Pipelines as conduits and what’s goin’ through it? Does it fit, does it flow, in watery innuendo? Oil and gas, developing fast, but wait, go slow…in our own bodies, as well as in the body politic and the body democratic, funnel an alternative. To provide a hopeful future, we might well ask, ‘what’s goin’ through it?’ before goin’ through with it.
Upcoming poetry/prose readings:
Thursday, October 3, 2013
The Writers’ Studio hosts readings at Cottage Bistro, 4470 Main St., 8pm start
Wed., November 27th, 2013 7-8:30pm (doors open at 6:30 for wine and refreshments)
North Vancouver City Library Local Authors Series, with Dina Del Cucchia, Barry Jakal, Maria Tomsich, and yeah Joan’ll be at both these, reading some of her latest gems: series http://nvcltopshelf.com/2013/11/19/can-i-see-your-poetic-license-please/
To watch Joan’s ‘Can I See Your Poetic Licence?’, ‘Hockey Power Play on the North Shore” and ‘Pipelines’ poems, view the first 15 minutes of this link: http://youtu.be/oZuKFXIY-sM
Leader: Bruce Pickwell Review and photos: Joan Boxall
Gathering together at the newly-managed Eco-camping on Seal Beach, Miners Bay, Active Pass, Mayne Island, we meet our gang of twelve in eleven boats. We plan on doing the eighteen nautical miles around the isle. A circum-navigation. It is Labour Day weekend after all. We walk to the Springwater Pub which has been doing business on Mayne Island since 1892; a particular favorite for miners en route to the Caribou and Fraser River gold rushes. We’re panning for gold too: a golden weekend, post electrical storm that brought buckets of golden rain to the Lower Mainland. Rain to send salmon upstream; rain to green our forests and gardens.
We leave just after nine on an (in) Active Pass slack-tide morning, and round picturesque Georgina Point and Lighthouse. A nor’wester’s blowing. We cut across Campbell Bay, and past Georgeson Island, trading wind for current.
Square dancing aka ferrying gets us all do-si-do’ing our way to Winter Cove, Saturna Island’s sunny shores. We circle to the right, chain across, turn those kayaks to meet our corner islands, Curlew and Lizard. Bow to your partner, SKABC, pass through Georgeson, weave the ring…it’s been a Labour-Day-full: ‘Nine to Five,’ sings Dolly, ‘What a way to make a livin’, and we swing right back to Miners Cove, Mayne Island, ‘What a way to live!’
The return route is an up-and-back promenade home from St. John Point along Mayne’s southern shore, past Village Bay, and around Helen Point. We’re glad to return to Active Pass before any whirlpools surface. We’re more up for a whirl in Eco-camping’s hot showers, then we prep the annual celebratory potluck meal. There are more-than-enough restorative calories to replenish: corn chips, dips, quiche, bouillabaisse, ribs, pork tenderloin, chili, salads, apple crumbles, macaroons, date squares…did I mention hydration? That, too. Allemande left, star right, pass out.
Sunday, we leave Active Pass to launch from Paddon Point on Mayne’s eastern shore, down a short steep ramp facing Curlew Island. Today’s water is calm, and we chain the Belles of the Belle Chain Islets. Okay, no more square dancing…this is more of a waltz. One, two, three…one, two, three hours of meandering and viewing Harbour seals, Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagles, Western Sandpipers, gulls galore, who all pose on rocks that mirror chunky clouds. Back via Samuel Island’s north side. Boat Passage is an impasse.
Tuesday’s SKABC club meeting with Sue Davies as guest speaker, fills us in on raptors. Who knew that Peregrine Falcons stun-punch their prey at 300 km/hr? Or that the beak is the raptors’ knife; the talons, their fork? Or that Turkey Vultures wash and cool their feet in their own ‘clean’ feces, and deter predators by regurgitating in and around their meals. Or that owls hear in 3-d forming pictures of their prey in the darkness? Or that raptors help us avert avian flu pandemics by being bacterial epicures? We’re a rapt (or) audience, listening like hawks, falcons, eagles and owls to Sue’s presentation, and plan on making OWL, Orphaned Wildlife & Rehabilitation Society, one of our causes or respectful pauses when viewing raptors along our shores.
