Friday 6 April 2018

A Walk In The Rain

Want to come for a walk with me? It's raining, a not uncommon thing on Vancouver Island, but we're all good with that, right?  If you don't walk in the rain here, you miss out on walking for more than half the year. 

Let's put on our rain gear, grab our umbrellas and go.  Don't forget to bring some water.  We'll be walking quite a distance - 12.4 km/ 7.7 miles - and you need to stay hydrated even on a rainy day.

We'll begin with a stroll to the Sportsplex, with its oval track often used by those nearby for their fitness walks (Personally , I don't see the appeal. I want to see varied scenery when I walk, but each to their own.), past the fields and baseball diamonds... exit via this pretty lane-way. I always enjoy it at blossom time.

From here we're going to walk the length of Lakes Road.  Yes, that is a long hill... we're going to pause at the bridge at the bottom of the hill to enjoy the view before we start the climb. (I apologize now for any raindrops that may have fallen on my camera lens.)

Lakes Road isn't as pedestrian friendly as our route has been so far.  There's a fair bit of traffic and the sidewalk runs out not long past the top of the hill, but it's worth it.  The landscape grows progressively more rural, and offers some lovely sights like this lot whose wild space has been colonized by daffodils.

There's a holly farm further on, with moss capped gate posts, a view of Quamichan Lake, and characterful old trees.  The farm's been there a long time and used to ship holly all over the world.  There's less demand for it these days and I'm glad they're still keeping the trees.

The houses are further apart now and even the newer houses have traces of old farms visible on their property, often in the form of rows of trees along the fence line.

I always enjoy passing by the sheep farm on the shores of Quamichan Lake. These are some happy sheep: the grass is always rich and green.  They know me so well now that they pose when I stop to take their picture. ;)  See how they're all looking towards me?

An old apple orchard near Lakes Road's intersection with Herd Road has recently been pruned.  These trees blossom late - next month - but they're beautifully clad in coats of green velvety moss.

I'll confess that my camera's getting a little heavy around my neck now so I'm going to stow it in my backpack for a bit.  We'll continue walking as planned though, turning left onto Herd Road, continuing through a treed area and crossing another bridge to emerge into rolling pastureland.  There are lots of horses in this area and it's easy to see why they like it.

My eye is always caught by the incongruous, like this lighthouse built to shield an irrigation coupling in the middle of a pasture.  It makes me smile every time I see it.

I'm getting a little weary now. It's been more than 8 kilometres since we started and we're on an uphill route once more.  The hill's less steep than Lakes Road's hill, it's a long, slow undulating climb.  

We're on Norcross Road now, passing small farms and then vineyards.  I'd take a picture of the vineyards for you but, really, they're pretty bleak at this time of year: gnarled black trunks, pruned hard, black with rain, marching along in lines beneath strings of equally black wire.  

There is a view of Somenos Lake though, and it's worth pausing for. Do you see that line of tall fir trees in the background?  Lakes Road is behind it.  We've covered some distance, haven't we.  :)

We're winding it up now.  We'll climb the last bit of this hill, then walk downhill on Bell McKinnon Road until we reach the highway. Cross the highway now,  and treat yourself to coffee and a muffin while you wait for the city bus to take you the last 4km/2.5 miles back to our starting point.  

Wow you guys!  Great walk!  Thanks for coming along with me.  :)

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Best Laid Plans...

This is my car.  It's a 2009 Ford Focus, purchased by me in 2011.  It was a lease return, with just 13,000 km on it.  It had lots of nifty bells and whistles and a sticker price I could afford.  Negotiation brought the price down further and I left the lot feeling happy with my purchase.  

Little did I know...

This vehicle has been the lemon everyone encounters at least once in their lives. It is notorious among my circle of friends. Every time I want to go somewhere, I play car roulette.  

Why do I keep the car?  Sometimes - fairly often actually - I ask myself the same question.  The answer's complicated but basically comes down to sentiment:

During the last few months of my husband's life he was in a lot of pain.  His lower back troubled him constantly and the pain meds he was given caused him terrible vertigo.  He couldn't lie down to sleep because the room started spinning, and he was often nauseous. We discovered that if I tucked him in the passenger seat of the car, turned on the seat's heating, wrapped a warm quilt around him, rolled down the windows, and drove, the heated seat helped to ease his pain, the fresh air calmed his vertigo, and the car's motion eased him to sleep.  Right up until 2 days before he died, we went out driving every day.  We traveled thousands of kilometres in that car during that time, and shared some precious moments.  There are a lot of tender, bittersweet memories tied to my car and I'm just not ready to let it go.

Since I'm not ready to part with it and I'm pretty much stone broke these days, when my car breaks down I park it until I can save up enough money to fix it.  I've become quite good at finding creative alternatives when it forces a change of plans. 

This long weekend was a case in point.  The car may have foiled my camping plans, but the weather was beautiful and springtime here in the Cowichan Valley is a wonderful thing.  I made a point of getting out and enjoying my surroundings as much as possible, and managed to fit in some visits with friends and family too.

I'd hoped to share lots of camping trips with you this year but since I'm pretty much dependent upon transit, foot travel, and rides from friends for the time being, I've decided I'll take you along with me on my local adventures. We can explore southern Vancouver Island together.  Look for my first post later this week.