Manning Park Birds

10 05 2016

I was up at Manning Park this past weekend with my Scouts. It was the warmest May weekend I’ve ever spent!  A few feathered friends made an appearance.

1. Female Brown-Headed Cowbird

Female Brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater)
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

2. Steller’s Jay (Our BC provincial bird!)

Steller’s jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

3. Male Barrow’s Goldeneye

Male Barrow’s goldeneye (Bucephala islandica)
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

4. The Ubiquitous Grey Jay or Whiskey Jack

Grey jay (Perisoreus canadensis)
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

5. My personal favourite bird of the weekend – Audubon’s Warbler

Audubon’s warbler
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

There are also a bunch of landscape and a couple of starscape attempts in the album, if you’re interested:

Thanks for taking the time to enjoy!

Manning Park Beauty

10 05 2016

I was up at Manning Park this past weekend with my Scouts. It was the warmest May weekend I’ve ever spent! Some spectacular scenery – as usual.

1. Morning Mist coming off the lake

Weekend at Manning Park
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

2. Mount Frosty, near the American Border

Weekend at Manning Park
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

3. Postcard moment

Weekend at Manning Park
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

4. A little Columbian Ground Squirrel

Columbian ground squirrel (Urocitellus columbianus)
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

5. Starscape with Jupiter and a Satellite

by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

There are also a bunch of bird photos in the complete album, if you’re interested:

Thanks for taking the time to enjoy!

4 days at Cape Scott Provincial Park

14 09 2015

Mrs Dragonspeed and I went on a 4 day hiking trip with our Venturer Scouts to Cape Scott Provincial Park. For those that don’t know where it is, here is a map to give you an idea: Cape Scott Hiking Map

Here are a few photos from the beautiful wilderness of Northern Vancouver Island:
1. The lush rainforest
Winding through the Rainforest
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

2. Sunset on Nissen Bight
Sunset on Nissen Bight
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

3. Sunset on Guise Bay
Sunset on Guise Bay
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

4. The old road
Old Military Road to Lighthouse
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

5. White Sand Beach – All to yourself!
White Sand Beach all to yourself
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

The whole photo album is here:

I hope you enjoy your short visit to our coastal rainforest :) Comments and Critique are always welcome!

Elfin Lakes!

27 08 2013

We were up in the Diamond Head area of Garibaldi Provincial Park for 4 day/3 nights last week. The alpine scenery was amazing.  Here are some highlights of the hike.

1. Mount Atwell and the Gargoyles

Mt Atwell and the Gargoyles by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

2. Wildflowers

Beautiful flowers by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

3. Premium camping location!

Summer in the Alpine by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

4. Full Moon Rising

Full Moon at Elfin Lakes by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

5. Alpine reflection

Reflection of Mountain beauty by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

6. Lit by the full moon

Elfin Lakes and surroundings by the full moon. by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

7. Moonset over the Tantalus Range

Moonset over the Tantalus range by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

8. Panoramic view from the Opal Cone (bigger on Flickr)

Panorama from the Opal Cone by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

I hope you enjoyed the virtual visit to the alpine!  More shots can be found at:

Comments and Critique welcome!

Anniversary Hike to Yellow Aster Butte

8 08 2013

My wife and I headed out last weekend for an overnight backpacking trip to Yellow Aster Butte meadows as our 13th anniversary of the trip we took for our honeymoon in 2000.  I trekked the 7D up with me using the Cotton carrier (which, I might add, was quite comfortable)

The whole set is at

Here are some samplings of the photographic fruits of our labour:

1. Some lovely little purple wildflowers

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

2. Some of the beautiful wildflowers in bloom with Shuksan in the background

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

3. American and Canadian Border Peaks

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

4. Tarns of Yellow Aster Butte

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

5. Pristine Alpine Tarn

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

6. Our own patch of paradise

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

7. Mount Baker in the distance

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

8. Mount Baker, from Artist’s Point – end of Mount Baker Highway

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

I hope you enjoyed your virtual alpine visit!  Comments welcome!