We’re in time to munch leftovers or take in the Lion’s Club’s salmon BBQ fundraiser. Thank goodness we paddle for our suppers given baked potatoes, tenderly squeezed and dolloped with butter, sour cream, and a sprinkle of chives; Caesar salad, bun and brownie-a-la-mode.
Monday, the SKABC gang is still up for an early slack-tide start exitiing east end of Active Pass and along east side of Galiano Island, stopping for lunch in Montague Harbour, then back in the same direction to Pocket Beach near Helen Point (beach glass mecca). Mayne Island sea kayaking bulletin:
Line dancing in ferry line-ups?
Writers’ 10th Annual Summer Dreams Literary Arts Festival:
Winds of Inspiration
What was it about the wind at the Summer Dreams Festival at Trout Lake Park (aka John Hendry Park) on Saturday, August 24, 2013? Was it how it stretched the cirrus into alluring fingers, or how the lake rippled and late summer leaves rustled? It blew the bride’s wedding dress and she, posing on her happiest day, was full of promise. A poem. It blew through the Trout Lake Farmers’ Market. It whirled and twirled for cyclists, picnickers, joggers, dog walkers and writers…it even blew the dogs’ hair. A steady energizing wind to inspire, refresh and renew writers, to open possibility and change…that same wind of Norse, Slavic, Aztec, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian mythologies.
Wind is sometimes referred to as breath. I attended Amanda Wardrop’s performance workshop on vocal technique. We began humming and feeling the vibrations in our facial bones, hips to toes. We took a line of text and played with it in innumerable ways. We ten stood in a circle under a small open air RE/MAX tent. We all voiced our poem lines simultaneously. We felt each other’s voices in unison: supported and juxtaposed with breath.
We breathed down into the soles of our feet, to fill and compose ourselves. Compose…ourselves. We played with textual cadence and applied different stresses.
We added a gist; a nuance brimming with emotion from a child’s joy, anger, frustration to an adult’s: from zero to one-hundred-percent intensities.
Amanda suggested checking in with our audience at the beginning and end of a reading. Why not thrill them with various gists within the same poem…contrasting gist with line, such as a humorous gist with a serious line? Her performance workshop reminded us how to gift the audience a poem: a gist of words.
We took on the skin of a performer we admire and emulated them in our line of text. We did it again as a dedication. Then, with subdued body posture; with calm, comfortable ease and grace, we gave it away. We let our words take wind. Free-flying words, airborne. Born… of and on the air.
“Whenever you touch a poem that caresses your soul, breathe it gently for it might be the wind that perfects your life’s goal.”
― A. Saleh
Amanda is a theatre artist and teacher. Her performance workshop was one hour from noon til one, and by then, words were swirling all around us, gusts and gales of words in breezes, squalls and zephyrs:
Wanda Nowicki’s Quartet, featured author, Joy Kogawa, featured poet, Fiona Tinwei Lam, slammers, spoken word, Poetic Justice, Poetry Around the World, Dead Poets, Twisted Poets, World Poetry Youth, Word Whips, Naked Poets (the author didn’t see any), The Comedic Mix, theatrical performance workshop, storytelling, music and readings on the Main Stage, the Community Stage, the Children’s Stage. Panels and open mics with groups from all over the Lower Mainland, even Galiano Literary Arts Fest. The Federation of BC Writers, Writers International and the Canadian Authors’ Association. Publications of literary journals and magazines, publishers, and BC Bookworld. A hurricane of words.
A second workshop was with Joanne M. Ursino on exploring handmade book structures. Joanne is a textile and mixed media artist skilled in bookmaking and quilting. Joanne demonstrated how books are held together and how she uses various papers, sizes, and shapes from one-inch square ‘Summer Dreams’ books to chapbooks. She’d prepared five kits with awls, scissors, glue, styluses, beads and needles…everything we’d need to make our own or where we could go get supplies, and then blow the magic wind of words onto the page. Writers sat there creating books and listening to the words float, hover and soar on the wind all around us.
Back at the Grind Writers table, founder, Margo Lamont, challenged passers-by to take and possibly blog a writing challenge. Many did.
Challenges all-around in securing grant providers, financial supporters and sponsors…all to be lauded. Something was in the wind, no doubt about it. Many thanks to the volunteers, the stage hosts, the festival committee, sound technicians and most of all, to Bonnie Nish, for letting the Summer Dreams inspirational wind whistle.
