There are not more impressive stellar phenomena in my opinion. (Other than ones that end civilization.) Unfortunately, it requires a full solar eclipse. A partial doesn’t cut it. With a full, the sun is completely gone, and I am lucky to have experienced that in Winnipeg in 1979. 38 years ago. I barely remember it. I certainly don’t remember wearing special glasses.
With a partial, the sun does not look any different. It is still the big glowing ball of fire in the sky. Only with special glasses can you directly see that anything is different. Indirectly, you can see that the things around you aren’t lit up as much as usual. It has all the appearances of early dusk, but the sun is still high in the sky.
I had thought about making a run for the border and going to Oregon to see the full Monty. But I kept hearing about the crowds of people thinking the same. There is no way I would have found a place to stay. And the traffic back would have been obscene. So I stayed in Vancouver, and did my job. Not very exciting, but that is what is needed to keep the world going.
But it was a nice experience to go to the roof of work, borrow glasses and pinhole cameras and see that there was something funny going on with the sun.
My knee has been hurting since I moved to Vancouver. It may have happened when lifting heavy boxes during the move. Or it may have happened when I had to jerk out of the way of a caterpillar drifting down into my run path. I’ve tried numerous strategies to get it to feel better. I tried giving up running for a month or so during the “winter” but it didn’t seem to help.
When I finally got my BC Health in order, I went to a physical therapist. Luckily, he didn’t seem to discourage me from running. He gave me exercises to do. It helped a bit, but my knee still hurts.
Yesterday he decided that more drastic actions needed to be taken. Well, drastic from my perspective.
Instead of my 2-3 runs a week, I need to run every day. However, my distance is now capped at 5km. I can increase by 10% every week though.
The plan is that by doing a reasonable amount consistently, my body can get used to running and still do the healing. Activity does help the process. Too much activity or no activity hurts the process.
I think he decided to do this to me because I ran 33km on Sunday.
So, today I started trying to run every day. Before breakfast I went out and hit the pavement. My big problem is that there aren’t that many options around here for 5km routes. That really is true of any place though; 5km is not enough distance to have variety. But I do have options, mostly seawall based.
I’m going to try and keep this going by giving myself the challenge to find something interesting to see each day. I’ve been practicing this for awhile, but I haven’t written down or spoken of what I’ve seen or done. That changes today.
It started off well. I think I ran through the set of Deadpool 2. I can’t be sure, but the overturned car and rubble did paint a picture.
Yesterday I performed a successful vacation for Steph. Remember, I only consider it a success if the recipient is totally exhausted by the end.
I did let us sleep in, and took people out for Belgian Waffles at a cozy place near the library. Although we had bubble waffles, so not technically Belgian, but I think these were better.
After that, we drove off to Golden Ears park for a hike. I chose this one because it did not involve a mountain. As much as I like those, with the haze from the fires, the view would not be worth the effort to climb higher. And if you are already dealing with oxygen deprivation, particulate matter will not help. So, with that and the heat, I concentrated on a hike that stayed within the trees next to Gold Creek.
We started at Gold Creek parking lot and found a park ranger to pump for information. He confirmed our plan to start with the West Canyon trail.
I had a map, but it was a little confusing for me. I’m so used to ultramarathon distances with a scale that lets you run for days; it felt wrong to be walking and seeing landmarks come quickly. it also, unfortunately, did not indicate elevation. The park ranger was young, so I think his description of it being a flat trail was borne of youth and not experience.
It wasn’t too bad until we followed his recommendation to go down to the Lower Falls. It was beautiful, and worth the trip, and a great place to have a lunch. But afterwards we had to climb back to where we were, and then keep going up around Edge Peak. It culminated at a point-of-interest called the “Gold Creek Lookout”. After that it was downhill, to the aforementioned creek where we crossed a bridge to the other side.
Due to scheduling and lack-of-motivations for ascending more, we didn’t go to Alder Flats. Maybe next time.
The trip back, starting on East Canyon trail, on the other side had one hill, and then we went down to the Lower Falls on the other side. Still beautiful. There were lots of people there swimming or jumping off rocks. Steph was not pleased about that.
After that we took the Lower Falls Trail back to the parking lot. It was flat, and people were tired by then. Conversation was almost non-existent. In all it was about 12.5km of hiking, taking around six hours.
We then drove Steph to the airport where she had a safe flight home.
We were supposed to go to Well Grey Park in the interior, but the heat and smoke from B.C. burning made us decide to stay in the lower mainland. It was a good choice because parts of the park got closed off due to the threat of more fire. We still wanted to do outdoor activities, so on the advice of a coworker, we went to Widgeon falls yesterday.
