Hiking Pine Lake, Just North of Terrace, BC

If you are in the Skeena/Kitsumkalum Valley, and you are looking for something to do, then I suggest taking the 15km drive out to Pine Lake, on the Old Kitsumkalum Service Road. You will not be disappointed, unless it is pouring down rain. For us, it was an awesome sun filled day, with near 30C heat, and not a rain cloud to worry about. The 6.1 to 7km trail, and the lake, are worth the trip. There are some places for setting up for camping, and there is a small boat launch, but ideally, the trail around the lake and kayaking are the two best ways to enjoy the place.

We sort of did the trail backwards, we headed North first, around the lake, but all was good. Everyone we passed, were coming towards us. The trail is easy going, but then a little steep in one spot, but this should be very manageable, even for the novelist hiker. There are foot bridges and board-walks for the marsh areas, and the trail is well marked.

Even Suzette with her sore ankle, found the hike not to terribly taxing on her foot. You just need to take it slow in some spots. We also met a few families, who brought there young children, and the kids looked like they loved the place–even the dog.

SQUIRREL! Yup, we found a family of them, scurrying through the forest, and when we walked by, they ran up a tree right along the path. Easy shooting with a 28 to 300mm telephoto lens to capture the wildlife here. We also saw a family of Loons too.

Next time, I want to paddle my way around this lake. I was admiring the Kayakers, as they glided by on the water. The lake seems to have a bunch of little islands and outlets to explore. You will not see those on the trail.

The hike took about an hour and bit, only becuase we were talking our time. This was my first time here in over thirty years, so a lot has changes since for me. I use to go here a lot when I was still in school. The trail is in great conditions, but some of the board-walks and bridges are showing their age. Just remember to really watch your step, and look out for the holes on the trail too. We found a few of them.

This was a great hike, and I highly recommend it. You are close enough from town that we were getting some cell signal, and there seemed to be lot of people around too. So you are not to far off the beaten path for a day trip in the wilderness. The road is a little rough, so take that slow, but you can get to the lake in a small car. I rate the trail as easy to intermediate, becuase it is over 6 km long, so bring some water on a hot day. Enjoy it!

Day Two of Riverboat Days 2018

Day two of River Boat Days, and lots of places to be and lots of thing to do, and it is another screaming hot day out. Our time is limited because we decided to change it up a little differently as compared to last year, but more or less, we started the day off early. We noticed that the town was a little bit less active as compared to last year, but this could be from all the heat, and possibly from more people leaving town for road trips. Hard to tell, but the town was busy enough. So, our first stop: Soap Box Races.

So the Soap Box Racing course was in the Skeena Mall parking lot, at the West Side of it. It was not a large course, but good enough for the soap box racers to glide by down. This was one event that we should have stayed a lot long to watch becuase apparently they had some famous locals racing each other. That would have been fun to see. Anyway, the cute thing I saw while we were there was an RCMP Officer using his photo radar gun to clock the speeds the drivers were doing through the race. We only stayed for a couple of races before we moved one to the next events.

It is no secret that Suz loves purple. She has many garments, and items with that colour, and even on this hot summer day, she showed her both inner and outer colour–purple. This was her favourite soap box racer, obviously. Sadly, she could not take it for a test drive, and I am sure the owner would not let her take it home. Yes, a match made in heaven.

Right across the street (Lakeles Avenue) was the men’s and women’s beach volleyball tournaments. Just like last year, sand was laid down on the parking lot, so the players had a nice 30cm layer of it to play on. The shot above are a couple of teams of the women’s three on three team playing. We stayed and watched this for a while before we moved to our next stop.

We drove into Thornhill, on the West side of the Skeena River, where I live, and stopped at the Northern Motor Inn, who were hosting the Slinger’s Races. The idea is teams from different restaurants complete against each other by going through an obstacle course, slinging a try full of glasses and bottles filled with water. Just like servers in real life, you have to navigate as you would in a real life bar. And yes, there were many spills! In the shot above, I just caught this server loosing her glasses full of water on the ground,costing her points as she approached the finish line. It was fun to watch. The Northern Motor Inn came in second place.

