Being Outdoors, February 2023

Well that’s the first month of the new year over. The days are getting noticeably longer again which is a great mood-lifter. I read something recently where the writer mentioned that they found January and February to be hopeful months because of those lengthening days, and I’m inclined to agree. The first signs of spring begin to appear with new growth starting to show on witch hazel, alder, and others while the first flowers are imminent (even if they are garden plants rather than native).

If we were being outdoors today, I’d be going on about our trio of wonderful hikes in January. We got the hiking season off to a fine start with a sunset snowshoe to the first peak of Mount Seymour, followed by a long day out to Garibaldi Lake, and ending the month with a mix of sun and snow on Elk Mountain. Each trip had a different feel but all three left us feeling exhilarated at spending time in the mountains in such beautiful snowy conditions. The thing they all had in common (apart from snow, obviously) was how clouds influenced the atmosphere and added interest and mystery to our views, treating us to moments of light that truly showcased the beauty of our surroundings.

It’s hard to pick the best of those moments, but I have to say that watching the stars on our descent from Mount Seymour was possibly my favourite, as well as seeing the clouds part to allow the sun to light up the distant mountains while at Garibaldi Lake, and experiencing snowfall under clear blue skies on Elk Mountain.

If we were being outdoors today, I’d express surprise at publishing more than one blog post in January :-) I hit the “Publish” button on six posts. Okay, so three of those were from my summary of our trips in 2022, split into wildlife, flowers, and trips and stats – and what a year it was with 719 km hiked, 36375 m climbed, 67 days on the trail, over 150 wildflower species identified, and 5 grizzly bears seen. The other three posts were for our first hike of the year to Mount Seymour mentioned above, a summary of our Lake O’Hara trip in September, and the summary of our week-long South Chilcotins backpacking trip in August. I’m trying to keep up that momentum and have a few more in the works that I hope to release in February.

If we were being outdoors today, I’d want to enthuse over the hour I spent by Lynn Creek on the last day of the month. I’m writing up this short but sweet visit to the North Shore as one of my Vignette series but I’ll show a couple of teaser photos below. Spoiler alert: the moment was made by the sighting of a dipper (or three) and suffice to say it left me feeling so thankful and grateful to live here as a settler on these lands. That’s a neat segue into the fact that I’m a bit behind the curve but I’m going to start adding land acknowledgements to my posts to express this gratitude.

If we were being outdoors today, I’d joke about how I seem to have become a true Vancouverite after cycling in to work in shorts in January, even in the rain (I also biked in shorts in November and December). I’ve really enjoyed my bike commutes recently, especially as I’ve settled on taking the beach route most mornings. Surprisingly for Vancouver, many of my rides have been under dry or at least not-very-wet conditions. The winds have generally been calm, and the sea has been at peace with the land, lapping gently at the sandy shore. In fact, the sea has been as calm as I’ve ever seen it and, despite the grey, the peaceful nature of the water has been a great way to start the day for me, its calm influencing my state of mind and leaving me contented.

Then I begin the climb. If you cycle in Vancouver, you probably know exactly what that entails. 🚴

That’s it for this month. I hope 2023 has been kind to you so far, and I’ll be back again in March.

I gratefully acknowledge that these words were written and photographs taken on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Lil’wat, and Stó:lō First Nations.

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