Skagit Delta Day Trip

We got away from the city today with a day trip to the Skagit River Delta. Our first stop was La Conner for a waterfront walk and lunch. La Conner fronts the east side of the Swinomish Channel and the Swinomish Reservation the west.

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Lunch was at one of our favorite stops, The La Conner Brewing Company. They have a great selection of beers, but what draws us is their menu. It is always difficult to settle on a choice, but you can never go wrong.

After lunch it was time to walk off those calories. One of our favorite hikes is along the dikes of the Padilla Bay Shore Trail. This 2.5 mile (one way) trail is on the dike that separates Padilla Bay from the fields of the wildlife reserve. In the summer it is filled with songbirds and a few hawks. During this first week of autumn there were few birds. By the end of autumn it will be filled with snow geese, peregrine falcons, and eagles.

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We arrived at slack tide and watched it come in as we hiked the trail. The mud flats have interesting patterns. The views are of distant islands, but the water is so far out that they appear to be floating on mud.

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There is no doubt that autumn is here. Vivid colors mark many of the plants. The wonderfully diverse wild plants each put out seeds to ensure their species for another year.

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Late in the afternoon we drove to Bow Edison to visit Samish Bay Cheese Factory. They have their own dairy herd and produce cheese only from their own herd. The 5 year old gouda is unbelievable! Of course we splurged on a good round of it. And we couldn’t resist a small round of their Diablo, a fresh gouda spiced with jalapeno and habanero peppers!

Our drive home was easy since we were going the opposite of the commuters – into the city! What a great day!


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Vancouver Island Adieu!

Although we have been busy hiking and I have been playing ukulele, I haven’t abandoned painting. Here are two small pieces (4×4) I did in the last few days.

The first is the next in a series of quick loose watercolors of couples. Each one has a specific gesture. I call this one The Proposal.

The second is inspired by a tree, vines and shrubs outside the window where I have been painting. I liked the textures and colors that have been in my view for a month.

Tonight we will be home!


Posted in Art, B.C., BC, Collioure, Comox BC, Comox Valley, Courtenay, Courtenay BC, Retirement, Travel, Ukulele | 3 Comments

Miracle Beach Again

Yesterday we returned to Miracle Beach. What a beautiful combination of beach…

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…and forest.

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We stopped for lunch at Salmon Point Resort. The restaurant was an unexpected delight. We both had salmon burgers – 5 oz. filets of fresh salmon with all the trimmings. They were wonderful.

Then we drove a little north along the coast toward Campbell River. We stopped a several seaside spots to take in the mountain and ocean views.

What a fine day!


Posted in B.C., BC, Campbell River BC, Comox BC, Comox Valley, Courtenay, Courtenay BC, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Vancouver Island | 1 Comment

Return to Strathcona

Yesterday we returned to Strathcona Provincial Park.

We also returned to Paradise Meadows, but to hike some different trails than last time. This time we hiked to Battleship Lake via one side of the meadows and returned via the other side. The photos speak for themselves.

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Many things happen in a country where a major city (Toronto) has a motto: Diversity is Our Strength” and where the Chief Executive of the country uses that same phrase to describe the country. I have seen this printed on several t-shirts in the past month as well. One nod to diversity that we observed at Strathcona are trails adapted to the use of specialized “Trail Rider” wheelchairs.

These single-wheeled chairs require two attendants, one in front and one in the rear. They provide forward momentum, but the chair is balanced so it takes the weight. The chairs allow people with physical limitations to view this magnificent scenery. That is a commitment to diversity!


Posted in B.C., BC, Campbell River BC, Comox BC, Comox Valley, Courtenay, Courtenay BC, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized, Vancouver Island | 1 Comment

My Recent Work

While we do walk every day, I still have time to practice ukulele and paint or draw. I’ve been working on some new songs in a book given to me by our friend, Janet. She found 40 Hits of Our Times at a used book sale in California. Published in 1954, it is a ukulele/guitar book for all the latest hits and includes chord charts! My favorite so far is Everybody Loves My Baby.

Painting and drawing are also given their due. Here are three of my studies from the past several days.

