Autumn Skies

I’ve been enjoying the colours of the sky over the past couple of days. Autumn astounds me at how majestic it can be.

The morning sunrise has pink hues as the sky starts to light up. I pause for a moment at the end of my night shift to enjoy my country living.

The night sky offers a faded orange backdrop to an industrialized world that I am a part of. The black shadows of straight edges are a harsh contrast to the randomness of nature.

Yet there is still beauty to be found in both.

Ack Ack Kayak!

So… I was at the Grade Seven camp a little over a week ago when I tried Kayaking for the first time. I enjoyed it tremendously. My wife hates me because of this.

She hates me because for years now she’s been trying to get me to go kayaking with her. When I finally did go on a whim without her, I wanted to go again. I really should listen to her the first time around…

As I mentioned yesterday- I put on a new Roof Rack on my Nissan Rogue. It was to prepare for the possibility of getting a kayak. My wife finished work at six last night and wanted to go price some kayaks out. I’d been looking online at places and prices earlier in the week, but it was my wife who wanted to go and search for herself. Unfortunately we only went to one place- Canadian Tire. Not my usual place to go shopping- however we do find some great deals on occasion- like our bbq grill about four years ago.

Anyways, window shopping for a kayak turned into buying a kayak. Make that buying two kayaks at a wickedly good price (they had them marked incorrectly but honored the price). These kayaks also came with oars and straps to take them away on the roof of my car. (As reference I found similar ones at Costco by the same manufacturer for $160 more each.)

I’m happy with the purchase to make our lives healthier. We just need to find the time to hit the water together.

And maybe my wife will forgive my ignorance all these years. Or she’ll drown me. Either way- we own a couple of kayaks now!

Short Walks

Lately I’ve been enjoying walking. Years ago, I used to walk everywhere. Most of my jobs in the past had me on my feet where I walked a lot.

When I was a projectionist looking after 19 auditoriums- I was spending eight hours a day going back and forth between them.

Working at Home Depot was a bit rougher on my feet since it was a concrete floor. But when it was slow, I wandered around to learn as much DIY as I could.

Chuck E Cheese also had me on my feet keeping track of customers and running food. Plus the occasional dance routine…

Then came CN. Where I would walk miles and miles outdoors every shift. This was by far the best exercise I ever received. Until I started working in the office. Then I became stagnant. That has been the past few years now.

I’ve been missing walking. So my wife is encouraging me daily to get back at it. It has started with walks around the block or parking at the far end of a mall parking lot. Now we are trying to wander through trails and enjoy nature instead of asphalt. I’m starting to enjoy meeting birds on my walks as well.

Silverdale Creek Wetlands

On Friday night my wife and I often take our children to a thing called “Dry Land Training” at our speed skating coach’s home. This involves a 30 minute drive followed by a two hour training session. Sometimes my wife and I stay to chat with other parents. Other times we go grocery shopping up the road. Last night we went for a walk at one of the local parks.

This is a typical park setting. With signage and info about the land. It was a beautiful stroll through extremely well kept trails. But there was one thing that made this park stand out amongst other trails in BC.

Birds. Lots of birds. And birdhouses!

On top of several pillars in the marsh were numerous birdhouses. Every single one of them occupied with a feathered friend. The houses that were close to the pathways had birds that weren’t scared of people wandering by. This made me happy. They watched and sang as my wife and I meandered along the pathways.

We chatted and strolled holding hands and just enjoying nature. We greeted only a couple of other folks along the way. It was like we had our own little private forest filled with song. It was a nice way to relax on a Friday evening with my wife.

I have a feeling we will visit the Silverdale Creek Wetlands again in the future. I hope that this will get others to visit there as well.

Taking This City for Granted

I’m always excited to travel to other countries, states, provinces, and visit different cities. I enjoy driving around certain cities such as Los Angeles or Calgary. Some of my favorite cities to walk around are Seattle, Tokyo, and San Jose. As well as the beaches of California and Hawaii. And of course, Disneyland.

Our adventures over the years have taken us to see some beautiful cities and picturesque landscapes. From unique architecture to forests to parks to beaches. But I forget that Vancouver is unique and beautiful in its own way. With many of the things I have experienced elsewhere.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to work downtown Vancouver. It made me want to come down to this city more often. I’ve begun to take the time and just wander around Vancouver as well as take in a Hockey Game with my son. Vancouver has parks and architecture that you can only find here.

The outskirts of Vancouver boast beautiful trails located in many municipalities; and White Rock’s beaches aren’t crowded. This year, we aren’t planning any big trips or vacations. I’m going to plan more daily explorations of our current stomping grounds. Let’s share what the Lower Mainland has to offer.

By all means, give me some ideas of places to visit and things to do. No need to keep secrets about this exquisite locale we call home.

Wildlife House

I love animals. Always have. I think I could’ve been a veterinarian if it wasn’t for my allergies. Living in the countryside means more woodland creatures all around.

