Tag Archives: Bowen Island

Hiking up Mount Gardner, Bowen Island

On August 4th, I hiked up Mt Gardner for the first time in my life. My sisters had both done so before, but for some reason I’d never been up to the highest point on Bowen Island! A few photos from our adventure:

Salal berries – very tasty!

Banana slug – probably not so tasty:

The view from the top:

There are two wooden platforms at the summit. I think they’re for small helicopters to land for servicing the radio tower up there. Many people have etched their names in the wood over the years, but this one stood out because we grew up with the Bensons, but they moved from Bowen to France back in 2002.

Lisa can touch the mountains on the North Shore (on the BC mainland)


Heading down a different route than the one we came up, we had to use this chain for a particularly steep section:

There are heaps and heaps of snakes on Bowen Island. As a child I was deathly afraid of them but I grew out of that a long time ago. The last stretch coming down the mountain was a gravel road, and I was far ahead of the girls when I came across this guy, so I stopped and got down on my knees to take photos. I didn’t quite get the head in focus unfortunately:

The girls arrived and it soon took off:

When we reached the bottom, our dad was waiting for us with the car to drive us back to the cabin:

All in all, a really nice few hours spent in the outdoors!

Fixing the bridge

There’s a very small bridge with an old red picket fence at the family place on Bowen Island, and I’ve always really liked this little bridge. I find it really picturesque and have admired it since I was a young child. But this summer, a dead tree fell down nearby and landed on the bridge!

This is what it looked like:

I decided to try and fix it, so I enlisted some help from my brother Dan (on his birthday) to help me cut the dead tree, which took us a LONG time. We used a bow saw most of the time:

We used an axe as well, which was useful in making an angled cut on the top:

…but not so useful when the axe handle broke (it was very old)

Once the tree problem was solved, I took the pieces of the red picket fence to the cabin patio to work on a flat surface. My dad and I used some other old scrap wood as crosspieces to put them all back together.

Once we were happy with the fence, we took it back to the bridge. We drove two rusty old metal pipes into the ground and lashed the fence onto those:

The next day, I was walking up the path and two deer came walking toward me so I stopped and took photos, as they crossed the bridge after pausing to smell the fence where we had lashed it on:

Here’s a before/during/after montage:

Hopefully it lasts a while like this!

Straight to Bowen Island

I flew out of Toronto on August 1st and landed in Vancouver that night. By 9am the next morning, I was in the family car leaving Vancouver en route to Bowen Island, the subject of many past blog posts. It was the birthday of my oldest brother, Dan, and we had decided to go to our extended family’s place on Bowen for the occasion. Somehow I never get tired of taking photos at Bowen, and hopefully never will. Here are a few of my favourites from the week I spent there:

Crossing the Lion’s Gate Bridge to leave Vancouver:

I always check for mice and things when I get to our place on Bowen, and this time I found two long-dead bats in different places. They must have come down the chimney, then become confused and not found their way back out. One time I caught a bat in the middle of the night in my granny‘s room at Bowen, and let it out her window.

There are loads of deer on Bowen Island, and we enjoy having them in the yard. Sometimes we even feed them. This one is eating ripe plums that have fallen from the tree:

Josephine and Lisa enjoying swimming in the ocean:

My brother Dan
takes some really good photos with his camera, but he didn’t bring it with him to Bowen so I lent him mine to take some shots, and I really like this one he took:

I also like taking photos of old stuff, like these medicine bottles:

We spent some of our time setting this contraption up. What were we using it for? To catch plums!

Dad made a tasty birthday cake for Dan:

This is the view from the patio dining room where we ate the cake:

Out in the woodshed, there was a bird’s nest:

On August 3rd I went out rowing across the bay to Sandy Beach with Jos and Lisa, and on the way I managed to get a quick photo of two seals getting some air:

While Jos and Lisa swam at Sandy Beach, I sat on a log and admired these neat fungi:

Later that evening, as the sun was going down, I went out for another row and took this shot:

The next day, my cousin Jasper caught a fish while a few of us were hanging on the float, then let it back into the water:

More deer:

And some ducks at Killarney Lake too:

On the 6th, the highlight of my day was eating a tasty sandwich and winning a game of hearts against my sisters and parents:

On August 7th, Josephine swam across the bay and back while Lisa rowed alongside and I sat back and relaxed:

A couple hours later, I drove the girls back to Vancouver as we all had things we had to do in the city. My parents stayed at Bowen a bit longer. Lisa insisted on taking a photo of me on the ferry:

First month visiting Canada

In 29 photos, here’s a summary of my entire month of June:

I arrived in Vancouver on May 26th, and on the 30th I took a bus over to Bowen Island alone to relax and go for a row while I could still climb in and out of the rowboat. It was good fun, but I took very few photos. On my walk up the dirt road to get to the ferry, I saw a deer in a neighbour’s yard where we often see them:

One of the themes I’ve noticed among my photos is my tendency to take photos of flags whenever I see them in the wind. This is the flag of British Columbia, the westernmost province in Canada. The flag in the background is just an ugly company flag for BC Ferries.

