Category Archives: Travel

Searching Squamish, BC, for Salmon and Eagles

This is a great time of year to see salmon and eagles up the Sea-to-Sky highway heading north from Vancouver to Squamish.

Didn’t see that many of the magnificent raptors today, but enough for some decent photos.

eagle_paradise_valley_road_squamish_20141122Eagle soaring above the Paradise Valley road north of Squamish, BC

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Lunching on what appears to be a chum salmon on the Squamish River

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Cruising along the Squamish River

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A mass of  biomass. Lots of carcasses near the Tenderfoot hatchery off the Paradise Valley road north of Squamish. It looks gross, but salmon bring nutrients back from the ocean that enrich our coastal forests and other wildlife.

Adams River Sockeye Dominant Run 2014

The return of sockeye salmon to the Adams River in the Shuswap in British Columbia peaks every four years. This was my third or fourth visit for a peak run, combined with a 3-day SEHAB (Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Advisory Board) meeting.

Here are a few photos taken while volunteering on the river as an interpreter for the thousands of tourists who flock to this amazing event. The run was not yet at its peak, and I hope I can find the time to make it up there one more time this year.

Check out Salute to the Sockeye for more information.

adams river sockeye run 2014

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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
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t was windy and there were whitecaps on Nicola Lake

BC Highway 5A

BC Highway 5A

Installed Winter Tires on the Car

I got the winter tires installed on our faithful ’98 Subaru Outback today. Will be doing a trip into the BC interior later this month, and while there’s no snow yet, the higher passes could get some any day now.

I’ve always been a believer in winter tires from the days I first began driving in Saskatchewan a long time ago. And as the experts recommend, I put them on all four wheels. (And that’s not because of Subaru’s all-wheel-drive. You should do this for front-drive or rear-drive vehicles, too.)

The “all-season” tires that I use most of the year are rated “M+S” and therefore are accepted as snow tires in BC, but I figure using the real thing adds a margin of safety.

What I changed in my routine several years back was getting winter wheels (yes, those drab steel items). They pay off in just a few years, because if you keep your winter tires mounted on rims, dealers and garages will often swap summer for winter, and vice versa, for free as part of regular maintenance, since they need to take the wheels off to check brakes, etc., anyway.

Or if you just get the tires swapped, if they’re already mounted on rims, it’ll run around $40 rather than over $100.

And if you have a partner with aesthetic sensibilities that are offended when the mag wheels are replaced by black-painted metal, you will find that they will be eager to ante up for fancy wheel covers : -).

But what about the cost of those extra winter tires?

The way I see it, if you keep your vehicle for many years, like we do, there is no extra cost. You’d be buying new summer or all-season tires more often if you weren’t using winter ones, eh?

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

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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.

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.

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Duffy Lake
Duffy Lake

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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

TV Japan Reminds Me of Lovely, Hot/Cold Traditional Japanese Houses

Caught a few minutes of an NHK Japan TV drama that my wife was watching tonight. Sigh.

I really love the look of traditional Japanese houses. I can imagine the scent of the tatami and old wood. The gentle rumbling of the screen doors moving. The gorgeous little rock-moss-and-water gardens. . .

I’d love to live in one, in Japan, for the three or four months of the year that they are comfortable to live in — at least in central Honshu — with my metabolism.

My 14 years in Japan I mostly lived in concrete “mansions”, aside from 6 months in an old, traditional “student house” and about a year in an old wooden apartment building, with teeny rooms, a shared toilet, and bathing facilities a block up the street at the local sento, or public bath.

And I’ll tell you that when I earned enough to move into an apartment of about 300 square feet in a brand-spanking-new concrete “mansion” with my own bath and an air conditioner, I thought I was king of the hill .

From memory of Japanese seasonal patterns, I’d say a traditional Japanese house without modern cooling/heating appurtenances would be comfy, at least for me, for around April-May, and October-November, in the  greater Tokyo area .