Mother Nature Would Not Let Us See it!

As Mother Nature’s shroud blanketed the sky above us, the Moon and her glory sank into the Earth’s shadow, and all we could do was to imagine what it is she looked like as her reflective light faded, then reappeared again. The night seemed to become thicker with clouds, and yet the air warmed, an odd combination for the North Coast of British Columbia this time of the year. The winter snow was melting in the Skeena Valley, and there was no rain falling from the sky. Yet, we were unable to whiteness the Lunar Eclipse, but for one 3 minute period, when the clouds parted for one brief moment during the first phase of the eclipse cycle.

So, the short story, we saw nothing of significance, but the pretty lights of Terrace, BC, from up on the Bench of Kalum View Drive. Sadly, as much as I wanted to photograph the Lunar Eclipse, all I got were clouds shots. But the day was not a total loss…

The trip to Lakelse Lake, in the early afternoon, was a nice departure from the usual Sunday drive into town. It had been at least three weeks since we were at the park last, and the first thing we noticed was amount of snow that had fallen there since. Only half the parking lot was cleared of snow, though. The lake did have a layer of ice on it, but nothing close to being safe to walk on it, though some had tied, when it was colder the week before. But it was the setting Sun that made the day. Oh, was the Southern sky awesome to watch over the lake, as the clouds moved in from over the horizon. It was warm out at the lake too, a mere 3C, though Suzette was not dawning her two-piece bikini just yet.

The second stop was Onion Lake. Because this lake is a little higher in altitude, it was a little more frozen over, but not enough that I would try to walk on it. There sure was a lot more snow at the summit than there was in the low lands. Many vehicles get stuck on this stretch of the highway during the winter months.

The drive home was fun too. Yes, I am being sarcastic. Drivers on the Kitimat Highway love to speed, or have that “me first,” attitude while driving on it. And part of the speeding fun, is to pass other motorist going up hills, while you are doing the speed limit. My poor car did get sprayed with small rocks as the SUVs sped by me; but all was good, there was no damage.

Dinner at my home: Pork-Chops with veggies and salad. All of this smothered with Cream of Mushroom Soup. I got a passing grade! Then we watched a movie on Netflix, “IO,” 2019. and then left to seek out a view of the Lunar Eclipse. None of us saw the Lunar Eclipse, except for that very brief moment on the hill over looking Terrace.

The Yearning of the Sun

Actually, when I saw the sunrise last week, it felt as if I saw an old friend again, the Sun, but really, the yearning was for the return of summer. Yes, I had that feeling of needing the good old days of summer back, as I saw the Sun rise. Here in the Skeena Valley, you have the winter position of the Sun, which is just 25 degrees above the horizon, coupled with the mountains that circle around us. This leaves us with a very short day period during the fall and winter months. Seeing the Sun sink below the horizon, as the Earth spins, (this happens around 4:30pm in the afternoon), puts the damper on daily life, when you get home from your work day.

The above image is Miss Egghead enjoying the Sun rise in the mythical Cube Land. The image is a render done in Blender 2.8 Beta.

It is normal to have weeks with overcast sky, and days with rain in the valley. During the colder months, snow is the daily routine, sprinkled with ice, as the sky is cloud filled, with moments of clearing, allowing the Sun sneak through. But it is the darkness that creeps in, making the night life some eighteen hours long, leaving some people with the “Winter Blues.” However, with seeking moments like this day, where the Sun shines, getting out and absorbing its rays, is a natural rite.

Also, one more point: This has been an unusually warm winter, so far. We have missed the full onslaught of the Arctic Vortex, but nonetheless, it is winter. The Earth spins it usual way, and nothing can be done about that. However, there is, with out any doubt, less snow, than normal. The Skeena River is still way below its usual level, and the Coastal Mountains do not look that snow packed, as compared to last year. These are just my opinions, not scientific facts. Though, I have read some articles in the media agreeing with me.

May we see more Sun, and less clouds in the coming weeks, without causing drought conditions like last year.

Flakes into Drops, into Monster Puddles, and it Was Not Pretty!

