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!

Dawn patrol

I do love this time of year, if only because dawn is so much later in the day. I can pretend a false virtuousness at being up and out, working hard before sun up. Dawn patrol? Yeah, right. Anyway, when you’re heading out in the dark, you don’t quite know what is out there. We’ve had another week of mostly rain, to the point that on Thursday we had a minor dawn patrol adventure on the Hitacu-Ucluelet road…

Way past dawn, and a lovely sunny morning

There is a section signposted “road subject to flooding” and each time it rains I always look at the ditch, oftentimes close to overflowing, and think, yup, but not today. Yesterday? Yup, it was that day. There were a few stretches of standing water, deep, but you could still see the centreline under the water and tell yourself an old Jeep can handle it. So it proved, and I ignored the inner teenage voice saying “cool” as the water sprayed over the car. I bet it looked like a Jeep TV commercial. Is what a teenager would say. I’m far too mature to be thinking that, and anyway, why would they film it in the dark?

Early(ish)

There was a nerve jangling stretch where the water was not standing but flowing across the road. Not a torrent, but not a puddle either. It’s a Jeep, we can do it, is what I heard. Ever ready to take advice from my inner teenaged self, we crossed that section, and no floating away. Cool.

Late(ish)

That was before full dawn, when it was quite dark and I couldn’t really see how bad the water was. A few hours later, under orders to return home before the road closed, and after a great deal more rain, it wasn’t quite as cool. The teenager decided to keep quiet, and we enjoyed a somewhat nerve shredding drive, arriving with dry feet – phew – and a notion to pay closer attention to overnight rainfall amounts before setting out on pre-dawn patrol.

The photographs this week were taken last week, some on a rare sunny morning not too long after sun up, and some later the same day. Ah, sunshine, we remember you. Sunshine, you say? Hoping to see a little of that today before the next wave of wet weather arrives tomorrow. At least it’s the weekend, we’re not working, and perhaps taking a later and different dawn patrol:

You can’t see the full label, but this is the latest batch of Dawn Patrol coffee porter – yum, but probably best enjoyed nearer to sundown than sun up? “It’s dawn somewhere, OldPlaidCamper!” Good point.

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

Short, sharp, shocked

After almost a week of high winds and heavy rain, for contrast I thought I’d post bright photos of a recent weekend of sunshine, try to get away from the current floods and gloom.

I have to say we’re thinking of our PNW friends and neighbours struggling with washed out roads, broken supply chains, no utilities and flooded homes. A summer of drought followed by an autumn of floods, what a recipe for disaster.

Sharp

Our own little corner of the PNW hasn’t been hit as hard as other places, and as somewhere relatively remote, where the weather can knock out the power or wash out roads from time to time, the supply chain issues and travel difficulties are more or less part and parcel of normal fall/winter life. The scale of what’s unfolding on the mainland though? Goodness, it’s a loud warning that climate change is happening now – might be humans are leaving it very late to listen?

Still

The photos this week were taken at the end of October. We had a weekend of chilly starts and bright sunshine. Scout had forgotten what relative cold felt like – we all had – and it was funny to watch her tail wagging overtime as she high stepped along frosty paths and frozen docks. The sky was blue, the air was sharp, and the water was still – quite a contrast with what has followed since. When we went to Wick Beach, it was great to be able to sit in a sheltered spot, shirtsleeve comfortable and imagine it was almost summer!

Almost summer!

We wish all the best and a safe and speedy recovery to everyone impacted by the recent weather. All this, and it isn’t even December yet? Might be time to hold on to your hats and find those wellington boots…

So very calm

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

PS I borrowed the post title from a favourite album – anyone else a fan?

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!

After the storm

Well, I know I said I’d get down to the water, see if I could get a photograph or two of big waves at the tail end of the storm, but it just didn’t work out. There’ll be other opportunities through the fall and winter, so let’s look forward to that!

Tail end rain

Chatting with friends and colleagues, the general consensus seems to be that for all the pre-storm hullabaloo, it actually wasn’t that mighty. Did the wind howl? Yes it did! Was the rain heavy? Sure was! Did we lose power? Yup, for about ten seconds! All in all though, it felt like our little corner of the PNW didn’t get as bad a pounding as all that. Hopefully, other communities up and down the coast fared ok as well…

Run of the mill, and so was the storm

After the storm? It was quite the contrast, with a calm inner harbour, barely a breeze, and on one afternoon around midweek, Scout and I sat in almost sunshine. We could feel the hint of warmth radiating through the low clouds after the last of the heavy rain. We sat on our favourite wooden platform, a quiet little space overlooking the inner harbour, watching and listening to a belted kingfisher scold everything. Those kingfishers! So not completely calm then.

Calm

The next few days are predicted to be dry and sunny, Friday through Sunday, with the possibility of afternoon temperatures hitting 14C. Balmy! We’ll enjoy that, and likely find ourselves on the beaches and trails, making the most of it before the next storm hits!

Inner harbour, also calm

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

More rain? No…

Before the storm

We have weather warnings as I write this, with heavy rain and wind speeds of 80 gusting to 100kmh predicted. That means trees will fall, and the power will likely go out. Hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst, I thought I’d better write and schedule a post before losing power, and place candles, flashlights and my favourite power outage toque in accessible locations. Oh, forgetful me, and chocolate.

A little beach

For this quick before the storm post, I decided to use a few photos taken over the last long weekend, when we went down to our not-really-a-secret-but-let’s-hope-no-one-else-is-there little beach just off the Wild Pacific trail. As in a previous post, this isn’t the real name, but I’m quite getting into making up names for places.

Slow down, Scout!

When we arrived, after a little clamber down from the trail made more exciting by Scout’s absolute determination to haul me over rocks and under logs, we found the beach was empty as hoped for. Not the warmest of days overall, but we sat out of the gusting wind and enjoyed the wave action. Not storm waves, but still pretty powerful at beach level.

Wave action

If conditions allow, and it’s safe, I’ll head back to this little beach, or at least the trail above it, after the worst of the wind gusts, and see if I can catch a shot or two of big waves. I’ll wear my favourite after the storm toque, and take coffee – and chocolate.

Not stormy, still powerful

Right, enough for now, time to put on that toque, have matches at the ready, and enjoy the show. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

“Slow down? Ok!”
Blue skies

Green Creek Restoration

A brief post this week, harking back to early fall and warmer weather experienced only a few short weeks ago. Goodness, this west coast autumn has been chillier than the norm for us here. Wet too, but that is most welcome after such a dry summer.

Mixed greens

Right, let’s visit Green Creek (I made that up, it isn’t called Green Creek, other than in my head!) We mostly explored close to the cabin on Salt Spring a few weeks back, and were very happy to have a trailhead a few short steps from the cabin door.

Very early fall

The trail crisscrossed open meadows, and also looped through a forested area, at points hugging the bank of a small creek. A couple of information boards explained how local schoolchildren had teamed up with a stream conservation/restoration group, and worked to restore the creek to be a place where salmon could run successfully.

Green Creek

We didn’t see any salmon, but did see leafy trees, tiny tumbling water falls, and ancient Douglas firs. We enjoyed meandering along the stream side listening to croaking frogs and failing to identify all the little brown birds flitting from tree to tree. We stopped at an open spot as the sun broke through, lighting up the clearing, and it was a very pleasant place to be, with no real hurry, and nothing more to do than simply soak up the green. Very restorative!

Bright and leafy

Short and sweet, like the trail and creek we were on – thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Restorative!

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…

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!