As we wrapped up the day, we drove out to Onion Lake around midnight, and on a very clear star-lit night sky, to see the shooting stars. I also wanted to do some night sky photography, being the night was so clear. I got some incredible shots of the Milky Way! Yes, we lots of shooting stars too–no disappointments here. The perfect ending to an awesome day!

Looking Back: My Photos, the Day After the Fireworks

I thought I would share may photography experience with you in regards to shooting fireworks. I tried about three different techniques last night, seeing what would work on my camera, and what does not. So I tried several different combinations with my Sony A77ii, and found some really weird issues. Remember, your are shooting at night, so longer exposures, are kind of what you are going for.

So, what worked: Setting the camera into Manual Mode, adjusting the focus to infinity, and shoot with an ISO of 100, at f1.4, using a wide lens, like 28mm. With this set up, I found that anything from 1.5 to 4 seconds worked great for the actual fireworks. Anything longer, you just get a bunch white light with little detail. The low ISO gives me little noise, and the wide open shutter lets in as much light as possible, and focusing to infinity, makes sure everything is in focus. And the most important piece of equipment, besides the camera, is a good sturdy tripod. I more or less played around with the exposure times, by programming it, and then using my 2 sec. timer for the shutter release, so to avoid camera shake.

What did not work: Using an high ISO, and setting the camera to Auto. None of the camera’s Auto functions would give my anything close to what I wanted. Even in Aperture Priority Mode, the camera was unable to focus and set the correct exposure as the fireworks were going off.

So setting everything to Manual Mode, including the Focusing, is obvious, but playing around with the exposure seemed to yield me a best verity of results. To long if an exposure, you get white light and too much “busy” in the shot, and to short, you seem to lose the brilliance/volume of each explosion. And fireworks are really unpredictable, unless you are the one setting them off. So every shot is basically a surprise. Also, every camera seems to be different too, I noticed. The guy across from me (Canon) was shooting in manual mode too, but his exposures times were a lot longer than mine, but getting somewhat the same results.

Anyway, I hope this helps you.

The Riverboat Days 2018 Photos Are Up!

I uploaded over 200 photos from the 1200 that I took of the parade (Aug 4, 2018) and a lot of them turned out awesome in my opinion. I had to be picky-choosy because of the time and size restraints, but mostly time, as it took me about two hours to get everything sorted, and another half hour to upload everything to the website. So, enjoy the slide-show. You can see them at you own time by clicking the photo links on the right hand side of this page.

If you look to the right side of this Post, look under the “Pages” menu, and click on “North Coast Terrace, BC” link, to view the galleries. The 2018 parade link is towards the bottom of the list–at this time. 

Sea of Yellow

Just after the River Boat Parade, me and Suz took off to her work so she could deal with one of the pilots who was looking for keys over at the helicopter hanger, so I took off into the field near by to shoot the yellow flowers.  Everywhere you look, in the Skeena Valley, you see these yellow flowers. They are everywhere. I am not to sure what they are called, but it is crazy how well they do in this hot dry season.

I wanted to get some shots of them. I thought it would look neat how the yellows and greens looks in contrast to one another. I only had time to shoot a few photos, but almost everyone of them turned out great. It was hard to choose what ones to post, so I went with these two.

I used my 28 to 300mm zoom lens for these shots. It only goes to F3.6 wide open, but the depth of field was good enough for my taste. Anyway, enjoy. It was a screaming hot afternoon, and still more summer left to go!

The Start of River Boat Days In Terrace, BC

It was a very busy day, as we started the first of three days of the River Boat Days celebrations here in Terrace, BC. The parade was our start for today. Then, off to the George Little Park for live music, then cruising around checking out the other events going on. Lastly, the fireworks along Ferry Island. It was a busy!

