“Let’s go out, let’s go out!”

OK, Scout, keep your hair on!

“How can you resist? Let’s go out!”

Why the big hurry from Scout? I think because she’s a snow dog, and the weather gods had heard my pathetic whining last week, so we were rewarded with a day of snow. I believe that’s how these things work? Snow? Hooray! First thing in the morning, it wasn’t all that much to get excited about – don’t tell Scout I said that – but we went down to the beach anyway. Light flurries, and the start of a biting wind, but that was it. Pretty enough.

Almost snowing…

As the day progressed, the wind got wilder and the snow got heavier, to the point where we got home and off the roads before other travellers also got off the road by sliding into verges and walking the rest of the way. Yes, there were a number of abandoned vehicles scattered at various points along the road the next day, but no serious incidents.

It turned into the sort of day best enjoyed from home – it really wasn’t a strolling in a winter wonderland kind of day due to the very blustery conditions. Scout indicated she wasn’t too happy about that, so I opened the front door for her to confirm that perhaps she didn’t really want to go out? She took one step – maybe not even as many as that – and promptly turned back indoors. Yes she’s a snow dog, but also a wise dog.

“This is ok…”
“…but I’m not going out in that!”
“Let’s stay in, let’s stay in! You’re going to the lighthouse? I’ll pass…”

Well, we did go down to the lighthouse, without Scout, to see how it looked in the snow, but it was so sideways and gusty, the snow wasn’t sticking and details were hard to find. We beat a tactical retreat and told Scout it was great…

No sign of the ocean

I’ll leave it here for this week, happy enough that we had a pretty cool snow day or two, and wondering if the call for more snow before the weekend is accurate…

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

From the kitchen window

Thanksgiving

We’ve been enjoying a very benign fall season so far, one where during the day temperatures have been as good as summer or better. At last! Rainforest? Not right now… Still, we know real fall and some rain is ready to make an appearance in due course, but until it does, we’re thankful for the misty mornings and mild sunny afternoons.

Misty mornings

Thanksgiving is here this coming Monday, and along with the current mellow seasonal moods, we’re thankful for so much more. We moved to Canada this time of year many years ago, so the holiday is special to us. We’re grateful to live where we do, and count ourselves fortunate to be able to do so. The wider human world appears to be as confused and contrary as ever, almost at constant war with itself over resources that ought to be enough to share, if only we could see reason and make some necessary changes for the good of all.

Still warm…

Anyway, preaching to the choir isn’t very helpful, so I’ll leave it here this week, feeling thankful for family and friends wherever they are, and thankful that we live in our quiet(ish) little corner of the world.

A quiet corner hangout

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

Old stuff, new stuff (yes, this is a terrible title) and a big green space

We really enjoyed our recent visit to Quebec City, such a friendly and lively place, with an enticing mix of the old and new existing comfortably side by side. Where to start? We have so many highlights. How about outside? One large space that we grew to love very quickly was the Plains of Abraham. Such a delight to wander, a place that has always held a fascination for me since childhood. Boredom alert! Not so interesting pieces of my past are shared below. Old stuff.

Leafy and lovely

I remember as a child reading about General James Wolfe and how he was victorious in battle on the Plains of Abraham against General Montcalm and his French forces. Those childhood primer history books were old even then, written and first published when Britain still clung to notions of greatness based on empire, and were British biased to say the least. They did not go into any great details beyond the triumph of Wolfe. Not much mention of the intricacies and dubious presence of two empires busily exporting their European wars to far flung places and messing things up there. Hmm.

Anyway, younger me wasn’t too concerned or aware of missing nuances – I mostly liked the maps showing how opposing forces were arrayed. Yes, I was a nine year old armchair general. Such a strange child… Getting back to the battle on the Plains of Abraham as told in my history book, I was always bothered by the thought it wasn’t much of a personal victory for Wolfe, given that he died in the battle. Come to think of it, older me still isn’t convinced that’s the best way to win…

Bloody history acknowledged, today the Plains of Abraham are a vast green space providing city dwellers and visitors quiet places to overlook the St. Lawrence River and the town of Levis on the far bank. It’s a busy waterway down there, so if watching boats is your thing, there’s always something moving.

I like this space!

Along with the rolling fields of grass and areas of military significance, there are hundreds of leafy trees, dozens of welcoming benches and tables, as well as planted garden areas where a person can sit and stare, or sit and doze. Or both, one after the other…

We did stay awake long enough to visit the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) which is situated overlooking the park, and if we were slightly sleepy before heading in, the collection of contemporary Quebec art dating from 1960 to the present certainly woke us up. What a vibrant and thought provoking array of work it was. New stuff! Highly recommended if you get the chance.

These stairs lead up to a wonderful contemporary collection!

I’ll leave it here for this week, with my head mentally, if not geographically, still wandering the plains, and feeling much relieved my bloodthirsty battlefield map loving younger self grew up into a pacifist. What a site, though. Did I mention how much we enjoyed it there? Here are a couple more photos:

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

Calm

Wandering through town in the days following the recent long weekend, we sensed something of a turning point, both in the season and how busy things seemed. After a summer seeing long lineups morning, noon and night for popular places to eat, this week appears quite calm. Business still looks pretty good for proprietors, but the lines out the door have disappeared. Phew! Maybe it’ll be easier to snag a seat up at the brewery in the next little while…

The coastal trails are certainly quieter, and with some late season sunshine, the black rocks have been a pleasant place to sit with a cup of coffee and think calm thoughts.

