, through which cruise ships transit on their journey from Vancouver to Alaska (and back again). It’s a nice place to go on a cruise mostly because its scenery is beautiful and grand, but also because you’re guaranteed a smooth ride as the waters are sheltered by Vancouver Island (and other small islands along the coast). Situated by the northeastern part of Vancouver Island, the Strait is about 100 km long and between 2.5 to 5 km in width.
Johnstone Strait is home to several pods of Orcas, numbering around 150 individual whales, which feast on the rich fish life in these waters, especially salmon. Because of the high concentration of whales it’s become …
There are few things that liven up a hiking day more than stumbling on a shipwreck. At least that’s my life’s experience (based on this one wreck)!
One of my most interesting backcountry backpacking experiences was hiking the East Beach Trail in Haida-Gwaii’s Naikoon Provincial Park. Haida-Gwaii are a string of over 100 island’s off B.C.’s central coast that formerly were called the Queen Charlotte Islands, a day’s ferry ride from Prince Rupert. Naikoon Provincial Park is a large, fairly flat park on the east shore of Graham Island. The East Beach Trail was a long flat beach walk, almost 90 kilometers over 5 days (with full packs) during which our group encountered only 5 other hikers. There were parts of the trail that were very easy to …
“Pic of the Week”. February 01, 2013. Paint Pots and Ocher beds, Kootenay National Park, British Colombia.
Kootenay National Park lies just west of Banff on the eastern (i.e. wetter) part of the Continental Divide. It’s a great park to drive through , especially popular with antique car owners in the summer, with grand vistas. Situated in this vast landscape is a small place covering a few acres, where large amounts of pigmented material lies on the earth’s surface.
I discovered the Paint Pots while exploring trails in this area. There are three “pots”, formed by cold mineral springs with deposits of iron oxide rich soil around them. As these deposits increase the rim is elevated — hence forming a “pot” instead of just a pool. The water is a greenish (where a …
“Pic of the Week”. January 4, 2013. Skedans Island Totem Poles, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands)
Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands (or “Misty Isles”), is a chain of islands off the coast of northern British Columbia, just below the Alaska panhandle. The Islands are lush and green because they are wet — frequently foggy, drizzly or rainy. When I visited, one of the locals told me it’s not unusual to have only have a single day of sunshine a month. I’m not sure I could live in that type of environment but I did enjoy my visit!
Haida Gwaii has a rich aboriginal history and culture. Natives in the area lived as tribes, often in large communal houses built of cedar logs. Food (salmon, game, berries) was very plentiful …
Among the most popular hikes in Kootenay National Park is the trail to Stanley Glacier, situated in British Columbia near Alberta, close to Castle Junction in Banff National Park. The trail provides a great half day hiking opportunity. It’s an 8.5 km round trip hike (just over 5 miles) and has a modest elevation gain of 365 m (about 1200 ft). I would rate it as a “moderate” effort hike.
The hike encompasses much of what makes the Canadian Rockies a special place to visit. There are grand panoramic views of tall mountains and a deep valley, a hanging glacier in a hanging valley, crystal clear creeks, and the sequelae of several forest fires …