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