tidal pools and more

Sombrio Beach, 10 km south of Port Renfrew, is in the picture today. During August that place just gets into a fog. If staying there for any amount of time you may want to get off the beach back onto the road so far above where the ocean is. The ocean from up there is hidden by a flat layer of white cloud one can look down upon (like in a plane sometimes). From down below it is the fog that mostly hides the sun but not totally. The light changes minute by minute according to the way the sun can get through.
Tidal pools are definitely an attractive feature of this part of the beach.
Sombrio Beach [BL]
sombrio tidal pool

sombrio tidal pool [BL]

Sombrio tidal pool2 [BL]

There is a lot of tiny life in these pools. Mostly those critters are only noticed as they move. A video camera may show these crawling creepers where as I with my camera do not get close enough. There is larger activity as well as shows in the following two photos.
sombrio tidal pool 4 [BL]

sombrio tidal pool 5 [BL]

On this particular day there were mostly five minute openings where the fog parted to show that there is sunlight beyond that cloud.

The light changes continually as the haze swirls.
These people, walking the Juan de Fuca trail, just now descended on Sombrio one of the many beaches along this trail. Every beach has a different look and feel from the ones next to it with some of them to mystical or beautiful for words. Sombrio fits in very nicely with some of the finest on this coastline.

The Port Renfrew Affair

As life moves us and changes day by day, as it always does, and I get a renewal notice from WordPress that the annual 25 bucks is due again for showing my nice address, this blog may be put to a (perhaps for the time being) stop. It is just that there is not much alone time these days and that is when I do my photographing. Under those circumstances it is fine to maintain a Flickr site but as far as my blog goes there hasn’t been enough time to maintain it right for quite a while. So unless things change once again there may be a few more posts before it all winds down on this website.
At any rate my wife, Frankie, and I needed to get some coolness, sea air, and sea breezes, and for that we went to the west coast of this island. The east coast’s sea, which I live on, is kind of like an inland sea and has a totally different feel, temperature, and smell to it. We drive straight across the Island on what used to be logging roads. I remember these main logging roads being closed to the public during the week. One time as I was exploring there during the off limits time on my trusty 400cc Honda two fully loaded logging trucks sandwiched me in. Eating dust and with a few inches to spare front and back between my bike and the trucks it took me 10 to 15 km to extricate myself from that embrace. I have been more careful with those truckers ever since. Yes there was adventure when driving these roads less than 20 years ago but now the road is nicely paved.
One tree I like to show is a gigantic spruce. When the treeists brought in their legions to cut down every tree they could find, one tree was left. This was during the “forests forever” days and that phrase was turning sour when I arrived here in the sixties. There must have been some worries about that big old spruce wanting to escape because there is a fence around it now and it isn’t going anywhere.
The beach most easily accessible in Port Renfrew is Botanical Beach. Even though there are tidal pools here it is not really the best beach for tidal pools. Sombrio Beach, among the easy to access beaches around Port Renfrew, is nicer for that. Botanical Beach is at the end of the Juan de Fuca trail and right above it starts the West Coast Trail. Here is one photo to show where I approached that beach this time. What I like about this photograph is its westcoastness. Botanical Beach
At the water’s edge stands the Port Renfrew Hotel. The hotel burned down some years ago. I stayed there a few times every year from the early seventies till the mid nineties of the past century. Mostly the finishing inside out was cedar but the walls between the bedrooms were paper thin and every sound from the next room could be heard like it was happening in your own bed which, by the way, creaked at the tiniest body movement. One night I listened to my neighbours fighting and swearing, physically fighting, during the first half of the night. During the second half they made up and out. The bar below the bedrooms could be heard as well. Close your eyes and you’d think your bed was in the bar. The separate bathroom had a humongous bath in it and all that, everything in the rooms and bathroom was always spotlessly clean, for $25 per night. Of all the hotels I have stayed in this one is among my favourites. After the fire the place was rebuilt. The second floor with the rooms is now history and the main floor has become a canteenlike pub and a dining room, just those two areas. Ceilings go up now to the roof. Overall the rebuilding has been done nicely especially the preservation of the outside looks.
Port Renfrew Hotel
Port Renfrew Hotel
Port Renfrew and area is known as Victoria’s playground (not as in Victoria the lady but as in Victoria the capital of British Columbia). The area is as beautiful here as anywhere along the Vancouver Island west coast. It gets of course very busy with people on beautiful days but when the sun disappears even for a short time the people tend to disappear as well and that is when I start thinking about visiting Port Renfrew and its beaches.

