October – Another month is upon us, number two and we really want to get out and see some more of this beautiful area before we’re housebound by winter weather. There won’t be any snow – at least none that’ll stick – but there’ll be plenty of rain and wind and days that we probably won’t be going anywhere. So off we go…
Saturday, October 1 – It is such a gorgeous day today that we decided we absolutely have to get out for a hike. In a conversation with Jordan a few days ago he told me there is a clear path to the top of the hill behind us. If that’s the case then we definitely were not on it the day we hiked out to the Southeast of the lodge. So, after lunch we headed out in the same direction but a little more to the South and found the trail. It was a steep climb but it was only 15 minutes to the top. We caught up to and followed Betty for the last bit. Betty is one of the deer that frequent the lodge looking for handouts. She has a boyfriend, you know. His name is Bruce.
When we emerged from the mature forest of the hillside, we found ourselves in a completely different environment.
The entire hillside, the area around the lodge and all along the coastline below that elevation — even the forested islands around here — are all covered in mature stands of mostly hemlock but also cedar and some spruce. Up here above the lodge though is relatively sparsely populated with Contorta Pine – Pinus Contorta – also known as Shore Pine or Twisted Pine.
At first it reminded me of the forest around Inuvik, in the Northwest Territories, in that the trees are so stunted. These trees appear severely stunted due to their harsh environment. The difference between these and the stunted forests of the North though is that these trees are naturally bonsai’d. Being from the interior of BC and relatively new to the coast, I had never seen such a thing before and had to do a little research. Turns out that almost the entire West coast of North America is home to these trees -from Alaska to Baja California anyway.
After walking around for a while, I realized that, ironically, it actually reminded me of the semi-arid desert of the Thompson – Okanagan region where I grew up. A lot of these gnarly little pines are not much bigger than the biggest of the sage brush back home so if you imagine them in a grey-blue hue, as opposed to the green, they’d very closely resemble the sage back home. The wood, bark and shape are all very similar to sage.
Also, in spite of the fact that it is basically a swamp up there, the ground is similar too, in that it too is covered in a type of bunch grass. It is a lower growing grass than the bunch grass around Kamloops though.
Once we were out into the open we turned to the west and circled around to get some of the view of the open ocean in the distance. We made a fairly large circle around to the North before we reentered the hemlock/cedar forest West of where we arrived at the top and then turned East so that we were descending into the forest on an angle down toward the lodge again. By the time we got to the bottom of the steep hill, we were just West of the spot that the barge had tied up on shore and had an easy walk down the beach to get to it and then hopped on the trail back to the lodge.
Other than Betty, the only wildlife we saw was a hawk. It landed not too far from us but was gone before I could get a picture. It seems odd that there is so little wildlife around here. I’m glad we didn’t have an encounter with a bear though. We forgot to take the bear spray and bear bangers with us. When I realized that we had forgotten them, I started watching closely for any sign of bear and there was none.
Sunday – Well the weather forecast was right on for a change. They said we’d have three days of sun and then a day of overcast with no precipitation and that is exactly what we got. I had intentionally left the stacks of plywood that came on the barge uncovered in the hope that the top sheets would dry in the sunshine. It didn’t happen though, the sun just doesn’t get high enough anymore to shine directly on the deck. So with the top sheets still wet, I tarped it up in preparation for tomorrow’s rain.
When I came in, Wendi was sitting (sort of) in the lounge. It was about 2:00 pm by this time so she went and rustled us up some grub and I started poking around the internet. Before too long the internet got hung and I went into my routine.
- Quit/Reopen Safari – Nothing
- Reboot OSX – Still Nothing
- Go downstairs and reboot the router – Nope
- Go out to the internet tree and wiggle the ethernet cable – (This is where I start to feel like Eddy Arnold up the telephone pole)
- Reboot the modems – Nada!
So with me being fresh out of ideas to fix the internet, we decided to watch a movie. Two movies, actually. The Human Stain and Monster.
