Monday, October 14, 2019

Thanksgiving Weekend 2019

It was another weekend of Sabbatical pleasure!  My Saturday started with Opera, then raced to the Clipper to travel on the ocean to Seattle.   Sunday involved a trip to the Seattle Science Centre, then the Children's Theatre for a production of "Black Beauty" (with puppets!), then off to see Indecent.   Then late night on the rooftop, and an early morning ferry back to Victoria.   Now that was a whirlwind 36 hours!

1.   Opera
Arta and I joined my colleague Bob Howell at our local cinema for a showing of Turnandot.  It was every bit a lush as expected, and I don't care if the plot is thin, it is always glorious to hear Nessun Dorma!

2.  The Rooftop Patio at the Meditteranean Inn in Seattle

The hotel in Seattle could not have been more centrally located, and the rooftop patio had the post perfect views of the city!

View from the rooftop on our first night in Seattle
hanging out with Jess and Stacy

The second night had a wonderful dance between moon and clouds

3.   The Science Museum!
The space needle by morning

The banners directed us to "Be Curious".  We were!

The live snake show was entertaining

how can you not love the hairless mole rats?!

Stacy picks up a visitor in the butterfly room...

Miles checking out Stacy's visitor (on her knee)

It was exciting watching butterflies emerging from their transformational homes!

4.  Black Beauty
The Stables... Black Beauty soon to appear!

Getting ready for the show to start

Teaching kids what to expect for theatre etiquette?

Stacy and Miles about to head into the fountain!

Hey!   Flashback to doing this poem in the Kiwanis Festival as a teen!

5.  Indecent

6.  Coming Home on the Clipper

We saw Orcas!

It was a beautiful trip home... and here are a few more photos.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Our trip to Avatar Grove (and Ditidaht and Pacheedaht Territory)

Today, Glen and Janet were visiting.  When asked what adventure he might like to have for the day, he said he wanted to go see "Avatar Grove". 

Rebecca, Janet, Arta and Glen enjoying the beauty of the Sea near diitiida
I knew of the movie, but not the Grove.  Glen told us it was a protected area of old growth forest up by Port Renfrew.  A bit of google searching told us to plan on 2.5 hours of driving, followed by beauty. 

We decided that, if we hit the road early, we could take the trip, and then be back in time for Glen and Janet to head off to their "previously scheduled celebratory evening"  :-)  

So that is what we did!  We followed the #14 highway towards Sooke and then past: French Beach, China Beach, Point No was just an amazing drive.   Our first stop (aka the moment where I say "Stop!   This is too beautiful... lets just get a selfie!") was near Diitiida (or, 'Rio Jordan' according to the erstwhile colonial Spanish explorers of 1790, spreading their own names across their maps).  

It was lovely to see the waves slowly rolling in, a group of sea birds hanging out, and a sign indicating appropriate surfing behaviour!

The waves slowly rolling in

A bird party?

No way anyone is getting ME on a surfboard..  But IS nice to be 'au current'  (pun intended) on the etiquette!

Back in the car, we kept travelling.   

What a fun trip to with Glen, and to have all his years of Forestry knowledge being brought to bear as we drove, with him filling in details about forest literacy as we went.  The big question was how to learn to listen to what a forest has to tell!

Arta and I soaking in the unexpected warmth and beauty
I had to stop again for a selfie with Arta as we passed the Pacheedaht Camp Ground.   

I don't know what to say other than, Glorious!

The water on the small lake was absolutely still, like a mirror for the universe.  

Birds were congregating on an old log lying on its side in the middle.  The relations between water, land, and sky were stunning.  It was almost like there was a world above and a world below...

The land seemed to be floating in the space between water and sky

And then, it was back in the car for the final leg of the trip. 

As we drove, Glen told  us that he was looking for Marbled Murrelet habitat.   The Murrelet is an endangered species, a flagship species for the forest protection movement. They are a smallish seabird (like an Auk), who only lay their eggs in the moss that hangs from branches high up in the canopy in old growth forests.   This is the kind of moss and tree that Glen was pointing out to us.

Pre-Avatar Grove, Glen crawls into a ravine to look more closely at habitat.  We had to restrain Arta, who tried to scramble in after him.  We told her we would need a helicopter airlift to get her back out!

moss covered branches providing space for other things to grow, and for birds to nest

ferns growing out of the moss on a tree
 In the last part of the drive, we left paved roads behind.   
The water capturing the clouds

We drove across a narrow bride, left the pavement, and traveled the rest of the way on a gravel logging road.  I don't know that to say "gravel logging road" quite captures it.   haha.   I would say 7 km, driving at perhaps walking speed, taking great care to neither fall into a pot hole, nor take out the undercarriage of the car.   What an adventure!

It was a wild ride, but so worth it.

We finally arrived.

Upper or Lower?   Which path for the 78 year-old explorer?

I loved the "warning signs" (watch out for shattering trees?!)

We chose the lower grove walk (it was easy to medium, according to the sign).  On a longer trip (we only had an hour to spend, since Janet and Glen had to be back in Victoria for a big event at Government House --- his 25 years of govt service evening!)
Starting our descent to the forest floor (photo credit: Glen)
Wow.    There is so much to say, but it is almost impossible to capture the beauty, sound, or scale, let alone the joyful conversations!   

So... here are some photos.   

Janet and I trying to capture the greens

I love the roots crawling like fingers on the forest floor

Even standing right against the tree, you can't capture their size

Each tree has its own character and soul.  We loved coming for the visit.

Glen standing there to give me a marker for scale for the huge cedar behind him!

It doesn't matter if you look up, down, left or right, there is something amazing to see.

here, you can see young trees growing out of the side of older (still standing) trees

So much to enjoy in all the textures spread out around us, as we try to identify the trillium 

You can see the Nurse Log on which this huge cedar grew... can you imagine it picking up its roots and walking off?

a broken branch that looks to be a "forest guardian" (like the Green Goblin?)

Perfect nesting tree for Murrelet, says Glen!

Moss covering all the branches below the canopy way up above

The group of us spending time on the forest floor

Can you see the Candelabra and new growth at top where the bole had broken?

young and old trees living aside and amongst each other

Another nurse log sustaining the tree above.  This one looks to me almost like a sea creature grasping a log/rock.

Janet along side this amazing tree

The bottom of the tree seems like a mass of ruffles on a skirt

such beauty in the burls, a face seemingly hiding in one

The tree dressed in a swath of mossy green fabric
We decided that if there is a heaven, its colour palette will not be white, but will be the lush greens and browns we saw in the forest.   

Truly, heaven.