Dakota Ridge – Feb 2, 2009

How to escape winter gray of the Pacific Northwest? Some head south in search of sun and tropics, but I like it right here. We spent a wonderful Sunday up on the mountain where rain was replaced with beautiful snowfall the entire day. There is something magical about trees covered in a white blanket.

Dakota Ridge is a recreational area near Wilson Creek on the Sunshine Coast. It is run mostly by volunteers who absolutley love the outdoors. A big thank you to Alpha Adventures – Outdoor Adventure Store who hosted their annual equipment demo day. We took their shuttle to the top of the mountain and tried out snowshoes and cross country skis. It was our first time to try these winter sports and Alpha’s guides were fantastic.

This is me finishing up my first cross country ski session. Note the fact there is no one else in sight. This is skiing in nature…not with thousands of people jockeying for a spot on the slopes. There were a about 20 cars in the upper parking lot, but once out on the trails we were on our own. There is a warming hut and a washroom which make for a nice break in the day.
I can’t wait to get back up on the mountain and do it all again.

Ucluelet & Tofino – Jan 11-12, 2009

I’ve been living on the west coast for a couple of year’s now, and I never get tired of looking at the ocean. However, I know that it isn’t the direct ocean…I usually see Howe Sound or the Georgia Strait. Sure, they are salt water and sure they are part of the Pacific Ocean, but they aren’t really “open ocean waters”. Vancouver Island protects the Sunshine Coast and provides a natural buffer to the waves, winds, and storms that move across the Pacific Ocean. This weekend, I visited the true west coast and saw the wild Pacific Ocean up close.

The first picture is Long Beach which is between Tofino and Ucluelet. The sand is smooth and easy to walk on. The waves crash onto the shore and are mesmorizing in their rhythm. Surfers were out enjoying the day.

Tofino and Ucluelet are on the west coast of Vancouver Island. At this latitude, there is nothing except open ocean between us and the west coast of Russia. Winter is storm watching season, although everything was calm during this visit. These photos are both in Ucluelet. Huge black boulders line this part of coastline. I’m not sure if they are lava from and old volcano or just boulders from ice age retreating glaciers. Either way, they are a spectacular sight. It becomes an adventure weaving around and over the rocks to get to the water. Waves crash as the floor of the coastline changes over the contour of the rocks.

On other rocky outcrops, mature trees find bits of soil on which to grow. What you can’t see is that just behind me is a forest. Sorry…the ocean seems to have gotten all the camera attention. This area receives over 3.2 meters or 10 feet of rain each year. It is a rain forest and the mix of plant life is amazing. Be sure to hike the Pacific Rim Trail to see old growth forest and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.

Langdale Trail – Jan 2, 2009

Holiday travels have kept me away from hiking the Sunshine Coast. Over the past 2 weeks, we have received a meter of snow which is very, very abnormal for this area. Usually you have to hike up into the mountains to see that much snow. Just when we were getting a bit of melting and transportation was starting to get back to normal, we received another 4″ on New Year’s Day. Sunshine filled the sky today and beckoned me out for a much needed hike.

I am lucky to live 1 block from a wonderful trail. The Langdale Trail starts at the end of Wharf Road and heads into the forest. Just as I was starting in, a teenage mountain biker came riding out so I was pretty sure the trail would be passable. This was the only person I saw for the whole trek…a great time to get away by myself.


The sounds of the forest are always different and always amazing. Today water was the key sound. The tall trees dripped both water and snow as the sun reached the upper branches. It was a good day to wear a hat! Interestingly, snow covered the ground completely at the lowest elevations. As I hiked higher, melting snow flowed into streams covering the entire path. The sound of fresh, clean water making its way over rocks, leaves and branches is always refreshing and pure.


It was a great day to be out and I definitely won’t wait so long for my next trek.

Roberts Creek Provincial Park – Dec 7, 2008

The sunshine was beautiful and the Sunshine Coast held up to its name today. I decided to go exploring in a park that I haven’t visited before, Roberts Creek Provincial Park.
It is located just down the block from “downtown” Roberts Creek. There is a nice grassy area with picnic tables and easy steps leading down to the beach. I was surprised to find actual sand here…most of the area beaches are rocky. The sand was only a small stretch, but it was very nice walking. It was probably just after high tide and the waves were rolling in. There is an amazing amount of driftwood along this stretch. A great place to curl up with a good book or have a picnic on a slightly warmer day.

