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!

Remembrance Day – 2015

17 11 2015

Our Scout group goes down to Chinatown every year to help commemorate Remembrance Day with the Chinese community.  It’s a small ceremony that takes place at 12:30pm, after the main one down in Victory Square.  The weather was beautiful this year and made for some good pics.

1. False Creek condos from Sun Yat-Sen gardens

New and Old
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

2. Bomber Flyby

by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

3. Formation Fly-by

by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

4. Old fighters

by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

5. More old fighters

WWII Veterans
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

6. Proud vets

For their service, I am grateful!
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

7.Chinese Workers’ memorial
Chinese Worker’s Memorial by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

8. My Scouts

28th Kitsilano Scout Group
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

9. Soon there will be too few :(

Two WWII veterans
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

The whole set can be found at:

I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Pacific Jamboree – 2015

14 09 2015

The Pacific Jamboree – 2015 was held near Sooke BC, in July this year. Here are some shots from our fun filled week, hopefully showcasing the great time we had with 3000 of our closest friends! :)

1. Opening Ceremonies – crowd shot
by 28th Vancouver Scout Group, on Flickr

2. The addictive fun of badge trading
by 28th Vancouver Scout Group, on Flickr

3. Close Quarters
by 28th Vancouver Scout Group, on Flickr

4. Unbelievably, they let ME throw a hatchet! :)
by 28th Vancouver Scout Group, on Flickr

5. Learning Scuba
by 28th Vancouver Scout Group, on Flickr

6. Pole Climbing
by 28th Vancouver Scout Group, on Flickr

7. Rock Climbing
by 28th Vancouver Scout Group, on Flickr

And so much more!!! The 7 day event was a blast, and you can see how much fun it was in the whole album:

I hope you enjoy viewing as much as we enjoyed doing!

Winter Camping with the Scouts – Manning Park

11 12 2007

Lightning Lake, Manning Provincial Park , BC Canada

Last weekend (Dec 7-9, 2007) we went camping with the Scouts at the Lightning Lake Winter campsite, Manning Provinical Park in BC.  We were about 30 in number, including 3 leaders and 18 Scouts and Venturers from the 40th Marpole Scouts as well as 10 Scouts and Venturers from the 28th Kitsilano Scouts.

40th Marpole and 28th Kitsilano Scout Groups at Lightning Lake

On the Friday night when we arrived it was pretty cold.  The kids set up their tents and got their things organized.  It was cold.  Very cold.  One of the scouts had his birthday so his parents had sent up a birthday cake.  By the time we got to eating the cake it was more of an ice cream cake… Just what you need at -14C 🙂  By the time we got to the point where we were boiling up “hot water bottles” for their sleeping bags it was almost midnight.  We finished boiling up the last bottle at about 0130! 

Sidebar 1:  We require our scouts to buy and use only the 1L wide mouth nalgene bottles which just so happen to be the type of bottle that MEC pulled from their shelves the other day due to fears of bisphenol A.  This allows us to pour boiling hot water into bottles without melting them or burning the hands of the holder.  The plastic is slightly insulating and makes a great slow dissipation of heat.  These bottles are tough and also can handle the duress imposed upon them as the water freezes later that next day.

Sidebar 2: The old plunger pump style of coleman stoves and lanterns:

SUCK in cold weather.  Since we do at least 2 cold weather camps a year, we’re going to start using more MSR stoves and look for lanterns that work on a similar fuel delivery system to the MSR.  At -15, the LAST thing you want is to not be able to light a stove or lantern because you can’t maintain a seal on your fuel pump 😦  If you have any suggestions for lanterns, please add them in the comments!


The next morning it was BITTERLY cold.  Turns out it had gone down to about -18C overnight.  So, on top of the usual sleepy kids, we had a bunch of kidsicles too.  They were cold.  They had to get warm energy in themselves soon, and get moving.  It’s a funny cycle though.  When you’re cold you just want to sit still – which makes you colder… and around it goes.  We got them to get their breakfast going and boil more water to have hot liquid to drink.  In the cold everything takes a long time, and this was no exception.  Breakfast finished in about 1.5 hours.

