Seagulls soaring fun,

Up draft, down spiral, floating,

Flights of ecstasy.


Mini-Adventure: I saw a Heffalump today

I purposely set out to search for woolly mammoths. I had photo evidence of them frolicking at the Royal Bay Beach Park in Colwood. Off I went, solo.

The beach is perhaps an 8 minute drive from my home depending on traffic and lights. Royal Bay Beach Park was once an unsightly gravel pit, inaccessible to the public for over 100 years. Driving along Metchosin Road we could see the stunning ocean views but always had to keep our windows up to keep out the noisy equipment, flying dust and even the odd bits of rock. It is nice to see this privately owned piece of land is being transformed and is open to the general public.

More woody than woolly, this must be a Heffalump and a baby Heff

These days neglectful digging had better not be discovered!

I spent a lovely hour checking out the main path, nifty driftwood huts, attempted some nimble balancing, and strolling along the seaweed strewn beach. My knee was not very cooperative so I kept mainly to the path and sand. This just meant I would have plan an outing with my daughter in tow.

I cam across maybe five structures, these were the two I rally liked. Some of those pieces must be heavy. One had a very sturdy looking cross beam from back to front. Budding architects.

Perhaps a Push Me-Pull You was lurking in the brush? I did find out these were sawdust arrows for a dozen or so people following the path. Could they not figure out how to turn around to go back from whence they came?

Although all we can see now are the vestiges of the pit days on land, the encroachment of industry is always in view.

The winds blow hard enough that trees permanently list.

Next time I will walk along this section. I drawn towards the beach as though called by a siren. I wisely acknowledged that it would be better to have someone with me.

First day of Autumn/Last day of summer? – Dallas Road views

I am fortunate to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada. Not that I am anywhere near the high income bracket. Truth be told, I am far too close, financially and now physically, to the tent city that recently set up camp at Goldstream Provincial Park & Campsite where I explored some of the trails in April. (mini-adventure-goldstream-park-the-other-side.)

One of the pluses with living in Victoria has to be how accessible walking along the beach is. Dallas Road is the perfect walkway for gathering thoughts, allowing the flotsam and jetsam of life to leave on the winds, breather in the fresh ocean air, listen to and watch the gulls, eagles, herons and other birds depending on the season (Spring is wonderful for seeing hummingbirds), and get in a great walk regardless physical ability.

The driftwood ‘shipwreck’ from the day before. I live beyond the distant hills that are hiding behind the cloud bank. That monolith in the background was the first cruise ship for the day.

From Ships Point to Clover Point, the path is about, according to a google maps check, 3 km one way via Bridge Way. I must have not taken that exact route as my return walk was roughly 7km and I did not make it to Clover Point. I was going at a fairly brisk pace – for which I suffered later and the next day. I fell into pace with one cruise ship passenger with whom I walked and chatted for about 8 minutes. He was 77, originally from Beijing, left in the early 1960s. This was offered after we had noted we were both limping slightly exchanged knee problems with his query as to how I had I injured my knee. I even dared to pull out some of my latent Mandarin. (Too bad his saying he was happy to meet me only properly translated in my head after I said I was a little happy) He had a great outlook, always be happy, smile at people – it worked too. Wishing home a great visit I said goodbye and sped up while he waited for family. I had a goal to make it to the Marilyn Bell cairn this day before turning around. Which I did and beyond, and made the following discovery.

When I first lived in Victoria I was mesmerized by the thought of swimming across this channel – I never did attempt it.,
When walking remember to look beyond – you never know what you will discover. Also look up!

As I tried to find a good angle for a picture of this I nearly stumbled into an unobtrusive tent tucked away into the bushes. We never know hw close we are to needing that little space.

Evening at Butchart Gardens

A couple of mornings ago I discovered a nasty mosquito bite on my neck. Seems I am allergic to Canadian mosquitoes. Like last summer when my leg became infected after being bitten this bite hurt by the end of the following day. However, I was not about to let this prevent me from going to the world famous Butchart Gardens where my sister was singing in The Chorus choir – not to be confused with The Choir choir. ( The two choirs blended into one for two songs.

The Chorus and The Choir

They had a wonderful stage that helped project stupendous voices. Although a non-audition choir there is no lack of talent. The setting was stellar, the audience appreciative of music and surroundings. There is always a bit of magic when a blanket can be placed on cooling grass, a picnic is laid out and music begins to drift over the landscape.

The sunken garden, probably the favourite for photos – also recognized worldwide

I had time to discover the Rose Carousel with 30 hand carved animals, (horses, frogs, cats, an orca are just a few) installed in 2009 – it had been probably 20 years since I was last visited the gardens. I also had never been on a carousel! For a twoonie a delightful 3 1/2 minutes, and even had a fleeting dream of springing off like Mary Poppins, were mine. In reality I had trouble dismounting the horse I was riding! So much fun I convinced my sister to give it a whirl which meant I had two rides. We laughed and giggled like little girls the whole time.

Photo shared by the parent of a child riding behind me – he even asked permission to take it! Beside me are two dear friends – my second ride I was on the cat with the fish. Cats have tails – not easy to climb off!

