Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Visitor

This afternoon at about 5pm we were disturbed by Mojo barking frantically to discover a huge black bear in the front garden !

He had just been chased out of our neighbours backyard who had been playing bowls and found him rummaging through their bins.  He wandered across our garden, down the front steps and across the driveway and we just managed to get this snap before he disappeared into next doors garden.


He stayed next door for a few minutes before then crossing the road, stopping traffic and into the park.  There were then several people clambering out of Princess Park and lots of shouting !   All in the days work of a North Vancouver black bear.

Is Summer Over?!

First Autumn 2010 Walking with Mojo at Bridgman today and the fall leaves have started!!!

From 35 degree sunny heat last week to 16 degree cool this week.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Michael Buble in Vancouver

Last weekend we had the opportunity to see Michael Buble perform at Rogers Arena (alternatively known as The Phone Box and formerly known as GM Place).  It was the 2nd of two important dates here in the city, with Vancouver being his home town.

He still has strong connections to the city with much family living here, he is now a majority owner of the Vancouver Giants hockey team and makes frequent visits to BC Childrens Hospital, some being formal engagements there others just unannounced surprise visits. 

On the first of the two dates he held in Vancouver (both completely sold out) he announced that the entire proceeds of the nights ticket sales were going to be donated to BC Childrens. He still has very strong roots in the city and is much loved for staying in touch here.

We found meter parking a couple of blocks from the arena and walked down.  On the way we passed someone creating street art on a big piece of wall.



Once in the arena the support group were a band we had not heard of called Naturally 7.  They were unique is so much as they did not play any instruments.  They performed a number of cover songs and sounded like a regular band, but all the instrument sounds were created by the band members.  Umm.  Anyway, they were only the support group and out of the way before long.



By around 9pm Michael came on stage.


We were seated on floor level, near the back.  However we still have had a pretty good view of the stage, arena and big screens.


A wider view of the stage.


He performed all of his major tracks and in-between lots of cocky banter.


Resounding ‘boos’ when he announced he had got engaged ! (it was a predominately female and gay-male audience !).  Unfortunately his bride-to-be turned out to be in the audience too.  Not sure what she thought of the public reaction to their engagement ?!



About halfway through a small mini-stage was brought into middle-rear section of the floor, about 15ft or so away from us and Michael then came down off of the main stage and performed his big original hit ‘Home’.  It was particularly poignant being performed in his home of Vancouver which is why he made a big deal with this song.


They illuminated the whole arena for the chorus as the audience joined in.


It was terrific having him perform one of his big tracks only feet away.


Then he returned to the main stage for the remainder of he show.  It was an excellent performance and we would definitely go back to see him again next time he returns to Vancouver.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Hayward Lake

Last week Mojo and I ventured out to Hayward Lake Park.  It is a new location that we hadn’t been to before.  Situated just East of Maple Ridge it is one of the further locations we have walked being just over a one-hour drive.

Hayward Lake was formed in 1931 after the construction of the Ruskin Dam as part of the Stave Falls Hydro Electricity project. Like Buntzen Lake Hayward Lake is owned and managed by BC Hydro as the primary purpose is electricity generation, however they have developed a trail around the perimeter of the lake and there are a number of small beach areas allowing plenty of lake access.  The lake is approximately 7.5km long and between 0.5 and 1.5km wide.  It is also very dog-friendly with only a small area around the main parking lot where dogs are restricted.

Once beyond Maple Ridge on the Dewdney Trunk Road the drive becomes very pleasant along country roads.

IMG_2309The forecast had been for a very hot day so we had arrived early to get as much walking done as possible before the heat of the day, so we were parked just after 9am and indeed were the only 2nd car in the parking lot at this time.

Adjacent to the main parking area and beach is little Beaver Lake. It was wonderfully peaceful and quiet with nobody around and only the sound of chirping birds.


Mojo posing nicely for the few minutes of the walk he was still clean and dry.

IMG_2311 We reach the first big flat sandy beach.  The view here from the beach looking down the lake.


Unfortunately the peace was broken slightly by the parks tractor working its way along the beach smoothing out the sand and preparing it for the inevitable crowds later in the day.


There had been a sign saying ‘no dogs in picnic area’ as we first arrived so we had steered clear of that.  There didn’t appear to be any signs preventing dogs on the beach and having a swim so Mojo took the opportunity to jump right in.  I think Mojo thought that since it was only 9.10am and he was already off-leash swimming in a nice clean lake today was going to be a pretty good day !

So Mojo gets his first swim of the day with the rumble of the tractor in the background.

In hindsight I am not sure Mojo was strictly allowed on this beach as only a few minutes later we reach a specially designated ‘dog beach’ where dogs were quite definitely welcome and when we returned later in the day the main beach was full of people but no dogs.  Still, the parks employee didn’t seem to have any problem with Mojo so we got several good swims in early on.

This is a map of the park.  We were starting in the top right hand corner and following the Railway Trail along the top of the lake to Ruskin Dam where we intended to cross and return along the Reservoir Trail to the south side of the lake.


The Railway Trail was easy walking, predominately open with good views of the lake.  It mostly followed the path of the old British Columbia Electric Railway which had been built to service the Stave Lake Dam Powerhouse until eventually road access was built.

