Snow on stuff

I had forgot my tripod on this last hike so I was relegated to taking freehand snaps. I did get a few good ones for a series I am calling “Snow on Stuff”. If I have to explain how I came up with that name I think it is time for you to move along 🙂

You can help

I need your help. I am preparing for a piece on CBC’s North by Northwest called “If you liked this, you’ll love this.”  It is a takeoff on Shelagh Rogers’ program that compares Canadian novels with similar international best-sellers.


In my version I am telling people what BC animals/ecosystems can fill in for international targets for jet-setters. The theme is that for those of us that can’t afford to hop on a plane to go see leopards we can see something similar here at home. It is also a lot easier on the environment when we are not gobbling up petrol by the barrel-load in order to go see animals endangered by, apparently, too many people jumping on planes.


So let’s hear it – what would be the top species or eco-systems that you would like to see?


Mine would include, the Costa Rican jungle and those poison dart frogs.

Walking with the giants

Had a great hike today – even though, for the first time in many years, I came across another set of tracks out in the wilderness. I followed them to see if I could find out what the person’s intentions were. It only took me about 5 minutes to ascertain that the person who made the tracks was a heavy-set man, with a long stride, and a person who would stop periodically to scan the forest. I could also tell that the person I was tracking had been to UBC to work on his Master’s in Economics and had two children, and a dog named Karma. I learned all of this when I realized I was tracking myself, having done a complete 360 degree walk in the fog. I laughed at myself when I determined that I was good and turned around at that point. It took all of about 30 seconds for me to regroup and to ascertain my actual position.

Big and small

I am always amazed at the diversity one finds in the natural world.

Take pause to enjoy the big and small of the tree world.

This little tree growing up in the sub-alpine (near Fight Lake on Battle Mountain) is probably at least five years old and may grow to a height of 100 centimeters if all goes well.

The red cedar, by comparison, growing down in the Bella Coola Valley will grow as much (in terms of volume) in a year as it’s alpine cousin will in its life.

I believe that the little tree is a balsam but it could be a subalpine fir, but maybe one of my planty friends can set me straight on this. (Frank’s note: My friend Barbara helped me out on this one, and figures it’s a balsam fir, otherwise known as a Subalpine fir and she figures at least ten years of age. You can learn more about trees here.)



A walk through the Lac Dubois grasslands presented an excellent canvas for tracking. Here we have a set of weasel tracks – possibly a short or long-tailed  weasel, but at best it would be a guess.

The red lines denote the front and back feet, the blue lines denote the stride of the animal. You can tell the direction of the animal as the back of the track is the narrowest (in this case the weasel was moving from the bottom of the image to the top).


A jumble of tracks below shows at least three species: Red – a microtus (vole), Green – Peromyscus (deer mouse), Yellow – mustella (weasel of some sort)