The Doodle Pad

Nairn Falls Provincial Park

Nairn FallsFalling water and waterfalls. Context is everything!

Water wasn't falling from the sky last Sunday so some friends and I decided to checkout another kind of falling water at Nairn Falls Provincial Park. The park is 32 km north of Whistler, B.C. and 3 km south of Pemberton, B.C. In addition to its namesake, Nairn Falls, the park consists of campsites, short term parking for hikers, outhouses (pit toilets), water, and a few picnic tables.

According to information sites the park has three commonly used trails as well as access to the Pemberton Valley. We were there to see the falls, a 1.5 km walk from the parking lot.

The walk is an easy one with very little elevation change and no long steep climbs. The trail is dirt with a lot of uneven ground, which may add a degree of difficulty for some people. It follows the Green River, which is quite cold. On a hot day you'll pass through tantalizing wisps of cool air coming off the river. Oh to have a magic spell that could bottle that up! For most of the trail's length there is a steep drop down to the river on one side, something to think about if you have young children, and a mountainside on the other. I found the walk visually appealing. It's almost entirely shrouded in trees, giving it the feel of a forest tunnel.

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VSteam's One-Day Steampunk Mini-Con

VSteam Mini-Con PosterLast Saturday VSteam, Vancouver's Steampunk group, held a one day Steampunk Mini-Convention. What's steampunk? Wikipedia has as good a description as any: Wikpedia on Steampunk.

Organizing an event is a lot of work and VSteam gets high marks for the location and over-all organization. Picking Barclay Manor in Vancouver's West End was brilliant. While not Victorian the manor house and grounds gave the event a natural ambiance. The people in costume simply belonged there.

The most happening aspect of the mini-con while I attended was the vendor area. There was interesting stuff on display and since everyone was wandering through it was essentially a promenade for the costumes. There's a large grass area — not sure if you'd call it a small field or a large lawn — next to Barclay Manor. At various times there was a game of croquette, sabre fighting, fisticuffs, and, as I was leaving, a band was setting up.

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English Bay Sunset

These pictures were taken last month at English Bay. A group of us were enjoying the evening when the "god rays" appeared. I got my friend Seth to take a couple of pictures with my camera (my hand isn't steady in low light conditions). The far-too-cold for June evening was somewhat offset by the sunset.

English Bay Sunset

English Bay Sunset - God Rays
Photo by Seth Rutledge

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North Vancouver Canada Day Costume Party 2010 (aka Parade)

Last year I wrote about North Vancouver Canada Day Parade, this year I marched in it! A collection of Metro Vancouver science fiction/fantasy fans once again marched in the parade, and when Spacepug offered me the use of a BSG Viper mechanic costume I decided to join them. Unfortunately, my "freshly" charged camera batteries weren't, so I don't have pictures of my own this year.

SciFi/Fantasy Fans at North Vancouver Canada Day Parade

Science Fiction/Fantasy Fans Group Shot
North Vancouver Canada Day Parade 2010

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A Tour of the RNZNS Te Kaha

RNZNS Te Kaha at Burrard Pier North VancouverThis week North Vancouver was face-to-face with Te Taua Moana o Aotearoa. Well, one of her frigates and a supply ship. The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) ships Te Kaha and Endeavour stopped over in North Vancouver after participating in the Royal Canadian Navy International Fleet Review held in Victoria, it was part of the Canadian Navy's centennial celebration. By the time I heard about the North Vancouver visit Endeavour had left, but I hadn't missed the one day Te Kaha would be open to the public. I managed to carve out some time to drop by and quickly take it in.

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Pacific Rim Kite Festival

Pterodactyl KiteThrough a fortunate chain of events I heard about this weekend's Pacific Rim Kite Festival at Vanier Park in Vancouver. If kite flying brings to mind diamond shaped objects sedately hanging in the air you need to check one of these out. The creative spirit is alive and well in kite technology, and there are precision acrobatic kites you have to see to believe. I especially love watching the acrobatic kites perform. My Saturday morning was actually free so I checked out the festival with some friends.

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Grilled Fromage

Grilled FromageI love cheese, and I know I'm not alone. My favourite is a really strong cheddar, with some of the Italian cheeses like asiago and parmigiano reggiano a close second. When I heard about a restaurant that served grilled cheese sandwiches, and only grilled cheese sandwiches, I knew I'd have to try it one day. Today was that day!

Grilled Fromage in Squamish bills itself as the cheesiest place on earth. If their menu of 59 different grilled cheese sandwiches with punny titles like Fromage a Trois, Cheese and Chong, and Long John Stilton (and one grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich called the Elvis) doesn't synch the title, the decor will. On the wall along with their menu you'll find record covers from 70's classics like Saturday Night Fever, Air Supply, Pat Benatar, and The Captain & Tennille. In the back they have their cheesy VIP TV room, and there's even some vintage video games. But enough about the "cheese", let's talk about the cheese.

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North Vancouver Walking Trails

North Vancouver Guide to Great Walks and TrailsSo a number of weeks ago my friend Spacepug and I had just completed a writing session. We regularly meet at a local cafe to spur our writing on. On our way out of the cafe we encountered an overly enthusiastic-friendly-attractive-summer-student-athletic type from the local Recreation Commision handing out pamphlets. I almost turned it down, instinctual reaction, but fortunately I took a closer look before walking away. It turned out to be a guide, and much to my surprise, it looked useful!

The North Vancouver Guide to Great Walks & Trails is a collection of 20 walks in the City and the District of North Vancouver. The walks are set in a mix of urban green space, municipal parks, and GVRD parks, and divided into easy, moderate, and advanced categories. I recognize many of the trails as well known North Shore favourites. Some of urban walks look iffy, but I'll reserve final judgment till I've tried them first hand. Overall it looks like a good selection.

Thus, a summer project is born. By the end of the summer I will walk all of the trails in the guide and blog about them. It's clear from the structure of the guide this was the Rec Commission's plan, and I've fallen for it. So has Spacepug. Sometimes government plans fronted by attractive people are worth falling for.

Congratulations Eric And Kelsey

Congratulations Eric & KelseyWe mark the passage of time in many ways. There are the regular measures of time, the months and the years. Then there are the "milestone" events, the birthdays, the graduations, and the marriages, our own, our friends and our relatives. Today was a milestone for my nephew Eric, and as such a milestone for my entire family. Though it doesn't seem that long ago I was buying him toys for Christmas, today I'm giving him a gift on his wedding day.

The ceremony was held at a local park on Kalamalka Lake near Vernon. It was an outdoor ceremony, and everyone wondered about the weather. It had been a rainy week with a pessimistic forecast for the wedding day. Though cloudy in the morning by the time the ceremony started it was sunburn, not rain, everyone was worried about. As the crowd went silent and the ceremony started, music could be heard coming from the lake. Love songs. For those that mark such things, surely good omens. For me, this picture says it all:

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Finding the Blue Whale

Dale and blue whale skeletonOn Saturday my friend Seth and I went bone hunting. Our goal was specific, we were stalking the largest creature on earth: the blue whale. Being an endangered species and aquatic there aren't a lot of blue whale bones to be found. In Vancouver we not only have bones, we have an entire skeleton!

Over at UBC, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum has located and restored the skeleton of a blue whale. Sadly, it beached itself and died on the coast of Prince Edward Island a number of years ago. It's wonderful that the museum took the loss of an endangered species member and turned it into something positive. The museum hasn't opened yet, but they're running previews on selected Saturdays from May to August and showing off what will arguably be their premiere exhibit. And it's impressive.

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