Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's......... Almost Miraculous

Are the post-Christmas blues getting you down ? Is the World financial crisis playing heavily on your mind ? Worried about your job security ?

Well.....worry no more....with the most must-have spiritual accessory - a Prayer Cross.
(hurry stocks are limited and they're not available in stores) far only broadcast on the US television stations !

Fred Vanore Prayer Cross - The best bloopers are a click away

Burnaby Lake

Last Monday I headed over to Burnaby Lake Regional Park. I had not been there before and it's only 20 minutes or so away from home. The weather was cold but bright and the forecast for the rest of the week was wet so it seemed a good chance to get out before the weather turned.

The park comprises a large relatively shallow lake surrounded by protected parkland a nature reserve and a number of sports fields & facilities. Unlike most of the backcountry parks in this area Burnaby Lake is sandwiched between the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby and Coquitlam so human development surrounds it.

From the parking lot adjacent to the rugby clubhouse the trail initially leads to the rowing club before joining the trail that leads right the way around the lake. This was the start of the trail. Like Buntzen there was a well walked section of the path that was easiest on walk on as the snow was packed down although in the places it was very slippery where the top layer was still frozen.

After passing the rowing club you cross a tributary and get the first view of the lake.

Shortly after the trails leads right down to the lake edge and you get good views towards the North Shore mountains.

A wider view of the North Shore - the ski runs of Grouse Mountain can be seen on the left hand side of this photo.

A panorama view from the east to the west of the lake from the south shore.

Much of the lake still had a thin layer of ice across the top

There was much evidence of encouraging wildlife in the park. A number of the trees had bird boxes attached to them and even a few 'freestanding' ones like these.

And there were a lot of birds everywhere in the park. I stand to be corrected by anyone who knows better.....but I think this was a Spotted Towhee......

And this a Song Sparrow......

The Lions come into view

To the east the Coquitlam skyline can be seen with mountains behind. These views, plus the gentle background humm from Highway 1 are a reminder that you're still very much within the Metro area in this park.

More views around the park

Looking North across the lake

Some of the South Shore trail is on boardwalks as they cross large areas of natural bog

Eventually the trail widens and becomes a bridle path linked to the equestrian centre in the park.

Now crossing onto the North side of the lake we see where the Brunette River forms out of the east end of Burnaby Lake.

I heard this Downy Woodpecker before I saw it.

Here's a little video footage of it although it didn't do much 'tapping' while I was able to film it

There were also lots of ducks and geese living here

Video footage of them....

A male Mallard

Some Canada Geese

And a couple of what I would call seagulls but I believe are Glaucous-winged gulls

Looking back at Coquitlam Town Centre from the North Side.

More Canada Geese wandering along the trail

Finally as I head back towards the parking lot a view across the lake to the Burnaby skyline on the South side of the lake.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Buntzen Lake - January '09

Last week I took a trip out to Buntzen Lake. Most of Metro Vancouver had been shrouded in fog for about two weeks with only the upper slopes enjoying the otherwise sunny weather.

Therefore I figured Buntzen was a fairly safe bet being situated quite high up in the village of Anmore.

By the time I reached Anmore I was then above the fog level and the sun was out. The drive through the village was easy as the roadworks we had encountered back in the summer were now finished.

Views around the village on the way to the park

I was pleased that the road into the park was fully ploughed

Two out of the three large carparks were still closed and uncleared.

However one of the carparks was cleared and easy to park in. Views from the carpark.

The trail was well walked so easy to follow, however the crampons were very helpful as the sub-zero temperatures had made the top layer of the path very slippery.

The approach to South Beach

The non-dog section of the beach was deserted. There were a couple of people with dogs in the dog-beach but otherwise a very quiet day at Buntzen Lake.

This is a panorama view of the lake, with a little mist just hanging over the water it was a beautiful day.

Views down the lake

Zoomed in view of the North end of the lake

Then I took the east side trail alongside the lake. This view looking West across the lake

This is a zoomed view across the lake to the trail on the opposite side which follows the path of the powerlines

Views up the lake from the side. The suspension bridge and North Beach picnic area are visible.

Then the battery died on the camera due to the cold temperatures - it was fully charged before setting out but it doesn't work well in the cold. So, I had to change over to my Blackberry for these last few photos. They are less good quality as a result.
This photo is of the North Beach picnic area, where Mum, Dad, Charlie and I had sandwiches in September.

