Sunshine at mile zero!

Our recent trip to the Sunshine Coast wasn’t overly blessed with sunshine, but when it did warm up, it was wonderful.

Sunny sparkle

We were staying just a few kilometres along the coast from Powell River, a mill town that is transitioning to an outdoor hub/cultural centre/pleasant place to while away a few days. We didn’t tackle it, but there is a trail, the Sunshine Coast Trail that runs through the high backcountry, from hut to hut, that presents a moderate challenge to keen hikers.

The end of the road

Instead of taking on the high trail, we drove to the end of the road, mile zero of highway 101, a coastal road that winds north to south 24 000 miles to Chile. We’ve made a good start, only 23 950 miles to go…

Mile zero is in Lund, a bustling little harbour at the end/start of the road. We drove there last week, setting off under cloudy and drizzly skies, but by the time we arrived after a short and pretty drive along a lakeside and through wooded hills, the sun was starting to break through.

Soon to be sunny in Lund

We parked in the lot overlooking the harbour, and what a wonderful spot Lund is located in! Our first priority was the ever important second cup of the day, and Nancy’s Bakery was just the place. We sat on the outside terrace in front of the harbour, and with the sun now fully beaming, and after a long cold spring season, we had to nudge ourselves we were in the PNW.

The tropical side of the PNW

Snow capped mountains in the far distance, boats bobbing on sparkling water, palm trees and lavender plants fringing the terrace, and a fine cup of coffee? Not too bad! Lund is a gateway for adventurous types heading into the wonderfully named Desolation Sound, but in those moments, it wasn’t too desolate. We didn’t rush to leave…

Pretty good day

As fine as all the above was, the absolute highlight was spotting a pod of orcas moving across the bay, spouting and speeding from left to right, dorsal fins high out of the water and just outside the harbour. Hello orcas! You made an already great day even better.

Orca territory

I’ll leave it there for this week – remembering the beaming sun and the magnificent orcas has me beaming as I write this. Right now, I can hear the fog horn from the lighthouse, and it doesn’t look as though we’re in for any sunshine anytime soon, so the memories of last week will have to warm us. Hopefully we’ll be saying hello sunshine as we head into summer…

Townsite saison – pairs well with sunshine

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wobbly? Rickety? Me?!

No! No, no, no. I meant the steps and bridge as you must have known. It’s hardly going to be a moment of reflection or personal insight from this OldPlaidCamper. I’m the sturdy type…

Wobbly and rickety? A little…

Depending on which way Scout’s nose leads her, our morning walk sometimes means taking the slightly hair-raising steps and bridge over a stream flowing to the shore. The wooden structure is actually quite sturdy (like an OldPlaidCamper), but it is almost always slippery due to the rainforest location. Scout’s approach is headlong, and good luck to her, but in the early morning I’m less enthusiastic about a full tilt charge down a wobbly wooden staircase. To be honest, I’m not too thrilled about it afternoons, either. I’m steadfast in my sturdily patient approach, but I can see what Scout is thinking. He’s so boring…

“Sturdy?! C’mon, let’s go back via the wooden steps!”

Anyway, slower than Scout likes, it’s down, across, and back up, then follow the trail until it emerges onto the beach. Some sandy gravel or gravelly sand always delights Scout, and she’ll race in circles just because she can. Once that’s over, and if the tide is low, we’ll explore the rocks and pools, see who slips over first. Feel free to guess.

Sand for madcap circles

As you can tell from the photographs, we’re still waiting on consistent warm Spring weather, so we haven’t been hanging around to soak up the sun or sit to reflect or be insightful. We settle for it all being bracing, and after a few minutes poking around, head back to the trail, through the trees, hit the bridge – down, across, and back up – then on to home.

Fresh

Wobbly and rickety? Not at all, and we’ll do it all again tomorrow!

Through the trees

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Logging on, logging off

A brief post this week, as we’ve struggled (or not) with intermittent internet at the office, meaning I’ve had to work from home in order to communicate. Oh no…

Almost working from home. Oh no…

I have agency in deciding how to approach the day, but if Scout is home and happens to lead me astray, there’s little I can do. When the line manager (leash manager?) gets to decide? You log off and head out the door!

Logging on

Yes boss. It’s been some time since I last tried to be nimble on a log, and you’ll be happy to know that with age and experience and a dedication to lifelong learning, I’ve still to acquire the skills Scout has. When something is as easy as falling off a log, and you do, is that success? I fall off a log very easily. Applause! Go me! Is it correct that you have to stick the landing? I didn’t, but suffered no major injuries other than to my pride, and the distinct sense Scout was laughing at me.

As easy as… (the top one, if you were wondering…)

The sooner we have functioning wi-fi at work, the better for all concerned, so I can focus on my professional development from a chair rather than unprofessional physical prowess on a log. Like I say to students, it’s good to have a goal, but make sure it’s realistic and attainable with a bit of effort.

“I’m busy, working from home. Time to log off, so we can go out now?”

I’ll log off now, might be time to apply a little ice to tender areas, so let’s end by wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead!

