Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day at the Beach - September 5, 2010

Today was a beautiful sunny day. One of those last days of summer where the sun is shining but there is a cool nip in the air that lets you know that fall is just around the corner. I decided to take advantage of a quiet afternoon to venture out to a nearby beach...Roberts Creek Provincial Park.

I've posted pics from here before, but in winter. Summer is usually lively here with picnic tables and plenty of room for kids to run, play catch, or just have fun.

Today, I had the beach to myself. What a special time to have complete peace with the waves softly crashing into the shore. I found a spot on a large log (about 1 meter in diameter) and soaked in the moment. It was high tide, so there was only about 5 meters between me and the water. You can see Vancouver Island in the distance looking both west and south.

There were a few boats out today, but all in the distance so all the sounds were of birds and waves. A perfectly peaceful afternoon!

This is a tree that has washed up on the shore. The rootball is at least 4-5 meters high. It's not as clear in the picture, but the roots are all curled up and gnarly. Shells and rocks have been lodged in some of the openings. The wood on the trunk is smooth...sanded down by the waves.

This is the open beach to the north....not a sole to be seen.

And the same to the south. Just me and the birds today. I was hoping to see our grey whale that has been spotted in the area for the last 2 months. I kept watching the horizon, but no luck today. Oh well, another time. Today was for relaxing, slowing down and enjoying the moment. Have to remember to do this more often.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Soames Hill - Aug 10, 2010

I can't believe 6 months went by since my last hike up Soames Hill. I love this place. From 0 to 250m elevation in about 20 minutes and what an amazing trip.
The trails that wind around the base of the hill are similar to other rainforest trails. Amazingly tall trees, huge ferns, boulders...the sounds of the forest and protection of the trees keep out the busy sounds of the outside world.
206 steps take you straight up and really get your heart beating and blood flowing. It brings you alive as you work your way up.

Then just as soon as you're a bit winded, you're at the top and the view takes your breath away. This photo is looking south over Gibsons Harbour with Vancouver Island in the background. There are 3 vantage points at the summit, so be sure to take them all in.
The best part about the quick workout on the ascent is that you are more than happy to sit and relax at the summit. At first it is to get your breath back, but then you just soak in the view and sit in the sun. Linger for a while and just enjoy.

This is looking east at Keats Island with the Paisley islands just behind. Straight on would be the city of Vancouver. It would be interesting to see this at should be able to see all the city lights.

See the huge boat in the harbour? Two tugs took it out into Howe Sound while I rested. So interesting to sit and watch it make the trek.

Forget all your cares. No better way to excercise and de-stress. I won't let another 6 months go by before I return.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Music in the Landing - July 17, 2010

Aaahhhh, Music in the Landing - one of the true joys of Gibsons BC in the summer. The town and a special donor sponsor free music concerts featuring local musicians just about every weekend in July and August.

Saturday nights are my favourite...a chance to sit back and relax to great music and great views after busy Fridays and Saturdays with guests and participating at the Fiddlehead Farmers Market.

This week was Lynne Dickson and friends. Normally, Lynne & Patrice (pictured here) partner with Wendy to be Definitely Divas...sweet jazz and standards. Tonight the joined with a couple of great guys for some fun music including Gord0n Lightfoot.

Picture yourself taking in a lovely summer evening with this as your view. Yes, all these picks were taken from my comfy lawn chair....all in sight while children play in the grass.

You can also find Music in the Landing on Friday evenings at 7pm in the Gibsons Gazebo, Saturday afternoons in Pioneer Park by the Visitor Information Centre, and Sunday afternoons at the Holland Park Market. Great music...good times...and a chance to meet up with old friends.

Summer at its best!

Thanks so much to Linda & Graham who organize and host Music in the Landing every single week! What would we do without you?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gibsons Sailing School - July 13, 2010

Today was one of those gorgeous summer days...perfect temperatures, sunshine, and absolutely necessary to get out of the house and enjoy.

I had the opportunity to go sailing today with Greig & Gillie from Gibsons Sailing School. Both are certified sailing instructors with the Canadian Yachting Association and both are comfortable and easy to talk to.

After a few minutes of introduction and safety instruction, we were off into Gibsons Harbour. I was aboard the "Sailing Still", a Catalina 36'. These photos are of the "Django", a 28' Grampian.

After a bit of instruction, I was allowed to take the helm. I must say, this was a pretty cool experience. Greig did all the hard work working the ropes and managing the sails. I learned to tack and come about, and now I know the difference between the main sail and the jib.

Greig specializes in 4, 5, & 6 day courses designed to teach you to sail, read charts, and receive various levels of CYA certifications. You eat & sleep on the boat...plenty of room in the cabin. Sail across the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and the Gulf Islands.

Gillie specializes in a 3 hour "Introduction to Sailing course. This is designed to help educate a person in the basics of sailing, gain some basic terminology, and have a wonderful experience on the water. She loves to take women out for "Ladies Day-Sailing", a chance for women to learn and enjoy a very different and empowering experience.

For more information on Gibsons Sailing School, visit

Gibsons Landing with part of Mount Elphinstone in the background.