‘The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.’ –Bob Dylan
Harmony Arts Festival & North Shore Writers
Love on the Fly Through Memoir
Fran Bourassa led us in memoir writing in a two-hour workshop with credits to Sylvia Taylor. Fran quickly made the workshop her own, instructing us to mine into the rich well of our dramatic beings to inspire, share insight, role model our peculiar perspectives (Fran did say with general accord, that as writers, we are…well…peculiar), reflect our own journeys, and extend our vision into another time or space.
North Shore Writers helped facilitate with four tables and over twenty-five willing participants. Carl Hunter’s brainchild, this is the first year North Shore Writers have been represented at Harmony Arts.
Citing her yoga teacher’s mantra, Fran suggested we treat our senses to the four prompts…without judgment or competitive impulse. Freely ejecting the editor within…we had five minutes to respond and possibly share at the open mic:
1) A favorite tree from our past and how you responded/interacted to/with it, participated or gloried in it.
2) What’s in your name? Who gave it to you, its meaning, how you’ve been shaped by it, nicknames, and what novel would it name?
3) A photograph of yourself as a youngster… ‘In this one I am…’ describing what you see, what you’re wearing, doing…what’s behind you, even the weather’ with a follow-up to describe what unfolded before the photo or earlier in the day with you and the photographer…and finally, ‘I don’t know yet…’ and describe something that’ll unfold in your later life that you had no knowledge of when the photo was taken.
4) The childhood home in a specific time/place and take us there using senses in a camera-like fashion.
What happens when a group of willing participants submits to writing prompts?
a) We learn about each other.
b) We appreciate how each of us responds with insight and integrity.
c) We share in the universal truths around us.
d) We shut down the critical editor within and glory in the group’s authenticity.
e) We let the prompt leak information about our pasts.
Oh, and love on the fly? As I walked back to my car, I spotted the Cabbage White Butterfly, the most common of butterflies. They came to America in the 1860’s from away, then spread quickly. That’s us, flitting and skedaddling from one dandelion to another, doing our mundane stuff. Males have one spot, females two. And this one had one spot…but when I looked more closely, not a spot, (but four-leafed-clover-of-clovers) a heart. I realize how representative our two hours together this afternoon have been, catching fleeting moments on the page…like love on the fly.
Open water swimming in British Columbia is a July goal with a trio of lake swims. In May, we prepare the transition from indoor pool to Kitsilano Outdoor Pool to lake, so that by the end of June, lake temperatures creep up as the snowmelt slows to a trickle. We don wetsuits to aid our speed and buoyancy.
Our ‘local’ lake is Sasamat where the Canada Day Challenge takes place. We pack towel, goggles, cap, lunch, beach chairs, umbrella and books, and make the 40-minute drive between rush hours to Port Moody. White Pine Beach, Belcarra Park is our open water swimming destination, and one of British Columbia’s wonderful boat-free lakes.
A blue-green galaxy awaits. The relaxation of sun on sand, chair and towel is eventually shaken off for a refreshing rocket launch.
Every time is different: tones of blue and green, the wave action, the sky, the light.
Today’s clouds are spectacular. Hair-like strands of cirrus beckon hilltop cumuli who peek out like shy mushrooms then thunder enthusiastically over the rim.
We, too, are on a rim; tipping from within the glass. A light breeze puckers ovoid shapes that dart and dance over dark green water in wands of white. It’s fleeting and flitting, fluting and flirting. We are water running, breast stroking, kick drilling, free-styling, and in between, gazing at a 360-degree view: breathtaking beauty.
Race day arrives…it’s the Canada Day Challenge. We arrive early to pick up our packages, our timing anklets and caps, and bellow ‘O Canada’.
Felt pen markers engrave our hands. We’re signed, sealed and now we must deliver as the starter says, ‘One minute until start…ten seconds, nine, eight, seven, six, five….GO!’
It’s a familiar green-blue, but this time it’s about pushing our own limits. Physical challenges pare down to basic messages: ‘stretch long; accelerate the pull; kick hard’. Within our own mantras and our own surreal watercolour landscape, we push boundaries and emerge, primordially— stagger upright. There’s camaraderie in a Canada Day challenge achieved.
Next up is the celebration in Kelowna: the 65th anniversary of Canada’s largest and longest continuously running open water swimming event, the Across the Lake Swim (ATLS). The tradition goes back to 1949 on Lake Okanagan. We pick up our packages Friday afternoon including power bars, fruit leather and candies, juice, coupons from local sponsors, 65th anniversary towel, lime green tote bag and flip-flops. Swag central!
