Thursday, October 29, 2009

Burnaby Mountain in October

This past Saturday I spent a few hours having a look at the autumn colouur on Burnaby Mountain, especially the western end of the mountain. These are just a small sample of photos I took that afternoon. If you go to my sister blog, Haliaeetus, you will be able to see a lot more of them and other photos as well. To start off with the sun shining through the trees along University Drive near the Simon Fraser University (SFU) campus caught my eye. I did check it out from the other side but that proved not to be anything special.
Bikes are common around here and so is the grade in the road. It can get a lot steeper than the sign above may indicate. After all the rain we had recently, I there were lots of mushrooms growing about if you looked carefully, such as this clump of fungi growing in a crack in a sawed off portion of a tree. Then the photo below that shows a peak of Burrard Inlet looking through the trees along the path to the cherry grove, rose garden and restaurant.

Each year the colour of the leaves is a bit different on these cherry trees. One year they were more coppery in colour. I guess it has a lot to do with the temperature differences between day and night. Back east where I lived most of my life, autumns can be warm during the day and then frosty at night bringing out some very spectacular colour in the maples, like bright yellows, oranges and brilliant reds. Here though, I've found colours to be a lot more subtle with the odd punch here and there.
The image above looks north into Indian Arm at Burrard Inlet north of the Burnaby Mountain. The upper reaches of this waterway disappear in the cloud and mist that is common this time of year. The photo below shows a close-up of the oil tanker in the above image. Yes, there is a refinery on the shores of Burrard Inlet. The storage tanks for the oil are on the south side of the mountain. More on all that later.

The autumn colour was evident on the western end of Burnaby Mountain from where the restaurant is located on south. The large shrub in the photo above is located to the north-northwest of the Horizon Restaurant and below a very large beech tree. Below is a close-up shot of its reddish-coloured leaves. There are more trees and shrubs further south with yellows or muted reds from cherry trees to maples, and since the mountain is a remnant from the period where an ice sheet once covered North America, there are rocks and boulders strewn along here and there. You can see them in various photos. There is even a circle of rocks with what looks like remains from a fire, likely a celebration of the autumn equinox! What do you think?

The view of a walkway through part of the cherry grove and leading south away from the restaurant. Below is another cherry tree in colour along the way back to the Tran-Canada Trail.

A circle of rocks with the remains of a recent fire and we weren't invited to the celebration of the autumn equinox? Well, perhaps this will happen next year.

The rocks and boulders remain from the ice age and add a nice touch to the landscape, don't you think? They certainly are a lovely added feature to these photos!

And finally, the view above looks west-northwest from the western end of the mountain. In the foreground is nearby Capitol Hill with Stanley Park in the middle background and the North Shore further back. You can see a bit of the Lions Gate Bridge on the right. The landscape in the distance disappears in mist. This area is part of a temperate rainforest. Below is a close-up shot of some maple leaves in various shades and colours. I hope you've enjoyed the journey and the photos! - V.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

vote for Scott

Well, my friend Scott Herman has beeen busy making plenty of videos. Check them out on and vote for him here so he can continue to produce these free videos. That's Scott on the left above. Being cheeky!!! Oh, and I thought I'd post a pic with Scott and other hot guys in underwear, too! You too can have a fabulous physique with Scott as the motivator!!! Check him out. - V.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hollyburn Peak - part III

As if you haven't seen enough of Hollyburn Mountain and its peak, here are a few more photos to delight! The one above is looking toward the north-northeast from the summit of Hollyburn Mountain. The only difference now between now and then is that the interior mountains have a dusting of snow. The frosting comes soon enough! The photo below is a close-up view of the Lions, a nearby mountain to the north, and is easily seen from many vantage points in the Vancouver area.

This was my rest spot on the summit. There is a close-up shot of the plaque on the side of the bench. The locals, the chipmunk that is, came out rather quickly to welcome visitors, and get some handouts!

