Treacherous…

Sounds exciting, but it isn’t – still, you’ve read this far, so you might as well see it through – I’ll keep it brief!

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Sunday snow

The treacherous part? The roads on Wednesday morning! They were slick, and not in a good way. The previous two days, we had something approaching significant snowfall. So significant, Ucluelet schools were closed and students were delighted. Almost 5 cm coated the ground, and snow forts and snowmen communities were built all over. Out here, if there’s a snow day, children don’t waste any of it!

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Coastal snow

I had to drive over the bay on Wednesday morning, and had already enjoyed a quiet chuckle or two (to myself, not out loud) as I watched several cars and trucks try and fail to drive up a steep little incline just outside our building. I was full of the confidence that only a seasoned Alberta winter mountain driver armed with a Jeep has. Ha! I thought, that’s not a problem, barely any snow. Oh, I thought, a few minutes later, as the Jeep fishtailed and slipped, and eventually climbed to the top. Wet snow on top of a very thin layer of ice is a different kind of slippery compared to the powdery and heavily compacted snow over the provincial border there. Why, it’s treacherous.

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Barely snowing…

I made it to work on time, pretending I hadn’t had several slightly alarming snow/ice wobbles along the way, feigning nonchalance about the cooler temperatures and unusual snowfall.

On the way back down the Port Albion road close to midday, the scene was really something. On my left, the trees and embankment were covered in snow, and on my right, where the sun had melted the snow away, it looked like spring. I felt like the White Witch of Narnia in reverse, or Aslan had passed by, melting away the dark winter.

I did stop the car and take the photo below, but where I stopped the full divided effect wasn’t as sharp as a bit further back down the road, closer to Hitacu.

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Midday thaw, Wednesday

Well in truth, this short blast of real winter hasn’t been at all dark, and the snow shone and sparkled delightfully on Wednesday before melting away. A treacherous beauty, but only on the roads.

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Winter beauty

Keeping it brief this week, as I have to pack my bags and prepare myself for a trip to Mt. Washington on Thursday and Friday. By the time this is posted, I’ll have discovered if I can remember how to snowboard after a season or two off the snow. We are taking a group out for their first snowboard/ski experience, and it’ll be fun. More to follow.

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Friday night (an educated guess at the time of writing)

I’ve rediscovered a proper respect for winter, and I sure hope it isn’t too treacherous on the mountain…

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Weathered

We’ve heard that parts of North America and Europe have been unseasonably cold in the last little while. I’ve also read that Australia has been unseasonably hot, even by their warm summer standards. I’d love to write about how the west coast here has been mild, with a weekend ahead of gentle sunshine, but that wouldn’t be true. If the forecast is correct, we’re due a relatively chilly snap, with a suggestion of snow. I’m rather looking forward to it…1318da27-5d14-46b6-a7d4-f10f602f3981

We get out and about whatever the weather, unless it is dangerous to do so, and this almost brave and rugged outdoor approach is, understandably, reflected in my appearance. Why, not so long ago, a delightful young chap I’ve been working with heard it was my birthday, and he asked if I minded looking so old? In fairness, I believe he meant to say rugged, but it isn’t a word in his vocabulary. He then asked if hair loss hurt, and could anything be done about it? After putting my toque back on, I replied, with a quaver that gave the lie away, that I didn’t mind going bald. After all, aren’t bald eagles majestic? He agreed, they are quite something, but they aren’t actually bald.

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Majestic

Last weekend ended up being far more overcast than had been predicted, but young dogs need to take rugged humans and run them ragged on long walks. Off we went in search of adventure and a bald eagle or two. As promised in my previous post, I remembered to bring along a camera with a better zoom than the phone, and I’m glad I did. We nimbly leapt down from the trail into a rocky area, and with an easy and let’s say spry spring in our step, moved to a sheltered area to enjoy our coffee and admire a bald eagle perched slightly away and above. Once again, the eagle remained in place for our entire visit, and at one point it tipped it’s head back and sang out when another eagle flew past. What a thrill!

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Rugged

The following day was also grey, and the wind had a bit of bite to it. Undeterred, we set off to stretch our legs along a beach to a distant set of rocks where we’d spotted oystercatchers on a previous trip. No oystercatchers this time, but when we clambered (I mean skipped) up the rocks, we were treated to a fine collection of weathered and storm tossed logs. The greyish glow of the light seemed to bring out the shape and texture, and I messed around with taking some monochrome and silver shots.

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Silvery

I’m almost tired now, so I’ll leave it here for this week. Perhaps a quick nap, then I’m off out to enjoy our forthcoming little chill, hoping to see some local snow, and also hoping my toque keeps the bald spot warm…

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful weekend, and whatever the weather throws at you, I hope you get to be outdoors!

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“This is easy!”

Ocean Rebel

Yes, Ocean Rebel! A wonderful name, and I had to use it for this post heading. It is such a good one, could be a story title, and it’s great for a boat – which is where I saw it. If I ever write the untold and untrue account of my exploits as a paddler, I now know what the title will be…

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Prepared, as always – can you see the eagle there?

