The Vacation to PG and Back Home in Four Days

We Went on a four day drive to Prince George, BC, to do some shopping that you cannot do here, and to get a change of scenery too. It was awesome. The weather was great, though a little cool a nights in PG, but the days were warm and sunny. We did good as far as the weather goes. It was worth the trip.

The PG man at the Junction of the HWY 16 and 97 where the Fraser and the Nechakco Rivers meet. It was weird to find out the PG man was made of steel instead of wood, but if your want it last, you build it out of steel.

We took these images around 7:30PM Last Tuesday. You can see how great a day it was there.

We seen a moose on the loose, near  the Hart Hwy North of the PG, and some deer heading back to the Skeena Valley,

These deer were near Toply, BC. munching away on the roadside grass.

Oh yah, while we were in PG, we went to the Museum and saw dinosaur bones on display. It was pretty cool to see that. The place w as loaded with kids, as the tour was kid friendly, very noisy. But a cool place to see, I highly recommend  it.

What was weird about this dinosaurs on display was how small his head was compared to the rest of him. I think these guys lived in the water, and ate grass. He was from Alberta, and stood nearly 10 meters tall! A pain in the neck would be an under statement.

On the way back, seeing the downward side of Hungary Hill.

A long hill indeed.

What is noticeable are how few mountains there are in Price George, BC and back along the way to Terrace, BC. You don not really see them until you enter the Bulky Valley (Smithers, BC).

Seeing Hutsunbay Mountain near Smithers, BC is the first real mountain you see before would hit the Coastal Mountains. You see more or less rolling hills for the longest of time, thinking that you are in the flat lands. it makes the roads more manageable.

Good bye PG, it was awesome bring their for all the shopping the nice Hotel we staid at and the wonderful restaurants we ate at too. It was all good. Back home the rain has come back, so it is grey and wet outside. We need this weather badly, as the river is low and the forest are dry. I give this vacation a B+.

Sunny Weather

To describe the last few weeks here on the North Coast of British Columbia, is to say, Nothing but sunshine, and a awesome start to the spring season. The weather has being nothing short of awesome. So, it had been t-shirt and suntan for the last few weeks. Though it will all end this Thursday, when our normal weather kicks in, clouds and rain. but the up side is, we need the rain. It is far too dry around here. However, with all this goodness, come forest fire warnings for the deep summer season, which means everyone is working hard to catch up from winter. Which leads into my work as I am on day ten becuase I worked last weekend. Sleep is hard to catch-up on, thought the pay is nice, but sleep is hard to get now that the days are getting longer and longer, and up here in the North, the Sun stays up longer as we get closer to summer. Even at 5am, I can see the morning dawn lights over the horizon.

All I do now is work. Not a happy mixture of when you want to play outside in the sun. The spring projects are in full swing now, and I’m in the race, as the Round-About at HWY 16 and 37 for way stop need to be completed. The local community will love that. No one here has seen a round-about, this should be interesting.

Tomorrow I go and ask my Bank for a personal load to buy a small home in Terrace. I think I have my bases covered for this. I got the job, with great pay, and a down payment, but the deal might be closed faster than My Bank will say yes, as housing in Terrace, BC, is in the super hot market. Wish me luck tomorrow.  It is a trailer that I am about to buy, a cheap one, that should get me out of the compartment I’m in now in Thornhill, BC. I will be very close to my work and right in town. Fingers crossed.

Well, time for bed. See you all tomorrow, hopefully with awesome news as I start the move. Nest week I take a week off from a short vacation time. Might go to Prince George, BC. and sleep.

Our first Spring hike Along the sand bard North of the Skeena Bridge

Just letting everyone know that I am still dealing with some bugs on the blog. I’m not sure what is going on, but I will never use MS products again, as I believe that is the root of my issues. Importing photos is still a challenge. So I’m going to give it a shot today, and see how this will work out. Not sure where the bottle neck is occurring. But I got it to work yesterday. Need more time with it. So here it goes….

Yeah, it worked! The above shot was from me and Suzette did our first hike of spring, Along the Skeena River, just on the North side of the Bridge on the sand bar. There are no alcoholic beverages at this bar I’m afraid. Only sand, at least 2 hectares of it. Ice still floats on the river at the ice break-up still had not finished. But the day was awesome. About 12C, and clear skies. A wonderful spring day indeed. We saw a couple of people out fishing with small rods, did not see them catch anything. but they seemed like they were having fun.

