wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Home Stretch

Once we left the blizzard belt behind and got into the lower mainland of BC, we could smell the salt water. More than ever, we had that “horse to the barn” feeling. It had been a long drive from Central Washington that day, and we were glad to be driving beside the industrial area along the Fraser River, if only because it meant we would soon be home.

The road was busy with tractor trailers and industrial vehicles, but it was the quickest route to the ferry terminal where we would connect to Vancouver Island. (At this point, we are near Surrey and New Westminster, suburbs of Vancouver, which is on the mainland of British Columbia. Our home town, though, is on Vancouver Island, a two-hour ferry ride from the mainland. The city of Vancouver is not on Vancouver Island.)

Here, with the Port Mann Bridge up ahead,  we were traveling at highway speed with trucks and vehicles on all sides. Ahead of us, a large piece of wood lay in our lane. It had fallen off a truck, and looked similar to a loading pallet, but bigger, more like a part of a wall for some pre-fab construction, about five feet by eight feet and about three inches thick. We had no room to go into another lane and no way to avoid it without causing an accident.

I imagined our freshly changed trailer tire exploding as we drove over the wood. The bumping and crunching noise was horrendous. We sucked in our breath through gritted teeth and waited for disaster to strike us.

But the angels were watching over us (maybe they thought we’d had enough trouble already), and we continued on, relatively unscathed.

I remembered earlier that day, pulling over at a stopping place by an auto wreckers’ near the U.S. border and seeing a nearly new trailer that had run out of luck. I also remember thinking that it still had pretty good tires and wondered if they wanted to sell them to us.

By some miracle, we arrived at the terminal with about half an hour to spare before the next ferry left. But the ferry was already full and we expected to have to wait for another sailing. Luck was in our favour for the second time that day. Yes, the car decks on the ferry were full, but there was room on the deck where only transport trucks and trailers were carried.

In the photo below, most of these cars did not get on that sailing, but we got on because of having the trailer. This was one of the first times it worked in our favour.

After a two-hour crossing and another two hours of driving, we arrived at our own “home, sweet home.”

It was not blowing a blizzard and actually was quite pleasant.


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Cougar Kittens

Thanks to Rhonda Hanuse for sharing this photo and her story with us.

A couple of weeks ago,  Rhonda and her daughter Cheyenne were driving home near Port Hardy on northern Vancouver Island.   As they rounded a corner,  in the distance they saw what looked like a deer but wasn’t.

“What was that?”

Rhonda reached for her camera and clicked away but was too late and she only got pictures of trees. She braked and slowly pulled over to the side of the road. She turned off the ignition and opened the two front windows a crack.

Cheyenne tapped her on the shoulder. “Mom look.” She pointed to the tall grass on the side of the road. The grass swayed in a straight line. The movement stopped a short distance away.

Two cougar kittens peeked out. Rhonda took pictures through the car window.  One kitten looked toward the bushes where the mama had crossed.  The mama cougar chirped to them from the other side of the highway;  the kittens chirped back to their mom.   After a while the more confident  kitten crossed the highway.   The second kitten kept an eye on Rhonda and her daughter. It started to cross only a few steps behind the first kitten, but had to turn back quickly because of an oncoming truck.  Moments later, with mama-cougar chirps and no more traffic, the second kitten tried again and crossed safely.

For Rhonda and her daughter Cheyenne, this experience was priceless.

I’m so pleased that Rhonda agreed to share this photo and her story with us.

 


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Royston Wrecks

The little song sparrow provides music on this quiet morning. “Come along, Anneli. This is the way to the path beside the beach.”

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The trees are blooming. I don’t know what kind they are, but they’re always the earliest ones. They grow wild everywhere.

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I step down from the beachside path to walk towards the water. Several little stone men are already on the beach. Some very patient person has been here. Have you ever tried to build one of these stone guys? It’s not as easy as it looks. I’m told they’re only cairns, but my imagination took off for a second there.

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Across the bay from where I live on Vancouver Island, is the tiny community of Royston. In trying to find out more about the history of the wrecks that are piled up to function as a breakwater for logging, I came across a very interesting article about it in the Vancouver Sun. Here is the link: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=3c998dce-5853-4a6c-ab97-d3d20fb8255a

I couldn’t find the author’s name, but at the end I saw that it had an email address and a copyright: lpynn@vancouversun.com  © (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.

According to the article, at least 14 vessels have been purposely sunk here “as breakwaters for log-booming operations exposed to the southeast winds blowing down the Strait of Georgia.”

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The log booms are no longer active, but at certain times of the year, fish like to come into the shallows here to tease fly fishermen. The wrecks are still doing their job of protecting the shore from the worst weather, and probably they are providing places for fish and other sea life to hide.

The misty haze hangs over the Gulf Islands between the mainland and Vancouver Island – very typical of this region.

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Looking from the beach on the Royston side you can see the Town of Comox on the farther shore. Beyond that, you see the snow-capped mountains of the Coast Range on the mainland of British Columbia. These are not to be confused with the Rockies which are on the eastern border of British Columbia.

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“That’s it for today’s tour, Anneli,” says the song sparrow. “We don’t want to bore people. Gotta fly!”

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