Sunday, 24 September 2017

Sunday, 3 September 2017


Interested in getting out on the water? Consider an easy day paddle or overnight to Widgeon Estuary. The paddling is easy. You can do the trip via kayak or canoe and stay for the night or do it as a day trip. There are spots all along the river. You can also camp near the base of the trail to the falls.

From Trail Peak:

There is nothing better than to cruise flat water with rippling reflections of big snowy mountains cascading off your bow.

The estuary of Widgeon Creek at the south end of Pitt Lake at Grant Narrows is the perfect place to enjoy this sensation.

If you like quiet peaceful waterways teaming with bird life this is the place to go for the whole estuary is a protected bird sanctuary. After making the 300m crossing of Grant Narrows, expect to see tons of waterfowl and other species from herons to Harlequins that make this area their habitat. You might even see a fleeting glimpse of muskrat or beaver if you are lucky.

If Widgeon Creek is high in the spring or early summer you can paddle quite a distance up under lazy overhanging branches draped in moss and lichen. Huge lush ferns and skunk cabbage line the shoreline in the marshy areas and neat little gravel bars are gathered in the bends of the creek. When you are there you will be amazed that you can be so close to the city yet so far away.

A campsite is located near the west end of the estuary if you want to stay longer. This is probably best to do in the shoulder season when it isn't so busy. If the water is high more secluded sites are located up the river.

Saturday, 2 September 2017


Mike Trask, Titan occidentalis, Fernie, BC
Titanites occidentalis, the second of these giant ammonite fossils recovered at Coal Mountain near Fernie, British Columbia.

The first was about one-third the size and was identified as Lytoceras, a fast-moving nektonic carnivore. This specimen, found in 2004, is significantly larger and relatively rare in North America. With no ruler of an appropriate size, you can see Mike Trask sitting in for scale.

It has been identified as a Titanites occidentalis, (Western Giant), the second known specimen of this extinct fossil species. The first was discovered in 1947 in nearby Coal Creek by a British Columbia Geophysical Society mapping team.

Titanities is an extinct ammonite cephalopod genus within the family Dorsoplanitidae that lived during the upper Tithonian state of the Late Jurassic, some 152 to 145 million years ago.

In the summer of 1947, a field crew was mapping coal outcrops for the BC Geological Survey east of Fernie. One of the students reported finding “a fossil truck tire.” Fair enough. The similarity of size and optics are pretty close to your average Goodridge.

A few years later, GSC Paleontologist Hans Frebold described and named the fossil Titanites occidentalis, after the large Jurassic ammonites from Dorset, England.

The name comes from Greek mythology. Tithonus, as you may recall, was Prince of Troy. He fell in love with Eos, the Greek Goddess of the Dawn. Eos begged Zeus to make her mortal lover immortal. Zeus granted her wish but did not grant Tithonus eternal youth. He did indeed live forever, aging hideously. Ah, Zeus, you old trickster.

It is a clever play on time placement. Dawn being the beginning of the day and the Tithonian being the dawn of the Cretaceous.

Clever Hans!


Riomaggiore or Rimazuu in the local Ligurian language is a lovely seaside village that can trace its roots to the good taste of Monks who settled here in the early thirteenth century.

Here, great wine is produced and consumed along with a huge variety of seafood, figs, olives, capers and Limoncello in the wee restaurants and bars along the Via Colombo that look out onto the Gulf of Genoa.

Inspired by the praise of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, I had the great pleasure to venture there with my friend, Guylaine. Drawn to the picturesque beauty of the Liguria region, ancient vineyards and the irresistible "photo a moment" scenery, we traveled from village-to-village, all along the Cinque Terre.

Liguria remains one of the wildest parts of the Ligurian littoral east of Genoa. The coastline is home to incredibly complex and exciting geology. It is composed of the Maritime Alps in the west and the Ligurian "nappies," continental margin ophiolities, of the Apennines in the east.

Along the coast, the north-northwest convergence of the Alpine orogeny gives way to the active east-northeast convergence along the Apennines. All of this tasty geology can be observed while walking from town to town from Riomaggiore through Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza. We stayed in Monterosso al Mare during our visit, meeting up with friends and then visiting them in their home city of Milan. If one is lucky enough to be invited as a guest, the geology of the Via deli'Amore is true to its name sake and well worth the trip.

In my mind's eye, thinking back on the experience, I picture stormy seas, colorful rowboats, sheer cliffs and exotic meals of black squid pasta washed down with Albarola.

Friday, 1 September 2017