We were going to do the breakfast at the Happy Gang Centre, but is was over-flowing with people waiting in line for the yummy food, so we waited for a few minutes, but then decided that we were cutting close for time as the parade was going start soon, so we left to claim our spot on the road for it.  This year we chose the South-West corner of Kalum and Lakele Avenue. Because there were high clouds in the sky, we figured that we would sit out in the Sun. We had hats on, but the heat was not to bad. The Day reached 28/30C, with some slight breezes, but it was a good day. The parade was a little different from last year, which was a great change-up, as it would be boring to see the same parade over, and over again. The theme for the parade this year was “diversity,” which seem to hinge on multiculturalism, and ethnicity. So, the parade offered a rich array of cultures and backgrounds seen throughout the Skeena Valley. I should point out to that I shot over twelve hundred images, so there many to chose from, so I narrowed it down to about two hundred. This week I will post the photo album for all to see. 

After the parade, there were many places to go and see–more then we could do. We did a lot of driving around, but we had many pit-stops for getting drinks and ice-cream to cool us down with. But right after the parade, we checked out the Farmer’s Market, and then watched the Bands play their music in the George Little Park. We also did a bit of walking, looking a the tent-vendors and attractions along the way. 

To end the night off with, were the Fireworks along the Skeena River, on Ferry Island. It seemed shorter this year, but I think they just packed more fireworks in the ten minutes they lasted compared to last year. The launching area was closer to the Northern end of the island too, making for nice effects of the light reflecting from off the water. 

We choose a different sot too this year to sit and watch. Same side of the river, on the Thornhill side, but almost right across from the launching area of the fireworks. We were close, an awesome spot. Some of the blasts, I thought, seem like they would rain right down on us, that is how close we were to them. The sounds were extra loud from our spot too. The fireworks started at 11:00pm, and by the time we got home from waiting for the crowds to thin out, and drive away, it was midnight. 

It was an awesome day. With the super hot weather, and all the activities going on, you would think it was summer in California. Well, it sure feels like it!

To Prince Rupert, BC, and then Back To the Hot Weather In Terrace

As the title says, I took off to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, to visit my baby sister, Suzy. Yes, I have several Suzs in my life, and all is good with every single one of them. The trip is about 140 km, from Terrace, so it took me about one hour, twenty minutes, or so, doing the speed limits–of course. Once there I headed for Suzy’s place, stayed for a few hours, then left for home. It was more of a meet and greet visit, something very casual.

The drive up the Rupert Highway was awesome. The valley never looked so awesome as the mountains were bare from most of the snow, and the morning sunlight made them really stand out. The highway had lots of people on too, but most were tourist, pulling trailers and boats with trucks and cars, as they were headed for the fishing spots along the ocean.

Once I got to about 80 kms outside of Terrace, the clouds hung along the valley, totally making it overcast. One moment you are enjoying the sunlight, the next, it was grey and darker, but much cooler. Actually, I liked the cool air, after living in 30C plus weather for two weeks, this was a welcomed change. When I got into Prince Rupert, they were only at 16C. It even “sprinkled” out for a short bit as I was driving into the town.

On the way back, around 2:30pm, the clouds parted again, almost at the same location, once I got way up into the Skeena Valley. When I got back into Terrace, the car’s thermometer was reading 29C. And it was muggy. When I was driving through some section of the Terrace-Price Rupert Highway, I drove through some sand storms. The wind was blowing the dry sand from off the sand-bars along the Skeena River. I never seen that before like this.

It was great trip in my car. The ride smooth and I had the stereo turned up a bit. I hope to do it again soon.

Saturday Morning, Starting the Vacation.

