The Sacred Headwaters


Sacred Headwaters, Paul Colangelo, 2012

The Sacred Headwaters is a basin in Northwestern BC and contains the headwaters to three important rivers—the Skeena, Nass and Stikine. Recently, a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the region was set to expire, but in a surprise move the Provincial Government banned all oil and gas exploration in the region. It’s a major victory for those who value wild places. It also shows what can be done when an election is looming.

Galiano Exploration

Galiano Island, Jason Landry, 2012

At the moment, we’re in the Alberta parkland spending the Christmas holidays with my parents on their acreage, but I wanted to take a quick moment to share some photos of our trip to Galiano Island a few weeks back. Just like now, we had no schedule guiding us and took things as they came. With no plans, it’s hard to fail.

Cabin Time at Bodega Ridge

Moonrise at Bodega Ridge, Jason Landry, 2012

My birthday isn’t a big deal to me, for the most part it’s just another day, but awhile back I got it in my head that I wanted to go away to a cabin for my next birthday. In particular—and thanks to Bob Kronbauer—I wanted to go to Bodega Ridge on Galiano Island.

My wonderful wife booked us in and this past weekend we made our way over with the kids. We had no set plans, brought books, food and drinks, and decided to just take things as they come. Opening the door and finding a bottle of Prosecco with a birthday note from Jesse and Co. was a great start.

The Property, Jason Landry, 2012

Bodega Ridge is a nice property on the North-west coast of the island. Earlier this year—and again, thanks in-part to Bob— they stocked one of their ponds with Rainbow Trout. I brought rods and tackle for a little catch-and-release fun with the kids, but we never did get around to it. Instead, we explored the surroundings, cooked delicious meals and relaxed by the wood stove. Maybe next time.

Cabin #7, Jason Landry, 2012

It was so nice to get away and not really have to think about anything. That’s not to say we didn’t think, in fact, we did a lot of thinking about what we want to do for our future cabin on Gambier Island. Let’s just say we came back inspired. We’re also convinced that we’ll be back to Bodega Ridge. After all, I turn 40 next year.

Banff Returns

Crossing the Ice, James Castrission & Justin Jones, 2011
Crossing the Ice, James Castrission & Justin Jones, 2011

The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour has returned to Vancouver and I’m going to both programs—Program A tonight and Program B on Saturday. I don’t know how many times I’ve been to this festival, but I started back in the early 90′s when I lived in Calgary. It’s not quite like being at the actual festival in Banff, but it’s damn good anyway. I get goosebumps every time I hear the music in the intro.

A Walk in the Backyard

Trail reflection
A sense of scale
Throwing stones
Walking the Seymour River, Jason Landry, 2012

This past weekend I took the family for a short walk along the Seymour River in North Vancouver. I still find it amazing that a massive, dark forest is basically on our doorstep. Combine that with the mountains, glaciers, rivers and lakes… the minds spins.

Up the In-Shuck-Ch

This past weekend the kids and I did a bit more exploring, but rather than a simple day trip, we (meaning I) decided to go a littler further and do an overnighter. Fall on the West Coast usually means a ton of rain and this in turn means a potentially soggy tent, particularly when kids are involved. With my wife away on business, I figured the three of could have a nice dry night in the truck.

Heading up the road
Lizzie Bay
Up the In-Shuck-Ch FSR, Jason Landry, 2012

On Sunday we slowly made our way North through Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton before turning down the In-Shuck-Ch Forest Service Road that winds its way down Lillooet Lake and beyond to Port Douglas near the northern end of Harrison Lake. My wife and I have been down part of this road many years ago, but this time I planned on going a bit further.

The Narrows
Swans
The Narrows, Jason Landry, 2012

The valley that this road goes through is the traditional territory of the First Nations bands that make up the In-Shuck-Ch Nation and there are a few Indian Reserves along the route. The In-Shuck-Ch Nation appears to be working very hard to re-establish themselves permanently in the valley after economic conditions forced most to leave after the 1950s.

