Little Storm Passing Over Town As We Travel Home

This was the last leg of our day trip. This shot was taken while going over the Sande Overpass in Terrace, BC, looking West. I was the passenger–not driving–while I took the shot. What you are looking at here is a small hail storm that was just leaving town, heading West, the direction we just came from. As we traveled through it, we only got maybe a one kilometer stretch of storm, then it was over, as it moved westward. So, it was a good end for a super sunny weekend. After the storm passed, it cleared up again, so all was good.

We never stuck around for the sunset, becuase we had dinner, then I needed to get to bed for an early start tomorrow, but I am sure it was awesome. The rain stopped, and by the time I got home, the Sun was out again. It was then I realized just how long the days are here up North–it is still light out by 9:00pm! Crazy! You do not like the weather now, then just wait five minutes, it will change.


The Shadowy Trail of Ferry Island

With the Sun hovering pass late noon on the service access road on Ferry Island, I took this photo, thinking that it looked neat the way the Sun casting its light through the trees on the road. By this time, the temperature was a blustery 15C, and I felt I had to undo my jacket from the spring day warmth. It was hard to get the shot too becuase of the amount of people who were also out hiking, as I did not want people in the photo. But with time ticking by, and I needed to get to a bathroom, this was the time to get the photo, with people out in the distance. The other folks were far enough away, it did not mess the composition of the image too badly.

I have seen many shots taken from this vantage point, but none had shadows like this in them. So I felt quite lucky with the timing. Once the leaves are out, this place is always in the shade, but with the Sun so high in sky, the shadows seem sharper and more pronounced than usual this time of year. Sadly, you only get to see this image as a 500 x 300 pixel image, you should see it as a 6000 x 3000 pixels.

Hole In The Wall

After several trips down the highway between Terrace and Prince Rupert, BC, we finally found the very small train tunnel some locals call, “The Hole In the Wall.” It is hard to find due to the bushes and tree growth along it and the highway. For the record, the tunnel is about a half hour drive from Terrace, BC, if you drive the speed limit, and is after the level train crossing and Car-Wash-Rock, another famous land mark along the road. With the sunny skies, we picked the perfect time of day to shoot the tunnel.

ADDED: Quote from Suz., “Heading from Terrace, this is after the Kasiks overhead rail crossing on the highway and the turn-off for the Kasiks Wilderness Resort.”

I was using a 144mm lens, so fairly wide, to show you just how close to the road this is to the highway. Actually, in this shot, you are looking at the “old” road, as it was before the 1980’s. The main highway is about twenty metres further away. Behind me are thirty years of tree growth, so hard to see if you are just driving down the road.

Also, the tunnel itself is not very long, perhaps fifty metres in length, as you can see the light from the other side where the sun was shining.The question I ask is, why build it, when you can either go around it, or blast more rock away to make it less of a corner. But, they did it, it looks neat. As far as I know, this is the only train tunnel along this stretch of highway between Terrace and Prince Pupert.

Pussy Willows Buds are Out

For the record, these are what my mother told me these were–pussy willows. Actually, I have no idea what their scientific name is, or what the locals call them, so, for the purposes of this post, I will refer to them as pussy willows. During my youth, a long time ago, seeing these pussy willows here in Thornhill meant that this was a sure sign that the full on spring season has started. Now, you can throw your winter gear back into the closet, and whip out the (warmer) summer clothing, with rain gear too, as spring also signals the Rainy season. On a supper nice day, with nothing but clear skies, seeing these pussy willows popping out among the trees is a sight for sore eyes–winter is behind us now–for good–until next year.

According to Suz., the Mason Bees really loves these pussy willows. As I was photographing this shot, above and blow, the tiny bees were all around me, taking as much pollen as they could carry with them. As for the true name of these little baby bees, I am not sure either. Some call them Mason Bees (though I am not sure they eat cement, are members of the Free Mason Society, or just hide among cracks in the bricks of your house), or call them orchard Bees, someone please tell me?

Anyway, enjoy the day! Must go now–Suz., has arrived!

Kick’n Back On A Friday

Regardless if it is Friday the Thirteenth today, it is, and I am happy that it is just Friday, the end of the work week, and I am ready to start my weekend with full anticipation of a great couple of days ahead. The week past was just as typical as the week before, with a few hick-ups that caused some excitement, but for the most part, I would call it a routine and typical one. Work was good as well, with about the same status as my private time, the same amount of excitement, but that quickly went into the “normal” class of “typical,” on the scale of “normal.” But the past week did have a moment of discovery. 

Going through my year end taxes, that evil part when the Government asks you to calculate all the money that says you owe it, and to make sure it balances out, I discovered an “investment” error from my former employer’s RRPS company that handles its “extended benefits” for us employees. The mistake came in the form of how much it took from my income as its allotted amount that is says it took for my long term “investments.” Sure, for most of you, 0.4 per-cent does not sound like a lot, but in the business of Corporations who are nickle and dimming their consumers, this is a billion dollar money machine game they play. As for my former Employer, I am sure they are in on it too. As far as my Government is concerned, who cares, it is not their money–I over paid. I phoned them on Thursday, only to be railroaded with long waits on hold, and the endless run around from the human voices on the other end.  Am I ashamed–yes–I am sorry I worked for these people now–they are lairs.