Never one to be caught up in daydreams about writing, I’m attentive and eagle-eyed, almost always aware of my surroundings. For example, I saw the boat docked at Whiskey Landing (hard to miss) but have to confess it was a few minutes before I noticed the real Ocean Rebel perched up high. Prepared, as always, I didn’t have my camera, so had to snap a few distant shots with my phone. The eagle looked great up there. Patient, watchful, and occasionally ruffled by a gust of wind.

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Perched and patient, a Saturday morning spent sitting on the calm side

A photographer armed with an impressive looking camera stopped by and took a number of shots, and the eagle seemed happy enough about this. A family trundled down to the lower dock to take in the view, and from where I was sitting, it seemed to me they didn’t spot the eagle above them. Either that or they were too cool to show they’d seen it. I still get excited every time I see one…

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The stormy side, Saturday afternoon

On Sunday morning, we were on Long Beach, a sunny day after a stormy one. Gulls were out in force, and we saw and heard quite a commotion down the beach. As we got closer, we could see a bald eagle being harried by a handful of gulls. Or was it a handful of gulls protecting themselves from a rampant eagle? Turf wars and lines in the sand? Ocean rebels? Right and wrong? I’m probably supposed to take a side and stick to it in these partisan and alleged fake news times…

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Calm down, there’s enough space…

Yes, prepared, as always, I didn’t have my camera, so once again the photograph above was taken on my phone. By the time this was taken, the gulls and eagle appeared to have reached an accommodation – smart move, and no need to start a beach shutdown, all was well. It’s a big beach, with plenty of room to roam.

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Can I be an ocean rebel?!

We will be on the beach and on the trails this weekend, as the forecast is for a couple of dry days with some sunshine. This time, instead of wishing I had my camera, I’ll bring it with me, and be thoroughly prepared to capture some ocean rebels, if they don’t move off before I find the right button. (That’s captured photographically speaking – I wouldn’t want to imprison the wild and free!)

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Wild

Hmm. Wild and Free? I believe we have a sequel to Ocean Rebel! Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful, wild, and free weekend!

As easy as falling off a log…

If something is as easy as falling off a log, should you do it? Isn’t it easily avoided? Maybe it just happens, no effort at all. I’ve fallen – or at least slipped – off a log, and it hurts. Easy? Yup. But I’m not so sure it’s the thing to do. Why am I asking? It’s the nonsense that fills the gaps in my head when perched on a log.d5bf7b94-1ca3-4863-85e3-9ac083a8d245

Last weekend we were blessed with a day that seemed more like spring than winter. Blue skies, warm sunshine and very little breeze. It was a day made for the beach, so that is where we went. We found ourselves scrambling over the rocks and between the logs, searching for just the right spot to stop and take it all in.6d9d7bbb-30d3-4d9c-9912-c746c57332b4

Getting there, the tide was low, and the stretch of sand was wide. We couldn’t understand (but didn’t mind) why there were so few people about? We were out for several hours and saw only a handful of hikers and dog walkers. Oh well…ef3a9dfc-0af4-461d-bec4-f79371973933

When perching, I didn’t fall off a log this outing, but I did come close to tumbling a couple of times in my attempt to keep up with Scout – she was sure-footed along the trunks, and didn’t mind showing me up as she leapt from log to log.8ed9fab3-4241-4d7d-a871-682a139fe766

We spotted a few bald eagles, but our closest bird encounter was earlier in the morning. We were enjoying a fine cup of coffee from the recently opened Foggy Bean, admiring the view from Ucluelet across to Hitacu when the little fellow pictured below took a keen interest in our drinks. I suspect he was after something to eat rather than a caffeine hit, but what good taste he had…

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“Ooh, is that coffee? ‘Cos, yeah, we’re raven mad for caffeine…”

Not so sunny for us this coming weekend – the ravens will miss us sitting at our usual spot, and we will miss being there. Still, the very early spring day last weekend was easy to enjoy – as easy as falling off a log.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Dark, with a little froth…

Sounds like a coffee order – Mrs. PC does like a good cappuccino…

A super short and heavily caffeinated shot of a post this week. We were stretching our legs last weekend, an exercise in dodging rain showers by getting the timing right. It was a cold couple of days, with drizzle, hail, rain, glimpses of sun, and a couple of rainbows to raise a smile.fcf492dc-e293-496d-a40d-154050c8cf76

Usually, we check the tide tables to ensure there’s enough beach to walk on and head out accordingly, but last weekend we had to go whenever it looked least rainy. On Sunday afternoon, there was a narrow ribbon of beach growing a little wider as the tide fell. It was pretty windy, and the waves had whipped up quite a froth on along the shore.c9e7e5c6-7cf5-4513-8b0c-fe4ffafc005a

Scout had a fine old time nosing in the foam and chasing blobs down the beach. Ravens hopped and skipped ahead of us, scavenging at the tide mark, and looking aggrieved that their raucous display didn’t scare us off. We spied three bald eagles and any number of gulls battling the wind. Some gulls were bobbing in the water just beyond the surf. Our guess was the heavy weather had churned up some good stuff.a42cda02-a29b-44ce-a532-339a3aa31fe2

