Up and Down Florencia Bay

Allen is a surfer and among the many things he told us (all in surfer slang and most of which I didn’t understand) were prime locations for crowd free beaches and waves.   We ignored the sweet spot around Radar Hill as it involved scrambling down a ‘rabbit hole’ and then scrambling back up.  Instead we sought out the beach on Florencia Bay.  Access is through Willowbae Trail in the Pacific Rim National park, an easy hike through second growth rain forest.

Second growth refers to trees replacing old growth cedars. You can recognize second growth trees by their narrow girth and high tops.  The tree canopy is so high, it’s mesmerizing to tip your head back and stare. It seems like given a clear swatch of space, the trees shot up to the stratosphere.

Willowbrae Trail
Tree top canopy

The trail was easy but long.  Ten minutes in I noticed that we were climbing up.  Not a good sign when heading towards a beach.  What goes up must come down.   Sure enough, at the end of the trail was a steep set of stairs.  They were sturdy, soggy and most definitely slippery.  For people with dodgy knees (like me) it was a slow and careful walk down.  But what a reward was at the base – a gorgeous view of the beach and cliffs.

Cliffs of Florencia Bay

Cloudy days make for moody and muted landscapes.  The light however  was wonderful for close-up shots.  Looking down, here were a few.

The mineral rich run-off from a nearby creek creates an abstract painting on the sand


Salt etched driftwood


River rocks at the junction of land and sea

Ucluelet, Canada.  2018




Last of the Summer

The days of summer are winding down and the sun is battling clouds and fog to break through.  Seasonal weather and a reminder from the Cascadia fault, converge to make stormy seas.

But that doesn’t stop the surfers.

Surfer’s Respite

For most of the past week, gloomy clouds, fog and rain obscured our view of the Pacific.

But one evening, for a few brief minutes, the sun broke through.

Sun break

Cody’s Box

Cody's Veggie Box
Cody’s Veggie Box

Cody is an organic farmer who sells veggie boxes every other week or so.

In olden days people would push carts of fruit and vegetables around and call out what they had to sell. Housewives would poke their heads through the window, flag them down and buy the makings for dinner.

In new-present day, Cody pushes out a Facebook post:  He’s coming through town with boxes to sell!   I message him and he comes directly to the front door. First to Message, First to be Served.

The model doesn’t  work for big cities but it scales just right for Ucluelet.

So here’s my box of vegetables.

Gigantic Zucchini’s.  I’d heard that zucchinis can get big but this is ridiculous.

Kale.  Lots and lots of Kale. Much too much. I’m still trying to figure out why Kale is so popular.  I think it falls in the category of ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’

Basil. Last week I congratulated myself on buying a scant handful of basil that was just enough for a pizza and a pasta dish.   Now I have ten fistfuls. That’s a lot of pizza.

Dill. I wonder if it goes with Kale?

Rosemary. Ditto

Lovely Tomatoes. Red, yellow, orange and variegated.  No-brainers here. Sweet tomato, basil and Havarti salad. Roasted tomato flatbread.  Fresh tomato and garlic spaghetti.

White Cucumbers. Based on looks alone, they should be called Stunted Albino Cukes. Not appetizing?  White cucumber is better branding.

Green, Yellow and Purple Beans.   I’ll let you know if they taste different.

Grotty Real Garlic.  Garlic heads as they should look vs. the pristine white and flavorless 3-in-a-bag version.

Ghost Pepper bonus.   Cody asked me if I liked peppers and when I said yes, he reached into his secret stash and gave me one.  When I said I really liked Habaneros, he reached in and gave me another.  I web-searched this pretty thing and must say it looks like the Caroline Reaper.  Measured at 1,641,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) it is the world’s hottest pepper.  Is it really hot? I guess I’ll find out.

Ucluelet, BC. August 2018

More about Bears

… because I find them fascinating.

This is a video of a bear trying to get into a bear-proof garbage bin.

He is one determined bear.

I don’t think this is the first bin the bear has rattled and rolled.  Hopefully it will be his last.

If a bear gets used to raiding garbage bins he becomes aggressive & territorial on his food source. Then he’s a threat to humans and Conservation Officers have to relocate or shoot him.

Since we’ve been in Ucluelet, we’ve had one case where a bear had to be relocated and another which had to be put down. I remember hearing a single gunshot reverberating through the forest. It wasn’t a good sound. 

Our condo has a huge industrial bin with a heavy cover held in place by a hinged steel bar. I have trouble lifting it but that’s ok — it’s Hubby’s duty to take out the garbage and tackle the bears.   Our bin even has a padlock but that’s for marauders of a two legged kind. A neighbor says it’s to avert non-residents who were dumping their garbage in our bins. The nerve.

BTW this video was taken in Alaska with a brown bear. Hubby says we have black bears here in Ucluelet and black bears are smaller. I don’t know, I haven’t had a chance to line them up to  compare.

Ucluelet, B.C.  August 2018

Whimsy and Magic

Walking through the coastal rain forest it’s easy to get lost in whimsy.

Moss covered cedars look like Seussian trees hugged by lovably tubby teddy bears.

Twisted cedars have arms worn smooth by creatures resting in midnight snoozes and daylight perches.

Tree trunk cubby holes lead to magical places.

If you’re careful you can even see fairy houses hidden in high branches.

And if you’re very very careful and extremely extraordinarily lucky you might even see the rarest of mythical creatures, a shaggy forest pony bear. 

Ucluelet, B.C. August 2018