the journey from winter to spring :: February

04 feb 15 After a mild January, February continued with mild weather for at least a couple of weeks. It was hard to imagine some of the cold winter weather taking place in Europe and eastern North America.

Snowdrops began to appear in gardens everywhere, including our own back yard, and daffodil blades continued to pierce through the ground, encouraged and welcomed by the mild temperatures.

Valentine’s Day, which has frequently been a day marked by snow in this corner of the planet, came and went, and the mild temperatures continued.

Even the weeds seemed to be making a comeback. Who invited them?

And then came the last week of February. Unbelievably, there had been snow in the forecast. And snow it did. Just a bit at first.

February 22, 2014
 
05 feb 22
 
And then the snow continued.

February 23, 2014
06 feb 23
 
February 24, 2013

The weather forecast called for warmer temperatures by the afternoon, so I decided to drive rather than use public transit to get to work. But it continued to snow. The main roads remained clear however, so that was rather encouraging. The city workers had been busy, salting and sanding the roads.
 
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08 feb 24

09 feb 24

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February 25, 2014

But by the next day, the snow had stopped and was already beginning to melt.

The weather changed from blue skies and sunshine to fog, and back again several times that day. My desk faces a wall – a fabric-covered room divider, actually. With lots of room for my calendar, notes, photos, and more.

However if I stand up, I can see the following view of the skytrain – which is actually becoming increasingly less visible year after year, as the trees in front of it continue to grow. When I first started working here, the trees were so short that I could actually see the north shore mountains beyond the track, but I digress.

On this day it was as if every time I happened to look outside, the weather had changed once more.
 
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Back and forth the weather fluctuated. By lunchtime, when I was walking outside, the skies were blue once again.
 
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After work, the views of melting snow continued to reappear. Of course I had to stop my car a few times to capture some images.
 
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One of my co-workers saw this snow man and snow dog melting slowly in the late afternoon sunshine, and kindly shared the following click with me. Published here with kind permission. Thanks much, Betti!
 
snow man and snow dog, by Betti (448x750)
 

February 27, 2014

Of course, the local florist shop had springtime flowers on sale throughout this bout of winter. Such cheerful colours to contrast the blanket of white that had settled throughout most of the city.
 
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February 28, 2014

And then came the last day of the month. Winter was all but forgotten once again.
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SPRING BREAK Alert!
Please note: A short hiatus is in the works effective immediately. Regular posting resumes April 20, 2014. See you at the next post.
 
 

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to the Pacific and back again, part 3

Continued from part 2

And so it is a very relaxing vacation, with one glorious view after the other to savour. The weather varies, and creates magic on both cloudy and sunny days.

 another Storm Break! Hurrah!!

another Storm Break! Hurrah!!


 

various shades of grey

various shades of grey


 

driftwood gathering at Wickanninish Beach

driftwood gathering at Wickanninish Beach


 

At the tip of Pettinger Point along the northern edge of Cox Bay there is a rock which has a crack in it, resembling the mouth of a giant creature.

looking like a giant sea creature

looking like a giant sea creature


 
The first time I saw this fissure was a few years ago, when it was just a minor crack visible at sunset during a low tide, however it has been growing rapidly over the years and is now visible all the time, unless momentarily covered by the pounding surf or during a very high tide.
 
another wave crashes onto the rock, momentarily hiding the "creature's mouth"

another wave crashes onto the rock, momentarily hiding the “creature’s mouth”


 
glorious view of Wickanninish Beach from the platform at the Visitor Centre

view of driftwood and Krummholz at Wickanninish Beach from the platform at the Visitor Centre

If it looks like the tree above is on the wrong side of the railing, it is not. A number of giant Sitka Spruce trees had long since taken up residence well before the visitor centre was built, and so the platform was built around the trees, their trunks emerging as if from the deck although they extend down to the ground below from where their roots work hard at keeping them anchored as well as providing nourishment to the branches above.

the tide rolling in

the tide rolling in

Most days it was cool, but frequently sunny, causing the tide-tossed algae to cast a shadow on the sand.

tiny shadows

tiny shadows

Miles and miles of almost-empty beach.

the vastness of Wickanninish Beach

the vastness of miles and miles and miles of Wickanninish Beach

Such is the vast wonder of Wickanninish. Regardless of the weather, this view is still my favourite on the planet so far.