A great day for fishing!

This little guy had just finished some amazing body surfing in the waves. Shortly after this picture, he rejoined his two friends about 5 meters into the water. A bit farther down the beach I came across a bright purple starfish. He had become stranded in the sand as the tide was moving out. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take a picture until after my partner threw him back into the ocean.

 

North Shore Mountains – Nov 23, 2008

Friday brought the first real storm of the season to the lower BC Coast. Lots of rain and high winds swept in letting us know that winter is quickly approaching. The clouds always limit visibility and take away our view of the North Shore Mountains and sometimes even Gambier Island which is only 5-10 minutes by boat. Just to remind us that all things will pass, the dark clouds lifted, the winds calmed and the sun came out for a beautiful weekend. While we had received lots of rain at sea level, the mountains are newly dusted with the first snow of the year.

This picture is from our 2nd floor deck. Howe Sound is the body of water. Gambier Island is the lower section of green, and the North Shore Mountains are in the background. Our own Mount Elphinstone received a dusting as well. We live at the base of the mountain. This means cross country skiing on Dakota Ridge is coming soon!

Roberts Creek Pier – Nov 18


Errands took me out early today, and I’m glad they did. Another glorious day of sunshine and mild temperatures! I walked around the Heart of the Creek and stopped by the Gumboot Cafe. Then I headed down to the Roberts Creek Pier. It was high tide and the waves were crashing in against the rocky pier. I had the place to myself for a while and just listened to the waves. Lots of marine birds enjoying the stirred up waters along the coast.


This is a seagull atop an old post. I couldn’t get a good picture because of the angle of the sun, but if you’re ever in the area be sure to check out the mandala. This large painting is created new each year by the whole community to include all ages of talented artists and want-to-be contributers. It’s an amazing collection of work that is truly Roberts Creek.

Ocean Beach Esplanade – Nov 17, 2008

Today was a beautiful sunny day that simply required a nice walk outside, so after raking leaves and tidying the garden I headed out to Ocean Beach Esplanade. This is a popular beach and walking area on the southern edge of the Sunshine Coast just outside of Gibsons. I had just started walking when I spotted a white tuft on one of the birds flying over the water. I followed for a bit and a beautiful bald eagle soon landed atop one of the shoreline trees. I hustled down the beach and was able to get this shot.

Unfortuately, I was adjusting the camera when he took flight. His wingspan was amazing but I couldn’t get a picture. I was only about 100ft from the tree. He flew off in the opposite direction and soared over the hillside forest.
This was the view in the other direction. This tug was towing a log boom slowly across the horizon toward Vancouver. Just outside the picture was the ferry headed to Nanaimo. If you look closely…what look like the lowest clouds…a bit dark, are actually Vancouver Island. From this part of the Coast, you actually look straight south to Vancouver Island.

Here is hoping for more sunshine tomorrow.

Cliff Gilker Park – Nov 13, 2008

Cliff Gilker Park is one of my favourite parks on the Sunshine Coast. It is possible to take a 10 minute break and enjoy a beautiful waterfall. It is also possible to walk for and hour or two and explore a wonderful forest, see amazing blowdowns, and imagine what BC looked like before Europeans arrived. Cliff Gilker is wheelchair accessible to the waterfall overlook. The rest of the trails are easy hiking that walkers of all ages can enjoy.
After a week of rain, it was wonderful to see clear skies and sunshine all day. The creek is quite full with lots of clear rushing water. The water crashes over the rocks so that next to the falls you can’t hear anything else.

Langdale Park – Nov 2, 2008

These pictures are from Langdale Park, a short and easy hike from Arcturus Retreat B&B. The rain from the past week has the mountain creeks running strong and you can hear a waterfall from the park bench.

Sunny days in November are rare, so you have to take advantage of every sunny occurence. It is a simple gift to get outside and walk and explore. The leaves have turned colours over the past 2 weeks and are falling everywhere. Huge maple and sycamore leaves a foot across are everywhere. Most leaves are yellow, but there are highlights of red and orange that are so striking because they are so few.

Welcome

Hi! Life moves so fast sometimes. Month after month goes by and sometimes I wonder where the time goes. I am going to try and remember more events and slow things down a bit by documenting some of the everyday experiences that make life so interesting. It is the little things that make life special, and with this blog I want to remember more of those little things in this beautiful place I call home.