IMG_2320 Through much of the first half of the Railway Trail the banks were lined with blackberry bushes.  Loads of big ripe juicy blackberries !  Mojo and I indulged in a few and then left the rest for the bears !


Lake views from the trail.

IMG_2323 We turn a corner and the remaining length of the lake comes into view.  Someone has placed a plank of wood to enable dogs to get into the lake as at this section there was a big of a jump from the bank into the water.

IMG_2326 Mojo was certainly very appreciative of the easy access although his movement was clouding up the otherwise beautifully clear water.


It’s not long and the views of the lake open right up.


From here looking along the lakes edge the Ruskin Dam is just visible on the far left hand side.


The trail continues winding along the lake edge.


There are a number of signs of the old railway including the remains of old trestle bridges. The trail now winds in and out of the little coves where the railway took a much straighter route.


At the head of one of the small coves a creek rushes down the hillside into the lake and brings a welcome blast of cooler air.

IMG_2336 Views of a small cove and video.


We reach another small sandy beach, from the embankment at the top we get views towards Ruskin Dam and the end of the lake which is now not too far away.


Views back up the lake in the opposite direction.



Eventually we reach Ruskin Dam.  These are the views from the dam looking south as the lake flows into the Fraser River about 3 kilometres away.

IMG_2347 The Ruskin Dam and Hydro Plant.


Views from on top of the dam looking north up the lake.


Once we reach the opposite side of the dam we reach the trailhead for the Reservoir Trail.  There is a notice board and thankfully we stop to see the notices and discover that BC Hydro are carrying out construction on Blind Slough Dam and the trail at this point is closed for a few days (including today) therefore a complete loop around the lake isn’t possible.  We are pleased to have seen this sign just in time because Blind Slough Dam is right the way along the Reservoir Trail almost back to the parking lot where the car is, so to have reached that point and then had to turn around would have meant we would have had to almost walk around the lake twice.

  IMG_2351 So, we turn around and head back along the Railway Trail the way we had come. 

We find a terrific spot to stop and have lunch, a small private section of beach just for Mojo and I.



We eat I paddle and Mojo swims, and swims, and swims.

And swims, and swims and swims !



Eventually though I have to drag him away from his doggy-heaven and we continue back to the car.  It really was a very toasty day as the thermometer in the car shows…….35 degrees.


We had an excellent walk at Hayward Lake and it’s certainly a great spot for a hot day as there are so many places Mojo can get into the lake.  We look forward to returning again soon so we can complete the whole loop on the opposite side of the lake too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Aussies in August

Last Sunday we attended Aussies in August.  It is an informal event held at Bridgman Park for Australian Shepherd owners to meet, play with each others dogs and for new owners to get advice about the breed and so on. 

Being an informal event there are no rules about the Aussies having to be pure bred or a particular size, so there was a great variety in size and type of dog.  Most were very Aussie like but some were toy (very small) and others mini (small) while the majority were standard size.  Some looked quite different because their owners had trimmed their coats for the summer which gives them a much shorter rougher coat.  It was nice that there were none of the pretentions that are usually associated with more formal dog events.

The idea was between 1pm and 3pm owners could just turn up, come & go as they pleased.  By 1pm we already had a number of dogs and their people assembling.


Rocky is a toy-size red-tri.

IMG_2260 This is Bronte.  She is a 15 year old red-merle.  Her hearing is mostly gone now but otherwise she’s very active and able even at this age.


IMG_2263 Mojo was on his absolute best behaviour and was great with people coming up and fussing him and he played with the other dogs very well.

IMG_2262 This black-tri was called Kayo.

IMG_2264 Reba was a very good looking blue-merle

IMG_2268 The temperature was well over 30 degrees in the mid afternoon and the dogs were getting very hot.  Thankfully Bridgman Park has the creek running right through it so periodically they could run off, have a drink and cool down.


This is Douglas who is an adorable 12 week old blue-merle puppy.  For such as young age he was very confident, happily walking up to much bigger dogs and their owners.


This is Douglas playing with Rocky.  It shows how much smaller the toy-size Aussies are as Douglas at 12 weeks is already somewhat bigger than Rocky who is fully grown !


There was a very basic agility course set up for owners to play & practise their dogs on.

This dog was called Princess !


While this really lovely mini-Aussie (a bit smaller than Mojo) was called Maybe.  Maybe was extremely obedient, having been taught from a young age by her owner, without any formal tuition.  However, she would fetch, sit, stay, even do backflips !  I guess mini-aussies being a bit smaller are that much more agile.  Anyway Maybe was fun to watch.


Then we all attempted to line up for a group photo.






This is Heidi (centre left) and her friend Laura (centre right) who organised the event together with Lauras two Aussies, Bronte (the red-merle) and Kevin the blue-merle both facing away.  Mojo is on the far left of the photo, Princess hiding behind her owner on the far right while perfectly behaved Maybe sits patiently on her own in the middle of all the action with her owner some distance away.  Not sure there were many other Aussies at this event that would do that !


It was a really fun afternoon.  About 30 aussies attended the event with their families, an improvement on the 20 or so they had last year.  We will definitely go again next year and indeed plan to arrange a Winter Aussies when we get our first good load of snow this winter.