Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mt. Elphinstone - September 27, 2011

Fall has arrived on the Sunshine Coast. Yesterday we had our first major storm which left me and my neighbours without electricity for many hours while hydro crews collected tree branches from the power lines. Today the sun returned, so I decided to celebrate the afternoon with a hike on Mt. Elphinstone

Is this the coolest looking tree or what? Spiral bark pattern with remnants of the forest fire 80+ years ago. Take a look at the boardwalk at the base of the tree. I've really started paying attention to the actual trails. Who builds wooden platforms like this in the middle of the forest? Nature loving, hard working volunteers who have great passion for mountain biking, that's who. Great work and kudos for sharing it with us hikers.

I was very impressed with the forest today. We've had over 2" of rain the past couple of days, so I was a bit worried the trails would be muddy. Not a bit! There were small branches and pine needles scattered everywhere from the high winds but the trails were in fine shape. The forest floor soaks in moisture like you wouldn't believe.

Recent rains mean the forest is exceptionally green this time of year. Moss is growing on fallen logs, ferns are sprucing up, and everything has new life with slightly cooler temperatures and plenty of moisture. I need to have someone teach me about the edible mushrooms.

This picture doesn't really do it justice. You have to get out there and see for yourself. Sunshine was streaming in through the towering branches, birds were singing, and I was the only human in sight. It's magical to take an hour in the middle of the afternoon to be quiet, get a good cardio workout, and be immersed in the natural environment...less than 5 minutes from my front door.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

SUP Porpoise Bay - Sept 14, 2011

What a night! Huge thanks to my friends at Alpha Adventures and super guide Annie. I've been dying to get back out and try standup paddleboarding for a second time. Every Wednesday this summer, Alpha Adventures takes out a group of 10 lucky people for a group paddle. I just haven't been able to make the schedule work, or they have been sold out by the time I phoned. Tonight we launched from Porpoise Bay Provincial Park.

Tonight was beautiful! It was cloudy so the deep clear water of Sechelt Inlet looked black once you were away from the shore. Smooth as glass and as quiet as can be. It was so cool paddling along behind ducks, seagulls and Canada geese who were coming in for the night.

OK, this picture isn't from tonight...but I can't have a post without pics...and I'm not good enough to take a camera out on the water. This is my friend Laurie's photo of my first SUP trip back in July. Thanks Laurie! 90 minutes of paddling and I didn't go for a swim! Which I was very happy about as the water is ok for a quick walk but a bit chilly for a swim.

There were a couple of ambitious teenagers in our group who decided we should paddle around Poise Island. I am glad they did...it gave us a goal and a target and it is gorgeous. Steep cliffs and a mass of rock. How do trees grow directly out of rock? One thing about being new at paddleboarding...you pretty much just look straight ahead. Too much looking around messes with balance which means taking a swim. When we came around finishing the circle of the island, I got my first view at just how far we were from shore. Wow! "How am I going to ever get back?" is what I was thinking. Never fear...slow and steady...but it doesn't even feel like work while you're at it. Too much focus on just how beautiful the area is and how different your perspective is from the water.

I hope the temperatures hold in for a couple more weeks so that I can get back out on the water soon.