All of this amazing scenery...only 5km from Arcturus Retreat B&B. What an amazing place to live and to visit.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

BC Bike Race - July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

In true Canadian spirit, we went out and supported the 500 riders competing in the BC Bike Race. This is a 7 day mountain bike trek from Vancouver to Vancouver Island across to the Sunshine Coast and over to Squamish & Whistler.

This is the 4th year for the race. Best part for me is that it literally races down our street! There is a trailhead at the end of our street that I have always enjoyed hiking. This trail connects into Sprockids Mountain Bike Park and over the mountain to the reputable Roberts Creek trails.

Thus, the last segment of the day's ride is the decent down our trail and onto our street for a mad dash to the ferry and the finish line.
Riders cover a very wide spectrum. We've had Olympians and world champions. We have riders from many countries. We have men & women of all ages. There is a 60+ riding this year and there is a 15 yr old. It is hard to tell in this photo, but the guy in the center is a unicyclist! Can you imagine riding mountain bike trails...40km/day...on a unicycle?

They were muddy and wet today after a bit of rain last night...but the riders loved it. "Best trails I've ever ridden," said one of the racers we talked to. The heart of the group took 5 hours to ride today's course....and this was his quote.
I have a lot of respect for the race organizers. They have traffic control, trail markings, a bike shower, food at the finish line, first aid stations along the route, camping tent city every night, 24 hour repair crews to keep the bikes in top shape, and on-site massage teams to keep the riders in shape.
Very cool. Can't wait to see you again next year! For more information on great Sunshine Coast mountain biking, visit or

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Davis Bay - June 30, 2010

Summer! It has been a while since I took a little time for me, so with the sun shining and B&B guests welcomed and settled I got outside today.

Davis Bay one of the largest stretches of beach easily accessible by the highway. There is a long seawall that is very popular for walking with wonderful views of the Georgia Strait and Vancouver Island. The water is warm, school is out and kids are enjoying the ocean on a sunny afternoon.

Plenty of room for everyone...even the geese are out for a swim. Grey whales have been seen in the area a few days this week, but no such luck during my visit today. I have heard that they have been very close to shore and quite a sight.

One of my favourite things to do in Davis Bay is frequent Feastro the Rolling Bistro. Yes, the odd looking purple taco truck has the most delicious food! Seafood tacos, West Coast bbq, mussels and more. Fresh fruit smoothies & real lemonade. Locally grown organic greens for salads and taco toppings. Yum Yum! Paul and crew do a great job and add a bit of flare to a walk in the fresh air.

Hello summer! So glad you're back.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Soames Hill - Feb 22, 2010

Heaven on earth. This was my thought today as I basked in the warm sunshine atop Soames Hill with beauty all around. Simply amazing...I could have stayed for hours ( I did stay 1 hour).

I can't believe I waited this long to make this hike. Honestly, I was a bit intimidated by the description of 205 wooden steps to the summit. When I first moved here, I wouldn't have made it to the top. I was in such poor physical shape.

Today I made it up those steps in about 20 minutes...breathing hard, but not tired. Then it is just a bit farther up the trail to the summit. So worth it! I will be back the next sunny day with an extra hour for a workout.

Today was another spectacular day. Glorious sunshine on a warm day. Flowers are blooming and pollen is in the fresh air. It feels like April or May...not February.

The sun was so bright that these first pictures miss the vibrant colour. These are looking south toward Gibsons...what a beautiful village by the sea. In the distance you can just make out Vancouver Island, but it was easy to see in person.

Keats Island. The tug made its way through Howe Sound and home to Gibsons Marina. Think how smooth the water was to create a wake like this from a slow-moving tug boat.

The vibrant blue and green really stand out in the photos facing east and not facing into the sun. Keats Island is in front and Bowen Island is in the distance.

Paradise only 5 minutes from my home....ok 5 minutes and then 30 minutes up to the summit. I hope to spend many more days atop Soames Hill on BC's spectacular Sunshine Coast.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gibsons Landing - Feb 8, 2010

Today was an absolutely picture perfect day. The sun was shining, the air was warm (53F/11C), and the excitement around the 2010 Winter Games is building. 4 day to go!

I took the opportunity to wander through Gibsons Landing. You can see that our local shops are getting into the spirit. There are Canadian flags everywhere. You can't see it well because the sun was so bright, but everyone has red and white Christmas lights up.

What a wonderful town to call home. Don't forget to go inside and shop! Lots of new spring merchandise in stock.

I LOVE the red maple leafs in front of The Landing Gallery. This gallery displays the work of local artists. One of them got into the spirit and created little wooden maple leafs and "planted" them with the red & white flowers. The new show is great too. Canadian and sport themed pieces highlight the current exhibit.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Olympic Torch Relay - Feb 4

Thursday was just an amazing day.
The Olympic Torch Relay started the day at the far end of the Sunshine Coast in Powell River.
Pender Harbour, Sechelt, Roberts Creek & Gibsons all had community celebrations as the Torch passed through.
This is our celebration in Langdale. Members of the community started arriving 2 hours before the Torch, just to be a part of the excitement. Many took advantage of the beautiful sunshine and walked down to the celebration.

