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…

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!

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!

A tangle

A tangle? A muddle? The Gordian knot? I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping this coming Tuesday reveals the beginning of the end of the current mess we’re in. No speedy solutions are available, but a few steps on the path to some sort of recovery would be nice.

A tangle

We spent last weekend far, far away from being able to access news coverage. We bobbed about on the (mercifully calm) water. Part of the weekend was designed as an opportunity for me to be at the helm, getting some wheel time, and remembering some of the things we were taught on our boat course last year. It was good to finally have a chance to put things into practice. If docking is a controlled crash, emphasis on crash, then I’ve mastered it. It was an aluminum boat, all good.

“Who’s steering in there?” Note the glum PlaidCamper expression, as he contemplates the worst for next Tuesday. No, surely not?

We pulled up to an old US Army barge, and leapt aboard to examine the piled up treasures. An abandoned boat, fishing nets, old tarps, holed floats, assorted girders and planks, a wood burning stove, and rope. So much rope. Bear scat too, so an inquisitive bruin must have decided to swim out and see if there was anything good to eat? Didn’t seem to be anything obviously tasty. Nothing left over by the bears. Waste not.

Abandoned

A short piece this week as I gird myself for Tuesday evening – I’m planning on watching/reading/listening to as many reports as possible (I know, I know, not good, but I won’t be able to resist), hoping and hoping that this particular political nightmare is coming to an end. Even though it will be a school night, and way past my bedtime, I’m going to have a beer, either in celebration or commiseration. Fingers crossed the four year uncontrolled crash is almost over, and we can pick ourselves up, mentally speaking, untangle the confusion, and look forward to better days ahead.

Well, this needs sorting! (Nicely docked aluminum boat to the side there. Controlled, I’d say…)

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

Some calm

I’m writing this on Thursday, debating whether I’ve got the patience to watch the next and, mercifully, last debate. Debate? Did you see/hear the last one? Then you’ll know what I mean!

Thursday morning, outdoor calm – this was our transport last time out

Anyway, debate viewing or not, at least we’ll continue to enjoy some outdoor calm. We’ve had a few blustery days of late, but we’re in a slightly more settled period right now. Morning and afternoon walks with Scout have been pleasant. Calm water, a few clouds, a touch of fog, and colourful leaves holding on for now.

Hints of acceptable orange

Holding on for now. I hope our southern friends and neighbours can hold on for just over another week, and then find it within themselves to vote for some calm, even if not so inspired by Uncle Joe. I mean, look at the current fellow and ask yourself if that’s really what the world would enjoy the next four years?

So, if all goes well, perhaps the future will be a lesser shade of angry orange? It’s the hope that kills you, isn’t it? Please, please, please, please…

Cool, calm and a boat collection

A brief post this week, as we’re busy preparing for a weekend away with a collection of trainers and mentors. Our wilderness destination awaits, with a promise of overnight temperatures dropping to just below zero, but sunny daytime skies. We’ll be camping in the (allegedly) second wettest spot in Canada, if not the universe, so a dry weekend will be a bonus! More to follow.

I hope your weekend is a sunny and calm one – thanks for reading!

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!

Sleepers and stringers

Sounds like something from a spy movie…

Bridge of Spies? Nothing as dramatic as that – good movie if you haven’t seen it, set in less complicated times(!) – but we’ve been building bridges.

Our trail work is going along nicely, and with chainsaw skills acquired, we’ve been able to tackle some bigger items, like staircases and bridges. Trees that have been felled for safety have a new lease of life, stripped of bark to make sleepers and stringers for new sections of boardwalk bridge.

This lot needs replacing!

The youth and young adults were shown once, then after that they got into building their own wooden bridges. Working as a group of two to four, they’ve been able to prepare the site and construct a bridge in less than a morning.

Part of the new section – no bridge needed here

It’s corny, but the bridge building has closed the gap between elders and youth, the trail to the community, and outside partners to the nation. The young folks will step across their bridges and on towards a future full of multiple possibilities due to the skills they’re learning. I’ve got something in my eye, sniff…

“Is he crying again?” “Yup!”

I can’t believe how quickly the summer is passing, and we’ve so much more to build! We had to down tools yesterday, and probably today, due to some very heavy rain and potentially strong wind gusts – the advice is forest-based work is high risk in these conditions. Still, when we head out there next week, we’ll be confident the raised sections are high and dry, in a good way, and we will see where drainage channels are needed.

“When can I come and see the bridges? They’re wooden? Can I chew them?”

Next week, I’ll include a photograph of a series of bridges built close together. I took a rushed photo in the rain earlier, but it’s mostly of my thumb. Next time…

Under construction – sleepers and stringers going in

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