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!

Scout came home…

…happy and healthy, if somewhat skinnier and pongier than her usual self.

She was found this afternoon, sheltering from the rain in her kennel under a tarp we’d left out there in the hope she’d figure out what to do. We’re guessing she grew tired of her week long rainy wilderness adventure, and/or missed my home cooking…

We are so happy she’s back, and rest assured, what passes for normal service at OldPlaidCamper will resume this coming Friday. Scout might even get another mention…

D65A3F28-F695-4504-90E2-BB38BD080630
“Can we rename this blog OldScoutCamper, the adventures of an almost outdoor dog?”

Thank you for all the kind words and hopeful messages earlier, we very much appreciated them.

Missing

Scout was out on her pack walk earlier this week, when a logging truck startled the pack and they scattered. Scout was in front of the truck and kept running to try and get away. When the pack regrouped, Scout was missing.

We’ve been out since at every opportunity, walking the logging roads and forest trails, calling Scout’s name, and the pack master has also been out every day, tracing and retracing their usual routes.

On the plus side, Scout was spotted briefly the following day, shadowing the pack, but didn’t return when called. She’s been out there since Tuesday, probably having a fine old time doing what any dog might choose to do. There is plenty of water, and she’s never been shy about trying new things to eat…

We are completely distraught (even if she is likely quite happy about her current predicament) thinking of her all alone out there. It has been very wet, but not so cold. Scout is familiar with the location, and we’re hoping she doesn’t choose to range far.

We will be spending every daylight moment we can this coming Friday and weekend, walking all the trails and hoping for a good outcome. Perhaps the novelty and excitement will wear off for Scout, hunger will kick in and she’ll come lolloping out of the forest to greet us.

Have a good weekend.

 

 

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.

42533ED9-0613-4106-98FA-934CBCDDE85D
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.

3AA71CF5-50C5-4484-A7AD-4660546E01FD
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.

66081559-4154-4E0D-B69F-0CB4DB6222B2
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…

766B1EB1-C303-4B36-B3DB-673BD0211B55
“No, it won’t be raining here next week…”

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

B044F2D9-8688-4324-B8FF-05A02E16D2DF
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…

A58EE8A9-FCA4-4509-8ABF-5F8CE55164C1
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?

75F20B7B-7216-45BD-965D-805C2DF982B8
“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.

4AE4FD95-BDDA-4BAE-8B2E-61E9D8785F14
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.

42D123EA-A92F-4E86-9AC2-3C8C8A309F6D
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!

99424026-9B9F-489A-9CC0-B14F54EA95A1
Any day

Making tracks

I’m not a hunter, never have been and it isn’t likely I’ll start hunting now – although I’ll admit it is a useful set of skills to have, come the apocalypse. (Would we be able to tell if there’s an apocalypse? I suppose the news would be a tad cheerier…)IMG_0600

Food security has been something that keeps cropping up – perhaps a growing cause for concern reflecting uncertain times? Zombies aside, I’ll stick with doing what most of us do, and track down my food in stores, hoping that the bulk of it has been produced ethically. We are currently living in an area that has, should the lights go out for the final time, reasonable food security, at least for those in the know…

The recent wilderness trip I accompanied did have a hunting component. Participants are encouraged to produce and provide for themselves and their community, learning and applying skills taught by elders and mentors, and ensuring they know how to survive and even flourish on their traditional lands.IMG_0579

I was excited and nervous about the hunting. Personally, I’d rather not be around guns, and young people with guns, even when they are being monitored closely by trained experts. However, I could see the importance of teaching and learning these skills, and the youth involved were excited to learn.

So let me get the gory part out of the way first – the only animal shot and killed on this trip was a duck. It was shot on the boat ride out to the camp. The duck supplemented a rice and vegetable dish later in the weekend. The decision was made that one duck was enough – there were plenty of other ducks in range throughout the journey, but the lead hunter emphasised this was about eating, not sport.

fullsizeoutput_15a9
Something to eat? Where?!

