Hai Lake Trail in Mount Herman Provincial Park

After walking this trail with my girlfriend, my legs are feeling it, the BC Park’s people were not kidding around when they said this trail is rated “Moderate.” Indeed, “Moderate” is what I would assess this trail to be as well. But it was worth it. So, in the order of our trip, we did the very short walk to Herman Lake first, then did the trail to Hai Lake last. I need to add this, the main road going up to Hai like is not Mazda SR-5 friendly, so we parked an extra kilometre farther back from the start of the trail than most people–if they have trucks.

Lets see, I am not going to go into too much detail about Herman Lake, mainly becuase it is just a very short drive from the main road, and just twenty metres after that until you reach the lake. But it does have a little dock, and the water lilies were cool to photograph. There was not much room to spend near the shore, as it is very swampy, so you walk along a board walk, to a little floating dock onto the water. Very picturesque, with lots of eye-candy if you are a photographer. This is a shot of Herman Lake, in the above image. 

Since we were spoilt on the Herman Lake hike, we paid for it on the Hai Lake trail. First, we found the road to be not small car friendly. SO we parked a ways from the start of the trail. But it was worth it, as we were only a kilometre away from the trail anyway. Second, the Hai Lake trail goes over a hill, with an elevation of about twenty metres, and it took us a little longer than twenty minutes to hike it.

Do not worry, they only shoot signs, and I think they were aiming for the letter “R” anyway. We never ran into anyone while were on the trail, and there was a pick-up truck parked near the trail entrance, but we saw no one. But you do need a vehicle that is high up from the ground or one with lots of clearance, as the road gets very steep in one spot with lots of big rocks in it. So leave the happy Honda at the turn-around.

You will not be disappointed once you reach the lake. Well, it was that way for us. As we got to the lake, the Sun was coming out from the clouds, and the whole place came to life in the sunlight. The water in the lake was clear, with no sediments in it. There is an out house, and fire pit, and of course this tiny dock. The perfect place to bring the canoe if you do not mind the portage.

Hai lake is considerably larger than Herman Lake, but well worth the hike. Hai lake a about one kilometre long, and maybe around four hundred metres wide. No idea how deep it is, but surprisingly, there were no water lilies here.

The above image was shot from just off of the road. I call these Cat Tails. They look neat. I had no idea they grew in this part of the country.

This was a good hike. My legs will be feeling this for a while, but in all, we had good weather, and no mosquitoes to bite us. This was a good end of summer hike indeed.

And Then There Was Rain

Being back here up in North Wet Coast, rain goes hand in hand with the mountain and lakes. I grew up with it, and I am sure I will die with it too. I think of places where the land is dry, and hot, and then I look out my window up at the mountains (where I see them). There is a reason why not many choose to make the North Coast there home, if you have choice. We had a storm over the weekend. Not so out-of-the-ordinary; we get them all the time, even down in Vancouver. But what made this weather system note worthy was its timing according to my friends. It is the beginning of September, and normally the wet season arrives nearer October and November. Today the rivers are brown, with trees floating in them. In Kitimat, the next town to the South, they had fourteen people who were camping and fishing on the Kitimat River, and they had to be rescued from the flash flooding of the Kitimat River–in hours it rose nearly three metres.

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 For me, personally, I thought the rain was just that–normal–nothing unusual. Sure, it was heavy, and lasted the night, but then again, I left the land for over twenty years, so I am a new comer again–what do I know about the weather around here. Between my girlfriend and the weather, I was convinced to buy a winter rain coat, a wise investment for comfort during the wet winter weather. I have it now–go figure–and the Sun returns! 

The image is the Skeena River, right at the Old Bridge. You can see how brown the water is. Last week the water was a clean greenish colour. There was a lot of rain in a very short period of time.

