Being Outdoors, March 2023

It’s that time of year when the days are lengthening, it’s no longer dark at 5 pm, and there’s a sense that spring is just around the corner. Or maybe the next corner, or the one after that, depending on whether a marmot’s cousin claims to have seen its shadow. And then it goes and snows on us. In Vancouver. But that brings its own rewards…

If we were being outdoors today, I would, of course, want to tell you about the hikes we did in February. We got out only twice as the first two weekends of the month were rainy and miserable, and not cold enough for that rain to be falling as snow on the North Shore mountains. Fortunately the following weekend was fine and we snagged a late afternoon wander up to Hollyburn to catch a beautiful sunset. Alas, that was the only fine weekend and the following Saturday we found ourselves opting for a forest hike just for the sake of some outdoor time. But miraculously instead of a dingy, muddy walk in the trees, we were treated to a magical wander through an icy and snowy forest.

If we were being outdoors today, I’d remark on my relatively productive month for writing, with four new blog posts seeing the light of day, two of which described a couple of last September’s overnight adventures with friends. I have a few more drafts lined up for March, so I hope I can get those finished. My drafts list doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter: every time I publish a post, I end up starting a new draft as I find something else to write about. This is how my “vignette” series got started a couple of years ago. But I enjoy mixing up the style of posts as it can get a little tedious to write every post in the same way.

Right now I have a staggering 289 drafts weighing on my conscience but, to be honest, only a tiny fraction of those need to be completed. I tend to create a skeleton draft for each hike we do, and come up with ideas for non-hiking posts. I like to try and write up the basic summary if possible (covering the Opinion, Fact, and Key Moments portions of the post) just to get the initial reaction out of my head and into words. If I feel inspired, I’ll start writing the story but far too often I get so far only to run out of steam. In cases such as these, once I’ve stopped, it’s very hard to rekindle the desire to put myself back in the headspace of the trip, and these posts often end up languishing. We’ll see if I can get that draft count down a bit more, though, especially if I can plunge in to writing up our more epic trips from last year. (And the year before…) One area I’ve definitely neglected, though, is reading other blogs – apologies to all my blogging friends, I will get round to catching up again with you all again soon!

If we were being outdoors today, I’d say how much I’m enjoying the lighter evenings, especially for my bike commute home. Lighter, yes; drier, no. We’ve had more than a few soggy and even snowy days this February, but I’ve kept at it, and I’m always happy that I got outside on my bike. I have a post in the works with photos from my commute over the past few months which should be ready soon. In the meantime, here’s a couple of favourite images from my winter cycling.

If we were being outdoors today, I’d repeat myself by saying how much I appreciate having the beaches and Stanley Park so close. They are our go-to places for fresh air and a dose of nature, and barely a week goes by without us visiting one or other location. Last weekend’s snow turned the beach white for a short time and we had fun walking in a mix of snow and sand, at least until our legs got tired. I also really enjoy walking at Boundary Bay, even on grey days, for its sense of space and the chance to see all manner of birds. These are the things that keep us going when we can’t get into the mountains and offer us so many opportunities to be outdoors and top-up our nature fixes.

That’s all for this month. I hope that the next few weeks are good ones for you all and that spring finally begins to make its presence felt.

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.