Monday, August 30, 2010

More Snow...

It's one degree outside this morning and the mountain tops to the West are tickled with snow and cloud this morning. So beautiful but I'm not ready for scarfs and winter coats just yet.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It Has Begun....

The first signs of winter arrived today! Do you see it? SNOW on the mountain top. This is the mountain across the valley from home. I took this photo right off our deck. Yup... we've even had the furnace on in the house the last 2 days. I'm so not ready for this!!!! I want to actually have some SUMMER... what happened to that? We've only had maybe 3 days this year above 25 degrees.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

3 Years Ago Today....

Three years ago today I married my best friend...

photo by Heidi Brand

Today I marry my best friend

the one who makes

my life complete.

We pledge our love to each other....

without reservation, for all eternity.

We have come so far honey. We have journeyed from one coast to the other. Moved half way across the country. We have a beautiful and crazy son. I can't wait to see what life has in store for us next! Thank you for the best 6 and half years of my life. I will love you for always and forever!

Happy Anniversary!

I love you Todd!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Thunderstorms & Horns

We've been having lots of thunderstorms roll through the valley this past week. Last night I woke up to a rain that sounded like no other. You could hear the "plunk, plunk" of these HUGE raindrops hitting the roof. They were enormous!

Thunderstorms rolled through this afternoon and then again around 6 o'clock. Todd was standing right in front of me when there was a BRIGHT flash and IMMEDIATE "BOOM". Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a huge flash so I knew it was close. The sound was SO loud that we could both feel the power of the sound waves in our chests.

We ate dinner and then went outside to investigate where the lightening had hit. We first investigated the neighbour's house and yard... nothing. We checked the school chain link fence and the baseball diamond cage right behind the house... nothing. And then I heard him... "Ally! It's over here! I found the strike!" Todd stood on the school field and was pointing back towards the house at a tall tree less than 100 feet behind the house. Sure enough.... the tree had a whole chunk out of it. The strike had literally boiled the inner sap and had exploded the inside of the tree out wards. There were chunks of tree everywhere around it on the ground.

So scary that it was so close!!!

We ventured to do some errands in Fernie after dinner and were on the way home while traveling through Sparwood when there appeared a buck running across the road in front of us out of the blue....


We hit him head on with the Jeep! Yikes! So we stopped the Jeep and inspected the front. We only did minor damage to the front grill (cracked it right down the center) and we displaced the passenger side headlight a bit and broke one of the filaments in the light. Not too much damage considering we hit him hard and head on. I would imagine Todd will be looking into a new grill and headlight assembly this weekend. We left the young male buck in the ditch dead from the impact... poor thing.

I hope we have a better weekend...

The Final Leg Home

We started our journey home by traveling from between North Vancouver and Squamish where we had spent the night after our LATE ferry ride across from Nanaimo.

We drove to Whistler where we decided that stopping to take the Peak to Peak Gondola was just too long to wait. I think we were both just exhausted and wanted to sleep in our own beds. So we decided to press on and go home.

This was a pretty little lake just past Whistler. I never actually took any photos while we were in Whistler either.... *sigh*.

And just around the bend from the lake we encountered an equine outing. These horses were out on a stroll on the highway.

We pressed on.

We were coming down the mountain valley towards Lilloet. The terrain was steep and the valley floor was 100's of feet to the right and the left of the road. We were slowly traveling down and then Todd cried out... "Ally! Grab your camera! There's a cougar on the side of the road!!!"

Sure enough on the rock face to the right was a BIG cougar!!

We watched in awe as the cougar attempted to climb up the face, give up and then jump to the road in front of us and RUN... and I mean RUN in front of us and then proceed to LEAP over the barrier at the bend and disappear!

Just freakin' amazing!!! Something I think we never ever see again in our lifetime.

As we journeyed on, up and down in elevation, getting closer to home we encountered another critter crossing... 4 mountain sheep this time!

We watched the signs as "Cranbrook" appeared as we got closer and closer to home. We encountered a storm in Creston where it poured!

As we left the storm behind in Cranbrook, we got a beautiful backdrop for the final leg of our journey home... a beautiful rainbow in front us with the mountains as it's canvas.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Surfin' Tofino!

Part of the draw to Tofino is the surf. Yup! Todd took the opportunity to make sure that he rented some surfing gear, for Spencer too and surf Tofino!

So we found a little off the path surfing gear rental towards Ucluelet. The guy that ran it was so nice and so friendly. He had a son that was sponsored by a surf gear company and traveled all over the world surfing the BIG waves.

He also sold some beautiful metal works and stone items.

So we grabbed our rental gear and took off, back to same beach we had been the day before in Tofino.

This is Daddy attempting to get Spencer into his wet suit. Not an easy feet!

And of course... Spencer had to immediately test out the surf and his new gear. So much warmer when you have the wet suit!!

Once Todd had on his suit, off they both went.

After getting wet, Todd took Spencer by hand and took him out a little farther into the surf.

And Spencer got his first taste of the board and surfing.

A mini wipe-out at the end but he was all smiles and wanted to go out again.

So Todd dragged him out again. The waves kept taking his feet out from under him. Thank goodness Daddy had a good hold of him!

Another ride to the shore!

All smiles...

After returning all of our gear to the rental place, we drove into Ucluelet to find a place to eat some seafood. I wanted to make sure before we left the area that we had at least tasted some of the local fare. I talked Todd into a crab dinner...

Fresh local Dungeonus Crab with garlic button for dipping, Caesar salad and pesto toast points! YUM!

