First Day of Fall

If there is one time of year when no one wants to hear when the season changes takes place, it is today. As of 1:02pm this afternoon, the autumnal equinox takes place, and the fall season kicks in. So, in the office, as I greeted everyone, “I said, happy first day of fall,” and some cried, other said “Boo,” while most seem sad. Perhaps no one wants to see winter, or the cold weather, but the fact is, I am looking forward to it. As a photographer, I am itching to get out in the “bush,” as the locals call it, and shoot some photos of the trees as they change. Around here, the change is quite dramatic. So, I want to capture that. Unlike down in the Lower Mainland, in the Vancouver area, the trees are hard to find that are good to shoot with a camera with fall colours.

Anyway, the atmosphere was glum at my work, and I fear there might be some unhappy people for a while as we transition into the cooler weather. Hey, think of  ski season! Did I make it worse? Snow… Oh dear.

So, from here on in, the days are going to get shorter, until mid December, so get your winter great ready to wear. Buckle up, and brace for it. Who knows what is in store for us. I heard a rumour that we might get a carbon copy of what we had last year. So, lots of snow in Southern British Columbia, and hardly any at the Northern end, but colder than normal. It will be interesting to see what climate change will bring us this year.

Awe, I guess it is cold and flu season too. Already a few people at my work are showing the signs of sniffles and runny noses. My poor girl friend said she is feeling it yesterday when I saw her at her work, as I saw the box of tissues by here desk. I am hoping we can get out this weekend, not stuck at home tending the cold.

So, here to fall, the Autumnal Equinox, twelve hours of day, and twelve hours of night, happy first day of autumn!

The Wheel and Compass in Terrace BC

Once we filled up on ice cream, I wanted to check out the big cast iron flywheel just on the other side of the Sande Overpass from the ice cream shop. Actually, I wanted to check out the flower beds there too, but then we saw the compass, and we had to see that too. So I shot the big flywheel first, then turned around to shoot Sleeping Beauty Mountain to West after that, then off to the compass. It took a while get good shots becuase of the traffic getting in the way, I did not want any vehicles in the shot–that took a while.

According to the sign in front of the fly wheel, this is called the “Flywheel from the Little, Haugland and Kerr Sawmill,” from the 1920’s. When you drive over the overpass, this park is on the right hand side towards the North end. You cannot miss it!

All I did in this shot was turn around to face the West, and shot Sleeping Beauty Mountain with my 30mm macro lens with the A77 Sony. I thought it was great shot with the flowers in front, and the mountains in the background. Sunshine would have been nice in the shot, but you cannot have everything.

And above is the compass we saw once we got pass the flywheel. This was awesome once we got closer to the raised stone centre. We did not realizes this was compass until we had a closer look. What we found was amazing.

On the raised stone centre were makers that spoked out from the centre of the compass. These looked, at first to be random, but then a closer look, they were markers pointing to where the peaks of mountains were along the valley. Each marker had the name of the mountain it was pointing to, it’s distance in kilometres from this location, and the mountain’s elevation in the old scale, feet.

This is a photo (above) the centre plate on the compass. It says, “In recognition of the natural spender of this area.” This is a great idea, allowing people who come here to visit, to see what the names of the mountain are as they gaze from this spot. Once I got my photos, we left back to where we parked over at the ice cream shop. It was time leave.

Minty Bees!

After a good day’s hike, me and Suz. had some serious ice cream cravings, so we drove back into Terrace, BC, to take care of that. As we parked over by the Chill Soda Shop (who does not have a website) we saw some flowers along the road loaded with bees. This one plant was just loaded with bees and other types of insects. It really looked creepy if you are not fond of bees and wasps. I thought it was a great photos opportunity, since I was taking photos of the flowers anyway.

I could not count how many bees were here chomping on the pollen in these flowers. You could hear them too. Yet, they paid no attention to me as I was taking these photos.

Take a close look that the above photo. Just about every flower in the photo has a bee on it. Good thing they do not like ice cream–we be really running for the hills. We ate our ice cream, and went on our way. We left the bees to their work.

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!

Hazelton: Old, New and South

Our last stop on our trip on Highway 16 was all three Hazeltons. Hazelton is divided up into three main areas, the old part, which is the old pioneering area where the riverboats and paddle ship stopped at; then the part of town where it lays near the highway; then what seems to be the newer part, which there are some saw mills and vehicle shops. Any way, we went to all three areas.

This shot was at the main area, right by the Skeena River, where the paddle wheel ships would stop. This is where you can see the old style building and some museums and shops. If I remember correctly, in this shot, to right, use to be the old Inlander Hotel. What a view of the mountain, he?

The above shot is the suspension bridge over the Bulkley River, before it meets the Sheena River. Take note of how high that is in this photograph–a long ways down.

Looking down was a lot more scary than walking across it. It was hard to say, but I think it was nearly a fifty metre drop to the river–I did not take a photo of the sign. But, it was a long ways down, and not a place if you have acrophobia! And to top it all off, you were walking on a metal mesh/screen surface you easily see below to the ground. We just had to walk across it!

Kitwanga

Next on our trip was Kitwanga, where Highway 16 turns off onto Highway 37 to Stewart, BC and then onto Alaska. I should also point out that we were just further North of latitude than the southern tip of Alaska itself. We drove a little further down the highway, going North, but we turned around after a few kilometres. But the first place we stopped at was the Anglican Church. This was weird seeing the “bell tower” standing beside the church.

Then a little ways down the road we stopped to the Totem Poles. We did not stay to long, but had one more stop before we continued Eastward.

We headed for the junction of Highway 16 and 37. The place has not changed a bit over the twenty to thirty years.

Next time, I do not know when, we might head up to Stewart, BC, and maybe onto Hyder, Alaska.