Thursday, 8 February 2018

Mount Tzouhalem

We were off this sunny morning to look at some of the work done by a landscaping company that has quoted on designing and installing our garden. The townhouse complex is located nearby Mount Tzouhalem in North Cowichan and Shelagh thought it would be a fine day for a hike up the hill. The gardening job looked great so we have hired Apex Landscaping to get the job done here at home. I hope they'll get started soon and don't have too much of a maƱana outlook on life...

A hunter has taken out some frustration on this sign...

We parked the car at the base of the trailhead in a neighbourhood called "the Properties" in North Cowichan. Very posh homes here with stunning views. The hike is pretty much straight up to the top from where the view of Cowichan Bay is breathtaking. I am surprised that with Shelagh's dodgy knees and my dodgy hip we made it to the cliffs to take in the view. A little bit farther stands a large Christian cross. The original wooden cross was placed by local Catholic churches in the 1970s and it was replaced more than once due to weathering and vandalism. It was finally replaced with a metal one in the 1980s by the Knights of Columbus. We did not make it all the way to the cross, we will attempt that on our second climb up.

Just shy of the summit.

Along the walk, we met a young couple from San Francisco who were traveling up the coast. It's so nice to see twenty-somethings hike up the mountain with no effort. Aging sucks! About halfway up there is a spot to practice your rock stacking skills. Many cairns and some inukshuks have been built here. Great fun for young and old alike. The walk down was a bit harder on the joints and when we got back to the car both of us were a bit wobbly. Shelagh has gone for X-rays of her knees and we are waiting to hear if she'll qualify for knee replacement surgery. Our next hike will be on more level ground...

Friday, 2 February 2018

Skutz Falls

About a 15 minute drive west of Duncan, in the beautiful Cowichan River Provincial Park is Skutz Falls. A perfect picnic spot in the spring, summer and fall. And a year round destination for hikers, campers and equestrians. At this time of year, with the rain fall and the start of the spring run off, the river is flowing at capacity and the roar is very loud. We followed the trail for a while but we were soon turned around because of the wet and soggy conditions. There were also some trees down crossing the trail, so our one hour walk was cut a bit short. Still, we enjoyed looking at the roaring river and I marked the spot on our GPS so we will be able to find the place easier next time. The signage is sparse. At the spot that I would go to for a picnic, a salmon ladder has been constructed to help the fish get to their spawning beds. We look forward to warmer days so we can enjoy this area with some lunch and a little glass of vino...

The salmon ladder. It is very noisy here at this time.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Stoney Hill Regional Park

Tuesday, January 30th, dawned sunny and beautiful. A perfect day for a walk in the park. We had made an attempt a week ago to hike Stoney Hill Regional Park but had to turn away because our local Search and Rescue Technicians were doing an exercise in the park and had taken up whatever was left of the parking area. So today was the day for it and when we arrived at the trailhead there was only one car parked up.

The trail has many little rivers running on it.

Stoney Hill Regional Park is located in the Municipality of North Cowichan near Sansum Narrows across from Salt Spring Island. The park has spectacular views of Salt Spring Island and the surrounding area with a scenic approximately 3.2 km return loop trail from the parking lot. A public road leads from Genoa Bay Road to a parking lot and trailhead. The trail is best hiked in the summer months because with all the wet weather we have had there were a lot of muddy and swamped areas. Some barely passable, but we made it the entire way albeit with some difficulty. I got home with two soaked shoes and socks and Shelagh did not fare much better. The hike took us one hour and forty minutes and on a scale of one to ten I give it a difficulty rating of seven. Shelagh suffered quite a bit with her bad knees and only fell down once. She was a real trooper.

Keeping back a bit here, there are no railings.

The draw of the park is the awesome views of Sansum Narrows and Salt Spring Island. With the sun shining the sights were amazing. We are so lucky to have places like this just a few minutes drive from home. Hopefully, over the summer months, there will be significant improvements made to the trail. We highly recommend this park, but make sure you wear good hiking shoes and a walking stick or two would help. Also, if you want to look at something pretty, stop walking first because you will get tripped up! I hope you will enjoy the pictures, I made many stops to take them...