After breakfast we headed out to the parking lot area and played ball tag as well as had distance competitions for throwing “snowballs” (actually icy snow chunks).  By the time we finished everyone had warmed up a bit more, and the sun was finally coming over the mountains at about 1000.  It was time for a hike.  Lightning lake is quite a large lake with a couple of large bays which makes the lake size look deceptively small when you look at it from the “right” angle.  We headed out along the shore walking through mostly broken snow.  We were able to identify tracks of rabbits, hares, raven, squirrels and possibly a small cat (cougar/bobcat?) We could tell it was a wild carnivore of some sort since its scat had a lot of fur in it, possibly from squirrels or mice.  We walked all the way down to the rainbow bridge (which is where we took the picture you see above), and then returned back to the campsite to get lunch going.  The kids had all kinds of different things for lunch while we, the leaders, had chunky chicken noodle soup.  That warmed the soul 😀  Of course lunch and its associated machinations required about 1.5 hours again.

After lunch came the big challenge of the day:  start a small sustainable fire from natural surroundings which will continue to burn for 10 minutes with no interference from the firelighters.  There were some excellent attempts and one fire even burned for 9:50 before dying into a smoldering heap.  They had a great time with the challenge even though it was quite difficult.  Fire lighting is a skill that they need to work on still.  One that may possibly save their lives in the future.

 28th kitsilano Scouts fire lighting

The sunset was around 1430.  This is one of the joys of camping in a  mountain valley in the winter – not much sunlight.  The stars overhead were fantastic and made a beautiful blanket of white in the black moonless sky.  I don’t think too many kids noticed them though.  They were busy “being cold”.

Lessons about cold:

  1. If you keep your gloves off your hands will get cold
  2. If you keep your gloves on when they are wet your hands will get cold
  3. If you keep your gloves on and do nothing with your hands they will get cold
  4. Repeat above 3 replacing gloves with boots and hands with feet
  5. If you stand around and hope you’ll get warmer, you won’t.  MOVE.
  6. If you don’t eat enough you won’t have enough calories – COLD
  7. If you don’t drink enough you won’t have enough water to help your body metabolize your calorie intake – COLD
  8. If you listen to your Scout leaders you have a WAY better chance of staying warm.

Dinner was a massive undertaking.  By now most juices had frozen solid, olive oil had turned into olive butter, eggs were hard calcium covered rocks, and water bottles were full of ice.  It took some determination to get dinner ready and eaten without freezing or having frozen food.  They did it.   Sure, the place looked a bit like a hurricane had blown through but they did it.  After the 2+ hour affair called dinner it was time for the event to which ALL scouts were looking forward – campfire!  We piled it high!  We had a palette of old pine 2x4s and some hemlock and fir.  We built a beauty of a fire and we roasted ourselves around it.  While warming up we sang Christmas songs and talked about gifts from Christmases past – the good, the bad and the ugly. There sure are some odd gifts out there!  I reminded them that at Christmas time everyone talks about kindness and charity, but that as Scouts they should have kindness and charity in their hearts at all times – not just Christmas.  As scouts we should always be cheerful and kind, considerate and clean, looking for ways to better the world.  Christmas is when the rest of them do it.  We do it all year ’round.

At about 2100 we played a wide game that had them running around through the woods and playing and yelling like kids enjoy doing.  It was definitely warmer than it had been on Friday night.  By 2200 we had finished our game and headed over to the lakeshore to look up at the sky.  For almost all these youth this will be the most stars in the sky that they may ever see.  It was beautiful.  Orion, Ursa major, the milky way, mars.  They shone bright but were also surrounded by millions of lesser stars that you don’t see when you’re in the city.  Next, we began to boil up water bottles again for those that wished them.  After all was said and done we managed to get to sleep by 2330 on Saturday night.  It was REALLY quiet.  They were obviously tired.

