Monday, August 29, 2011

Vancouver Calling

As I got notice in April that "my best friends wedding" in Germany would be in June, I thought this quite to be on short notice...little did I know...

On a lazy Friday afternoon, two weeks ago, while being on vacation in British Columbia, I got a phone call from my dear friend Daisy. She and her longtime partner David would finally tie the knot. My enthusiastic congratulations went right into speechless astonishment when she told me that the wedding would be the following Wednesday and if I please would be her Maid of Honor, and of course take photos.
Luckily I was close by, and after a few phone calls back and forth, all was set.

Knowing Daisy and David, I was aware that this would not be your normal wedding.
But I still was caught by surprise by the purely yet beautiful ceremony the two of them had planned.

Residing in Vancouver, David wanted to marry somewhere close by and found the perfect spot at the bottom of Cypress Mountain. The ceremony took place at a serene little lake, just a short stroll into the Cypress Mountain Provincial Park.

The wedding party was small, just bride and groom, best man and maid of honor and of course the commissioner.
If your best man and maid of honor are both photographers nothing is left to chance...;-)

The ceremony had everybody in tears...

The Kiss!

The formals...Daisy and David style...

After this lovely ceremony, a hike along the Howe Sound Crest Trail all the way up to the summit of St. Marks Mountain was planned. David described it as a roughly two hour casual hike...I should have known better.

After a short walk we got rewarded with a great view over the Howe Sound at the Bowen Island lookout:

Well, where there are celebrities, there are paparazzi...;-)

The trail got a bit steeper now, mostly through forested area, with here and there a peek. Here at the famous Lions that are visible even from downtown Vancouver:

Then on and on it went, over snow fields, little creeks, tree roots and rocks. David encouraged us with: "oh, there is just an easy incline ahead", meaning, now it's getting really steep, or " we are almost there", meaning we might be a third of the way along. But, in the end, we made it!

© Ron Clifford

...and decided it was well worth the effort. The view up here was truly breathtaking!

I couldn't stop taking pictures of the magnificent landscape....

© Ron Clifford

...and of course of the newly-weds.

What a great spot to celebrate the beginning of a new journey!

Even the wedding bouquet had made the trip up to the summit.

Seems that chipmunks also like to dine with a view...

After a lavish lunch break, we started our descent. And in no time we were back at the trail head, just in time for a quick ice cream before the shop closed. It never tasted that good before...;-)
On the way back to Vancouver we got again treated with great views, this time of downtown Vancouver.

This remarkable day ended with a short stroll on the beach and a delicious dinner at Daisy and David's favorite restaurant.

Congratulations again to Daisy and David. 

All the luck for your journey together!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August Conservation Tip


Our planet consists to 70% out of water, our body contains 75% water.
We need water for life.
Nevertheless do we use it much faster than it can be naturally replenished.

It took a shockingly high water bill to remind me that we really have to cut down on our fresh water consumption. Browsing the Internet I found some easy to implement suggestions on water conservation that I would like to share with you:

1. According to a study of the College of Agricultural Sciences in Pennsylvania, the toilet is number one in indoor water usage = saving water here has the biggest impact:
Don't flush down tissues or garbage.
Older toilets tend to leak, put a few drops of food coloring in your water tank, check after 30 minutes if any colored water is in your toilet bowl.
Consider installing a low-flush or dual-flush toilet.

2. Next in row of water consumption is the washing machine. Only wash a full load or adjust your water level accordingly. If you are looking for a new washing machine: Most Energy Star appliances not only use less energy but also less water. Front loaders need less water than top loaders.

3. Put less down the drain. Try to avoid to use your garbage disposal and compost instead.

4. As with the washing machine, only run the dishwasher when full. Modern dishwashers use less water than if you do your dishes by hand. If you do hand wash, don't let the water run all the time.

5.Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth or shaving.

6.Take shorter showers, an average shower uses up to 10 gallons per minute!
Think about installing a low flow shower head.

7. Plant according to your climate zone. Drought resistant lawn and/or plants need less water.

8. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, have it run in the early morning to avoid evaporation. If you notice water running off after the sprinkler ran, adjust your watering.

9. Mulch keeps moisture in the soil and weeds out.

10. Use a nozzle on your garden hose.