Category Archives: Nature

October 2014 Road Trip – Day 1

Today I drove from Burnaby to Kamloops, taking the 3 across to Princeton, and then the 5A up to Kamloops. This takes several hours longer than just blasting up the 5, but I prefer the slower, more intimate roads for photography.

The following shots were all taken along the 5A.

BC Highway 5A

BC Highway 5AThis was the second flipped semi I saw today. Yikes! Slow down!

BC Highway 5A

BC Highway 5A

BC Highway 5A

BC Highway 5A

BC Highway 5A
I
t was windy and there were whitecaps on Nicola Lake

BC Highway 5A

BC Highway 5A

Watching Closely as Midori, Our Turtle, Readies for Winter

I posted this on FB the other day, and it got a positive response from pet and animal lovers, so I’m expanding upon it a bit here. It rings a tad sanctimonious, but really folks, a pet IS for life, and you shouldn’t consider having one if you can’t fulfill that responsibility.

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We’re keeping a close eye on Midori, our turtle. It’s getting colder at night, and she’s starting to follow us around, wanting “uppy” for cuddling and warmth. We’ll be putting her on a heated gel pack in a basket overnight soon.

No, we’re not spoiling her, we’re keeping her healthy. If she gets too cold she starts shutting down. Yet on the other hand, she can’t get cold enough in the house to properly hibernate. We’ve discovered over the years that this “not quite here/not quite there” situation over winter is not good for her, as she starts to lose calcium etc.

We had a bad scare a few years ago when her limbs began puffing up during a semi-hibernation. After a costly vet visit, it turned out that in her semi-somnolent state her body was still “consuming” minerals, etc., but since she wasn’t eating anything, her system was sucking the calcium out of her own bones.

So the last few years we’ve kept her warm all winter. It’s a lot of work, but she’s much the better for it.

As I’ve said many times before, we do NOT recommend turtles for pets. Keeping them healthy and happy is a lot of work, and they can live for 40+ years. We didn’t know that when we got her 21 years ago.

But we will never give up the responsibility we took on when we made the (then admittedly uninformed) choice to take a red-eared slider into our lives.

And we will never dump her in a local pond or creek. She doesn’t belong in the Canadian wild. She’s not a native species. And she’s so used to humans that she’d likely follow anyone she saw, begging for food. And we all know that not all members of “our” species are good to other animals, eh?

She is ours, for better or worse, in sickness or in health . And you cannot divorce or just dump a pet, eh?

Burnaby’s Byrne Creek Smelled Foul Today

As I did one of my many rambles around Byrne Creek in SE Burnaby today, I noticed as I reached the bottom of the stairs in the ravine that there was an odd smell, somewhat akin to a cross between kerosene and toilet-bowl cleaner.

The odor was most noticeable in the narrow portions of the ravine, and very strong at Griffiths Pond in the upper watershed near Edmonds Skytrain station, where a storm pipe empties into the pond.

I did not observe any dead fish, or ones in distress, but water visibility was near zero due to the rain.

I called it in to City staff, but noted that since I wasn’t seeing dead fish, it was not an emergency. But something not quite right went down the creek today.

Whidbey Island Camping

Whidbey Island in Washington State has become one of our favorite camping destinations. There are several state parks on the island, which, depending on time at the border, takes about two-and-half to three hours to reach from our home in Burnaby, BC.

Deception Pass State Park west beach
Yumi scanning the ocean at Deception Pass State Park west beach

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Seal pup on rocky outcropping near the west beach at Deception Pass State Park

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Sunset at Deception Pass State Park west beach

deception_pass_lock_20140914 Interesting patterns on parks pass lockbox

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Love the grainy detail on the handle on a beach BBQ box

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The wharf at Coupeville, a funky town mid-island

Deception Pass campground
Our campsite at Deception Pass State Park.

We’ve grown to love Whidbey Island ever since we “discovered it” several years ago. Lots of nature, wonderful state parks, lovely beaches, a variety of wildlife, yet all accompanied by easy access to groceries, shopping, etc.

And the state parks are quiet. We marvel at how even on busy weekends campers are near totally silent by 9:30 and definitely by the 10:00 pm quiet time.

Mason Bee Condo Destroyed in Burnaby Park

Someone destroyed a mason bee condo that my wife and I volunteer to take care of in Ron McLean Park in SE Burnaby, BC.

Mason bees are beneficial pollinators and are no threat to anyone.

This is so sad. I cannot comprehend such wanton destruction. There was even a sign that explained the program, and that mason bees are no threat to anyone.

I am including the “food” category in this blog, because without pollinators like mason bees, we would have little or no fruit and many vegetables.

Mason Bee condo destroyed in Burnaby

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Lovely Day on Duffy Lake Road Loop in BC

Gorgeous day today on the Duffy Lake Road loop. Burnaby > Whistler > Pemberton > Lillooet > Lytton > Hope > Burnaby.

I try to do this loop at least once every couple of years. You can do it fairly comfortably in a day, with several stops here and there along the way.

mountain_view_1_duffy_lake_road_20140912

mountain_view_2_duffy_lake_road_20140912

Duffy Lake
Duffy Lake

mountain_view_4_duffy_lake_road_20140912
Seton Lake

cayoosh_creek_bugs_2_20140912 Cool beetle near Cayoosh Creek

Spruce Sawyer, I’m told. That looks right.

cayoosh_creek_bugs_20140912Lots of big aquatic bugs in Cayoosh Creek

Google Map of Duffy Lake road loop

Google Maps has the trip at 580km and about 8 driving hours