Rainbow Over Terrace

Best way to end the day off with, a rainbow, as we left the restaurant after an awesome meal at Sondadas Steakhouse. We were just ready to hit the road to go home when we were greeted with this (see photo), a rainbow, as the Sun blasted through the clouds from the West. It was awesome. I grabbed my camera and took some shots as the clouds moved back in, hiding the Sun. The weather reports (Suz., Cell Phone Weather App.) did say we were going to get some crazy storms over the weekend–and sunshine was welcomed.

We drove to the Old Skeena River Bridge to see if I could get some shots of the rainbow over the the bridge, but the light was fading fast. Later on, it just poured buckets, as the storm kept getting worse. This shot was just leaving the restaurant, looking East. Anyway, I just thought I would add this in the Blog.

Zucchini Racing

I kept this part of the fall fair separate because this was the very first zucchini race I ever attended–and who knew it would be so cool. I should confess, when I first heard about zucchini racing, it was on the radio, and I thought I heard “Bikini Racing,” something totally different. But nonetheless, I had a hard time imagining how on Earth zucchini racing could be done. Fast-forward two months, and to my delite, they were having zucchini racing events here, but still I had no idea what they were all about. So as me a Suz., were walking about the exhibits inside the Thornhill Community building, we ran into one of her friends from her Wellness and Meditation groups, who was himself taking his “daughter’s” racing zucchini to the track. I got a shot of it with my camera; who knew the fate of that zucchini. So me and Suz., went on, enjoying the fall fair, as the zucchini races were not for another few minutes. 

The rain was coming down, and things looked as if they might be delayed due to the weather. Here in Terrace, you work with the weather, and no matter what, the race was going to happen, even with rain bouncing off the ground 2cm, and winds, gusting to 30kms/h. As the kids lined their speed demon zucchinis up for the initial placement for pole positions, you could cut the tension in the air. Each zucchini was numbered, and would race in groups of four. It was exciting, the smell of salad lay in the air. Spectators lined each side of the track, and the ramp was tested one last time. The first four zucchinis were placed on the ramp…and were ready. 

They were off! You could tell right-a-way which zucchini was better equipped for speed and distance, as they rolled down the ramp onto the speedway. And to my amazement, who was number eleven–non other than the zucchini I photographed just minutes before. Yes–number eleven was killing the race–kicking butt–showing these other zucchini racers who was the “Boss.”

And the winner! A very modest number eleven zucchini winner hold her zucchini proudly, showing her first place ribbons. I believe she has two ribbons: one for the farthest, and another for placing first. I am not sure, but I know her zuchcini did both.

Right off the bat, it was the wheels strapped to the zucchini that made the difference. Then it boiled down to alignment and balance of the drive-train, and then the arrow dynamics overall. The secret was in the wheels, and how well the bearings worked, and how they were attached to the body. A good number of zucchinis lost their wheels as they coasted down the ramp, so a good support system is necessary for any high performance zucchini racer. Lastly, weight, as it seemed the larger zucchinis raced better than the smaller ones. Being gravity driven, a little physics would help those going the distance–so centre of gravity, arrow-dynamics and balance would separate the better vegetables from the rest of the garden patch. Remember this, “It takes science to make what Mother Nature never intended.” 

The Skeena Valley Fall Fair 2017

Finally, the time has come, Terrace has its fall fair, located at the Thornhill Community Grounds, nearly right across from my place, but we still drove. Why you ask did we drive the three hundred metres instead of walking? Because the weather sucked. It was raining, albeit on and off, you needed some form of rain gear in order to enjoy the fair. In true terrace fashion, rain was not a problem, in fact it was business as usual. Once on the grounds, we marched over to the tens to seek out the five dollar breakfast to kick off the tour of the fair. Admission was very reasonable, and it gave you access to all the events. Also, on a day like this, there was plenty of parking, so we parked at our old junior high school.

Surprisingly the rain was constant. We did have moments were the rain stopped completely, and then there moments when it let its might, but in a gentle down-pour. We ate, then we toured around looking at as many sites as we could. There were things to do as well as we walked around the fair grounds. At the entrance, there was a sheet of paper that you could take with you, and it asked you to write down any locations you find a business sponsored scarecrow. We only found two – you really had to hunt for them.

