Sunday, September 25, 2016


Thoroughly enjoyed this past weekend. Makes up for feeling like I missed last week's weekend entirely. Which I mostly did with 16 hours of overtime office work. Anyway, now I have enough OT to take time off over Christmas.

Came across couple of noteworthy photo-ops that I thought I'd share.

Pigeon party.
The pigeons got me started, but later in the day I encountered some East Van grafiti, then read a photo caption in the Georgia Straight which got me thinking about other tags I've seen around town the last few years. Some I've posted already previously, but sometimes I find it's nice to see them grouped together. Birds of a feather I guess. :-)  See, it did tie in!
I'm not quite sure how deep this Main Street grafiti is meant to be; its positive vibe is what drove me to capture it within a snapshop. It seems to me it deserves a bit wider audience before it's potentially removed.
The inspiration for posting the preceding photo was this photo and caption from the Georgia Straight describing a particular tag that's been re-appearing in Vancouver lately. Another positive image.
It reminded me of a couple more grafiti tags I've seen in Vancouver the last few years.
A variety of mediums are employed. I don't condone vandalism, but again, its all about the message... 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Eastside 10K

Another 10K under my belt. This is the latest into the season I've ever maintained my jogging. And all thanks to the running group we assembled after the SunRun training group finished this past season. We run at least 5 km every Saturday morning. I think the max we've done is 8 km since the SunRun. So I was quite pleased to have clocked 1 hour 4-1/2 minutes last weekend. Although the pouring rain made it seem like I'd swum 10 km!

Deertrail Resort (re-visited)

Upon our return from km 42 of the Galloping Goose trail we stopped for a snack at the ruins of the old unfinished Deertrail Resort. I couldn't resist exploring it again. There was a lot of activity taking place.

The black widow spider I saw the previous weekend is no longer there.
The smell of fresh paint was pungent in the air as I entered the site. Three artists were hard at work. Although, I must say, I'd be a bit peeved if I'd been the one to have had his spider painted over.

At the rate they're painting, pretty soon the paint's gonna be as thick as the stone walls.
At the gorge side of the site a music video was being recorded.
And amidst all of it, the immortal (and rather sunburnt) James Dean smokes...
I couldn't resist a selfie in what was to be Canada's largest fireplace. I should have got a shot looking straight up the damper. Oh well, next time... :-)
Doing my best "Clint Eastwood" squint. 

Galloping Goose (Day 2)

Day 2 was 50 km. We weren't sure how far we'd get on day 2, but our minimum target was Sooke Potholes Park. As it turned out the trail system is very well maintained and it's easy to keep a quick pace on a bike.

Easy late summer riding. 

Approaching Sooke harbour.
This moss reminds me of the stuff that gets strewn about trees at Hallowe'en.
I've always been drawn to Arbutus trees. They look especially dramatic at low sun angles.
It's truly surprising how well deer blend into their surroundings. This deer and I startled ourselves into the middle of next week on my return from Sooke Potholes. The crunching of gravel under my bikes tires must have suddenly betrayed my presence as this deer jumped right out in front of my bike. Fortunately it stood still long enough for me to photograph it. I did ask politely, after all.

Saw lotsa rabbits on this trip. As I discovered later these two turned out to be domesticated. I saw much smaller, faster ones later which proved to be too fast for me to photograph.
This is the only railway trackside building we saw, this one being just beyond the convention center ruins.
We logged about 100 km on Day 2, more than earning a dip in the hotel pool.

Lochside Trail & Galloping Goose (Day 1)

When we first began planning this Sept. 10-12 bicycle trip I wasn't even aware there were essentially two trails: the Galloping Goose and the Lochside Trail. I thought the whole route was the Goose. I now know it's two trails that blend into one wonderful two-wheeled experience.

Of course it helped immensely that the weather cooperated. Didn't need long sleeves or long pants at all during daylight hours. Beyond sunset was a different matter, but that's where the hotel's indoor saltwater pool came into play.

The 9 a.m. ferry crossing to Sidney.
Jeff's attaching his Go-Pro to his handlebar for full documentational effect.
Somewhere along the Lochside Trail.
Detouring off Lochside to document Kilometer One at the Johnson Street Bridge was perfectly timed for a lunch stop in Victoria
Actually brunch, to be more precise. Had to fuel up to tackle the next leg to Colwood.
Re-tracing our path over the Trestle bridge to continue the along the Goose.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Just wanted to post a couple of photos I'm calling "abstractions". I though it's about time I started learning about more advanced features on my dSLR. I've had it for several years already and I've noticed I mostly use my point-and-shoot or my iPhone for photography lately. So this past summer I made a point of setting aside some time to teach myself about some features that aren't available to the point-and-shoot or iPhone (or at least they're a lot more difficult on those platforms).

