Canada Day!

I was aiming to choose a recent photograph that attempted to capture the essence of Canada – our little corner – for Canada Day, and I think it’s quite a good choice!

Pretty hoppy with my choice, and as much as a beer can, this represents our little corner! Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to all who choose to celebrate. It’s far from perfect here in the True North, but as a work in (slow) progress we’re paddling in the right direction, and that’s something to celebrate. Cheers!

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

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!

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?”

A descent

We have been past the turning to Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park countless times in the last ten years. Little? Nah, not stopping for anything little, not when we’re surrounded by big western Canada. Well, weren’t we shown to be a little(?!) silly…

Before the drop

We had to be in Qualicum Beach for an afternoon appointment, and the combination of never wanting to be late and having to get through before the daily construction closures (completion Summer 2020, budget $30 million) around Kennedy Lake, meant we had time on our hands. Alright then, let’s check out the Little Qualicum Falls.

Fall at the falls

We parked in an almost empty lot and headed up the trail marked Upper Falls. I do like to let gravity do the work later in a hike whenever possible. The trail was muddy but not impassable after a week of heavy rain, and we could hear a distant roar of cascading water up ahead. Promising!

Promising

The falls were spectacular! Huge volumes of water crashing down narrow chutes, throwing up mist and spray glinting in the late morning sun. What a sight and what a sound, and not little at all! Cascades of water, churning and tumbling and completely exhilarating!

Delighted we saw the falls, our descent after was decent, as we smiled all the way down, wondering why we hadn’t stopped there sooner?!

Noisy!

When we got home, having been held up by construction closures (new completion date late Fall 2022, new budget $58 million) we decided we must try a bit harder to explore the little delights closer to home, and not to pass turnings signposted to “Little” anything unless we promise to visit inside ten years…

Exhilarating!

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

Thanksgiving, a road trip tale, and a cry for pie

Roasted butternut squash with sage (from the “garden”), something with mushrooms, and apple not pumpkin, please not pumpkin, pie, all washed down with a small glass of beer. Or two.

Yup, it’s a long weekend ahead, and for us, a chance to reflect, acknowledge and give thanks for our great good fortune to be living where we are.

Happy to be here

Our recent stop on Salt Spring was the calm start to a rushed road trip. We drove to Calgary and back in a matter of days. Why?! We wanted to see Junior – she has started a new education journey in Calgary, taking in psychology and linguistics amongst other things, and having not been in the same room with her for over a year, were excited about that. We also had some boring old “you have to be here in person to sign off” paperwork that allegedly couldn’t be done through any digital trickery. So off we went, ahead of the snow, but not ahead of every single road construction project in BC and AB. Actually, every single construction project in western Canada. No, North America. No, the world. The solar system. The universe. Since the dawn of time.

Destination Calgary!

Anyway, there were a few hold ups along the way, but as it is thanksgiving, let’s put a positive spin on that, and say, isn’t western Canada beautiful? It really is. All the extra time spent staring at the same group of trees was great. Once we got our heads around this was going to happen frequently, it wasn’t so bad. Apart from the last straw, the new construction that meant the Trans Canada was closed from Golden to Banff. A two hours and some detour in the dark at the end of a long driving day was quite the bonus. Good thing I am a happy traveller.

The same patch of trees? Maybe…

All the stuff I wrote in the past couple of posts about disconnection and getting off the grid etc? I even managed that in Calgary! That’s what happens when you visit your daughter on the 22nd floor and admire the view from the balcony. I reeled back after taking the photo below, sitting down and placing my phone behind me. Placing it over the wide gap between the balcony floor and the wall. Then watching my phone fall through the gap. Yup, that’ll disconnect you.

Getting high. 22 floors up

Anyway, thankfully, my phone did not break – did I mention 22 floors up? – and isn’t that amazing? It didn’t drop all the way down, but landed on the balcony beneath. The resident below was on vacation, and the building managers couldn’t gain access without permission and notification, so the phone wasn’t recovered until after we set off for home. I’m happily reunited with it, although somewhat sadly despondent that when I didn’t have it, it was revealed just how reliant upon it I’ve become. I did manage without, but not so well. Yikes…

High harvest. Thanksgiving cheers!

We were very happy to see Junior, and catch up in person. We’re hopeful she’ll be in one place for a little while (don’t know where she gets the moving about bug from…) and we even anticipate a winter break visit from her out to the island. Don’t tell her about the rain.

I’ll leave it there, that’s enough heartwarming and exciting thanksgiving/road trip tales for now. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend! But no pumpkin pie – please, not that…

Boats in the snow!

Boats! Snow! Boats in the snow! And there you have it, I’ve revealed my process. It’s taken years…

We were so happy to see the snow still coming down last Saturday morning. The first few flakes were floating about Friday night, and at first it looked like it might be disappointing. A previously promised snow day didn’t come to pass, so we weren’t too hopeful. But this time, it was great! The total was about 20cm, or 19 better than the last “snow event” and it stuck around all of Saturday and into Sunday, although it was getting more than a bit slushy by Sunday afternoon.

Boats! Snow! A floatplane!

Children of all ages were out and about, building snowmen, sliding down hills and making the most of it. There weren’t too many cars on the roads after the first few attempts by drivers to get up the local hills. Lots of shrugs and happy realizations that it might as well be a snow day – they don’t happen too often around here. Errands can wait!

It was fun to take in the inner and outer harbour, seeing the boats blanketed in snow, and a thin skin of cracked ice broken where a brave paddler had been out in a kayak.

