North! To Prince George

Posted on 11th March 2016 in adventure, nature, wandering

I grew up in Prince George, BC. I’ve always described it as the place smack dab in the middle of BC, though it’s the capital of Northern BC. On a map, it’s pretty perfectly in the center. Driving, it’s about 10 hours north of Vancouver.

Driving from Vancouver one first finds the Fraser Valley, then abruptly turn norther into the winding Fraser Canyon that turns into the North Thompson canyon and then connects back up to the Fraser River to follow it more or less all the way up through the Cariboo to the Central Interior and Prince George. On the way back South, we hooked West at Cache Creek to wind our way through to Pemberton and Whistler before getting back to Vancouver.

In the winter the scenery is brown and muddy and very snowy and icy the further north one goes. In the fall you can expect to find every color of the rainbow in the trees that occupy the landscape that spins by. In the spring and summer everything is green and growing and each of the little lakes and creeks along the way call out, inviting you to jump on in.

Being so long of a drive, and one that I’ve done countless times in my life, I’m usually trying to avoid stopping, rather then stopping to take photographs of anything that catches my eye.

Having a foreign friend – Nene – with me, I took all the back roads and detours I knew! She was all smiles, and “ooh” and “ahhh”. Great travel companion!

20151113 - North BC Fraser Canyon Pemberton - Ned Tobin - 6

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Gone Pickin’ Shrooms

Posted on 20th February 2016 in adventure, lifestyle, nature

My brother, Bart, has slowly become more and more passionate about naturalism: listening to the land so it can tell us how to survive off it by gathering and harvesting. Perhaps he’s always been this way.. Anyways, he’s been learning about fungii, spends weeks picking berries and climbing through a natural playground. In short, he’s becoming a wild man.

Naturally, I’ve also picked up some of this interest.

Last autumn, him and I made a trip into the Kootneys to look for chanterelle and lobster mushrooms. It was a trip filled with much philosophizing, introspection, and heated debates confusing the realistic with the ideal. We slept in his camper van with socks on, showered by a splash of ice cold lake water, made tea by a propane stove inside his van, and spent all day walking through the forest on the hunt.

The smart way to cut mushrooms is by using a plastic knife: much less painful when you slip and fall on a plastic knife then your razor sharp hunting cadaver. I wore a compass every day. The number of times I thought I knew the direction I was heading, only to confirm with my compass I was nearly heading the wrong way always blows my mind. I blame it on the slope of the land. When you’re walking on a 30-45deg slope around the base of a mountain for a few hours, it’s hard to orient oneself I guess.

Also, there are thousands of fungii types, and I’m learning I’m horrible (or it’s hopeless) at naming them! I know the Lobsters are right..

20150825 - Monashees Mushroom Picking - Ned Tobin - 1 Click here to read more.. »

Vancouver Street Photography

Posted on 3rd October 2015 in Street Photography, wandering

It’s been a while since I wandered a city for street photographs; people of the street that look interesting enough for me to press that shutter. I always see people that are interesting, but a lot of the time I leave my fast camera at home and stick to my smartphone camera. I guess part of the reason is I spend some much time editing photoshoots that I just feel like walking sometimes.

Anyways, I’ve been trying to re-kindle some young love in me and have taken to the streets of Vancouver to try and learn some new gear that I’ve got – specifically a Sony a7.

I always shoot a mix when I’m out wandering. I look up, I look down, I look around and through. This is the people on the street I photographed, you can see everything else in this post on architecture and graffiti. My path? I walked from Chinatown, to Gastown, to Granville St and Robson Street, back East through Yaletown, across the viaduct between Rogers Arena and BC Place Stadium, and back through Chinatown.

Ned Tobin Street Photography Vancouver Click here to read more.. »

Wandering Vancouver in Autumn

Posted on 3rd October 2015 in architecture, explored, wandering

Lately I’ve been taking to the streets of Vancouver with my camera to photograph anything that I see. This is part my effort to begin studying what it means to be a documenter, and part my effort to learn the new camera I am using, the Sony Alpha7. It’s truly a remarkable camera and I have plans to do a full review of the camera shortly.

Vancouver is a city that I find incredibly beautiful, depending on the day. Some days, golden light shines through semi-tall buildings filled with multi-cultural citizens who spill out into the streets to enjoy the green city, some of them walking or cycling about their business.

Today was one of those days where the city is simply golden.

My path? I walked from Chinatown, to Gastown, to Granville St and Robson Street, back East through Yaletown, across the viaduct between Rogers Arena and BC Place Stadium, and back through Chinatown.

This is the architecture, graffiti and other nonsense I found along the way. Street Photography post can be found here.

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Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park, British Columbia

Posted on 4th July 2015 in adventure, nature

British Columbia’s slogan is ‘Beautiful BC’. I cannot agree more. I’ve explored BC extensively (see all my blog posts tagged with BC here) and continually find BC blows my mind with beautiful variety. From the rainforests of the West Coast to the temperate desert in the Okanagan, from the Rocky Mountains to the Coastals to one of our lakes or rivers or dense wilderness and forests we’re met with at every corner.

Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park (see in Google Maps here) is the worlds only inland rainforest located about 95 km East of Prince George, which makes it 800 km from the West Coast. Thankfully, in 2000 a 24,765 hectare region was declared the Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park, thus protecting it from the extensive logging in the region. This park has massive 1000 – 2000 year old growth interior cedar-hemlocks, and as the name would suggest, it’s a habitat for grizzlies and many other furry animals and migratory paths.

I have taken the liberty to share with you a UNBC Research Report on the Ancient Forest (a network of hiking trails within Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park officially opened in 2006) (see my previous blog on the Ancient Forest here) studying the community and economic benefits of non-timber uses of this inland rainforest, with hopes that it will hopefully encourage you to fight for more of these parks in our beautiful land. See full report PDF here (original PDF source here).

My hike was a pretty interesting one. I had with me a CouchSurfer from Germany I was hosting, who was really keen on seeing a bear. I of course have grown up with bears all my life and recognize not seeing bears while hiking is most definitely a good thing. As we were driving up to the trailhead, we must have seen about 25 evidences (read: skat) of bear, but on the trail we never actually saw any. However, as we drove out after the hike, I think we counted we saw about 15 black bear (including cubs), and 3 moose (all of which we stopped and watched until the sun set).

On the trail, we never actually got to the top of the hike because the trail basically became unrecognizable and nearly un-passable. I had done some research before we went, and did expect an open pasture near the top that we would become lost in, but with about 1 m of snow covering the ground, and very few trail markers along the way, I decided I didn’t want to get lost, we had been hiking for about 3hrs, and we had eaten most of our food so I made the call to turn around.

This is what we saw.

Sugarbowl Grizzly Den Provincial Park Hike - Ned Tobin - British Columbia Click here to read more.. »