The next day, June 1, my sister Josephine took off for a two month solo backpacking trip in Latin America. She flew into the south of Mexico and will fly back to Vancouver from Bogotà, Colombia on August 8. We have the exact same backpack.

There are three sets of photos below: flowers in our garden, knee surgery, and Mt Seymour. If you’re bored by flowers, don’t give up; just skip down to the knee stuff, which should amuse anyone with a sense of humour as unrefined as mine.

After Jos left, I walked around our unkempt garden for a few minutes taking pics of flowers while I could still walk. These clematis blooms, about 7 inches across, are really neat:

I also really like these wisteria blooms that drop down from the archway overhead as we walk from the car to the back door of the house:

This fly stood relatively still on the grape leaf long enough for me to get a number of shots. I don’t have a dedicated macro lens, so this is the best I could do with my normal zoom lens.

Buttercups growing wild in the sidewalk cracks. If you hold them under your chin in the sun, your chin glows.

These chrysanthemums are inside in a pot. These blooms were already about a month old!

Then I went back outside to the front yard, where there are bright red/orange poppies that I gave my dad many years ago. The blooms are about 5 inches across! These flowers are really this bright; I only resized the following photos – I made no colour, contrast, or brightness changes.

I don’t know where these pink poppies came from, but they’re cool too.

More red poppies:

An iris a few days before blooming:

Pink poppy again, from the side:

The next day, June 2, my dad drove me to Vancouver General Hospital where I was scheduled to get my knee repaired. This is a picture of my left knee prior the hospital visit; it may look ok, but inside it was all messed up and hasn’t been functioning properly for 4 years.

I told the anaesthesiologist that I woke up in the middle of a hernia surgery two years ago and pulled my mask off (I was delirious, I’m not quite stupid enough to do that if I know what’s going on), at which point they had to pump more drugs into me. I also woke up in the middle of having all four wisdom teeth taken out last year. Although I was eating pizza later that afternoon, the pain when I woke up in the middle of having my teeth crushed into little bits was rather intense. So this time the guy said he’d be sure to give me extra drugs. I woke up in some other room with a bandage on my knee so I guess they gave me enough!

I don’t know if this is for visitors or staff…

This is my knee after the operation:

This is the back of my left leg, above the knee.

It’s all bruised because they cut out two lengths of hamstrings about 25cm / 10″ long, which they folded over and sewed together into a single string about 12cm / 5″ long. This is a replacement for my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) which was torn completely from my femur. Your ACL is almost definitely attached to both your tibia and your femur the way it should be.

The surgeon put two small holes above my knee, then put a wire through one hole and around the end of the new ACL, then back out the other hole. When he pulled on both ends of the wire, that pulled the new ACL up into the long hole lower down my knee and up into place by the femur. He then fastened that end in place with a bioabsorbable screw (they don’t use metal anymore – this screw will simply be gone about 2-3 years from now) which screws into a hole he had drilled into the bone. The lower end of the new ACL was put in place in my tibia without the need for the wire, and is held in place by another bioabsorbable screw. You can watch a video of a similar procedure online, just google ACL reconstruction surgery and you should find a few neat vids. The new ACL will, after about 3 months, be quite weak, but will then start establishing a blood supply with the bone the way the old ACL used to have. After about 6 months, it should have a full blood supply and those two hamstrings they sewed together will have become a functioning ligament holding my knee together properly.

I spent one night in hospital and left the next afternoon. A few days later, my friend Kelly and one of her friends came over to my parents’ house and we did some art stuff, since I never do anything art-related. We made shrinky dinks. They’re so cool. You draw stuff on plastic sheeting then cook it in the oven, producing toxic fumes despite no warnings on the packaging, and within a short time the plastic has shrunk into a much smaller size but much thicker. It’s 100% to scale, and it’s very solid. I traced, as best I could, one of the knee MRI images I have.

While spending many days in bed at my parents’ home, with my baby sister (17 yrs old, maybe not quite a baby anymore) Lisa bringing me food and keeping me company, I decided to spruce things up a bit, despite my general dislike of American/Canadian pro “football”:

By the end of the month, I had moved from crutches to a cane thanks to my physiotherapist, Dr Waymen Wong at Marpole Physiotherapy. Granny lent me one of her canes, the fancy hand-carved cane Lisa had brought back for Granny from Cuba a few months ago. So on June 29th my parents, Lisa, and I went for a short walk on Mount Seymour, just outside Vancouver. Nice place, filled with typical BC rainforest scenes that I’ve grown up with:

Lisa modelling my backpack:

Me modelling Granny’s cane (and actually using it to hold myself up)

Two waterfalls:

Dad and Mom:

More natural beauty:

Well, that’s all of June in one blog post. Next post, coming very soon: fire poi, also known as fire-spinning!