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Posted in Art, B.C., BC, Comox BC, Comox Valley, Courtenay, Courtenay BC, Retirement, Travel, Ukulele, Uncategorized, Vancouver Island | 2 Comments

Miracle Beach

Today we returned to Miracle Beach Provincial Park. We asked the young woman at the information center how it got that name, but she didn’t know. Some online research revealed that it was named because a small stand of old growth trees there was spared by a devastating forest fire in 1938. The fire burned for 3 months and covered a swath 40 miles long and 4 miles wide, stretching from north of Campbell River almost to Courtenay. However, it bypassed this forest by Black Creek.

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Today we arrived as the tide was coming in. Families were gathered on the rapidly narrowing beach to catch the morning sunshine. When we returned from our hike an hour later the beach was gone and those same families were sitting on rocks high up against the driftwood.


Posted in B.C., BC, Campbell River BC, Comox BC, Comox Valley, Courtenay, Courtenay BC, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized, Vancouver Island | 3 Comments

A Walk in the Neighborhood

Here are some pics from another walk in our neighborhood. The trail begins in a small nature park/bird sanctuary and then connects to the city’s river trail along the estuary.

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We have walked this trailed many times and each day there are changes. The sun comes and goes, flowers that were blooming when we arrived are now gone, new flowers are blooming, and the tides ebb and flow.



Posted in B.C., BC, Comox BC, Comox Valley, Courtenay, Courtenay BC, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Light in the Forest

Today we returned to Seal Bay Nature Park. It was sunny and threatening to get to 80F! There are a few choices of trails.

We chose to stay in the woods where the sunshine came through the canopy, creating light spots in the dark forest. This is one of the things Liz Wiltzen taught me about taking photos for future painting ideas – look for the drama of light and dark contrast. Today it was the light in the forest:

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Jean stopped to sketch some interesting trees.

We found a tree that seemed to be quite unhappy being cut down.

And we came upon this little guy sunning himself on a log and looking under the moss for tasty insects.

An altogether enjoyable walk!


Posted in Art, B.C., BC, Comox BC, Comox Valley, Courtenay, Courtenay BC, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Vancouver Island | 3 Comments

Oh Canada!

We have had a busy few days since my last post. Sunday was Canada Day with lots of activities here and a return of sunshine. There was a battle of the bands, food trucks, and fun for kids at the local water park. Jean and I avoided the crowded activities and enjoyed a relatively quiet walk along the Courtenay Riverway. The festivities made themselves known with booming fireworks after 10:00 PM.

Yesterday the sunshine and clear skies beckoned us to venture to Strathconia Provincial Park. Our destination was Paradise Meadows, the most visited place in the park. It’s a lovely alpine setting with many trails that meander through meadows, past ponds, and into dark forests. We thoroughly tired ourselves out.

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Today we took a morning walk near our house and then did some grocery shopping. (A Canadian fellow at the checkout said he was stocking up on some things before Trump took them away from Canada.) This afternoon we are reading, painting, and blogging.

I haven’t been ignoring painting completely, although I do spend more time playing ukulele and singing than painting.  Here are some of the small paintings I’ve completed in the last week. I am working on small 4×4 boards that are prepped with absorbent ground so I can paint with watercolors. It’s a fast and loose approach that sometimes has unexpected results.

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Next on my agenda is to decide what to make for dinner.


Posted in Art, B.C., BC, Comox BC, Comox Valley, Courtenay, Courtenay BC, Music, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Ukulele, Vancouver Island | 2 Comments

Miracle Beach Optimism

Today we lounged around to let the morning showers abate. After a quick lunch we headed north to Miracle Beach. The windshield wipers beat a rhythm and it did not look like a great day for the beach. However, we did not account for Canadian optimism.


Yes, Canadian families crowded the beach, setting up day tents, lounge chairs, and grills, enjoying a day at the beach without sunscreen! Jean and I stuck to the wooded trails that followed the shore to the Black Creek estuary and then inland to circle back to our car.

Along the way we encountered diverse flora:

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As well as diverse fauna:

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What with all this hiking in the rain we had little time for painting. I have done some paintings, but have not had time to take proper photos of them for posting. Maybe tomorrow…

We stopped at our favorite small fish store (Fanny Bay Oysters at the Buckley Bay Ferry Terminal) and got two fresh sockeye fillets for dinner. Cooked on the grill with sides of baked acorn squash and cucumber salad, they made a wonderful dinner to end our day.



Posted in Art, B.C., BC, Comox BC, Comox Valley, Courtenay, Courtenay BC, Photography, Retirement, Travel, Vancouver Island | 1 Comment