Green

And maybe a little blue – the colour, not my mood…

Early morning lake – a little blue

I was sat in my car the other day, enjoying the rain, having timed the top of the hour construction traffic opening to perfection. After waiting for thirty five minutes, I congratulated myself on being early and adjusted expectations accordingly.

Enjoying the rain

At least the views were good, and I found myself thinking about the survival show “Alone” I’ve been watching the last few weeks. As in most things, I’m about seven seasons behind, and knew nothing about the show, so imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered that the first two seasons (possibly others, I’ve yet to find out) were filmed just up the island! Very exciting, and it added a little extra something to my viewing, being so familiar with the landscapes, if not the challenges, the participants faced.

“Straight ahead, then turn right, paddle a day or so, and after that you’re on your own!”

Not every participant enjoyed the density of the coastal forest they found themselves alone in. I’ve never been truly alone in the forest, or as deliberately lightly (for want of a better word) equipped as they were. I’ve always found the forest to be beautiful, slightly intimidating, but not downright frightening, although it is a dangerous place, as most places can be with or without proper preparation.

Green

Anyway, I was sitting in the car, staring (in a moody yet cinematic way) at the wall of green to my left and wondering how long I could survive alone in that particular forest? The answer? Not long enough to win. I think maybe a week or two, if I avoided injuries, and convinced myself to eat enough fish, crabs, and seaweed to supplement the squashed mouse diet. Even though I’m a confirmed introvert through and through, I could not be by myself for the fifty something days I think the first winner completed.

Fifty something days? No problem! Without beer, you say? Wait a minute…

As the top of the hour came and went, and the traffic didn’t move forward, I began to wonder, peering through the rain soaked windshield, “Is there anybody in the vehicle in front, and the ones behind?” “Am I alone out here?” “Is this the start of an elaborate reality TV show that Mrs PC signed me up for and she forgot to tell me?” “I’m getting hungry – is that a mouse?”

Green and blue

And then the lights on the car in front came on, and it inched forward, the gate having reopened at the same time the door closed on a budding reality TV career. Fifty something + days? Yeah, I could do that…

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Ocean Blue Monday

Not too bad, not feeling too blue, we sat and enjoyed the blue ocean view from a variety of spots around town last Monday.

Not too bad, quite blue, ocean side

It was a sunny one, not too chilly, and we wandered from one place to another, basking in the extra day off for a long weekend, and slowing down. That meant from not too quick to almost at a crawl. It felt good, sun on our faces, bald eagles singing, a relatively calm ocean, and some time on our hands to enjoy it all.

Bright blue, inlet side

I don’t always enjoy the long weekends, it sometimes feels like there is an extra pressure (all in my own head, no doubt) to “make the most” of the extra holiday. I like most days, in my own way, most of the time, so no need to add any extra significance or burden.

Pretty good

Anyway, an extra day, why not go crazy, and have an extra beer? We did, a couple of new ones, from quite local to very local. Both winners, and the red ale edges it if only for being a bit different to my usual fare. A good way to round off a not too blue Monday…

Very good

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Not too blue at all!

Brighter

Slightly lighter each morning, and with a hint of spring in the air – some days – it feels as if a corner is being turned…

Lighter

It’s been great to inch towards a more normal feel for everyday work life. Students are now able to attend after school learning support. They’re trickling in, and if not exactly excited by the thought of homework, then at least excited to see more of their peers in community. And, maybe, you know, the extra learning?

Tough homework task…

As we get back on track, we’re rediscovering the joys of what we might have taken a little bit for granted, pre-virus. A short stroll to the beach outside the office is all the more interesting when you’ve got young ones thrilled to be making marine discoveries with their friends.

Lighter, later

Hopefully, as the days continue to lengthen, and bears appear and buds emerge, we’ll remain on this cautiously optimistic path back to everyday delights. Brighter? Goodness, yes, I’ll raise a glass to that!

I thought it was rail-ly good. (Ouch. Sorry…)

Keeping it brief, with a long weekend to look forward to. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Snow Day!

I’d forgotten how satisfying the squeak and scrunch of clean snow under your shoes can feel!

We went up to Mount Washington last weekend, hoping for some snow deep enough to justify all the time it took to dig out our snowshoes. We weren’t disappointed! All the worryingly warm rain fell away as we turned onto the road winding up the mountain. We thought it would be a sludgy and wet experience, but as we climbed we emerged from a layer of rain and fog into clear skies and bright sunshine. Imagine our alpine delight!

Snow!

We spent an enormously enjoyable few hours exploring the various trails, wandering between tall trees and crossing open spaces. One trail followed a small creek, and it bubbled and gurgled along beneath us as we bubbled and gurgled along the banks.

We stopped for an all important mid morning snack, some Dutch dark chocolate since you were wondering, easing ourselves down into a little hollow, pushing the snow into comfortable back rest. It was so quiet! I’d also forgotten how peaceful a snowscape can be on a calm and sunny day. Living by the ocean is wonderful, but between the wind, storms, waves, barking sea lions and all, it isn’t quiet. The contrast was noticeable, and we remarked upon it, thus spoiling the silence…

Shhh…

Later, as a reward for facing the trials of the trail, we sampled a beer or two in the Gladstone Beer Company taproom. Can we recommend their porter and their Pilsner? Yes, we can!

