The Final Goodbye to Our Father

It was an awesome day in in the North Coast, by any standard, with few clouds, letting the Sun in; you could not ask for a better spring day. Today was about six months in the planning with organizing, and preparation, and as all that hard work came together as we arrived in Prince Rupert, BC just after high noon today, the moment finally came. For the first time in nearly fifteen years, my mother and (almost all of) my sisters, met under one roof. Like planets in rare alignment, it truly was a unique and special day. Though there was a purpose to all of this, to see the family again was awesome. Today it was a time to let go, and realise the ashes of our father back to Nature, and with it, one last goodbye.

Although he never decreed what is wishes were for his ashes, we as a family took the initiative and choose to place them where his favourite places on the Earth were. Half went to his home town in Ontario, and the other half stayed in British Columbia, his final home for three quarters of his life. My second youngest sister held on to his ashes for nearly fifteen years since his passing, waiting for the opportunity for us all to gather as a family, before taking them to their final resting place.

We choose the harbour becuase that is where he spent his past time, on the water in his sail boat, and among his friends there who also loved the water. The ocean was special to him, and his sailing was his lifeblood, and together this was his freedom. We even found out that his very own sail boat was still in the harbour, moored just five minutes away from where he kept it during his ownership. Truly amazing considering that was nearly thirty years ago when he owned it.

We each took a turn to pour his ashes into the ocean water, until the there were none left. It was Mother who did the last goodbye. Then, when all was done, we feasted as a family in celebration with food and drink, then told the stories with laughter, and when all was said and done, we left for our homes in the sunset’s light saying goodbye to the day, getting ready for next.

My compliments to Suzette for taking this photo.

Catching Up From Last Week – Pelicans In Northern British Columbia

Since this is the last day of April 2018, I though I would get this out of the way before too much time passes. During the first leg of our vacation last week, we drove through a town called Vanderhoof, as we made our way along Highway 16 heading to Prince George, BC. We stopped off at a park, of what I am assuming was a small wet land area, not to far off from the down town core. There were lots of people, and beside the park was a small lake, (or river) with a bird lookout near the shore. We went up it, and I took some shots of the birds, and you are not going to believe what I found on the other side of the lake!

In this shot (above) you can see water, snow and winter brush, but also, you can see some big white birds with really long beaks. And if you really look closer (I know, small image) you can see a knob at the end of their bills. Yes indeed, these appear to be American White Pelicans sunning themselves on that patch of mud bank in the spring sun. Yes, you heard me correctly, “pelicans.” I could not believe my eyes, or in this case, my camera’s 300mm telephoto lens.

Once we got back, we consulted Suz’s parents, who have birds books, and are somewhat “birders” in their own right. We saw that it is very possible that these could be, in fact, pelicans, this far North. I also checked on line, searching on Wikipedia, and found that these birds in the shot, look very similar to what the photos of American White Pelicans look like. And their habitat range does make Vanderhoof a viable place for these birds to live. I guess I am used to seeing these birds in the far South of the United States, not up here in snow covered Canada, let alone Northern British Columbia.

I snapped about thirty shots, and this was one of the good ones that showed the knob on their beaks. Hey, a photo is worth a thousand words, and is proof of what I saw, right?

It Is Official: Spring Has Sprung In Terrace BC

Hold the presses, I have photographic proof that spring has finally sprung here in the Skeena Valley, or at least between Terrace and Thornhill, BC, anyway. We are quite thrilled that the weather has turned for the better, and the trees are showing their green for the first time in 2018. I for one, am quite happy to see this event unfold right before my eyes, as well as many others. Though certain trees and bushes have been showing signs for about a week now, today and yesterday have been, what seems to be, the starting point for the leaves to pop out and create the sea of green in the forest throughout the valley.

A little over a week ago I noticed the “pussy willows” forming on some types of trees, but today, everywhere I looked, green was taking over the landscape as all the tree were budding. For the last week now, the days have been nothing short of awesome, with more sunshine in the weather forecast still to come. I can honestly say that the cold days of winter might be a thing of the past now. Sadly the creek and rivers are showing the muddy waters of the spring run-off. If we get lots of super warm weather in the next few weeks, it could spell local flooding in some parts.

Me and Suz., were walking down the path along Highway 16, just past the Chill Soda ice cream shop, to take these photos. Already the flower beds on the parks are erupting with activity. I missed some of the spring flowers that were out in Terrace from last week, but I can still catch them at the higher level parks on the hills around town. Not sure what these yellow flowers are, but they nice and fresh along the walking path.

Not sure what these green plants are either, but these were only a few centimeters high, and were also in the flower bed. I took all these shots with my 30mm Macro lens at f2.8, on my Sony A77 camera. These green shrubs look like a small forest of big trees. LOL

It felt kind of weired just walking around in a t-shirt, and not taking a jacket with us, but just to give an idea of the day’s weather: plus 17C with clear sunny sky. Yes, nothing but blue from one end of the horizon to the other. Who needs a jacket on a day like today!

So here is the photographic proof that spring has indeed sprung here on the North Coast. Now get out there and enjoy it!

