China Beach: Take 2 (Or, the sun does exist)

 

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This past weekend, a few of us headed out to China Beach again to celebrate birthdays with camping. I wasn’t sure it would happen but we actually had sunshine this time! Saturday began with a light rain, which thankfully started just after Eric and I set up the tent and shelter. The site had high points perfectly sized for the tents (both ours and our friends’), so we didn’t wake up in the middle of a lake. The afternoon’s light drizzle was ideal for games of crazy eights and crib with beer or tea in hand.

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Sunday morning brought sunshine (woohoo!) so we made our way down the 1km (ish) trail to Second Beach to stretch our legs. The trail is quite steep in places, but the only real danger was Fenrir and his damned logs. He is not satisfied with mere sticks, noooo. Only the finest logs for him! If anything, he forces you to be aware of your surroundings so he doesn’t sneak up behind out and take you out at the knees.

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I think the short hike is totally worth the view at the bottom, don’t you?

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Because I can never resist sand drawings…

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In the late afternoon, more friends showed up to spend some time with the birthday people. One hike was enough for me, so when they all went down to the beach again, I stayed up at the site and treated myself to some knit & read time. [Knit: plain cotton wash cloth. Read: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle.] The evening brought more crib games (dammit Adam) and the use-up-the-firewood bonfire meant we were all perfectly warm.

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I was so damn close to winning (I was red). Futzing crib games. Grr. 

By the time morning came, I think we were all very much looking forward to a shower. (I know I was!) I think the worst part about rainy camping is packing up wet gear – along with having to drape tarps and tents all over the house for a few days so everything dries out. Which reminds me, it’s time to put some gear away.

Till next time, xo

Jamageddon: The Peachening

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Saturday on our long drive home we passed through Osoyoos. I was hoping for some early peaches at one of the many roadside fruit stands and I was in luck! We purchased a 10 lb box there, but grabbed another in Cawston because we couldn’t help ourselves. (We also stopped at a craft cidery there, but I’ll talk about that later this week.) The rest of the drive home smelled amazing.

This meant, of course, that Sunday was jam day. Eric and I cleared off our extra “counter”, moved the microwave and toaster and set to work. All three recipes are from Food in Jars (both her blog and the cookbook). First we made Honey-Sweetened Peach Vanilla Jam, then Peach Salsa and Peach Jam from the cookbook. There was a lot of dipping into the pot for taste tests, yum! Most of these will be hoarded away for us, but a precious few will be handed out to friends. (If they’re lucky ;) )

Syringa Provincial Park

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As part of our week-long trip inland, Eric and I visited Castlegar. We visited Syringa Provincial Park on Canada Day to get out of the house for a bit. The day was mainly overcast but very warm, hovering around 30c. I forgot to take swim clothes, so I stuck to land. There were enough interesting plants for me to look at though, and Eric skipped every skippable rock on the beach. It was a lovely way to spend a few hours.

 

Kamloops Views

Snapshots while visiting.

Great view from Sahali in Kamloops right now. #kamloops #bc #hellobc #sunset #yka

A photo posted by Mel McNiece (@meljammin) on

China Beach: Is this May or March?

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This past weekend Eric and I went camping with Team Adventure. Bailey, Geoff, Sarah, and Anthony came over from Vancouver and set up at China Beach campground on Thursday. Eric and I met up with them on Friday after work. The forecast was for 10-15mm of rain, so we made sure to bring our sun shelter and a tarp. And lots of blankets; I learned from last time.

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It didn’t take long to begin relaxing that night. Much of the area is a cellular dead spot, so there were no emails or notifications to create stress. I had pre-cooked pasta for us to heat up as a quick dinner, and Team Adventure made burgers. We had enough time for s’mores before the rain started. Before long, the light drizzle became a true rainfall. At least we had shelter and tea! I went to bed early, having woken up bright and early and had a gym day. The others stayed up. I didn’t sleep well in the pouring rain (so loud!) so I was still awake when the guys, full of “cheer” came back from a late night walk. Let’s just say there were shenanigans…

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Oops. Someone rolled over when they shouldn’t have.

