Nothing like the 100th entry to spark a bit of nostalgia. I’ve been re-reading a few of the old entries lately. Recently, Kat asked me if, knowing what we know now, and knowing how difficult it can be, would I want to do it again?
“Well if I did it again, it wouldn’t be so hard, knowing what we know now!”
That sums up the last year – one big learning experience.
Between our business start-up trial-by-fire, we’ve been soaking up the rugged wild beauty of the west coast. Remarkable occurrences that pop up enexpectedly in our days, embellish our lives together – an exquisite lacy texture that makes us truly rich.
Today, I saw a red-shafted flicker.
It’s the first I’ve seen in my life. The crows were harassing it, I’m not sure why. Then, around the corner, I saw two young black-tailed deer, eating our neighbour’s lawn. They’re shedding heavily, getting ready for winter. Hours later, I saw the same two young bucks laying down on the grass. One was sedately munching his own cud, while the other had tucked it’s nose into it’s belly and was soundly asleep.
Recently, I watched one of our sea lions herd fish. He’d round them up and force then to the surface of the water – the water would darken in a tight circle and then the water would explode with panicky fish, seconds later the sea lion would burst through the circle and grab a mouthful. We watched him do this for a half an hour.
The highlight of our weekend was going kayaking with our friends at Paddle West. Next to horseback riding, I think kayaking is my favourite sport, and we live in a kayak heaven.
Paddle West really took care of us too. We didn’t even get our feet wet. You hop into your kayak while it’s on the dock, and then our knitting buddy and kayak guide Sarah, pushed our boats into the water.
As we waited for everyone to get into their kayaks, I admired the thousands of jelly fish floating around the Tofino harbour. These guys were the size of ping-pong balls.
Soon we were launched and paddling through the glorious sunshine.
The trips are scheduled around the tides, so the tide was high when we paddled through the shallow waters of the mud flats. The ocean was as warm as bath water.
On the way through the mud flats, we found many starfish, jelly fish and crabs.
We landed on Mears Island, where the Big Trees live. We pulled in beside a traditional, cedar dugout canoe.
Sarah pulled our kayaks up on to the beach before we got out – again, we didn’t even get our feet wet! I’ve never been so pampered on an paddling trip.
Much of the Big Tree Trail was exactly as we remembered it.
Yet there were subtle differences. Our last visit to Mears Island was in June last year. In September, the berries are ripe for harvest.
The giant cedars are just as lovely as we remembered, and it was fun to be on a trip with people who were seeing them for the first time. These ancient trees are increasingly rare in the world. They’re a precious heritage, a link to our land’s biological history. Their presence and value is difficult to articulate to someone who has not seen them; that’s why it’s wonderful to be there when new people exclaim in delight and wonder. When people see these trees, touch them, walk around them, sit with them, they begin to really care about them and to understand why it’s important to protect them.
We left Mears Island feeling quiet and relaxed. On the paddle back to Tofino, I picked up some bull kelp. It’s completely edible, and it tastes like a salty-sweet, salad fruit-roll up. I took a bulb with me with the intention of pickling it and adding it to our winter Kim Chee.
Sarah got us safely back to the dock and pulled our boats right out of the water.
Big Thanks to Paddle West Kayaking for our fabulous trip!