Further out to sea, menacing clouds marched along the horizon, and the sun made only brief appearances – very welcome periods of relative warmth in the stiff breeze. So the froth wasn’t from a cappuccino, but we did have a good strong French roast in the flask, and Sunday was the day for it. Sometimes you get lucky with the timing – we huddled in the dunes out of the wind and were delighted when a patch of blue sky appeared, big enough to let some sunshine through for as long as it took to finish our coffee.e33788ca-fd3b-4e96-8b11-4e6718654815

The caffeine jolt (and a cube or three of chocolate) was just the thing to set us up for the return leg to the car. It started to rain heavily moments after Scout jumped into the back of the Jeep. More rain? Hey ho. Might as well head home for that all important second cup…dfdc9b87-e0e6-469d-9aee-0ffbe9ffd114

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

Singing the winter greens and blues

For the past decade and more, we have been used to (and very much enjoyed) a snowy December and beyond, sometimes in a blanketed city, and often in the mountains. Still, change is good, and contrast is good. Winter on the coast is very different!

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Vibrant

There are so many colours and moods – vibrant green on the trails, but also blue and grey. It can be dry, grey and cold, or gold, warm and sunny, or blue, cold and sunny, or windy and rainy, just rainy, and very, very rainy.  Every now and then it can be extremely stormy. Exhilarating stuff, and always with so much green. (PlaidCamper, you do know you live in a coastal rainforest, don’t you?)

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Energy

Being by the ocean, it always feels fresh, and there’s usually a breeze. Last weekend, we met up with Wayne and took a wander along Chesterman’s Beach. Fresh? Yup! A breeze? And then some! We took shelter in the lee of some rocks overlooking Lennard Island lighthouse (for shots of the lighthouse taken by Wayne over the years, look on his website here) and tucked into delicious soup and cornbread – thanks, Wayne – and a mince pie. We didn’t know Scout was such a fan of soup and mince pies, but perhaps that’s no surprise…

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Not the Lennard Island lighthouse – Amphitrite Point lighthouse, Ucluelet

The ocean wasn’t calm – we saw the coastguard zodiac and cutter both riding some pretty big waves, and it looked as though they were searching the coastline. It would be nice to think it was an exercise and all was well, but the search looked quite intense.

The grey skies gave way slightly, and there was a hint of warmth from a few weak rays, but eventually we had to head back. Scout chased Wayne, or Wayne chased Scout along the beach, and it was a good game to play, because the breeze had a bite to it. We had a great time, and Scout wanted to go home with Wayne, but eventually she relented and came home with us, even though we can’t promise daily soup and mince pies.

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Colour

Winter blues? We’re not singing that song, not yet. And I’m sure at some point we’ll find some time for a visit to snowy and wintry mountains – blow the dust off the snowboard and snowshoes – but until we do, I’m loving the winter greens.

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Last weekend – a colourful winter warmer

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

Farewell 2018…

…and welcome, 2019!

It’s the time of year when some people enjoy looking back, taking stock, and then they peer forward into the unknown. Or as far as next year, anyway.

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Reflecting

I enjoy reading the “best of” and “worst of” lists that come out this time of year, but don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a compilation of PlaidCamper almost hits and many misses. All I’ll say is, for us personally this year, the worst thing was when Scout disappeared, and yes, the best was when she came back. I know, you’ve got something in your eye as well.

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“Me? Cause a problem? As if…”

I don’t make resolutions, mostly because I’m bound to break them if it’s beer or chocolate related (why would I want to change those habits?) So long as I can still haul the OldPlaidCamper bones up slopes, along beaches, and over rocky outcrops, then the almost remarkable and resolute physique is just fine. Almost fit for purpose. Chocolate is an adventure fuel… and beer an excellent end of day reward. Oh alright, I resolve to maintain my consumption of both. Not every day though, not now I have school nights.

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Rocky

I’ll keep the post brief this week. I do want to say thank you for reading and commenting on here over the past year, either enjoying or enduring our photos and words. I’ve enjoyed writing each and every post, even (especially) the ones where I’m having a mild rant about this or that. It’s always a delight when you choose to read and comment, and it’s reassuring we’re not alone when concerns are shared.

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Looking ahead

The world has taken a few strange, unpleasant, and wayward turns (I suspect every year some of us say the same) but the people sharing this little corner of the internet remind me that it’s never quite as bad as it seems. Your blogs are humorous, full of wise words, displaying amazing photographs and/or challenging ideas – they can cheer a sometimes miserabilist up – thank you for that!

Looking ahead, I like to think the world will see a happier and kinder year than the one we’re saying farewell to. Young (and not so young) people care about the planet, and care about each other. I believe most of us can see our differences (by race, gender, sexuality or other) as contributing to a wonderful and exciting diversity worth celebrating, and not marginalizing or discriminating against.30A55BF7-3104-4343-9941-72421587796C

So, in the spirit of hope and optimism, I’ll say “Happy New Year” to all, and I wish the coming twelve months are full of outdoor excitement and good health for all of you.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

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Farewell 2018