Saturday was wet and miserable. I call bs on the weather forecast. I later found out that Vancouver had the highest rainfall of the year so far.

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*Here you can see Lake Adventure after it dissipated slightly. 

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Smiling despite the rain.

Thankfully I packed extra pants, though Eric didn’t. He retreated to the tent and blanket pile for the last half of the day to warm up and read. Since none of us really wanted to go for a walk to the beach in the wet, it was a fairly low key day of reading and colouring and whittling (and a jelly bean eating contest – but I’ll let Bailey tell you about that!)

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Each time I thought it couldn’t rain harder, it did.

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On a side note, holy crap our tent is amazing. It has been thoroughly rained on and sat in a puddle, but only let a tiny bit of water in. (Likely because the ground was too hard to put all the pegs in.) Totally worth it.

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Saturday evening the rain tapered off (such a relief) so Bailey and I went for a walk to stretch. The night was much calmer, and I slept easier without the sound of heavy rain.

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We woke Sunday to a beautiful sunrise shining through the tall trees. I think it improved everyone’s moods! The drier night certainly made packing up the tents and tarps a little less messy. Regardless of the weather, I say this trip was a success! I can only hope that next time we go, it’s dry. In my dreams, probably ;)

Nibling*

Photo from Chelsy’s baby shower in April.

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In June, Eric and I will have our first niece or nephew <3. My brother and Chelsy are having a baby! The closer we get to the due date, the more excited I am to meet this new little person. (Eric is still getting used to the idea, I think). Of course, even though they will be a summer child, I had to knit a tiny sweater. Enter Baby Sophisticate.

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I knit up the 6-12 month size in a soft, slubby cotton that will be perfect for the fall. We won’t be able to visit as much as I’d like so I’ll have to settle for lots of care packages and Skype dates – but this kid is already loved so much. (Much like its parents!)

 

*Nibling is the gender neutral version of niece/nephew. Plus it just sounds cute.

This Morning in Ross Bay

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*Reverse chronological order. The sun disappeared :( 

Winter Camping

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Last Saturday was my birthday and rather than have the traditional pub night I decided to camp at French Beach. In March. (I know.) Most places I’ve lived have been far too cold or snowy this time of year for me to even think about camping. Having lived on the island for a few years, I figured it was time I gave it a shot.

Saturday afternoon was wonderful. The sun came out, the wind was low, and the beach was full of crashing waves. A few of us went for a walk down to the beach and threw branches for Fenrir. (No mere sticks for him!)

Photo from Bailey.

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Photo from Bailey

I am so glad I took my fuzzy hat and my stormy shawl. That was a brisk breeze! After getting chilled it was definitely time to head back for the campfire (and perhaps beer). As we settled around the firepit, steam rose off Fenrir, who sat as close as he could without singeing his fur.

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Duff’s coat kept him fairly warm, but the hood kept flipping into his eyes, poor dude. (Speaking of keeping warm, I love that 5 of us were wearing things I knit to keep warm. Wearing knit gifts is an excellent way to get more of them <3)

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It was an awesome evening of hotdogs, cake, marshmallows, beer, and friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate turning 30!

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The night, however, was absolutely freezing. One the plus side, our tent kept us dry! Now it can be put away until it’s much, much warmer at night. The end. 

Summery Drive in February

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Today was the perfect day for a photo drive; warm, not too windy, and so sunny. I found an oldies station to listen to on the twisty highway up the coastline. It wasn’t quite warm enough to have the windows all the way down, but I lowered them all enough to smell the ocean breeze. (Perfect!)

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(I know, beauty garbage cans, eh?)

I drove out to check out campsites for a potential camping trip in March (I love it here!) It was wonderful to get out and sit on the beach for a while and watch the waves.

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I think looking for log swirls is one of my favourite beach activities. I enjoy looking for the details.

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Can I just say how awesome it is that we have so much green on the island. The Okanagan winter & spring is beautiful in its own way, with the browns and subdued sage, but the green growth here just feels so exhuberant!

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What’s your favourite thing about where you live?