One of the first stops was at the Four-H competitions, the best dressed rabbit contest. Above, is the winner, a rabbit featuring a alligator outfit, which the rabbit seem all to eager to get out of. There were about twelve rabbits hopping down the catwalk with their garb and appliances in this event. All to cute to see, and kids looked like they were having a great time of it.

What is a fall fair without the equestrian events. There were plenty of horses, and other livestock events to be had. We missed the show horses, so we walked over to the outside grounds where they were still having the “weaving around the poles” event (no idea what it is really called). So I caught about five riders whisking their horses threw the obstacles, trying to break the fastest time. At this point in the day the rain had stopped. Yay! So off to the inside events, now that it stopped raining, off to the arts and crafts displays.

The above photo is a zucchini that will be entered into the zucchini race later on today. The owner was extremely proud of his high-performance Zucchine! I will post more about the race next becuase that event was something I never seen before, and I have to admit, the word zucchini is not a word I get to type that often. Anyway, it was a total fluke that I got this shot, then seeing it the races. Weird, for some reason my spell-checker does not like the word “Zucchini.” Maybe it is a British/American thing? Anyway, the race was awesome – wet.

I have to quote Suz., on this image, above, when she said, “They never had these Lego sets when I was a kid….” There were some cool Lego displays here. And she was right, they never had these when I was a kid. Wow, custom Lego! Lucky kids. But the building was full of displays, everything from best photos by local photographers, to the best flower arrangements and knitting. There was a lotto take in.

As fast as our journey started, it was over. We want to head over to Lakelse Lake, to see the dragon boat races, Suz., favourite, so we left early to catch that. Sadly, when we got to Lakelse, they cancel it due to weather, not one dragon boat was to be seen when we got there. But the fall fair was not to bad in my book. It was smaller than the Bulkey Valley Fair, but nonetheless it held it own. I am sure if we had better weather, a lot more people would have made the trip out with their families. In all, we had a great time. Hey, the whole, I snapped over thirteen gigabytes of photos on my camera!

Seven Sisters Mountains

On our holiday Monday, we headed over to Cedarvale, BC, about an thirty to forty minute drive on Highway 16 going East, to see the Seven Sisters. You need to be far back to see them all, as they are a large and very high row of mountains, this spot on the highway is the perfect place to see them. Actually, this is the only spot to see them from the highway. Just seeing how much snow is on them gives you an idea of their size and how high they are. They are very pretty to look at, but even better through a telephoto lens.

While we were there taking photos, so were two bus loads of tourists. It was the perfect day for shoot the mountains–not a cloud in the sky, and got awesome shots. I shot about thirty images while we were there–a ten minute stay. 

While you are there, you can buy veggies at the veggie stand. I am not sure what the prices are like, but the carrots looked big and there were lots of them,. There were lots of other veggies as well. I even seen someone with the loaf of bread, walking out of the stand. 

Funny – I always thought that the Seven Sisters Mountains were over at Hazelton, BC, a little further down the highway, about another thirty minutes. I was promptly corrected by Suz. So all these years…

I had to shoot these with my Sony A33 camera because when I cleaned the sensor on my A77, I got more dirt on it than I had on there begin with. I hate the little dot on my photos. So switched to my smaller camera option to shoot with: the A33. They say the best camera to shoot with is the one you have with you. Yeah right. More like, “you shoot with what you got…”

It was about 1:00pm in the afternoon, we moved on,  we have the rest of the day to explore with.

Shames Mountain in September

We were a little for skiing, but nonetheless the views from up on Shames was not short of awesome. Me and Suz. spent the afternoon up on the mountain, hiking around and stopping for photos. The day was nothing short of perfect–plenty of sunshine and warmth for the high altitudes. We met several other people just driving around also enjoying the view. Shames Mountain seems very popular even in the off skiing season.

