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?

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!

Before the storm

We have weather warnings as I write this, with heavy rain and wind speeds of 80 gusting to 100kmh predicted. That means trees will fall, and the power will likely go out. Hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst, I thought I’d better write and schedule a post before losing power, and place candles, flashlights and my favourite power outage toque in accessible locations. Oh, forgetful me, and chocolate.

A little beach

For this quick before the storm post, I decided to use a few photos taken over the last long weekend, when we went down to our not-really-a-secret-but-let’s-hope-no-one-else-is-there little beach just off the Wild Pacific trail. As in a previous post, this isn’t the real name, but I’m quite getting into making up names for places.

Slow down, Scout!

When we arrived, after a little clamber down from the trail made more exciting by Scout’s absolute determination to haul me over rocks and under logs, we found the beach was empty as hoped for. Not the warmest of days overall, but we sat out of the gusting wind and enjoyed the wave action. Not storm waves, but still pretty powerful at beach level.

Wave action

If conditions allow, and it’s safe, I’ll head back to this little beach, or at least the trail above it, after the worst of the wind gusts, and see if I can catch a shot or two of big waves. I’ll wear my favourite after the storm toque, and take coffee – and chocolate.

Not stormy, still powerful

Right, enough for now, time to put on that toque, have matches at the ready, and enjoy the show. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

“Slow down? Ok!”
Blue skies

Green Creek Restoration

A brief post this week, harking back to early fall and warmer weather experienced only a few short weeks ago. Goodness, this west coast autumn has been chillier than the norm for us here. Wet too, but that is most welcome after such a dry summer.

Mixed greens

Right, let’s visit Green Creek (I made that up, it isn’t called Green Creek, other than in my head!) We mostly explored close to the cabin on Salt Spring a few weeks back, and were very happy to have a trailhead a few short steps from the cabin door.

Very early fall

The trail crisscrossed open meadows, and also looped through a forested area, at points hugging the bank of a small creek. A couple of information boards explained how local schoolchildren had teamed up with a stream conservation/restoration group, and worked to restore the creek to be a place where salmon could run successfully.

Green Creek

We didn’t see any salmon, but did see leafy trees, tiny tumbling water falls, and ancient Douglas firs. We enjoyed meandering along the stream side listening to croaking frogs and failing to identify all the little brown birds flitting from tree to tree. We stopped at an open spot as the sun broke through, lighting up the clearing, and it was a very pleasant place to be, with no real hurry, and nothing more to do than simply soak up the green. Very restorative!

Bright and leafy

Short and sweet, like the trail and creek we were on – thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Restorative!

Mystery Island

We’re not quite home and fully connected yet, but here’s an indication of where we were last week (and how we kept busy!)

A short break

I’ll post a slightly longer piece (that shouldn’t be difficult) next week, unpack our trip, after unpacking from our trip.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

A view from Salt Spring

Warm and fuzzy

Am I, though?

I do try to be, but as I’m not a morning person, it’s a challenge. I’m not an afternoon, evening or night person either. Might as well throw in I’m not always a people person – odd, for an educator? – and warm and fuzzy isn’t too accurate.

Warm and fuzzy? Check!

However, it isn’t always all about me – stamps foot, throws tantrum – I was referring to the weather earlier this week when we went down to the beach, and the fact that I should have cleaned the lens before taking any photographs. It was misty, but not that misty…

Not that misty…

September already? Time has done what time does, stretching and shrinking, making me look back and think, gee, summer was really long this year, or, goodness, summer simply raced by! Either way, it is almost over, and we’re definitely leaning into a fall feel, with chilly and foggy mornings giving way to pleasantly warm but not hot afternoons.

Pleasantly warm

On our beach evening, September 1st, we set off in sunshine, but by the time we arrived the fog had rolled onto the shore, and we wondered if we’d mistimed our visit, at least for sitting in some warmish sun? No no, not to worry, less than ten minutes passed, the fog drifted off and the sun reappeared. Hello fall. Goodbye summer. Hello fall. Oh, hello summer again, wait your turn, fall. Hmm. Was I really sitting on a log talking to the seasons? Warm and fuzzy? Or somewhat strange? Looks like I’m a season person.

Make your mind up…

Right, I’m off to clean the lens and talk to some clouds. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful (long) weekend!

Shimmer and haze

We went to South Beach midweek, taking our trip late afternoon/early evening and aiming to avoid too many people and have some quiet moments.

Quiet

It’s great when a plan works out! Only a handful of vehicles were in the parking lot, the sun was high enough to provide warmth, and the worst of the wildfire smoke had dissipated.

On the fringe

The beach was quiet, and we found a convenient log close to the forest fringe to settle down and watch the water. Shimmer on the water, a haze in the distance, fresh air and no chill to the light breeze – it was pretty much a perfect evening, and felt like a mini-vacation.

Some haze

Summer seems to have raced by, and the hints of fall being not too far ahead are growing. Dry yellow leaves along pathways and verges, ripe salal and blackberries, and the shock of seeing the sun set long before 9pm – yikes, we’d best make the most of the fast fading warm days…

Fading

That’s some good advice about making the most of the remaining summer days – looks sunny and warm here the next couple of days, so off I go! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Cool

Why thank you, but no, this isn’t about me.

