Smoking…

…hot! That was the west coast earlier this week. It was bad, but other places had it worse.

Before the heat

Temperatures in parts of BC were hotter than Vegas – ever! – and hotter than Miami and Houston – ever! Beyond the usual assumptions about ice and snow, Western Canada does get very warm in the summer, but the west coast of Vancouver Island isn’t one of those places. The heat was ridiculous, and very uncomfortably so. Even the breeze, when it got up, was too hot – a blast of heated air flowing into our home, through each room and out the front door and windows, to no good effect. Nothing worked to cool us down, and for over three days, it grew hotter and hotter. Finally, on Monday evening, at the same time the sun dropped below the tree line and the tide turned down on the inlet, a cool breeze started. Within a few minutes, word had gotten out, and people were gathering on balconies to enjoy the cool air and decreasing temperatures. What a blessed relief!

Too hot, no breeze, can’t stop to enjoy the view

On Tuesday, I stopped by a friend’s house to compare heat stories, and he told me about a bear that had been nosing about his smokehouse just up from the shore. It hasn’t been used in a while, but he thought perhaps the bear fancied the shade, even if there was nothing to eat? A bear in a smokehouse? I asked. Bears smoke? I left soon after, promising to come back when I was more sensible and less senseless due to heatstroke…

Sensible measures

As I drove home, a minute along the way, a bear wandered onto the road from my friend’s house, ambling from one side to the other, smiling and taking its own sweet time to stroll into the shade of the trees. Was this the smoking bear? It looked pretty contented. Maybe it was the nicotine? C’mon, bear, you know better than that.

The first cool morning after the heat

Anyway, a smoking hot few days has given way to more reasonable warm days, with temperatures we’d have considered pretty high until the events of last week. We’ll be back out and about on longer hikes with Scout, who is very happy that normal(ish) weather has resumed. She’s definitely a non-smoker. Sensible dog!

Yesterday morning – cool air and fog – just right!

My brain is too cooked to be able to get into it about climate change. Even after this week, with stories of wildfires ripping through communities, and an increase in unexpected deaths due to the heat, there are still some in denial. It was unpleasant where we are, but we were lucky, most likely due to our coastal location and lower temperature starting point. Long past time to acknowledge and act collectively to reduce the warming. Hey ho, let’s leave it there…

Thanks for reading, I hope you stay cool wherever you are, and have a wonderful weekend!

Abandoned

Abandoned was the word that came to mind when I saw this little boat sitting all alone on the mudflats. Is this the prompt for a “feeling sorry for himself” PlaidCamper rant? A quiet one, of course, being an introvert and all that…

All alone, but not actually abandoned

No! Keep reading if you’re still here, there’s no rant or feeling sorry for oneself. Or do stop reading if you were hoping for a rambling rant. We’ve enjoyed another calm week, not too fast, not too slow, and certainly not too many people, even though travel restrictions are starting to lift. Our lifeboat isn’t crowded.

Last Sunday we wandered down to our favourite little shell beach, and although the tide was high, it was calm and there was dry space enough to make it worth the clamber down to sit for an hour, enjoy the quiet.

A touch woody? I’d rather share your pastry…

We heard bald eagles in the trees above and behind us, and peered and craned to catch a glimpse, but they were out of sight. Well alright, it was enough to know they were there, so we settled back against a log and poured the all important second cup of caffeine. Maybe there was a pastry to go with it, or most of a pastry after Scout tried to snag her share.

Any of those pastries left?

Later in the day we went down to the outer harbour, to look at the boats and do some more sitting. We’re getting quite accomplished at it, and the lapping of small waves against the dock, and waving to the small craft sailors made for a pleasant late afternoon. We couldn’t sit there into the evening, although that would have been good. No, we had an important appointment to keep.

Keeping busy…

Sunday evening appointments? Sounds unnecessarily busy PlaidCamper – what was it? Good question, and I’m glad you asked! We had to meet up with the new cans of Ucluelet Brewing Company Kolsch. Yes, on a Sunday, but not a school night due to a few days off. I wouldn’t abandon my no drinking on a school night principle. Actually, I would, but didn’t this time.

…but not too busy. An abandoned principle? No!

I’ll leave you now, keeping with the non-existent abandoned theme, and wish you a wonderful weekend ahead!

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!

The rough with the smooth

A short and textured piece for a week where all went pretty well, whether it was rough or smooth.

Rrruff!

Our spring weather has jumped about, with some rain, some sun, some wind, plenty of grey, green and blue, and mostly feeling pretty warm, even under the grey skies.

We went to the black rock and shell beach below the Black Rock buildings – how did they come up with that name? – and if you scramble along a bit, there are many quiet little corners to sit and survey the sea. It was calm the day we went, with warm sun, blue skies and the gentle sound of waves over rocks. Soporific but not boring, and maybe my head nodded once or twice…

Why is the nearby hotel called the Black Rock?