It was one of the best meals I think I have ever eaten. Spencer has a candied salmon quesadilla with asparagus. Todd and tried a piece of that too... so yummy!!!

We knew we were laving Tofino the next morning to get the ferry in Nanaimo to return to the main land.

So the next day we took our time leaving Tofino knowing we had quite a wait before our ferry boarding at 9:30pm. We had reserved a crossing reservation the day before knowing that just showing up might not be such a great way to do it.

So after leaving Tofino, we traveled back towards Nanaimo, stopping at the Cathedral Forest. They have the most beautiful walking trails right off the main highway where you can experience the BIGGEST trees you have ever seen. We stopped and took a photo of the boys in front of the forest's largest tree... a HUGE Douglas Fir.

Over 800 years old, 76 meters tall and 9 meters around!!! It was over 300 years old when Christopher Columbus came to North America in 1492.
Look how small Spencer looks next to it!!!

More photos tomorrow... you WON'T want to miss the next entry!!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Here We Come Tofino!

We woke up in Sooke and then ventured up the Western edge of the Island where we came across our first real look at the Ocean! So beautiful!

We stopped off on the side of the road and went for a short walk on to the beach to see what kind of creatures we could find. In some of the tidal pools left after high tide, we found a variety of beautiful anemies.

We came to Port Renfrew via a very interesting road and then crossed the Island to Lake Cowichan and up to Nanaimo and then back across the Island to Tofino. This was the only well traveled way to get to Tofino.

Boy Tofino was a busy little place!! Totally touristy!! All the campsites were FULL when we arrived, so we took a piece of lawn on one of the camp grounds and then paid for 2 more nights right off the bat.

We dropped the trailer and immediately took off for the beach... Chesterman Beach.

The boys playing out on the sand...

Me... looking for sand dollars. Todd found me 2 whole sand dollars... so beautiful!

We ventured off towards Ucluelet down the coast from Tofino. We took a short walk to the beach and found this little green fella in the tidal pools at the one rocky beach we found.

We discovered back at our camp site, that the banana slugs were investigating Todd's kite boards. I think they were attacked to the colour! We had one LONG fella on the site that must have been about 12 inches in length!

One of the largest trees on the entire Island was located right in down town Tofino; the Eik Tree. This Douglas Fir tree stands over 52 meters tall. It weighs approximately 50 tonnes and is 3.02 meters in DIAMETER at breast height and is over 800 years old.

The town saw the tree as a liability and so took on the task of supporting the tree... hence the bracing on the tree.

More about our Tofino adventures tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Swimming with the Fishes...

We stayed in North Vancouver... right underneath the Lions Gate Bridge.

We took a day to visit the Vancouver Aquarium.

One of my favourite exhibits was the jelly fish. Aren't they beautiful?

Here are a few more colourless ones...

We loved all the large underwater windows on some of the larger tanks. This one contained dolphins.

We took the opportunity to watch the Beluga Whale show while there. This was the "grandma" Beluga whale of the 3 in the tank. She was accompanied by her daughter and her grand daughter. I had seen her daughter as a baby the last time I was in Vancouver while in college.

My whale watchers...

This was the "melon" of the grandma whale... they're very clever animals!

We then proceeded towards Tsawwassen ferry to travel to Vancouver Island that afternoon.

On the ferry we had the fabulous opportunity to see not one, but TWO pods of wild Orca whales on our journey across the Strait of Georgia. I didn't have my camera so I didn't capture anything on film.

We arrived on the Island, took a short tour to Victoria where we stopped in for a quick visit with Uncle David. Didn't actually see him or Aunt Ann but we did chat it up with Hudson.

We hurried on and found a camp site to stay at in Sooke.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Going to Vancouver!

We're home... safe and sound! We arrived home on Friday night. We decided at the last minute on Friday morning that after "seeing" Whistler, we would drive home. We left Squamish at 5am and made it home to Elkford at 11pm that same night. We traveled a total of 3360km on our complete journey.

So I thought I would share a few photos from our journey.

Our first night we made up the first summit in the Kootenay Pass to see this pretty little lake, Bridal Lake just as the sun set for the evening.

The next day we traveled along Highway 3 through a few valleys and up and over some mountain ridges and came to Osoyoos. It was at the bottom of a 1200m drop to the floor of the valley. The road going down was quite windy!

We stopped in Osoyoos and bought some of the local fruit grown in the area. Fresh peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries and some plums. They were so YUMMY... especially the cherries!

This was after being told he couldn't have any more cherries...

We drove through Princeton, BC. Had to stop and get a photo of that...

We made it safely to Vancouver. We had reserved a site at the only RV camp ground in North Vancouver.

After we dropped off the trailer, we ventured to the Capilano Suspension Bridge just down the road. Here are the boys on the bridge... it was rather crowded.

We crossed the bridge and climbed up the staircase to a tree house where we adventured across the Treetop Adventures; a series of bridges up in the canopy of the forest.

Here's one of the platforms that we walked on... way up there!

We then drove to Lynn Canyon where we walked across the other suspension bridge in the area.

Here they go...

Neat vacation facts...
  1. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is designed to hold the weight of 2 fully loaded Boeing 747s.
  2. In November of 2006, a severe wind storm accompanied by severe climate conditions leveled about 10% of the trees in the forest surrounding Lynn Canyon and Capilano. It brought down one tree so massive, approximately 70 tonnes, right across the actual Capilano bridge.
  3. The highest pass we traveled through was the Kootney Pass; 1740m (5700 feet). We live at 1380m (4500 feet) in Elkford.
We had a great few days getting to Vancouver!