West Coast Travels

At the end of the fishing season this past summer, the Captain was ready to head home.  A new phase of the adventure begins with the rising sun.

Along the way home, he stops to check out this little building. You would never guess that inside this shack is a pleasant surprise.  A cemented enclosure fills with warm water through a  pipe from hotsprings behind the cabin. Step inside and have a soak to take the ache out of your bones.

The falls at the head of Lowe Inlet splash relentlessly. Except for the odd raven chuckling in the treetops, the rush and gurgle of the water are the only sounds. If you think you might want to try casting a dry fly towards a coho, be sure to take your bear spray with you – just in case.

 Need a warm cabin for drying out those wet clothes? This Fisheries cabin at Lowe Inlet, aptly named the Lowe Budget Hotel,  is very cozy after the Captain has spent some time trying his luck fishing in the cold mist of the falls. 

He remembers to follow the rules about the woodstove, posted on the wall. Don’t want to risk burning the cabin down.

Almost there. Running the boat down Grenville Channel.  Beautiful trip but there’s no place like home.

Meanwhile at home, I’ve been writing, and thinking about my fictitious character, Andrea, who has had an experience that seems bizarre at first. But in truth, this has happened to other women who have ventured out to the coast.

How did a city girl like her became trapped in an isolated cabin on this remote coast? Will she ever escape this lonely place where she must live with a man who is mentally deranged?

You can download The Wind Weeps (FREE), and then you can find out the conclusion in a sequel, Reckoning Tide, that is only $2.99. When did you last get so much enjoyment and entertainment for such a small price?

Why not get them both today at amazon.com or amazon.ca and smashwords.com?

You can find them all with supporting reviews at my website www.anneli-purchase.com

The Curse of the Camisoles

My mother-in-law had a box of my novels delivered to her place  while I was away in Montana. When I got home, I got the Captain to collect it and bring it home.

I was looking for scraps of paper to start a fire in the woodstove and noticed some tissue paper on the box of books. Might as well burn that. It would be perfect for starting the kindling.

That evening, m-i-l phoned and said she had sent two camisoles over for me to fix for her.

“Oh? I didn’t see any camisoles,” I told her. 

“They were wrapped in tissue paper.”

A heat wave swept over me, hotter than the fire I had made with the tissue paper. Could I really have burned those camisoles? Wouldn’t I have noticed that something was inside the paper?  I looked all over the house for camisoles wrapped in tissue paper and finally phoned m-i-l back. 

“I must have made a fire with them when I was burning papers. But I don’t know how I wouldn’t have noticed them.”

“Well … they’re very thin …,” she said. “But don’t worry about it.”

About a week later, my m-i-l phoned. “Guess what I found? Wrapped in tissue paper between two blouses in my dresser drawer.” 

We both laughed with relief. She’s nearly 97 and is allowed to have a senior moment now and then. But my laughing stopped short when I realized, Oh no. Now I still have to do the sewing repairs. 

Okay, well bring them over when you come for supper next time. DON’T wrap them in tissue paper. Just throw them into a plastic bag. Then I won’t try to make a fire with them.”

And that is what she did. She put them in a plastic bag and I had them in my hand the day she came over for supper.  I was very busy getting the meal on the table and putting food  away into the fridge.

The next day, the cursed camisoles were nowhere to be found.

I searched the house thoroughly three times from top to bottom. No camisoles anywhere and I had no excuse to have a senior moment.

Two days ago,  I took my m-i-l shopping, and bought her two new camisoles.

This morning, the Captain was making a sandwich and called out to me, “ANNELI! Guess what I found.”

“No idea. What?”

“I was looking for lettuce to put on my sandwich, and you know how you always wrap it in a paper towel and put it in a plastic bag? Well, just come and see.”

One bag has lettuce in it, and the other has … you guessed it … two camisoles.

And as much as I was relieved to find the cursed things, the next thought that popped into my mind was, Arrrgh…. Now I have to repair them after all.

I have decided to do that, and then quietly put them into m-i-l’s Christmas stocking (wrapped in tissue paper, the way she likes it).

The Holly and the Maple

No, it’s not “The Holly and the Ivy,” but close enough. I noticed that the maple’s leaves got hung up on the holly tree below it, and the muse tickled the keyboard once again.

The maple sheds a coat that weaves

And floats towards the ground,

Hanging up on prickly leaves

Of holly all around.

 

The holly says, “I thank you, dear,

I’m shivering with cold.

When winter nights are chill and clear

Your leaves my warmth will hold.

 

And decorated, too, am I

Just like a Christmas tree.

My berries red will catch the eye

And all will look at me.

 

But you, dear maple, what of you?

Your scrawny arms are chill.

There’s nothing more that you can do.

So pray for you, I will.

 

Be steadfast through the winter gale,

Be tough as you can be,

Till new green leaves your arms regale

With pride and majesty.”

 

 

 

 

Will You Be My Chum?