To our amazement, we found the Spiral Rock sculpture that some made from last year. It is still in its same condition from when we first seen it last year at that spot. I thought last year’s flood wiped it out, but the the water never made it over that part of the sand bar. surprise.

 Suzette says we walked 5100 steps on our hike. When I looked at Google Maps, I think we might have walked over 5 KM, sill  quite a  hike so soon after , so we got our exercise after six months during winter. My legs are still feeling it. OH yeah, finding a place to walk over the little creek without getting wet stumped us for a while. We laughed when we saw bear foot prints in the sand, as someone took off their boots and waked through the creek. Cold, is all I can say, and the value of water proof shoes is worth it weight in gold in these parts. still cool out. Seeing the bear foot prints was funny to see. It is still cool out, and there is ice and snow on grown in some places.

 

The clouds seemed to be moving away, out from our area, up the valley. so the day was getting more sunnyer (if that is a word). It was good to get out in the fresh air.

Skeena Salmon Belly Gravel Burn

Is was a couple of weeks ago, when I first heard about “Salmon Belly Gravel Burn,” a derogatory term about all the all people who live in the the Pacific North Coast of Canada, during the spring season period. It reefers to a guy seeing the women as they dress for the new season and it is said that he is swimming up stream, leaving the plenty of fish in the sea, like the wild salmon, and not being able to get a mate, he then dies, washing up on shore of the river bank. They call this gravel burn.

Gravel burn, is when men say that they are not even going to try starting a relationship. They will stay celibate for the rest of their lives. This means less tax payers for Canada, but “oh well,” they say. “There will always be plenty of tax payers to keep the Government going.” No one worries.

It sounds funny when you hear it for the first time. I laughed before I thought about it, hearing it last week. When ever I see my co-worker, I ask him if he still swimming upstream? “He replies” No, buddy, I went back to the sea, the water it too low here.”

This is one of the more hilarious local colloquialism terms I heard around here so far. Romance and fish go hand in hand, it seems in the Skeena Valley.

First Full day of sping2019

Yes, I am back. I had some issues with my domain name renewal time, as the credit card information I gave them was incorrect. That is all fixed now, so I can once again blog. Plus there was lots of stress issues from my work, as that was dragging my home life down a bit. Everything is back to normal now, and even better, spring is here, as it is not winter. And I drove around the valley, taking photos, celebrating the equinox. as from now on the Days rule the Nights. so happy about that too, as we went through a really weird cold snap of Sunny yet cold weather for a bout five weeks.

I have been getting a lot of emails about where I have been lately. Rest assured that I am OK, and fine. I bought a new TV that is 4k, being that it appears that I might be staying in the compartment for a while longer than I want to in Thornhill, BC. House prices are still way out of reach for me for the moment. So, I’m just saving money for that rainy day when something affordable comes along.

spring started so fast around here that the Pussy willows are not out yet, but the trees are starting to turn. You have to look hard in the low area of the valley to see any remaining snow on the ground. Just a drive up on the bench and the snow is still 30cm deep there. But the air is warm and summer like. It feels so nice.

Motorcycles are out on the roads too. along with the girls wearing their short shorts (Daisy Dukes) and T-shirt. Not quite bikini weather yet for them, but we are close. The yoga pants are the norm around here, even the out of shape wear them. Women love them. The guys are still wearing their winter fashion, in the Sun.

I turned on my A/C today, for the first time this year. It still works. My car sat in the Sun the whole day, so it was really hot inside it. The joys of owning a black coloured car. It is an oven during the summer periods.

Happy fiirst full day of spring!

Ice on Williams Creek and Lakelse Lake

Second day using the new telephoto lens, we headed out to the lake. An extremely sunny day, yet cool…, minus ten Celsius cool, with some wind, making me wish I had long underwear on. With all kinds of light, I was finding the lens not bad, as I was getting some really great photos with it. We followed Williams Creek down to the Lake today, a nice little hike.

One thing with this 800 to 1300mm lens, there was no need to walk in the water to get these shots. I stood on the shore, and aimed the camera, five minutes to focus up the lens, and shoot. I have to shoot in Manual Mode with this lens. And I had to use my bare-fingers, as working with gloves was cumbersome.

