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:


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