Saturday, September 20, 2014

Driving Event

There's really no way to avoid an unintended product placement here. I attended a driving event today and the photos will definitely show it was sponsored by Mazda. But nonetheless, since I can't seem to shake this automotive addiction, just suffice it to say I was in my element and I had a blast getting an opportunity to drive a Miata, however brief it was.

The weather was picture-perfect, so...

I took a bunch of pictures.

Don't let the scowl fool you: I got to drive this car!  The sun was in my eyes!
Now I see what the bid deal is about these cars.

A classic 1967 Cosmo was on display too. Apparently there are only 5 of these in Canada.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

UBC Canopy Walkway

What was your first impression of your first encounter with a suspension bridge? Was it at all un-nerving? If so, might it have been because of the mighty chasm over which it spanned?

UBC has recently added a new twist. It’s a suspension bridge through the mighty conifers of the UBC Botanical Garden. I was half expecting to find a red VW Bug dangling below it, midspan.

We checked it out last weekend and it’s quite an experience. Just make sure you’re a good distance away from any rambunctious youngsters intent on trampolining the suspended structure into the stratosphere. Fortunately I’m educated enough to know that such a structure is engineered with a very generous safety factor. 

Steel cables supporting the platforms are wrapped securely around the tree trunks.
This "peek-a-boo" artist provides some scale for the girth of the trees used for the platforms.

A bird's eye view.
One foot at a time...Don't look down! It's only 23 meters to the forest floor below. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Killarney Lake on Bowen Island

Last year my wife discovered a little spot previously unknown to her called Killarney Lake on Bowen Island. A friend of hers was visiting from Winnipeg and they decided to do a day trip to somewhere neither of them had been before. Afterwards she thought it would also make a perfect day trip for us to take our dog. She was right, of course. Tannah loved it! And me too.

After we finally found parking, that is. It was touch and go for awhile. The village of Horseshoe Bay was packed when we arrived last Sunday in this hot summer tourist season. We ended up parking at the top of the hill and walking down to the ferry. Our plan all along had been to walk on the ferry.

Once off the ferry the entrance to Crippen Regional Park is just up the hill. From there to Killarney Lake is about another half an hour, dependeing on your choice of routes.

Scenery is quite diverse along the trail, from fairly dense forest cover to a marsh with white bark trees (I never know if they're Alder, Birch or something else so I won't even bother to name them), some live, some dead. They made for a good photo op, none-the-less.

The lake itself is larger than I would have thought considering it's on an island. There was even a canoe launched while we snacked on granola in the shade. A couple of swimmers braved the weedy water too.

Tannah earned her nap. She was on sensory overload the whole way. All sorts of wild smells to process.

The highlight of the trip, however, was on the return leg. I don't know what made me stop at this certain place along the trail, but I turned and looked out at a tree across a small clearing. I must have seen motion. There was a thick shape on a low branch, and I guess it took me a second to process that it wasn't part of the tree. It was an owl! I was not at all prepared to see an owl in the daylight. I had thought they were nocturnal. Obviously not.


 According to the bird guide it's a Barred Owl. Check out the tail. And those eyes! They're kinda spooky actually. This particular owl was scoping out something below him in the foliage. I had time to snap a few frames before Tannah noticed the motion and went ballistic barking at it. Of course it flew away at that point.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Looooowwww Tide

Last year we missed it, but this year I expressly noted when the lowest tides occur this season. We took our dog to Spanish Banks two years ago and she absolutely loved it! Leash free, a (seemingly) boundless expanse of compacted sand. What's not to love?

This is the recent photo in the Vancouver Courier that reminded me to check the tide charts.

I'll post photos in two batches because I still want to photoshop a couple. I just need to level out the horizon on a few action shots of Tannah. She moved so fast that I focused on her motion rather than the level horizon.

The freighters looked like they were grounded. I must admit I had the occasional eerie thought of them really being beached, recalling the Japanese tsunami. Good thing I had a frolicking Spaniel to divert me back to reality!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Storm Cell

After an impressive introductory crack of thunder, we just witnessed a severe storm cell that lasted probably 20-25 minutes. It was, I think, the most intense prolonged hail event that I've ever witnessed in this Vancouver region. No visible accumulations of hail remained after the cell passed and the pellets were only pea-sized, but they surely came down "with intensity"! (That phrase always plays in my my mind with a thick Japanese accent from that scene in Lost in Translation.)

2014-06-16 update: Apparently that storm system wasn't finished with us. At about 1:30 a.m. I was jolted awake with what can only be described as a ferocious blast of thunder. It induced a panic that one might expect if a tree crashed through the roof without notice. With my adrenaline now pumping it took another hour or so to fall back asleep.

It would be interesting for me to have experienced an Asian monsoon rain event to enable me to fairly compare the intensity (there's that word again) of rainfall that accompanied the vicious thunder clap. Allowing for the fact that I've never traveled to Asia, in my humble opinion last night's rain certainly qualified as torrential.

Father's Day Beach Attendance in Vancouver

Vancouver residents flocked to the beach (well OK, it was Lost Lagoon) this drizzly Father's Day weekend.

Fortunately a life guard was on duty.

By contrast, this was English Bay beach on Saturday near noon. This is a weekend with an extra low tide predicted. The most beach was expected to be exposed by 1:29 p.m.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cherry Blossom Season

Tannah is quite the poser when confronted with cherry blossoms in full bloom.