Road Signs
Billy Goat Creek
Near the Baptiste Smith IR, Jason Landry, 2012

We arrived with a bit of light left in the day and decided to look at our camping options before heading back into Pemberton for dinner and hot chocolate. I had a quick look at three different recreation sites and only saw a handful of campers at two of them. In the end, I settled on Lizzie Bay—only 16km down the road and with a nice spot near the edge of the lake. With cooler temperatures, rain wasn’t much of a worry, but we would probably see a bit of snow overnight.

After dinner we made our way back to camp in the dark, converted the truck and watched a movie on the iPad while snuggled under a down duvet. After the movie we moved into our down sleeping bags and quickly fell asleep, nice and warm, at 8:30PM.

Camp
Overnight snow
Warming up
Cool, calm morning, Jason Landry, 2012

In the cool morning, the kids weren’t too excited to leave the truck, so they stayed inside and played while I started a fire and enjoyed the peace and quiet. It was a fantastic morning. Eventually, we packed up and made our way further down the road while snacking on a bit of trail mix. In the back of my mind, I was hoping we would make it to the Tsek Hot Springs, but in reality I didn’t expect the kids to last that long. Sure enough, just past the Baptiste Smith Indian Reserve we turned around and headed back to Pemberton for breakfast.

Pemberton
Back in Pemberton, Jason Landry, 2012

For the rest of the day, we slowly made our way back to Vancouver. There was no rush and I didn’t want to leave the mountains.

Deas Island

This past weekend, the kids and I headed to Deas Island south of Vancouver for a little exploring. No major plans, just a walk in the park and some playing by the river. It was cool, cloudy and a little breezy, but the rain held off. I love getting the kids out of the city and into the bush, even if it is just a small regional park.

The kids
The Fraser River
Myself
Exploring Deas Island, Jason & Evan Landry, 2012

On this trip, my son asked why we always go to the Fraser River. We don’t always go to the river, but I will admit we’ve been there a lot lately. This coming weekend, I think we’ll head North instead.

Wrenched


Wrenched, ML Lincoln Films, 2012

Wrenched is an upcoming documentary about Edward Abbey’s influence on the American environmental movement and the more radical groups like Earth First! The producers have started a funding drive on Indiegogo to cover the costs of production, but they have a long way to go and only 13 days to reach their goal. I hope they make it.

Beyond the Blacktop

Fall arriving in the Ashlu Valley, Jason Landry, 2012
Fall arriving in the Ashlu Valley, Jason Landry, 2012

It’s been awhile, I know. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t realized it had been this long. Thankfully, Rohan gave me the gentle nudge I needed. I have a long list of excuses for the neglect, each one as terrible as the next, so I won’t begin to list them. In the end, I think I just wanted some time away from the computer1.

I do have something to tell you about, though. I am now the proud owner of a used Nissan Xterra. That’s right, a gas-guzzling, road-hogging SUV. Believe me, it wasn’t an easy decision, but I’m very excited about it. A 4×4 is something I’ve dreamed about since watching Bush Tucker Man back in high school. A decade ago, not far from Campbell River, I broke a strut on our VW Golf on a soggy Forestry Service Road and have been hesitant to venture too far ever since. So, when the Golf was written off in a fender bender earlier in the year, the search was on for a more capable vehicle. My wife wasn’t so sure, but supported me anyway.

Falls in the Ashlu, Jason Landry, 2012
Falls in the Ashlu, Jason Landry, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, as our unseasonably sunny weather was drawing to an end, I packed up the family, a bit of gear and took the truck up towards Squamish and eventually into the Ashlu Valley. Ashlu Creek is one of the four major tributaries of the Squamish River and is it carves a narrow valley through the forests North of the Tantalus Range. The Forestry Service Road wasn’t too crazy, but we definitely wouldn’t have done it in our car. We explored, picnicked near some falls and the kids even did a bit of fishing near the confluence of the two waterways. It was a glorious day and has me (and my wife!) dreaming of future adventures.

  1. I’ve been regularly posting to Instagram though (@appliedobservation).