Friday may have been the icing on the week
Friday, January 15, I awoke bright and early but only insofar as the clock said 7 a.m. and my parkade was well lit.
Otherwise, I dressed, packed up my homeless person kit and stumbled, dull with sleep, into a dark and exceptionally cold Vancouver winter morning.
As I walked my bike and trailer out of the parkade and toward the street, I at least woke up to how cold it was.
A woman walking north down the grade, on the sidewalk opposite from me, all of a sudden sped up as she crossed the mouth of an alley. It took me a moment to consciously register that she’d lost her footing on black ice but my brain had already taken note and slowed my feet accordingly.
Cautiously then, I inched myself and my bike and trailer out onto the pavement — literally testing the ice — and immediately started to slide. I carefully reversed course and made my way southward on the relative safety of the sidewalk.
It’s my experience that concrete is significantly slower to ice up than asphalt.
This was a morning when I wasn’t going to start my day with breakfast. I was going straight to a bottle depot to cash in the load of returnable beverage containers that I already had bagged on my bicycle trailer. And on the way, I planned to look for more containers, among other things.
Some “slides” from my slippery trip to the bottle depot
The area that I covered between Fairview and the bottle depot in Mount Pleasant yielded a very low ratio of returnables-to-distance. That was okay though, because there were no other binners competing with me for the sparse catch. I was able to take my time and pick my alleys.
I also chose a scenic route so that I could take in the sights and take some photographs along the way.
Parts of my route were chosen so that I could take topical photos — some for an upcoming post on a so-called “Binners Hook” that a Downtown Eastside group is promoting. As well, there was a brief stop to take something over the one hundredth photo of a fig tree, located on the eastern edge of Fairview, that has been a project of mine for nearly a year.
Of course, I also wanted to document the morning chill with some (hopefully) eye-catching closeups of frost.
That’s getting a touch harder to do by the way. Long-time readers of my blog may even notice that the closeup photographs these days are never quite as sharp as the ones from, say, a year ago.
Having already taken something over 15,000 photographs, my nearly two-year-old Pentax WG-III is beginning to show less agility when it come to light metering and extreme closeup focusing. The 1-cm Macro Mode is particularly becoming a chore to use.
But I’ll use it until I’ve used it all up — the Macro Mode is one of my favourite features of the camera (besides its general toughness).
When all was said and done, my meandering morning trip took about three-and-a-half hours and I arrived on the doorstep of the bottle depot at Ontario Street and 7th Avenue at about 10:30 a.m.
It wasn’t until about 9:30 a.m. — when the sun was high enough in the sky and the temperature enough above freezing — that the frost began melting away in earnest.
By about 9:45 a.m., I was at a Cambie Street intersection up near King Edward Avenue and rivulets of melting frost were to be seen glittering in the sunshine as they ran off the tops of newspaper boxes and down the east-facing sides of steel light poles and the like.
After the exceptional ice-cold morning, the rest of the day was a return to Vancouver’s more traditional fall, winter and spring weather, which meant warming, then clouds, clouds and more clouds.
And now, finally and inevitably — ho-hum, the rain has come. Click the images to enlarge them.