Sunsets are anything but predictable. They can be brilliant or subtle, or they can be a no-show. But not today. The sun is setting on a cloudbank which looms above the western horizon.

the sun on a cloudbank

the sun on a cloudbank

The restless surf continues to pound, as wave after wave rolls toward the shore. Some moments are simply timeless in their beauty…. Abba you sure are an artist!

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And so ends another day….

And then the last morning of our stay at the Pacific arrives. There is time for just one more walk on the beach and a Farewell to Cox Bay.

Farewell Cox Bay!

Farewell Cox Bay!

The car is packed, and we head home again. The fresh snow which recently fell on the shores of the Pacific was but a fraction of the new blanket which has covered the mountains. These are some of the views we are enjoying on our journey back along Highway 4, eastwards towards the ferry terminal in Departure Bay, Nanaimo.

a fresh blanket of snow

a fresh blanket of snow

One beautiful vista after another comes into view. Our time at the Pacific west coast may be over, but our vacation surely is not.

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We stop at an official rest stop, Taylor Arm, where a cheeky Stellar’s Jay hides in a tree just as my camera gets ready to click. However the lack of foliage makes it easy to capture an image anyhow. There are mixed feelings about this delightful bird which can be a nuisance to farmers since it manages to get into the chicken feed. But it has beautiful colouring and I enjoy the challenge of trying to photograph it, even though it moves very fast.

It is the official bird of the Province of British Columbia, incidentally.

in hiding - but far from hidden

in hiding – but far from hidden

how glorious is this!

how glorious is this!

It has been said that the journey is already part of the destination. How true it is. We are surrounded by sheer eye candy as we continue ever westwards.

driving through Cathedral Grove

driving through Cathedral Grove


 

Before long it is time to board the ferry which will take us back to Vancouver. It will actually take us only as far as West Vancouver, and from there we will continue driving home. But there is something about disembarking on the other side. Something that feels like home.

view of the mainland from the ferry between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver

view of the mainland from the ferry enroute to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver

This has been our road trip to the Pacific, and back again in 2010. The vacation is over, but life awaits. Looking forward to the next adventure!

All images captured April 2010.

March moments :: spring chronicles, part 3

Late March brings with it the arrival of spring, according to the calendar. But not always according to the weather. Here is the third and final set of the images of March 2008, as captured by my first digital camera, following parts one and two.

The first image is from the garden of some friends. And if you have seen Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains, you will never forget the Lions, two peaks that stand out above all the rest.

00 welcome spring
 

the Lions, predominant peaks on the North Shore Mountains

the Lions, prominent peaks on the North Shore Mountains


 

03 random March moments
 
A local park, officially called Queen Elizabeth Park, is more commonly known by the moniker, Little Mountain. It is Vancouver’s highest elevated point, and although this image doesn’t show it, it affords some specctacular panorama views of the North Shore Mountains – to the north, of course, Vancouver Island to the west and Mountain Baker, an apparently dormant volcano in northwest Washington, USA, to the southeast.
04 willow trees wearing a fresh coat of foliage

Some more moments of March.
05 periwinkles

06 morning fog

06 sunny bloomers

07 magnolia in full bloom

such a cold day it was. I remember it well. Brrr!

such a cold day it was. I remember it well. Brrr!


 

09 blueberry buds in march

10 Japanese cherry blossoms

And then one morning, the sky had a very wintery look to it, and the air was cold. The North Shore Mountains were very clear, the way they usually appear just before a change in the weather. 11 a very wintery morning
 

And within a few hours it snowed. Buds and blossoms everywhere were taken by surprise.
12 snowfall in late March

12a Oregon grape covered in snow
 

But the snow did not last. Within a few days, there were blue skies and sunshine once again.

The first official indicators that the Olympic Winter Games 2010 were coming to town!

The first official indicators that the Olympic Winter Games 2010 were coming to town!


 

12c more moments in March

This is one day when the sun certainly made a valiant effort to put in an appearance. It did not quite make it, however. 12d almost sunny
 
But on other days, the sun was out in full force, coaxing the daffodils and tulips to get on with blooming.
definitely springtime
 

And that was how my first digital camera documented some moments of March 2008, a month which was constantly torn between winter and spring. Looks like spring won out in the end. 🙂
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◆ originally published March 2008 ◆