Only the rose garden has labels to name the flowers – I believe this is a Pope John Paul rose (of course I deleted the label photo)

Alas, I did not have time to truly enjoy the gardens, There was time enough to take in some of the lush gardens, like an appetizer. At 33.10 CAD plus tax it is unlikely I will return soon. There is also a yearly pass for 60.50 plus tax. (Choir members were given a free guest pass – quite a treat) However, what I did see was lovely and I even enjoyed a quick bite and coffee from the coffee shop. Everything is made fresh on the premises – my chicken curry wrap was delicious! In other words, despite mentioning a picnic I did not actually take one with me. I may have to rethink my budget.

Below is the Dragon Fountain, a gift in 2015 from Suzhou, China – sister city to Victoria

Fountain near the Blue Poppy Restaurant – take a close look at the snake and frog

The Great Locomotive Chase: Part 3

Despite having to fly home next week, rather than take the train, I have certainly found enough varieties of rail rides to keep me happy. I even found a show on Knowledge Network about the narrow gauge India Hill Railway – very interesting. However, sitting on a train is far more fun. With that in mind my daughter asked us if we would like to go on the Great Train Robbery that starts next door to the massive St. Jacob’s Market.

Once again two buses, altogether about an hour, this time stopping before the village of St. Jacob’s. The parking lot is huge, on both sides of the market, not many horse and carriages as I though there would be. The Mennonites who do not have booths at the market most likely avoid the place or do their market shopping closer to the 7:00am opening when everything is fresh. (I really have no idea how many still use horse and buggy. We did see some in St. Jacob’s the previous day and one on the main road near the market) We arrived at 10:00, everyone else was in need of breakfast and I certainly did not say no to more coffee. Breakfast was served on real plates! Cutlery was plastic. We then spent 3 1/2 hours checking out all on offer indoors and outdoors but could easily have spent much longer. Of course there were beautiful quilts and all sorts of cured sausages in addition to delicious looking baked goods and bread. I finally gave in and had a pretzel. My only wish was for really good mustard rather than the packaged stuff.

Knowing we would have to carry everything we tried to take care with purchases. We returned with raspberries – somewhat squished by the time we put them in the fridge, lots and lots of cherries – my D discovered after 10 years of marriage her husband does not like cherries! Peaches, a large all beef summer sausage that will go home with us if we can resist opening it, spicy apple jam and strawberry jam, alpaca wool and new, heavy duty water bottles. We dallied over beans, tomatoes, strawberries, more baked goods, flowers and so much more. Our bags were very heavy. We were there long enough I needed lunch so I grabbed a baked vegetable samosa. They even served naked samosas as a GF choice.

Just some of our purchases! Everything would not fit on the table

Well sated, and burdened down with our purchases we headed for the train. The Waterloo Central Railway offers all sorts of fun throughout the year with their themed trips. I counter 19 on their website – if I visit in December I might do the Polar Express. The Mennonite Excursion to Elmira includes a farm wagon ride and a chance for a visit to a farm for lunch and a chat. I realize this is marketing to tourists but why not? If it helps to keep everything running without too much damage to culture and environment I am in favour. Back to our trip. Despite arriving early, as requested, I did not have a chance to take any photos of the engine or cars, the platform was too narrow and busy. I am quite sure we were not being pulled by the steam locomotive used for some of their trips. Slated as a one hour trip we felt lucky to have an hour & 20 minutes of rocking and rolling. I happen to enjoy the swing of trains although the cars used seem to sway far more than modern ones. Even the words often used for train travel have a dance rhythm.

The whole Robbery is hammed up by conductor and sheriff with jokey comments to fit into conversation with passengers. We kept hearing about the valuable valuables that were being carried to Elmira – then brought through each car as proof. We later discovered that one of the young men playing a role was on his first day – he did an excellent job. Also while out of character he mentioned he has a degree in Theology. Before these sidetracked bits of information we were kept entertained by fields of corn gently swaying, cows grazing, horses neighing (I assume) and stopping traffic at various crossings. We passed by decommissioned cars and engines, one had the 1867-1967 logo on it from Canada’s centennial – I had hoped to get a photo on our return, no luck. I have fond memories of those white symbols flashing by and stopped at the grain elevator in Prince Rupert.

Gold? What gold?

Of course the pinnacle of the hour was sighting kerchief garbed bandits riding in the distance, parallel to the train before galloping alongside us – and they were definitely moving swiftly. The train came to a standstill, the train robbers, all female by the way, boarded and quickly divided their booty of goodies to passengers. The conductor and sheriff were in hot pursuit. My companions quickly hid their portion of gold and my SIL seemed to be in cahoots with the bandits. Basically a fun way to while away 1 1/2 hours before heading back to Kitchener. My daughter who lives there and I had just enough energy left to walk to the Cherry Park Festival that was winding down its last hour – we shared a cup of cherry cheesecake ice-cream then called it day.

seeking witnesses and the stolen gold. Middle photo- caught!

If becoming a professor does not pan out she might make a good train robber.