The great part of coming up this time of the year was, “no crowds.” We had the place to ourselves, even with the three other vehicles that were up on the hill, everyone stayed to themselves. The road is good, although gravel, but no trouble for a small car, so why not take the family for the view.

So just picture this, you are standing on 30cm of perfect snow, waiting to up the hill on the chair-lift, but it is 27C and sunny. OK, that would hard to picture, but I am not much of a skier anyway. But the view…

This is the view looking South, (above) back towards the Skeena River (and Highway 16) from the valley we drove up in. You can see here that we are quite high up in the hills. Let me just say that my ears were popping a lot as we drove up to the ski hill, we were up so high.

In the above photo, this was looking West from the ski hill. Shames is in sort of a box canyon, but looking West, you can see where the canyon started to narrow out. These photos do not do any justice of the awesomeness of the landscape. I wish I had brought my wider lends. We were only half way up the mountain, and I could not tell you how high these peaks are, but the scenery is just awesome.

The skis and snow-boards nailed to the trees can be seen all along the road going up to the ski hill. At first I made crake that these were “grave markers” of all the skiers that did not make it a live from their skiing, but that would not have been a nice thing to say. Then I thought, “these were the in the lost and found,” so why not nail them onto the trees in hopes that their owners will get them. But no, theses are just there, probably to mark the way up to the ski hill. They were worth a few shots.

I want to go back soon, and get the mountains when the Sun is more towards the morning. All the good shots were to the West, so I want the Sun low in the Eastern sky. Maybe in a couple of weeks. Shames Mountain is only a few minutes West of Terrace on Highway 16, going towards Prince Rupert.

The Exstew Falls

Finally me and Suz., both went to the Exstew Falls, although it was more “muddier” than when we first made the attempted, and when I was last up there, we had our workout in the mud. It was muddy. And yes, we both had some spills in the mud when we took the high trail right up to the bottom of the falls. The grassy trail was very slippery, so we had to take our time hiking it, but we both slipped, it did not matter after that, we were down right dirty. I had mud on both knees, and I had muddy water up my arms. The camera was not harmed. LOL

Going in the mud was worth it to get these shots. With the rain from the last month meant there was a lot more water this time of year, and it really made the water fall better. The mist was thick, and the water was pure, but the water fall was a great sight to see.

The Exstew Falls are really not from the Exstew River, but in fact the falls flows into the river. According to Suz., the falls come from glaciers in the above mountain, not just runnoff. The falls are located about nine kilometres from Highway 16 just East of Terrace, British Columbia. The drive from Terrace is about ten minuets, and another twenty minuets from the highway. It is a little tricky to find, there are road markers, but generally it is the third fork on the road (you keep right), but the third fork, turn left. Really check with Google Maps for directions.

I was looking at the bottom of the water fall, and thinking that this would be a great place for a summer dip when it gets really warm out. The pool here is really shallow, and very cool. The mist from the falls would be a great to cool off in. I would love to a photo shoot with some models here. 

Well, it is time go. Covered in mud, and a little soaked from the mist, it was time trek back down the trail. I can feel my legs from the hike up, and I know I will feel this tomorrow. To listen to the thunder of the falls was the high point of the day!

Also, I am caught up with my posts now that I have my main PC back on-line. This is my first posts in nearly a month that I am posting the same say as I time-stamp the post. It feels good–more honest. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos of the falls. Oh, and happy Labour Day Weekend!

Exploring the Terrace Heritage Museum

Back in Terrace, the rain was “sprinkley,” and lever let off until later in the afternoon. But that did not stop us from heading out the Heritage Museum to check out some Terrace’s history, and to see how people lived throughout those years of early settlement. So me and Suz., arrived sometime in the late morning, only to find ourselves the only ones there–how cool we that. So having the place to our selves, along with the staff, who stayed inside, off we went exploring. It was fun.