The little ice pillars look neat. Williams Creek did completely froze over this year. I guess it flows fast enough, that even in minus 15C weather, the water stays liquid.

This is the area where the creek empties into Lakelse Lake. This is where the newer ice sheet collides with the larger lake ice sheet, making this neat effect with the ice.

And lastly, a neat shot of some small chunks of ice scattered on the snow and ice on Lakelse Lake.

The lens was a little bit better to work with, as it seems to like lots of light, but the focusing was problematic, as it took several turns to reach the right focal plain, then another five minutes to fine-tune it to get the focusing sharp. This is not a sports lens, by any means. The cold seems to an issue with the lens when focusing. I will show more images in my next Post of people and things I photographed on the Lake.

New Camera Lens: 420 to 800mm Telephoto.

New toy: a 420 to 800mm telephoto lens, for my Sony A77 Camera. And when you factor in the crop-sensor size, the lens becomes a 630 to 1200mm lens, just like that. It was bitterly cold, yet clear out, and as soon as I got the lens home from the Post Office, I just had to try it out. Our first stop was just down the Kalum highway, North of Terrace, where we pulled over to an open field, and I snapped a few shots of the surrounding mountains, while there was enough light. I took about ten shots before I got the focusing figured out on the lens, but once I got it, the results were unexpectedly great.

The very first thing I realized about using this lens is, you have to be very still with it. You need lots of light to shoot with it, as a handheld lens, or everything becomes blurry. The second issue was the focusing ring, it is very tight. You giggle around a lot while turning the ring, and loose the shot. Lastly, the locking ring had too many turns before it would lock the lens, and you needed that locking ring tight, or focusing was next to impossible. The camera has to be put into full Manual Mode, as the lens has no automatic features what so ever, meaning you have no auto anti-shake from the camera’s electronics. So, you are back to old school shooting with it.

A must, with this size lens, is a tripod. Once the light levels drop off, you need a tripod for clean, no shake, shots. This lens, you are between F8.3 to F16, at the fully extended rang. So your shutter speed become longer during darker times of the day. And as I found out, with lots of wind, you really need to weigh the tripod down to avoid camera shake, as this lens is super sensitive to movement. I tried taking some Moon shots out at the airport, and the wind was pushing the lens, so slightly, but it was enough to blur the shot becuase I was at less than 1/4 shutter speed. So, needless to say, I have no good Moon shots for this post. Perhaps tomorrow?

The lens did do very well at the minus nine Celsius mark, as it did not fog up. I could only shoot for five minutes in this weather, but the camera and lens held up the whole time I was outside, except for me–I was freezing.

Yes Indeed, It Is Rather, …cold.

It is too bad that we could not get rid of the “minus” sign in front of the temperature becuase then I could be praising the Solar goodness of Mother Nature. Nope, it is the other way around, lots of Sun, but the “minus” sign stays; a blusterous minus thirteen outside. With wind, and blinding sunlight, the day looks awesome through the windows, but dare to stand outside, is another matter indeed. However, like the troopers we are, we did our Sunday Drive through the valley, Me, Suz., and camera in tow.

I should point out that records were broken for how cold it is in this section of the North Coast. Where I am, we were lucky in the sense that this is normal-ish, but further inland, the coldness rages on. Even the fine folks on the coastal islands were hit with some awful cold weather too. Enough said, I think you get the point.

Our trip down to the Kitimat Valley. We wanted to follow the Sun. Get those much needed Sun shots. We nearly went three weeks without clear skies, so seeing the big bright orb in the sky again, was a huge relief. Hey, probably one of the rarest religions around these parts are the Sun Worshipers. Those guys are hard pressed, let me tell you. It is truly blind faith for those guys. But, for us, we were driving to the Kitimat River!

She is not much to look at, but the people of the valley like to call her “a river.” It does rip-roar with torrents of water during the spring thaw, I should point out. People come from all over the planet to fish this little river. As you can tell, it is far from being frozen over, as our cold snap is only into its third day.

