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Canada

The Mountains of British Columbia

sunny 20 °C

The Rocky Mountains, (the Rockies) stretch 3,000 km from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. The Rockies are distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west. The Rocky Mountains formed 80 million to 55 million years ago when a number of tectonic plates began sliding underneath the North American plate. Since then, further tectonic activity and erosion by glaciers have sculpted the Rockies into dramatic peaks and valleys. At the end of the last ice age, humans began inhabiting the mountain range.

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This is Mount Robson - the highest peak of the Rockies in Canada...

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Very few visitors get to see Mount Robson like this as it is only cloud free for an average of 2 days a year.
We were very lucky.

The Rocky Mountains are neither the longest nor highest in the world - but they are certainly impressive...

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The mountain scenery from Banff to Jasper along the Icefield's Parkway is a spectacular roller coaster through the Rockies...

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Posted by Hawkson 14:33 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The Forests of British Columbia

sunny 19 °C

There must be thousands of trees for every person in British Columbia and there is no way of getting even a rough count. The evergreen forests are vast, covering some 150 million acres, and some of the trees are more than 2,000 years old. Most of the forests in accessible areas have been logged at least twice in the past 150 years while many of the 'old growth' original forests are now protected as Provincial or National Parks. This forest is in the foothills of Mount Robson in Wells Gray Provincial Park...

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The trees in the temperate rainforests along the Pacific Coast are often covered in decorative moss...

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There are trees everywhere so it's not surprising that timber products are a major export. This lumber is on the docks awaiting shipment...

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The felled trees are still dragged to the sawmills in floating booms sometimes a mile long, but many are now taken by truck. There was a time when rivers like these were the only highways in British Columbia and felled trees were thrown into the rivers and collected downstream...

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Giant logjams would often block the rivers as the logs piled up and one of the most dangerous forestry jobs was to untangle the logs and risk being swept over the falls...

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The early settlers of this land still make a living from their decorative wood carvings and from making traditional totem poles...

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The forests of Western Canada together with the mountains form some of the most picturesque landscapes in the world...

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Posted by Hawkson 14:28 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The Glaciers of British Columbia

Rated as one of the top drives in the world by Condé Nast Traveller, the Icefield Parkway is a 232 km stretch of double-lane highway winding through soaring rocky mountain peaks, icefields and vast sweeping valleys...

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The Icefields Parkway parallels the Continental Divide through some of the most wild and remote parts of Banff and Jasper national parks. This high route is known for its glaciated peaks, turquoise lakes, waterfalls and an impressive view of the Athabasca Glacier; part of the Columbia Icefield.

This is where the Athabasca Glacier was in 1982

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But this is where most of the glacier is today...

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Giant lakes now pool around the foot of the glacier and the runoff coloured by 'rock flour' from the melting glacier now stream into the valleys below...

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This land was under the glacier for millions of year before global warming took hold

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Today, unless you are willing to take a long muddy hike across the debris left by the retreating glacier you won't get much of a view...

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At the rate that this glacier is melting it may disappear in just a few years.
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Posted by Hawkson 13:14 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The Waterways of British Columbia

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This is the in the series of pictorial posts from British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.
The following are views of various easily accessible rivers and streams in the National Parks...

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And this is the historic cable car that spans Hell's Gate on the Fraser Canyon a couple of hours drive north of Vancouver in British Columbia...

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Posted by Hawkson 12:36 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Summer on Paradise Island

sunny 22 °C
View Through Siberia to China and Beyond on Hawkson's travel map.

When the summer sun warms our decks and the cornflower sea stretches ahead of us until it collides with the snow-capped peaks of British Columbia's rocky mountains; when hummingbirds and bees feast on our fragrant lavenders and honeysuckle and a doe teaches her fawn to graze on the fruits of our garden; when the silence is only broken by barking sea lions, blowing orcas and the cries of gulls and eagles; and when our home is filled with the laughter of friends, it is easy to believe that we live in Paradise. But even Paradise can be a little crazy, and when we arrived home from Mexico in March we found ourselves in the midst of mayhem. Millions of herrings had laid billions of eggs on our beach and, for weeks, both sea and sky were whipped into a frenzy as a multitude fattened themselves on the bounty. Then the fishing fleet showed up...
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The cool damp spring finally warmed when we celebrated James' senior moment at the end of May...
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And after a shaky start summer finally turned on the heat. Crimson dawns burst into golden morns and the cloudless sky stretched into endless days as the hummingbirds hatched in their tiny nest...
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Oh those lazy days of summer! But not for James. In an effort to dispel any notion that his youth is slipping away he took out his hammer and knocked together a rustic bridge, a rocky ravine and a little cove complete with sunken rowboat tied to an ancient dock...

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...together with a sunken Japanese garden with a waterfall and fountain...
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But now it's mid-September and, while the midday sun still burns brightly, night's curtains are drawn ever earlier and somewhere just over the horizon lay the first of the winter's rains. The birds are flocking to migrate, the whales came by for a final wave, and it is time to pack our bags and head for sunnier climes. Two thousand five hundred years ago Confucius claimed that a journey of a thousand miles began with a single step, but as we head to the Island's ferry we wonder if he could possibly have imagined taking the initial step in a journey of more than thirty-three thousand miles - a journey of a hundred million steps. So where on earth are we headed? To the land of Confucius and beyond; from the western edge of the New World to the most easterly edge of the Old. But not for us a leisurely hop across the Pacific. We'e going the long way around and doing it the hard way. Come with us and we'll show the sights and introduce you to the folks we meet along the way.

Posted by Hawkson 17:24 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

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