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 in this pigment until my recent visit to Vancouver. I watched them, and perhaps they watched me.

Thier behavior differed a bit from the normal gray city squirrels of the Pacific Northwest US, of which I have seen mostly around the University of Washington campus. The black squirrels seem more 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!).

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#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.