The In-Between Travels Time

The months roll by. I often feel pressed when travelling to find time to post to our blog. Yet when I’m home, and should have more time to blog, time sails by without a word. Perhaps it’s because I know family and friends don’t need updates on our whereabouts. But I realize I’ve a few followers who may drift off as I haven’t posted anything for so long. This then is a post about how we spend our time between travels. Our Spring, Summer and Fall; our lives on B.C.’s southwest coast.

Bedwell Harbour from Mount Norman

The above photo was taken soon after our return from Ecuador. Mid-March; early Spring on Pender Island. We’re both pretty fit after stomping up and down the Andes and want to keep it that way. The hike up Mount Norman takes about 25 minutes but is all uphill. At one time I used to have to pause to catch my breath. No longer. The first couple of months after our return we had some time off work and tried to do this hike as often as possible.

Oak Tree, Mount Norman

Every time we go up there I photograph this oak tree. In early Spring it has no foliage but the lichen hanging off it is clearly visible. Mount Norman is the highest point on Pender Island at 244 metres. On the south slopes there are moss and grass covered bluffs which smell wonderful as the air heats up.

The view out over Swanson Channel is great. In the photo below you can see a freighter rounding Turn Point on Stuart Island, which is just across the border on the American side.

Freighter in Swanson Channel

Sometimes we don’t hike to the peak of Mount Norman but skirt around the edge and take a trail down along the waterfront to Beaumont Marine Park (a marine campground; both it and Mount Norman are part of Parks Canada’s Gulf Islands Park Reserve). The trail is sometimes narrow and rugged but mostly far easier than the hike to the top.

Twin Arbutus Trunks along the Trail

There are many lovely hikes around Pender. Soon after our return we visited my visual art exhibiting partner, Joanna, who lives on South Pender (the island is divided in two by a canal dredged in the early 1900s to shorten the journey for coastal steamships). We walked down to Gowlland Point on a blustery day. Many of my summers in my youth were spent here with my parents at a log cabin my dad built just above the beach. It’s still one of my favourite places in the world. On a clear day you can see Mount Baker off to the east; a currently inactive (but sometimes steaming) volcanic peak.

Gowlland Point, South Pender Island

Our Spring was a mix of warm sunny days and deluges of rain, producing dramatic skies. Weather is a frequent topic on the coast. Although we’re sheltered from the worst storms by the Olympic Mountains in Washington state and the high hills on southern Vancouver Island we still have strong South-Easters. But being in a rain-shadow also means we have vegetation not commonly seen on the coast, like Prickly Pear cactus.

Dramatic Clouds over Pender Island

We did a road trip to the Okanagan in early April for a family wedding. It felt good to be on the road even though we’d just gotten home. Rather than take our own car we decided to rent a small car from the Vancouver Airport; thus avoiding the high ferry fares if we’d taken our own car (in the end it worked out to about the same cost but we had the security of driving a new car).

On the ferry trip to the mainland the fog rolled in over the Gulf of Georgia, obscuring the low islands but revealing the blue sky above.

Active Pass

We spent a couple of days in Keromeos, in B.C.’s southern Okanagan and one day in Penticton. The weather was hot and the skies clear. This is one of the most arid spots in B.C. On the drive there, however, we did some some remains of the winter snows in the shady spots along the highway.

Mountains Near Keromeos, B.C.

We were way too early for the fruit but I got a kick out of some of the signage near our motel.

Fruit Stall Signs, Keromeos, B.C.

While in Penticton I attended the Okanagan Fest of Ale for a day, swilling many IPAs and enhancing my Product Knowledge.

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As summer approaches my work shifts, at the local B.C. government  liquor store, increase. This year I walk to work as often as possible; 45 minutes there  and 45 back. About half of the walk is along the roads but the other half is through the woods. Early Spring is a wonderful time on Pender as the vegetation reawakens after it’s Winter downtime.

Fiddlehead Fern
The Heart Trail

If I don’t walk to work I make sure I have a daily walk elsewhere. Although we live in one of the largest subdivisions in B.C., Magic Lake Estates, we do have plenty of trails, parks and quiet spots. One of my walks takes me to Lively Peak where there’s a good view to the east over Browning Harbour.

Mount Lively, Pender Island

Although Pender is a gorgeous natural place its people are what really make it special. Other Canadians refer to us as the Left Coast or Lotus Land. They’re just jealous and many of them seek out our lifestyle. It’s pretty laid-back  and casual sometimes. The dude below hosted our first ever BMX bike event this summer. I spotted him rolling down the hill while I was walking home one evening.

A Spring Evening Ride

In the early Spring, while I still have some time off working at the liquor store, I work on my art. Since 2011 Joanna and I have exhibited together; our Same, Same but… Different shows. The past few years they’ve been at the Sea Star Vineyards, a great location high on a hilltop looking both to the north (towards Vancouver) and south (towards southern Vancouver Island). As mentioned in my previous post I exhibited a series of photos from Ecuador as part of our fundraising for the Red Cross Ecuador Earthquake Relief Fund and also a couple of series of my shadow boxes (one series using a repeated image from Ecuador).

Same, Same but… Different Opening Night

As Spring turned to Summer foliage appeared on the old Oak tree.

Oak Tree in Late Spring

And the local deer population increased.

Deer at Our Gate

Flowers bloomed in the garden.


Wild Rose in Our Garden

Sue works in town (Victoria) during the summer. On one of my days off I went to town, rather than her coming home, and we did a little meander out to the Western Communities, finishing at the Sooke Potholes for a refreshing dip.

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Sooke Potholes (little coloured spots are people on the rocks!)

Summer’s still with us (mid-August) but the days are getting shorter and there’s a hint of Autumn in the air even though the daytime temperatures are still in the high 20 – 30 degrees Celsius range. Having developed a thirst for smoothies while in Ecuador I made sure I got out to pick blueberries and blackberries this year. Our little freezer is now full with baggies of berries.

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In the Blueberry Patch.

I continue walking to work and finally got out on my bike and kayak after too long a break.

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Kayaking in the Canal

I don’t cycle to work that often as the Summertime Pender roads can be treacherous (crowded, no shoulders, tourists running amok) but we’ve a long stretch of quiet road nearby that makes for a good ride.

2016-05-31 10.12.51.jpg
Bike to Work Week Participation

And today? Well, I really should’ve been continuing to work on house renovations but it’s such a nice day I thought I’d sit outside and catch up on the blog. After all… isn’t summer partly supposed to be for relaxation and fun?






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