The yellow ponchos are the 100+ Langdale Elementary students. As we planned the event over the past month, we were very concerned about rain or snow for the big day. We wanted the kids to be dry & we also wanted to be able to identify all the kids. We tried for red Canadian ponchos, but couldn't find enough so yellow was the winner. The television photos were great with the swarm of yellow poncho kids following the flame down the ferry ramp. Great images and they made the National CTV broadcast!
The event was just fabulous. We had people of all ages from our local community, many dressed in red for Canada. Our raven from Rababoo Puppet Theatre shown here was loved by the children. Music, games, clowns, prizes and pictures kept the crowd excited as we awaited the flame's arrival.

Bill McCormick was the final torchbearer on the Sunshine Coast. He is a BC Ferry employee and fittingly brought the flame through the terminal and onto the Coastal Renaissance for its trip up the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish.

The kids followed the Torch down the ramp chanting GO CANADA all the way and waiving the flags they had made. It was a very special moment. You can see me in the background on the left...the really tall person. (ok, I am standing on a barricade so that I could see)

Once on board the ship, Bill lit a cauldron which carried the Flame across Howe Sound to Horseshoe Bay.

Last photos as the Torch sails away.

Everyone went back to Langdale Elementary for & white cupcakes and cocoa. Yum! The kids had a great time and all of us had a very memorable day.

Howe Sound - Feb 3

It was a gorgeous afternoon on Wednesday. I had the chance to go for a long walk for the first time in a while. Good excercise with a purpose...I was posting flyers for Thursday's Torch Relay celebration right here in Langdale.

It had been a very foggy morning, but the sun came out and burned through the clouds. Only this whispy strands were left by mid-afternoon. I love these days....Howe Sound has a mystic quality sometimes.

These shots are from our Grizzly Bear balcony because I forgot the camera when I headed out on the trek.

You can see there is lots of snow to the left but there is very little to the right. Cypress Mountain is just to the right of the picture...not much snow there either. Just a patch where they will have the freestyle skiing & snowboarding events.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Olympic Line Streetcars - Jan 22

Friday was a gorgeous day with sunshine and warm temps for January. I was on my way to the Seattle Travel Show, but had some extra time before leaving Vancouver. The previous day had been the grand opening of the Olympic Line - Vancouver's new streetcar system that will operate during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
I decided to take the streetcar for a spin. What a ride! I was not the only local having an adventure that day. Multiple parents were pushing strollers and showing off the streetcar to the kids. Other lucky residents playing hooky from work like me were enjoying the beautiful day.
The Olympic Line connects the Athlete's Village and downtown Vancouver with Granville Island. From downtown, I hopped on the Canada Line to 2nd Ave/Cambie. As you exit the train, you literally walk across the parking lot to the new Olympic Line station. From there it is a quick 3 minute smooth and quiet ride to the fabulous Granville Island Market. Best of all, the ride is FREE! Leather seats, clean and sparkling new, and a bit of adventure makes for a fun travel experience.
I only wish the streetcars were a permanent part of the Vancouver transit system. So much more fun than riding the bus, and extremely energy efficient running on electricity. I can just picture these sleek quiet cars whisking visitors and residents along the existing tracks on the North Shore. What a beautiful ride it would be along Marine drive from Lonsdale Quay to Park Royal and then to Horseshoe Bay. Oh...a girl can dream, can't she?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Snickett Park - Jan 18, 2010

So, it's the middle of January...the heart of Canadian winter. Well as you can see from these photos, there are only the smallest patches of snow remaining at the very top of the mountains. Look is still there...only at 1,000 meters or more.
Here along the beach of the Georgia Straight on the Pacific Ocean, temperatures are about 12C (54F) and every couple of days we get this gorgeous sunshine.
Overnight, we had just had huge storms with gale force winds and heavy rain. This coupled with high tides created lots of debris along the shore, though you can't really see it here. Most of the rural areas were without power for hours as crews repaired the lines and removed fallen tree branches.
Meanwhile, many people were out to celebrate the sun, the warm temperatures and one of those many picture perfect days here on the Sunshine Coast. Maybe the storm was nature's way of reminding us to get away from the computer and the office and to get outside to appreciate her.

These pictures are from Snickett Park which is a popular seaside trail in downtown Sechelt. Dog walking is an extremely popular activity here. Others finish off the walk with a friendly conversation on the many park benches taking in the spectacular view.
Here is to more days spent least for part of the day.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Polar Bear Swim - Jan 1, 2010

I started off 2010 with a goal of taking in as many Sunshine Coast festivals as possible this year. First up, the annual Polar Bear Swim at Davis Bay on New Year's Day. No ice and snow in sight this year, just a little wind and light rain. Too warm for any hypothermia but still a fun time for all involved.

The event kicked of with a few brave soles under the age of 12.

They were soon followed by a crowd of adults of all ages who braved the high tide and cool waters.

I think I will wait until summer to dip my toes in the ocean. Davis Bay is the largest public beach on the Sunshine Coast and a very popular destination. It sits at the mouth of Chapman Creek making it great for salmon fishing.