Coffee stop

Mrs. PC startled a bear, or was startled by a bear the other day, as a tree Scout was exploring turned out to have a small bear heading up the other side of the trunk. A quiet and calm retreat ensured all was well, but it reminded me to look up more often, pay a bit more attention the next few weeks. Bears are filling up on berries, as evidenced by piles of purple poop deposited along the trails. So, make that looking down, as well as up, and left and right while we’re at it.

Calm

All in all, a calm and fruitful time of year in this corner of the PNW. We know the rain is coming, so we’ll enjoy the golden days while we can!

Rain? Here?!

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

Canada Day!

I was aiming to choose a recent photograph that attempted to capture the essence of Canada – our little corner – for Canada Day, and I think it’s quite a good choice!

Pretty hoppy with my choice, and as much as a beer can, this represents our little corner! Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to all who choose to celebrate. It’s far from perfect here in the True North, but as a work in (slow) progress we’re paddling in the right direction, and that’s something to celebrate. Cheers!

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

Sunshine at mile zero!

Our recent trip to the Sunshine Coast wasn’t overly blessed with sunshine, but when it did warm up, it was wonderful.

Sunny sparkle

We were staying just a few kilometres along the coast from Powell River, a mill town that is transitioning to an outdoor hub/cultural centre/pleasant place to while away a few days. We didn’t tackle it, but there is a trail, the Sunshine Coast Trail that runs through the high backcountry, from hut to hut, that presents a moderate challenge to keen hikers.

The end of the road

Instead of taking on the high trail, we drove to the end of the road, mile zero of highway 101, a coastal road that winds north to south 24 000 miles to Chile. We’ve made a good start, only 23 950 miles to go…

Mile zero is in Lund, a bustling little harbour at the end/start of the road. We drove there last week, setting off under cloudy and drizzly skies, but by the time we arrived after a short and pretty drive along a lakeside and through wooded hills, the sun was starting to break through.

Soon to be sunny in Lund

We parked in the lot overlooking the harbour, and what a wonderful spot Lund is located in! Our first priority was the ever important second cup of the day, and Nancy’s Bakery was just the place. We sat on the outside terrace in front of the harbour, and with the sun now fully beaming, and after a long cold spring season, we had to nudge ourselves we were in the PNW.

The tropical side of the PNW

Snow capped mountains in the far distance, boats bobbing on sparkling water, palm trees and lavender plants fringing the terrace, and a fine cup of coffee? Not too bad! Lund is a gateway for adventurous types heading into the wonderfully named Desolation Sound, but in those moments, it wasn’t too desolate. We didn’t rush to leave…

Pretty good day

As fine as all the above was, the absolute highlight was spotting a pod of orcas moving across the bay, spouting and speeding from left to right, dorsal fins high out of the water and just outside the harbour. Hello orcas! You made an already great day even better.

Orca territory

I’ll leave it there for this week – remembering the beaming sun and the magnificent orcas has me beaming as I write this. Right now, I can hear the fog horn from the lighthouse, and it doesn’t look as though we’re in for any sunshine anytime soon, so the memories of last week will have to warm us. Hopefully we’ll be saying hello sunshine as we head into summer…

Townsite saison – pairs well with sunshine

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

February already?! How time flies when…

Goodness, the weeks are racing by, particularly now we’ve been able to return to in person work, head across the bay and get the work year going – a happy new, new year?

Yesterday, looking across the bay

We’ve been busy the past few days, catching up with friends and colleagues, and getting on with stalled projects. In amongst all the fun and being busy, we arrived at our 25th wedding anniversary – another goodness, where has the time gone?!

25? Goodness!

We’re off to the mountains this weekend, a little celebration and a chance to play in the snow. (Please let there be good snow…)

Old photo – let there be this much snow!

A brief post this week as we turn our little place upside down trying to find snow gear we haven’t made much use of the past few years. I was going to write something about the ups and downs of mountain slopes and the ups and downs of a (happy) relationship, but that’s a slippery slope and I’m likely to fall down…

Slippery slopes

Instead, I’ll head off now, to some real slippery slopes, to go and fall over and get up again as we rediscover our snow feet and aim to enjoy an alpine weekend.

More to follow. More of what? Well, of course I mean another 25 years happy years! Oh, ok, and perhaps an island snow post next week.

“I’ve always got my snow feet!”

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

Power trip

Scout and I have been visiting a new favourite place the past week or more. We’ve been there a few times over the last four or five years, but it had fallen off our radar, for no particular reason, until recently.

It’s cool here

How to find this place? Well, wander down a rainforest road, and depending on the weather, feel uncomfortably warm in the sun (rare, but it happened last week), or turn up your collar to keep the rain from dripping in, or slip and slide on ice patches. Keep going. There are little detours along the way if Scout is your guide. She insists we explore each of the last pockets of snow, and we do have to stop at various tree stumps and earth patches, sniff with intent and leave our (her) scent. Eventually, by crossing over the road at the end of the drive, and taking the trailhead, you emerge out of the forest fringe and on to black rocks overlooking the ocean.

Keep going, past these trees…

The stormier photographs included this week are from a visit we (I) hadn’t intended to make. It was blustery, with the icy rain more like pellets, stinging my delicate skin and having me thinking of taking a short cut home. Scout, however, was having none of it, and pulled me along, the sound of the roaring ocean through the trees appearing to get her attention even over the sound of the wind and rain and my gentle sobbing. We both knew she was in charge of this trip.

Chilly

It was worth it! The waves were racing in, gathering themselves up in shades of green and grey before smashing onto the rocks. Our little viewing perch nestled in the higher black rocks was blasted by icy squalls, but we were safely above the pounding, yet close enough to feel the power. What a rush – a power trip! Thanks, Scout!

What a rush

Let’s keep it short this week – wouldn’t want all this going to Scout’s head. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

“A power trip? Me?”

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!