One shot in particular I've always wanted to recreate is one I saw on the cover of The Vancouver Courier a number of years ago. It was a photo of the Gastown Grand Prix and the edges were blurred to look as if the riders were emerging from a tunnel of blurred colour.

Below are my recent attempts to recreate that effect.

Summer flowers in a Winnipeg back lane.

Pumpkins at Michell Farm on Vancouver Island. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Ruins (of Deertrail Destination Resort)

The second half of our Island motorcycling adventure got interesting. Upon leaving Fort Rodd I set the GPS for a coffee shop in Sooke, with Sooke Potholes actually in mind as our destination. Feeling perhaps over-confident regarding direction-finding however, I still missed the turn off.

We found Sooke Potholes eventually after winding around a paved lane for about 5 km. Past the first parking lot the road wound further up the hill. Knowing that next weekend we'd be on bicycles having cycled from Colwood, still with the prospect of a return trip we decided to venture up the road considering that today we had the benefit of motorized assistance. And were we ever rewarded for that decision!

At the top of the hill was a fenced-off area containing a strange unfinished stone compound of some sort. We walked the perimeter of the chain link marveling at the structure and wishing we'd known about if years earlier so we could have gained access to explore. There was one area where the chain link was obviously bent up from the ground where someone had crawled under, but neither one of us was up to that challenge. Maybe it's an age thing. I suppose at 20 we wouldn't have thought twice about it.
Can you imagine roasting marshmallows in that fireplace?
Another massive fireplace.
The place sits right on the edge of a steep embankment overlooking what I'm guessing is the start of the potholes, because directly adjacent to the little ponds is a large waterfall. We had walked around all three sides of the fence perimeter and were becoming resigned to the fact that we'd have to be content with having seen the building remains from outside the fence when we heard voices approaching. Two girls appeared from the direction of the ruins on a trail we hadn't even seen from our vantage point at fence height. Their heads bobbed up and down with the undulations in the trail elevation until they passed us without even a glance and disappeared down a trail, presumably to the river below.

With an entrance now introduced to us we couldn't possibly pass up the opportunity to explore from the inside. It was kinda like stepping through the looking glass. We'd been able to tell from the outside that most of the stonework had been spray-tagged, but we weren't quite prepared for the quality of artwork that exists inside, especially on walls that are weather-protected.

A ten-foot long Black Widow spider? Oh yeah!
I'm glad there'd be some light in here after dark...
Jeff's testing some threaded steel embeds. They failed, BTW.
Needless to say we were completely stumped as to what this structure is/was. We're both involved in the building industry and we were both quite determined to find out at least something about this mysterious structure before resorting to Google later on. Age seemed to be about the only thing we'd be able to evaluate. Still on the outside of the fence we'd noted that two huge columns had modern ridged reinforcing steel protruding from them, so at least we knew going in that parts of this development had occurred in recent decades. Upon gaining inside access it became clear from existing steel I-beams, suspended concrete slabs and concrete block in-fill walls that this place indeed probably dated from no farther back in time than the 70's.

And sure enough, once home I learned that Deer Trail Destination Resort, as it was to have been named, did begin in the early 80's. It had apparently been the dream of Albert Yuen to create a world class resort and convention centre in a spectacularly natural setting. In 1982 it was expected to become a $50 million development. However, somehow, financially it went sideways and never recovered. I also read that several years ago all the wood beams were removed because they'd begun to deteriorate, plus people (i.e., drunk people) tended to fall off those beams resulting in injury.

This a page from the original promotional brochure that I manged to to find online.
This is another view of the architect's rendering of a finished Deer Trails Resort.
As you may have guessed, I enjoy exploring old structures such as this one. It was especially fun because we happened across it completely expectantly. I think the last similar structure I stumbled unknowingly upon was the Alexandra Bridge over the Fraser River near Yale. Of course it was a bridge, not a building, but I came across it in exactly the same way. We'd been walking the dogs down the hillside, rounded a bend, and there it was; a bridge I hadn't even known was there!