Saturday, December 12, 2015

Gingerbread House

Elise and I attempted making a gingerbread house from scratch the other night. This picture was taken moments before it collapsed.

We may try again next year now that we've learned what not to do. At least it tasted good!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I took Elise trick-or-treating this year while Pam stayed home to hand out candy. Elise joined three friends - Eric, Sylvan and Aidan - and they raced around the neighbourhood...literally. She claims she broke her "candy record" and I believe her.

Highlights were an incredible haunted house on Westway Avenue, a pumpkin walk through the forest on Magnolia and the fact that it didn't pour rain. This was truly amazing since we're locked in a serious fall storm cycle at the moment.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

And It Begins...

With some trepidation, I'm about to dive into production on my much anticipated hiking guidebook to Squamish. I've spent almost three years researching this project, doing as many of the local hikes as possible, and feel as though the time has finally come to put pen to paper, so to speak. Although this past summer was hot and smokey, it was generally very dry which allowed me to tie up most of the loose ends in my research and add to my collection of guidebook images.

The scenery in this area may be lovely, but one thing I've learned as I've worked to gather hiking data is you've got to be willing to push far to get the best views. Since we live at sea level, getting into the alpine is a task. It typically involves a long, steep slog through coastal forest or an aggressive ride up a forest service road in a high clearance 4-wheel-drive vehicle.

As many of these images show, we certainly have an abundance of fresh, clean water in this part of the world. In the heat of summer, nothing beats hiking into the alpine to cool off with a refreshing swim in a pristine mountain lake. We did plenty of that this summer along with purchasing a canoe to explore the lakes and waterways at the lower elevations.

Although it's far outside of the scope of the hiking guidebook, one of the best trips I did this summer was a climb up Mamquam Mountain with my friend Casey - the views we got from this area were outstanding. Mamquam is one of the iconic peaks in Garibaldi Park and a summit I can actually see from my house. Standing on top was very satisfying.

Pam and Elise have provided company on a great number of research trips, however I find going solo has it's advantages, too. When travelling alone, I can move at my own pace and linger for the best photographic conditions. Sometimes I find myself purposely travelling in circles to determine the best trail or hiking route, a tactic not favoured (or tolerated) by most hiking partners!

I've also enjoyed seeing these areas changes throughout the seasons. Spring is a time of snow-covered slopes and bright skies, summer brings waves of blooming wildflowers and fall sees the slopes turn orange and yellow as the alpine foliage prepares for winter.

Now that October is about to end, the temperatures are dropping and the serious winter rains have begun. The hiking season may be winding down, but with any luck the mountains will see more snow than last year, at least that's what the skiers are hoping for!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ten Sleep, Wyoming

We spent three weeks in Wyoming this past August and very much enjoyed the climbing at Ten Sleep Canyon, which lies just south of the Big Horn Range. We experienced wild fluctuations in temperatures and conditions, but overall the weather was cooperative and we enjoyed climbing, hiking and exploring this part of central Wyoming.

We stopped in Yellowstone National Park on our way to Ten Sleep and enjoyed hiking to the summit of Mt. Washburn, the highest peak in the park. Wildlife was abundant and we saw buffalo, prong horn, mountain sheep and elk.

After the Mount Washburn hike, we stopped at Yellowstone Falls before getting locked in a serious traffic jam trying to get to our campground. Buffalo were swarming across the highway! After a crowded night, we toured some geothermal vents the next morning alongside Yellowstone Lake and then high-tailed it for Ten Sleep Canyon.

Upon arrival, we toured the various camping options and settled on Meadowlark Lake, a reservoir at the top of the canyon. It was peaceful and the high elevation provided cool overnight temperatures for sleeping. This became our home away from home and we enjoyed swimming and fishing in the lake as well as the wildlife that came to visit.

Our first week was extremely hot, but afternoon thunderstorms cooled things off and provided the occasional stunning rainbow. The climbing was high quality and both Elise and Pam enjoyed the many moderates the canyon had to offer.

Between climbing days, we toured the local towns. Buffalo had a great outdoor community pool and the Worland Recreation Center had an amazing water slide, both of which were popular with Elise. We viewed interesting native pictographs at Medicine Lodge, swam in the hot springs of Thermopolis and visited the Wyoming Dinosaur Museum, home to a Supersaurus specimen, one of the largest dinosaurs to ever roam the land

Hiking trails are abundant in the Big Horn Range and we explored a number of different regions. Our favourite hike was to Misty Moon Lake, where we sat and watched two bull moose feed in the lake's shallows. When one started briskly walking towards us, we made a quick retreat! During our evening return journey, we spotted many deer, elk and moose, often at very close range.

In our final week, the smoke from various fires in Montana and Washington started to affect our skies, and we experienced heavy haze and the smell of woodsmoke. But as we travelled back to the coast, we encountered serious precipitation, the likes of which we'd not seen since early in the spring. Despite our lack of enthusiasm, the forests needed the rain desperately. Squamish is slowly turning green once again.

Back home, it's now time to return to fall routines as Pam and Elise settle into work and school. Here's our nine-year-old on her first day of grade four! How time flies...