Winter Camping at Manning Park with the 40th Marpole Scouts

31 01 2012

Camp Scouts Winter Manning Park Marpole

The Scout section was out camping at Manning Park last weekend.   (pictures: )


We arrived on Friday to find 50 Army Cadets and all their associated leaders busy moving into Lone Duck 2 (with all the gear that the military brings with them) and 3 Scout groups already settled into Lone Duck 1.  The parking lot was like Highway 1 at rush hour… you couldn’t move anywhere!


We unloaded and chose the area we were going to camp….  The meadow area was undisturbed, except for a little detail.  There were about 4-5 feet of snow on the ground!   We dug and dug and dug, until around midnight we were all finally in our tents, cozy, with the outside world at about -8C.


Saturday morning was chilly and a light snow kept falling.


By late Saturday afternoon, the weather had warmed up and it was now rain.  Yeach.  We persevered, and all the Scouts did a great job at handling the weather.  It was tough.  Dinner was a welcome, warm addition. 


We spent a bit of the evening in the shelter talking to some of the other scouts, but then called it a night at 2100 – we were all bagged. 


It rained A LOT on Saturday night, with some real winds whipping it around all night long.  By Sunday morning, all the snow was gone from the trees.  We had a good breakfast, a scout’s own and due to the logistical problem of our planned departure time (the cadets had two buses that were going to be in the parking lot at noon!) we opted to load up and get out of dodge without having lunch.   A wise decision. 


All in all, I’m really glad we didn’t go the weekend before – the dangerous roads just were too much, although  I WOULD have liked it if it had been a bit colder and stayed SNOWY the whole weekend while we were at camp.  C’est la vie, I suppose!



Camping at Manning Park with the Scouts

1 02 2010

I haven’t posted about our Scout camp at Manning Park for a couple of reasons.  Unfortunately I still can’t really post about all the fun we had that weekend. Hopefully that will soon come to an end and you’ll get to hear all the interesting times that we had while there.  In the mean time, I have a few pictures from our camp.  There are many others, but you know you me – I’m going to start with the Birds 🙂

1) Sitting in the tree – considering coming down

2) Moments later this guy would be down eating from a hand.

3) Is a bird in the hand really worth two in the bush?

4) Looking for food

5) Escaping with the goods

6) Not everyone was so happy with them landing 😉

7) One of our Venturers posing with a new found friend

I’ll have some pictures of actual camp life up later, but the birds are always high on my list. I hope you enjoyed them!

Backpacking into Alder Flats

5 10 2009

It has been a number of years since I led our Scouts into a backpacking trip. I was afraid that I’d forget something or that I wouldn’t have them correctly prepared.  I was pretty stressed getting ready for this trip.  October trips in the Vancouver area usually mean tarps and rain – attempting to avoid a complete drenching.  I was pretty leary about backpacking.

It turns out that I was over concerned.  The weather turned out to be spectacular and most importantly DRY.  Even the ones that didn’t quite have all their gear packed correctly, that would have spelled misery in bad weather, managed to keep it all together.

We were destined for “Alder Flats”, an area that is open and, unsurprisingly, full of alders.  The campsite is along the trail to the peak for Golden Ears (a 12 hour round trip, big elevation gain, hike).  The site was about 5.5 km in and about 250m elevation gain.

The beginning of the hike (about the first 3km) are quite smooth and easy as you hike along what was once an old logging road which is now overgrown to leave only a narrow trail in places and slightly wider one in others.  After 3km things started to get more technical as you had to navigate rocks, hike up flowing creek beds and avoid slipping on the eternally wet tree roots.  It was muddy in places and it was fun to watch the kids try to hop over and avoid puddles despite the fact that they had good waterproof boots.  I kept telling them to just keep their stride and not to keep trying to hop and manoeuvre around everything all the time as it would only tire them out.

As we approached our destination the spirits of my hiking Scouts started to flag.  They were wearing out.  This was the first time that they had hiked, having to carry everything on their backs. Their hips and shoulders were tired.  When we crossed the last creek, I knew our campsite would be close.  We came across some flat openings in the fir trees near a creek and decided to settle there even though it wasn’t officially “Alder Flats”.  It turns out that the actual location we had wanted was about 100m further up.  The flats, themselves, didn’t have easy access to clean flowing water so I’m glad we camped where we did.  We made it up to the site in about 2.5 hours.  Our camping location was actually 49.36282N, 122.46951W

Upon arrival they all set up their tents and looked after all their necessities of camping.  I won’t bore you with all the details but they had fun, learned a lot (like the fact that 1kg of pepperoni is more than enough for 3 people!) and that if you actually pack well all your belongings can fit in your backpack.

