Elaho to Meagre Creek Trail

Cesna Creek BridgeMy friend Jason and I decided to check out the Elaho-Meagre Creek trail (Upper Elaho valley, 100km NW of Squamish) last weekend. This trail through the Stoltmann Wilderness traverses some of the last untouched lowland old growth forest in the lower mainland area. Sadly, we didn’t get very far, as the first bridge, across Cesna Creek (also aptly known as Impassable Creek) was out, the victim of a heavy snow load. If our lives had depended on it, we could have probably made it across, but it would have been a hairy crossing. One’d need full mountaineering equipment to belay one another across the bridge.

Instead, we poked around the old growth forest near the trailhead, in a stand of gorgeous old-growth Douglas fir.

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Great New Guinea photos

Like me, my good friend Will Betz never had much time to scan his New Guinea slides. He’s finally started, and posted some of them on his New Guinea pages. Will spent many a month on both the Indonesian and PNG side of the island. His description of the island sums up my feeling perfectly. The trekking is among the toughest in the world, but its nature is truly stunning, and the people are fantastic. The island remains one of my favourite areas in the world, especially the mountains of West Papua. We both have many more slides to scan and post.

We met in West Papua (then Irian Jaya) in the early ninetees, and did some epic mountain treks together. Closer to home we hiked the West Coast Trail, and two years ago the Stein divide.

Paving Everest

The Chinese are building a paved road up to the Everest basecamp. Supposedly to help the Olympic torch relay, but a resort in the area is probably not far off. What’s next, a cable car up to the top? I presume the Chinese aren’t bothered by the fact that Everest is a holy mountain…

Winning photo

Young explorerI was lucky enough to shoot a winning photo for the recent BC Parks/CPAWS photo contest. My photo “young explorer” in Golden Ears Provincial Park won 1st prize in the Family and fun category, and two other entries, “First Lake reflections” and “Fall spendour” were among the 13 finalists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended town: Nelson BC

In March I reported on the best outdoor towns in Canada. It didn’t include Nelson BC, although it has lots of cool outdoors things to do. National Geographic Adventure magazine (July 2007) has recognized the value of Nelson as an adventure destination and recommends it as weekend getaway. Not a bad idea, as it is less than 200km from Spokane.

West Papua

I recently uploaded some pictures of West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia’s remotest and least-visited island. Still largely covered in pristine rainforest and outer-worldly cloudforests up in the mountains, it is one of the world’s last remaining truly wild places. Here mountains rise to 5,000m, with a glacier covering the tallest peak. The Pegunungan Zaag (Sawtooth mountains) in the east are virtually impenetrable. Stunning birds of paradise, bowerbirds and tree kangaroos make their home on the island.

Yukon images

I uploaded a few of my images from the Yukon recently. Kluane, Dawson City and the Dempster are still my favourite parts of the territory.

High Arctic

Although Canada’s high arctic is a polar desert, drier than the Sahara, it teems with life. In some areas the ocean remains ice-free year-round. These areas, known as polynyas, support massive seabird colonies. In other places, a warmer micro climate supports lush vegetation, creating arctic oases, such as Truelove Lowland on Devon Island.

Chilkat Pass BC

I spent two years at remote Chilkat Pass on the Yukon/BC border, studying winter migration and predation of willow ptarmigan. I used radiotags to find the animals through the winter. This little-known corner of BC has some magnificent scenery. Some of the area is now protected by Tashenshini Provincial Park.

 

The first year I lived in a small shack in the middle of the pass, perfectly in line with a highway of storms rolling in from the Pacific. The second year, I graduated to a much nicer log cabin with wind and solar power on the Yukon/BC border, in present-day Tatshenshini Provincial Park.

Røst, Lofoten

I recently added some photos of Røst and Værøy, two island groups in the southern Lofoten (North Norway) to my photo gallery.

Although the Lofoten archipelago in northern Norway is one of its most famous island groups, few people visit the two outer islands: Værøy and Røst. Værøy is a single, rugged island, while Røst is a small archipelago, consisting of the main, inhabited island of Røst (highest point: 12m), and several smaller islands, called Nykene. These are famous for their puffins and several other seabird species, including petrels.

People have lived on these islands for over a thousand years, fishing for cod, grazing sheep, and collecting bird eggs. The history of these islands is fascinating. For example, the life in the village of Mostad on Værøy,  abandoned in the last century, was very harsh. Many men would perish at sea, while fishing for cod, while many women fell to death off the cliffs while harvesting birds’ eggs.

The cod were dried and shipped as far south as Portugal, while supplies used to be brought up from the south of Norway once a year. if the supply ship sank, many would starve in the brutal winters. Røst is known around the meteorological world for its mild climate: it is the only place north of the arctic circle where average winter temperatures stay above zero. However, the winter storms are brutal.