BC rocks! (And trees!)

I like rain.

I need rain.

During my first summer in Vancouver, there was a dry spell that lasted for five or six weeks. By the third week I started to feel a bit weird, but couldn’t work out why. I felt weirder and weirder as time went on, but didn’t realise why until I suddenly found myself literally running from the room as I heard the first few drops hit the skylight, to stand in the middle of the garden and let the downpour drench me to the skin. I suddenly felt normal again.

People are astonished when I say “I kinda wish it would rain” in the middle of a long stretch of hot and sunny days. (Don’t get me wrong, I love the sunshine too. I’d just enjoy it more if I could get a half-day or so of rain every week in the middle of summer). But rain is awesome; why wouldn’t you miss it? Rain is the reason why Vancouver is so green, why the cherry blossoms look so gorgeous in the spring, and why we won’t have to worry about water shortages any time soon.


it’s been raining for weeks on end, and even my exceptionally high tolerance for the stuff is under serious threat. I think my love of rain is turning into a love-hate relationship.

I need some sunlight, damnit! I left work half an hour earlier than usual last night, and it was dark even then. And oh so rainy; I was soaked within a couple of blocks. My cycling shoes were still damp this morning.

Yeah, sure, there are snowdrop shoots coming up. Big whoop; it’s too wet to be able to enjoy even that beautiful sight while outside.

Anyway, I came home tonight in a soggy wet grump, and snuggled up with a cat and a blankie to cheer myself up with the photos from our beautiful sun-drenched kayak trip to Desolation Sound last summer. And that’s when I remembered that I’d taken some photos of the local geological features, for Silver Fox and assorted other geoblog buddies, but forgotten to post them!

I know approximately 1.002 x bugger all about geology, so the descriptions are just guesses:

Seam of something iron-rich and something white (I thought it might just be caked-on sea salt, but I was wrong)

"Pebbles" of hard rock poking through the eroded top layer of softer, paler rock. This surface was exposed to the waves at high tide

While we’re at it, here are some shots I took of arbutus trees. I’d never even heard of this wonderful tree before I moved here, but on my first trip to Victoria we saw one in a park, a friend encouraged me to join her in stroking the smooth wood exposed by the peeling papery bark, and I was hooked. There aren’t any arbutus trees in Vancouver itself, but we see lots on our kayaking trips, and I always have to go and stroke them. In the warmth of the sun, the wood feels so smooth and warm it’s almost like touching human skin.

Well, thank you for indulging me! I feel a bit better now, remembering the joys of summer.

Light at the end of the tunnel

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
This entry was posted in blog buddies, nature, personal, photos, Vancouver, whining. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to BC rocks! (And trees!)

  1. uhmm, helloo it was beautiful and sunny for like 2 days last week and on the saturday. Mount Seyomour was absolutely gorgeous. You’re getting soft my friend, you’re getting soft.

    • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

      It does me no good at all during the week, when I’m at work! It’s dark when I bike to work, and it’s dark when I bike home. A ten minute walk to Safeway at lunch time is not enough! I don’t even remember any sun on a Saturday – I would have gone out for sure if I’d seen that! I live right at the top of the highest point in Vancouver and we seriously have our own little microclimate. Sometimes it’s snowing up here while it’s not even raining at work, and our daffodils come up a good 2-3 weeks lower than they do down at Broadway and Cambie.

      I’d love to get up to the local mountains, but no-one ever wants to go with me. They want to go to Whistler, but only mid-week (most of my friends don’t work the standard 9-5 M-F). Even if I could afford Whistler right now, I can’t get the time off.

      And I’ve cycled every day except when it snowed! I’m still pretty hard 🙂

  2. cromercrox says:

    = likes =

  3. lin says:

    I have heard a rumor that the weather people are always creating a “light at the end of the tunnel” for all kinds of weather, because people will complain to much, get depressed and suicide rates go up.
    Probably not true, but as a result I never trust the “look, at the end is getting better” cheerful chirps.

    (Plus I once was at a camping in France that actually did that thing to keep campers from packing and going to another sunnier part of the country. Buying a local newspaper proved a better way of staying informed on the continuation of pouring rain for weeks, so we left)

    • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

      That’s sneaky! I can definitely see a campsite doing that, but hopefully the rumour about meteorologists is false 🙂

      Welcome to the blog, by the way!

  4. Mike says:

    Were you already in Glasgow in summer 1998? I spent the holidays following my Zoology finals working as a research assistant in the department, being very glad it was not a field work position. My memory tells me it rained every day for 2 months that summer. The whole city was floating. And not in the usual boozey sense of the word.