Yes we can!

All in all, a fine alpine day – crisp snow, new trails, new beer, all making for a new favourite trip. I wonder if it is snowing up there this coming weekend?

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

February already?! How time flies when…

Goodness, the weeks are racing by, particularly now we’ve been able to return to in person work, head across the bay and get the work year going – a happy new, new year?

Yesterday, looking across the bay

We’ve been busy the past few days, catching up with friends and colleagues, and getting on with stalled projects. In amongst all the fun and being busy, we arrived at our 25th wedding anniversary – another goodness, where has the time gone?!

25? Goodness!

We’re off to the mountains this weekend, a little celebration and a chance to play in the snow. (Please let there be good snow…)

Old photo – let there be this much snow!

A brief post this week as we turn our little place upside down trying to find snow gear we haven’t made much use of the past few years. I was going to write something about the ups and downs of mountain slopes and the ups and downs of a (happy) relationship, but that’s a slippery slope and I’m likely to fall down…

Slippery slopes

Instead, I’ll head off now, to some real slippery slopes, to go and fall over and get up again as we rediscover our snow feet and aim to enjoy an alpine weekend.

More to follow. More of what? Well, of course I mean another 25 years happy years! Oh, ok, and perhaps an island snow post next week.

“I’ve always got my snow feet!”

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Axe throwing? Why not?!

What could possibly go wrong?

It was cold, getting dark, too dark for the planned archery (and by planned, I mean the archery gear was in the truck, but by the time we set up a target, we couldn’t really see it…)

Earlier – a day that got better and better

Plan B! Too dark for archery? How about axe throwing? Keep moving in until you can see the target. That’s safe. Enough. No one was hurt, although I did draw blood. Turns out no matter how close I stand to the (really rather large) wooden target, at least one of my attempts at burying the hatchet will miss, and go flying into the undergrowth. The tangle of thorny undergrowth. So, yeah, I drew blood after pulling out a sharp thorn from my finger. I didn’t cry.

Light enough for archery? Yes, if we’re quick about it…

It was an almost planned meeting of young warriors, the first since the latest pandemic restrictions, and optimistically convened following a flurry of phone calls and texts earlier in the sunny afternoon. A (fool)hardy few gathered around a fire pit overlooking the bay just as it was getting dark. Too many mentors and not enough students meant the fire took quite some time to light – it was a chilly evening, so fire first – sharp objects and play (I mean safety learning and setting up a range) second. With all the expertise delaying the fire, by the time it was lit and we were warming up it was too dark to loose arrows safely.

Too slow! There’s a target?!

So no archery, mission not accomplished, and we didn’t care, because it was so good to see friends and familiar faces for real and not on Zoom etc. There’s nothing like a group of awkward men meeting up after a number of months and discovering the pandemic hasn’t eased the awkwardness. Nothing like a pandemic to improve communication skills. Anyway, you can’t just stand around (not) saying how much we’d missed each other, that’s for your inner voice or a blog. Hence the axe throwing. Doing something slightly silly and feeling less awkward? That’ll work. It was wonderful!

It’s good to be out

We’re hopeful more of the pandemic precautions will ease as it becomes prudent to do so, and as they do, I’m very much looking forward to getting back to working with mentors and youth on life affirming projects – and picking up a few more scratches and bumps along the way. With very early hints of spring here on the coast, it is time to get back outside – playtime!

“Playtime? I’m ready!”

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Power trip

Scout and I have been visiting a new favourite place the past week or more. We’ve been there a few times over the last four or five years, but it had fallen off our radar, for no particular reason, until recently.

It’s cool here

How to find this place? Well, wander down a rainforest road, and depending on the weather, feel uncomfortably warm in the sun (rare, but it happened last week), or turn up your collar to keep the rain from dripping in, or slip and slide on ice patches. Keep going. There are little detours along the way if Scout is your guide. She insists we explore each of the last pockets of snow, and we do have to stop at various tree stumps and earth patches, sniff with intent and leave our (her) scent. Eventually, by crossing over the road at the end of the drive, and taking the trailhead, you emerge out of the forest fringe and on to black rocks overlooking the ocean.

Keep going, past these trees…

The stormier photographs included this week are from a visit we (I) hadn’t intended to make. It was blustery, with the icy rain more like pellets, stinging my delicate skin and having me thinking of taking a short cut home. Scout, however, was having none of it, and pulled me along, the sound of the roaring ocean through the trees appearing to get her attention even over the sound of the wind and rain and my gentle sobbing. We both knew she was in charge of this trip.

Chilly

It was worth it! The waves were racing in, gathering themselves up in shades of green and grey before smashing onto the rocks. Our little viewing perch nestled in the higher black rocks was blasted by icy squalls, but we were safely above the pounding, yet close enough to feel the power. What a rush – a power trip! Thanks, Scout!

What a rush

Let’s keep it short this week – wouldn’t want all this going to Scout’s head. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

“A power trip? Me?”