The Mini Vacation to Prince George BC

We made it! Safe and sound, we just got back from the road trip that took us three days and two nights from Terrace, to Prince George (PG) British Columbia, and back. We drove all around the City of PG, we stopped at many restaurants and specialty stores, and took in the sights. It was awesome, especially with the super nice sunny filled weather that followed us from Terrace and back. There were highlights, and destinations that we found along the way too. It was a well deserved trip!

It was not just traveling to PG that we wanted to by itself, but some stops along the way too that we had our eyes on. Stopping at Smithers, Burns Lake and Vanderhoof, British Columbia were places that we did “pit stops” at on the way there, but on the way back we Checked out Huston and Smithers again, just to enjoy the weather and sights. In the above image, I took at around 11:00pm at the park at UNBC just after me and Suz, saw The Avengers – Infinity Wars at the Cineplex – Famous Players 6 Cinemas (7:30pm), down town PG. That was truly awesome in itself (both the film and this night shot – above).

Yes indeed it was a rough winter in all of Canada, especially here in Vanderhoof, BC, one of our stops before we landed in PG. We think this was the first week of super sunny spring like weather they have had this year. The flag says it all. I am happy to report that Terrace is ahead of inland Northern British Columbia in terms of the trees starting their leaves and flowers. It is completely green here in Thornhill and Terrace, while everywhere along the trip we saw was still trapped in winter.

This “Moon through the trees” shot was taken the night we arrived in PG at the park near the Nechako River, in PG. This was just after sunset, and should give you an idea of how nice the weather was in PG. At about 10:00pm, it was still 17C in the city. We walked for another hour before we headed back to the hotel.

Anyway, I will post more. I took over 8G of photos, so there is lots of material I want to tell the world about our trip. Stay tuned.

Tuesday Morning Wakeup – Day Two – Vacation

As weird as it may sound, I woke up just about at my normal start time as if I were just starting my work day, but remember, I had only three hours sleep. Perhaps psychologist would argue that my body is fixed to the daily rhythms, and all that stuff, but I think it was just gas. LOL I got up and washed, figuring that I should at least do something, now that I am up and sort of a wake. So off I went.

My first stop was the tire shop. I decided that I would keep the one set of rims, and just swap over the summer tires on the rims, and just take the winter tires off and store without rims. I wanted to buy another set of rims, so all I would do next season is just change the tires, but my car has these air senors on each tire, which are about sixty-five dollars a piece: a little pricey right now for me. So I will just keep everything on the one set of rims I have now, and deal with it next time.

The brain is slowly running out of steam.

Next I went to the Post Office. I was looking for rates to ship about six kilograms down to Vancouver, BC. This was something I thought I could do more efficiently at the facility in town, but that affirmed that doing it at home over the Internet was what I have should done in the first place. Anyway, to send something that heavy was a little price. I may price out some other carriers this week.

Brain, down to a crawl. Just enough brain activity to drive home.

Nice – coffee. Slurping away on some Dark Roast beans I picked up yesterday. I am thinking about doing a short nap since my appointment time at the tire shop is 2:00pm, and Suz., will be busy until 1:00pm, I might as well log in some horizontal time on the foamy-bed. After all, I am only living on a few hours of sleep. This coffee sure is good.

Brain just started running at normal speed now. Must be the coffee.

Heck, I might as well just watch some You Tube videos while I am up, after writing this Blog Post. Who can sleep with this much caffeine coursing through my veins. LOL

Vibrating. Coffee induced coma. Bra….

Missed Earth Day

Yes, I had completely forgotten about Earth Day until Suz., brought it up while we were driving through town. Normally I am on top of these events, but this year our vacations started this weekend, so I was completely preoccupied getting ready for the week, so Earth Day was the farthest thing on my mind. However, I am happy to report that we saw a few people collecting roadside trash in Terrace, BC., so there were volunteers doing their part on this day. Also, at the Junction of highway 16 and 37, we saw a largo mound of trash filled bags siting on the side of the read waiting to be picked up. There were people at other locations on side streets and boulevards, but the main highways through town seem to have the largest amount of trash per kilometre.

Sadly, when we drove out to Rosswood, BC, highway 113 there was lots of garbage strewn along side the roads. I saw everything from disposable diapers to car parts, but the most common items were paper coffee cups from the two main drive through restaurants in town. I will not mention names, but you do not need to be a scientist to figure out who they are, and to fair, it is their customers who are at fault, not the makers and vendors of the beverages. The likelihood of this stretch of road getting any attention on Earth Day is rather low, so the garbage will pile up more than likely.

When we came back into town, we saw the muster point, with marshaling station, at the George Little park for the roadside trash collection volunteers. So it appears that this is a well organized event. I have never been to one here in Terrace, so I have no idea how they operate. Perhaps next year! Suz., did say that the next major hike we go on, she is bringing a garbage bag to collect other people’s littler on the hiking trails we got on. She is right, Earth Day should be celebrated everyday, not just once a year. And Earth Hour, should be practiced 24/7.

