Tales of hardship, sweat and the odd expletive as we do our utmost to break our camera in the great outdoors.
We like hiking. And backpacking. And snowshoeing. And we’ve been known to go kayaking, cycling and cross-country skiing. The tagline above was inspired by our repeated attempts to destroy one of our first digital cameras. To our surprise, it survived every one. That being said, we’re not in a hurry to test the resilience of our current cameras…
Here are links to where we’ve been over the past few years:
In addition, I’ve taken to writing an annual summary in recent years:
Our love of hiking began as short day hikes, triggered by a week in the English Lake District back in 1997. Since then hiking has grown from merely something we like doing to a somewhat more obsessive “how we justify working 5 days a week”. We were introduced to snowshoeing soon after moving to Vancouver and haven’t looked back since, and have learned more about snow in the last few years than we ever would have believed possible. Our first backpacking trip was to Della Falls, in July 2006. Since then we have been hooked and can’t get in enough overnight or longer trips. We try and plan for at least one multi-day trip each year.
Most of our hiking takes us to parts of the Coast Mountains and North Cascades within easy reach of Vancouver. The North Shore mountains have numerous hikes of varying difficulty, several of which make excellent snowshoe trails in winter. Many excellent provincial parks are located in the Lower Mainland, including Cypress, Mount Seymour, Stawamus Chief, Garibaldi, Joffre Lakes, Golden Ears, Chilliwack Lake, and Manning Park. Further afield, we have hiked on Vancouver Island, in the Okanagan, and Canadian Rockies with a small amount of time spent in the North Cascades near Mount Baker.
Since we do so much these days, it’s a bit of a tall order to keep this journal up-to-date, but I’ll just see what I can do. If nothing else, I usually write-up a few paragraphs and a photo or two.
We started off with Dawn Hanna’s book “Best Hikes and Walks in Southwestern BC”, which provided an excellent introduction to hiking near Vancouver. Within days of moving here we joined the Wanderung mailing list which is directly responsible for getting us out hiking and meeting like-minded folk in Vancouver. I’ve been helping run Wanderung since 2008, writing their weekly newsletter since the middle of 2011, and between us we’ve organized a couple of dozen hikes.
Of course, one book is never enough so we also have Jack Bryceland’s “103 Hikes”, Mary and David Macaree’s “109 Walks”, Craig and Kathy Copeland’s “Don’t Waste Your Time in the Coast Mountains”, “Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies” and “WOW: North Cascades”. More recently we’ve added “105 Hikes in and around Southwestern British Columbia” by our friend Stephen Hui, “Squamish Hiking” by Marc Bourdon, and “The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore” by David Crerar, Harry Crerar, and Bill Maurer.
In the early days, photography was handled by a Canon EOS 500 film camera, before we ventured in the world of digital photography with a Canon A20 in June 2001. We used both in tandem for a few years, before upgrading the A20 to a Canon A80 in April 2004. The cost of film processing and the flexibility of digital (especially the A80 compared with the A20) meant that the film camera was retired that year and since then we have relied solely on digital cameras. The A80 was an excellent camera and it served us very well. May 2007 saw our next upgrade, to the “superzoom” Canon S3IS, which I have to admit I didn’t like as much as I anticipated. Somehow the picture quality seemed worse than that of the A80, although it was undoubtedly a more versatile camera.
Finally in July 2009 we joined the dSLR brigade with a Nikon D5000 and haven’t looked back. Since we bought the dSLR we’ve found ourselves wondering why we didn’t buy one sooner. In December 2011, we added a new compact camera to the lineup, a Canon SX230HS, a big-zoom camera that’s small and pocketable, and not a bad little camera in its own right, combining most of what we liked about the A80 and S3IS.
However, after a year of using two cameras in tandem, we finally decided that we actually needed a dual-SLR setup for maximum picture quality-ness, and bought a Nikon D3200 for Christmas 2012, to which we added an ultra-wide angle lens for capturing those vast mountain landscapes :-) That lens got its first workout on a trip to Lake O’Hara in summer 2013, and it’s become a firm favourite of ours. Towards the end of 2015, the Canon SX230HS was traded in for a Sony RX100II and so far it’s proving to be an excellent little camera. Most recently we bought a Canon EOS M50, our first foray into mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILCs). It’s not entirely lived up to my expectations, but I’ve definitely appreciated its small size and weight when backpacking.
I’ve written up some more thoughts about our cameras elsewhere.
Note these pages are not a guide, nor advice. By continuing to use this site, you are acknowledging that you are 100% responsible for your own actions and safety when venturing into the backcountry.