Kayaking?! Not today

One guy was atop his fishing boat, shovelling the snow and laughing, happy enough, but also pretty happy he didn’t have to deal with it too often. The snowy boats were a pleasant sight, something familiar given a visual twist. The comforting muffled stillness found after a heavy snowfall was certainly strange to experience close to the water. Barely a splash or a ripple, although the steady Sunday thaw brought the water sounds back, with dripping from trees and rooftops, and trickles becoming streams down the sides of the road.

Shovelling snow – on a boat

I almost forgot to mention how Scout loved it – the husky part of her was in the zone, nosing and jumping through the deepest snow banks and patches she could find. Even slushy Sunday didn’t dampen her delight! Mrs PC took this one:

In her snow zone!

By Monday morning the snow was gone, but it had made an impact over the weekend – students were buzzing, happy to share their snow stories, and excited they’d had a taste of winter.

Boats in the snow or snow in the boats?

I was snap happy with the camera, so will post some more photos next week. Perhaps one or two more boats in the snow photos, and some snowy images of the beach and forest.

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

The year in beer

For many, it hasn’t been a fabulous year, has it? With that said, a tip of the hat to Walt over at Rivertop Rambles for reminding us it hasn’t been all bad. He unintentionally nudged me into this one. Glass raised to Walt! Now, on to what had you reading this far, the promise of a year in beer – there’s always a beer, thank goodness…

January. We live on Beer Island, thank goodness. I liked this one. Yum!

I’ve picked my favourite beers featured on the blog this year, one for each month. I was going to write a short “tasting notes” paragraph for each. Then I realized that would be boring for most readers. So instead I wrote almost the same for every beer. It imitates my beer tasting thought process. I know, me too – there’s a thought process? Here it is. Being a discerning beer drinker, I try a beer, and usually, unless it is a sour that slipped past the guards, I think “I like this one – yum!” and then I drink some more of it. That’s a process. Wait until you read the notes. With such descriptive powers you’ll be convinced, like me, I should not write a beer blog.

February. In flight entertainment. The Kolsch was a standout. I liked this one. Yum!

I hope you like the artwork on the bottles and cans, because it will be better than the descriptions. If you’re lucky, perhaps you’ll be able to track down a few of these? To keep it really exciting, I’ll tell you my absolute clear winner and favourite at the end. Cheers!

March. We have lift off. A complete surprise how much I liked this one. Yum!
April. Brilliant Albeerta brew. Yum!
May. Berry good. Yum!
June! Off a cliff good. Yum!
July. A towering agricultural achievement. Yum!
August. A VIB dependable. Yup, I like this one. Yum!
September. I didn’t post any beer photos in September? Strange. Here’s some extra goodness from August. Yum!
October. Red, right, return. Lovely can, splendid beer. Yum!
November. Did I like this one? I almost cried the following week when there was no more in stock. Yum, sob.
December. Bought it for the label, was delighted at how good it was. Yum!

Well, what a variety. When I started this, I thought each month would be a pale ale – and it could have been – but it looks like we stepped outside our comfort zone to enjoy plenty of good ones. No sours, though.

My absolute favourite, even though I liked them all and there can be only one winner? Maybe for Wayne’s suggested award, the coveted Four Soaring Eagles and a Salmon? That goes to:

The Plains Breaker Wheat Ale! No, I meant The Grinch seasonal. Actually, the 33 Acres of Ocean West Coast Pale Ale. Or was it…

…Oh dear, I think further research/a recount is in order. It’s so 2020 to be unable to agree on a winner. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Canadian Thanksgiving

We’re thankful to be living in Canada. As a nation, it’s far from perfect, but in this most troubling of years, we’re delighted to be here.

Delighted to be here

Looking ahead, I really, really hope I’ll be writing a thanksgiving post next year that includes giving thanks for a calmer, kinder and gentler post-COVID world, where a vaccine has proved successful, and we’ll be laughing at how ridiculous it was that “alternate facts” was ever a thing. You have to hope…

Calmer

We’re always thankful for our family and friends; near or far, wherever you are, we know we’re lucky to have you.

Lucky

If you’re celebrating (a safe, socially distant and bittersweet) Thanksgiving, I hope it’s a good one! If you’re not celebrating, I hope you’re safe and well, and you have a wonderful weekend!

Celebrating

Searching

For some calm! Did you catch the Kimberly Guilfoyle “speech” this week? Don’t worry, if you didn’t see it you probably heard it, like it or not. Not. It’s still echoing, and not in an enjoyable way. Goodness. I don’t know if my hearing will ever recover. Screeching at an empty room. That’ll persuade people your message is worthwhile. Spoiler alert: the message isn’t worthwhile. Or even coherent. The party with no platform that complains about no platforming?! Oh dear.

More enjoyable

Where to find some calm? Why, back on the trail and in the forest! As promised, I took a photograph of the three bridges built by our young team. No thumbs:

Mrs PC took a tour of the trail last Saturday, and enjoyed seeing the handiwork. We spotted some wolf tracks from earlier in the morning, but no sighting of a wolf.

To the lake

We wandered as far as the lake, and enjoyed the silence. Mrs PC took the following photograph, a rare sighting of an OldPlaidCamper in a favourite setting. I was hiding from a Guilfoyle. Well, wouldn’t you? You can see claw marks and how screeching can even strip bark from defenceless trees:

“Has the Guilfoyle gone?!”

I hope you are doing well, you find yourself somewhere calm, safe from screeching, and wildfires, and hurricanes, and political storms. Oh, and that COVID pandemic – it is not a hoax (does that really need saying?) – so many lives lost, and some of them needlessly…

Calm

Rant alert! I think I’ll stop there. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend!