Far out in Vancity’s Duckburg…

I think those are ducks in the picture above. Either way, I like their style.

Sometimes, very orderly…maybe forming a conga line.

Sometimes, just mingling…perhaps sharing their opinion of us tourists staring at them.

Very social creatures here.

-Orion T

Pics taken from a nice morning walk in Central Vancouver (Canada), along English Bay.

Holiday Season Cheers from Candytown

Here’s a big gingerbread person, dancing around at the Candytown Holiday Festival in Yaletown, Vancouver, Canada. Gotta love that!

This fresh cheer has me excited for the goofy carefree spirit of the holiday season (as long as you don’t play into the madness of the shopping season pressures including Stupid Black Friday). More egg nog, please!

I’m here for a few days, seeing old friends and away from stress. I’m also doing my holiday shopping through some cool local businesses, and having a silly blast. Lots of maple flavored things!

Meanwhile, here’s more cheer from Candytown..

Orion T

Happy Earth Day and so forth appreciation…

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“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”- John Muir

The picture above is from early this year, on a day hike through Bowen Island in Vancouver, Canada. Meanwhile, Happy Earth Day! Though much of the day is gone, continue to appreciate this planet we live on, with support and protection to its natural environments.

– Orion T

The Depth of Nature

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“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” – Henry David Thoreau

The picture was at Killarney Lake, in the middle of Bowen Island. This was during my stay in Vancouver, Canada in middle of a nice group hike. It’s a nice, short walk for those who can spare an hour or two (the extra hour for the trail that goes around the lake).

But right now, I wish there was a calm lake easily accessible to my current situation, living in a noisy city. Staring at this picture will have to do, for now.

– Orion T

The Destructive and Constructive Work of Beavers

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A beaver is a hard-working, very intelligent mammal engineer.

When beavers work, they produce noticeable results. There is a grand notice on the materials they use, mainly wood from trees. The environment used, is forever changed.

The above picture is from my group hike on Bowen Island in Vancouver, Canada. This is one forest section well-stripped by beavers, using their powerful front-teeth (unsure of how many beavers, but do work in small numbers). Much of that wood is used to create a lodge; a dome-like house made from sticks, grasses and moss-plastered with mud. One lodge is sufficient for a whole family of beavers, to live comfortably and produce/raise their offspring. Such lodges are built slightly above water level along river and pond banks, like the one seen here.

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Beavers also use that wood to build dams, to better manage and trap water to create large ponds. Beavers also feed off the trees for food, eating the leaves, roots, and bark. They also digest some surrounding aquatic plants. Nothing seems wasted in a beavers world.

I did a little research and reading on the conflict between the tree-raiding troublemakers and the human settlers of Bowen Island. The dam work of beavers has in the past, disrupted homes and yards of private areas, with flooding. The early actions by locals were to trap and kill the little critters. But in the last decade, a more humane solution popularized, to build special fences to prevent the beaver-building of dams in needed areas for water to flow.

That protection, and other solutions to help the island’s natural habitat creatures have been put forth by the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, or Fur-Bearers. For more on beaver fences and the volunteer work of the Fur-Bearers, visit thefurbearers.com.

Meanwhile, here is a fascinating BBC video on the hard work and rewarding results of those busy beavers.

 

– Orion T

Natures’ Complexity

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“Complexity is the property of a real-world system that is manifest in the inability of any one formalism being adequate to capture all its properties. It requires that we find distinctly different ways of interacting with systems. … Therefore complex systems are not fragmentable”

– D. C. Mikulecky, Professor of Physiology at the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University, THE COMPLEXITY OF NATURE

The picture above is from an awesome little hike on Bowen Island, in Vancouver, Canada. Bowen Island is a peaceful area of tranquility, roughly an hour away from the big metro area, by road then ferry.  Deep within, is a complex ecosystem to observe and study. I will share more on this and other notes of the trip soon.

