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?”

“You busy?”

A very short piece this week – I’ve been busy…

I was sat in my office yesterday morning, toiling away on reports no one was likely to read, and wondering where had it all gone so right for me to be indoors on an unexpectedly sunny day? The drive to work had been about perfect, with the sun breaking through light mists, illuminating the low mountain tops and giving the bay a silver-pink- blue glow. Even the usually tetchy kingfishers appeared happy, and ducks were splashing prettily in the shallows outside the door. Yes, poor me. Still, lucky ducks, hey?

Yesterday morning – too nice to be inside

As I began a scintillating paragraph to get page 578 rolling, my phone rang. Oh no! An interruption, and just when I was getting to the interesting bit. “Hey old man you busy?” “Yeah, got to finish these papers today, can’t miss a deadline, you know how it is!” “Oh, ok. We’re in R’s truck, a few of us are heading up Mt. Ozzard to check on the new mountain bike trails, and thought you’d like to see what the young ones have created. But if you’re busy…”

Ozzard on the right (picture taken Wednesday evening)

Fifteen minutes later, I was in the back of a pickup, bouncing along logging roads to the foot of Ozzard. What can I say, I’m dedicated. To getting out and seeing what our youthful charges have been up to. I was almost finished anyway…

Ride a bike down here? No thanks!

As we climbed the trail, slipping and sliding on a mix of mud and snow – yup, the snow had stuck under the trees and in the shade – I delighted in having the freedom to be able to slip away from the office, walk up a mountain, and call it work. Like I said at the top, where did it all go so right?

Hard at work…

Anyway, a short post as promised. Did I finish those reports? Do you really need to ask? Of course – hold on, let me finish – of course I can get them done by Monday. I’m not specifying any particular Monday…

Thursday morning. Easily distracted (silver-pink-blue? I think so…)

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

Thursday afternoon – sun setting on what turned out a pretty good day

Storm’s a brewin’

I’ll stop writing about our forever storm season when we run out of forever, or storms, or both. (Huh? That last sentence doesn’t really hold up to rigorous scrutiny. Still, why pick on that sentence? There are many others, equally guilty…)

Failure to capture the full droplet photo

I’m exaggerating about forever storms – if you stick around to the end of this piece, you’ll see it’s not all storms and floods. Just mostly, or so it seems.

Raining, but less so

We went to clamber over some rocks and splash along the coastal trails last weekend. It hadn’t exactly stopped raining, but it felt like a lull, so off we went, in rain gear and high spirits. Well, most of us had rain gear and high spirits – one four legged friend has never liked to wear anything extra, rain or snow, and is understandably reluctant walking in very heavy rain, but after the first minute or so, switched from disbelief at going beyond the house boundaries to active enthusiasm.

“I think I see the next storm out there!”

It was good to stretch our legs, and inhale huge lungfuls of fresh sea air. Birds were buffeted by winds, but seemed to be enjoying it, and we had the trails to ourselves. Who would go out knowing a storm’s a brewin’? We would, knowing there’s a storm’s a brewin’ at home, a well earned reward and winter warmer. A new one from Ucluelet Brewing Company, and a real winner!

Very good, even if the thought of a latte stout is off putting.

After another week of rain and flooded roads – admittedly not as bad as last week on the roads – it was a relief to wake up yesterday to a chilly dawn, calm water, clear skies, and all followed by a day of wall to wall sunshine. The sun might be dropping early these days, but at least we got to see it on Thursday!

Storms? Where?

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

Salish sunrise

Last week, I jotted something about unpacking after our recent trip, and then getting around to sharing some of our adventures. I’ve decided to be nonlinear in the narrative, due to a blissed out attitude and an unshackling from convention, post vacation. Or laziness. Anyway, let’s start at the end…

Our departure from Salt Spring Island was an almost civilized affair, with the cabin we stayed in located a short jaunt from two ferry terminals. Arriving at the island at the Vesuvius terminal, we were only a kilometre from the cabin. Yup, that’s right, Vesuvius. Nope, no idea. Determinedly off grid, or at least unconnected (Salt Spring is not actually off grid) I was determinedly intellectually lacking in curiosity about the Vesuvius name. No research has erupted since the trip either…

Salish sea at sunrise

Hold on, OldPlaidCamper – an almost civilized departure? What happened? Good question, and if I wasn’t relaxed after a short break away, why, I could go on a rant, asking who was the genius behind booking a ferry departing at 6:20am – yes, that’s right, 6am – requiring a wake up alarm of 5:00am – yes, you read that right, 5am. 5AM! On a vacation day. On an island with several ferries and multiple mid morning departure times. Anyway, I’m not one to rant or assign blame.

