This past March we spent a week in Tucson to get some vitamin D sunshine! And it was J’s first trip to the desert, ever! We went on a couple of hikes, went to the amazing Kartchner Caverns, went to a desert botanical garden and bistro, Tohono Chul, and just hung out drinking tea at The Scented Leaf, where I picked up some nice green tea to take home.
Unfortunately, they don’t let you take pictures at Kartchner Caverns except on certain days and then you have to pay a lot of $$ so I don’t have anything to show you from our walk in the caves there but we did go to a great Mexican restaurant for lunch in a town close by. We asked the Cavern staff where to go and the woman said “Lucky for you that I’m a total foodie and you have to go to this hole in the wall place, Mi Casa Restaurant, in Benson. So we went and were not disappointed. It’s literally a Mom and Pop place; she cooks, he waits the tables. The food was great and we were satiated and happy.
We also “lounged” through an evening at Gates Pass to watch the sunset. Again, just perfect. I have lots of great shots from the trip; here’s just some of my favourites. Hope you enjoy. (Hint: click on a photo to see the full size image)
Since my last post about panoramas, I’ve made several more that I really like. This post I’ll focus (pun intended) 🙂 on ones from my local neighbourhood. I’ve also made it so you can click on each of the images and see them up close and personal in a new window. Without being too conceited, I think you’ll enjoy the extra details you can see in the larger versions! I always do.
First, one I stitched together from 2 photos taken in July from a walk at DeBoughville Slough with J and my sister, in Coquitlam, BC.
Next, a pano taken in October, from 2 photos taken with my LG5 phone camera on the the Bluffs above Admiralty Point in Belcarra Park, Port Moody, BC.
Another October stitch, from 7 photos taken from a hike to the White Rock viewpoint in Coquitlam. If you look at the centre land features in this one, you can see the same hill and towers and point of land you saw in the previous picture. This is up higher and a more expansive view. Vancouver Island way in the distance.
Here’s one I made from a 3 photos one cloudy December morning while walking around the inlet. I’m on the North side shooting South. Another set with the LG5.
Not perfect but it made Explore on Flickr with almost 6 thousand views and that is saying something!
One from Maple Beach on a January hike to Admiralty point. A stitch of 5 shots. It was a “dreary” day so black and white was the way to go here.
Here’s one at the Rocky Point piers in February, looking North towards the mountains. 2 LG photos stitched to make this.
Last but not least, 2 panoramas I made a few days ago during a walk around Buntzen Lake. It was cloudy, the lake was perfectly still and I was, as they say, in the right place at the right time. The first one is a composite of 4 shots.
This second one is a stitch of 10 photos! That’s right, 10. It took a bit of processing time but was totally worth it. It also made Explore and as of the writing of this post, was about to break 7,000 views! As you might imagine, I’m very proud of this one.
So there you have it, my latest local panorama compositions. Can’t really call them photos because they are always put together from at least 2 and often more, captures. Hope you enjoyed the show.
In going back over the previous post, I realized I never showed you our campsite. That’s because I didn’t take any pictures of it! But S did and here’s what it looked like.
J and I setting up our tent
The 1 person tent S used
our tent is set up!
Hanging out around the cooking and general central area of our site
If you look closely, you can see me just sitting around in a folding chair. Not what I usually take on a “backpack” but as the Lake of the Woods camp site was only a kilometre from the drop off point, I figured I could endure carrying the chair for 20 minutes! So glad I did! Gave S my normal thermarest backpack chair and J brought her favourite backpack chair so we were pretty comfy.
Oh, and I forgot to tell you about another interesting development that we discovered when we started to cook dinner the first night. We brought my snowpeak propane backpack stove and my backpack popcan stove that uses methanol (methyl hydrate is what you purchase it as). Before we left home, I had assiduously filled up my gas transport bottle with methanol. At least that’s what I thought I did. So I filled up the popcan stove and tried to light it. It wasn’t lighting. It never not lights! I sniffed the container and realized I hadn’t looked at the label of the stock I had used to refill it. It was paint thinner, not methanol, and wouldn’t light! So that meant we had only 1 small stove for the 3 of us to make all our meals and couldn’t use a fire as there was a fire ban throughout BC because of all the wildfires! DOH! Well, we almost made it through but our last meal the propane tank ran out. Note to self; be more careful next time!
Ok, it’s day 2 and we are deciding where to go. As yesterday’s hike kind of wore us out a bit, we decided to take it easy. J and S decided they just wanted to go back to Ladyslipper lake and hang out there, maybe go swimming. I decided I really wanted to see Goat Lake so after a short way to Goat Lake, they headed back to the trail juncture and went back to Ladyslipper.
Good choice for me on my part. I hadn’t been hiking alone in quite a while and it turned out to be just what I needed! Here’s my trip to Goat lake, which failed to live up to its name as I didn’t see any goats there but filled my needs in all other aspects.
