Dark, with a little froth…

Sounds like a coffee order – Mrs. PC does like a good cappuccino…

A super short and heavily caffeinated shot of a post this week. We were stretching our legs last weekend, an exercise in dodging rain showers by getting the timing right. It was a cold couple of days, with drizzle, hail, rain, glimpses of sun, and a couple of rainbows to raise a smile.fcf492dc-e293-496d-a40d-154050c8cf76

Usually, we check the tide tables to ensure there’s enough beach to walk on and head out accordingly, but last weekend we had to go whenever it looked least rainy. On Sunday afternoon, there was a narrow ribbon of beach growing a little wider as the tide fell. It was pretty windy, and the waves had whipped up quite a froth on along the shore.c9e7e5c6-7cf5-4513-8b0c-fe4ffafc005a

Scout had a fine old time nosing in the foam and chasing blobs down the beach. Ravens hopped and skipped ahead of us, scavenging at the tide mark, and looking aggrieved that their raucous display didn’t scare us off. We spied three bald eagles and any number of gulls battling the wind. Some gulls were bobbing in the water just beyond the surf. Our guess was the heavy weather had churned up some good stuff.a42cda02-a29b-44ce-a532-339a3aa31fe2

Further out to sea, menacing clouds marched along the horizon, and the sun made only brief appearances – very welcome periods of relative warmth in the stiff breeze. So the froth wasn’t from a cappuccino, but we did have a good strong French roast in the flask, and Sunday was the day for it. Sometimes you get lucky with the timing – we huddled in the dunes out of the wind and were delighted when a patch of blue sky appeared, big enough to let some sunshine through for as long as it took to finish our coffee.e33788ca-fd3b-4e96-8b11-4e6718654815

The caffeine jolt (and a cube or three of chocolate) was just the thing to set us up for the return leg to the car. It started to rain heavily moments after Scout jumped into the back of the Jeep. More rain? Hey ho. Might as well head home for that all important second cup…dfdc9b87-e0e6-469d-9aee-0ffbe9ffd114

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Yule logs

The plan was to resume normal service here at OldPlaidCamper after all our recent excitement, but a huge storm has caused a power outage, so I’m reduced to tapping out this post on my phone late on Thursday night and hoping it appears on Friday. Small keyboard, chunky thumbs and poor vision – I’d best keep this brief.

You’ll be happy to hear Scout is no worse for wear after her solo wilderness trip – she’s hanging out with us a bit closer than previously, a little wary, and needing to regain some weight, but otherwise all good.

We don’t go overboard with the seasonal festive stuff, but having Scout back is quite the gift. Soon, we will be back on the trails looking for branches she can chew and places for her to dig – wonderful!

A warm glow

If you celebrate the season, then happy holidays, and have a great weekend and week to come!

Stormy…

…Sunday, Monday, and maybe some other days.

We’ve been enjoying plenty of PNW precipitation the past week or two. So much so, camping was cancelled! Noooo. The high winds and big sea swell did prevent travel by boat last weekend, and given how strong the winds became on Sunday – the day we were due to travel back – a couple of mostly indoor gym days were safer and the students still had a pretty good time. Lots of touch football (nothing like rugby but I did my best) and plenty of kitchen activity preparing tacos for dinner and pancakes for breakfast kept everyone busy. Extended trips away have been put on hold for the next little while, but winter brings some time to learn how to carve paddles and clear local trails.

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Not too near the edge

Scout doesn’t love the rain, but still needs a couple of longish walks every day, so we tried to time walks with the forecast lighter spells of rain. The Wild Pacific trails meander through rainforest, and the trees offer quite a bit of shelter if the wind isn’t blowing the rain drops sideways. We are always cautious – life on the (ocean) edge, but not over it – taking extra care on these stormy, slippery days.

The cedar, moss and wet earth smells add a strong sensory dimension, very pleasant for us, and almost beyond exciting for Scout. She soon forgets the soaking she’s getting once she’s on the trail, tail wagging, darting left and right and stopping to sniff all the intriguing scents.

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Sunday

Logs were carried up the surge channels, crashing and thudding into the rocks, and it is a wonder to see wave upon wave pounding the little beaches where we were sitting in sunshine just a few days earlier. The next time it feels safe enough for us to clamber down to our favourite beach hideouts, it’ll look the same but different – newly washed up logs to sit (and chew) on, and different shelves of shells and sand to leave our prints in.

