Sunday, October 31, 2004

Lakeshore and Golden Wood

As of today clocks here in North America rolled back an hour and the precious hours of daylight we get in this latitude dwindle ever faster.

Friday night we had one of the first of our autumn storms. The wind howled for hours around our door and yesterday morning there were branches down and drifts of cedar scales (needles?) on and around our van.

All of which is a long and roundabout way to say that we escaped again this weekend to the out of doors to soak up the last of Autumn's light.

We drove out to Alouette Lake again, intending to walk the 1/2 mile trail down to the beach from the parking lot, but the road was closed because the bridge over Gold Creek was 'under repair'. Disappointed, but not deterred, we went instead to the regular day area and walked everyone down to the boat ramp.

Alouette Lake Again

Gail says she likes this photo!

And this one too!

Boat Ramp

When we got down to the shore the wind came up and I took out my pocket parafoil. The older 3 M's helped me fly it, but Cheryl sat down with the twins, who had their first introduction to our local geology.

Twins on the Ground

The wind came and went in fits and spurts - strong at times then dying away to a whisper - with the kite still waaaay out over the water! Eventually I decided it was time to wind up the kite cord because it just didn't look like the wind was going to co-operate. My 'kite' helpers disappeared as quickly as the breeze and I had to pull in the kite myself.

Kite Helpers

I was in the midst of this process when Cheryl called over that the twins were starting to get cold - not to mention quite dirty from the sand and gravel they were attempting to ingest. So we packed up kit and kaboodle and hiked back up to the van.

The Golden Wood
It was on the way home, still feeling unsatisfied about how much we had actually walked, that Cheryl suggested we take the kids round to 'the duck pond', meaning Green Timbers Urban Forest, near where we live.

The Golden Wood

The forest itself is the public part of a forestry research station started many years ago when 'the city' was far away and the surrounding sections were either Crown lands or farms. The intervening years have brought urban life much closer and now the forest is an island of nature in the middle of our city.

In the Wood

Because the park was originally used for research (like the UBC Research Forest that we visted a few weeks ago), it has a lot of different species of trees, shrubs, etc. Different parts of the park are designed to recreate different habitats in our province. So as you follow the trails you can find yourself in different parts of B.C. every few minutes.

BC Habitat

Cheryl decided to take us off the beaten path around the pond and instead we investigated some trails that we haven't been on in quite a while. The kids thought this quite adventurous and commented that the grassland part of the park we were walking through was like the African plain. Madeleine and Michael spent a minute or two pretending to be lions and leopards. As Cheryl was pushing the stroller through the wet squishy grass, I imagined a covered wagon of the pioneers.

High Plain

The pond itself is a man-made water feature about 1/2 hectare in area that the ducks who migrate past every year have taken quite a liking to. In light of this I find it ironic that the local bird society people waggle their fingers at us for feeding day-old bread to the ducks while proclaiming that we are "making the ducks dependent on human sources of food." I want to reply, "So, what did they do before this man-made pond appeared?"

Pond Creatures

Saturday, October 30, 2004

A Quiet Little Week

We finally kicked the coughs that had been plaguing us for the last few weeks. Just in time to get flu shots on Friday.

Megan and Maribeth seem to have each independently found 2nd gear - they can get around the house really, really quickly now. We have to put them into the exer-saucer and swing just so we can leave the room.

Twins at 8 Months

We also experienced a lunar eclipse mid-week. Thankfully we had a clear night to observe it since the next one won't occur until 2007.

I also found a photo posted here in the Flickr community of the first flag of Republic of the Philippines: ".. this is the actual flag that was sewn by agoncillo; exhibited in malacaƱang palace."

Posted by Awiyaw Mangubat

One other small bit of news this week was that my sister got engaged!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Weekend Update

Happy Birthday Madeleine!
Our happy Roo-roo is now three years old, but not quite offically a "big" girl.

The not quite comes of the fact this child still thinks it is acceptable to have a poopy bum, so she will not yet be allowed to wear her new "Dora the Explorer" underpants. I believe the current standard, which was met by both Melissa and Michael at this age, is a week of dry pull-ups and regular pottying.

Parental rulings not withstanding, she still enjoyed her birthday immensely because of her new wooden xylophone, wooden recorder, and hand-made paper fan (given by Melissa).

Madeleine's Gifts

Madeleine's birthday guests included Gumpa and Attie Gail - who brought a chocolate cake and some new educational DVD's.

Madeleine's Cakes

Lynn Canyon Adventure
"We'll do just a short walk" - or - "Relief for Cabin Fever"

This weekend marked the end of two weeks of a self-imposed house-hold quarantine due to a seeming unending parade of runny noses, fevers, hacking coughs, coughing hacks (yours truly), a vasectomy, and out-and-out misery all round.

Yesterday morning, we declared a collective, "Enough!" and decided to venture out into the fall sunshine in search of some adventure. Our enthusiasm was paused momentarily by someone's cough - perhaps we should stick to just a small adventure. After all, people were still somewhat sick and I wasn't supposed to be doing anything like regular exercise for another week. But still, anywhere out of the house was better than staring at the same four walls again for yet another weekend.

The M's quit bouncing off the walls long enough to take in the news and shriek for joy. As we savoured our regained freedom, the possibilies that lay before us became endless, and Cheryl and I were forced to pause again. "Umm .. kids, where do you want to go?"

Michael: "We want to go back to the place with the little bridge!"

Melissa: "Yes, with the whooshing water!"

Us: "The dam? I guess we could go there."

Kids: "Yay!"

Then they started bouncing again - this time in search of coats and socks and shoes.

It took us ninety minutes to get out the door (which is a very poor showing compared to our our record 30 minutes), but we didn't care. We were going outside!

We paused again .. "Kids, we can't go to the dam this time. We have to go into town and pick up your Auntie Gail's car."

The Entire Back Row of the Caravan: "Awwww!"

Us: "We'll go to another river with whooshing water and a different bridge instead. You'll like it."

The Entire Back Row: "Okay."

So we drove off into what was earlier a sunny morning, but now was turning gloomier and gloomier.

Near the Trailhead

When we got to Lynn Canyon Park about forty minutes later, the sun had decided to make a reappearance and spirits picked back up again.

Of the oldest two M's, only Melissa remembered our last visit to the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. Unlike our previous experience, she only hesitated for a moment and then stepped onto the gently swaying span.

On the Bridge

We were across in just a few minutes and then we headed into the forest. The light was magical and both Cheryl and I paused often to take pictures. The kids on the other hand were eager to explore the up-and-down trail.

Magical Light

On the Trail

We paused momentarily to let a herd of tourists pass us by and then we made our way to the Twin Falls Bridge.

Twin Falls Bridge

From the bridge we made our way down Lynn Creek along the bank.

Along the Creek

I'm not sure how far we got down the bank, but we found out it would be another 5 miles or so to the other end of the trail, so we had to turn around and come back. Along the way we stopped for a rest and some water.

Rest Stop

And then we hiked back up the stairs to the suspension bridge and back to our van.

Back to the Bridge