Pretty

We arrived at Long Harbour in the dark, far too early, like an over-prepared and overly cautious senior traveller with anxiety issues about missing the ferry. Not that I recognize that description. We sat in the dark, enjoying watching the sky change from a deep blue-black to a less inky and dense shade, as the predawn hint of sunrise began to show. By the time the ferry boarded, there were streaks of pink and gold showing through the mist over the water.

Calm

I won’t write too much more here, as the photographs do a pretty good job. I will admit, as you likely suspected, it was me who booked the early morning departure. It was necessary (for reasons to be revealed in a later post) and not actually a wilful effort to get as little sleep as possible on a day off. Turned out a pretty good decision (writes Captain Hindsight) as the Salish sunrise was breathtakingly pretty.

I could become a morning person

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

A bite or two

At the end of the previous post, I wrote I wouldn’t be adding any more foodie pieces for the next little while. So, how to explain the title for this week? It’s even less interesting than you might imagine, and came to me as I sat here, itching.

Itching and scratching at the many, many mosquito bites I received on our recent trip to the backcountry. It was delightful to get far, far away from the business of summer season, but it was far, far less delightful to be the blood host for so many mosquitoes. They really liked me, and they seemed to enjoy the brand of bug repellent I used to little effect.

Delightful

After a long dry spell, particularly dry for the PNW, it rained the day and night we set off. I think I made a brief reference to the rain last week? I don’t mind the rain, but this time it created lovely extra humid conditions, and so the lovely extra hungry mosquitoes popped out to greet us. What a lovely welcome! Lovely.

As well as learning that particular brand of DEET-free repellent is ineffective, I also learned that I’m not as good at putting up a tent in the dark as I thought I was. I slipped and bent one of the two important tent poles (one of only two tent poles), when my knee and overall body weight combined to crush one of the ends. Lovely.

Slightly disturbed – the water

With the mosquitoes buzzing encouragement in both my ears, and the rain falling oh so gently in the fading light, I believe I must have looked a picture of complete happiness. Being an independent minded sort – that’s code for bloodyminded and too stubborn to ask for help at that moment – I managed to push the broken end of the pole into a soft bank of earth, sorted the tent fly (fly? FLY?! I think they mean tent mosquito sheet I might have been heard muttering, serenity personified…) and pegged everything down. A job well done, OldPlaidCheerful having fun floating on a cloud of happiness and bug spray, desperately hoping the makeshift solution would keep out the rain.

Did it keep the rain out?

It did. I stayed wonderfully dry, and stayed wonderfully entertained trying to track down the mosquito that also wanted to stay wonderfully dry. It was wonderfully well fed, taking another bite or two. Wonderful.

A return

Anyway, not a food piece this week, more a return to being an almost outdoorsman, and I do believe I’m wiser for all the stumbling about in near darkness. I certainly won’t be buying that bug friendly spray again. So yes, very much wiser.

I think I’d best stop now. I enjoyed this minor rant, but all whining (like a mosquito) aside, I did genuinely enjoy being in a tent after far too long not camping. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Fine dining

Last week, witnessing the eagles tucking into fresh – or not so fresh as the week wore on – seal, I hinted I’d follow up with a dessert course.

I want to be true to my word, and present more fine dining. The snag to putting the final seal of approval on a great gastronomic experience was the carcass disappearing not long after I published the ready meal post. I guess a bear or wolf, one of the four legged OldPlaidCamper readers, recognized a tender seal steak and snuck down there when the eagles weren’t watching. No dessert on that beach.

Dessert? I’m listening…

So, what about dessert OldPlaidCamper? I’m glad you asked, and it’s coming. A properly prepared meal can take a little time…

A group of youth, elders, and mentors went out last weekend to share wilderness and land based learning time. The weather had been fine all week, sunny, not too hot, perfect for being on the water and traveling up to the remote camp. We climbed aboard boats and it started to rain. We sailed for about an hour through the Broken Group islands and through the rain. We disembarked and pitched tents in the rain. We spent the first night enjoying the soothing sound of rain on canvas, but hoping it would ease before dawn. We woke to rain. Then, at midday, it stopped raining.

No more rain

Yup, yup, it rained, we get it, but dessert? Ah, you spotted the filler, some blogging hamburger helper… On with the story of dessert. A few hardy swimmers went out to harvest sea urchin, and to my great disappointment, weren’t able to find any. Phew, I thought secretly, I can look forward to that another time. No sea urchin, but the sea cucumbers were abundant. Yup, dessert is sea cucumber. It’s even more enjoyable if you’ve had a lesson in how to prepare it. For me, it tasted as good as the previous time I tried it, when I made (and clearly forgot to remember) a mental note never to eat it again. I chewed and chewed and wondered if perhaps week old seal might not be a better choice? I was very much in a minority of me, as all my companions, young and old, tucked in, and so what else could I do except hand over my share?

