Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Riverside Trail - Whistler, BC, Canada - Update

A week or so after I my last post, I decided to do the whole Riverside loop ... that is, walking upriver on the west side of Cheakamus River, and downriver on the east bank (which I subsequently learned is called Farside). 

The whole walk took me almost 3 hours that include multiple stops to take photos, and to let my heart and respiration rates return to something resembling normal levels. Doubtless it can be done quicker by those in better shape.

Until you get about level with the current end of Mt Fee Road (///merit.counted.raincoats) the trail is fairly wide and even. 

Uphill from that, however, it soon becomes less travelled - narrower, twistier, more strewn with stones and roots, and it offers more challenging up- and downhills! One of those challenging ups was a series of sharp switchbacks - hard work going up but I would rather that, than trying to get down (especially with a bike!).

Not many views of the river along this part, although the roar of it reminds you that you're never far away! The riverbed is bounded by granite cliffs for some way, promising breathtaking views to come.

Not many photos from this portion of the trail as it was very dark in the forest despite it being after 8am.

Even after the switchbacks, the path continues uphill for a while until you suddenly come out at a clearing where the trail splits - and the suspension bridge (///gossip.winger.positioning). This made the effort worth it!

I spent a few minutes here, drinking in the "white horses" in the canyon, then crossed the slightly-wriggly bridge to begin my descent on the east side.

Imagine my surprise when I saw bright daylight ahead. By this time, the sun had crested the massif of Whistler Mountain and begun flooding the valley bottom with its rays. Sadly, instead of more lush rainforest full of birdsong and the rustling of the creatures of the forest floor, this is the shockingly silent scene I found:

The staggering smell of slashed soil and weeping sap was an assault. The twisted, torn trunks of once-living and life-giving trees, still red and raw.

It is hard to tell the extent of it, but I reckon that 1/3 to 1/2 of the forest east of the upper trail between the suspension bridge and the Riverside trailhead (///plush.spuds.friendlier) has been wrecked. Needless to say, I won't be rushing back there. 

If you're biking through the section beside the destruction, take care ... a tilt in the wrong direction could end with you impaled on one of many splintered stumps.

The west side, however, will still be a lovely experience for residents and visitors alike to walk and ride.

And the lower part of the east side trail is still very pleasant with views of the river and lush greenery. I'll probably return there soon to see if I can catch a photo of the kingfisher I saw a few weeks ago!

I'd written a significantly longer rant but decided against subjecting all 23 of you, my faithful subscribers, to it. Suffice to say, whatever the reason for the destruction, it can surely not be worth it!

Until next time...


Pet Photographer
Outdoor Sports Photographer



Sunday, May 30, 2021

Riverside Trail - Whistler, BC, Canada

The weatherman was wrong ... it was supposed to be a sunny, warm day ... instead, it is cool with solid overcast.

Early on, I decided to take advantage of the soft light, and head into the forest to practise some long-exposure photography. I specifically wanted to try to capture that "smooth, silky water" look.

Our neighbourhood creek, the Cheakamus River, is rather rowdy even at low water, so I wasn't sure how it'd work out. But practice makes perfect, eh?

I was out for a couple of hours and only did about 1/4 of the Riverside Trail. Thoroughly enjoyable stroll with a lot of stopping (blame the camera), only saw 1 other person the whole time I was in the forest! I donated a pint of blood to the local mosquito squadron, too.

Here are a few of my fav's from the morning:

Not perfect technically, but I have a good idea what I'll do to improve next time!

Also, I was excited to spot what I think was a belted kingfisher! I had no idea that kingfishers frequent our area! Of course, having the wide-angle lens instead of the zoom, and the camera set for long exposures, meant that there is no way I can prove that I saw this gorgeous blue-grey creature! Next time!

ABOUT THE TRAIL: Both sides of the creek are flanked by the Riverside Trail, which is frequented by both walkers and bikers, so keep your head up. 

It is a there-and-back walk on one/either side of the river or, if you go all the way up to the suspension bridge (///persist. rowdy.birthrate), you can walk back on the other side of the river. 

There are no restrooms at the trailhead or along the trail. The closest public facility is at the interpretive forest parking lot (///snowflakes.coach.permitted) which is 10-15 minutes' walk from the bridge towards Highway 99.

The trail itself is an easy walk with comfortable packed earth and pine needles underfoot, without a great deal of elevation gain, though there are lots of ups and downs.

This is a V-shaped canyon so you'll often find steep uphill on one side, and steep drop-offs towards the river on the other. Rocks and roots are slippery even when dry - keep a firm grip on the little ones.

Bring bug spray!

ACCESS & PARKING: Online maps and google earth haven't been updated in years. They show two logging roads, but there's actually just one turnoff that accesses this trail network.

About 500m after turning south off Highway 99 (///hikers.longstanding.quickest), take the dirt logging road to the left (if you cross the two-lane bridge, you've gone too far). 