On Sunday we went up to the boulder field by Alder Flats and spent some time for Scouts’ Own and enjoyed the beautiful view of Edge Peak.  We hiked back down after that – it only took 2 hours.  I think they were motivated to get off the trail 🙂

Good Hiking Scouts!  Here are a couple of pictures from Sunday Morning:


Edge Peak:
Scouts Marpole hiking GoldenEars camping backpacking BC Canada

40th Marpole Scouts with Edge Peak in the Background:
Scouts Marpole hiking GoldenEars camping backpacking BC Canada

Manning Park – Columbian Ground Squirrels

1 09 2009

Columbian Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus columbianus)
Manning Park Resort Lodge
Manning Provinical Park, BC, Canada

The area around Manning Park resort Lodge has a healthy colony of Columbian Ground Squirrels.  These little critters are quite acclimatized to people and I saw a few come right up and take food from a tourist (BAD tourist!).  These guys live in little complexes of burrows in the higher alpine areas.  They are quite the sight to watch as they scurry from one hole to the other, prairie dogging periodically.

From wikipedia:
The Columbian Ground Squirrel is found in the North-western United States and South Western Canada (Eliot 1991). Specifically, they are found in parts of Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington in the United States. In Canada, they are found largely in British Columbia and on the western edges of Alberta.

The images below were all shot with the Canon 50D and 100-400L (mostly at 400mm)





Aren’t they just the cutest thing? Basically LARGE rats with good PR 😉


Camping at Manning Park – in a Different Light

31 08 2009

We camped up at Buckhorn Camp, in Manning Park, on the trail to Three Brothers Mountain, this weekend.  Generally good weather… some fun photo ops. Here’s one:

30 second exposure – F8 ISO 100. 1/2 hour after sunset.
Two people IN the tent, painting the interior with LED headlamps, and one outside the tent painting the ground around the base to give it some "ground to sit on".

Hope you like it. It was fun to make!

For the 360 degree panorama from Three Brothers Mountain: (courtesy of Mrs D)

We rode the KVR August 11-16, 2009

20 08 2009

The 40th Marpole Scouts and 28th Kitsilano Scouts went out to the Okanagan for a 4 day bike ride on the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) trail spanning 200km.

We left Vancouver on August 11th with 11 youth and 7 adults.  4 of us were going to ride and we had 3 support drivers.  We headed out with 2 minivans, a Toyota Tundra and an F350 1ton cargo van.  We had 15 bikes to rack, 18 backpacks and all the assorted group gear and food. We were loaded to the hilt! 

The ride along Highway 3 is actually quite pleasant in the day in the middle of summer, even if it’s long.  It took us about 7 hours to reach our starting point for the ride, Kettle River Provincial Park.    It was warm.  At 1800 it was still 26C.  It was shaping up to be a typical, hot, Okanagan ride.

The plan was to get up at 0600 every day so that we could be on the trail before 0800.   That kind of fell apart by the last day.

km’s cycled each day:

  • Kettle River Provincial Park->Beaverdell: 46km  (FLAT)
  • Beaverdell->Pear Lake: 59km (1% uphill)
  • Pear Lake->end of Myra Canyon Trestles: 26km (followed by “rescue”) (FLAT)
  • Chute Lake->Penticton: 47km (2% downhill)

The weather was comfortably cool most days except on day 3 it was 10C, raining and we all ended up mildly hypothermic…Geesh – the OKANAGAN isn’t supposed to be like that!  It’s supposed to be 35C and sweltering.  Cursed weather!

It’s hard to take a lot of pictures while cycling, but I did manage a few.  Those will come later.  I also brought the little SD780is – not to take pictures (stills SUCK, but for it’s HD video!)  Here’s a quick video I put together from the last part of the ride (from Chute Lake to Penticton)

At least the last day was fun! 😉

We stayed in Penticton on the last night and dined on real food before heading home on the Sunday via the Coquihalla. The drive was fast – just slowed down when we hit the usual traffic coming into the Port Mann.

