Water Falls

Located about midway on Vancouver Island, and in Strathcona Provincial Park is beautiful Myra Falls.

The first photo is of the lower falls as they cascade into Buttle lake.

DSC_0155We pulled off the highway at a lookout, grabbed the long lens and got this shot from across the lake. Luckley there was a railing to steady the camera. Camera settings for this long shot were, 1/800sec, f8, 400mm, iso 200. The people you see in this pic are standing where I took the next shot.

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At this time of year the volume of water is greatly reduced so we were able to stand in areas that would normally be covered with rushing water.

I would love to visit Myra Falls during the spring runoff. I imagine the rush of water would be deafening and awesome.

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This last shot is of the Upper Myra Falls, a moderately difficult hike of about 3k through lush moss covered forests.

There are many water falls on Vancouver Island, but I rate this one at the top of my list. Cheers.

 

Here, There and Everywhere…well nearly.

As part of our travels around Vancouver Island, we decided to take in some camping at a provincial park near Port Renfrew on the west coast, about 21/2 hours from Nanaimo. As put in their glossy by the Chamber of Commerce, “Port Renfrew is where the Pacific Ocean collides with the rugged west coast of North America, and massive trees earn it the Tall Tree Capitol of Canada. Home of the West Coast Trail, and Juan De Fuca Trail”. Many trails lead to the beaches along a 50k stretch of the coast. Being open to the Pacific Ocean, some of the beaches are very popular with surfers.

I love the water, but I will leave riding the waves to the younger bunch. No sharks, just lots of rocks. We spent 4 days there, so these pictures only take in our first day, at Mystic Beach.

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Always lots of drift wood along west coast beaches.

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Mystic falls is down to a trickle at this time of year. Next year we plan to visit in the spring.

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This could be a place to spend the night… but only at low tide!

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Too many pictures to include in one blog. I will post more on our journey up the beach in a couple of days. Cheers.

 

Rainy Days and Sunshine.

The weather the other day was a mixed bag of sun one minute followed by rain followed by sun followed…. well you get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, the poppies here on Vancouver Island are in full bloom. And with the raindrops clinging to the petals, the sun transformed them into tiny jewels. Luckily I noticed this. A photo op for sure.

Here are a couple of shots I got in just before it started to rain, again. Enjoy. cheers.

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The Good Earth.

When I was growing up as a pre-teen during the 1950’s in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, one of my chores was to keep our vegetable garden weeded. I hated it. I didn’t like having to get down on my knees to weed. My pants got dirty and wet; and I had to stick my hands into the dirt to get at some of the weeds. Plus I wanted to play.

Rows of vegetables were not too bad. What I really hated was the strawberry patch. No rows, and runners all over the place. To complicate the matter, at least in my mind, I was told that I could not go and play until the job was done. How unfair!

Fast forward to the 1980’s when we acquired our own piece of land and I had to put in a garden to satisfy our family of five. That same dirt became our gold mine. Now these hands were plunged willingly into that soil that over several summers was enriched and nourished, thanks to the local farmers and a sound organic approach.

I soon came to learn what really goes on under the surface. This soil, this dirt, was very much a living thing. I was amazed to find out just how much beneficial bacteria and other living organisms existed just below the surface. With careful tending we were rewarded with its bounty. This is my dirt, my earth.

Now look what is happening to this giver of abundance. It is being ravaged through the use of chemicals thanks to big chemical producing companies and agribusiness that virtually have  a strangle hold on the farmers. They rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and animal drugs. In agribusiness, the thrust is getting the highest possible yields and profits. Nutrient content and flavour take second place. Their bottom line is what is being taken care of, not the consumer. The damage that is being done will take decades to reverse, if it can be at all. The damage is not just to the earth, but also to the product that is grown in it, and ultimately to ourselves. This was my dirt, my earth. The drive is to mass production, not on a wholesome and nourishing product. Thank heavens, not all countries have adopted this approach, for the most part  in Europe and Asia.

The USDA fails to acknowledge that organically grown fruits and vegetables contain more nutritional value and are safer than those grown on mass,  despite independent research that has proven otherwise. One can only wonder just how deep a strangle hold agribusiness has on the powers that be.

Despite all this, there are some things that we as consumers can do. Many large grocery chains are now carrying organic products, if your local grocer is not, ask him why. If he is not, shop elsewhere. With stronger competition, prices for organics have come down. Get to know your local farmers and frequent farmers markets. At the political level, write your member of parliament or congressman, that still is a powerful tool.

It seems to me that with the rising cost of health care, it only makes sense to do our part and eat smart. It is going to take generations maybe centuries to turn this plundering of the earth around. This is still my dirt, our earth.

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Earth

Blogging from Puerto Vallarta,Mexico

We finally arrived here on Wednesday, in sunny Puerto Vallarta, or what we snow birds call paradise. After settling into our new apartment, we went to seek out some of our old haunts. It was like we had never left.

Enjoy some of the pics from this beautiful town. The Mexicans have a lot to offer, and you do not have to walk far to find it. Food, drinks, culture and their great hospitality.

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Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico from 35,000 feet.
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What was possibly someone’s home, now ready to complete its life cycle.
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The view from our apartment.
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A view from our apartment.
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A view from our apartment.
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A courier from the past?
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An xoloitzcuintli, or a Mexican hairless dog. Friendly, and visits daily.
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This “lady” is ready for a night out!
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A visit to Mexico requires one to stay hydrated.
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This is a nightly occurrence.

The texture and ambiance of Puerto Vallarta is something that simply has to be experienced. Over the next four months, I hope to be able to bring you as much of the fabric of this place that words can convey, that is if I don’t get swallowed by its appetite for adventurous travellers.

Ambience

“To Infinity and Beyond….”

Well, maybe not quite that far. But it is about 4000 kilometers far. All the way to the west coast of Canada. Just beyond the horizon. I know it is there because Maggie and I spent a month this past summer travelling the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. I fell in love with B.C., and Maggie is from Vancouver Island. The decision to head the wagons west next summer seemed like the next chapter in our love for exploring the great outdoors.

Someone once said if you set your horizon to far out, it becomes unobtainable, too close, and you face disappointment when you get there. Well, we have both been there, and the place worked its magic. I know that we have made the right decision. We are going to have the opportunity to meet new people, hike new trails and to just immerse ourselves in a new New Horizon.

The pictures below are just a few of the thousands we took. Please enjoy.

Transmogrify

So,… there is a word I don’t see every day, or use for that matter. Now, what examples to find. As one fellow blogger put it “yikes”.

Into the archives. After much pawing about, I came up with a few pics that I hope will fit the bill. See what you think.

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My first find was discovered this past summer washed up on the beach at Tofino, British Columbia.  Transformed by wind and water over a number of years into this rather grotesque sculpture. I suspect it was at one time part of the root of a western red cedar. How long it was there is anybody’s guess; subject to the comings and goings of tide and time.

dsc_0203This one caught my eye as we were walking through Vancouver. And you thought windows were flat! Reminds me of the mirrors in the fun house at a carnival.

DSC_0785DSC_0786These two I have used before, but they are fun and shows what can happen when one has a shaky grip on the camera. We are not being invaded here, just the moon on the move.

So there you have it. I’m sure I could find other pics, but that digging I will leave up to you. Cheers. Transmogrify