Friday 12 January 2007

BC is a giant collage

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Judging by the very limited view I get from my little corner of it, British Columbia is a land of incredible diversity. Geographically it has desert, grasslands, estuaries and islands. It has high arctic meadows and low-lying wetlands. It has ocean beaches pounded by the Pacific, and sheltered beaches lapped by pacific fjords.

Demographically it is home to many aboriginal groups with a range of distinct histories. It is home to families whose forebears arrived four or more generations ago as pioneers seeking the wealth and success denied them in their countries of origin. It is home to the many other families who have arrived since from almost every other nation around the world.

So when we visited Fort Langley, a preserved pioneer fort on the Fraser River, base for many of the early incoming settlers for whom the river was the route to a new life, it seemed quite fitting that they should celebrate the anniversary of the birth of the province with this giant collage map. Not a collage in the true sense, of course, but I can't think of a better word for it.

Thursday 11 January 2007

One fine day, at Steveston harbour. Mount Baker really is quite something. On a clear day it towers over the Lower Mainland like a towering thing.

Monday 8 January 2007

Just before new year we went for a walk at Second Beach and for lunch at Vera's Burger Shack on Denman St. Vera's do fantastic burgers, made with real meat rather than the stuff they serve up at the big chains.
While we walked around the seawall we ran into a chap with a long lens photographing the birds out on English Bay. Neither of my sons can resist talking to new people, especially if they have gadgets, and this was no exception - my elder son immediately struck up a conversation. He and his wife were long-time Vancouverites and are hard-core lovers of Stanley Park. He is in the process of building a web site about the natural history of Stanley Park and we spent a wonderful half hour chatting and wandering with him and his wife. They were wonderful with the boys and told them all sorts of interesting things about the beach and the birds we could see around us. It's great to live in a place where you can bump into people like that who will give their time so freely.
So Elder took this photo of the birds that our friend was looking at - not bad for a beginner! They are Surf Scoters and they gather in English Bay (and no doubt many of the other coastal wetlands of the Pacific Northwest) in late Autumn every year.
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So it's the New Year and as a belated New Year's resolution I'm going to try to post to this blog more regularly. If anyone reads it and like the pictures then all the better, but I don't really care.
Most of the pictures on the blog will also be posted on my Picasa web album where it should be possible to download higher resolution copies.

Sunday 7 January 2007

These pictures give a hint of the devastation suffered by the trees in Stanley Park during the windstorms of late December 2006. Prospect Point seems to have suffered the worst. This picture shows stacks of logs in the parking lot by the café there - I assume these are just logs from trees that fell across the roadway. There are still many many limbs, branches and whole trees left lying within the forest and most of the the trails are closed.
The second photo shows the damage by the road just beyond Prospect Point. As you pass the Point, the road does a tight bend back on itself and the area enclosed by the bend has almost been flattened. What I found most incredible about the damage is seeing mature trees that have obviously been snapped in half, the shredded stumps left sticking out of the ground. Posted by Picasa
I went up to Prospect Point this evening to try and take some photos of the devastation of the trees. If decimation is the removal of 10% of a group of soldiers then could the destruction of 20% of the trees in Stanley Park be called ventilation? Unfortunately the sunset light was blocked by yet another rain storm, so it was too dark to really see the tree damage.

I did like this picture because to me it's another of those little encapsulations of Vancouver - the rain, the sun, the forests, the buildings, the natural beauty of the mountains and the man-made elegance of Lion's Gate bridge. Posted by Picasa