Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Cross Border Excursion

Despite living only 20 minutes drive from the border with the USA, I find that I haven't been going across for visits as much as I used to.  Sometimes the hassle of border waits just doesn't justify any savings I might make in filling my gas tank.  Today my wife and I had the day off so we decided to take a little trip to Point Roberts.  Point Roberts is an isolated peninsula belonging to the United States but it is surrounded by Canada.  After a short drive we arrived at the border.
Of course after we performed our obligatory filling of the gas tank, we bought some food for a picnic and headed off to Lighthouse Marine Park.
The weather was milder than usual so we had an enjoyable lunch with a seaside view.  After lunch, we took a little walk along the beach.  The scenery was beautiful, the ocean breeze was refreshing, and we were amazed at how peaceful the area was.  I couldn't ask for a more relaxing outing.
My wife and I still have a few days off together so we plan on taking advantage of it with at least one more local adventure before it's back to the daily grind.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Under the Volcano

I have been interested in volcanoes for almost 40 years.  The interest was sparked from my father, who is a retired geological engineer.  I used to spend hours looking at all his old geology texts.  Almost all my childhood vacations involved road trips to one geological wonder or another, most of which were often volcanic in origin.  Dad also used to take me on his rock hounding trips.  I used to be rivited to the TV when there was National Geographic special featuring people like Maurice and Katia Krafft (world renowned married French volcanologists) adventuring up some active volcanoes.

I have seen everything from actively erupting volcanoes to long extinct skeletons of once great mountains and everything in between.  I could go on for pages of examples of what I have seen so instead, I thought I would share a few of my favorites.  I have picked several which are relatively unknown as well as a few volcano celebrities.  It is my plan to showcase more volcanoes in future blog entries.

Mount Savona

I grew up close to this extinct shield volcano in British Columbia's dry interior.  For those of you interested in the geology of this mountain, it is composed of brecciated basaltic lava flows  which erupted 30-50 million years ago.  This is a giant mountain which dominates the Thompson River valley.   I see it as a brooding sentinel, a comforting waymarker for my travels.  The local indigenous indian people used the caves in this mountain for their ceremonies and sometimes burials and consequently there has always been a legend about vistors to the mountain being cursed.

 I have hiked up to the caves several times out of curiosity and on rock hounding expeditions for volcanic opals.  I let you be the judge on whether I have been cursed or not.
Logger's Lake Cone

Approximately two hours drive from my home is Logger's Lake Cone, a 100,000 year old basaltic vent which is part of the Garibaldi volcanic belt.. This small cone has a crater filled with Logger's Lake.   This feature formed under a glacial ice sheet.  Despite it's proximity to Whistler BC, this destination is not well known.  I have enjoyed hiking the rim trail which encircles it.  I drove past this cone last month and could barely see it from the lookout.

Mount Baker

Mount Baker is a dormant composite volcano several hours drive southeast of my home.  I can see it out my windows.  Being an avid hiker, the Mount Baker area is my playground.  I have smelled the sulfurous emissions from Sherman crater and soaked in the backcountry hot spring at its base.  Mount Baker is one of the Cascade volcanoes with its last known activity being 100 years ago( probably a phreatic event).  In 1976 the mountain started getting more active with increased fumarolic activity in the crater.  It has not abated....nor has my love for this mountain.  Whether it is snowshoeing, skiing, climbing, or hiking, I intend to continue spending my time around this beautiful slumbering giant.


  It was a childhood dream of mine to actually experience a live eruption of a volcano, red lava and all.  In 2009 my dream came true when I went on a family vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii.  My wife purchased a helicopter trip for  my birthday so I could get to see the eruption close and personal.  It was arguably one of the best gifts I have ever received.  My only regret was that there was too much gas in Pu'u O'o vent to see the lava lake but I did get to see lava flowing through tubes from their open skylights and where it was pouring into the ocean.

Stay tuned for more volcanoes in future blog entries.