Unlike Sasamat’s triangular six-buoy course, the Across the Lake Swim is linear from the Old Ferry Dock in West Kelowna to Hot Sands Beach in City Park: 2.1 kilometers in six waves of over a hundred swimmers per wave across Lake Okanagan. Sighting (stealing glances at one’s target) plays an important part in open water swimming: the hillside contour, the tree grove and the gigantic finish line archway. Twenty-two-degree water with no wind allows exertion without overheating; one can keep a cool head, especially with an optional escort boat.
The Across The Lake Swim Society configured a new start-line procedure which flows smoothly from bus and ferry dropoffs to carpeted pathways, both to and from the swimmers’ warm up area to corral B and corral A, the designated waiting areas.
In addition to bananas, oranges, cookies, and drinks, there’s a Lion’s Club pancake breakfast ($5 fee) right next to the massage tables. Prizes galore top out with two wetsuits and an Air Canada trip for two.
The Across The Lake Swim website shows a depth of organization with food, graphics, marketing, media, merchandising, venue, volunteer, ferry, bus, and safety coordinators. The First Nation’s prayer over Lake Okanagan, and Ogopogo succeeded!
One week later, we take our bicycles to Victoria via the Saanich Peninsula’s Lochside Trail, stopping for lunch at Mattick’s Farm. We go a day early and settle in at Royal Roads University accommodation, on the Galloping Goose Trail, a twenty-minute warm-up ride to Thetis Lake Provincial Park where the annual HtO fundraiser swim for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) occurs.
This year, for the first time, the Masters Swimming Association of British Columbia (MSABC) holds its provincial open water swimming championships, so there are a total of six swim events unfolding in Lower Thetis Lake.
We take an extra day to enjoy Victoria’s Robert Bateman Centre as well as exhibits at the Royal British Columbia Museum. A carbo-loading dinner at the Rebar vegetarian restaurant is an energizing highlight.
This trio of lake swims: Sasamat, Okanagan, and Thetis shine a special light on open water swimming lakes in British Columbia. From the temperate coastal rainforest of Belcarra Park to the Okanagan’s hot sandy beaches to Vancouver Island with its Arbutus trees, rocky bluffs and Garry Oak preserves, we sip the waters like wine aficionados.
Sasamat Lake Lake Okanagan Thetis Lake
Canada Day Challenge Across the Lake Swim Swim for MS
- Port Moody, BC Kelowna,BC Victoria, BC
- White Pine Beach Old Ferry Docks, West Kelowna Thetis Lake Hot Sands Beach, City Park Regional Park
- 1km, 2km or 4km 2.1km 800M, 1.5km, 3km, 5km or BC Masters’ 1.5km or 3km
- Early reg: $45 and $61.74 and fills fast Early reg, $30 Early July, $35 Last min., $40
- 6-buoy circular route Linear A to B course Buoyed,circular Transport by bus or ferry to start
- Men and women separated Six-wave seeded start Mass start
- 300 swimmer total 650 swimmer limit 100 swimmers
- Swim cap, lifeguarding, draw prizes,automatic timing: all three events
- Food at finish Water at start; food later Food at finish
- Sing ‘O Canada’ before event Grand prize: 2 wetsuits MS Fundraiser
- Joke-telling contest for prizes Air Canada trip for two Fundraiser prizes Swag! ie beach towel, power bar, juice, candies, coupons, tote bag, 65th anniversary flip-flops
- For an extra fee, t-shirts can be purchased on-site at Sasamat and Thetis. At Kelowna’s registration, other merchandise is also available such as ‘Swim Buddies’. MS t-shirt supports MS.
- A Vancouver Open Water Medals for top three: Top three winners
- Swim Association (VOWSA) Team, overall. Ribbons for top three in 10-year age groupings
Destination: Gambier Island’s Camp Fircom luxury accommodation at ‘The Cottage’
Leader: Shirley Brunke plus nine SKABC members
When: midweek: June 25-28, 2013
Paddlers meet up at Lion’s Bay Beach Park to unload eight single kayaks and one double, then pack gear, mostly comprising food and clothing en route to Gambier Island’s Camp Fircom.