Students learned how to prepare it for cooking and eating. They were very respectful and thankful to the duck, and a prayer was made reflecting this. Almost everyone had a small piece of roasted duck, myself included, and the young man who made the shot was thoughtful about what he’d done. He didn’t want to kill it, but understood that to eat meat, a creature had to die. He certainly wasn’t boastful about shooting the duck.fullsizeoutput_15ab

On the morning spent hunting, we saw deer tracks, many bear tracks, and plenty of grouse tracks, but nothing else. No actual animals were sighted, but students learned how to spot likely areas for future hunts, and where to set up in these areas. Our lead hunter did draw a bead on a seal as we headed back, and I have to admit to being relieved when he said the distance was too great to be certain of a clean shot. The size and scale of the animal shouldn’t make any difference to how I felt, but seeing a duck shot and prepared was probably easier to experience than if it had been a seal.

IMG_0595
Tracking a scent

If the trip had been for trophy hunting, there’s no way I’d have gone along, and, as indicated above, I was (silently) rooting for the animals. That said, the whole process was fascinating and thought provoking. I’ll never be a hunter, but I can see the importance of hunting in traditional communities.

I’ll leave it there, and start to make tracks towards a long weekend. Thanks for reading and, as always, please feel free to share a story or leave a comment.

Have a wonderful weekend!

PS All the photos posted here were taken last week on a cold and sunny Sunday morning on or near Combers beach.

Crimes and pie

Huh?! We took a very quick camping trip to Green Point a couple of weeks ago. We wanted to find out how Scout would fare in a tent – or how we would fare with her at close quarters in a tent, and if she’d be a happy camper…

Well, we needn’t have worried! Sticks and branches to chew? Check! Other dogs to grumble at? Check! Tasty tidbits that “fell” off our plates? Check! Scout didn’t wake up at the crack of dawn? Check! (Phew!)

958C9328-9008-4FE3-AA86-09DDB358C95C
A happy camper

Two nights of camping, and a chance to try out a new tent. A new tent? Isn’t your old tent a recent addition? Yes, and it is/was a perfectly fine tent, but some #*@* broke into our storage locker and made off with bits and pieces of our camping gear, including the flysheet. Not sure when the crime took place, but I’m glad I was packing the day before, and not the day we set off, so had just enough time to stop and pick up a new tent. Just because somebody else made a poor choice, this wasn’t going to spoil our fun – but it did put an unwanted dent in our bank balance.

06B282BC-CEE0-4913-B099-2B2B453E44F0
Rain later?

Anyhow, we had a fine time, glass half full and all that. On the Saturday evening, Wayne from Tofino Photography  joined us for a gourmet meal of hotdogs, chips, and pumpkin pie. Gourmet?! Not so much, but food does taste better cooked outdoors, and I have to say, store bought pumpkin pie is one tough product. It was tossed about in the back of the Jeep for a couple of days, buried under loose gear and other edibles, yet maintained shape and flavour when we finally got round to eating it. Scout would have had several slices, but not if she wanted to share a tent with us overnight.

436A6FD4-9D38-4125-A2D0-F50BAA479010
Time to fill glasses

We had great weather on Saturday, and had hoped to have a dry spell all the way through to Sunday, but it wasn’t to be. We had to break camp in steady rain, but can report our new tent, bought in something of a rush and unresearched, was very much a dry on the inside tent. Mind you, our previous not so old tent was also a sterling dry on the inside tent. Alright, I’ll get over it, glass half full…

63C2D8F1-0E7C-4805-B261-811A806468E0
But no rain earlier!

Now we know Scout is a happy camper, we will plan trips further afield to quieter and more remote spots. And when Wayne joins us next time, we’ll go a few steps better than “gourmet” hotdogs – the weekend above was Canadian Thanksgiving, and I think the sausages contained turkey, but apart from the unbreakable pie, we might have committed a culinary crime…

I’m heading out to an off the grid location for a few days, and will catch up with your blogs when I get back next week. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!B7C06A23-D7C7-487C-9015-5EBDC61A0225