About recording history

Driving to Chemainus as I do mostly using the byways rather than the highway I admired the bridge replacement across the Chemainus river (I haven’t taken any photographs there for a long time and probably will check on the new development this spring camera in hand) just before entering Chemainus from the south. The old bridge was like the Cowichan Station bridge I have shown in an earlier installment. Driving across that bridge I thought about how time changes things. Life on this Earth is change. These thoughts brought me back to Cowichan Station. When first I arrived here Cowichan Station was a post office, railroad track and important trainstation with a few houses around the post office, and farms. Oh, and a school. It’s still all of that minus the post office (which now is a private residence) and the school (which now is used for community affairs – I think). So from Chemainus I drove back to Cowichan Station to take photographs of the railroad overpass which is situated in the nastiest crook of a country road, single lane traffic, reckoning that at some time it is going to be history. A similar overpass across the Trans Canada Highway south of Duncan to accommodate train traffic to the CPR docks in Cowichan Bay was removed, I think (or remember) about 30 years ago. The Cowichan Station overpass cannot last. In photographic terms the day was dull, nevertheless here is the Cowichan Station’s overpass. The second photograph I took because I’ve been here so often and summer vegetation always totally obscures one of my favourite buildings, St Andrews church (which is no longer used for services). The photograph is taken from the tracks over the road (by the way here is a portrayal of its beautiful inside by Toad Hollow Photography). Another thing I sometimes wonder about is what will happen to our history on line during the alien invasion…My giddy aunt go run for the hills that sort of thing..

cowichan station [BL]

cowichan station [BL]2

At any rate once again I am so glad to have this chat with you, as I’m thinking about preservation of the beauty and authenticity of country roads and rural scenes.

The Land of the Nisga’a

In the mid eighties I was among a group of people visiting the land of the Nisga’a. The occasion was a conference but time for seeing the sights and tracking the Nisga’a history was built into the time frame. Obviously I used up a fair amount of film which still is safely stored somewhere in my storage. It must have been my first laptop very early this century that I scanned a few 4×6 prints of that trip onto.  I came across them ransacking the dungeons of the present computer. This visit may well be the one that left a deeper impression than other journeys I have been on and going back there is on my list of things to do before keeling over. The prints were old when they were scanned into the computer, but despite a lack of clarity and such, I like to show them after having removed some damage and deterioration.

I see that the Nisga’a highway is paved now. In the 1980s, as soon as we left Terrace, we were on rather rough roads. There were no paved roads.  On our way to Gitwinksihlkw, in those days it was called Canyon City, we drove through a landscape that may be described as strong. big…  and showing a raw beauty. One place of interest was a forest fire, nothing too fierce but potentially dangerous nevertheless.

BL north of terrace, forest fire

Finally we arrived at Gitwinksihlkw. It is situated across the river from the highway. In those days the only access was a narrow suspension bridge that allowed 15 people max on the bridge itself. The nass river, a grand river it is, runs underneath it quite a way down. So the parking place was on the road side and the village across the river and all the large stuff came in by barge. There were one or two cars in town and these were barged in as well. These days things have changed and the suspension bridge does not look as if it is used very much. The old parking lot is empty. On the photo you see us waiting to leave town while a group of 15 people is crossing the river.

BL  bridge to canyon city (Gitwinksihlkw)

Right outside this village are the lava grounds. In the 18th century one of the Nisga’a villages was covered by lava. This must all be part of the memorial park that is there now. The textures of this lava are quite interesting especially where it covered trees and trunks and hardened around them. This dead vegetation has long gone but its shapes are preserved by the lava casts. At any rate what shows on this photo covers a very large area.

BL lavagrounds, canyon city

Beside Gitwinksihlkw there are 3 more villages and I have no idea where the next photo was taken.

BL north of terrace B-PIX2

I hope to take a drive out that way next summer. Among other things I’ll be able then to put a location to this photograph. Thank you for accompanying me on this trip down my memory lane and in conclusion I wish you all a brilliant 2014.