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Down in the same place as the photo above, one week earlier

It’s a blast to have wild and wooly weather followed by calm and sunny breaks. We hope the forecast for a bright and sunny weekend is accurate, but if it isn’t, so long as the wet weather gear holds up as well as it has so far, then we’ll keep heading out and about to enjoy a good soaking all through the coming winter! Stormy Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…

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“No, it won’t be raining here next week…”

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

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Yes it will!

Short days and sunsets

A short post to go with the short days. I know the days aren’t shorter in hours and minutes, but the decreasing daylight is a disappointment this time of year. You’d think, after all these decades, I’d have come to an accommodation with less light by now…

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Sunday

What we have enjoyed is being out and about as the sun starts to set early afternoon. Oh alright, I’m exaggerating – not early afternoon, more like late afternoon. Given the fairly sunny spells we’ve mostly had the past few weeks, there have been some very colourful sunsets and I’ve included a few shots here. We’ve been fortunate to be on beaches and tramping trails in glorious weather, huffing and puffing to keep up with an enthusiastic canine hiker. Or is that jogger?

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“Keep up!”

Since last weekend it has been rather rainy in this little corner of the PNW – as it should be – and the wind got up quite a bit yesterday, so it is looking like too much of a risk this coming weekend to take a youth group out in boats to their remote camping spot. Like the young ones, I’m disappointed not to be camping, but also like the young ones, not entirely disappointed to be avoiding camping in what looks like a weekend of prolonged rainfall. Instead, we will be crabbing in a sheltered bay, and trail building more locally – plenty of outdoor time and, thankfully, no chance of swell-induced Salish seasickness.

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Thursday

Any suitable crustaceans will be distributed to elders in the community, and if firewood needs chopping and stacking, then the youngsters will get to that as well. It’s a delight to see them connected, community-minded and caring.

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Saturday

If you celebrate US Thanksgiving, I hope it’s been a happy holiday and continues to be so into the weekend. Thanks for reading, it’s always appreciated!

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Any day

Sunny spells, sunny spells…

I’ve been trying a new mantra, and with the power of positive thought, it’s going to work. Of course, it’ll have to be brief.D4225C4B-854F-4C3F-B956-43FB7509EA98

After a few days this week where the rain was heavy, we’ve been promised sunny spells for the coming weekend. I’ve quite enjoyed the rain, and the fog rolling in late afternoons after the deluge. Very atmospheric, apart from when I left my rain jacket in the car yesterday, and I got absolutely soaked in the thirty seconds it took to dash out and get my jacket because I didn’t want to get wet. Won’t be making that mistake again. It’s hard to look credible advising students that yes, they absolutely must have their rain coats on before heading out, because it is sensible to do so, when you’re dripping rainwater on the floor…

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“I always remember my coat!”

Sunny spells, sunny spells. As usual, I haven’t much enjoyed following the news. We’ve family in the US and UK, and the combined leadership deficits displayed by government in each place has left us quite despondent. All that noise and self serving nonsense. It’s exhausting to read about, and must be so much worse to experience. Throw in the recent dreadful antics on display from the nationalist visitor to France, and all I can say is what a relief it has been to get outdoors and take a few – many – deep breaths. Sunny spells, sunny spells.

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A sunny Indignant Cove

It was mostly dry and fairly warm last weekend, so we wandered out and about, including a pleasant couple of hours at Indignant Cove soaking up some sun. Sunshine and shirtsleeves in November? Very welcome, and we’re making the most of these days with sunny spells, because the rains are coming…but please, not before Monday! Actually, I’ll take time outside, including with heavy rain, because even if you’ve forgotten your coat, or you catch a chill (however that works) it’s still a sunnier prospect than catching the latest headlines.

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Casting a sunny spell

Sunny spells, sunny spells, even in the rain.

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Rain, later…

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of sunny spells, sunny spells!

Sea legs? Maybe…

Yes, maybe. I can’t claim to be much of a sailor. In fact, any vessel over the size of a kayak or canoe is way beyond my abilities, unless I’m driving onto a ferry – you might have read before about how I like to park at the front of an open car deck and pretend to be the captain. No? Oh. Let’s pretend I didn’t say that…

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Nahmint 5

Last weekend I got to spend quite some time on the water, in the sturdy Nahmint 5, and in a police launch. These were the two vessels used to transport excited youth, elders, mentors, and a slightly nervous PlaidCamper out to remote tribal lands, a camping spot that felt far from the modern world, and all the better for that.

