My Top Photos for 2015

I’m a little behind on this, but what another awesome year we had as a family! We were fortunate enough to travel a great deal and had a lot of fun along the way. Here’s some of my favourite images along the way.

Waves

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. - Albert Camus
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. – Albert Camus

Stargazing

Spirit Island has been on my bucket list for a while now, and so I was thrilled to be able to visit it this summer. It's a gorgeous spot to say the least and it was made even better as I was able to go there with a few of my favourite people!
Spirit Island has been on my bucket list for a while now, and so I was thrilled to be able to visit it this summer. It’s a gorgeous spot to say the least and it was made even better as I was able to go there with a few of my favourite people!

Solitude

An explosion of epic colour as seen this past summer at Quadra Island, BC. f
An explosion of epic colour as seen this past summer at Quadra Island, BC.

Playground

Overlander Falls on the Fraser River in Mount Robson Provincial Park. For those interested in the technical. This is a four shot panorama. I used a Lee Filter Little Stopper to obtain a 13 second exposure to smooth the water.
Overlander Falls on the Fraser River in Mount Robson Provincial Park. For those interested in the technical. This is a four shot panorama. I used a Lee Filter Little Stopper to obtain a 13 second exposure to smooth the water.

Overlander Falls Trail

Kinney Lake along the Berg Lake Trail. A little piece of paradise.
Kinney Lake along the Berg Lake Trail. A little piece of paradise.

Peaking Through

We made a quick stop at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park near Parksville, BC. With all the rain we've had lately, the water is really raging through the canyon. It was difficult keeping my lens clear at this misty falls!
We made a quick stop at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park near Parksville, BC. With all the rain we’ve had lately, the water is really raging through the canyon. It was difficult keeping my lens clear at this misty falls!
A beautiful morning at Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
A beautiful morning at Alouette Lake in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
Radiator Springs in California Adventure, Disneyland.
Radiator Springs in California Adventure, Disneyland.
"How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir
“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! – John Muir
Beautiful morning light dancing through my frame!
Beautiful morning light dancing through my frame!

Cryptic Message

cascade_22135272779_o

Buttle Lake in Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island at first light. f
Buttle Lake in Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island at first light.

2016 is looking like a slower year travel wise, but we’re looking forward to more local adventures on Vancouver Island. Thank you for following us along the way!

Lush Forest to Secluded Beaches

Schooner Cove in Pacific Rim National Park is a great afternoon adventure suitable for families. It features:

  • Rainforest
  • Beautiful secluded sandy beaches
  • Tidal Pools
  • Box Island
  • Wildlife
  • Waves
  • 2 kilometres one way with 336 stairs

Park at the well marked parking lot off of the Pacific Rim Highway (4) about 16 kilometres south of Tofino. Start off on a relatively easy two kilometre trail. The scenic hike wanders through lush rainforest before arriving at a spectacular beachfront area. You will pass giant cedars, a number of small gullies and over a few bridges spanning small creeks. Near the end of the trail you will pass a 600 year old sitka spruce. As you get closer to the beach the rolling sounds of the ocean will greet you.

The pristine beach offers amazing views including rocky outcrops that can be accessed at low tide, so check your tide charts before arriving. A long day of exploring awaits you as you walk south along the beach to Long Beach which is a 10 kilometre expanse of beach. Allow a lot of time, because you will love exploring this area!

If you plan to stay to watch the sunset, remember to bring a flashlight as the densely forested trail back to the parking lot gets really dark!

 

PACK LIST

  • Rain gear
  • Jacket
  • Good hiking shoes or boots
  • Camera
  • Lunch
  • Water
  • Flashlight if staying past sunset

Enjoy!

Tall Tree Adventure

DSC02894

Yes, we are THAT family! What do I mean? Well, the other day I was spending time with a close friend and she was explaining how her husband will spend a full day trying to search down a big tree in a forest, even after the fun factor has waned for the rest of the family. A big tree, she lamented! I laughed and said “I totally get it!” I was, of course, taking the side of her husband for we are THAT family.

I’m blessed with a husband who is crazy kind enough to agree to my crazy ideas. You see, when I see something cool on the internet, I want to go see it for myself. So, that starts the planning process if it is feasible, not dangerous, and is something we can do as a family, including our four year old. Those are the parameters. So, when I suggested we go find the tallest Douglas Fir Tree in the world, and we happened to be in the area, my husband again said, “why not!”

So we set off, but I’m not sure what I was thinking. It was my husband that read the disclaimer about the road which reads:

“**Please take note regarding driving to the Red Creek Fir: The
gravel logging roads from Len’s Main are rarely maintained or
not maintained at all. Use at your own risk. It is recommended that
you have enough gas, a spare tire which is in good condition (and that
you know how to change a flat tire). It is always wise when travelling
in the backcountry to let someone know where you intend to go and
when you will be back. In the event you have car trouble, stay with
your vehicle. It is best to visit the Red Creek Fir in the morning as the
road is rarely travelled after dark. Those driving rental cars should be
aware of rental contracts regarding travel on logging roads. This route
is not recommended for vehicles with low clearance (compacts, sub
compacts, sports cars etc.) SUVs, Pickups and 4x4s are best!!”

For anyone who just has to see it for themselves, here’s some directions.

