Thursday, July 3, 2014

Finally! Recovered control of these blogs after 5 years!

Hello Hello! Yes! Back in control of my three personal blogs after years of wrangling with was my own fault, admittedly. Somehow I changed the login email to theses blogs to some whacko arcane email that I have never ever actually used.

I'm not going to go off on a tangential rant at this point....I'm going to let the excitement of getting these blogs back die down a bit so I don't go off like some nut job.

Monday, August 24, 2009

From London to Bowen, with Love

The utter serenity and peace of this early Monday morning on Bowen contrasts sharply with the frantic metropolis from which I departed yesterday morning - London. The air here is completely still, and scented variously by sea, furs and cedars. Its pristine essence compels acknowledgment with every lung full.

What Bowen is to nature, London is to culture. The crossroads of humanity seethes literally and thrums with the urgent energy of millions upon millions of travellers yearning through the streets and lanes, seeking sights and snapping images on I-Phones for upload to who knows how many millions of facebook profiles. Navigating the crowds is an exercise in patience and mobile contortion as the body must flex and sidle through opportune gaps suddenly presented. The noise of a hundred jackhammers fills the air as workers replace Victorian era water mains with their contemporary counterparts. Buses the size of Brontasaurus lumber menacingly along curb lanes blocking the sun, rows of gawking faces peering down as if from some foreign horde here to conquer all with hungry eyes.

This morning, an occasional woodpecker fills the air with the stacato tatoo that reverberates briefly before fading into a receding echo. Some crickets still hold forth, reluctant to admit the beginning of the new day.As the sun rises over the treetops to start warming the deck outside, song birds begin to join in to the days symphony. I breather deeply, thankful to be home.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Some Enchanted Weekend

The talk in town today was all about the previous evening's surprise thunderstorm. The weather forecast missed it completely, and unless you were privy to the very rare yet very boisterous lightning, thunder and deluge, you might have woken up the next day and doubted its passage. At my house, we stood on the deck getting supremely drenched, drunk on Jack Daniels and a day's worth of beer and Bloody Caesar's at King Edward Bay Beach. In an attempt to photograph the ball, fork and sheet lightning that ripped through the sky, I snapped at least 60 frames of darkness as the delay on my Blackberry camera made it almost impossible to take a good picture. I did, however, manage to nail one just as the sky was electrified by the neon blue of a giant sheet of light way up in the clouds.

Unfortunately for Frank Patt and all the people who worked hard to organize the Barney Bentall concert on the golf course, the tempest arose just before the music was to start, and so, unprepared for rain, the festivities were literally washed out. No small consolation for those stuck in the downpour was the wide angle view afforded by the golf course's open vista of the light show put on by Mrs. Nature. We had been planning to head off to the event when the rain started, and so narrowly missed being soaked out there as opposed to remaining within arm's reach of dry clothes and shelter.

Bowen's perfect summer weather kept us at the beach much longer than we'd planned to stay - the water was clear and warm, and we swam so much we were in danger of dissolving. Fortified with ice cold beer and I-tunes, we migrated repeatedly from shore to sea, dogs a-plenty providing entertainment with sticks and balls.


It has been an eerie, spooky year on Bowen.

Perhaps the harbinger of things to come should have been the strange light in the air the day before Lance died. A forest fire in Goldbridge had impbued the air with dissipated smoke, which cast the sun in a flat orangy glare in the middle of the day, and its diminished warmth created the irreconcilable actuality of a hazy chilly day.

It was that night that Lance, under circumstances that best remain private, lost his life prematurely and unnecessarily. The subdued atmosphere in the town among the locals lasted for nearly an entire week afterward, as if even those who weren't acquainted with him curbed their summer exuberance in observation of his passing. Litte did anyone know at the time that this was going to be merely the first volley from the ship of fate across the bows of the ship of Bowen.

Curiously, remarkably dry and warm weather by coastal standards has come with a coincident collection of minor disasters. Terminal Creek ran dry, threatening the success of the hatchery's produce for the year, and necessitating the commissioning of a pump to lift water over the dam at trout lake into the stream.

Despite what certainly appeared to be unanimous popular disparagement for the idea, the school lawn was largely destroyed to be replaced by some supposedly "eco-friendly" recylable fill rendered from coconut and cork. Why did the grass need replacing again? Who drove this decision in apparent disregard for the democratic process?

The second senseless tragedy took the life of a young nineteen year old boy. Car flipped, driver lives. His best friend, the passenger, dies. I'm starting to feel sick.

The tug-of-war that is the evolution, or rather, the absence of evolution, on the Cape Roger Curtis Project continues satisfy the meddlesome inclinations of parties both for and against development of the project on varying scales. The developers have hired themselves a bunch of lobbyists thinly disguised as urban planners to purchase the professional opinion they need to give them the mantle of third party endorsement they think will help fleece Bowen Islanders of a major ecological inheritance.

