Earthly Pursuits

People, Places, and Living Things

Road trip to Harrison Header

Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs: The Scenic Route

Introduction

So… black hoodie, grey jeans and a toque. See you soon! I consider adding a smiley faced emoji, but send the text as is.

I immediately start typing a second text, to a second contact.

I’m just about to meet up with a dude I met through instagram. I don’t think he’s a psycho but we are driving to Harison Hot Springs, so if you don’t hear from me ever again his IG name is @jonbeeotch. Grimacing smiley faced emoji. Send.

I get off the skytrain at Commercial Drive Broadway station and make my way down the escalator to meet The Idealist. He’s wearing a red jacket and jeans and I recognize him straight away.

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pics of Hope, Alaska

Hope, Alaska

Alaska’s Best Kept Secret

Finding Hope isn’t always an easy endeavor, but I can tell you from experience, it’s a destination worth getting off the beaten path for. The idyllic seaside town of Hope, Alaska can be found on the south shore of Turnagain Arm at the end of the 17 mile long Hope Highway. Most tourists don’t make it to Hope or even know it exists, but those that do find themselves immersed in a place rich with history and natural wonder. Alaska natives flock to Hope in the weekends to enjoy live music and the great outdoors.

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Header - Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing: A Dangerous Political Landscape

I saw a post on a friend’s face book page the other day from a non-mutual friend of theirs criticizing them for speaking out against what’s happening south of the border. Trump won in a Democratic election. Hilary lost. Shut up and get over it already.  Said the one Canadian to the other.

I know I can’t speak for that friend of mine, but….. um, no. No, I for one am not going to shut up.

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Ninilchik, AK

Ninilchik, Alaska

Best Pitt Stop Between Soldotna and Homer

The adorable seaside town of Ninilchik is at the mouth of the Ninilchik River, nestled among the cliffs along Alaska’s Sterling Highway.  It provides the backdrop for an expansive view of Cook Inlet that offers visitors panoramic views of the snow-capped volcanic peaks of Mt. Spurr, Mt. Redbout, Mt. St. Augustine, and Mt. Iliamna.

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whiskey jack in tree

The Whiskey Jack: Perisoreus canadensis

Canada’s National Bird

It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds. ~ Aesop

In November 2016, The Royal Canadian Geographic Society announced that the Whiskey Jack or Grey Jay had been chosen as Canada’s national bird.  Choosing a bird that could be identified as a symbol of The Great White North was a two year undertaking that “ignited a groundswell of public support”  according to Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna.

Although it didn’t win the popular vote, the panel consulted bird experts who ultimately helped tip the scales in favour of the tenacious and hardy member of the jay family.  

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New Years Resolution

Brunch: My New Year’s Resolution Solution

I have always been one of those people who gets really gung-ho about their New Year’s resolution in January and by February can’t even remember what the resolution was all about.  This year is going to be different.  This year, like most people, my New Year’s resolution was centered around two things:   1)  Spending more quality time with friends and loved ones, and 2) making better choices around food.  To me, better food choices means paying attention to where my food comes from and it’s overall effect on the planet and my own health. In a nutshell, I’m saying good-bye to things that are overly processed or mass-produced.  Or trying to anyway.

Life seems to speed up the older I get,

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7 Things You Probably Never Knew About Lost Lagoon

Lost Lagoon is one of Vancouver’s most well known landmarks, connecting downtown Vancouver with Stanley Park. It is well known by locals as a great place to meet up with friends or go for a stroll, and tourists around the world come to see the Jubilee fountain and view the wildlife. Here are 7 things you probably didn’t know about this iconic body of water.

1.  It Wasn’t Always a Lagoon

The lagoon was part of a tidal marsh connected to Burrard Inlet and it was known to the Squamish Nation as Ch’ekxwa’7lech, which means “gets dry at times”. The waters were so shallow that when the tide would go out, the lagoon would disappear completely.

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OBVIOUSLY

I am obviously not having second thoughts about driving to Delta in search of snow geese in the pouring rain. Because I’ve already rented a car and if I cancel the reservation I’ll still have to pay for it so I might as well drive somewhere and it might as well be to Delta. And I am obviously not thinking about starting too look for an Irish boy I met in an apple orchard nearly 20 years ago. Because I don’t even know his last name so it would be a total waste of time.  So I am obviously not entertaining thoughts of doing that anymore than I am not entertaining thoughts of abandoning the drive to Delta in search of snow geese even though I don’t even know if the snow geese are still in Delta.

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birding vancouver: common mergansers in flight

A Beginners Guide to Birdwatching near Vancouver

I became mildly obsessed with birdwatching in the fall of 2015 after a brief sighting of a great horned owl on my sixth floor balcony. It was a surreal experience. Great Horned owls are bigger than you expect when they are perched only a few feet away! It’s back was to me at first and the wind blowing through its feathers made them look so soft. In the blink of an eye the big bird swiveled his entire head 180 degrees and looked right at me with huge mesmerizing eyes. I’m embarrassed to admit that it scared me a little and I gasped. Before I could exhale it had flown off into the night.

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Up in Smoke: November 2016

view from the hideaway on First Peak trail

I don’t know about anyone else, but November 2016 really threw me for a loop.   I remember driving to work the morning of November 8 with a double rainbow hanging over the city and just thinking how awesome life was.   With the creation of the world’s largest marine protected area early in the month and the release of the empowering documentary Before the Flood from Leonardo DiCaprio, it seemed like there were reasons to be hopeful about the future of the planet.  By morning on November 9 it was very clear that I had been living in a bubble of optimism.  

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