No competition for picnic benches today, although finding one above snow level was more difficult.

Looking South down the lake

Then I climbed a small hill to the North side of North Beach which gave further views towards mountains North of the lake.

Then views to the South over the lake from an elevated position

Rather than walk along the West side trail as we had done in September I decided to walk back along the service road that ran roughly parallel to the trail on the East side to see how interesting and easy it was. It was certainly an easy trail to walk along.....

And had some good views from it, although no direct water access.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Farewell Mr C

Last week we lost our beloved Charlie to the leukemia he had been diagnosed with in November.

Naturally it has been a very tough week but we feel we have started to turn a corner and helping us to do this was compiling our Charlie photos on a digital photo frame we bought. Doing this we re-discovered many older photos we had forgotton from his early years, so I thought I would collect a few of the good ones to share.

The plan was perhaps half a dozen pictures or so, but of course eliminating ones to use is too difficult so this became a rather long post......I'll keep the writing to a minimum !

So, born 28th June 2001 we have an early puppy photo, taken in the garden of the Norfolk farm of Lyveden Kennel. When we went to visit the breeder, Charlie most definately chose us by bounding up and smothering us with attention. Something we discovered wouldn't change.....

A few weeks later in our 'still works in progress garden' at Crumps Butts, Bicester Charlie was honing his attack skills on all cleaning implements. He never grew out of his disgust for brooms, mops or vacuums.

He also developed his fun & characterful side

Without doubt Charlies best four-legged friend in life was my sisters dog, a border collie called Bess. Charlie met Bess within a short time of arriving in our home and for the first 5 years of his life met up at least once per week and enjoyed numerous walks and holidays together.

When in the same house or on a walk they were inseparable

Despite being about one year younger than Bess, Charlie was more of a 'big brother' to her. He certainly wasn't a gentleman and would never have considered giving up his seat for her !.......

Probably Charlies favourite pastime was going for a walk. He would tolerate a quick stomp around the block, but a more hearty hike would be his preference. He had many great country walks including ones from our holiday cottage in Devon in the autumn of 2004........

Or a Devon beach

And he continued these walks once we moved to Canada, seen here at the beach in Tofino

And closer to home, this one taken in October on Cypress Mountain.

Whether a beach walk or a country hike they all ended the same way...........

Well, speaking of snoozing, Charlie certainly mastered the art of bedding down for a good sleep when the opportunity arose.

Preferably somewhere he could really stretch out.........

Although sometimes he had to remove those pesky blankets that people put on the furniture to try and protect them, such as was the case on this furniture in this rented house........

After a good walk he didn't even care that his coat colour clashed with the hideous little chairs in a holiday cottage we rented

Any position would do when you're suffering jet-lag after being moved halfway around the world.......

Back at home, if the sofa was in use, then an armchair would suffice.......

And if all else fails.......improvise...........

Still, it's always better if you've got someone to share the moment with.......

Charlie was also quite famous for his sticks. Not necessarily the fetching of them, although he always did a good job of that. No, it was the constant need to 'trade-up' that became his forte.
Most walks would start with a handy, easy to carry & throw stick of some description......

However, it would never be long before he would find the opportunity to move up to something meatier........

........and again............

Until eventually he would find a huge, heavy piece of wood you could hardly carry, let alone throw for him. He would never give up though, he would always keep trying to carry that huge lump of wood and always be happy to share it with you.

He was perhaps a little more reluctant to share his bones though........they were his pride and joy. After being given a new bone he would guard it and keep it safe taking it everywhere he went - into the garden, to bed with him at night - until eventually he gives in to temptation and starts chewing it. Then he chews and chews and chews until it's all gone.

Charlie also loved the snow.

A walk was double the fun with white stuff and snowballs to catch.

Christmas and birthdays were also marked by the present opening. Charlie was always a willing participant wanting to open not only his own presents, but everybody elses as well.

Charlie also loved roadtrips......

The chance to take a walk somewhere new......

More stick fetching.......

And a bit of sight seeing.......

........and hanging out with friends.

If the roadtrip went really well he would also squeeze in his other favourite pastime....swimming.....

These were some of our favourite memories and photos of Charlie. We hope you enjoyed them. There will be other dogs, but there won't be another Mr C.

There isn't really a whole lot else we can say......we miss Charlie dearly and we were robbed of him so early but we do remember the wonderful 7.5 years we spent together and the joy he brought to our friends & family.