The Rocky Mountains in October and November? Sure! We each wanted to attend a painting class, mine in Canmore, Alberta and Jean’s in Denver, Colorado. Therefore we decided to join them with a week in Yellowstone, 4 days in Jackson Hole, and end with a couple of weeks with Pat, Jean’s sister, in Colorado Springs. Six weeks in the mountains!
Our first mountain crossing was uneventful…just a little sleet on the windows. We arrived in Canmore to blue skies and sunshine. It is nice to be on the east side of the rockies. Here are a few photos from around Canmore.
Yesterday the edge of the world wafted to our doorstep on the feathers of fog. It is eery to look toward the sea and hear its roar, but to see only a gray curtain beyond the shrubs across the road. James Island and other seastacks didn’t exist. Yesterday’s edge of the world was only a memory. Our world had shrunk over night.
This morning the edge of our world is back in its proper place and all islands are visible.
We hiked over the hill to Second Beach to explore. The trail has improved and the beach has more people than our first visit 25 years ago, but it’s still beautiful.
As you can see, the weather has changed.
We arrived at La Push Friday afternoon. This is Picasso’s first trip of 2014. It has been sunny, warm, and sublime. Hiking, sketching, and painting during the three longest days of the year. Today a sunbow was an omen for weather changes. Here are some photos.
More to come.
Tofino proved to be a beautiful area that will definitely go onto our list of places to which we want to return. It is more remote than our own Olympic coast in terms of getting there, but the beaches, islands, and shoreline are more accessible once you’re there. The scenery is overwhelming.
Our first stop was Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. A trail loops through the forest, crossing a bridge over the upper falls and descending to another bridge over the lower falls.
Our next stop was Cathedral Grove. Although a 1997 wind storm downed many trees this 800 year old rain forest still impresses. Someone has placed carved masks on some trees that give these venerable giants personalities. Don’t miss this if you are on your way to Tofino.
Finally we arrived at Tin Wis Resort, a Best Western operated by the local First Nations people. It sits on MacKenzie Beach, a beautiful crescent just south of Tofino. Islands protect the bay. Tin Wis means calm waters and they certainly are.
Yesterday we returned to Victoria. This morning the sun is shining and it will be warm enough for painting in Beacon Hill Park.
Today we headed north on Vancouver Island. The east coast to Nanaimo is well settled, but once you turn inland it gets wild. We stopped at two provincial parks to see waterfalls and big trees. Then we passed through Port Alberni, a saltwater port that is nestled in the mountains on a long fjiord that penetrates halfway across the island.
After 7 hours of driving and hiking we arrived at Best Western Tin Wis Resort in Tofino. Tin Wis means calm water in the local first nation language. It is so named because it sits on a bay protected by a string of stony islands. With a half mile of beach to explore we are in heaven.
We explored the beach before eating. Dinner at the resort’s restaurant was terrific. After dinner we did some drawing and painting. Then we walked the beach until dark.
Beacon Hill Park was one of Emily Carr’s favorite places. Set aside and developed as a park in the 1860’s, it is a remarkable place to ramble and paint. Trees, ponds, birds, flowers, and the ocean compete for your attention. It’s easy to see what she saw there.
Peacock in the park.
Water lily pond
Beacon Hill Park pond
Then we return to our condo for dinner and sunset.
Yesterday we looked over the sailboats that are sailing today in the Swiftsure Race. They presented quite a mixed bag from 120 feet to 27 feet, multihulls, sloops, yawls, cutters, and any other sailboat you can name. The larger boats sail in the classic race that goes to the Swiftsure Lightship off the west coast of the island and back. It is near 130 miles and can take up to 24 hours. However, with the wind at 20-30 knots today they probably will finish in the night, if they finish. Last year over half the boats entered did not finish. This is a grueling test of boat and crew. The other boats sail in shorter races, one to Cape Flattery and back, and the other to Clallum Bay and back. Being smaller boats, they have less speed, and will take almost the same time as the large boats going a long distance.
Last Minute Repairs
No, we didn’t get over to see the start. I did see a bit of the line of boats leaving the harbor heading toward the start, but didn’t feel like getting dressed and driving over the hill.
As I said we visited Emily Carr’s house and yesterday we walked downtown to see a beautiful statue of her. One of the things we saw at her house was a documentary film of Emily Carr, Freda Kahlo, and Georgia O’Keefe, comparing their thinking about art. We purchased it and will be more than happy to share it with friends back home.
Emily Carr House
Jean on the waterfront
Tomorrow is the Swiftsure Race, one of the most dificult sailing races on the west coast. Sailboats will leave the harbor in front of our condo early to motor to the starting line in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. We hope to see the start at 9:00 if the weather permits and we can get up and get going. We must go to a high point in Beacon Hill Park to see the boats that will be a mile or so offshore. Then we will switch to watching the race online. You can to at http://www.swiftsure.org/race-tracker/
Of course we may be painting and drawing those boats as well.
On the harbor in Victoria, British Columbia. A beautiful suuny day. Off to walk in the footsteps of Emily Carr.
Yesterday we came over on the ferry…a scenic ride through the Gulf Islands. Of course that meant photography.