Yesterday when we returned from camping, there was a squirrel hanging out on our back deck. The fact that we were able to walk outside and it didn’t move, meant something was wrong.

After about thirty minutes of us eating lunch outside next to the little dude, we decided to catch it and take it into a place called Critter Care Wildlife. A local organization that specializes in mammal rehabilitation.

We put a box over the little critter and put a towel on top. We dropped it off and the staff was really happy to take it in. They gave us a case number so I followed up today to see how Mr. Squirrel is doing. He’s been integrated into a new group of squirrels and is bouncing back. The organization is unsure as to what was the original issue, but they will be keeping an eye on the little guy.

This afternoon another woodland creature entered our home. We had left the sliding glass door open and the bird flew right in. It bumped the window and perched itself on our cds. My oldest and I grabbed a towel and tossed it over top and I gently carried the bird outside to set it free.

Mr. Birdie took a moment after I uncovered its head before taking off. (Our son names every animal and stuffed animal MR.) We have had numerous animals visit us for brief moments. My favorite moment was when we rescued a hummingbird.

I think that when I retire, I might get into bird watching.

You know, like old people do- ’cause I’ll be old. And I’ll need a reason to look up from my smartphone once in a while.

Back To Basics

Yesterday I got to do something at work I haven’t done in ages. I was able to be the conductor on a train from North Vancouver to Squamish and back again. I don’t usually get asked to help out, so it was a refreshing break from my usual office work.

I was also lucky enough to be with an engineer that was a pleasure to work with. That made the ride more relaxing and enjoyable. Years ago I would work as a conductor taking this train up and down along the west coast. Not every experience was a good one. Especially in the winter.

This route is one of the most scenic routes I know of in North America to take by rail. During the summer months, The Rocky Mountaineer passenger train also takes this trip. For those of you who like trains- the Rocky Mountaineer is like taking a cruise by rail. It also costs about the same. Seeing the beautiful landscape along British Columbia is worth it in my opinion.

My job is pretty amazing at times, that’s for sure. I’m really lucky to be able to have the experiences I do. In the end, it’s all about how you perceive the workload that makes a job worthwhile.

Crescent Beach Sunset

On Tuesday, we went for a dinner at Crescent Beach as a family. We go at least once a year to eat fish and chips along the water’s edge and watch the sunset.

Each of us grabbed a meal from the Red Baron to go. It’s an older place run by an elderly Asian couple. Their deep fried cod is amazing and their fries are nice and crisp. The restaurant doesn’t look like much, but it sure is satisfying. It’s also a couple bucks cheaper than anywhere else nearby- and it’s in a great location at the end of Beecher Street.

The orange glow brought out our smiles and cheekiness as we finished our meal. We then walked up and down the coastline waiting for the sun to set. We laughed and talked as we strolled along. Minutes before the sun went down, we found a nice log to sit on and watch the day end.

Living in the West Coast is absolutely breathtaking. Taking the time to enjoy the beauty that the world offers is important.

Sharing these moments with loved ones is equally as important.

Golden Ears Park

Today we went for a hike at Golden Ears Park. I haven’t been to this park in almost 25 years. It’s still just as beautiful as ever.

We followed the East Canyon Trail to the water falls. It was straight uphill for about 2.5km. Then we followed some BC Park signs down to the falls. The water was nice and cool, so we took a quick stroll through it to a shady spot and had a picnic lunch.

After our lunch, we waded around in the water a bit more admiring the views. It was peaceful and calm with hardly anyone around.

We returned to our car down the Lower Falls Trail. This was a straight and easy walk instead of an uphill hike- like we did on the way towards the falls. We stopped occasionally to take some pictures of the trees as the sun began to set.

Exploring the Lower Mainland on the outskirts of Vancouver is something that we try and do. Today’s 5km hike/nature walk was exactly what we needed as a family. Even our pooch was worn out by the end.

If you know of any other easy to moderate hike in the outskirts of Vancouver, feel free to share with me!

Leafers

I couldn’t believe what they were stealing from my property today.  I was at my kitchen window in plain view of them. These two older, retired women entered my yard and began snipping leaves off of our vine maple.


Mind you, it didn’t bother me.  But curiosity came over me, so I went outside to speak with them.  They were super friendly and told me what they were up to.  Of course, my thought was that they wanted the fall coloured leaves for some Pinterest inspired art project or flower pressing.  But I was wrong. Turns out they wanted the green leaves only because the red and orange ones wouldn’t work.


They were collecting the leaves in order to create a dye for silk scarves.  Scarves that they were going to give away to friends and family at Christmas. It was a lovely idea. I told the ladies they were welcome to come back any time to collect leaves because it saves my children from raking them up when they dry up.

In the end, it looks like I have made some new friends in my neighborhood. Even though they were leaf thieves.