It sure felt good to get home and hang up our gear 🙂

Tonight we head back to our Scout Hall and fold up the tents that have been drying out.   Another GREAT summer expedition under our belts.

Here’s a pano of “Summit Lake” –  a private lake near Hydraulic Lake along the KVR.  Beautiful lake with a little gazebo along it:

Summit Lake along the KVR

Summit Lake along the KVR

Manning Park Winter Scout Camp – Warm WEATHER!!!

9 12 2008

We went out to Manning park – Lone Duck Campground on the weekend.  If you were one of the couples camping up above us, you no doubt knew we were down there.  We had the 40th Scouts and the 28th Scouts from Vancouver up.  All in all I think we had 45 kids up at camp.  It was fun – we weren’t exactly quiet.  The weather was warm for December – I think it may have made it down to –2C one night but for the most part it stayed just above 0C.  We hiked, practiced firelighting skills, outdoor cooking skills, and had a big warm campfire on Saturday night.
We all had a great time and the Venturers from both groups did a great job helping with the leadership of the Scouts.

Thanks to all that made the camp go so smoothly!

The entire collection of photos (40thcentric) are available at:

I’m sure the 28th Scouts will have a selection of pictures up soon as well.


Stein Valley photos – Alpine

2 09 2008

Due to weather issues, my camera and lens got absolutely soaked during the Stein hike.  On day 2, going from Caltha Lake to Tundra Lake via Figure 8 lake, mother nature decided to unleash her fury upon us.  It wasn’t pretty.  Rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog and 60kph winds.  The sheer battering of water was too much for my camera.  It didn’t dry out again until the 3rd day down in Lytton after we had left the valley.

The pictures were taken with a Canon 40D and a (definitely not waterproof) Canon 17-85IS USM lens.

Here are some of the pics I took on the first 2 days until then though.

The full collection of photos can be found at my photo blog:

A couple of photos from last weekend

22 07 2008

I went camping with the 28th Vancouver Scouts last weekend up at Camp Byng on the Sunshine Coast.  They aren’t my scouts, they belong to Mrs D, and I was "volunteered" to come help.  As a bonus I had a chance to get some photos in on the trip.

All these shots were taken with Mrs D’s Canon XTi.  All except the last shot were taken with the 100-400L lens.  IF you click on the image, the full size one comes up.

Friday’s waning moon:

The Queen of Surrey:

The Queen of Oak Bay:

A tug moving a log boom down the Georgia Strait for processing:

An attempt at an artistic shot of sap dripping from a Douglas Fir:


Camp Log from 40th Marpole Galiano Island Scout Bike Camp

6 05 2008

Back after we finished camp, I promised I’d get a log posted.

This is the log of the camp as written by one of our 11 year old Scouts:

This bike camp is fun. I had a lot of fun with my bike.  We went uphill and downhill.  Even though the uphills were hard it was still good excercise.  The downhill riding was very exciting.  I like going down hills you can go very fast.

Bike camp is fun.  We made a campfire that I also really enjoyed.  We sat around the fire and sang songs and played.  I really enjoyed looking at the stars in the sky at night.  The stars are beautiful.  The hike on Sunday was good.  I learned a lot and saw old rocks that can easily break.  It was very cool.  There were little crabs under the rocks that were very interesting and funny to watch as they scurried around.  The seas and the beaches were beautiful.  The beach isn’t made of sand at all, but rather millions of cracked shells.  The path along the hike was very hard to walk on at some places, but I liked it.

I really enjoyed this bike camp, even though it was short.  It was my first time to go to camp on my bike.  I was surprised how hard the uphills were and how exciting the downhills were. I will definitely go to the next biking camp because I love it.

Montague Harbour Bike Camp

16 04 2008

The 40th Marpole Scouts went on a bike camp to Montague Harbour on Galiano Island this past weekend.  The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm – In stark contrast to the barely 10C weather we’ve been having.  I hope to get one of our Scouts’ log from the trip.  In the mean time… some photos.  The load might be a bit slow.  There are 100 photos from the trip.