It’s all in the preparation

Dinner has been served! No more foodie pieces for the foreseeable future, not until I’ve forgotten once more how much I enjoy fruits from the sea. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

It had to happen…

…I’ve found a beer style that is, in my opinion, impossible to enjoy.

I don’t mention it very often, and this will be news to many readers, but I’m partial to trying a new beer or two over the course of a weekend. I’m not too fond of sours, or beers that have been flavoured with oddball ingredients or too much fruit. I find too much alcohol leaves a burn that is hard to enjoy. An ABV somewhere between 4 and 7.5% is just fine by me. Hops? Yum! Ridiculously hopped? Sometimes yum! At the other end of the spectrum, malty or dark beers are jolly good, particularly in the winter months. Or summer months. Oh ok, spring and fall also.

Springtime? Beer season.

So yes to beer overall, but no to my most recent exploration. I tried the beer in the following photograph, and after the first optimistic sip – new beer = high expectations – thought my beer enjoyment taste buds (the medical term is BETBs, as reported in reputable medical journals) had broken. Cue medical panic. Is there a doctor in the house? A nurse? A nurse with a doctorate? Yes. Dr. Mrs. PC, RN to the rescue. While I tried to communicate through mime (having lost the power of speech due to this “beer” removing the layer of BETBs) Dr. PC took a sip and made a face. The one that said so who didn’t read the tasting notes before purchase?

No, no, no, no, no. And no. I didn’t like this one. No. Not at all. It isn’t beer. It’s a salt shaker. But with more salt. Nope, can’t think of anything positive. Not yum. A BETB killer. Not recommended. Just say no.

Obviously, being incapacitated due to the medical reasons explained above, I was unable to say it was me failing to read the tasting notes. I didn’t know salt water is the primary ingredient in a gose beer. Actually, salt water isn’t the primary ingredient. Salt is. Other ingredients such as water, or hops are mostly an afterthought.

Pleasant distraction

In the interests of public health, and as a safety information service to fellow beer lovers yet to “enjoy” a gose, I’ll say don’t. Don’t bother. Don’t do it. Just say no! That last one always works in public health messaging from governments not prepared to invest in proper health promotion. Best stop that, let’s not go on a rant about public healthcare under certain governments. Anyway, that’s Dr. Mrs. PC’s area of expertise, not mine. I’m better left with making (sometimes bad) beer choices and reacting in a suitably responsible manner when it goes wrong.

Ripple pattern on a beach? Or a photo from a learned medical journal of a tongue with severe BETB damage? I’m not a doctor, but it seems clear to me…

You don’t believe my public health messaging? You think that the gose style is something you could gose for? Ok, on your head and damaged BETBs be it. If you really, really have to try a gose, yet can’t find one anywhere, go to your store cupboard, take out the salt, pour yourself a generous spoonful and start eating. It’ll actually be more pleasant than a gose, a close enough approximation, and you’ll have saved yourself a few pennies and some major disappointment.

Before I go, you’ll be wanting a medical update, because I think I’m right in saying there’s nothing more interesting than an early middle aged person talking about their medical ailments? Fair enough, and thanks for asking – my BETBs have made a full recovery just in time for this weekend. I’ve learned my lesson, and will totally not be trying anything odd sounding or too experimental on the beer front. Oh look, now what’s this?

Oh no, not another generic plum and rosemary saison…(actually, it was yum!)

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

A dragon?

Why not? Too strange? Perhaps not – wasn’t there a paranoid maniacal mango with delusions about trying to rule the world making headlines not so long ago? Exactly! Dragons then, not so far fetched…

A dragon’s skull

We planned to go for a long walk in the sunshine last weekend, choosing Sunday as the better sunny day. It turned out, meteorological magician that I am, we should have gone on Saturday. However, going on the slightly colder and misty day meant we had a dragon encounter all to ourselves, the beach being very empty. No visitors due to public health restrictions, or a well fed dragon? Seems clear to me.

Wary dog approaching the dragon

The following paragraph contains spoilers. A young reader I’ve been enjoying books with has recently taken to a series of “what if?” nature books. What if a rhino fought a hippo? Or a lion took on a tiger? A great hook to engage reluctant readers, with lots of photos, facts and figures to help us try and reach an answer. It’s the hippo, if you were wondering. No, really, the hippo! I won’t spoil the large cat one. Our favourite so far has been King Cobra vs Komodo Dragon. I backed the dragon. I was wrong.

