Kathy, our next door neighbour, was telling me they had a nice big bear lumbering around their yard last week. We haven’t seen him yet though. We hear there’s a cougar hanging around the elementary school; you can imagine how thrilled the parents are about that.
The cougar cubs spend a year with their mother before she kicks them out, and then they’ve got to eek out a living and a territory of their own. Since the cougar population is pretty dense around here, most of the potential cougar territory is already occupied, so the two year old cubs get pushed into town, and people start to see them.
We saw four deer the other night, grazing on Kathy’s front lawn. It’d been a couple of weeks since Kat & I had seen any deer, we were wondering where they were. I guess Kathy & John must never have to mow their lawn, the deer keep it nice and short for them (and fertilized too!) We spotted them while driving home from knitting night, so we stopped the car and watched the family graze for a while. The deer ignored us and systematically cropped the lawn, their ears in constant motion, their tails shaking off raindrops.
We had a good week and a half of non stop rain, sometimes gentle, barely there misting, sometimes the heavenly faucet was on full blast. One thing I’ve learned is to never check the weather network to see if the rain is going to stop soon. They will always tell you that rain is expected every day for the next two weeks, and then the rain will feel drearier than ever. You won’t feel any better knowing that rain, light rain, heavy rain, periods of rain are called for every day in the near future, and chances are the weather network is WRONG!
Even on most stormy days, the wind blows the clouds apart long enough for the sun to shine through. When this happens, we try to go outside and enjoy it. We went back up to Amphitrite Point to check out the waves and walk the dogs:
This Friday and Saturday, contrary to the forecast, were both gorgeous, sunny days. We spent two hours at the Co-Op gas station parked in front of the vacuum, feeding loony after loony into it and sucking out revolting quantities of dirt and garbage out of Emily’s interior. We pulled out pop cans and juice bottles, McDonalds French fry and burger holders, cigarette packaging, chip bags, greasy chip crumbs, too many hair pins, old crusty makeup, a philosophy school paper, a compact mirror, mardi gras beads, little bits of electronics that we couldn’t identify and sticky coins that were so gross we couldn’t be bothered washing them. Every surface was covered in a fine layer of black sooty smoker’s ash, and most of the dash was sticky with spilled pop and coffee. By the time we finished, the interior had changed colours from grey to light blue.
We then spent another hour going over the owner’s manual and getting familiar with opening the hood, checking the fluids, figuring out how to operate the jack, filling the spare tire with air, topping up the front right tire (slow leak?) topping up the coolant (confirming the reported leak) and checking the oil (just fine.) We even got lucky on the gas prices that day and filled our tank for $30.
Thus fortified, Emily was in great shape to take us exploring the Parks trails just outside of town. We drove down a short gravel road to a parking lot in the forest, with trees larger than our car:
All parking lots should be like this.
We followed a well groomed trail to the access points to Half Moon Bay and Florencia Beach. We walked the soggy footpath to Half Moon Bay first, which took us to a boardwalk and a hundred or so steps that led to a slippery wooden ramp down to the beach. Half Moon Bay is beautiful:
The tide was high so we couldn’t explore the beach, but we did pull up a driftwood log and watched the surf, mesmerized by the rhythm and power.
“I wonder if we ever got a tsunami, whether I’d have the sense to run, or if I’d just stand there and watch it come.”
“I wonder if we really could outrun a tsunami. Maybe it’s better to just watch it roll in.”
We wandered over to Florencia, a long, wide open expanse of sandy beach with multiple breakers coming up against a sheer sandy cliff:
Two huge trees had washed ashore, locked together at the roots:
We took the obligatory picture of person-next-to-really-big-tree:
We’re just a ten minute drive away from these trees. I love it, I love it.
Next stop: Long Beach. We were welcomed to the world famous beach by a bald eagle swooping to the ground in front of us and scooping up a fish that had washed ashore. As we walked along the shore, a tall guy with long curly blond hair and a boogey board under his arm said,
“Hey, if you guys are walking that way there’s a cougar along the bushline. Just, you know, heads up.”
We kept walking but we didn’t see it.
We drove to Tofino for hot chocolate at Tuff Beans, and to watch the sunset over the mountains through the restaurant’s round windows.
Three beaches in one day. In January. Life on the west coast is sweet.