Sunday morning was the mad rush to leave.  We woke at 0730 again but this time to the sound of snow falling.  It was falling pretty heavily and would likely start to cause us some problems if it continued at that rate.  The Scouts and Venturers packed up their gear in their tents and then got up and went through the breakfast game again.  One day they’ll become a well oiled team, but in the meantime we continue to be serenaded by shouts of “Hey – what ARE you doing?” and “Why are you doing that?”  Ah – teamwork.

At 1120 I drove out to the lodge to meet the school bus which was to pick us up.  He arrived a bit late (1150). Apparently the highway between Vancouver and Abbotsford had been closed due to too much black ice and over 15 cars in the ditch.  They reopened it later, but it was enough to make him late to come get us.

We finally pulled out of Manning Park at around 1300 and were back in Vancouver by 1600.  I was tired but happy that I’d had a good camp out with the Scouts again.

I hope to have one of the youths’ camp logs posted soon.


Remembrance Day 2007

12 11 2007

As usual, our Scout group joined many other scout groups and veterans at the Vancouver South Cenotaph.  The weather was dull grey, a bit cold and even a bit rainy.  Our kids were great!  They stood still and quiet “at ease” when required, and didn’t flinch when the rain started to fall upon them.  The veterans were very happy to see such dedication from our youth. 

I truly hope that kids today will have a chance to meet and talk with someone who’s been in a combat situation to understand the harsh realities of war.  It’s not a video game, and you don’t get to start over if you die.

We shall remember them!

Pictures from some of the recent 40th Marpole outings

22 10 2007

I’ve managed to find enough time to post up some photo galleries from recent Scout trips.

Not all the photos are “great”, but the purpose of the gallery is to give parents and friends an idea and a memory of the event, rather than to produce gallery quality images 😉

A weekend visit to a fish hatchery and then a sleep over at our Scout Hall:

Our first camp of the 2007-2008 Scouting season:

This past weekend’s “Apple Days”

I hope you get the sense of the fun (and rain in one case) that we had 🙂

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Camp Log – Golden Ears Provincial Park

21 10 2007

As promised, here is the camp log from one of our scouts…

Friday October 12, 2007.

As usual, I got off school early on Friday so I got home, took a bath and finished off some homework. The time passed so quickly that it was time already to head to the Scout hall. I happened to be there on time so I started to help out pack up for the camp. I ended up going into Scouter D’s truck with Tom Dick and Harry. We headed off first to McDonald’s for dinner. I ordered a Big Mac Meal and it was supposed to be a normal sized meal but for some reason, they gave me everything super sized. I was happy about it and since there was the Monopoly Prize game going on, I won a free Root Beer. I saved it for later because I was already having Root Beer as my super sized drink. I was superbly full after that tremendously sized meal. I got back into the car and Scouter E was leading the way this time so I just sat and rested a bit before arriving at camp. At camp, the Scouts, Recruits and Venturers were unloading the truck while Harry and I worked on the lanterns. When I finished doing that, we took our tarps and started setting up for our shelter. Our shelter was the partially the most important thing for us in this camp because it’s the thing which we are sleeping under. I was the almost the last one to sleep that night. That night it was kind of cool so I wore sweatpants, a long sleeve shirt and a long sleeve fleece to sleep. I was so warm. Before that, Tom and Dick said that the tarp was too low so Harry, Joe and I went to help fixing the tarp. Harry decided to throw his knife up the tree but he wasn’t too smart about it. He threw the knife up the tree and then the knife got stuck. It twisted around the branch three times. It took us about ten minutes to get the knife back down. Scouter D was looking at us do that and he said the knife was going to be stuck in the tree and it happened to be that he was right. I helped Joe tie up the rope around the tree and then suddenly, Harry said the tarp was still too low. Unfortunately, Joe and I had to untie the tarp again and pull it up then tie it again. Something happened to the knot I tied. It was a dead knot. Harry, Joe and I couldn’t untie it so we used some of our knives’ tools but none of them worked. I took out the screwdriver and gave it to Joe. It took some time before we could get the knot untied. I set my watch to 7:00 in the morning along with some other Recruits too.