We find ourselves in the midst of another heatwave, perhaps not as hot as the one earlier this summer, but still pretty warm for this little corner of the PNW.

Pretty

As a soothing balm to counter the sultry heat, I thought I’d post a few pictures from last weekend, when we wandered down Long Beach, and wondered where the promised sunshine might be?

Just over there?

We set out early, aiming to avoid the later in the day crowds, and the beach was quiet. Cool. So was the temperature, and we were happy to have sweaters and a second cup of coffee to take the edge off.

Helpful

Scout enjoyed the wide stretch of sand, running in crazed circles and digging many holes. Yeah, she digs the beach. Cool.

Yup, I’m cool

From our log perch, we saw small flocks of sandpipers working their way along the shore, the sudden flashes of white in banked flight brightening the day. Seeing sandpipers always brightens our day. We think they’re cool.

Brighter? Different day, different location, still cool..

It probably isn’t too cool to keep repeating cool, so I’ll leave it here for this week, a brief post, playing it coo- oh. Oops. Not cool.

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

Smoking…

…hot! That was the west coast earlier this week. It was bad, but other places had it worse.

Before the heat

Temperatures in parts of BC were hotter than Vegas – ever! – and hotter than Miami and Houston – ever! Beyond the usual assumptions about ice and snow, Western Canada does get very warm in the summer, but the west coast of Vancouver Island isn’t one of those places. The heat was ridiculous, and very uncomfortably so. Even the breeze, when it got up, was too hot – a blast of heated air flowing into our home, through each room and out the front door and windows, to no good effect. Nothing worked to cool us down, and for over three days, it grew hotter and hotter. Finally, on Monday evening, at the same time the sun dropped below the tree line and the tide turned down on the inlet, a cool breeze started. Within a few minutes, word had gotten out, and people were gathering on balconies to enjoy the cool air and decreasing temperatures. What a blessed relief!

Too hot, no breeze, can’t stop to enjoy the view

On Tuesday, I stopped by a friend’s house to compare heat stories, and he told me about a bear that had been nosing about his smokehouse just up from the shore. It hasn’t been used in a while, but he thought perhaps the bear fancied the shade, even if there was nothing to eat? A bear in a smokehouse? I asked. Bears smoke? I left soon after, promising to come back when I was more sensible and less senseless due to heatstroke…

Sensible measures

As I drove home, a minute along the way, a bear wandered onto the road from my friend’s house, ambling from one side to the other, smiling and taking its own sweet time to stroll into the shade of the trees. Was this the smoking bear? It looked pretty contented. Maybe it was the nicotine? C’mon, bear, you know better than that.

The first cool morning after the heat

Anyway, a smoking hot few days has given way to more reasonable warm days, with temperatures we’d have considered pretty high until the events of last week. We’ll be back out and about on longer hikes with Scout, who is very happy that normal(ish) weather has resumed. She’s definitely a non-smoker. Sensible dog!

Yesterday morning – cool air and fog – just right!

My brain is too cooked to be able to get into it about climate change. Even after this week, with stories of wildfires ripping through communities, and an increase in unexpected deaths due to the heat, there are still some in denial. It was unpleasant where we are, but we were lucky, most likely due to our coastal location and lower temperature starting point. Long past time to acknowledge and act collectively to reduce the warming. Hey ho, let’s leave it there…

Thanks for reading, I hope you stay cool wherever you are, and have a wonderful weekend!

Abandoned

Abandoned was the word that came to mind when I saw this little boat sitting all alone on the mudflats. Is this the prompt for a “feeling sorry for himself” PlaidCamper rant? A quiet one, of course, being an introvert and all that…

All alone, but not actually abandoned

No! Keep reading if you’re still here, there’s no rant or feeling sorry for oneself. Or do stop reading if you were hoping for a rambling rant. We’ve enjoyed another calm week, not too fast, not too slow, and certainly not too many people, even though travel restrictions are starting to lift. Our lifeboat isn’t crowded.

Last Sunday we wandered down to our favourite little shell beach, and although the tide was high, it was calm and there was dry space enough to make it worth the clamber down to sit for an hour, enjoy the quiet.

A touch woody? I’d rather share your pastry…

We heard bald eagles in the trees above and behind us, and peered and craned to catch a glimpse, but they were out of sight. Well alright, it was enough to know they were there, so we settled back against a log and poured the all important second cup of caffeine. Maybe there was a pastry to go with it, or most of a pastry after Scout tried to snag her share.

Any of those pastries left?

Later in the day we went down to the outer harbour, to look at the boats and do some more sitting. We’re getting quite accomplished at it, and the lapping of small waves against the dock, and waving to the small craft sailors made for a pleasant late afternoon. We couldn’t sit there into the evening, although that would have been good. No, we had an important appointment to keep.

Keeping busy…

Sunday evening appointments? Sounds unnecessarily busy PlaidCamper – what was it? Good question, and I’m glad you asked! We had to meet up with the new cans of Ucluelet Brewing Company Kolsch. Yes, on a Sunday, but not a school night due to a few days off. I wouldn’t abandon my no drinking on a school night principle. Actually, I would, but didn’t this time.

…but not too busy. An abandoned principle? No!

I’ll leave you now, keeping with the non-existent abandoned theme, and wish you a wonderful weekend ahead!