– Orion T

Polar Bear Plunge – Vancouver, Canada 2019

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Traditionally in mid-winter, many thrill-seekers gather at various shore locations worldwide, to plunge into freezing temperature waters. It’s insane, but an awesome happening for over a century now. This event is the annual Polar Bear Plunge.

In Canada, the Polar Bear Plunge is traditionally held on New Year’s Day; a perfect time to bravely face forward the new challenges within the next long Earth cycle around the Sun. In Vancouver, it’s highly regarded and looked forward to as a continuation of passionate bravery for local participants and arriving travelers, since 1920.

I attended this latest Polar Bear Plunge, at English Bay in Vancouver. I witnessed from afar and late, a couple of years ago at this location. This time, I’m in front as a spectator, with my ankles in the water, and then trying it closer to my kneecaps. Wow, what freezing water!!

The temperature was at about 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit). Not sure on the number of those jumping in, but I was told it was in the early thousands throughout the time it was officially held. Many were in wacky costumes, while others held flags and team banners to represent something more.

Here are some of my pictures of plunging moments captured.

The energy and excitement shared felt inspiring. I loved every second, watching the reactions and cheering on those brave souls. I learned a lot too, on preparation and taking on this challenge (don’t drink, know your limits). Getting a small taste by stepping into the cold, I found myself inspired and wanting more.

So, I will plan to take part in a Polar Bear Plunge eventually on New Year’s Day, in Canada most likely. I look forward to this shared experience!

-Orion T

Happy New Year, 2019

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Happy New Year everyone!

Yes, it’s the 2nd day but still shiny new, barely a scratch. 2018 is gone, out and past away. But, there had to be a better transition to end the year on a better note than it began. Something, to begin the new grand cycle around the sun with a motivational high note. Focus more on what makes me happy, and sharing it with others. That’s how I will enter this new year while seeking something a little extra along the way.

And that I did, by leaving the US and going to Canada for four days. I spent last weekend and more in Vancouver, Canada. There, staying at a hostel and planning as I go. I have done this twice before, but I still treat it all like something new. Because, there is still a vast amount of unexplored areas, things to do, experiences that I have yet to check out. Being that’s it’s close to my otherwise hectic and jumbled life by a few hours, such the escape is still a completely different dream, of which I welcome when I have time.

O, Canada. I missed thee. There, gained many new experiences and revisited simple joys. Through things learned and smiles exchanged, it’s been a wonderful breath of cold air throughout. Some of it was also very wet, and my only loss was my green wool cap. That was a good one, keeping my head warm in tough times. Now, perhaps forever lost, and left behind in the streets of Vancouver. Or better yet, someone else will find and wear it, with a fresh smile.

Meanwhile, I will share more details on memorable moments and findings in the days ahead soon. Look forward, and again…Happy New Year!

Orion T

The shot above is unfocused on the New Year’s fireworks in Downtown Vancouver, at its Convention Center. This moment was accidental, not knowing the lady in my cam sight holding the camera. But, I like the shot as something different from an interesting perspective that holds a different story, maybe. I think I will aim for more different perspectives, in 2019.

 

See the Black Squirrel…

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Here above is a squirrel in black, for which I have not seen this pigment until my recent visit to Vancouver. I watched them, and perhaps they watched me.

Their behavior differed a bit from the normal gray city squirrels of the Pacific Northwest US, of which I have seen around the University of Washington campus. The black squirrels seem shy to the cameras, and seemingly a bit faster and slightly smaller.

I learned through local folk and the googling, much about these squirrel mutagenic variants. Such are uncommon to see unless in some collective habitat (Midwestern and some Mideastern US, Eastern Canada), parts of the UK). However, I came across a gathering of many scuttling about through the center of Stanley Park, in Vancouver, Canada. Such are offshoots of the common gray and fox squirrels, leading to the darker gray to the very black. They can endure the cold weather better, and blend in with the dark. I heard these are not originally native to the Vancouver area but brought over some decades ago (possibly in 1914 according to one Wikipedia source), but I have yet to find the exact info.

Here is another one, living the simple life…

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and a short bonus video of more, recently put upon my Instagram (travelingorion, follow me there!).

