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It had been almost two months since Ralph and I last activated a park together. We both felt it was over due to get out and explore a new park together. Neither of us had been to the Burnaby Lake Park and felt it would be a good choice to visit for the day. The radio bands have been very good even in the late morning period so I felt an earlier start would work for this activation. Ralph arrived at my place a bit before noon and we set out for the park. The drive went quite smoothly up until the last mile where there was some serious road construction going on. The road was a single lane with an automated traffic light in place controlling the direction and it was slow to change!
Once past the construction we came to our final turn and managed to just avoid the next section of road work. The parking area for the park was almost full but there was an open stall right at the start so I pulled in and we were ready to explore the area. I grabbed my camera and we set out to see the sights. The park boasts a nature house where I assume some displays and resources are available for visitors, it was closed for the season so I can only guess. There is an open grassy area next to the house with some picnic tables. They were in the sun and looked like a good spot for one of us to operate at.
Continuing along the pathways we walked out on a short jetty that provided access to a viewing platform a short way into the lake. The lake around here was very shallow and muddy and not very pretty. The birds loved it and I saw many different types of ducks many I wasn’t familiar with. Unlike all other parks I visit, this one actually encouraged feeding the birds and gave some tips on how to best do so! Though it is a lovely spot for getting bird photos the area itself is not all that glamorous. It may look better when the lake is at a higher level, one can hope. Beyond birds, the park offers lots of walking trails with a trail that completely surrounds the lake. Though at 11km it may be a bit more than one wants in a single go.
Done with the jetty we wandered along the circumference trail to the east a short way and found a decent spot in the sun for an antenna. Then backtracking and passing the jetty, we made our way to an elevated viewing platform, Ralph had hoped to use it for his station but there were too many people using it for him to set up. After reviewing the options, we decided that I would use a picnic table near the nature house and Ralph would wander up the trail to the spot we had seen. We returned to the car and loaded the cart with our gear. We made for my table and unloaded my stuff then Ralph headed out for his location.
I was able to setup quite easily here and soon I was on the air listening to the 10m band. I was able to work a park in California but that was the only one I could hear on 10m I dropped down to 15m where there was only one other activator but I couldn’t hear them. I selected a frequency and started calling. This time I had cell coverage so I could spot myself. Which I did, or so I thought. After around 8 minutes with little response I reviewed the spots list and discovered I had not clicked the final submit button and so I was not yet on the list. I confirmed the settings and posted. This time all was good and in a couple of minutes I started to get responses.
My first contacts were in California, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, and Wisconsin. I was getting a nice fast group of responders and a half hour after spotting I had made 20 contacts, with a few small pile-ups. It was a good pace and I was getting responses from Ontario, the east coast and across to California with one station from Alaska thrown in for good measure. Meanwhile Ralph called on 2m to check with things, he had 13 contacts but wanted to go another 10 minutes. So, we both continued but by now my pace had dropped and I only got two more in 5 minutes. I decided to close down and do some hunting. Unfortunately, the stations I heard were very weak and all had pile-ups, so with 32 contacts I felt I had enough and I packed up the station. Ralph made his way back and we walked to the car deciding to head out for a warm coffee.
The navcom showed the nearest Starbucks at 3km so we decided to drive there. It turned out to be harder to reach than expected. The last bit of the route was blocked with fences and so we couldn’t follow it. I back tracked and tried a different approach so the navcom rerouted and gave us a new approach. It too proved unworkable. We were in a mall, later determining it was Lougheed Mall. And we were on the upper parking deck. I got out of the car to see if we could spot the store. No luck. I decided to go into the mall and down the escalator to the main floor, after a brief walk, I spotted the Starbucks sign and we made our way to it. The road directions were not great but we did get there.
Coffee in hand we returned to the car and started our journey home. Now came the real trouble. It was 3:20pm on a Friday. Traffic was heavy and we were not in a great location to avoid it. One left turn location had a very short left-turn light and it took us 4 passes to get through! Our next turn saw us backed up for 20 minutes waiting to make a right turn onto Burnett. Burnett was a short drive and we soon made it to the highway which went quite smoothly with little slowdown. Pacific Highway had a few slow sections but generally went quickly. So, our return drive took way too long. If we had elected to skip the closest Starbucks and drive to the one in Cloverdale, we likely could have been home a half hour sooner.
Despite the delays in locating the store and the drive home it was a pleasant day out at the park. I would recommend it for bird watching and walking but it left me a bit blah for scenery even in the bright sunshine. Perhaps in late spring when the water is higher it will look nicer.