Beautiful arbutus trees.

This little guy was very patient with me.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Kinsol Trestle

Sunday was a beautiful sunny day so we went to play outside. We decided to drive to the Kinsol Trestle. Located just north of Shawnigan Lake, the trestle is the largest in the Commonwealth measuring 44 meters high and 187 meters long. The trestle was part of the railway built in 1911 by the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway, and was used to transport timber from Vancouver Island. When the lumber industry took a beating in the 1970s the railway line was abandoned and the trestle was left to rot. The last train crossed the trestle in 1979.

In 2007 a campaign was started to save the trestle. Money was donated by many generous people and the Provincial Government also kicked in a few bucks. The trestle re-opened in 2011 and is now, once again, in use by many people on a daily basis. The structure is amazing and well worth a visit. It is open to hikers, bikers and equestrians.

The Kinsol Trestle is part of the Cowichan Valley Trail, which is part of the Trans Canada Trail. The Trans Canada Trail will be the world's longest when completed. It will cross the entire country from east to west to north, at this time some 24000 kilometres have been completed...

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The house is getting homier

After the hustle and bustle of Christmas we got into a bit of a slow down. There had been so much on the go in the last three months that we suddenly felt like some time to recuperate. We slowed down and got onto "Island Time". There is no rush to get things done in the next few days. So we got a bit lazy and relaxed, but in the meantime we were discussing where some of our wall decorations could find a new home. We also had a wonderful visit with our friends Victor and Shirley who were visiting family in the valley for Christmas. We lived just 20 minutes apart on the mainland and never got together much, but here we are on the island and we meet up. Let's hope this will be a new trend.

The view from the great room.

New Year's Eve was quiet and easy. We went into town to walk around and see the lights. Some had already been taken down. Next year we'll do a better job of showing them off as well as the show in Ladysmith, which is amazing. Back home to the comfort of a warm house to count off the last hours of the year. We weren't even sure if we would make it 'till midnight, but we managed it by pouring one more glass of wine. That'll do the trick because we can't spill wine down the sink, we'd rather see blood spilled! Once into January we got serious and started bringing art upstairs from the spare bedroom.

Down town Duncan on New Years Eve.

The master bedroom took on a Venetian look, and the hallway bath room became Parisian. And the great room is taking on a complete character of its own. The wait now is for the furniture we bought in Langford last week. A new sofa and love seat for the living room and a small couch for the den. The current leather sofa and love seat will go down stairs to the media room where it was supposed to go. Delivery is anywhere from three to five weeks from the purchase date, so that is still in the works.

Some furniture choices.

Our new kitchen is working out great. I have had a few days in there cooking up a storm and the freezer is now well stocked with many meals. The turkey carcass yielded an excellent stock that I used for a big pot of pea soup. We have also taken up making our own pizza again, delicious! The new stove does an excellent job with the pizza stone in place and the convection roast setting at 500°F. A pizza cooks in nine minutes! We also made a large batch of wontons and Char Siu pork for our Wor Wonton Soup, along with a batch of Korean spiced meatballs.

Home made pizza, wontons, Wor Wonton Soup and Spicey Korean meatballs with a stirfry on rice.

Last Friday we were in Victoria for a while. Shelagh had an appointment with a specialist so we made a day of it. Found the Dutch store and stocked up on Senseo Coffee and Indonesian spices and had a lovely lunch at Milestones on the harbour front. Delicious food and generous portions. After all that we forgot to use our Milestones gift card that we got a year ago for Christmas. So we will just have to go back sometime.

Honestly, I was smiling here.

A fun day in Victoria and a delicious lunch at Milestones.

We have had a few requests for pictures of the house, but we're not ready to share any yet, patience is a virtue, I will post pictures when the house is all done...