It will be another hot one today. Already, at 10:00am, it is 23C here in Thornhill, BC, and my little compartment is heating up. I have the fan going in the bedroom, but the air outside is quickly warming–the air conditioner will be going on soon. Yes, dealing with the heat is on everyone’s mind as of late. Hot sweaty people are everywhere, trying everything they can do to keep cool. Hard to believe that when I escaped the Lower Mainland (Vancouver, BC) I though I had left the heat behind. Even this far North, the heat is climbing too.

So, here it is: Heavenly Hash ice cream with mix frozen berries. It is so good, and it keeps me cool (or the illusion of keeping me cool).

Added: 2:00 pm. Suzette just tried some. She gave it a rating of 4 out of 5, saying that it needs more chocolate chunks, be that she it somewhat of a chocoholic.

It is good! Try some!

We Had a Little Fender-Bender, But All is Good!

Imagen driving down a very dark highway, and you are going from 80km/h to 100km/h, and way out in front of you, you see a vehicle, then from behind it, sparks at random places on the road, and they are getting closer and closer. Then an object bouncing towards you that you can hardly see becuase of its dark colour. What would you do? The quick thinking Suzette did what most of us would have done: stop to avoid the object. She safely came to a stop, just metres from the object, and this is what we saw.

The object was a metal picnic bench, painted dark green, that was being transported on the back of someone’s pick-up truck, and they never bothered to properly secured it to the deck. It fell off as they accelerated in the 100km/h speed zone, so when it hit the road, it was already travelling a 80km/h. So what we saw from behind were sparks, as it bounced along the surface of the pavement then came to rest.

An emergency stop was initiated. The vehicle behind us also had to stop suddenly to avoid hitting us, and as we heard it brake–at that moment I was happy. But then a second later, a third vehicle was not so quick, and collided into the back of the car behind us, then the car behind us was pushed into us. So now we have a three vehicle accident, and loose objects on the road. We waited, and after a ten second pause, we assessed ourselves, and looked outside. There seemed to be no other sounds of crashing cars–it was safe to go outside.

I will not go into the specifics of what happened to all three vehicles, but I will say this, no one was physically injured. All three vehicles had to be towed away, and the metal bench was taken off the road, so we were thankful that it was just our vehicles that were damaged, not anyone else. However, a few things need to be addressed here.

Let me quote Suzette’s Face Book post, using her words:

This piece of metal lawn furniture fell out of a vehicle last night on Kitimat highway just Terrace side of Hirsch Creek. It caused a 3 car fender bender, no major injuries thankfully. I stopped in time to miss hitting it. The woman behind managed to stop in time to not hit me, but the third car hit her, pushing her into my driver side back quarter. So, all 3 had to be towed. PEOPLE! tie down your loads! If I had not seen the sparks when this fell out of the vehicle, I would have had less notice of something wrong ahead, could have hit it, into my windshield and could have caused a major accident. Now my car is heading to the shop…

Two points. First, the owner of the park bench was the cause of this accident. You never move items on your vehicle without first properly securing them to the vehicle to prevent them from falling off and causing damage to the road, property, and people. This is the law.

Secondly, As a driver, you must drive in a safe manner. This means driving with enough space between you and the driver ahead to stop safely, in case of an emergency. Driving too close is not only bad driving, but in the case of an emergency, you are not going to stop in time to avoid the driver ahead of you. This is the only time, that you are one hundred per cent at fault if you cause the accident.

Anyway, we are all good.

On a side note, I told Suzette today, “we were partly responsible of closing down the Kitimat to Terrace Highway for an hour, yesterday”!



Fireworks at Kitimat BC for Canada Day 2018

We drove back to Kitimat, BC to see the Canada Day fireworks that started at 11:00pm. They lasted about twenty minutes, and were pretty impressive. Other than the mosquitoes, it was an awesome night. The sky cleared up, with very little clouds to threaten us with rain, and it fairly warm too. We parked away from the main parking lot and park to get better shots, and I think it paid off as far as the photos go.

Perhaps we will come back next year!