    But I stayed in Glasgow for another 4 years, so it can’t have put me off sufficiently. Woulda been good training for Pacific Canada for sure.

  5. Silver Fox says:

    I agree, it’s a reddish, iron-oxide-rich seam on top of something white! Both rock shots are quite interesting, but I can’t add too much to your descriptions, other than that there’s a nice fracture across the first, and possible laminations in the white layer – no scale to indicate thickness, however.

    I love your arbutus trees, aka madrone, one of my favorite trees.

  6. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Mike, I moved there in October 1998, but it sounds familiar anyway!

    The winter climates of Vancouver and Glasgow are extremely similar, but Vancouver gets much better summers. I remember May being a lovely month in the west of Scotland, but lots of rain all through June, July and August. And at least we get more winter light here than Glasgow does (we’re roughly level with the south coast of England).

    Silver Fox, thank you for your professional insight! 🙂

    Sorry for forgetting to mention the scale of the photos. The main red band in the first one was 1-2 inches wide. The biggest “pebble” in the second photo was maybe 5 inches across. Those pebbles made for great traction when climbing up and down the sloping rock to wash dishes in the water!

    • Silver Fox says:

      Bad, I just entered the wrong captcha, and it lost my comment!

      For future ref, scale can easily be established by putting the tip of your finger on the rock, as if pointing. That works well for individual rocks or close-ups. For larger scenes like outcrops, I sometimes just stick the front part of my boot in the photo. Otherwise, the rock hammer is classic, but I don’t always carry one around!

  7. chall says:

    awww… those trees. You make a perfect picture there with sun, trees and being all happy! (ok, that sounded odd but you know what I mean?!)

    I totally hear you on the lacking of sun – not that we’ve had as much rain. It’s cold, ice, rain and some snow (!) and I know that it will be miserably hot here in the summer but right now I’m so tired of being cold indoors due to leaky windows and inadequate heating. I mean, what’s wrong with three (actually even two would be sufficient right now) glass windows and some insulation?!?!

    You know, within a month the cherry trees will blossom and it will all be sunny (chance of a 15 min rain shower in the middle of the morning) 🙂

  8. Nice post! I have to admit, It’s nice to be reminded that BC does get stretches of sunshine. It took me a few years to acclimatise to the 6 months of dry and 6 months of wet weather. It’s seriously disturbing to anyone who expects dry and wet to alternate on relatively frequent time scales.

    As for the layer of iron, my own knowledge of geography is pretty spotty (~1.2 * bugger all), but I know that in the early history of the earth, once photosynthesis started to take hold about 3.5 billion years ago, a LOT of iron was precipitated from the oceans, forming a layer of iron in the rocks. Perhaps this is one such layer?

    • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

      Yes, it’s important to remember that every rainy day brings us closer to the sunny months!

      Today’s been really nice, actually. Nice to see the mountains again.

  9. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Thanks Chall!

    I hope your weather picks up soon.

    It is actually a slightly better day here today – no rain, but the roads are still wet, so I’ll just get wet from below on my ride in, instead of from above and below at the same time.

    Also, we apparently have mountains?! I’d forgotten, I hadn’t seen them in so long!

    • chall says:

      oh geezz, it’s been _one of those_ streches? Lots of low clouds, foggy and just damp and dark…. no Grouse mt to spot? Wish better weather!! It’s going to be ok here I’m sure – sunny, cold and yummy right now. Hopefully no more “let’s rain for a day and then freezer with some snow to top it off during night time”. It makes it hard to get around without any snow ploughs, appropriate tires etc…. *nag nag*

  10. RPS77 says:

    Here it’s snow rather than rain. The big question is becoming where to put all of it!

    The idea of anything growing in January is almost incomprehensible here. I do remember a few years back we had an unseasonably warm couple of weeks in January, and some plants started to grow, only to get zapped when it went back to normal, well-below-freezing temperatures.

  11. ricardipus says:

    Bah, it’s snowing here again too.

    I do like those arbutus trees of yours… very… um… er… organic. The way the bark coils off them is very like birchbark.

  12. Nina says:

    my first summer in Vancouver was exactly the same. WEEEEEEEEKS of sun and when it finally rained I ran outside for hours.

    The Arbutus tree is great! I love it too! It’s confined to dry warm sheltered spots, that’s why you find them on the gulf islands so much.

    But I thik you’re just trying to make me feel guilty about the kayak thing by just casually talking about your trip again …

  13. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    RPS and Ricardipus, it snowed here last week, but the rain washed it all away within 24 hours. Problem solved!

    Nina, I’m glad it’s not just me who runs out into rainstorms in the summer!

    I didn’t intend to guilt trip you for not showing your kayak photos; it was just an unexpected bonus!

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