Immediately after turning onto the dirt, bear right across the single-lane bridge. You will find a few parking areas along this road but space is very limited. More parking is available at the interpretive forest parking lot (///snowflakes.coach.permitted). This is 10-15 minutes' walk from the trailhead and features the added bonus of a restroom (there are no restrooms on the trail).

The west side trailhead is off the first parking lot (///oiled.grasp.coastal).

Be aware that these dirt roads are active logging and construction routes so do not block the road, and know that the road could be closed/gated at any time due to movement of heavy machinery.

More photos from this walk have been put in my Whistler gallery.

Map reference points are on the www.what3words.com website. Try it ... its a fun and different way of navigating our world!

Here in BC we're ever so close to "opening up" after the pandemic ... so hold the line, stay safe and well until next time!


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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Train Wreck Hike - Whistler, BC, Canada

I'm ashamed to admit that I've lived in the Sea To Sky Corridor for over 20 years, and have never done this short hike!

A few days ago, I decided to give it a go. I didn't even know I was going to do it until after I'd left the house for my early morning walk. The difference that day was that I had my camera with me ... I'm famous for being lead around by that little piece of equipment!

The trail head is located at ///alienated.residency.logistical . *Update June 25, 2021* A garbage bin as been provided at this spot - thank you, RMOW!

Train Wreck is a short there-and-back hike. It took me about 2 hours but can doubtless be done much quicker by those in better shape than I, and without photo stops! 

The trail itself is about 1m wide and has a firm surface of small gravel, so good for any sensible, closed footwear. There are ups and downs, but nothing too daunting. It is forested so expect it to be cool.

Mountain bikers, as well as walkers, frequent this route so keep your head up, and share the trail.

Cheakamus Creek - Rugged & Fast Flowing!

The parking lot and trail head are on Jane Lakes Road. Get there early if you're visiting on a weekend or during a holiday period. Don't be tempted to park somewhere that your vehicle might block either lane of the road as it is used by large trucks serving the nearby rock quarry. 

The Moss On The Forest Floor - Please Stay On The Trail
The trail name came from a derailment that occurred in 1956. A train loaded with lumber that was southbound from Lillooet was running late and, after attempting a tight turn at well over the speed limit, had several cars jump the tracks. The valuable wood and any parts of the carriages that could be salvaged were taken away, but 7 cars deemed as not having any value were dragged away from the tracks and left behind.

Before you reach the wreck site, you must cross the rushing Cheakamus Creek by way of a 50m suspension bridge. The bridge's action can get lively, so keep your dogs on leash and a firm hand on little people!

These days, the rail cars are brightly coloured with graffiti tags. Unfortunately, the rocks, trees, parking bollards, even the suspension bridge, have not escaped the attention of these "artists". Makes me wonder ... who brings rattle-cans of paint and permanent markers with them when they visit Whistler, a place renowned for its wonderful natural setting?!

A couple of things to be aware of:

Important Bear Info!
There are NO TOILET FACILITIES either at the parking lot or along the trail. The closest loo is a short 3 minute drive from the trail head, at the Interpretive Forest parking lot located immediately on your left as you turn off Highway 99 to enter this residential subdivision (///deadening.defends.frying). 

*Update June 25, 2021* A garbage bin as been provided at ///alienated.residency.logistical - thank you, RMOW! Litter is a huge problem here so please be considerate and bring a plastic bag to pack out what you pack in - snack wrappers, drink containers, diapers, etc. Do remember that toilet paper and kleenex are not bio-degradable, so if you have to use them be prepared to pick them up and take them with you.

This is a rain forest so there are MOSQUITOES! Cover up or have repellent handy.

I've posted a few of my photos here ... if you'd like to view all 50 images from this lovely rain forest walk, visit my Whistler gallery.

Until next time, stay safe!

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Sunday, March 21, 2021

A Black Angus & A Palomino

The first day of spring in Canada was an exciting day for us! We welcome this duo to our family:

Truck: 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 HD XLT
Camper: 2018/19 Palomino Real Lite SS 1604

Not only will this rig be my home away from home when I'm working at equestrian events, but it will allow my better half and I to enjoy some get-away time together, too!

It is going to be a steep learning curve for us ... this is our first camper ever! If you know of any good truck camper blogs or vlogs that we should follow, please let us know! We'd love to learn as much as we can from more experienced tc'ers with regard to rig care, operation, trip ideas, etc.

Needless to say, I'll be spending a great deal of time climbing ladders in order to reach things, especially when I'm solo!

By the way, the truck's name is Angus. Do we need to change it with the addition of the Palomino? Or make it a double-barrelled affair? Ideas?

See you down the road!



PS: Had a rush of blood to the head the other day, and decided to reopen my Etsy shop and give it another go ... so if you're looking for some photo greeting cards ... or would like to download the featured photos yourself to make your own ... please drop by and have a browse around!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Chapter Two Begins!


