Saturday, August 20, 2016

St Mary Lake


Green Acres remains much the same - which is good. The predictability is one of the things we enjoy most. This year the week began gray but ended sunny and warm, but that didn't affect what we did too much one way or the other, although we were glad we'd brought the fan by the end of the week.

Every year, we alternate cabins with C and A - this year we were in #1 and they had the log cabin.

The lake was warm this year, although there were rumors of swimmer's itch. It was also noisy, but now instead of our kids, it is a whole new batch of kids who we don't recognize (and are not responsible for).

St. Mary Lake: Previous Years


Fulford Harbor


Another adventure near Fulford, this time with the yellow boat. I launched from Drummond Park near the head of the bay and paddled out the northeast side of the bay past Fulford and below Reginald Hill to the beach at Wen,Na,Nec (Gravel Beach: August 2013). I thought about crossing over to Russell Island, but the wind was picking up and the idea of crossing open water always makes me a little nervous.

I settled for exploring a couple of small islets just offshore, trying not to annoy the oystercatchers. Then paddled back along the other side of the bay - which offered a little more interest in terms of beaches and waterfront homes.




Reginald Hill





M and I went back down to Fulford on Wednesday and hiked up Reginald Hill. This wasn't as difficult as Mount Tuam (and was much easier to follow), but was still pretty steep. It summits on a rocky knoll with great views over Fulford Harbor and up the Burgoyne Valley toward Mount Maxwell and Vancouver island beyond.

The trail begins a hundred meters or so up a private road and is well advertised. The parking is good at the turnaround at the end of Morningside.

Mount Tuam


I spent a lot of time this year commuting down to the Fulford area near the south end of the island. On Monday, I drove to the end of Mountain Road and then worked my way back until I found the trailhead for the hike up Mount Tuam. Nothing was marked (that I could see), but with some route finding I managed to find my way to the top. Or as close to the top as you can get without climbing the fence that surrounds the big navigation radar.

The south side is largely free of trees and the views east, south, and west are spectacular. I felt I was looking directly down on the boats coming out of Swartz Bay.

Portions of the southern slopes of Mount Tuam are an ecological preserve and I suspect there are benefits from not having too many people trampling the grassy slopes near the top. This also looked like a very dry, fire prone landscape - maybe that's what maintains the open meadows.






Saltspring Island


This is the 19th year we've been coming up here. The routine and the basic geography remain the same, but the details vary a little from visit to visit. The restaurant options shift slowly, as do our preferences, but we tend to gravitate back to the same places.



Each year, I check out a new beach, a new hike, or a new place to paddle. Some of those will be featured in the next few posts. And it's not like I've exhausted my list of places still to visit - and each year I seem to find new places to add to the list.



Tsawwassen


I've got to stop trying to force an "s" into the first syllable of Tsawwassen (since I think it's supposed to be T'wassin). We arrive late morning, every year, with our reservation in hand, converge with others in our extended Salt Spring family, and check out coffee and snacks and souvenirs at the market. This place is more like an airport than a ferry terminal, except we're in a car with a boat on top (sometimes it seems like so is everyone else). Our boat to Long Harbor on Salt Spring Island is one of the smaller ones here. The boats to Nanaimo are huge.

We've seen orca on the crossing once, maybe twice. This year we saw whale watching boats in the distance, but if there were whales they were too far, too small, or too deep. One of these days we'll see a pod of orca in Active Pass, but in the meantime we'll settle for passing ferry boats.


English Bay



I had plenty of time Saturday morning to drive into Vancouver and walk from the Burrard Bridge along the shore to Denman, checking out beaches, outdoor sculpture, and old haunts.

It looks like they've updated the setting of the A-maze-ing Laughter sculpture in the triangular plaza where Denman and Davie converge on English Bay. I love most public art, but few pieces are as funny as this. And there are several neat sculptures down at Sunset Beach.
A-maze-ing Laughter (Yue Minjun)

Engagement (Dennis Oppenheim)
Inukshuk (Alvin Kanak)
217.5Arc x 13 (Bernar Venet)


Delany's was an early morning routine when we used to come up for the fireworks and stay at the Sylvia.  D and I would play chess here in the morning, until he reached middle school and preferred to stay in bed. But I kept going back, and although we haven't stayed at the Sylvia in many years, I always enjoy spending time when I'm here, with coffee, my notebook, and a Vancouver paper.

Previous posts from English Bay



Sea Island




Vancouver is an international city, but it's also the stepping off point for hundreds of small islands, remote lakes, and fjords, so besides long runways for wide-body jets coming from China, there needs to be a place for seaplanes to land and takeoff.  They do this from a major seaplane base on the south side of YVR, along the middle arm of the Fraser.

We had dinner at the Flying Beaver* and watched the planes coming and going. This was a cool spot - and crowded on a Friday evening - wish we'd discovered it years ago.


* I think most of the small float planes we see in the Northwest are DeHavilland Beavers.





Richmond


This year, we spent the Friday evening before Salt Spring in the Riverport Complex just north of the Massey Tunnel. Which took us by Richmond Country Farms, a very large and popular fruit and veggie stand on Steveston east of 99.

Fruits and veggies are M's specialty and with the border behind us, she could stock up without worrying about what NEXUS allowed and didn't allow.  Since I don't know very much about fruits and veggies, I just wandered around taking pictures of them.





Sunday, July 31, 2016

Minotaur Lake



Minotaur Lake lies below Labyrinth Mountain in the Little Wenatchee drainage, somewhere northeast of Stevens Pass. Theseus Lake is several hundred feet lower, but looked like it might be much harder to get to.

J and R were staying at the cabin, so we just met at the trailhead. Just J and R, since the kids apparently decided that laying around the cabin would be more rewarding than climbing a mountain with their parents and vintage uncle.


The hike up Labyrinth Mountain was fairly easy to follow, but I was sure wishing I still had that extra pint of blood I donated Thursday afternoon. It was probably just an excuse for age and poor conditioning, but the whole day I felt I was hiking several thousand feet higher than I actually was.