On a happier note, I got to see a natural spring, right near where I work, in an area where you would never suspect to see one.  I swore to the secret location, never to reveal it because it is on private property, and the owner says that the City has no ideas it is here. But it was amazing to watch it, as the water gurgled away into a little pond. The property owner says the water runs all year around, and never freezes completely in winter. This place, the Skeena Valley, is a geological treasure trove. It is unreal what lurks below our feet. To bad it was not a hot spring–free and natural hot tub! 

The main intersection of Highway 16, and Highway 37 saw some changes that people took notice this weekend. They are starting to clear out the trees along the main road and the Old highway, to make way for the “Round-about” being built for 2019. I asked one the Construction guys that works where I work, why cut the tree now? He said that it is due to clearing them with no nesting birds in the trees. They cannot cut down trees with nesting birds on them. So now is the time to do that. As a side effect of all these trees being cut down, are the people who scooped in to collect the wood for firewood for themselves. Apparently, no one was allowed to touch that wood, as that area is an active construction zone. Perhaps when people who live in Terrace see free useful items, everyone lays claim to it regardless of the legal issues–firewood being one of those. Anyway, enjoy the free firewood.

The weather is slowly becoming like what spring weather should be. This morning I did have ice on my windshield, so the nights are cool, but the days are getting nicer. I suspect that this weekend will have an ice-cream stop in it too, like last week. Wearing shorts, is back too–a good sign that winter is long-gone. Overall, I think during my holidays, I will swap my winter tires over to summer’s. Sigh.

Well, time to do some real work now. Happy Friday the Thirteenth everyone—err TGIF, I mean! LOL

The End of a Great Week, End.

I dare say that spring has sort of sprung, albeit the weather is still on cool side. The year’s accumulation of snow is melting fast, as our temperatures climb higher. Rain is in nextweek’s forecast, so will accelerate the melting of the snow. For example, to hit 15C in down town Terrace, BC, and we had high clouds with periods of Sun light poking through. So getting out was on everyone’s mind, and with that, the country side was loaded with people as they ventured around. 

So last week was a busy one, as it was a short week for most, I worked the holiday, as my employer does not recognize a few of religious holidays. Once Friday rolled by, it was sweet pure relief to start this weekend. Last we were getting periods of snow, this week appears to be the warm up. However, since this is the North Coast, once there is full on spring, there is full on rain, what I call the deluge season. Once the rain starts, then spring has kicked in, and behind that the torrents of mosquitoes. But enough of all this bad news, lets talk about the a good stuff…

Saturday was the 2018 North West Wellness Expo Workshops, where Suzette helped here friends out at the “Peace Infusion” booth. This year, it was held up at the Terrace Sportsplex Arena, where there were fifty other society’s, groups and businesses set up. Suzette loved it. While she stayed at the booth, I watched a moving on meditation, which was about an hour long. It was good. And I think Suzette had a great time at the booth too. I have a great photo of her there, but I want to get her permission before I post it here.

Today, (Sunday) was more of a casual day for us. We did not meet up until 2:00pm, as we both had our morning chores to do. One time on today’s agenda was a strip to the Ice cream Building. Not sure what the name of the company that operates it, but it sure was nice to have a slew of awesome flavours on a waffle cone, on a nice 15C afternoon. We did a bit of shopping to. Suzette bought some more seeds at Canadian Tire like potatoes, onions, more flowers and we hit the Dollar Store too.

Looking forward to the news week, and spring. I have holidays soon, so looking at deciding what to do with the time off from work. I have plans, but nothing scribed in stone yet.

Hiking Ferry Island North

The objective was to capture a shot of the Old Bridge from Ferry Island becuase of unusually low water levels this time of year. Not only was this hike successful, but there were a few pleasant finds along the way worthy of photographing. You saw the previous post of the rocks that Suzette found, but there was this rock stack that someone built that looked really nice, and some very large boulders that we thought were part of the bedrock, but were not. Lets go hiking!

The one thing that strikes me about the Skeena River are the colours of the rocks. You have blue/purple, reds, greens, oranges, and of course the black/grey and whites ones, but the array of colours is amazing when I compare this to other rivers I have been to in British Columbia. In the above photo, you can see some of the various colours in the rocks on the riverbed. I did do some research on the rocks here, but I am not going to go into detail of listing the main minerals–just enjoy the pretty rocks.

A great shot of the Old Skeena Bridge, and the stacked rocks. I wish we had more sunlight, but this is after all, spring in the North Coast of British Colombia, clouds here are fat of life. And for the record, I have no idea who build the stack of rocks, or I would give credit to them. The stack is only about 50cm high, so not a very big monument, but with the bridge in the background, a very nice photograph.

So here is the shot that I wanted. We are standing on Ferry Island, the Northern most tip of it. With very low water levels, we could almost get to the bridge itself. At one point, I thought, we could walk from Ferry Island to the Terrace side of the river, but there was flowing water moving through there, albeit the river was only about nine metres wide at that spot. This is a once a year shot to get this close to the bridge at this angle. Even in boat, this spot would be difficult becuase of the current flowing through here. It looks like I am on the ice, but I am standing on the sandbar–really.

Spring is Here!

Made it! It was a long winter, though there are lots of signs that winter still lives–it is to early to hang up the winter boots yet–but there is hope–spring has sprung. The last week had been awesome, leading me to believe that spring was really on its way. We seem to be out of the days with below freezing temperatures, though the nights are still chilly, but I can live with it. But officially–it is the Vernal Equinox today, or “spring,” as the fine folks say in these parts. And as per usual, I took a walk, and brought my camera with me, hoping to find that perfect spring shot. So here it is.

So why a photo of a pine tree? Simple, that is the most common tree here in Thornhill, BC. I am surrounded by them. So, this made the perfect first day of spring image for me. This is the one that caught my eye out of all the others. I think it is the rich greens and blue sky background that makes it a great shot. And I should point out, I did nothing to this photograph. This is straight out of the camera. Also, the afternoon shaped up to be warm and sunny, my house thermometer says 12C outside.

So, Happy First Day of Spring everyone!

Dust and More Dust: The Choking Streets of Terrace

I heard about this last year before I moved up here, from reading the news paper and hearing from friends, but it is quite another to actually see it in person. This is the byproduct from the snow removal process of the last three months when dealing with snow covered roads. Rather than spend money on salt, which does not work on icy roads at below 15C, the roads get covered with sand and gravel. This works very well when dealing with 110cm of snow falls and ice. But the after effect is, lots of dust from vehicles that drive on the roads when it warms up. I would say, you might as well be drive on dirt roads.

Last Wednesday was when I really noticed it. It reminded me of my trip to Southern California, during a wind storm, with blowing the sand everywhere. You had to cover face, or your nose would breath in the sand. I remember seeing the headlights of the car shine through the sand storm, and that is what I saw in Terrace. The big difference, what was blowing around in Terrace was dust, not sand, and this is type of dust that get into everything.

There a couple of spin-off industries from this that I can see. Who ever owns a street cleaner could be making lots of money this time of year. Also, car wash facilities, if you hate a dirty car. However, no one seems to be in a hurry to clear the gravel from off of the roads, and just about every vehicle I see is completely covered in dust. We have not seen any good rain in a few weeks, so the dust just gets more and more as the weather warms up. And honestly, I think that is what everyone is waiting for–the spring wet season to start.

In the mean time, I changed the cabin air filter on my car to deal with the dust. I could actually smell the difference with a new filter in it. But as far as cleaning my car…. na, I will wait for nature’s free car wash to take care of that for me–rain will fix all of this. On a funny thought, you sure notice a clean vehicle when they drive by you. LOL


Yearning for Summer Already

Forget spring, let us talk about summer. With all of this sunshine and warm weather over the last few days, we are being teased, then left in denial when the nights go back to freezing again. The last week has been repeating itself like this with just one rainy day that left us with just a sprinkle on the ground. The days are growing longer by leaps and bounds, and rumour has it, next spring starts–no word of a lie.

Me being the selfish person who lived in the Lower Mainland for nearly thirty years, seeing all this sunshine after what seems the longest winter, but normal for the North, I crave summer now. I am getting excited that I soon, I can walk outside in a Tshirt and wearing running shoes, and then finally ditching the toque. Yeah, I do not mind if Climate Change brings a little heat up here sooner than later, but that is just me. I have so many plans for the upcoming summer.

But first things first, we need to worry about spring. In my youth, living here, I remember that spring is very wet here, and with that, there is this thing called the “Spring Run-Off.” But with all the weather fluctuations since then, I fear that we may never have a consistent, predictable spring, again. Oh, winter will be with us, but the quality of spring and summer maybe put into doubt.

Regardless, this entire year has been a whole new experience for me. As the anniversary date draws nearer, the first day of summer (since I first moved here), every day in the Skeena Valley has been chalked with new experiences. Seeing the snow was an awe inspiring moment that lasted one night until I had to drive in it. Thankfully, snow tires work like a hot damn. The wind, which is normal here, but never reaches the point where the trees get blown over, and the power goes out, and then the rain, which can last several weeks at a time. As long as I do not have to shovel it, I am happy.

The above photo is the bushes behind my old place in Langley, BC, back in August of 2013. That was a very hot summer, as I remember it. Maybe we will have that type of summer up here? Who knows. I am sure the Forest Fire people would not want it, but I think the flowers would.