We did the sweep of the buildings and grounds, starting at the right hand building, and slowly working around, until we came full circle. But first I had to have a look at the wagons in the main yard.

Imagine going shopping in this beauty? Actually, the wagon was fully restored, and almost looked as if it was new. I notice other newer vehicles in one of the open garages, which house more wagons and gas power vehicles. Things were defiantly more simple back then. But some of the buildings we looked at were amazing. Of course Terrace, and the surrounding towns were mostly built on logging. and tree harvesting. during the Second World War, so is goes without saying how much of an influence it had as a growing community over the last century. The “logging” building had a very nice chart showing all of the saw mills and logging outfits over the last one hundred years, up until 1975. As a kid growing up in Terrace, many of the names brought back memories of a distant time.

I was looking for a car within my price range… this was almost affordable. Suz. did not like the idea of having the gas tank under the seat. The model was a hand-crank starter, so running it the winter would be a bit of a pain. LOL

The old cars were neat to look at. The above shot of the Green Truck really surprised me when I saw that it also had “Emergency Brakes.” A good feature to have around here with all the hills.

And of course, I cannot leave with a shot of the famous “Rosswood Express.” I have no idea if this was the actual wagon, but it was in good shape. Anyway, this concluded our weekend get-a-way. The rain kept up, but there was hope that it could indeed be a great going forward.

The Bulkley Valley Fall Fair – Part Two

With the day only half done, we still had the rest of it to enjoy it, and there was lots to do, and not enough time to do it. So onward to the stables, where we saw the upper class events, and then back to the smaller stages to jugglers and dogs shows, then the big rodeo event. But let me pause for a moment to say this: the weather kept better and better. By the time was saw the horse jumping events, we were in the middle of a full blown sunny day–getting sun tanned! It was night and day compared to what we left behind in Terrace.

Watching the horses jump was cool indeed, becuase I could get up close to the fence, actually right up to it, and shoot some really good photos with my camera. I could hear the rider breath I was so close, let alone the horse.

Now to change pace, I have to say I never expected to see a full on livestock auction. And to add, I did not know they sold the animal by the kilogram. What attracted me to this scene was the auctioneer say, “next up, we have Ham Solo!” So here he is.

Let me present to you a photo of, Ham Solo! Yes, he is a pig. I have no idea how much he was auctioned off for, but I am sure it was good price. I heard later on that a cow sold for $2.89 Per Kg, so Ham Solo must have done well. Sadly, he is on someone’s plate, sizzling away as bacon, somewhere in the Bulkley Valley as you read this.

If you notice in this photo of the juggler, he is juggling a knife, and a garden implement, and a apple. He was good, especially with the kids. The kids wanted more, but sadly these shows were about half hour long. This guy was entertaining–I enjoyed him, especially this shot. Ya, I was hoping to get a shot of him screwing up by grabbing the knife the wrong way–but that is just me.

The dog show was a real hit too. Again, like the juggler, these shows were about a half hour, but it was packed with fun during that time as the bleachers were full–standing room only. We seen these dogs jumping as far as thirty feet into a pool of water. It was awesome seeing all the tricks these dogs could do.

For the last part of the day, it was the Rodeo, as some would say, the main event. The day was getting quite hot at this time too, and I wish I had brought some Sun Screen–but hind sight is twenty-twenty. This is where I got the sun tan, from sitting and watching the Rodeo. Remember I dressed for rain and cool temperatures–not full on summer.

Sadly me and Suz. sat at the second level on the bleachers from the bottom, as it filled up really quickly with people, and seating was hard to get no matter how early you got there. There were so many people. We had a safety fence in front of us, so I never bothered to taking out the camera. This was the only set of shots I took becuase we stood during the anthems, and riders were riding around with the national flags. The rodeo lasted about three hours. We saw everything from bull riding to steer wrestling. It was very entertaining, and well worth it on a Saturday. We had a good time!