Thursday, April 1, 2010

SETTLED IN ON VANCOUVER ISLAND

The Skunk Cabbage, a sure sign of Spring

The "used to be" Lower Falls. The water comes under rather than over like it used to

Trunk of Arbutus tree


A clump of Arbutus

A Maple among the Alder trees

Western Red Cedar bark

Englishman River Top Falls

Upper Falls on Little Qualicum River





Little Qualicum River, the three images above

Wild Currant in flower


We left the Shuswap Monday morning and ran into our first storm about 20 kms down the road with heavy rain mixed with hail. After another 20 or so kms, we were in sunshine which mostly stayed with us for about 150 kms. We did, however, have some really nasty wind which Aileen was afraid would tip us over like what happened with our neighbours down south. I had to reduce our speed considerably in order to maintain control. We were very glad when we got past the wind storm. Aileen drove much of the Fraser Canyon section where we had lots of rain mixed with both hail and sleet. The temperature dropped from 12C to 3C in minutes when we hit that storm and dropped further to 2C for quite awhile. It was a good thing we decided to take the Fraser Canyon rather than the Coquilhalla which gets up over 6,000 feet. The canyon route high point is about 1,200 feet and the snow wasn’t far above that. I think the Coq would have been ugly! We parked at Hope in my Aunt June’s (and Eric) driveway for the night. June had put a roast on and invited us for supper. We had a good visit over the evening and I showed some of our travel images until they fell asleep. Well, til their bedtime, anyway.

On Tuesday, we hit the road about 9 AM heading for the ferry. Good thing we left early as there was a rather long tedious stretch of construction at Clearbrook with stop and go, merging two lanes of freeway into one. We still arrived at the Tsawwassen terminal nearly an hour ahead of our 12:45 sailing. That gave us time for a leisurely lunch in the trailer. It cost over $193. for the ferry to Vancouver Island and I shudder to think what it will cost when we leave as the fares are going up a lot on April 1st, I have heard. There were lots of snowbirds with their RVs on board but very few other people so very quiet and peaceful for the ride. We stopped at a park to top up our water tank then moved up to my brother Charlie’s (and Sheila) place. We hope to hang out here for awhile with short trips here and there. We have the place to ourselves as they are in Alberta visiting #2 son. We took over the chores from Sheila’s brother Terry. The chores are pretty straight forward, dog and cat and hay to the cow and calf.

Wednesday was a rest day for Aileen, mostly. I took my cameras and went for a walk at Englishman River Falls Park. I was pretty surprised to discover there is no longer a lower falls. Apparently during a huge storm last year, the big rock creating the falls moved enough so that the water now flows under it except in really high water. Or perhaps a chunk of rock eroded from underneath. The whole thing is pretty amazing since the lower falls have been the same since first recorded by the white man. While I was at the park, I received a phone call inviting me to an open house on April 23 of the new sawmill where I retired from. I spent over 30 years there, much of the time involved with the safety end of things, so I was very familiar with the old mill and would love to see all the new technology etc. However, it would mean a special trip and cost plenty so it won’t happen.

Today, I went to Little Qualicum Falls Park for the afternoon while Aileen and the girls napped. I got rained on a couple times but with the rain the light was better for water pictures. Again, I was surprised how busy the park was although not as many people as yesterday at Englishman’s.