‘The Cottage’ sits on the edge of the camp, just past Halkett Bay, a leisurely hour and ½ from Lion’s Bay, British Columbia with a mild outflow wind behind us. Our preset non-negotiable wind limit is fifteen knots and we have water taxi numbers programmed into our phones and four weather radios stationed and pocketed for quick communiques.
On our Gambier Island arrival, camp staff member, Jocelyn, greets and briefs us on how the kitchen is organized with bins and bags for compost, recyclables and garbage; the latter two we’ll be carting home with us. In the meantime, we have fresh linens and a towel in two three-bedroom modules, both with full bathrooms, and a third to keep us squeaky clean. The generator dims at 8:30pm, but so do we as we unwind on the glorious patio, chat in the spacious living room, or just hang out round the hand-made harvest table.
June 23’s Supermoon means tides will continue to be lower-than-low and higher-than-high for a few more days. We witness it on our arrival as we lug the boats well above the high-tide zone. A quick lunch and paddle into Halkett Bay as a trio prepares cheesy appetizers, Thai chicken/tofu, and Chinese-cabbage salad with rhubarb-pie for dessert. This is ‘glamping’ (glamorous camping) at its best, and Fircom’s ‘Cottage’ kitchen is well-equipped to dish it.
Later, we stroll to the water’s edge where logs grumble and gurgle like indigestive giants. The Swainson’s Thrush spirals its good night.
We’re up to do-our-own breakfasts and pack-our-own lunches for a one-and-1/2-hour paddle to Centre Bay, Gambier Island where one of our paddler’s friends has lived for over 25 years on British Columbia’s waterfront. We’re invited to explore the forested grounds and lunch on deck with complimentary coffee. We wile away several hours before our return, and team two preps BBQ’d salmon (Yes! Fircom’s propane powers are far-reaching) in ginger garlic butter with creamy wine-sauce rigatoni and Greek glamping salad, followed by light fruit compote dolloped in whipped cream with a flaky-biscuit salute.
Our last full day, it’s a drizzly morning with windy outflows to ten knots from the north, but typically, once we’re out there, it’s gusting much higher. We’re deliberating how much further to go and watching the curtains of rain sift across British Columbia’s Coast Mountain Range. A turkey vulture‘s red face seems to say, ‘If you don’t want to look like me, go back to the cottage’ and Pam Rocks’ forecast suggests a turnaround.
As we beach the boats, the rain unleashes. It’s R&R in the Reading Room, misting heavily in the gray outlook. Hummingbirds peer in. We stroll the quiet camp grounds (no campers ‘til mid- July), idle through the lush vegetable garden and offer our questions to the stone labyrinth. Team three kicks into action with glamping array of appetizers like roasted brie with sundried tomato puree, bruschetta and a tuna-tapenade then veggie lasagna with wilted spinach salad, and an apple crisp topped with Liberty’s lemon yoghurt. Can we spell F-U-L-L? How about Fircom-fully-replenished!
We’re up-and-at the final morning’s cleanup with ‘not-so glamping’ garbage secured, bathrooms and kitchen cleaned, linens stripped, floors swept and mopped, when we realize the outflow winds will be too much for our small craft, so at 11am, our water taxi arrives, ties down all nine of our boats in an efficient half hour, and we disembark at Horseshoe Bay.
We’ve been so fortunate to share in our glamping group’s expertise in a myriad of ways:
- viewing & learning about the camp & vicinity,
- navigating, radio-operating, team planning,
- side tripping,
- regaled with story-telling a go-go and sumptuous dining…
we’re de-taching from tech-attachments and succumbing to the magic of Fircom where there’s ‘time for reflection…and commitment to environmental stewardship through …zero waste practices’ ie no glamping garbage! (www.fircom.ca)
Thanks again to Shirley Brunke for posting this trip with the Sea Kayak Association of British Columbia, and donating her time to lead us across Howe Sound to Camp Fircom.
Pender Island Sea Kayaking Environs May 17-20, 2013
A holiday weekend with the Sea Kayak Association of British Columbia (SKABC), and ferry traffic can confound, but we’ve got reservations to Swartz Bay, Vancouver Island, and from there, an early afternoon ferry gets us to Pender Island Prior Centennial Campground in time to meet some of our SKABC club sea kayaking mates. Bruce Pickwell, trip leader, is there with his Bigfoot camper. We share his camp spot with Ted from Penticton and Noriko from Vancouver. Others have reserved camp spots: Colleen, Karen, and Brenda are three friends from Vancouver who’ve met through complimentary activities like snowshoeing; Nancy’s setting up her tent as we walk the circumference of the Pender Island campground, and Helen and John’s camp becomes our official campfire de-brief zone. We’re two doubles; the rest are singles. We dine at the Port Browning pub, a ½-hour walk away, where there’s also Port Browning marina and private campground: http://www.portbrowning.com/#!pub-&-cafe—menu.