View this post on Instagram

#squirrels #squirrelsofinstagram #citynature @reside.outside

A post shared by Orion T (@travelingorion) on

I love squirrels 🙂

– Orion T

Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.

Embrace the Coldness…

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The above pic happened last week, on the New Year’s Day of 2017.

The waters are of the Vancouver Harbour, with the Lions Gate Bridge ahead, and the mountainous (and snowy at the time) regions of West Vancouver beyond, all in the wonderful British Columbia region of the Canada country.

But of the day and of fascination, is the lone woman taking a dip in the icy cold waters. I overheard nearby, she was practicing for some attempt at the world record for enduring the freezing water. I think it was 22 seconds, or around that. I didn’t get her name either.

But what I did learn later, was of the annual (97th) Vancouver Polar Bear Swim on the south side of Central Vancouver, at English Bay. Over 1,500 persons dived into the frigidness for a similar and shorter feat, where the waters temped at 7 degrees Celsius (44.6 Fahrenheit). I was a bit late for the main show, yet in time for leftover festivities. Here are some giving it a go.

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Overall, an exciting and notable day for many in 2017, a surely interesting year to come.

– Orion T

Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.

Picture of Today 1/3/2017, Horseshoe Bay to Nowhere..


Above is on a ferry north in West Vancouver, leaving the Horsehoe Bay to Nanaimo Bay, in British Columbia, Canada.

And there, was on a two hour trip later than planned, and not feeling well. So much so, that I cancelled my plans and heading back on the same ferry boat shortly after. The totally hours spent riding the ferry was about four hours. None quite wasted, as I felt rested and away from the troubles of life in that time. I tried writing, but not much done. Sickness is bad, bah.

But what I do have are some fun pics and notations the days before in the Vancouver area , including the New Years weekend. I will try sharing that soon. But in the meantime, enjoy whatever tranquility around, even when inconvenient.

– Orion T

Pictures of Last Sunday, A Ducky Day

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Just pictures of ducks today, to bring about the calmness that comes forth before and after the busy work week (plus one Saturday of leftover plans and needed shopping). Sunday is the day we are supposed to stress a little less and be like the lazy ducks here.

And for today I did some sitting of my own, and watched the Seahawks vs. Vikings NFL game. That crazy and very cold (- 6 degrees Fahrenheit) game that had us off our tailfeathers, from the kickoff to the ridiculously close end deciding the advancement of the playoffs through one failed field kick. Go Hawks!

Pictures here, are from last week’s adventure in Vancouver, Canada on the beach edge of English Bay by the Central Downtown area. I like these shots, as I think they deserve a posting of their own, expressing my current state of mind.

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Orion T

Picture of Today 1/2/2016, Canada Gold

  
The other side of yesterday, beyond West Vancouver and looking back…

This time, standing upon the observation deck of the summit at Grouse Mountian. The moment, a beautiful one looking southward at the land I love exploring and will continue to do so” for later in 2016. Over the mountains in the distance I believe are the United States. 

I have more to say and show, but the day is late and I am hungry. There will be features and sets soon, promise. But for now, here is a bonus pic with a different lens…

  

– Orion T

Picture of Today 1/1/2016, New World, this 2016

 

Today, I looked to a whole new world for this New Year..

Not so much West Vancouver BC, the city pictured above beneath what I think is Cypress Mountian. The perspective is afar using a 300mm zoom lens giving a sort of optical trick. The vision, is from Stanley Park in Vancouver BC, Canada; while passing through on a long five hour walk around and through the large wooded area.

Pictures will be later, of which there are many.

But today, this picture is a good representation of why I am here. This place being part of a spontaneous trip outside of Seattle; the city I live and now working excessively in. While I have a lot less time for far-out adventures, it’s important to remember the crazy new worlds that are still within a day’s drive or bus ride on the road. 

I know absolutely nothing about this huge city outside of the samewhat familiar perimeters of Central Vancouver. Is it the same or different? How are the people? Are there cool, unique small shops I can browse through and find fantastic treasure? Are there exclusive cultures or secret societies, to which I can break into? How about the food? New friends maybe? 