Right in the middle of Monster, Wendi looks out the patio doors and sees a light out in the bay. I looked out too, at her prompt, just as it disappeared. I told Wendi to make sure the radio was on channel sixteen and the volume turned up. I ran upstairs to look out the patio doors of our bedroom and there it was again — a white light — and then it disappeared again. I ran downstairs and grabbed the spot light and rushed out to the front deck. I shone the light on the dock and out toward the islets where the boat had been. Wendi was pretty spooked. I was concerned too but because there may have been a boat in need of help. The odd thing was that if it were a boat coming in to anchor in Port Louis, to the East of us, they would have been travelling in a direction that would have meant that we would see their starboard (green) light, not a white light. Unless of course they were intentionally shining a white light in our direction and if they were, then why? Regardless, they disappeared, presumably into Port Louis and we never saw them again. Either that or it was aliens.
Monday – Off-grid life is pretty cool. You’re on your own and if something is wrong you’re pretty much screwed if you can’t fix it. Well luckily, the internet fix was out of my hands because, like I said before, I was out of ideas for fixes.
The Control Centre – similar to the administration web page for any router – was reporting a low signal strength and that the receiver was not locked onto a signal. To me, it looked like either there was too much cloud cover — unlikely, as we’ve had heavier cloud and worse weather and it was fine — or some foliage in the way of the dishes or maybe one of the dishes had gotten jarred out of alignment. The latter two scenarios are entirely possible after having just had two recent rounds with 50+ knot winds. Or hopefully the problem was in fact completely out of my hands and at the satellite level or at least a technical level beyond my capabilities.
I had not quite talked myself into getting off my arse and going back out there to try to clear some brush from around the dishes when suddenly we were back online. Yeah! See it’s times like this that convince me that procrastination is a viable strategy.
Later I read that Shaw Cable had experienced a Canada-wide outage and coincidentally(?) there had been some solar flare activity resulting in a spectacular display of aurora borealis across much of Canada, so it is likely that the Hughes satellite system had experienced difficulties as well.
Well that week went by fast. We are certainly well into fall now. The wind picked up again the other day and now the decks are covered in Hemlock needles. The weather has otherwise been fairly good. Yesterday was another beautiful day in paradise and so was the day before. That day, Thursday, while we were upstairs getting dressed, Wendi looked down at the beach. She turns to me laughing and says, “Hey, look at that!”. It was Bruce. Lying in the sand — the only sandy spot — at the Southwest end of the beach, chewing his cud. A few days prior, Wendi had seen him walking along the beach and was surprised at that.
So back to yesterday — Friday — We figured we ought to get out for another hike before the winter monsoons come. Right around lunch time, I suddenly realized what time it was getting to be, (funny how that works), and realized that it’s time to shut the generator down. Before shutting down the generator for the afternoon though, I have to shut down the boiler and let it cool for a while. So I did that and while waiting for the boiler to cool, I decided to go down to the beach and check things out. I looked out off the deck and there was Bruce again, in the same spot. So I grabbed the camera and a carrot and headed down to the beach. Wendi said he likes carrots but won’t eat it if you’re watching him.
Wendi was right, he sniffed each piece of carrot I threw but never ate any. Finally, he got bored and wandered away. I got really close to him and feel like I made a new friend. I like Bruce.
Bruce had disappeared down the beach and into the woods and I was standing motionless, at the water’s edge in the only spot of sunshine. With my back to the lodge, looking out at the beauty of the ocean, (again), I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around, expecting to see Wendi. It was Betty! She came down across the rocky beach right toward me and stopped about ten feet away. I turned away and went back to the area where I had thrown the pieces of carrot for Bruce and picked up two of them. I went back to Betty and threw them close to her. She picked up each one and ate them. She’s not shy!
Afterwards, when looking at the pictures, I discovered that she might not be a she either. Betty may be a Benny! Look closely, in a couple of pictures, you can see a tiny bit of what looks like antler growth. Is Betty a doe with high testosterone levels, or a buck with high estrogen levels? Deformity or injury? He or she, I don’t know but Heeshee is definitely in better condition than Bruce.
By the time the photo session was over, it had been about a half an hour, so Wendi went and shut down the generator and then joined me on the beach. We were destined for Tingley Cove, over the hill to the East. It was quite a hike. Not overly steep but thick bush and swampy. There was one area that brought to mind the cypress swamps of the everglades but I’ve never been there so that probably doesn’t mean much.
Enjoy, and please remember to like, share, follow, etc…