Some mountain bike revelers calm down after midnight, but then I awaken to an owl serenade…no idea what time or what kind. Do any SKA members know? None of the others hear this when I ask the next day. It’s close to the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. One owl calls, then another responds, and perhaps another… in semi-or-quarter tone variations. How many are there? Surreal surround sound in between wakefulness and sleep. Savour it, oh yes, and fall asleep…maybe Barred Owls but without the territorial raucousness.
Saturday, after breakfast on Mortimer Spit, we SKABC across Plumper Sound, watchful of weather, compass, and chart readings, cutting between Saturna and Mayne Islands through Boat Passage, and out to the Belle Chain Islets. Hundreds of seals slip from their yogic driftwood poses into the water to spy on these sea kayaking creatures. Lots of oystercatchers. An eagle watchman. We round Samuel Island for lunch, then cut back over Razor Point to Mortimer.
It’s such an open, fair evening, we cook spaghetti with tomato sauce, toss a salad and finish with baklavas on the spit…campfire chez Helen and John later on. Sonny and Penny tell us we’ve done twelve nautical sea kayaking miles, and Bruce concurs. All I know is we’ve paddled for nearly five hours, taken timely breaks and feel invigorated.
Sunday, it’s more of the same, only this time we drive to Otter Bay opposite the ferry dock, beside the museum. We go clockwise round Prevost Island, given the wind and tide predictions, watching for ferries, letting them go, and staying en masse. We check out Glenthorne Passage with its sweet huts hugging a lee-side finger, and then cut to James Bay, an old apple orchard inundated with tent caterpillar larvae, a-squirming swarm. It’s posted: $4.90 per night (no water), the charge for this campsite, and we see two groups of paddlers: one from Duncan’s Cowichan Bay Sea Kayaking Club who already have tents pitched on prime view spots: the other, just arriving as we pull out.
We cook up our dinner with Colleen, Brenda and Karen on a grassy knoll complete with side-by-side picnic tables… smoked oysters, beer, crackers, humus and our remaining spaghetti. A congenial circle rounds the campfire later as we remember our glorious sea kayaking (SKABC) day. All that’s missing is a humpback whale.
Holiday Monday, we circumnavigate South Pender Island, and just before leaving Mortimer’s Spit, we spot a whale in Port Browning. Colleen, Brenda and Karen are near it, as they’re bringing a rental boat toward us, so we clamber to see what we can see. I glimpse a distant pectoral fin diving then its long, black body skims the surface as it’s leaving port, in the opposite direction to us…we proceed under the bridge, and when we’re launching from Gowlland Point after lunch, it resurfaces (same one?) right between the gals. Was it feeding on small schooling fish below us? Krill? Capelin? Sandlance? Pilchard? Brenda swears its big humpback whale eye ogled her! Ken and Ted notice the swirl of what appears like an eel (its dorsal fin or backbone?) an instant before it surfaces. I see its pleats; Brenda identifies its head knobs.
After referencing Helen’s link to the Vancouver Aquarium http://wildwhales.org/humpback-whale/, I find another humpback whale bio: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/species-especes/humpbackwhaleNP-rorqualabossePN-eng.htm . From these sources, we determine our baleen buddy is a solitary humpback whale, thankfully without the surface gymnastics of breaching, tail lobbing, bubble feeding (yikes) or pectoral fin slapping, and one of a Southern BC/Washington extended family of 200-400 whales. They are protected but have made a good come-hump-back in the last 40 years.
Adieu Pender Island, and thanks Bruce and SKABC.
Hydraulic fracturing. Nursery rhyme? Or crime?
Don Quixote, the first fictional character, was a dreamer. ’Sand castles in the sky’ was just one of many. What are sand castles in the sky? Big plans, no substance.
In gas and oil extraction, we humans march in with big plans like Jack and Jills, trudging uphill with empty pails. We’re hoping to collect crown-jewel resources, but fall over in our haste and greed. Humpty gets in the way. Is he us, getting in our own way, or is he the shale itself? Busted.
