Monday, May 30, 2016


Mitzy has been doing very well recovering from her surgery that removed the last of her teeth.  She was feeling quite frisky last night running all around on our walk.
My brother Charlie and brother in law John R and I went  to the Chef Creek Forest Road system yesterday with our ATVs.  This is the area adjoining where we went last Sunday.  The forecast had called for a mix or sun and cloud in the morning and sunshine in the afternoon.  Apparently that forecast was for the coastal lowlands and not the mountains!  Every time we got a glimpse through the clouds, fog or rain, it was sunny down there.  We enjoyed very brief periods of sun but had mostly fog and rain. The rain gear got lots of use.
We are planning on going to the west coast of Vancouver Island on Wednesday for a week or so.  I'm hoping we will be able to be there before too many people arrive as it is always very busy during the summer months.

These two images are from last week after we visited the dark side.  This is the Tipple at Morden Colliery south of Nanaimo.  It is 74 feet to the top where the big wheels are.  This is an old coal mining  relic from a bygone era. 

As it had a high fence protecting it, photography was challenging.  Note the steps cut into the cement on the left side for access to the top.  It did have a railing originally as one could see the brackets for it.

The "herd" here at Charlie and Sheila's

Looking up the strait on the east side of Vancouver Island from our vantage point in the upper Chef Creek forestry road system

This was awhile later looking the same direction

The scenery disappeared on us

Wild Bleeding Heart in the rain

Wild Lupine gaining a foothold after the area was burned

A pretty little lake that survived the logging activity

Well, almost.  If you look closely, you will spot Charlie in the center.

After walking all the way around the little lake in heavy brush, mostly White Rhododendron (known as mountain misery) I climbed the ridge above to capture this fleeting shot of the little lake and the ocean far below.  Deep Bay Marina is in the foreground with Denman and Hornby Islands beyond.  Minutes later we were socked in again in the rain.

These are Vine Alder catkins

This pattern is on an old stump root after the bark fell off and it has weathered

Charlie appearing in the fog

A little mountain waterfall 

We were lucky to see this mom and fawn on our way down the mountain

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Yes, that's right.  My brother in law John R showed me this neat area along the west side of the Nanaimo River yesterday.  It is known locally as the dark side since the sun hardly gets in under the rock bluffs.   There are lots of huge boulders, many larger than our motor home that have fractured off the cliff face.  It is a very popular climbing area and even on a week day, there were several climbers across the river from us.
We have a very sorry little puppy here tonight.  As is usual with little dogs in general and especially Shih Tzu's in particular, she has always had serious teeth issues.  Today, she had the remaining six teeth taken out including a badly abscessed tooth from a previously botched surgery.  We dropped her off at 10:30 and picked her up at 5:30 and she was still pretty groggy.  She won't be enjoying the next few days!  

While waiting for John to get ready, I took a self guided tour of their gardens and grabbed a few blooms.  I love these Iris.

I got below this Columbine so I could show the translucent petals 

These wild Iris grow in their swamp garden

The dark side isn't for the faint of heart or those with balance issues

Low ceiling in spots

Look closely, John is in the top third

John is in this one too

The ladder is one of the easier spots on the trail

Looking back from the top of the ladder

One of the few level spots under the bluff

John in mid leap

A tight spot where we had to take our packs off to get up

There is a house on the rock bluff above and he has installed this creative means of accessing his gazebo down on a rock above the river.  It is not a place for children!

A wild Columbine along the river's edge

We stopped at the old mining area of Grandby Mines where coal was extracted for many years.  Nature is busy reclaiming her territory.

I am standing underneath the above photo looking up at the holes the coal came through

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


This past weekend was a long weekend in Canada celebrating the Queen's birthday.  Richard and Georgia came up and spent three nights with us.  Some of us went ATving on Sunday, seven riders on four machines.  It turned out to be a perfect day weather wise and we saw some beautiful scenery.

My  brother Charlie's current herd

Waiting for two more riders at the departure point.  From the left, my brother Charlie, my sister Susan's husband John and their son in law Dave and our son Richard on the right.

An ATV bridge?  The trail didn't proceed beyond this point so we didn't have to try out the crossing.

A great viewpoint over looking the Strait of Georgia.  My brother in law from Port McNeill had gone out riding with his son in law from Courtenay and was shown this trail.  We were able to find it from his description and enjoyed having our lunch with this grand view.

Charlie in his lunch spot

There were quite a few of these Penstemons blooming on the rocks

Charlie and Richard checked out the access to a lower rock outcropping

Taking shelter from the wind that was coming off the snow

While this is a very poor quality image, it is interesting in that the subject is about 70 kms away across the ocean.  This is the pulp mill at Powell River on the mainland of BC.  It is shot at the equivalent of 4800 mm and there is so much haze distorting things.

Resting after lunch

Oops, the big Honda got high centered on the hump of dirt.  Four of us pushing got it going again.

Some people put a lot of effort in to resurrecting the old logging road enough to get ATVs up it

Charlie's brother in law Lorne and wife Roong

This is a cropped version of a five shot pano Richard made with his cell phone.  That's me in the center.