Yesterday morning was a west coast special – misty, almost foggy, and through it you could feel the warmth of the sun, a hint of a sunny afternoon ahead. Sometimes, the mist and fog lingers, but yesterday it cleared, and it felt like a promise kept.

Learning is often better outdoors, or at the very least, indoors with doors and windows thrown open – and if we had to anchor wind blown paper-based assignments with a few rocks after chasing around the room, well, that’s okay. Smoothed them out…

7:30 smooth

Scout has a set Saturday afternoon routine I have to follow when we’re out. She’s persuaded Mrs. PC to visit a small pocket park that has a series of different height walls, and she (Scout, not Mrs. PC) has to leap up each step of wall and balance to the end before jumping off to great applause. This means now, when Scout is out with me, there’s no avoiding the left turn to the little park, and we have to visit and go through the same performance. My balance isn’t all that, but I’ve almost nailed the landing.

Same day, midday, still pretty smooth

After the park, Scout insists we head to a small section of the Wild Pacific Trail, where we check on what is currently our favourite tree, a tall beauty with a textured trunk that demands our admiration. So we do.

Rough – our current favourite

Enough for this week, keeping it brief, as promised. We’re hoping for more warm sunshine this weekend, and a longer beach hike or two. We’ll head out there, and rough or smooth, expect it’ll be great fun either way.

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

Trail time with a dinosaur

What time is it? Trail time! Music to Scout’s ears, and off we go as often as we can, Scout scampering, and me lumbering, like a, like a, oh, I don’t know, an old dinosaur? (Hmm. He’s mentioned dinosaurs. Is it worth reading on to find out why?) No.

Positively prehistoric?

We’ve chosen the Wild Pacific Trail for the past couple of weekends. One, it has many trailheads within a thirty minute stroll from home, no need to drive, and two, it’s the Wild Pacific Trail. We’re wild for it!

The photographs included this week are from the Lighthouse Loop, and, by the end, you’ll notice I haven’t included any images of the lighthouse. Once more the contrarian…

A glimpse of Ozzard?

The loop is a good stretch, winding through the rainforest, up and down, taking in views of Mount Ozzard (I found out the traditional Nuu-Chah-Nulth name, but not the meaning, earlier this week, č̓umaat̓a choo-maa-tah) and the stretch of low hills above Hitacu across the inlet, and sections above the crinkly cliffs and rocky bays over the Pacific. A wild side and an even wilder side. Yeah, man, rocky, and it rocks. Goodness, I sound like a, a, oh, I don’t know, musical dinosaur.

Wild thing

We must have clocked up many miles walking on the wild side of Ucluelet, and last weekend added to the tally. In my head, and stuck there due to a slow brain, a refrain from the Dinosaur Jr. ditty, “I Walk for Miles” played on a (lighthouse) loop. I love the heavy crunch of that song, and the heavy crunch of many Dinosaur Jr. tunes. Yes, tunes, if you’re an early middle aged indie kid with less hair than you might like. Dinosaur? Me? No…

Dinosaur? You? Yes!

Might as well mention I think the latest Dinosaur Jr. album, Sweep It Into Space is a wonderful sonic assault on your eardrums. It must be said I think they’ve mellowed a teeny bit, with some almost west coast sounding, and almost folk-tinged items shining brightly through the more familiar fuzz and feedback frenzy from the guitars. That J. Mascis is a loopy guitar player, and the frequent solos do not disappoint.

On the ocean side of the loop

Enough for this week, I think, and I’ll stop writing now – Mrs PC has popped out, so I can play a gentle, refined and soothing album without headphones until she gets back. Turned up to 11, of course.

This one was turned up to 11 – hoptastic

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend, stomping along some trails, wherever you might be!

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…)

On the rocks

Scout was one determined dog last weekend. We went to the beach early – early enough to leave the first dog and person prints in the sand, and before the (are you sure your travel is essential?) out of province visitors started to fill the parking lot.

First dog, no prints, and fresh sand – let’s go!

With Scout in charge, it was a case of whatever she’s having, it’ll be on the rocks. The refuel stop for a coffee top up, water and kibble was just barely tolerated. Yup, sticks, logs, and odour laden washed up ocean mysteries were all well and good, but they weren’t on the rocks. So on we went!

From Scout’s happy place

Eventually we arrived at her happy place, and after choosing the most slippery route – for humans – to the top, Scout relented and let us rest. While we recovered from the frogmarch (or dogmarch?) down the beach, Scout took up a high position to scout for threats. We observed a few gulls and a pair of passing bald eagles, but nothing to threaten our place on the rocks.