From our juncture, the trail descends into the valley that leads up to a basin where Goat lake is. Once in the valley, it’s a nice gentle trail to the lake. Easy walking 🙂
From the map I knew that the lake would be surrounded by a bunch of peaks and nestled into a basin. Every now and then, I would get a glimpse of where I was ultimately headed.
And you can now begin to see some of the devastation caused by the bark beetle. Most of the large spruce etc are dead. Fortunately, there are young trees springing up to replace them so in another 30 years or so, if they survive, it won’t look quite so desolate. You can also see the continuing effects the smoke was having on the views. Normally would have been clear blue sky with high definition on the mountains given the lens I was using.
Here’s a lovely boggy meadow filled with a sedge called narrow-leaved cotton grass and then a closeup of the actual cotton grass plant.
Getting a bit closer to the lake now.
And, tada! Finally made it to the lake.
It was a warm lovely day except for the smoke so I walked around to the other end of the lake and found a great spot from which to view both the surrounding mountains and the lake while I ate my lunch and drank my tea. Nice breeze to keep the bugs away, too. Happy camper I am.
So…. Goat lake is just a nice little lake. Nothing special about it except for where it is and the peaks that surround it. There were 2 other young folks there and they left before I did so I had the place all to myself for quite a nice bit of time.
I just love the rock that these mountains are composed of. It’s quite dramatic looking and it looks like it would be really fun to scramble up and climb if you were so inclined. Of course, much steeper than it looks in the photos!
After relaxing and taking a few more pictures, it’s time to head back. A parting shot of the lake on my way back out.
Took a few more photos of flowers and such.
Made it back to camp and joined up with J and S. Sponged off my sweat in Lake of the Woods, ate dinner and relaxed. Watched stars, fell asleep.
We had originally planned to leave on the 3:30 shuttle down so after a lazy breakfast we packed up camp and figured we could just leave our gear at the lodge and go for a day hike, returning just a bit before heading out.
Nope. As I mentioned in the previous post, due to the smoke coming into the park, BC Parks declared an evacuation of Cathedral Lakes Park. So we pared down our hike to a short jaunt over to Scout Lake which was just a km or so from the lodge and hoped we could get out on the 1 pm shuttle. No sense hanging around for more smoke!
Turned out to be a good plan. Wandered over to Scout lake and enjoyed ourselves and saw another of the lakes. Here’s a few pics.
I walked all the way around while J and S just stayed on one side. Here’s a nice sedge that I saw at the lake.
And a nice batch of Arnica next to a rock.
On the way out I went a little way past the lake to see the creek coming out of it and got a really nice shot.
It’s very peaceful looking, don’t you think?
Back to the lodge and it turns out that they decided to try to evacuate everyone on the 1pm shuttle. So they had 3 or 4 trucks going back down to the highway. Uneventful ride, back to the car and then back home.
So that’s our trip to Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park. Maybe we’ll go back when there isn’t any smoke and see all the wonderful views we were supposed to see originally. But there are just so many wonderful places to visit, that maybe we won’t. Only time will tell.
Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of this wonderful park. We sure did!
I finally got to tick off a park that has long been on my bucket list, Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park. We had planned to go earlier in the summer and had paid and reserved our ride up but cancelled at the last minute because of all the smoke from forest fires in the area. Instead we went to Manning Park and had a great 3 day backpack with only a bit of smoky views the first day which cleared up nicely for the rest of the trip.
As it was getting near the end of summer, and we still wanted to go to Cathedral, we decided to head up last week. Smoke reports were pretty low and lodge staff said weather up in the park was great. So off we went on Sunday to go up on the 4PM shuttle figuring smoke wasn’t going to be in the picture. WRONG!
It was interesting just how the smoke behaved. It was coming up from Washington state fires and would come in during the day. Then the winds would die down and we would have perfectly clear skies to star gaze at night. Early mornings would look clear blue skies and then the wind would start to pick up and the smoke would move in.
We had planned 3 nights camping and coming back mid-afternoon on day 4. And that’s what we did, with a little “wrinkle”. We had reserved our ride out for the 3:30 shuttle but due to the smoke, it turned out that the park was told to evacuate everyone on that day. So we all headed down on the 1 PM shuttle, a couple of hours early.
Still, we got in some great hiking and interesting views. The smoky skies combined with all the dead spruce from the spruce bark beetle kill made for some very other-worldly landscapes. We felt like we could be on another planet, definitely not in BC!
I really enjoyed looking at the stars while falling asleep on Sunday night. We left the rainfly off the tent and had a clear view through the bug netting. Monday was our first and most strenuous day of hiking. Got up and had a leisurely camp breakfast. Lake of the Woods looked lovely. (Many of these photos are large panoramic stitches and you’ll only get the full meal deal if you click on them to view!)
