British Columbia Inspiration

Locomoitve & Face Pan

Aurora TentFor a while now I have been trying to figure out how to follow on from my previous post about our awe-inspiring trip to Semaphore Lakes, “British Columbia’s Sky is Alive”.  I have been living in British Columbia for almost eight years now and this adventure is, without a doubt, a standout highlight.

Looming Clouds over Locomotive

Semaphores Lower Lakes

In recent weeks the Sea to Sky area has lived up to the West Coast promise of lots of precipitation.  It felt like a whole years worth of rain plummeted to earth in just a few days.  This weather found me inside quite a lot and on a rainy day I am quite partial to a bit of a stumble (Stumble Upon).  It was somewhere during this time that I stumbled upon an incredible quote.

Aldous Huxley said, in “Variations on a Philosopher” from “Themes and Variations” (1950), “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted”.

This quote got me thinking.  As one of these “human beings” that Huxley was talking about I am most definitely prone to taking a lot of things for granted.  One that comes to mind is that I had a roof over my head, with internet access while the rain was pouring giving me the ability to stumble upon such a quote.

The vast majority of the time we have no idea that we are taking things for granted.  It just happens time and time again and we carry on, not giving it even a first thought.

These issues are a major part of why I love getting out in to the mountains.  Out and about in these towering mounds of earth it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by the enormity and virtually surreal beauty of this planet.

Good Morning Semaphore

Pies Ponders over Semaphore WM

Semaphore Lakes is one of the places where this beauty is all encompassing.  The first hour or so of the trek is a bit of a grind up a steep path surrounded by trees.  From time to time glimpses of potential vistas and scenery gives a hiker hope for the reward on offer at the end of the trail.

Meandering Fry at Semaphore WM

Eventually the forest opens up and the vistas do not disappoint.  The final 30 minutes to our campsite was a 360 panoramic view of alpine peaks, glaciers and lakes.

Semaphore's Alpine Meandering WM

Locomotive Falls

It was somewhere during this period that we joked how amazing it would if the Northern Lights gave us a show that night.  “What are the odds?” we quipped and promptly forgot about that and went about setting up camping, cooking dinner and enjoying some glacially cooled beers and ciders.

Semaphore Meal Times

Even here, in the midst of this incredible range, we take Huxley’s quote on board.  Our simple & very easy to use cooking equipment, our quick and easy meals brought from home, our down jackets, our cans of beer & cider, our rain-proof tents,

Rainy Morning Tent

the list could go on.  Sometimes it takes something pretty special to bring one back down to earth.

This happened for us that night.  Of course I am talking about an incredible Aurora Borealis light show that my efforts at capturing on camera don’t even come close to doing justice.

Semaphore Dances

I was already marveling at the sensationally starry sky and miraculous Milky Way.  It seemed as though the sky couldn’t fit another twinkling dot in anywhere.

Locomotive Milky Way

Locomotive & Shooting Star

Locomotive Shooting Star

Locomotive ST

As I stumbled through the dark after staring south I looked up and saw this, weird, strange and unearthly looking white cloud on the northern horizon.

Aurora Horizon Haze

I rushed back to my camp mates and pointed it out.  They dismissed me and continued playing Yahtzee looking down at the dots on the dice instead of up at the dots in the dark velvet sky.

Then, almost as quick as lightening, the sky came alive and began to dance.  It’s hard to find words to describe it. It was pulsating across the sky flashing varying intensities of green, dazzling and transfixing me, and finally the rest of the group.

Campsite Business by Aurora

Aurora Dances over Tent

As we stood in awe watching the geomagnetic show before us, time just slipped away.  What does it matter up there anyway? How can you keep track of something such as time when your watching a fish-bone-like cloud shower shimmering green flashes down upon the far away peaks?

Northern Lights Semaphore

It is in moments like these when it’s hard to take this planet for granted.  Four people standing next to each other gazing north almost silent except for the overwhelmed sounds of wonder.

Locomotive Tent Milky Way

Campsite Aurora & Trees

7 thoughts on “British Columbia Inspiration

  1. Actually… your efforts to capture it on camera did a better job than what we could see with the naked eye. My first experience of this phenomenon. Once again, I’d love a copy of some of these shots, you know my email address!

  2. What an unbelievable post – completely awe-inspiring. I felt like I was getting a glimpse of what you all experienced! Amazing ! I’ve never seen anything like that before. Beautiful photography

  3. Hi, Jimmy. Great post. Love how you put the words together with these magnificent photographs. I live very close to nature, away from light pollution, shopping malls, and traffic. And I try to remember the gift that it is to have this surrounding me. Yet, I’m human, and sometimes I forget. This post reminds me to avoid taking things for granted. Your photography & attitude towards life – all excellent. Cheers, G.

    1. Wow, thanks so much G. We all do it, I think it takes a very special person indeed to take nothing for granted. I suppose it’s just important to remember, on occasion, to stop, look around and appreciate everything that’s around us.

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