Category Archives: nature

Favourites of 2016

2016 had some lows and highs but it did offer a few good opportunities for photos, some of which I am still not done editing. Here are a few of my favourite images that I have been able to edit from 2016 in no particular order. I’m looking forward to see what new opportunities present themselves in the coming year.

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Favourites of 2015

Time to look back on another year, once again I spent most of this year exploring my backyard and still finding new places and experiences. This past year was odd weather wise with hardly any winter conditions and a dry hot summer. Looking forward to a new year worth of adventures in 2016!

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The setting sun illuminates grass and flowers at Neck Point in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

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A black tailed deer fawn no more than a day or 2 old “hides”.

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Looking out the entrance of Dreamtime cave on northern Vancouver Island.

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A blanket of fog shrouds the slopes of Mt Becher on Vancouver Island.

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The setting sun illuminates mist from upper Englishmen River falls.

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Water flows between 2 trees in the Lantzville foothills.

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A fallen logs points up through a misty forest towards the top of Mt. Benson in Nanaimo.

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The sun sets through some summer clouds as seen from Neck Point in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

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A pacific chorus frog (also commonly known as the Pacific tree frog).

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Hiking from Paradise Meadows to Wood Mountain

Early this summer I hiked from Paradise meadows (Mt Washington) to Wood mountain (Old Forbidden ski area), this was a trip inspired last year when doing another hiking trip I saw a sign indicating a trail over to Mt Becher which previously I had only been to in the winter. The hike starts off walking though Paradise meadows out towards Kwai lake.

_D8C7318_webEasy walking along the boardwalks through Paradise Meadows

Stopping for lunch always somehow sends out a silent signal to let all the grey jays (whiskey jacks) in the area to flock to you. This time there where a number of juvenile birds that  seemed not only hound us for food but also the parents.

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Once you are nearly at Kwai lake the trail gets a bit more adventurous, this is where you turn off of the established trails in the core area of Strathcona park and start to head towards our camp for the night at McKenzie lake. While the trail was clearly not traveled all that much it was still easy to follow despite the small snow patches. Even though the trail was clearly not maintained anymore it was still easy walking through a mixture of sub-alpine forests, meadows and past a number of streams, tarns and lakes.

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Before arriving at the McKenzie lake campground there was a real treat as we had to walk through a swampy meadow that had a number of wildflowers out in bloom which added a lovely splash of colour since the weather was rather dull.

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The campsite we stayed at is located on McKenzie lake but Douglas lake is only a short walk away and looked to have spots for a few tents. We had a bit of a cool wind coming off of the lake and seemed like Douglas lake would have been more sheltered from the wind but since we had already setup at McKenzie lake we stayed there.

Both of the lakes where bigger than I expected and similarly beautiful to other alpine lakes I had visited in the region.

_D8C7552_webLooking out over McKenzie lake from camp.

_D8C7537_crop_webLooking down McKenzie lake to the further point from camp.

Although the weather had not been ideal on the first day there had only been some minor rain but starting early on day 2 that seemed to change. A rain storm soon settled in for most of the day as we hiked back to the car we had left at the Wood Mountain parking lot. Before leaving camp I spend a little big exploring and taking in some of the sights and scenes around the lake.

_D8C7582_webLooking out from camp while waiting for the rain to hopefully let up

_D8C7521_webA nice cluster of Veratrum viride near Douglas lake.

Hiking out of McKenzie lake was one of the highlights of the trip as we enjoyed a brief (but welcome!) period of sunshine while we hiked through more of the meadow we had to hike into the camp site the previous afternoon. It did require some careful navigation and a leap or two to navigate some of the swampier areas.

_D8C7606_webKyle demonstrating his excellent sherpa skills while helping carry bags across one of the trickier crossings.

The remainder of the hike was done in rather poor weather conditions which resulted in a real lack of photos although the scenery certainly did not disappoint. After leaving the meadows outside of camp we quickly got into old growth forest that continued until we reached the old ski area. Hiking down the Mt. Becher trail was certainly interesting since I had previously only done it in the winter.

This was a wonderful one night hike that I would not hesitate to do again, I think the biggest downside to this is the requirement to juggle cars as you need to leave one at each trail head but in reality the drive between them is not that long. The first day was a little long (~16km) but the hiking was easy and mostly flat, the 2nd day was shorter in distance but did involve more up and downs until you reach the main Mt. Becher trail at which point is is pretty much all downhill until you reach the parking lot.

Here is a map to give an idea of the route and distances involved, the total distance covered was just over 27km (~16km on day 1 and ~11.5km on day 2)

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Additional information:

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Favourites From 2013

2013 has been a good year for photo opportunities, I got to do a number of hikes all over Vancouver Island, spend 3 weeks in Iceland and even a sailing trip up the Princess Louisa Inlet. All these amazing opportunities generated a number of photos that I enjoy. The following is a selection of a few of my favourites from the past year in no particular order. I am hoping that I will have more opportunities in the upcoming year as I did this year. Thanks to everyone out there who helped make these possible.

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Strathcona Hiking

A few weeks ago I spent 4 days hiking in the stunning mountains located in Strathcona Provincial park. We first hiked in to Baby Bedwell lake to setup base camp. From here we would explore some of the surrounding areas including Mt. Tom Taylor. While the weather was not ideal we made the most of it and on the plus side it never rained!

The hike up to Baby Bedwell while steep was a very good trail which was easy to follow and provided some nice views of some streams.

Our first views of Baby Bedwell lake where far from the stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains that people had been raving about…

It was far from summer at camp.

The following morning we started out on our attempt to summit Mt. Tom Taylor. The weather was much the same with limited visibility and we had some difficulty finding the trail but eventually we got going. While it was nearly August we still where dealing with winter conditions.

Once we got closer to the summit the clouds did break a few times to tease us with the views we missed on the way up.

The following day we had a bit of a break in the weather and decided to enjoy some of the views we missed the day before and explored Bedwell lake area.

Overall it was an amazing trip and I can not wait to get back into the mountains.

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