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Our departure point – hope it clears…

The day had dawned with quite a bit of cloud cover and a real chill in the air. Our destination is reputed to be one of the rainiest places in Canada, and it appeared as though we’d be experiencing some of that soon. Fortunately, the cloud and mist burned off by midday, and as we pulled away from Ucluelet and headed towards the Broken Islands, the day warmed up and everything was a glorious blue, punctuated by island jewels of green and grey, with the distant mountains of the main island reaching up above cloud cloaked shoulders.

What a ride, with smooth, smooth water all about. My nerves over being in a small craft on open water were soon as calm as the  almost mirror flat surface we moved across.

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Fuel

Honestly, I’d not been too sure about the boat ride, having felt rather green about the gills in a heavy swell a couple of years back, but last week was fine. Sea legs? My sea legs were behaving, and we enjoyed a magnificent hour or more, fuelled by strong coffee, bright sunshine, and excited chatter.

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Smooth

I’ll write about the days spent camping, and some of the adventures we experienced over a few posts in the coming weeks, but thought I’d start with this, the short voyage to reach our destination. And, because I’m a little boy, I couldn’t resist including the police launch used for the trip back. What fun it was, getting my non-existent locks wind-tossed and wet in the sea spray thrown up by a fast-moving boat – far better than me fast-moving to the side and throwing up…

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Can I go in this one? Can I? Can I? Please?!

I’ve never been in the back of a police car (being a law-abiding sort) but now I can say I’ve been hauled into the back of a police launch (my initial clamber in wasn’t so elegant…)

I’ll leave it there, happily pretending to be an almost salty sea dog, and continue the tale another time.

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The Nahmint in one of the rainiest places in Canada – we were so fortunate to be completely dry our entire trip

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

Fall frolics…

…on Florencia beach. We hit the bay as the tide was falling, figuring that most surfers head in as the waves diminish, and this seemed to be the case last Saturday afternoon.

There is a small parking lot at the end of the road, and we squeezed into the last remaining space. Had we arrived even a few minutes later, we’d have parked up more easily judging by the steady stream of smiling surfers and paddle boarders returning to their vehicles.fullsizeoutput_6df

They’re a squelchy and happy bunch in shining wetsuits, an even mix of family and friends, young and old, girls and boys, and men and women. (I met a charming surf instructor at a community event last week, where we were supposed to be discussing education issues for Indigenous youth, but ended up with him almost – almost – convincing me he could teach me to surf. Maybe more to come later…)

We negotiated the rickety wooden staircase down to the beach – no easy task when an enthusiastic Scout has the sea scent in her nostrils – and tottered onto the wide expanse of sand. Fifteen minutes earlier, after a rainy morning, the skies were grey, and there was still a hint of moisture in the air. Now, looking out over the ocean, there was a distinct line of blue, and it seemed to be getting closer.fullsizeoutput_6de

By the time we had wandered down the beach a little, to get away from the “crowds” – maybe a half dozen other people – and found a log to perch on with an enormous array of chewable sticks nearby, the afternoon was turning warm. Yes! An autumnal day that still held a touch of summer. Jackets off, and sleeves rolled up, we set to the task of watching the remaining surfers try to catch waves, and a couple of paddle boarders beyond the surf racing in on the swell.DSCF7680

Soon enough, the promising patch of blue sky pushed back the clouds, and we were sitting in the sunnier half looking across to the cloudy and mistier half of the bay. Scout dug holes like her life depended on it, and we moved back and brushed ourselves off like we didn’t enjoy being showered with sand.fullsizeoutput_6d8

The receding waters defeated the final frolicking surfers, and uncovered a rock strewn area to our right. We strolled down to take a closer look, breathing in the fresh seaweed and wet sand smell. Scout chose to be a little braver than in previous beach visits, venturing into water nearly two centimetres deep. Not spectacular, but just enough to make certain we’d be enjoying extra wet dog aroma on the journey home.fullsizeoutput_6dc

We were there for almost three hours, stumbling and splashing about, fun on a fall afternoon. As we dragged ourselves away, the bay was empty of people, and briefly, we had the wild crescent all to ourselves. A single bald eagle flew over our heads and towards the rocky section. I like to think, as we heaved ourselves back up the steps, bears and wolves were nosing out onto the beach, ready to feed and frolic now they had the place back to themselves.fullsizeoutput_6d5

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

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“I’ll dip a toe, and then back to the car…”