Not that the place is of any particular fascination, right now. It bears about the same as North Vancouver, a similar land to the east if there. There’s also the rest of Canada. Someday, I wish as I am very curious and life is short. I just want to start this new year right with the reminder and push of what I should strive for; tending to my thrill of discovery and adventuring.

2016, looking forward to what is “over there.”

Weekend Fun in Vancouver, Canada..

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Last weekend, I decided to take a trip north past the Washington U.S. border, and visit Vancouver, British Columbia (and Canada) for the first time. The reason being, to satisfy my long-time curiosity on what that big city is like. I have heard much from passing travelers through the PNW on that city beyond the border.

By much, I only heard it was. Much on the high rises, nightlife, booze, hockey cheering, food variety, expensive living and real estate. But having visited Vancouver, I have to say it was all so much more than such simple opinions.

Vancouver is a grand city, that went beyond my expectations. The central area is not enough to explore on a mere weekend. So, I took my time and savored select things and spent time with some friends for a lunch and dinner. For the remainder time, I kept to myself and walked around.

By the end, I can not close or sum up on how wonderful I think the Vancouver central area is. This must be done through repeat visits, and excessive time spent. But for now, I share my pictures and notes below of select moments in my first (of many) Vancouver visit to come.

The first large notable structures I noticed while walking towards downtown.. The Science World Center. If I had the time, I would have went inside and checked this out, as I like big science center things. Also, the big stadium in the back looks fantastic under the bright blue sky. Science and sports, so far so good.

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I noticed many fantastic creative works of art spread about around the long walking paths along the False Creek inlet. On my next visit, I will focus on some particular works and uncover some detailed info on them.

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Enter the city, after a long walk around and across a bridge. Sorry for the lopsided picture. I was too over-excited and forgot to change the lens and settings.

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My first destination was Granville street, and lunch with an old friend. It’s a great row for shopping and browsing through random shops, as I went through many.

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An awesome favorite place I went, the Rock Shop. It’s a fantastic store for various old and new pop-culture related apparel and novelty items. I bought an awesome Hulk (classic Marvel look) cup from there.

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Inside The Factory, on Granville. A small little bar where each food item on the menu is $4.95 (Canadian dollar). I noticed other places with a similar structure. I really liked that idea, and wish more places would try that. As for this place, I liked the service and the food (had a quesadilla plate with dipping sauces).

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The front display of Golden Age Collectibles on Granville street, a highly recommended comic book and collectible store for those into that.

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Later on, I relaxed at the Vancouver Central Library Branch, while giving my phone a much needed charge. Love the architecture here..

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I was quite thrilled to find the Movieland Video Arcade on Granville street. It seemed refashioned after an adult X-rated spot. What seemed odd, was the place being still for 18 years or older. All I really noticed was this selection of game machines, many of which i enjoyed when I was a kid hanging out at old video arcades.

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The Holy Rosary Cathedral. It’s an awesome building, where I think a wedding reception took place at the time of my passing by.

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The Harbour Centre Building is the closest Vancouver has to Seattle’s Space Needle. It looks grand from afar. From up close, not so much. I think I am too used to seeing the Seattle one.

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Here is a place for all book lovers to visit in central Vancouver, Macleod’s Books. This is an amazing used bookstore, where much buried treasure is likely under the overflow stacks throughout. I took out some interesting reference books and paperbacks. I have much to say and share on this store, which I will save for a future posting.

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At the end of the day before dinner with another friend, at Crab Park..

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Later in the night, I tried some poutine; a popular dish to Canadian folk containing fries, cheese curds, and gravy. It was good.

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One last picture, before some boozing with a new friend I met earlier.

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Overall, a great trip and not nearly as expensive as I thought (considering the exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollar). The weather started sunny, ended run on my departure the next day. Next time, I plan to explore the city and surrounding areas much more, as I live about four hours driving distance away.

 – Orion T