It involved getting up earlier than any sane person just so that we could get to Pitt Lake in time to rent a canoe. I would like to say it was a beautiful day, and it may have been, but the smoke was making everything hazy. It felt like we were going through a fog on the drive there. We had to get there early before all the canoes were gone, and even through we got there three minutes after they opened, there was already a line. Steph and Catalina took the opportunity to go blackberry picking while I waited in line. They were still somewhat tart.
Catalina and I paddled, while Steph acted as ballast. She had the important job of taking pictures, which is a very valuable service. We crossed the Pitt river towards Widgeon creek, and I think we encountered a sea lion on the way. It may have been an otter, which would have been more plausible, but I don’t think otters get that big.
Widgeon creek’s mouth was through a marsh. We took our time so we could avoid the crowds of other canoes. (Including one who had installed an electric motor to their’s.) The canoe rental place seemed specifically designed for this route. We followed the twists and turns and it was thoroughly enjoyable. We saw a lot of herons, and I think some were posing for us. The haze from the fire meant the mountains weren’t as visible, and prevented any postcard picture opportunities. But the haze also gave some nice depths to the mountains we saw.
After an hour and half of paddling through the creek, with the way getting shallower and tighter all the time, we came upon the campsite that was our destination. We dragged our canoe out of the water and continued on the trail on foot.
It was a beautiful hike, of a bit more than three kiometers. Mossy trees and so much green. The orange sun from the smoke was actually making everything look more vibrant than ever. Especially when the light came through the trees.
At one point there was a lovely view of the river, and some people had set up their chairs there. Oddly, one was reading a 2nd edition D&D manual, preparing for the game.
We eventually got to the falls. They were beautiful. Loads of people though. I would like to come on a weekday when there aren’t as many, but it was big enough that it didn’t feel too crowded. It did make the photos less glorious because there was always someone in the view.
We ate our lunch of Subway sandwiches, then soaked in the cold water for awhile. We didn’t go in far because there was a big current that wanted to push you. From that we found someone’s prescription sunglasses. We did not find the owner though.
Eventually, we had to head back.
We stopped off again at the D&D clearing for a snack break. I decided, with encouragement, to try swimming in the area. There weren’t any people, and it looked calm and deep. It was a little difficult to enter, but it felt so refreshing. The water was so clear it was hard to judge where it was.
When we got back to the canoe and started paddling back, we discovered the effect of being on a tidal lake. According to Wikipedia, there is a three foot tidal range on the lake. And from our experience, that included Widgeon creek. Where before we easily guided our canoe through the water, now the water was almost gone. I had to get out and pull the canoe about four times. At one point the water was only a small trickle that was the the equivalent of a garden hose. Widgeon Falls water spreads out in the marsh and it doesn’t all go through the same creek we were using.
We were back around 5:30, and drove home. We stopped off at a couple of places to buy fresh produce. Purchased blackberries were a lot sweeter. Did you know you can get 10lbs of blueberries for $20? I do now. Also, Siri could do better with directions.
In celebration, we went to the Keg for dinner and then went out to see the fireworks from the Burrard bridge.
It has been a wild weekend that, of course, I’m only now writing about it. Since what-happens-in-the-weekend-stays-in-the-weekend I will spare you some of the details. Needless to say, a bunch of friends from out of town were here and there was a lot of late night partying.
On Saturday, a couple of us went to a beach. We discovered that a beach (Sunset Beach) that is nearer to where I live is not as busy as I suspected. I usually go to Third Beach. In addition, the water is clearer. Unfortunately, I applied sunscreen before I went into the water, and a lot of it came off. So, while I enjoyed sunning myself in the pleasant summer sun, I paid for it later. We were able to get Catalina in up to her neck; that is a major accomplishment.
On Sunday, the highlight was going on a boat cruise. I enjoy expeditions where it is enforced that if you aren’t there on time, we leave without you. Even it means watching a friend from Edmonton, literally, miss the boat by one metre. It was really warm while we were in the harbour, but once we got going the breeze off the sea was very pleasant. And it is a nice change to see Vancouver from a different angle.
The boat went out into English Bay and went around a few of the big cargo ships before heading back. It was only a three hour cruise. (Ominous.) The view was great and with the haze from the fires, the mountains looked spectacular. The smoke is really coming in these days, so I can’t see the mountains any more.
On Monday, I took the day off and we went to Wreck Beach. Famous for various reasons. The place was rather crowded, but a nice atmosphere. Except for the one drunk guy who decided to yell at all of his friends. For hours. It was also thick with hippies. Some friends specifically moved their blanket because they couldn’t stand one that was playing his guitar constantly. I didn’t hear it, so I suspect he wasn’t as good as he thought he was.
The water was nice and I was able to get Catalina in again, and she even went underwater.
We stayed late enough that we even got to see the sun set. It was beautiful. I’ve been spoiled by Winnipeg though; say what you will about Manitoba, but it has had the best sunsets ever. The puffy clouds make them gorgeous, and the sea has yet to compare.