So, it’s REALLY not suitable for cars! Take my word for it, you really are better off in a truck or SUV. It is bumpy, rocky and clearly not passed very often, as there were branches down along the way that needed to be cleared. My husband didn’t complain even though he had to clear the roadway from fallen branches. So, if you are going to go, bring some gloves or a chainsaw or something to clear the road. My husband had his gardening gloves but it was getting ridiculous after a while, and I even questioned whether it was a good idea! But, we pressed on, and my husband got a good workout.

DSC02863

Trailhead
Trailhead

So was it worth it? Well, you can judge it for yourself, but this tree is huge! We remarked how it is a marvel that it was even spared from being logged! In addition to this awesome old growth Douglas Fir, there are giant cedars that are awe inspiring! Along the road way there’s a really cool creek which cascades straight down. Truly impressive! A fun adventure for the whole family and another wonder of creation!

Red Creek Fir

Red Creek Fir

Big Tree

Photo credit: Malia Cole
Photo credit: Malia Cole
Photo Credit: Malia Cole
Photo Credit: Malia Cole

Giant Cedar

DSC02950

Creek

West Coast Vancouver Island

I still haven’t had much time to dig into my shots from Port Renfrew and area on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Life is like that some time. It’s the balance of responsibilities of life.

In the meantime, here’s a couple shots. The first one is Fairy Lake Bonsai presented in landscape orientation:

Fairy Lake Bonsai

The second shot is from Sandcut Beach which is just past Sooke, BC between French Beach and Jordan River. It’s a place that I’ve wanted to go to for a while having heard how awesome it is from friends and also fellow photographers. So, on a lovely spring morning we set off to explore. It’s about a 15 minute from the trailhead to the beach through forest. Once you hit the beach, the falls I’m showing here are to the left about 10 minutes down the beach. I could stay at this spot all day and I’ll definitely return to Sandcut Beach!

Sandcut Beach

Fine art prints available at my WEBSITE.

Strathcona – A Peak into Vancouver Islands Biggest Park

I’ve been working on my photos from Strathcona Park and plan to write about this area, but life is pretty full right now so here’s a small peak into this awesome wilderness area on Vancouver Island. 

Myra Falls in Strathcona Park
Myra Falls in Strathcona Park

Myra Falls

San Josef Bay – Vancouver Island Beach Paradise!

I visited San Josef Bay in Cape Scott Provincial Park on Vancouver Island along with my husband, our two children as well as my father in the Summer of 2012.  It was one stop on our three week road trip on Vancouver Island.  Our home town is in Victoria, BC on the very south tip of Vancouver Island, so our hope was to get to explore our home island and to go as far north as possible.  So for us, San Josef Bay represented the most northern point that we could venture as a family with young children.  It is true, one can hike further north, to the very tip but that is for the more adventurous.

Getting There

San Josef Bay in Cape Scott Provincial Park is a hike-in park at the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island. The trail head for San Josef Bay and Cape Scott is located 64 kilometres west of Port Hardy and can be reached by active logging Roads. Be prepared for the unexpected, yield to logging trucks, and be bear aware!

Image
Seen Alongside the Logging Road to San Josef Bay.

IMG_7837

Along the Trail

Once you reach the parking lot, the trail to San Josef Bay is a family friendly 2.5 kilometres from the trailhead, taking about 45 minutes one way.  The trail can accomodate a jogging stroller for those hiking with small children. In fact, we shared the trail that day with a couple families who came equipped to stay for a few nights with their children. Much of their camping equipment was hauled into camp using kids wagons!

Some scenes along the trail:

A pedestrian bridge on the trail to San Josef Bay.
A pedestrian bridge on the trail to San Josef Bay.
Lichen resembles a staircase.
Lichen resembles a staircase.
Dad gives a sense of scale to the trees along the trail.
Dad gives a sense of scale to the trees along the trail.

Arriving at the Beach

As we arrived at San Josef Bay, we were taken with the sheer vastness of the vacant beach. Our young son ran far ahead of us as towards the Pacific Ocean.  The tide was low, so it was a long run to the water for his short legs but he got a huge head start and we had a hard time catching up. 

My son heads for the surf!
My son heads for the surf!
The mostly vacant  beach at San Josef Bay!
Dad enjoying the beach at San Josef Bay!

Tidal pools provide hours of enjoyment for children!

My children playing contently in the tidal pools.
My children playing contently in the tidal pools.
My son sees himself in the tidal pools at San Josef Bay.
My son sees himself in the tidal pools at San Josef Bay.

Sea Stacks and Sea Caves

San Josef Bay first caught my attention as I researched our trip due to the awesome sea stacks which are accessible at low tide and are located between first and second beach. After waiting and planning the trip for many months I was filled with awe and emotion at first glimpse of the sea stacks. The wild trees growing atop them left me wondering how they can grow despite little soil, and the wild west coast storms!

First glimpse of the sea stacks.
First glimpse of the sea stacks.
Sea Stacks point the way to second beach.
Sea Stacks point the way to second beach.

San Josef Bay

My daughter provides some scale as she digs in the sand between sea stacks.
My daughter provides some scale as she digs in the sand between sea stacks.

Sea caves accessible during low tide provide an opportunity for exploration.

IMG_7720

Vancouver Island Beach Paradise

Our day at San Josef Bay went by far too quickly. We often talk of our adventure there hoping to return. We had the beach to ourselves for a great portion of the day which is almost unheard of. It is peaceful, awe inspiring and somewhere easily enjoyed as a family!

Rocky Shores

San Josef Bay Reflections

Thank you for taking a look! Prints and cards available at my Website.