Watchful

With the sun starting to feel pretty strong, we eventually persuaded Scout it was time to make tracks for the car. She excitedly picked up the scent and tracks of two slow humans and one smart husky/shepherd/tyrant cross, and away we went, off the rocks and back to the car.

Looking back

When we got home, Sergeant Major Scout trampled a few circles into her cushion and promptly crashed out for three hours. Make hers a double. Probably overdid it on the rocks there, Scout.

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

I’m not tired…

Spring greens…

…and blues! The colour, not the downer. It’s been a good week for feeling positive, as we’ve enjoyed above seasonal temperatures, warm sunshine, and the opportunity to get a first shot vaccination for all eligible Ucluelet residents.

A shot of green and blue

Often, we’ll be wandering through the fringes of coastal rainforest, admiring the fresh greens and wallowing in the damp environment, but any photographs taken haven’t really shown what I’m seeing. Perhaps it’s my tired old eyes?

Fresh greens

Last weekend, the sun was just right, as was our timing, and I managed to snap a few pictures that more or less show the greens as we see them. Or think we see them. And the blue of the ocean just beyond.

Greenery and, erm, bluery?

We walked and walked last weekend, mostly on paths straight from our door rather than heading to beaches requiring a car trip. With a bit of planning, we were able to avoid the (what are you doing here with non essential travel restrictions?) visitors and find quiet spots to pause and think along the way.

Another good colour here

All being well, the bright weather is set to remain with us for the next few days, through the coming weekend and maybe longer. More bright blues and greens to enjoy! Ah, spring! Boing! (That’s for any Zebedee fans…Zebedee? Huh? Feel free to ask or comment below!)

A brief, bright and bouncy piece this week, as we leave it there and head outside. Boing! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Watching the skies…

…for aliens? Monsters? No! We’ll be watching the skies this coming long weekend, hoping they’ll be clear and blue rather than wet and grey. The forecast is mixed, with a couple of dry days following a couple of damp days, so not too bad.

Looking up

The damp days might be good for beer and chocolate, and the dry ones for visiting beaches and hiking. Then the beer and chocolate.

Adorable? Edible

Watching the skies? Sounds like a nod to old B movies about visitors from outer space. If the aliens do decide to visit this weekend, they might be a tad disappointed, given we’re heading as a province into what appears to be a lockdown due to increasing COVID-19 cases. Sorry, ET, nothing to see or do here until later in the year! Be good. Stay home whether you’re from Mars or Manitoba, and wait for the welcome mat to be put out, a successful vaccination program permitting. Then when you do visit, erm… come in peace?

Weekend in colour

A brief post as we wrap up work and look forward to the weekend. If chocolate bunnies, eggs and all that stuff is your thing, then I hope you enjoy the celebration. If it isn’t, I hope you have time for a beer, some chocolate, and a local outing somewhere pleasant.

Local and pleasant

Almost done here. Getting back to B movies, I hear there’s a new Godzilla vs. King Kong release? Lizards and apes – maybe I can convince Mrs. PC she’ll enjoy this new nature documentary? Hmm. Beer, chocolate, and mindless screen entertainment on a rainy day? Alright!

An ET being good

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Fringe elements

The lunatic fringe. Used to be, you could tell where that was located, politically speaking, but these days? It’s a little harder to avoid the fringe elements…

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post-Brexit, post-Tr*mp, post-truth piece. It’s a piece touching on fringes, elements, edges, and transitions. But not hair. A fringe? If I had one, it would be a high fringe. Possibly monkish. Moving on.

High green fringes

We were walking through the rainforest fringe last weekend, descending through layers of green down to the shore, and emerging onto a wind-blasted beach. We knew it was a blustery day, and had wrapped up accordingly. The first part of our walk was in the shelter of the trees, and we thought it was all pretty pleasant. So when we stepped out and into the hard gnashing teeth of the wind, goodness, it was biting.

Colder than it looks…

We trotted up and down the beach at a very brisk pace. Down to the water’s edge and back, and enduring, I mean, enjoying the bracing air. For what was probably the first time ever, Scout was not interested in examining every single washed up log. She had her ears pinned back – streamlining, sensible dog – and attempted to guide her lunatic companions back to the fringe. Yes, at least one of us was thinking clearly.

The sheltered edge

We did find a suitable log to stop and sit on for a short while, mercifully out of the clutches of the wind. The sun almost appeared, and with it a steady trickle of hopeful beach walkers. It was fun to watch them hit the wind zone and then see them scurry back. So it wasn’t just us…

Cool green

A short piece this week from the western fringe as we transition into proper spring. Or hope to. A recent long range forecast was predicting a cool start to the season. Haven’t we just enjoyed that? We’ll continue to head out, whatever the weather, ears pinned back and making the most of it.

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