Let me set the scene for you. It is 5:30am, and I am off to work, driving from Thornhill, BC into Terrace, taking the Old Skeena River Bridge route. I take this route becuase I usually grab a coffee in town before I head into work. I am now crossing the bridge, entering Terrace, going pass the Legion, going onto Lakelse Avenue. I look ahead of me, and notice that I am following a police car. And at the bottom of hill, the car hit a large puddle, causing it to veer left, then he slowed right down, as the water sprayed across both sides of the road. He straighten out, but I thought his car was going to stall out in water. The water spray reached the building, covering the windows and walls with water and ice. He managed to get his car going again, and drove off.

My turn now. I drove right over to the left, into the other lane, to avoid as much of the puddle as I could. I slowed down to 20km/h too. It did not matter, as the puddle was deep on both sides of the road, only covering less of the road in the East bound lane. All I heard was the thunderous roar of the water all around me, as I hit it, and even at my speed, I could see the water shooting across the road on both sides. Then my car slowed right down, and instinctively I pushed on the gas peddle. For a split second, I was worried. My little car suddenly lurched forward, and resumed speed. I looked in my rear view mirrors, to see water still traveling through the air, into the building, the sidewalks, and onto other vehicles that were parked.

No, the fun did not stop there.

After buying my coffee, I drove back onto Lakelse Avenue, heading towards Eby Street, in front of the Terrace City Hall building. I made my left turn, and then switched lanes to eventually make my right turn back onto Highway 16, heading West bound. It was right at the turn off of Eby Street that I hit another monster sizes puddle. This time, my headlights on my car dimmed as the water shot up into the air. I was turning too, so my car lurched to the left side, and I compensated with the steering wheel. I got onto the highway, and this time all I could see is the steam from my exhaust going into the air. 

Everywhere, there were lake size puddles along the roads. It was raining hard too, in the valley. The night before we a snow storm that dumped about 15cm of snow, then it warmed up to plus 2C, and has been raining ever since. But the problem is, all this water has nowhere to go. All the storm drains are plugged with snow, and the ground is still frozen from the week long freeze.

My last hurtle was driving into the parking lot at my work. That was all water, and in some spots, the water was over 30cm deep. The entrance, was another deep spot that all most stalled out my car. I took that corner very slow.

This afternoon, I hopped into my car, started it, and all was good. I checked everything, and nothing seemed broken from the water, so I was happy. The drive home was awesome, as all the lakes on the road were almost gone. There were a few spots with super-sized puddles, but these were a lot smaller than what they were at 5:50am.

So glad the weekend has started!

Powder Snow and Windy Cold Out

It seems we are in the midst of a cold spell here in the Skeena Valley, were it is below freezing. Old Jack Frost has been a little nippy, especially when it comes to scrapping off my car every morning before work. For three days now, it has been below freezing, with some snow, and it looks like we have one more day of it before we bounce right back into the freakishly warm weather again. Rumour has it, by Friday we could be above 6 to 10C, again in Thornhill, BC.

A shot looking at my bedroom window, my Southern view to the world, from inside.

Sure, this pales in comparison to last year’s wintry season, and even to the hardcore Skeena Valley citizen would say this is weird year, but cold is cold, no matter which way you hold it. Instead of 100cm of snow, last year, we are getting 5cm of nice powdery snow this year, and I can say, the wind has not been that bad either. But waking up to minus 5C, still adds that little bitty shock to the old nervous system when your feet touch the hardwood floor for the first time. You sort of let out a little, “yelp.”

So far, it appears that today will be the coldest day for this season. I think it went down to minus 7C last night, and were currently at minus 3C this afternoon. This might be a super short winter season.

Pretty Lights In the Snow: A New Years Day Walk

It was like magic; the pretty lights in the snow along the Terrace Grand Trunk Pathway that stretches beside The Yellow Head Highway 16. I waited for the right time to walk this, to take photos of the LED coloured lights along the path. Of course, it had to be dark out, and not foggy, and above all else, it needed to be a non-work day the next morning. So, New Years day, was the perfect choice. So me and Suz headed down the path, snapping photos as we went.

What was neat about some of the lights, was that they were half buried in the snow–adding for that extra light effect. The above shot was one of my favourites. The other weird thing about shooting LED lights with a digital camera was that you can see the lights fade in and then out again. The light oscillates from bright to dim, and back again.

As for the path, it was icy, so you had to watch your step. At one point, I found it was better to walk off the path, than on it. Of course, I have water proof runners on, which did not help the grip on ice problems I was having.

The weather was even weird too. It was 7C at my place overnight, and tonight, it was hovering around 3C. It was actually raining out when walked the path, and snow was melting at a good rate. The roads were perfect to drive on throughout the Skeena Valley, both in Terrace and in Thornhill, BC.

I sort of screwed up when I took these shots. Normally, I set the ISO to 100, and adjust my shutter speeds accordingly. But this time, I had the ISO to “Auto,” and the camera left the shutter speed a 1/125 per sec., and adjusted the ISO for me. In most cases I hate images with lots of noise from the high ISO values, but I did some good shots from tonight, so I will keep them.

I hope you enjoy the light show. Have a great New Year!

When Snow Melts, You Get a Mess

Sitting at 3C, cloudy, but no rain, or snow for that matter, the day is looking pretty good. However, the snow is melting at a fast rate, and the puddles in the parking lot are growing just as a fast. Funny how that works. Rumour has it, our parking lot will get snow removal is the next hour or so, hopefully taking care the newly developed lakes outside my front door. This will be nice, and I cannot wait becuase I have a million things to do up town today. 

We only had about 6 to 8cm of snow fall back on Friday, but the lower valley was sitting at above freezing, making the snow heavy and slushy. As soon the snow fell from the sky, it was melting. Below that thick layer of snow was water. If you shoveled it, it was heavy to move. When you drove through it, it splatters everywhere. This is the type of snow I would not want to walk in out on the roads.

The good news is, the roads are clear, and getting around was never an issue. Now, where to put all this water?

Mother Nature Tried So Hard…

It snowed out last night, seemingly looking like it was going to be a major dump, but it was all show, and short on result, as only 6 cm of snow fell in the end. Mother Nature tried so hard last night, but all she could muster for us was a minor dump of snow. But it looked awesome. The temperatures have been to warm for the snow to stay on the ground, and what falls from the sky is mostly rain at the bottom of the Skeena Valley. There is no doubt that there is an above average warming trend this year. But seeing what little snow fell last night, was a welcomed sight. My fear of snow is almost gone now.

Yes, there was a time, only just a year or so ago, when I dreaded snow on the roads. Living in Vancouver, BC for nearly thirty years, put that fear into me, only becuase we did not have the proper winter tires that you needed, and by law, up here in the North, you need them on your car. Today, with my car fully decked out for winter, driving in 15 cm plus snow on the roads is like driving on a spring day out in the country. Good tires make the difference.

Work goes good. I am almost caught up with the Inventory Cycle for year’s end. Since I am the only one there in that department, the challenge is making sure that everything is done right. So I did a lot of rechecking, countless times, before I sent off my work. Yes, there were headaches, and there were some frustrating times, but I got through them all. On Monday, I am very confident that my final tally with be perfect; in other words, all the Inventory Counts will be accounted for.

The remanence of the flu still lingers. Although I feel fine, but in my lungs, at the back of my throat, the cough still lets loose its flem from time to time. The frequency is becoming less and less, but it still lingers to this day, after nearly three weeks. Once in a while I get a fever, or sleeping in an issue, but I am almost back to my healthy self.

I am just looking at my thermometer, and it reads 3c outside, plus it is looking like it is clearing in the skies. Whoa, I think I see shadows on the ground from the Sun? The winds are a little breezy, but that is normal around here.

A Few Thoughts On Winter, One Day Into it.

So here we are, in the winter season, and compared to last year, this year feels like the damn tropics. I mean, it is a lot warmer this year than it was last year, this time. But do not get me wrong, I am not complaining. After all, not once have I picked up a shovel to clear snow out of my way, yet this year. But I am worried about if we are in for a major dump in the fore-see-able future this season–I mean–is that way luck plays out?

Now that winter is here, and I wonder if the big freeze will start soon? Seriously, it never fails. You have an awesome start to the season, then “BAM,” the mother of all snow falls hits the neighbourhood. And you ask, “What happened”?

