Friday, December 30, 2011

On the Tele……

Children’s receives a gift from a past patient…..

Santa is clever

OMG! How did Santa ever get this new TV down the Chimney?


Hope you all got great presents too.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wonderful Christmas Time

We have enjoyed a lovely Christmas with our Mojo, friends & Family via WebCam.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Well it’s finally here once again, so we wish all our family, friends and loyal readers a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Mojo “Now, will someone ‘please’ give me my presents”

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Adrian, David and Mojo


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DeBecks Hill

Todays walk took us back out to Alice Lake Provincial Park, just North of Squamish.  I was undecided enroute whether we would do the Four Lakes Trail or perhaps the DeBecks Hill route which we last walked in August 2010. Not knowing what the trail conditions would be like we kept an open mind.

On reaching the park we discovered that the main park area is actually closed over the winter months.  Access is still allowed but the ‘developed’ aspect of the park such as the campgrounds, washrooms etc are all closed and the trails are not maintained by the parks department until the Spring. This also meant we had to park on Alice Lake Road road than our usual parking lot right inside the park.

The different parking location made our decision on where to walk, as it would add another 2km or so to the 4km round trip up and down DeBecks Hill and make a sufficient stomp on this frosty morning without adding the Four Lakes Trail also.

There were small pockets of snow at the side of the road left from the last snowfall but the trails were completely clear.


Because the park was essentially closed it was eerily quiet….just one other car parked on Alice Lake Road and we didn’t see another person. 


IMG_6560 We took the opportunity to use the lakeside trail around Alice Lake.  This is usually a ‘no dogs’ trail but since there was nobody to object…..


Approximately two-thirds of the lake had frozen overnight


Views across the lake towards peaks in the Tantalus  Range.

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These picnic benches won’t see much action until the Spring.


The pontoons aren’t getting much use this time of year either.


But that doesn’t stop Mojo from jumping into the freezing water for a paddle……


…..and a drink…..


…..and to blow some bubbles…..


…followed by a good shake.


After our paddle/drink/bubble blowing in Alice Lake we head reach the start of the DeBecks Hill trail.  This trail has no long history, it was only developed in the 1950’s by logger Denis DeBeck who cut and blasted rock to create this track for use as he logged the hill. He closed his logging business in 1966 but in honour of his work Mojo attempts to keep the tradition alive.


There are just a couple of the old growth trees left here that managed to escape the chop, the rest are the result of replantation of the site.

IMG_6591 IMG_6593Soon we reach the top of DeBecks Hill.  We get great views across the Squamish Valley.


The Tantalus Range – this ridge marks the edge of the large and extremely remote Tantalus Provincial Park



Views to the North


On our way back down we get a brief glimpse of the Garibaldi Range to the East.

IMG_6608 More views around Alice Lake on our return.


Where’s Wally ?   He’s hiding in the shadows looking for an elusive squirrel or bird.


Views from the parking lot as we depart.

IMG_6617On our way back we warm up with the help of a mocha from Tim Hortons.  One of the things I like most about Squamish is that there are great views everywhere, even at the mall !


We continue on the Sea-to-Sky Highway getting these views of Mt Garibaldi with the town of Squamish in the valley below.

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Then we stop for a brief photo op. in Porteau Cove.


Views here across Howe Sound towards Tantalus Provincial Park.




Mojo spots a seagull he’d like a ‘friendly chat’ with.   Thankfully he’s on leash.

IMG_6631 And the seagull tantalisingly paddles across in front of us.


We then continue the 30 minute or so drive home, where there is an inevitable outcome……

Mojo snoozin

Great walk, great weather, what else is there to say ?!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I’ll keep the orange ball, thanks.

Our basement renovations are nearly complete.  All the contractor work is finished and I will post a full blog entry on the renovations when we receive our sofas, around mid January.

Today we are mounting the new huuuuge TV in the media room.  Mojo is quite sure however much fun our new TV is going to be, it’ll be no match in awesomeness for his orange ball.

New TV box and Mojo

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Capilano River Regional Park, December 2011.

Yesterday I needed to find a walk here in North Vancouver that was closeby and I could do a comfortable hour or so without taking up the whole day with a huge hike. Capilano River Regional Park seemed like a good choice as it was also close to shops I needed to get to afterwards.

Capilano River Regional Park is located just off Capilano Road about halfway between the tourist meccas of the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain.  Therefore this park and the entrance around Cleveland Dam in particular see hoards of visitors as well as locals strolling and walking dogs.  This has eventually led to a few disputes between visitors and dog owners and ultimately to the city having to strike a balance between many people and many dogs.

Until September 2011 this park, like most other parks in British Columbia had been either ‘off-leash allowed’ or ‘officially on-leash but as long as your dog’s under control we’ll turn a blind eye’.  Generally this system seems to work and keeping most people with and without dogs fairly happy.  However in September the Metro Vancouver Parks Department instigated a new Dog Management Pilot Program in Capilano River Regional Park which resulted in typical British Columbia try-and-keep-everybody-happy fashion, in a convoluted and complicated mix of ‘on-leash’ trails, ‘off-leash’ trails,  ‘on-leash during the winter, no-dogs allowed during the summer’ trails and ‘on-leash allowed but not on the grass’ trails.  I was interested to see what if any impact it was having on the users of the park.  Mojo couldn’t care less, he just wanted a walk.

We park as usual at the Cleveland Dam entrance.  There’s some high cloud already approaching from the North West but we still get good views over Capilano Lake.


Goat and Grouse Mountain


The Lions


The skyride to Grouse Mountain will be packed with skiers and snowboarders on a sunny December day like this.


It was a beautiful crisp, cold sunny morning. The overnight temperature had been around –4 so we had to watch out for pockets of ice it was lovely crunching through the frozen fallen leaves.



I guess the parks department realised nobody would understand their new ‘dog management pilot program’ so they put up big and impossible to miss plain English signs at every turn.  Great that you understand, pity that it takes away from the natural forest canyon feel of the park having such a large number of shiny new signs everywhere.


IMG_6486 One of the trails we have taken previously in this park has become ‘on-leash in winter, no dogs allowed in summer’.  We still took this route and met just two other people – both with dogs – both without leashes.  Oh well, this is BC !  In all fairness, there wasn’t exactly anybody else around to complain.

IMG_6511 We pass some giant douglas fir trees, believed to be over 900 years old.  Wow, they’ve seen some changes in their lifetime.

IMG_6497 It’s impossible to photograph them in their entirety, even with the wide angle lens, because they’re so tall.  A quick view clip of the giant douglas fir trees and surrounding forest.

We reach the Capilano River as it snakes it way through the canyon. It is currently around noon but the sun is still so low this time of year much of the park remains in shade.

IMG_6502 Downstream past the waterfalls and salmon hatchery.


More views around the park as the skies continue to cloud up in readiness for a weather front passing over us as we type.

IMG_6507 After a great 1hr15 walk and good workout down into the canyon and back up the other side we return to the parking lot.  Here we have one Aussie + 1hr15 run + a healthy dose of mud & pine needles + a soaking of fresh river water = happy snoozy dog who will not even notice I’ve gone while I continue my errands and head home.


It appears during the winter the new restrictions for park usage are not too restrictive at all but during the summer they would be a little more so.  We usually avoid this park during the summer anyway because of the crowds but it’s good to see Mojo would still get a decent off-leash run here at that time if needed.