With the annual reality of diminished precipitation and subsequent water system recharge under-performance, any discussion of a development that will bring at least several hundred new straws into the limited aquifer resources of the island is ill advised and just plain dumb. Never mind the increased pressure on scant traffic infrastructure, ferry and other transportation resources. And lets not forget about the growing population reaching critical mass sufficient to attract the rapacious wandering eye of culture killers like Starbucks, Burger King, McDonalds, Home Depot, and their spiritual leader, WalMart.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canada Day '09 - West Side Adventure

I woke up just before 10. It was Wednesday, Canada Day 09, and I was supposed to be rendezvous-ing with Ed and Sheree at the junction of Woods Road and Mt. Gardiner road in twenty minutes. It wasn't going to happen, that spot being a 2 hour hike from my house. So I called them and opted for the fossil fuel resuce plan.

Thanks to encroaching old fart-ism, I was still bent out of shape from the festivities on Monday night, when my army-bound friend Odin and I went and saw Sonny Rollins at the Orpheum. Thinking we were in for a proper schooling in old skool jazz sax, we were sorely disappointed to witness stumbling and bumbling of a past great whose best-before date had clearly lapsed. We stayed for two "songs" and split. Without going into the teenage details, I got home the next day by 1 in the afternoon, and began the recovery process, which mostly involved snoozing in the hammock.

So there's the state of mind that I was in as Ed and Sherree and I, my dog Vera, and their dog Chester, headed into the bush for the one hour trek to Barb and Jaquie's hike-or-boat-access-only cabin on the remote west side of Bowen Island, an 8 km stretch of the island whose foreshore is denied conventional access by steep cliffs hundreds of feet high.

It was hot and steamy inland, but the cool damp forest air kept us from breaking a sweat. After losing track of Chester thanks to itinerant deer a couple of times, we emerged from the bush at
Barb and Jaquie's, a beautifully renovated two level post-and-beam cliff-hugging cabin looking west towards Keats Island and the Langdale ferry terminal on the Sunshine Coast.

Beer and Caesar's were the beverages du jour, and we assumed our positions among the Cape Cod chairs with B&J's neighbours Tom and Carroll (and their dog Tessa, B&J's dogs Maggie and Molly completing the canine crew). After big fat burgers were graciously served by Barb and Jaquie, sticks were procured to entertain the fur-bearing friends and we migrated to Tom and Carrol's warf (photo above) as B&J's is under renovation.

These photos below are of the aquatic dog action.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Snow Capped Mountain Peak Adventure

Wow! What an ordeal hiking over the top of Gardner was today. The closer we got to the top, the more snow there was, until we were practically swimming up-hill through giant drifts to get to the peak. It was snowing at times, and foggy, and with icicles and snow coating all the trees and making them arch under the strain it was like walking through forest that had been blasted by the ice-gun. Which it literally had.

After we waded through the 4 foot deep snow to get to the east helicopter platform, we had to swim our way through to the trail going down the northwest face. There was so much snow, I was able to just leap off the side of the mountain and land in deep snow twenty feet lower in a single jump! Woo-hoo!

I was amazed at how disoriented I got once I was down off the peak and navigating for the connector to Upper Handlogger. With everything grotesquely morphed by the thick blanket of snow, nothing looked familiar at all. Fortunately, Vera was very accurate in sniffing out the trail, as I was able to confirm by the occasional orange trail markers that weren’t covered by snow.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful for whoever it is that does such a fantastic job of keeping these trails clearly marked. With the fog and snow, I’m almost certain I would have had a few major impromptu detours without them. Thanks! Whoever you are….

Once we reached the Handlogger Connector, the snow took on a different quality…still two feet deep, but with multiple crustal phases that made it hard sloggin for both me and the dog. Here’s a video I took of Vera fighting her way along, to give you some idea of how tough it was for poor little Miss Blueheels:

She’s pooped now, boy. Got a fire going as soon as we got back home, and now she’s roasting her belly and soundly snoozing.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bowen Island: Soon To Be Just Like Everywhere Else

I'm starting this blog cause I'm annoyed at all the pseudo government types around here pretending to have the best interests of Bowen Island at heart while they are just trying to divert attention from their true purpose, Self Enrichment.

I hike all over this island in the woods, on trails and off of trails, and I'm quite sure that nobody really understands the full extent of the devastation under way in so many locations across the island. My mission for the summer is to visit all the sites being developed on a large scale by greedy little developers who are smart enough to apply for one or two permits at a time, so no attention is drawn to their grand ambitions, and then post the photos here for all to see.

Check back here throughout the summer for updated photos and explanations of who is behind these projects.
James West