Let’s dream big, but in a new, more sustainable way.
Listen to Joan’s May, 2013 blogtalk radio interview that considers ‘kicking up some spray’ in the youtubing world with a blend of word/movement/music: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ns-writers/2013/05/29/a-live-chat-with-poet-joan-boxall
Early March is a good time for a British Columbia winter activity such as cross country skiing at Sun Peaks. Sun Peaks, an hour north of Kamloops, is where we take turns cross country skiing British Columbia terrain. The four-hour drive gets us there before dusk to investigate Village cuisine as well as familiarize in our own cozy kitchenette at Nancy Greene’s Cahilty Lodge, named after a local pioneer ranching family. Nancy Greene Raine was Canada’s 1968 Olympic gold-medal Giant Slalom winner, and her memorabilia showcases in the lodge lobby. She still hosts as a downhill ambassadress on weekends with daring guests.
Our visit to the Cahilty Creek Bar and Grill waits for our final night, so Bella Italia provides cross-country-skier fare: polenta, potato-leek soup, and tiramisu.The morning’s fuel-gruel (hot oatmeal) is stacked with raisins, cranberries, apple, pear, walnuts, yogurt and milk.
Mt. Morrisey’s Express Chairlift is a one-kilometer ski from Sun Peaks Village and ferries us up over 5,000-foot (1675m) heights. We descend a thousand feet on ‘Holy Cow’, a two-hour, groomed ‘blue’ trail, with gentle grades that amble across backcountry trails. Just angling our skis outward a little produces the snow-plow maneuver from which to carve turns in the soft, dry snow. We stop from time to time to marvel at the hush, admire the view, and sip from water bottles.
We head ‘home’ for soup and toasted sandwiches before exploring the lower trails. We’ve still got another day to complete our Sun Peaks cross country skiing mission which is to ski-daddle across all 30 kilometers of British Columbia nordic trails.
Back at Cahilty Lodge, we loosen up in the hot tub where we soak with a half-dozen downhill ski club members who’ve flown in from Calgary, all 62 of them, to wind down their season. We purchase a few more groceries, walking-distance away: some ice cream bars, salad, and a dvd movie, War Horse, to complete our shopping list. We’re ready for a restful pasta-night-in.
Eager to re-try the ‘Holy Cow’ cross country skiing descent, we glory in it and on it (we are after all North Vancouverites who soldier up and around Holyburn Ridge more than sally down) then meet Don, one of the Sun Peaks ski hosts, patrolling the trail. Don gives some suggestions for our route and points us toward the McGillivray Lake Outpost, a warming hut where we munch snacks with other skiers including Mike, Don’s fellow host, and Coleen, the 100 Mile Nordic Ski Society’s café concierge. We met Coleen last month at the Cariboo loppet. Mike tells us there’s a February ‘Holy Cow’ Nordic Loppet (a cross country skiing race that descends ‘Holy Cow’ . Winners get milk and a cow bell!) We take ‘Raven Ramble’ to ‘Stellar Jay Loop’ then ‘Nuthatch’ our way back along ‘Vista’. This time, the hot tub’s all ours, and we’re jelly-legged cross country skiers, too lazy to skip across the way to the Sports and Aquatic Centre’s outdoor pool, open from 3:30 til 9pm daily.
The Village is lovely in sunny pastel hues, and icicles drip staccatos, as we beebop our way to Stake Lake, British Columbia, an hour and a half away, yet en route to the coast. Just south of Kamloops, off Lac Le Jeune Road, is the Stake Lake Nordic Centre. As we approach, a Canadian lynx careens to a stop on its snowy track, as our car and another one slow to view its wild-eyed beauty. The bluer-than-blue sky and birch-tree-dotted trails inspire us along the graceful contours of these beautifully groomed trails where they host two loppet races per year. Chariot races entertain (last day of ski school and ‘don’t you wish you were six again?’) before our return to the Day Lodge deck, perfect for a picnic lunch. There we meet Stake Lake’s Overlander Ski Club volunteers and members: Bonnie and Al, Claire and Garry, as well as Chris. We share talk-story and bask in the sun. The photo is for prosperity’s sake until we meet again. Double-digit warmth: that’s what these Stake Lake Overlanders provide…a rollicking British Columbia winter activity.