SNOWSHOEING UNDER THE MOONLIGHT

Looks like the snowshoeing season is nearing its end.  Let me share with you some photos from my favorite snowshoeing outing of the season (March 10th 2009; full moon night on Dam Mountain):

Full Moon Rising #4
A cropped shot of the full moon with the last light of the sunset shining upon it

Full Moon Over Thunderbird Ridge
At the bottom of the photo is Thunderbird Ridge, a regular detour for us — great views there, too!

♪ If this were the last night of the world... ♪
My friends enjoying some wine and treats under the full moon

Snow Dunes
Thunderbird Ridge

Thunderbird Ridge
Path to the edge of Thunderbird Ridge

BUTCHART GARDENS

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens has got to be one of the most famous gardens in the world. It’s HUGE and, I must admit that the landscaping is quite impressive, even for a guy like me who’s not usually into flowers — except the fake ones, which require no maintenance whatsoever. :p

Since it is located on Vancouver Island and about three hours away from downtown Vancouver (more like four hours if you’re going by bus), I suggest you go to this beautiful garden as part of a more general two day outing to Victoria, the province’s capital. It can easily be done in one day, of course, but I personally don’t like to rush things and it’s not like it’s the only attraction around the area either.

English Daisies
English Daisies

Sunken Garden
The Sunken Garden

Tulips Kissing
Kiss kiss

3 Sturgeons #1
Sturgeon Fountain

Tunnel Of Thorns
A little too early in the season to see the roses in full bloom

Ross Fountain
Ross Fountain

Floating Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms leftovers

Star Pond
Star Pond

Lookout #2
Window into Butchart Cove

Cost
As of this writing, tickets can cost as much as $26.50 per person, depending on the season. It’s not cheap, but I still think it’s worth it, especially during Spring time or early Summer. Another cost you’ll have to think about is the ferry too. It costs $13 per person (one way) to go from Vancouver to Victoria (well, officially, from the “Tsawwassen” ferry terminal to the “Swartz Bay” ferry terminal. Both are around 45 minutes from Vancouver and Victoria, respectively). Oh, and it costs 43$ extra to board the ferry with a car — but I don’t have to worry about that myself. ;) Click the following links to see the official, current rates for both Butchart Gardens and the ferry.

Directions
Going by bus (from Downtown Vancouver): Take the 98 B-Line South and get off at the Airport Station to switch over to the 620 bus that will take you to the Tsawwassen ferry. Once you arrive at Swartz Bay, grab the #75 bus line to get to Butchart Gardens.

Going by car (from Downtown Vancouver): Follow these directions to get to the Tsawwassen ferry and these ones to get to the Butchart Gardens, from Swartz Bay.

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STEVESTON

Steveston lies at the Southern tip of Richmond, roughly 40 minutes from downtown Vancouver, by car.  Watch kites flying at Garry Point Park, walk along the scenic dyke, or just plain relax while you savour some delicious home-made ice cream in the heart of the village.

Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms at Garry Point Park

Parachute #1
Sports kite/parachute (?) at Garry Point Park

Colorful Houses #2
Looking East along the West Dyke trail

Steveston Landscape
Looking West along the West Dyke trail

Flock Of Geese
Flock of geese

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle on the West Dyke trail

Turtle Party
Turtles having a party on the West Dyke trail

Fishermen's Dock
Fresh seafood for sale at the Fisherman’s Wharf in the heart of Steveston Village

Seagull
Seagull enjoying the view at the Fisherman’s Wharf

Road trip to Harrison Lake

Harrison Lake #3
Harrison Lake

After a group outing to the Agassiz Tulip Festival was over all too quickly and wondering what to do next on this beautiful sunny day, the guy I carpooled with suggested we go on a road trip.  Although we had no specific destination in mind, our driver suggested we try driving along Harrison Lake on a service road he knew existed but had never tried.  This was my first road trip experience and man, I had a blast!

Leaving Agassiz behind, we entered the city of Harrison close by.  We skipped the famous “Hot Springs” altogether as our goal was to explore the unknown.  Back country map in hand, our driver led us to the East side of the lake, on a rather well maintained road.  Although a truck is more fit to handle that kind of terrain, sedan type cars such as the ones we saw along the way could still navigate through the light bumps, albeit at a slower pace.

Dock
A couple of kilometers into the service road

Waterfall
Waterfall flowing beside a tiny bridge crossing

Harrison Lake #1
After some elevation gain, we came across this nice viewpoint (notice the cross at the bottom of the tree)

Bear Creek Shore #1
14 kilometers or so later, at the Bear Creek Recreational Area

Bear Creek Shore #2
At the Bear Creek Recreational Area

Rural Mailbox
Our Harrison Lake road trip over, we still stopped here and there for some great rural views on the way back

Rural Landscape #2
Heading West along Hwy 7, another spot worth a picture.

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Light hiking at Lighthouse Park

35 minutes from downtown (by bus — take the 250 bus) is this little gem of a park which offers amazing views on the Greater Vancouver and Howe Sound regions.  It contains all the ingredients of a hike, minus the pulse-pounding cardio bit.  Its pièce de résistance is of course, the lighthouse from which the park got its name.

Lighthouse, West Beach Viewpoint
Lighthouse, West Beach viewpoint

Great Heron, Wings Down
Great Heron

Arbutus
Arbutus

Leaky Boat
Leaky boat ;)

Dog Drooling over view
This Pyrenean Mountain dog is positively drooling over the view! :p

Labrador Retrievers?
Labrador Retrievers (?) and their proud owner :)

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