Well, today is generally a good day, for this time of year. It is clear out, although partly cloudy, the Sun does shine through it part of the time. We are sitting at plus 3C, according to my car. I headed into town to do a quick shop for some food, and the snow that was on the ground was melting on my car. It is a mixture of mostly rain with some snow, and this has only been going on for at last fifteen minutes, or so. But mostly clear out, so far for today.

Down town is fairly quite right now. Not what I expected. I thought I would be fighting the holiday madness of traffic on the roads, and in the parking lots. Even the store was nice and relaxed, while I did my shopping. This was totally unexpected, for this time of year. Something I find eerie, and hard to comprehend, having come from the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. We will see what tonight brings!

For now, I have my snacks, and I am curled up to the computer and monitor, as I bask in its blue glow. A piping hot cup of tea is sitting beside me, and some grapes sit on a plate by my PC’s mouse. What more could you ask for on a day like today.

Oh, a lot, you could say. I could ask for more! LOL

The first day of winter–yay. Here we come! Enjoy…..

One last Day of Fall

When I left for home, from my work, I looked over towards Western mountains along the Skeena Valley, and saw clear blue sky, and pure white snow caps, in the glow of the Sun. It was an amazing sight, after a week of overcast and rainy weather. Sadly, no photos, as I have been spending most of my time getting ready for impending Inventory that will happen next week.

While most get some sort of a winter holiday, myself, I might be working through some of the stat time off. I took on the extra duties, mainly for the money. On one of the scheduled days off, I will be making “triple” time, which I think will be either the 25th, or New Years’ Day. I have not received the final schedule yet. Do not feel bad for me, I am not religious; only tomorrow is significant to me, being the first day of winter, the rest is just time off for good behavior.

I will take my camera to work with me tomorrow. Like years past, taking photos on the shortest day of the year is somewhat tradition for me. Most often, I get really awesome photos, mostly of landscapes. So, hopefully, this year, December 21st will be a wonderful sun filled day, and there will be lot of unique shots to taken. Rumour has it, tomorrow might be clear, yet cold. We will see.

If the night is clear, I might try and spot the comet tomorrow, that will be near the Pleiades star constellation tomorrow. Sadly, there will also be a full Moon to compete with that will be nearly 30 degrees, making spotting the little green comet a challenge, even with a telescope. Hopefully Mother Nature will be on outside for viewing this.

The Low Snow Forecast

We are getting snow. Yes, sir…ey. It is falling, albeit this all depends on your location in the valley, as some places are getting as much as 4cm, while others are struggling with just 2cm. The bottom line: snow is falling. Now, if this was the Lower Mainland and surrounding Fraser Valley, then this little weather system would be labeled as “CHAOS” and the all the cities would be shut down. But no, not here, it is business as usual. We are getting some wind too, and that also depends on where you are living. Where I am, just a powdering of snow, but the wind is picking up. I am not sure what Suz. has in mind for tonight, but I hope she is driving. 

The work place is slowing down. I noticed that around the shop and office, the work load is becoming lighter. It was like this last year too, so I am not worried, but I can see into next year, January, and it is picking up again. Already, in four weeks, I can see over twenty work orders stacked up on the books. But for now, I can just sit back, kick the feet up, and relax.

The flu is all but gone now, except for the goo in my lungs that still lingers. Overall, my body feels a whole lot better. There are moments when a slight fever creeps in, or my nose starts dripping, but that is to be expected after a full on flu attack. I am just happy that it is over, or the worst part, anyway.

Still too weak to walk outside, and take the camera along. I think it is a combination of low self esteem and lack of enthusiasm that keeps me bind to my warm comfy home. So, me and the camera stay put, as I wonder the photos I could get outside–all those ideas, but then the coughing starts, and that is usually when the thoughts fade away. I think getting better, is the better choice right now.

Next week is the Solstice. I am excited about that. This year it is on a Friday, and we might go out and enjoy the longest night of the year. We might head down to the lake, and pay tribute to nature’s wonder of this astronomical event. We could very well be a super clear night, and the stars shine, making for a very awesome photo opportunity. But the best part is knowing that after the day is done, the days grow again, and with it, comes the warm weather once again. I am happy once again!