What creature can defeat a dragon?

Anyway, I’ll be honest – in case you’re thinking is he losing it? – the dragon we saw last weekend wasn’t a real live dragon. Come on, when did you last see a dragon outside of Game of Thrones? No, this was a dead dragon, or the skull of a dead dragon. Evidence? Look at the photos for the evidence.

Close up – definitely deceased

I checked with my reading buddy, and we’re still learning, but it seems pretty clear to us there are dragon killing cobras somewhere nearby, and we’re going to be very watchful next time we’re out there.

Just the one and then an early night for you, OPC

A short post this week, as I clearly need to rest, catch up on sleep, and finish making my suit of armour.

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

Mud, mess and muddle

Like the week! All good though – a real mix, with some rain, some sun, plenty of mud in the school garden, and chances to get messy and mess about.

Mess about? There’s a story I can’t share with you from the school garden where two students thought it would be funny if they used the hose from the rainwater butt and pretended to be peeing into the watering cans. We’ll move on. Let’s not bother with their reaction when they heard me say water butt. I should have said barrel. We agreed they were children and eventually moved on. Overheard whispers: He said butt, water butt, hehehe…

Between rain showers

Mud on the trails was no hindrance, and (prompted by Jet, thank you) we’ve noticed an abundance of salmonberry flowers of late. Messing about with my camera phone in the rain, numerous attempts resulted in one reasonable image, shared below:

A great mix of new to me BC beers in store was a pleasant surprise. I know what I like, like what I know, and armed with too much fondness for hazy pale ales, I branched out, took a risk and chose…another hazy pale! And very good it was too.

Yum! Cannery Brewing, Penticton, BC

I have an app (RNI) on my iPad that has various settings to make digital photographs look like film stock. I messed about with this one evening, attempting to recreate what I remember old snapshots looked like in ye olden days before digital – you know, when life was in black and white, no colour, or maybe with some colour but grainy, and life was impossible without the internet. Or so some students think, when I share boring stories from prehistory. I won’t bore you with my many old/new masterpieces, and just keep it to the one image below:

Olden days (February 2021)

In between the mess of light rain showers, we’ve enjoyed the blossom found out and about. No camera filter tricks in the blossom photographs shared in this post, and if I’m honest, there is no need to change anything with these vibrant colours. Nature knows best…

Loud and proud, no filters

So there you go, a happy enough muddle through another week, and with the forecast for the weekend promisingly sunny, we’re hoping to mess about up and down a beach or two this weekend.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! (He did, he said water butt! Teehee…)

Damp daze

I received a WP notification the other day stating I’ve been blogging here for six years. Six years?! Who knew I’d be able to write a weekly post about going for a walk and keep that up for so long? Admittedly padded with the appearance of a beer photo or two along the way…

Damp

Well, here’s another one about going for a walk. We went to Florencia Bay earlier this week, a planned day off from work when the forecast noted it would be a sunny day. The forecast was wrong, and instead, we had a rainy walk, negotiating muddy puddles from the parking lot to the rickety wooden stairs leading down to the bay. Scout helpfully ignored my pleas to slow down as we descended the slippery rickety wooden stairs. When we got to the bottom, I looked back up, thinking how much I was looking forward to ascending the wobbly, slippery, rickety wooden stairs. No padding this week.

“You can’t get up here, can you, OldPlaidCamper?” Nope.

The rain didn’t ease. If anything, it fell more heavily and at just the right wind blown angle to get under a jacket hood and top up our coffee. From a hot espresso to a lukewarm Americano.

There was a (fool?) hardy surfer pretty far out, enjoying the pretty big waves. They had a companion spotter on the shore, but still. Braver than me. These were the only people present, and the wind and rain seemed to have dampened the enthusiasm of the eagles we often see there. No sightings. A few buffeted gulls were skimming the surf, performing admirable manoeuvres.

Still damp

A day off being a day off, wet or not, we weren’t going to let a morning go to waste. We trundled up the beach for a bit, keeping a close eye on the turning tide, and happy that the rain couldn’t water down a decent bar of chocolate. So it was a touch chilly, and a little damp, but overall a good wander along a beach in any weather is bracing, and we felt better for it. Until we got back to the stairs leading off the beach. Did I mention those already?

A testing day…(thanks, Lynn!)

Thanks for reading, this week, and for some, any, or all of the previous six years. Let’s see if we can manage another six… I hope you have a wonderful weekend!