We hit the Sun at its Golden Hour on the river, as the yellows and pinks colour sunlight started flooding down on us. You only get about an hour of it with your camera. But the long shadows, and golden light, made for some really neat effects; it was worth it, as some of the shots were extremely good. But it was cold, and my fingers were getting numb, so I only lasted less than five minutes at this spot. Fortunately, Suzette kept her car running, as she wanted to enjoy the view from where there was warmth, and I was very happy when I jumped back into my seat to enjoy it with her.

The photo that says, “It is Cold Baby!” I really like the pink to purple colours in the sky, above the white of the mountains. In this shot, we are in Thornhill, BC, just a few kilometres from my place, along the highway. We are looking North, from the West side of the side road. If this shot does not say, “COLD,” then I do not know what would, other then a shot of a bottle of liquid Nitrogen pouring out onto the ground. Remember, nightfall is upon us, and it is getting colder.

Anyway, I went home, and then curled up in bed, letting the warmth cover me. There is work tomorrow, and I am sure getting up will be a chore. Nighty-night!

Our Turn: The Cold Weather is Here.

It is the first day of February, 2019, and I must say, “what a mild winter season it has been so far, for us folks up in the North Coast of British Columbia.” However, this will all end, very soon, as a fidget Arctic System is creeping down on us, fast. The weather prognosticators say, starting tonight, the deep freeze will start, and will last until next weekend. But what really hits home for me, is that I saw temperatures as low as minus 14C on the chart! Right now it is minus 2, snowing, with winds from the North, gusting to 40km/h. A piece of cake, by North Coast standards. But, cold is cold, no matter how you slice it. (I wrote this part while I was on my lunch break)

So, here is where we are at for conditions. It is snowing out, although lightly. There is about 3cm of slush on the ground. It is windy out, with winds coming in from the North. So, add super cold weather to the mix, and all this will freeze. Tonight will be the perfect night to stay at home–this I can predict. So, let me talk about my commute home.

(I am at home now) So, I am driving home. The roads in Terrace near perfect: dry, and void of any snow. Once I got onto the side streets of Thornhill, BC, then is was a different story. When I left the nice and dry road of the highway, and hit the first side street, to my house, I was faced with a nice thick layer of ice on the road. I mean, it was perfect, as the setting Sun’s light reflected from off of it, I have to put on my sunglasses, it was so bright. So, I took the first corner very slowly, at about 20km/h, to make sure I had full control. When I had to stop at the first stop sign, my car’s brakes would not go into ABS Mode (Anti Braking System) and I slid a few metres past the stop sign. So, this had me worried. So I started pumping the brakes at the next top signal. Even the very large SUV, behind me, was having troubles of his own, navigating on the same road.

So the lesson here is that, no matter how good your tires are, driving on pure ice, is still a cautionary tail. You treat the road condition with a huge amount of respect, and HOPE the people driving around are doing the same thing.

 

It is now down to minus 4C, to it is expected to dip below 8C, over night. I am prepared for this. I have an emergency kit, if the power goes out. Plus I have my car, if I need to leave. But, since I have lived here, the whole place seems to be build to handle this type of weather, so I have confidence that all this will be a walk in the park. So, bundle up!

The Church of Usk

As we left the Rupert to Terrace, BC Highway, and headed East, we drove through Terrace, and Thornhill, BC, over to Usk, BC, about a 40km trip. Yes, we did this on Sunday, I am a day late getting this out. Writing a post does take a bit of time. So, anyway, we get to Usk. There is not much to do there. We saw the grounded ferry, parked on the highway side of the river, and we walk over to the Cable Car Tower, and then left. I did shoot some photos, and walked around for a short while. But we headed for the Pioneer Church, on the other side of the highway.

So, let me describe the church. It is, quite possibly, one of the smallest churches I have even been in. It could seat a dozen people, without to much trouble. The whole building might be 8 to 10 metres long, and 4 to 6 metres wide. It is small! The door is never locked, and there is a sign in book to sign. The windows are small, letting in just enough light to see around with.

My inside photo shots were not that great with the low light levels. There is no electricity, so no artificial light, and I did not bring my speed light with me. There was no heat either; it was cold inside.

I was in this church as a kid, but I think for Suzette, it was her first time. This is something you do not forget when you are inside it. It is does leave you with an impression: of smallness. On the other side of the property, there is an memorial for the people who die while working as Loggers, and Tree Fallers. It was quite something to see.