The “Meh” Moment

Yes, I am having a “Meh” moment, but in a good way. I was sitting back in my comfy-cozy chair wondering about what I am going to do for the next ten days, when it finally dawned on me that I am in “Vacation” mode from my work. I will not have to get up on Monday morning at the melodious sound of my alarm clock going off, waking me into oblivion, as my muscle memory instincts propel me out of bed, and off to my place of employment–all while still in deep sleep. Actually, it will be the lack of routine that will disrupt me the most, come to think of it. Added to that, it costs so much in Canada to go on a “real” style vacation, the kind where you leave for a tropical paradise, and drink from a coconut with hallucinogenic properties in it. So, thus born the poor-person’s “Staycation” where you simply do day trips, or stay at home to either save money for the mortgage, or you have no where to go because you have no money to travel with. I am sort of in between these two extremes, as far as money goes.

So I figure, this “time off” from work will be a kind of a hybrid of “time off,” when I will do a little of both: travel, and stay at home. No doubt I will spend some money, but not locally. In fact, I have no plans on making any huge purchases. I would rather save my money for that rainy day that might greet us here in Thornhill, BC. That was a joke, by the way. There is that dilemma of a lack of services that directly manipulates the “cost of living” in a very small community becuase you are fairly isolated from the rest of civilization. Thankfully, we have the Internet, and with it E-Commerce, to help us through this situation.

This is tire changing season up here in the North Coast, so I need a set of summer tires, now that the winter like season is over. This is a double edged sword that most people of the North have to obey if you need to drive on the highways–it is the Law of the land to switch from one type of tire of another based on the changing season. Sure, if I live in town, a set of All-Seasons Tires would do, but you do it at your own risk. You could even do the “Lower Mainland” life style and just drive with summer tires on, if you live and commute in just the town limits, but that would just plane stupid, and silly with forty centimeters of snow on the ground. And oddly enough, I was hard pressed to discover that I could NOT find any Summer type tires around, this after going to four tire shops and inquiring. So when in a market where Laws determine what you can and cannot have, expect a level of gouging from one region to another. All you have to do is go on the Internet to price shop to see this. So, not summer tires are available, just all seasons and winters. I just heard a cash ring somewhere out in the Great White North. LOL

Back to my “Meh” moment. I am fortunate to have a partner to be with. Most probably, and ultimately, this is highest level of gratitude one could ever have while living on this planet Earth. To have a friend to share this time with at the most finite level, is truly the highest point-of-being we humans may ever have. And to go even further, life no longer lingers at the level of “boring,” but becomes exciting, with new discoveries, and enlightenment, emerge from where once ashes were piled. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons learned from all of this, is to share, and by that I mean, every dimension of your life: space, time, concepts and one-another. There is peace to all of this; where uncertainty and chaos abound, calm and passiveness now exist; no longer challenging it all, but accepting everything as it is. Where Kingdoms and Religions lay claim to this, they only distort, and diminish it, while they pale by its power. Where tragedy and comity are separate on stage, in real life this friendship encompasses it all as a whole. The mountains, trees and lakes, never looked so great when sharing that view with another. In a nutshell, this is truly awesome. So this is what ascension in life feels like.

Now time to start my day. I have no idea what is on a agenda, per se. I do know, I would like to have some ice cream at the Chill, our local ice-cream parlor. The root-beer float flavour seems to tickle my taste-spuds at this very moment. I will put in a request for that as part of our itinerary for today. Other than that, the great tire hunt for my vehicle. Yay, vacation-here we come.

Frozen Onion Lake

Me and Suz., decided to drive out to Kitimat, BC for the afternoon to check out the town. The drive was about 40 minutes each way, and we stayed about two hours in the town, but along the way we passed Onion Lake (twice). We stopped at the lake on our way to Kitimat becuase there was really good light from the Sun. It was high noon when we went through and stopped at the lake. Once we got to Onion Lake, it was obvious that there was a tad bit more snow their than there was back in Terrace and Thornhill, BC. We also stopped at Hospital Beach, right on the Pacific Ocean.

Of course, it has been about three weeks now since our last major snow storm, so what you are seeing here in the photo is left over from that time. The last couple of days have been really awesome with sunshine filled days, hitting above the freezing level, but very cool at night. So the snow will be with us for a while longer, so it is melting slowly–as we want it to. If it melts too fast, then we have massive flooding, so it is good that Nature is taking its time with this. But the rumour is, next week (Seven days from now) we could get into the fast warm-up that we do not want. But then again, it would be nice if we got some super spring weather now, rather than in April or May.

Kitimat was awesome. The small town seems like it is doing great. We saw lots of people driving around like us, and the local shopping market was packed. The snow banks their was still very large, but the roads were in perfect condition. Once we bought our coffees, we drove down to Hospital Beach where sat in the car watching the seagulls catching small fish our the Pacific Ocean.

The time at the beach was even better with the temperatures warmer than in town, but the wind was still the issue as it was coming in from the North, steady at a about 20km/hr. The smell of the saltwater was very nice to breath, and the water was crystal clear. I cannot not get over how clean the air is now–if you were only here back in the ’80s.

It was great to get out of town and explore. I cannot wait for actual spring to get here! LOL

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!