Didn’t see any smoke yet. Plan for the day was to hike to Ladyslipper Lake and then up to the Rim, entering at Stone City. Here’s a map of the park and the core area. It was only a 250 metre climb to the Lake but we noticed that our energy was lower than usual. Well, the park and Lake of the Woods is at 2000 metres elevation so that might have had something to do with it!
Here we are coming down into Ladyslipper Lake.
For some reason, I got the map turned around in my head and when we got to the lake, we headed off along the North shore to the West end of the lake. Lots of people at the lake fishing and swimming.
We considered trying to make our way up to the rim through that terrain you’re looking at and decided not to. Retraced our way back to where we turned right and should have turned left and around and up we went. A view on the way back.
It was a pretty hot day and we started up the trail to the rim. We stopped to eat on the way up.
After eating, headed back onto the trail. Here we are almost up on the rim.
And you can see that the skies are no longer blue but the wind is now bringing the smoke up. Notice how much darker it is on the right than the left!
Finally made it to Stone City.
Star Trek or other space movies would have had a great time filming up here!
From Stone City we wandered Northwards along the rim to the Devil’s Woodpile. Love the orange lichens and other vegetation.
We’re now at about 2400 metres elevation
We loved this beautiful wide bench meadow. The colours are just so understated and subtle. And the smoke made it look so other worldly.
S standing on top of the Devil’s Woodpile
From here we continued along the rim to the trail down to Glacier Lake
The trail down to Glacier Lake. It was much more friendly than the trail up from Ladyslipper Lake and is the way most people get up on the rim if they leave from the lodge.
Another view of Pyramid Mountain as we head back down. Notice the sharp division between the smoky sky and not so smoky sky, and the colour of the sun, the white dot at the upper right in the smoke. To our eyes, it was actually a glowing red ball. Don’t quite know why it didn’t come out that way in the photo. Something to do with what lenses see vs what eyes see.
It was a full day of hiking. You can see the stats from my watch, here. Once back at camp, we relaxed, did a bit of swimming in Lake of the Woods to get the sweat off and really enjoyed eating our dinner.
Stay tuned for Day 2, coming your way in the not too distant future.
It’s been a while since I did a “trip report” so this week, I thought I’d share one of the hikes we did last August in Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC.
Wells Gray has become one of our favourite places to go for a long 4-5 day weekend. The first time we went several years ago, we had a friend who had a house there she wasn’t using and she let us stay in it. After that trip, we were hooked on this park and area. There’s so much to see and explore, especially if you like waterfalls, which we do, and lots of opportunities to hike into the alpine so we couldn’t wait to return.
If you do decide to visit this park, be sure to stop in at the visitor’s centre right off the highway and pick up a copy of Roland Neave’s book, Exploring Wells Gray Park. It’s the best guide to the area. We got a copy of the 5th edition the first time we were there and were so impressed with it that when we went this past summer, we were happy to scoop up the newer 6th edition. And you can get it before you go, online!
This post I’m just going to focus on one hike that we did, the hike up the East Ridge of Trophy Mt. Trophy Mt is one of the major mountains in the park and you can come at it from various directions. Last time we headed onto its West slopes via Sheila lake so this time we wanted to try the other side.
We were not disappointed! It’s a great hike and you are rewarded with many great panoramic vistas once you actually get into the alpine, which only takes about 90 minutes or so. On the way up from the trail head, we were rewarded with lovely meadows that still had lots of flowers and stunning views of Raft Mt to the South, another peak we’d like to explore next time we go.
The first part of the trail takes you through some lovely forest with a couple of great scraggly trees. Here’s one I really liked.
And a bit of wildlife on the way up. A butterfly perched on an aster.
As I mentioned, you pass through some lovely meadows before the views of Raft Mt start to come into play.
As you gain elevation, you begin to get views of Raft behind you so don’t forget to turn around and look because the light will definitely change on the way down and you don’t want to miss the changes.
A few pics of Raft Mt on the way up into the alpine.
And then you enter the alpine and things start opening up.
Now we’re really getting into the alpine and things open up with lots of territory to explore. You come to a cabin and from there you can go several ways. We stayed East, wandered up that ridge and eventually came to a lovey viewpoint where we had lunch and just chilled out on the rocks enjoying the views for a while.
Our high point and lunch spot.
A bit of a closeup of the what you see past the selfie hat.
I thought about heading up that bump foreground left but we decided we’d had enough elevation gain for the day and after lunch headed back down. Did a bit of loop to get back to the cabin and then headed back down to the car.
On the way back to the car I took a few more flower pics. Here’s one of a lousewort species.
We also ran across a bit of wildlife, too.
And then just because I happen to be a fun guy who likes fungi, had to take a quick shot of this one.
Well I took almost 200 pics on this hike so you can see I’ve really held back here and saved you from 40 pics of Raft from different viewpoints and so many flowered meadows. You just gotta go and see it for yourself!