Langdale Falls – Jan 26, 2011

Today was absolutely beautiful with sunny skies that demanded I go outside. We’ve had a bit of rain and gray the past few days, so the sun is always refreshing.

I decided to hike on Mt. Elphinstone again. Lucky for me, I ran into my good friend Tony at the trailhead. He was excited to have a hiking buddy, and I was looking forward to what he would teach me about the forest. So we headed in for my first (of I’m sure will be many) trip to Langdale Falls.

I’ve seen the sign before, but had been told there were some steep sections on the way. Follow the pink and blue trail symbols and they lead you right to the waterfall.

This is a very good time of year to visit. We have had 200mm of rain this month and temps are warm this week so there is snowmelt feeding the streams as well. It is about a 40 minute hike in to the falls. Not too hard, but there are some good climbs and some narrow paths where you really don’t want to fall.

The waterfall is impressive. You can hear it well before you arrive. It must be at least a 50m drop. Tony says it is a great place for a swim & shower in the summer. Great to cool off after a day’s hike.

The forest on Mt Elphinstone is amazing. Tony taught me to identify a Douglas fir, a red cedar, and a hemlock. Having grown up in the prairies, I don’t know my west coast trees. He also pointed out salmonberry and different kinds of ferns. The ecosystem is amazing and I hope to learn much more on many more walks through the forest. All this within 2km of my house.

Hiking on Mt Elphinstone – Jan 2, 2011

A bright sunny wintery day is the perfect time to explore the forest. This is one of the lower trails on Mt Elphinstone, which is the dominating landscape feature as you arrive on the Langdale ferry from West Vancouver. Lucky for me, the trailheads are only 2km from Arcturus Retreat B&B.

Most of these lower trails are built by avid mountain bikers and neighbor Sprockids Mountain Bike Park. It’s not an official park, so signage isn’t much more than a few reflectors and an occasional arrow for riders.

Nevertheless, there are some amazing trees in this forest. Note the vibrant colour on this tree…like none of its neighbours. That is Stan in front to show you just how large this tree is. So happy to have Stan join me for this hike! I don’t know this area well enough yet to head in alone.
A tree with character like this just makes you wonder at what it has been witness to over the years. It has clearly seen all of the 20th century and I wonder how much more. This forest was logged in the early 1900’s when Europeans first arrived. Port Mellon is only 10km away and was home to the first paper mill in the area.
We came across a trail called “Technical Ecstacy” which we just had to follow. Clearly a mountain bikers dream…lots of cutbacks, bridges, jumps, ramps, twists and turns. It is an easy walk, but you need to pay attention as this was clearly not built with the hiker in mind. A rider could come up quickly and definitely deserves the right of way.

It is hard to see in this picture, but you can see out to the Georgia Straight. It can be a bit dark in the forest, but light flows in at the top of the trees and is really quite a view when you come to an opening.
After travelling over the Christmas holiday, I am very aware of how green the forest is here. Other parts of North America are so brown this time of year with every plant in hibernation waiting for spring. Here on the Sunshine Coast, we are very luck to have green life everywhere all year long. Not only the trees, but the ferns and groundcover and moss all bring life to the forest floor.

BC Bike Race – July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!
In true Canadian spirit, we went out and supported the 500 riders competing in the BC Bike Race. This is a 7 day mountain bike trek from Vancouver to Vancouver Island across to the Sunshine Coast and over to Squamish & Whistler.
This is the 4th year for the race. Best part for me is that it literally races down our street! There is a trailhead at the end of our street that I have always enjoyed hiking. This trail connects into Sprockids Mountain Bike Park and over the mountain to the reputable Roberts Creek trails.
Thus, the last segment of the day’s ride is the decent down our trail and onto our street for a mad dash to the ferry and the finish line.
Riders cover a very wide spectrum. We’ve had Olympians and world champions. We have riders from many countries. We have men & women of all ages. There is a 60+ riding this year and there is a 15 yr old. It is hard to tell in this photo, but the guy in the center is a unicyclist! Can you imagine riding mountain bike trails…40km/day…on a unicycle?

They were muddy and wet today after a bit of rain last night…but the riders loved it. “Best trails I’ve ever ridden,” said one of the racers we talked to. The heart of the group took 5 hours to ride today’s course….and this was his quote.

I have a lot of respect for the race organizers. They have traffic control, trail markings, a bike shower, food at the finish line, first aid stations along the route, camping tent city every night, 24 hour repair crews to keep the bikes in top shape, and on-site massage teams to keep the riders in shape.
Very cool. Can’t wait to see you again next year! For more information on great Sunshine Coast mountain biking, visit or

Olympic Torch Relay – Feb 4

Thursday was just an amazing day.
The Olympic Torch Relay started the day at the far end of the Sunshine Coast in Powell River.

Pender Harbour, Sechelt, Roberts Creek & Gibsons all had community celebrations as the Torch passed through.
This is our celebration in Langdale. Members of the community started arriving 2 hours before the Torch, just to be a part of the excitement. Many took advantage of the beautiful sunshine and walked down to the celebration.

The yellow ponchos are the 100+ Langdale Elementary students. As we planned the event over the past month, we were very concerned about rain or snow for the big day. We wanted the kids to be dry & we also wanted to be able to identify all the kids. We tried for red Canadian ponchos, but couldn’t find enough so yellow was the winner. The television photos were great with the swarm of yellow poncho kids following the flame down the ferry ramp. Great images and they made the National CTV broadcast!

The event was just fabulous. We had people of all ages from our local community, many dressed in red for Canada. Our raven from Rababoo Puppet Theatre shown here was loved by the children. Music, games, clowns, prizes and pictures kept the crowd excited as we awaited the flame’s arrival.
Bill McCormick was the final torchbearer on the Sunshine Coast. He is a BC Ferry employee and fittingly brought the flame through the terminal and onto the Coastal Renaissance for its trip up the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish.

The kids followed the Torch down the ramp chanting GO CANADA all the way and waiving the flags they had made. It was a very special moment. You can see me in the background on the left…the really tall person. (ok, I am standing on a barricade so that I could see)
Once on board the ship, Bill lit a cauldron which carried the Flame across Howe Sound to Horseshoe Bay.

Last photos as the Torch sails away.

Everyone went back to Langdale Elementary for treats…red & white cupcakes and cocoa. Yum! The kids had a great time and all of us had a very memorable day.

Rainbows – July 25, 2009

Mother Nature is just amazing. Tonight we were treated to a fabulous display of lightning and beautiful rainbows. Now for many people, this is a common occurance. However, on the south coast of British Columbia we don’t see lightning very often….and especially not over an hour of both cloud to cloud and cloud to ground snake lightning.

Things got started about 9pm which is 45 minutes before sunset. The storms were to the east over the North Shore Mountains so while watching lightning displays in 1 direction, the sun was shining with clear skies to the west. The result was this fabulous rainbow which the pictures just don’t show the real effect. I could only get a shot of the rainbow base…it was a full arc with the entire shape in sight out over Howe Sound. At times it was a double rainbow in full grandeur. As the sun set, the sky became a wild shade of red as the storm built.

Once the sun was down, the storm really kicked in. Major lightning display across the entire horizen for a full hour. While it was only sprinkling here, the rain was so heavy over the water that I could no longer see the mountains. Eventually it poured here as well which was wonderful after months of unseasonal dry weather.

I only hope the lightning didn’t spark any wildfires. The forest is extremely dry and there are major fires in other parts of the province.