Wednesday, May 11, 2011

choose your own adventure part 2

This is the only photo I have from our search for the lake where the burn area might be and where we could look for morels.

Since we had time to do a bit of a hike, we decided to head for this lake with some idea of where it might be.

We left the main road and headed along a fairly decent dirt road into an area that had signs posted everywhere that read "Biosolid Application Area." Hmmm. In my day (haha) we called that sewage, but I guess it's now biosolids. (I was surprised to see this one little trillium along the side of the road in a well trampled area. Must be the biosolids application). drove the car as far in as possible. We parked next to a clearcut opposite another vehicle, and decided to hike in from there. We could hear gunfire (oh yeah it was quite the spot). Two other hikers were walking out toward us. pw asked them if they knew the way to the lake, but the first guy was a little uncertain since he hadn't been there in a year or two. The second guy with him pulled out a quite detailed map of the backroads and lakes and we tried to orient ourselves. He thought it would take us about an hour to get there. We were game. He cautioned us that the shooting was just a little ways down on the left.

On we went. pw reassured me, saying that we'd be fine and that if I found the popping sounds of gunfire too much that we could turn back anytime. I said let's just see how it went. It was unnerving. This isn't a designated shooting range, but it seems like a popular area for target practice since there were shell casings everywhere along our route.

We stuck to what seemed like the "main" road. An ATV (or "fatwheeler" as I call them, having got that name from my brother) blew past us. Apparently, this was also a popular ATV area as well. It certainly wasn't a peaceful walk in the woods. I was hopeful though that we'd find our way, and felt better once the gunfire sounds were fading into the distance. The further along we went, the more sideroads we came across. It became clear that it was a tangle of roads.

An ATV blasting some rap circled on a road below us. I was muttering about "ATV morons" disturbing the quiet just before the ATV started heading our way. It was a pretty expensive looking machine. pw flagged the driver, and he stopped next to us. We waited while he shut off the blaring music and removed his helmut. pw asked if he knew where the lake was. He'd heard of it, but wasn't sure. He pulled out his GPS that showed the backroads of the area, and we all peered at it, trying to decipher one road from the next. The driver told us that he was trying to figure out many of the backroads and that it really was a maze out there. He was exploring different roads to see where they led. He talked about the ATV organization that he had joined, and how they were working to get these areas "cleaned up." Apparently they want better care of the area so that garbage dumping would be dealt with. Of course there was also the problem of all the gunfire and the environmental impact of the lead on wildlife. He told us that the ATV group often comes out just to clean up (okay, my preconceived perception of ATV drivers was starting to look like too quick of a judgment).

The conversation eventually turned to who this driver was and to make a long story short. He'd just finished studying Anthropology and was trying to find a way out of his construction job. Based on what he told us,  he'll make it. He had a dubious background and saw that he didn't have to choose that lifestyle, and sought after education to find another choice. He was a pretty interesting guy, and our adventure in the woods turned into this very cool encounter with a complete stranger who made me say on our way out, "so much for my theory about morons driving ATVs."

We realized that we could be wandering for a while and may or may not find the lake or the burn area. We headed out the way we came in. It wasn't a complete non-adventure now was it?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

choose your own adventure weekend

This blog is turning into the weekend blog as in it's only about what I do on my weekends. Now that I get every second weekend off they really are the most interesting since I'm doing something other than work.  Work is occasionally interesting but I try not to think about it when I'm not there so... on to last weekend.

We went to Nanaimo for the day to see pw. It was a beautiful sunny day. The ferry ride was tolerable. It's so much better when it's not a holiday ferry and there are masses of people jockeying for space and food.

pw met us at the ferry and gave us several options on what we could do with the day:

1. go to the earthquake fissure in a nearby park and check that out
2. go to a lake that we'd have to hike to, and he wasn't too sure how to get there. There was a burn there last year (he was told), so there might be morel potential. It would also be more of an adventure.
3. go to Neck Point Park that is on the water and just a place that he thought we'd enjoy.

It was a tough choice, but I really wanted to be near the water if we could. So we headed to Neck Point Park, and it really was beautiful. Here's the proof:

 starfish and sea anemones
 Harlequin ducks
 Gulls. I love the gulls! This one seems to be looking right back at me.
 more sea anemones
 beautiful day!
 these eagles come here every year, pw told us. He saw one last year that took out a gull! Glad we didn't have to witness anything like that. They were pretty close to where we sat below in a quite spot just above the water.

 When this second one flew in and landed, the first one took off. Tag team? Looking after the nest at another location?
 I was quite content just to enjoy this spot.

More seabirds! Pelagic cormorants and more gulls!

As it turned out we did have time to choose another outing. I'll post about that next. Which one would you choose on a sunny beautiful day?