The Feed Plant

misty 011 [BL 7-9]

As my car was being treated at the garage I went for a walk south down the railroad track. Mostly there is no spectacular scenery, just rural, but for the keen eye there are little jewels, like the one above, everywhere. We are walking direction Koksilah River, where I photographed the trestle at an earlier date. This time an animal feed plant is the center of interest. Its transportation of goods still goes by rail.  The train comes from up north and I do not think any trains travel south of this feed company. The railroad’s shape is too horrible. People transportation stopped years ago and a walker can keep up with the speed of today’s freight train. As shown so often and here once again, lack of maintenance plagues us. It is the result of shortsighted political economic thinking, where maintenance of bridges, buildings, railroads etc is not on any lists of things to do.  At any rate I like walking the railroad so once in a while rain or shine.

The feed mill makes an interesting contribution to the landscape and I like to share a few photographs.

Top Shelf Feeds Inc [BL 7-9]

front entrance

Top Shelf Feeds Inc (2) [BL 7-9]

Top Shelf Feeds Inc (3) [BL 7-9]

One early morning in Duncan

One morning getting up before the sun I took some photographs of buildings I’d never aimed the camera at until this time. As the sun rose the light and colors became more exotic. However little of that color shows in these photos, as I was after a different effect. The bottom line always is about depicting some kind of reality. Looking at the City Hall, formerly, a very long time ago, the post office the sun was no more than a gleam.

City Hall

City of Duncan, City Hall

Duncan has its share of older brick buildings and that beautiful low building style of those days.

170 Craig St, now The Matraea Centre

At any rate the sun now touches town and first of all the housing facility for some of our elderly, at the end of this road.

Craig Street

Walking to where the sun breaks into the scenery brings the Cowichan Tribes government buildings into view.

Cowichan Tribes

Amid the lush growth of the Cowichan Valley these buildings fit very nicely and leave space for idyllic and playful little spots.

Cowichan Tribes7

It is partially the photo editing and partly the rapidly changing light that make for the coloring difference in the next photograph.

Cowichan Tribes8-pix5c

Here are a few more buildings from these grounds.

Cowichan Tribes, Allenby Road

Cowichan Tribes

Time to walk back for a close up of that nice little statue in front of City Hall.

Duncan City Hall

The common ingredient of these photographs is that beside the normal amount of photoshopping they have also had a run in with Pixlr Express, an online photo editor.

Paldi’s Sikh Temple

Paldi, over the first half of the past century, grew from a camp around a sawmill into a village. The temple that still stands there is from the 1930’s. Paldi, and the Canadian Sikh community in general, has gone through a mighty interesting history. At this point in time the village is no longer there. Apparently it was sold through the banks to a developer who pulled most everything down made some sales and went bankrupt. The temple, through much effort by the Sikh community in Canada was saved, more or less at the last minute by giving it historic status. Having been in the valley since the late sixties I remember the village well, but now that village is a pile of rubble with only the temple, water tower, and a shed left standing (and a derelict house without doors and windows, which you can see here, with windows and door still in it, a few years ago).

Paldi Sikh Temple1 (BL)

Paldi Sikh Temple3 (BL)

Here is a short history of Paldi, but perhaps the real reason for this blog post is that interesting history of Sikhs in Canada and their struggle for recognition and equality during the twentieth century.

Paldi watertower1 (BL)

Bridge over the Koksilah River

Here is a picture of the abandoned railroad line crossing the Koksilah River. The line from Victoria to Duncan and north of Duncan has been all but abandoned due to its advanced state of disrepair. If I remember the story right it is still being used sporadically by freight trains that may not go over 25 km p.h. There are revival ideas but for these to happen all the communities bordering the railroad line have to be financially aboard. So far that is not the case.

Koksilah River railroad bridge

railroad bridge across the Koksilah

Climbing around the Kinsol Trestle again

Lately I have so little time to spend on the computer that these blog entries have become rather sporadic, and keeping up with things on line is not as convenient as it ought to be either.

Today we are going back to the well known and beautifully restored Kinsol Trestle. More photographs are here and here

cow st  kinsol 019 mult-chanmix-bwlinburn-cb

The photo above shows the approach from the North side (Cowichan Station) Alternatively Kinsol Trestle may be reached from Shawnigan Lake south of the trestle. Walking, sliding and climbing down  you get to the Koksilah River.

cow st  kinsol 022bw

Climbing back to the top in a hurry can be a breath taking experience. The reason for being in a hurry is to get there before the sun shows its face over the treeline.

cow st  kinsol 028bw2


cow st  kinsol 043bw

It is spring time again and a great time to explore some of the northern tip of the world’s rain forest (well, what is left of it) here on Vancouver Island.