I apologize for the quality of some of the shots.  They were kept so as to be more of a story telling series rather than quality.  I tried some action panning shots, but they were tough!

Log coming soon.  Enjoy.

2008-05-06: One of the camp logs is now posted

Unknown little Orchid on Galiano Island

24 04 2007

This past weekend we were camping at Montague Harbour with the Scouts, on Galiano island.  We came across a pretty little purple orchid.  The problem is We don’t know what it is.  It stands about 10-15 cm tall, and has a purple flower with 5 petals, and a pitcher like bottom to the flower giving it a dragon like face.

Here are a couple of pictures.  Can you identify this flower?

If you know what this beautiful little flower is, please leave a comment!  Thanks!

Note – Thanks to Sam – It has been identified: “Calypso Bulbosa” aka Fairy Slipper or Venus’s Slipper!!!!

More Pictures from Winter Camping in Manning Park with the Scouts

13 12 2005

Here are my Pictures from our December winter camp with the 40th Marpole scouts in Manning Park.  It’s really not as cold as it looks 😉


Quite the Busy Weekend

30 05 2004

We headed up to the west side of Harrison Lake to “Camp Cove” on Friday night in two trucks,  with 7 scouts, and two leaders.  We made the obligatory stop at “Rotten Ronnie’s” at Harris Rd.  After that, it was straight through to camp.  This was a competition camp, at which our Scouts would be competing to see if they can be the best patrol among 9 other patrols, in things such as camping skills, organisation, cooking, spirit, and cleanliness – all challenges for the average 11-14 yr old 🙂

We arrived at Cove around 2030, and by random draw, the kids got their site assigned.  Nice view, but on a bit of knoll, so also a bit windy when the wind blew.  All the kids were busy setting up tents, building tables, and generally camping, while we, the adults, stood to the side, and let them work.  It was good seeing what they could do without adult intervention.  Everything finally settled around 2330, and the final inspection of the day happened while they were all in there tents, to check if they’d left food out, or a messy site.  The fun part was waking them up, and telling them to come out and fix it (Bwahahahahah!).

Saturday Morning came, and with it, an opportunity to go drown some worms.  I whipped out the ultralight, and had a go for some cutties, which I figured would be cruising around for the chum fry.  Apparently, not in the area I fished 😦  Oh well.  I also determined that my old hiking shoes MUST go in the garbage, I twisted an ankle once, and later slipped, and came down on a rock with my elbow.  I always find it fascinating that you can cut yourself THROUGH a jacket 😦

After Lunch, the scouts had activities to complete, and I ran an activity in which a patrol had to carry a member over and under ropes, while never losing contact with him.  It was quite challenging, and the real thing I was watching for, was how the team worked under adversity.  It was nice to see some patrols coming together, however some fell apart.  As they say, adversity brings out the best AND the worst in some.

Dinner!  Dinner is always exciting, because a patrol invites you to have it with them.  This can be a frightening experience that can turn you off food for life, or can be a wonderful experience that makes you wish you camped with that patrol ALL the time.  Mine was a mixed bag.  It was supposed to be an Italian meal.  The spaghetti was coagulated ball of pasta that kind of made me gag, but the Ragu sauce helped to choke it down 🙂  It did come with garlic bread, and ceasar salad, along with a nice sparkling apple juice to top it off.  Other than the spaghetti, quite nice.  The spaghetti really dragged the marks down.

At this point things start blurring a bit…campfire, singing skits, late night, sleeping, breakfast, rain, rain, hard rain, rain, pack up, rain, closing.

The memorable part about the closing, of course is that OUR Scouts, the 40th Marpole WON!  Our scouts were like a well oiled machine.  They smiled through the tough stuff, and worked like a team through the WHOLE weekend.  Wow!

So, not much fishing, (or sleep) but a lot of fun, activity, and seeing the business men and women of tomorrow test their growing wings of independance.  Now – Time to sleep for me!

p.s. I’d appreciate some comments or feeback here – let me know what you think!  Thanks!

Not Much Blogging Going on this Weekend

28 05 2004

Going to be camping for the weekend.  Out with my Scouts.

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