Saturday October 13, 2007.

Today, I got up late because my watch wouldn’t ring, in fact, none of our watches rang. No one knew when to get up so we just kept sleeping and sleeping until Joe awoken and started shouting, wake up at all of us. We started boiling hot water when we got out of our shelter. Harry and I went to look at the Scouts cook their meals so we could make sure that they were doing what was right in safety measures. I had eggs and bacon for breakfast today and one thing that wasn’t nice was that TMan was cooking eggs for us and he was making scrambled eggs and he let go of the frying pan, then he dropped all the eggs except three left. Everyone who didn’t eat yet got really irritated including me. Afterwards, Scouter D brought us to our shelters and taught us how to fix it. It took us some time to do that. When that was finished, we had lunch. Lunch happened to be better than our breakfast. We went on a hike after that I think. When we came back, we worked on the fire making for that night’s campfire. I found it amusing because I had nothing to do. I got up later on and started making dinner by boiling water and then boiling potatoes. We had an awesome dinner that night. We had barbecued pork, vegetables, and some potatoes. I ate so much that I was over satisfaction. We had sometime to clean up after and because we finished off pretty quickly, I was ordered to set up the lanterns. After, I went to Scouter D and his camera. They were doing something very unique. They were drawing with lights on a picture. I tried it too and I wrote my name. I looked like a ghost in that picture. We had a campfire after that and that campfire was very small. We had a game after that but no one really wanted to play because they were really tired. I was kind of tired too. I was beginning to get cold and then when we ended the game, we went back to the camp site and everyone went to bed as soon as possible. Joe wanted my help and I was willing to because this job he gave me was fun. We had to pile all of the wood onto the campfire and turn it into ash. We piled all the wood at once and the fire grew so hot it was amazing.


Sunday October 14, 2007.

Today I woke up on time and started to make breakfast. Two of us made breakfast while the rest of us went to pack and take down the shelter. I was feeling weird today. I had two sausages for breakfast. I had to go to the washroom after I packed up. I had a stomach ache. Then Tom called fall in and I was done already, fixing up my belt inside the washroom. I was late sixty two seconds so I had to run lap after we broke off. We went on a hike around the park and it was very relaxing. We learnt some stuff about the trees. We went back to the camp site and then we had lunch. I was somewhat eager to go back home. We had Scouts Own later on and so we left our knives at the table and headed down to the beach. The road was pretty long comparing to the other roads. I was bored so after the Scouts Own, I threw rocks into the water. I found this huge odd looking rock after which looked like a flat piece of rock, around 20 inches wide, and two inches thick. I threw it into the water and splash! There was the piece of rock spinning on top of the water. I was surprised a rock, so heavy could spin on the water like that. I found some clay and wrote my name on the rock. I dried later on and I liked it being there. We left pretty soon after that to the Scout Hall. I was happy to go home after that. 


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Fun with light in the night

18 10 2007

While waiting for our campfire on Saturday night at camp, I decided to pull out my camera and try some long exposure shots, to see if I could get some fun ghostly images.

Long story short:  most of the pictures were crap 😦

But a couple turned out kinda cool.  Here’s one that wasn’t just passing light, but a bit of light artistry 🙂

Fun with a long exposure shot and a headlamp! 
(The picture looks better at the original link)

The nice thing about digital “film” is that I knew immediately if it worked or not.  Great way to pass some time at camp!


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Scout Camp at Golden Ears Provincial Park

15 10 2007

Last weekend we camped at Golden Ears Provincial Park.  Watch this space.  Within the next week, I’ll be posting the best log of the camp as written by one of the Scouts.


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