We have five species of salmon on the Pacific coast. Some, like the chinook, sockeye, and coho are highly prized. The other two, pink and chum, are also delicious when they are in their prime. The pink has softer flesh and is good in a barbecue or steamed, smoked, or canned, while the chum is mostly used for canning and smoking. It is also being used for its roe.

After spending four years in the ocean, the chums will swim up a river to spawn. On their way from the ocean to the river,  chums go through  dramatic changes in the shape of their body. The head features change so the jaws are more curved and pronounced, the males growing teeth that serve them in their aggression and dominance over other males. This toothy look has earned them the nickname “dog salmon.”

The flesh also begins to break down, enabling patches of fungus to grow on the skin.

Here is one that has those patches all over its body. What was once a silvery salmon is now looking more like a barely living fish cadaver.

The chums make their way upstream, often in pairs. The female lays her eggs in a gravel bed and the male fertilizes them. Then, exhausted from their long journey, they waste away and die, littering the banks of the river and getting hung up on rocks and log jams.

Of course, in nature, not much goes to waste. Usually the eagles occupy these trees that overlook the river, but now they are the resting place for seagulls who have gorged themselves on the stinking flesh of the chum salmon.

There they are at the dinner table on the far left side of the stream.

On the opposite shore, to my disgust, I see fishermen throwing lures into the river in hopes of snagging the dying, putrid chums which are too exhausted to take the bait anymore.  A month ago, some of these chums might  still have made a tasty meal, but now? If you don’t want to eat carrion, why torture these dying fish?   Fishing, is a fine sport, but this???  This has nothing more to do with fishing. I don’t know what to make of it. Words fail me!

Below is a 13-second video of the salmon on the other side of the bridge from which these pictures were taken. The chums are most likely already spawned out but are still going through the motions until they exhaust themselves. You may notice that most of them are paired up. The noise in the video is, unfortunately, made by the cars going by on the bridge behind me.

 

Redheads

“Yikes!” This guy was caught red-handed – well, maybe more like red-headed – vandalizing the maple tree. Just look at the holes he’s put into the bark! I guess they make great toeholds for him.

Who would think there is something inside that bark that makes it so enticing for him?

“Hold on,” he says. “I think I can hear something wiggling around in there.”

“Mmyeahhhh … worth having a poke around.”

“There he is! I can feel him in there. Tasty little morsel … if I can only get him out of there. I’ll follow it up with a slurp of syrup from the sap.”

“Yum! That was good, but what a lot of work for a snack. Gotta take a breather for a sec.”

“What’s that you say?” He’s shocked that I’ve questioned him. “Holes in the bark? So what? There’s tons of them. What’s one more?”

“But don’t you see that if you keep going around in a circle you’ll soon ring the tree?”

“So…?

“Well, the sap has to go up and down the tree to keep it alive.”

“But I’m a sapsucker. Duh! It’s what I do!”

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I held so still for her when I saw she had her camera.  But enough is enough.”

“I’ll pose for this one last picture and then I’m off. I can always come back later, when her arm gets tired, or her eyes hurt from squinting against the sun, or – hee hee – when her battery dies. All that zooming really eats batteries. 

Now. Where was I? Oh yes, continuing on this line of holes my buddies and I were working on last week.”

Mom’s Mums

These chrysanthemums haven’t had the benefit of any fertilizers for all of their life. I guess I should have paid more attention. But every time I looked at them, I felt a bit sad and walked away. Why?

Over 36 years ago, these mums were in a hanging basket in my mother’s back porch. In 1982, when she died, I brought the hanging basket home to my house. I didn’t expect them to come back the next year and bloom, and when they did, the feeling was always bittersweet.

I took more care the next winter to cover them with a patio chair or some kind of loose plastic to keep the worst of the cold off them. It didn’t occur to me to add fertilizer even after I repotted them when they got too big for the hanging basket.

Now, after blooming for the 36th time since they came to live with me, I have finally come to my senses and have decided to give them some fertilizer next spring.

I am grateful for this plant’s tribute to my mother each year, and have been shamed into taking better care of it. Do you think it’s too late for me to get it together?

The Hope Slide

About 100 miles east of Vancouver, BC, lies the town of Hope. From here the highway winds through a beautiful stretch of hilly country for 82 miles to the town of Princeton.

Just about 10 miles east of Hope is a viewpoint where I took some photos of the second largest landslide in Canadian history. The Hope Slide came down the mountain on January 9, 1965, burying several vehicles and killing four people. The bodies of two were retrieved, but two others remain buried beneath tons of rock.

I quote Wikipedia here: The slide completely displaced the water and mud in Outram Lake below with incredible force, throwing it against the opposite side of the valley, wiping all vegetation and trees down to the bare rock, then splashed back up the original, now bare, slope before settling.

I see no indication of an Outram Lake on modern maps, but there is an Outram Mountain nearby.

About a mile and a half of the highway was covered in rock, so a gravel road was constructed as a detour until a new section of highway could be built. A portion of the old highway still lies under the slide.

One sweet thing about this whole sad story is that beside the viewpoint, masses of wild strawberries are growing in the moss that covers the gritty gravel beside the road.