Tag Archives: road trip

Mountain treasures

Above: the skyline, viewed from the Heather Trail, E.C. Manning Provincial Park, BC.

Summer, the perfect time for a road trip. A few weeks ago, I headed to the alpine meadows of the Cascades.

Meadow flowers, BC. Photo by Andrée FredetteThere were colourful treasures on that mountain path…

(Pssst: click on these photos, to view them full size.)

Indian paintbrush (Castilleja). Photo by Andrée FredetteMeet the Indian paintbrush (Castilleja), up close. All these plants are really tough guys. They have to reproduce during a very short season (I was told that snow melted in late May to mid-June, at that altitude). The soil is poor, and the elements are cruel.  And this particular plant, Indian paintbrush, is a hemiparasite, meaning that it gets some of its nutrients by living off its neighbours… Tsk, tsk.

Beginning of Heather Trail. Photo by Andrée FredetteUp on the mountain, the trail beckons.

Close-up of Lousewort (Pedicularis bracteosa). Photo by Andrée FredetteSome of the flowering plants are very ancient-looking. Meet Lousewort (Pedicularis bracteosa), with pollinators on board.

White paintbrush (Castilleja occidentalis). Photo by Andrée FredetteI spotted a white and maroon variety of Indian paintbrush (Castilleja).

Seedhead of Western Pasque flower (Anemone occidentalis). Photo by Andrée FredetteI was a few weeks too late to admire blooming Western Pasque flowers (Anemone occidentalis)… So instead, here is a close-up of a seedhead, with insect ornaments.

Tiger lily (Lilium columbianum). Photo by Andrée FredetteFor that golden touch, there were specimens ofTiger lily (Lilium columbianum).

Lupine on the mountain. Photo by Andrée FredetteThe lovely blue of Lupine (but which? maybe Large-leaved, maybe not…)

Columbine portrait (Aquilegia canadensis). Photo by Andrée FredetteAn intimate portrait of the Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis).

Spirea in bloom by the Beaver Meadow. Photo by Andrée FredetteIn a moist area near the main road, Spirea in bloom, by the Beaver pond.

And here is a landscape, featuring the Beaver pond.

Beaver Meadow, E.C. Manning Park. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And I leave you with the irony of a hiking quatuor, catching up with the news near the cell tower. Top of the mountain, at 2200 meters, where they had many bars on their cells.

Eager for updates. Photo by Andrée Fredette


Art, meaningful and useful – Photo Wednesday

If you are in Duncan, on Vancouver Island, it’s a good idea to stop at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre.

Knitting a Cowichan sweater. Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre, Duncan, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

When we arrived, the man at the reception desk was knitting a classic Cowichan sweater.

Cowichan pole detail, Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre, Duncan, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Outside, some large totems are on display. They have been there a while, and the wood is showing some checking.

Cowichan pole detail. Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre, Duncan, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I think it adds to the symbolism. Beautiful, powerful work. Sorry I did not write down the name of the artist.

Cool Surfers at Wickaninnish Beach

The days and weeks have been very long since I broke my ankle, on May 31st. Books and Netflix only hold so much magic…

To reset the dial, my daughter took me on a three-day road trip. Off to Vancouver Island, and Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino. And especially, the Pacific Rim National Park… AKA the Wet Coast.

At the top of this post, a very wet me, sitting in the cool beach wheelchair we were able to borrow from the Kwisitis Visitor Centre, at Wickaninnish Beach. The hard sand part of the beach was easier to navigate for my wheelchair-pusher (i.e. daughter), but getting across the soft sand at the top of the beach was another story. We needed help (or I would have had to crawl back), and help was very graciously provided by one of the Centre’s staffers. They spotted our struggling, probably sighed, and came to our rescue. I am grateful.

The sights? Lots of surfers. The beach may look empty, but every dark speck in the waves is a surfer, in full wetsuit.

And then, this young woman and her dog caught my attention…

Surfers at Wickaninnish Beach, Parcific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

The dog was beside herself with joy at the open space, the water, the waves, being out there with her “mommy”, and having fun.

The surfer told me that her dog was learning to surf, but “she keeps dumping me when she steps forward”… Working on technique. Aren’t we all?

Surfing Duo, Wickaninnish Beach, Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

A few minutes later, looked like they were mastering it very nicely.

Surfing Trio, Wickaninnish Beach. Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Well, then she saw “daddy” and started to step forward to say hello. Looks like this may end up in a tip over…

And I leave you with the suspense.

Did I mention that this was a very wet day?

Droplets, on the Peat Bog Boardwalk. Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

We took a stroll (a roll, in my case) on the Peat Bog Boardwalk. It was a very wet day. Very wet.

And on the art side, we stopped at the Eagle Aerie Gallery, and admired the prints, carvings and paintings by Roy Henry Vickers. The gallery, a gorgeous building all in massive carved cedar boards, is a beautiful setting for the art on display. Not to be missed, if you are in Tofino.

Bleeding Heart on Sunday

While on a road trip to Mount St. Helens last week, the side trails were abloom. Here is a close up of a bleeding heart (dicentra formosa). Digitally manipulated to make the heart jump out. Just because. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamans out there!

Bleeding Heart (dicentra formosa). Photo © Andrée Fredette

Carousel – Photo Wednesday

Mini-road trips are fun.
Carousel at the Seattle Waterfront. Photo © Andrée Fredette
After visiting the Seattle aquarium, next door, we wandered along the waterfront. At the foot of the big wheel, we discovered this  gorgeous old school carousel. It’s described like this: “…an original hand carved carousel from the early 20th century. It is one of the oldest working carousels in North America…”

Did you know that there were several styles of carousels in the US alone?

In the United States, the carousel industry was developed by immigrants, notably Gustav Dentzel of Germany and Dare from England, from the late 19th century. Several centers and styles for the construction of carousels emerged in the United States: Coney Island style – characterized by elaborate, and sometimes faux-jeweled, saddles – with Charles I. D. Looff; Philadelphia style – known for more realistically painted saddles – with Dentzel and the Philadelphia Toboggan Company; and Country Fair style – often with no saddles at all – with Allan Herschell and Edward Spillman of western New York, and Charles W. Parker of Kansas. The golden age of the carousel in America was the early 20th century, with large machines and elaborate animals, chariots, and decorations being built.

Here is a photo of a carousel horse, decorated in the Coney Island style, taken by Peter Greenberg:

Coney Island Style Carousel Horse, Photo by Peter Greenberg

Want to see more? Check out the slide show of the “Carousel of the Month, April 2015” (as chosen by the National Carousel Association), a 1902 Herschell-Spillman Carousel still in operation in Ocean City, Maryland. An outstanding menagerie of creatures, beautifully sculpted and painted.