The view alone was worth the hike, so if you're in the area and you love hiking and lots of beautiful scenery, come take a hike. For those with a vehicle, there is a road up the mountain with a parking lot with access to the nordic ski area from where you can hike up to the summit. My next adventure up the mountain might involve a winter hike. I understand the scenery can be quite breath-taking that time of year. Someone I know has done it with snowshoes! However, plan out your trip carefully if you plan to spend a day up on the mountain. Plus, bring a working flashlight with spare batteries and a sweater or light jacket if climbing up in the summer. This is if you stay is extended longer than you had anticipated. The winter time would obviously require the necessary clothing to keep warm in a cold environment plus warm boots and a hat.
My trip up the mountain on August 16th went well, though taking photos ate up time and I wasn't exactly keeping track of the hours fly by. Troubles began on the way down when I took a wrong trail. There were only two options and I went to the right when I should have kept hiking down using the trail straight ahead. By the time I realized my mistake, valuable time and daylight had been used up by the time I backtracked and resumed the hike on the correct trail. To add to this, the flashlight I was using had failing batteries. As I continued down the mountain, using no flashlight was as good as using the one I had that was failing. In the end, I ended up booking off work for the next morning knowing that I'd not be able to get home in time, have enough sleep and work in a wakeful manner through the next day (cell phone come in handy). Then I called the police via 911 to arrange for someone to get me off the mountain. Keep in mind that it was after 10 pm and very dark! And so, all things considered, it was unsafe to continue (there were plenty of ravines ahead to fall into) and wearing a t-shirt and jeans, which was great for the daytime (August), was not enough for the night hours, not without at least a sweater or light jacket. If my flashlight had been working properly, I would have been able to continue down without any issues. North Shore Rescue ended up getting me off the mountain, so I speak from experience on a wise way to prepare for such a hike. The same rescue people were also responsible for putting up the trail markers. Before that, lots of people were getting lost and this was in the days before cell phones worked on the mountain. So give them your support if you're interested. They do a lot of valuable work! That my friends is my hike up the mountain to the summit. I hope you've enjoyed the photos (I certainly got to take plenty of them, more than I've posted here) and the commentary! I hope to have a detailed post soon on Haliaeetus, my other blog that deals with nature and the wildlife in it, etc! - V.

Hollyburn Peak - part II

A while back I posted some photos from a hike up Hollyburn Mountain to its peak. Well, here is a larger selection starting near the bottom of the Baden Powell Trail that leads up the mountain from the Millstream Trail. The hike was started at Millstream Road in the British Properties of West Vancouver. The first two images are of a vehicle wreck that appears to have had better days. The remains are to be found off to the side of the Baden Powell Trail on the east side of the trail as you ascend up the mountain.

I love the blue sky to be seen above the trail while climbing up. The weather on August 16th, a Sunday, was excellent. I also paid more attention to the plants, flowers and fungi I encountered along the way, more so than the last time. A close up of a fern frond appears below and of a strange fungi (for me anyway) below that. Then there is yet another fern planting, this one illuminated by the sun shining through an opening in the forest canopy above!

I encountered water droplets on the leaves of a blueberry shrub and couldn't resist taking a series of photos. This is just one of the shots. Then there is an image of the many trail markers to be encountered along the way up and then fungi on a log with the dew still on it.

There was some time taken to view Gentian Lake just east off the Baden Powell Trail. Since this was August, the blue gentian flowers were in bloom along the lake, especially along the north side.
There were plenty of alpine flowers to be seen in the clearings and I even took a series of photos of a bumblebee climbing in a gentian flower and then back out. These are just two of the series.

From the ridge to the final trail up to the peak is the nordic ski area. There were lots of alpine flowers there too, such as this Western Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea var. occidentalis), the only Pearly Everlasting native to North America. A good close up is found below with another photo of a bumblebee sleeping on one of those alpine flowers. There were two such sleeping bees encountered in the lower nordic area.

The photo above shows a mountain hut found in the nordic ski area and there is a view of First Lake in the photo below with the conifer trees reflected in the water.

The blueberries were in season. The ones on shrubs in the exposed areas along the upper parts of the trail tasted much better. I guess being exposed to the cooler night air made the difference as far as the taste and quality of the fruit. I was eating blueberries as I was hiking along but I did leave plenty for other hikers, and the bears of course! And again, the blue sky, along with some light, wispy clouds was lovely to see.

Here is a lovely view of the scene nearing the summit of the mountain. Looking down you see Burnaby Mountain off in the distance. North Vancouver is just ahead of that.
I love this view of trees reflected in an alpine pond (or lake they might say). Then there is a view to the west through the trees. The final photo shows a view of the Lions, a mountain to the north, as seen from Hollyburn Peak. I hope you've enjoyed these images of a hike taken in mid-August of this year. Feel free to comment or ask any questions you like. - V.