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?

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…

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!

Malcontent

A malcontent? Me? Never!

Never! Alway hoppy and refreshed…

All is reasonably well, if you were wondering. We’re heading out and will be off the grid the next little while, so I’ve no reason for being a malcontent. I might not be able to get to WordPress, read my favourites, but will catch up upon our return. I’ll be hoppier, I mean, happier and refreshed no doubt. Buzzing, even.

Buzzing? The future has arrived. Bit late, but cool…

Buzzing? What was that sound up and down the bay the past few days? It was the coast guards in their retro-futurist hovercraft, doing some essential maintenance in and around the channel. Goodness, it was noisy when it was drifting past the office. I had to come outside, look for what I thought was a low flying helicopter, when it turned out to be a slow speeding hovercraft. Once it got past the restricted part of the channel, it revved up and took off at quite a pace. Fun toy. Oops, I mean fun essential work vessel.

Fun toy!

Sunshine will be changing to rain by the time this is posted. Lots of rain, long overdue – I had to rescue our tomatoes before the storm. Two tomatoes last season, hard to top those numbers, but we’ve had a much better crop this year if you look at the photo. Almost a glut, I’d say.

A glut

Right, I’d better go pack, add the rain gear and, optimistic and hoppy as always, sunglasses. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Face off and flight

We had a house guest last weekend, and thought it went very well, not that we remember how to welcome guests in the home. I mean, who entertains at home right now? It should be said, Scout wasn’t entirely convinced. Yup, there was a face off. Fight or flight? Ooh, this sounds wild!

Face off!

Olive came to visit while her human friend had some wilderness time away. As you can see from the photographs, like all dogs, she has wolf DNA, but it was thought it would be unfair to any unsuspecting wolf out there if Olive ran into one, so she stayed with us. The picture below shows how it is safer for the wolves if they are kept apart. Ferocious!

Wolf DNA

Once we conquered our deep ancestral fear, and looked past the wolf-like nature of Olive, she proved to be a delightful houseguest. She enjoyed leaping from chair to chair, a dog in glorious flight, and then running under the table, trying to entice Scout in her wild games. Before the pandemic, I think our last houseguest was my brother, and that visit was much as I’ve described in the previous sentence. To be honest, Olive is quieter, drinks less beer, and sheds less hair…

The glorious dog flights between chairs was funny, but we put a stop to it, because, well, house rules. If my brother isn’t allowed, then neither is Olive. Or Scout, who was mostly bemused.

“Are you really a dog?” “Yes. A flying wolf dog. Here I go!”

Flight? Did you say flight OldPlaidCamper? Tenuous link to a scene change and evidence I’ve cleaned the lens after the water colour effects from last week. A rainy photo below, but no rain on the lens, and I liked this shot of the plane in front of the boats.

Clean lens

The pictures might be a touch sharper, but my timing is about usual. I’ll finish with a great snap of a harbour seal, captured with head out of the water and looking straight at the camera. Couldn’t fail.

Oh.

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

Misty morning strut

A new way to keep fit, PlaidCamper style, or perhaps a new song by the Stones?

Misty morning strut

Nope, just what I saw on the shore one morning earlier this week. It’s been a week of misty mornings followed by sunny afternoons before the fog rolls in for the evening. A fairly reliable pattern for August – I mean Fogust – and very enjoyable too.

Chilled

The fog has added a much needed sense of calm, or it does if I look at the water rather than the full to bursting parking lots. What’s with camping in your car when the lot signs clearly state no camping? Maybe I’m getting too old and too conformist. Can’t be too comfortable, trying to sleep in a vehicle not designed for it. I feel a rant coming on, and that’s not calming, so maybe we’ll keep it brief this week?

Lovely

Here’s another misty one, lovely to look at and maintain some calm, seen on my misty morning strut around the harbours this week.

Calm

Yup, definitely a brief one this week – off I strut, thinking calm thoughts… Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Hazy and calm

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!

Growth

This summer, it’s all about growth! It could be the children and youth engaged in summer learning programs, or it might be me engaged in my little herb garden. Culinary herbs, just so we’re clear about that, given the fairly recent relaxation in laws related to herbs some folks like to smoke.

Thyme to grow

One program this summer will have teens learning to use a 3D printer, coding to program a remote vehicle, building and managing a website, constructing go-karts for a soap box derby, and converting a regular longboard to an e-longboard. All being well, I’m looking forward to seeing great growth connected to science and technology. I’m also looking forward to trying the longboard – provided there’s someone nearby with first aid training… Anyway, we’ve sneakily hidden lots of education stuff inside the general youth and recreation programs this summer, and we don’t mention the “s” word. School…shhh!

New growth oregano

At home, Scout likes to keep up with the growth in our little herb garden. She’ll eat pretty much anything – the temptation of the seaweed and fish bone impregnated soil was almost too much for her, but she did resist – and she’s been smelling the herbs, but doesn’t want to nibble any.

Me? Eat anything? As if…

Our recent ridiculous hot spell did do a bit of damage, but most of the young plants survived, and in addition to many happy herbs, it looks like we might double our tomato crop over last summer. Yup, I can see two green tomatoes already. Two! That’s some progress and real growth around here.

A growing yield

There has certainly been quite some growth in the numbers of visitors to town, and it was fun the other morning to see a small flotilla of recreational fishing boats heading out of the harbour. The people aboard seemed very happy to be bobbing along, and why not after months and months of restrictions?

An early start

I don’t want this post to grow any longer, so we’ll leave it here for now. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!