Covid Chapter Two

Can you believe that Canada has been in the Covid Crisis for a full year?! And now we're into Year Two.

For too many it has been a year of tragedy and hardship, and those impacted have my sincerest sympathies.

I hope, though, that you have all been keeping safe and well, and that the worst you've experienced has been a bit of inconvenience and belt-tightening. 

Chapter Two For Me

It is now one year since I decided to make my equestrian event photography work for me. My first attempt was torpedoed by - you guessed it - Covid!

2020 was the first year after I had given up my full time, year round "safe job" to pursue my dream of spending my spring/summer/fall taking photos at horse shows. 

I was happy to have worked at one event last season, the Dog Days of Summer Hunter Jumper show at MREC

It went very well, if you don't count that my trusty van decided to become a paperweight two weeks before! I spent that three-day heat wave alternately roasting and freezing, mostly my own fault due to my lack of tent-camping experience. I am just grateful that it didn't rain!

2021 Show Schedule

Happily, the horse show hosts of southern BC are resilient, and are heading into the new season with positivity:

I have 7 dates blocked off so far, subject to confirmation, covid-restrictions, etc.

At this moment, I'm still available for events on the weekends of: 

May 15 or May 22
June 26
August 21 or August 28
September 11 or September 18

Please let me know if you know of a show or clinic that might need photographic services on any of those weekends. Thanks!

In the meantime, I am excited to see everyone back in action in the spring!

Keep your heels down!

Kind regards


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Monday, May 4, 2020

Of Best Laid Plans & Covid-19 Coupons

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
gang aft a-gley." ~Robert Burns

I hope you and yours are all well!

I am extremely fortunate that the biggest impact Covid-19 had on me is that it derailed my plan to take my equestrian event photography to the next level  in 2020! Not a great time to have given up my "other" job!

While we await restart, I'm offering the following deals - available until the end of May:

Pet photo shoots: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1221612701306171/search/?query=tanya%20de%20leeuw&epa=SEARCH_BOX

Equestrian event photos: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10161111078128084&set=gm.3177819245589757&type=3&theater&ifg=1

If you can't access these links, please email me so that I can send the info to you!

Meanwhile, I continue to hope that we'll be out in all weathers together, but physically distancing, soon! As of today, my 2020 horse show schedule looks like this:

Jun 12-14    
June Classic Hunter/Jumper @ Maple Ridge EC

Jul 4            
Diamond Dressage Series 2 @ High Point EC

Jul 5            
Dressage Dogwood Show 2 @ Southlands RC (update: now cancelled)

Jul 31-Aug 2
Dog Days of Summer Hunter/Jumper @ Maple Ridge EC

Aug 6-9       
Summer Classic Hunter/Jumper @ Southlands RC

Aug 15/16   
Senior Summer Classic Dressage @ High Point EC

Sep 19         
Diamond Dressage Series #3 @ High Point EC

Oct 10-12   
Beth Underhill Clinic / LHC Equestrian @ Maple Ridge EC

I'd like to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to those of you working to keep the horses well and happy under extremely challenging conditions. You, along with our hospital and paramedic teams, police and firefighting services, vets and farriers, delivery drivers and grocery store workers, and many other essential staff, allow the rest of us to self-isolate with some semblance of peace of mind.

Until next time ...

"Be kind. Be calm. Be safe." ~Dr Bonnie Henry

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Leap Year Special & 2020 Show Schedule

Belated happy new year! Can you believe that we're already two full months into 2020?!

And 2020 is a leap year so ...

19% OFF all 2019 horse show photos!
Use coupon code Leap2020.

As I sit here watching some late winter/early spring rain pour down through the wind-whipped evergreens, my calendar of horse shows for the 2020 competition season is starting to firm up!

Here's what it looks like so far:

May 9             
Spring Warm Up @ High Point EC

May 30           
Diamond Dressage Series 1 @ High Point EC

Jun 12-14       
June Classic Hunter/Jumper @ Maple Ridge EC

Jun 20/21       
Kamloops Dressage Show @ Sun Meadows EC (t.b.c.)

Jul 4               
Diamond Dressage Series 2 @ High Point EC

Jul 5               
Dressage Dogwood Show 2 @ Southlands RC

Jul 31-Aug 2  
Dog Days of Summer Hunter/Jumper @ Maple Ridge EC

Aug 6-9         
Summer Classic Hunter/Jumper @ Southlands RC

Aug 15/16     
Senior Summer Classic Dressage @ High Point EC

Sep 19           
Diamond Dressage Series #3 @ High Point EC

Oct 10-12      
Beth Underhill Clinic / LHC Equestrian @ Maple Ridge EC

More dates may yet be added and events are subject to change.

See you out there!


Tanya De Leeuw Photography
Equestrian Event Photos