Monthly Archives: June 2012

Assemblages of our Discarded Past: Aaron Moran

I love a good post that focuses on design, art and building – all the things I do every day! An excellent post by and awesome blogger – if you haven’t already, please check out Artsy Forager on wordpress!


Artsy Forager

I have always been a lover of things past.  Some of my favorite places have been cities or towns that truly celebrate their history, even revel in it.  To walk into a building that has been repurposed and restored is such a delight.  But it seems that more often than not, older buildings and homes instead of being loved and revered are neglected and then torn apart to make way for the shiny and new.  The sculptural work of Aaron Moran uses pieces of found architectural wood to create works that are as complex and chaotic as our history.

Each piece becomes a small monument to our collective history.  Just scraps might be affixed to repair a dying structure, so these scraps from buildings long gone are bound together physically in each work and spiritually in their shared destiny.

Instead of languishing at the bottom of a landfill, these relics…

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Back on the Stained Glass Horse

…  although I’d have to get back on it very delicately if I was being really literal.

It’s been a long time since I had a studio space set up at all.  I’m ready to get back into it!  I spent some time after work today unpacking boxes of supplies and looking at the glass bits that I’ve had all bundled up for the past two years…  What a long time!  *le sigh*  No more sighing, though, because I’m so close to having more project work completed I can taste it!

For your viewing pleasure, some pictures:

Spare Bedroom Studio Set-up!

Some lamp panels I started years ago…

More panels…

Glass and copper foil detail

A puzzle… !

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West Coast Trail – Day 4

Day 4 – Monday June 4

Carmanah Creek to Cullite Creek – 12 km

This was what I would consider the hardest day on the trail for my trip.  Marty and I woke up sore and still tired from the 21 km trek the day before.  We took a bit more time than usual getting going, but were still on the trail before 8:30 am.  This section of the trail started off with a cable car, but it was pretty short (a blessing!)  We had looked at fording Carmanah Creek, but the water was cold and deeper than we wanted to wade through, and we weren’t doing it with boots on again!  Over the cable car, it was back to the beach.  The terrain was pretty varied, and we hit shelf and hard-packed sand between Carmanah and Bonilla Point.  Between Bonilla and Vancouver Point, the beach was small pebbles, which was really hard to walk on, but there wasn’t a good rock shelf at the bottom of it.  We were going so determinedly that we nearly walked over a dead sea lion washed up on the shore!  It was enormous!!  And smelled terrible.  I dry heaved while Marty took a picture for me…

Smelly dead sea lion

By the time we reached the trail access just before Vancouver Point, we’d already decided that we were going to head up and inland instead of carrying on along the beach.  It was starting to get windy and spit rain a little bit as well, and we wanted a bit more shelter than the beach would provide.  Of course, to get to the trail meant ladders, ladders… and more ladders.

Hannah’s bum going up a ladder

At the top of the ladder, we began a tedious 2 km hike to get to Walbran Creek.  It was slow going, what with sore feet and tired muscles, and added rain to boot.  We got to Walbran Creek at lunch time, so we crossed the creek by (another) cable car, and sat on the beach next to the creek to eat.  The cable car was upstream quite a bit from the mouth of the creek where it emptied into the ocean, and I would presume from where the beach trail crosses it.  We watched a group of hikers going north cross while we ate; they were thigh-deep in cold water, and we congratulated ourselves on making the decision to hike inland for the morning.

From Walbran, it was 3 km to Logan Creek, home of the Logan Creek Suspension Bridge.  The creek crossing had been washed away in a landslide some years prior, leaving very exposed cliff faces on either side of the ravine.  The one thing I can say about this day was that it was scattered with milestones in relatively short distances – only 5 km of beach to start, 2 km of inland trail tile Walbran, 3 km to the next creek, and so on.  It made the day a lot easier mentally, as it was easier to keep going with a goal of 3 km instead of the full 12…

I don’t remember exactly on what part of the trail it happened, but this was one of the days I slipped and fell (I’d had a fall the previous day as well).  This was one of the most challenging aspects of this trail, I found – the mental concentration and determination required to plan each step pretty carefully and make sure you weren’t slipping or getting your boots wet.  Of course it was bound to happen, and both Marty and I fell a couple of times, but this one was the most frustrating!  I’d just put my foot down on a root, and the slick mud made me slip and fall sideways into 6 inches of mud.  Not only did I lose my balance, but I also couldn’t get it back again to get up, because my pack had slid forward on my shoulders and I couldn’t push myself out of the mud!  Marty luckily came back to help pull my pack up so I could get up again, but it was a shaking experience for me – a sobering reminder that a twisted ankle or a bum knee meant a ride home in a zodiac or helicopter…  It was really tough to be so sharply focused for the full time we were hiking.

Logan Creek was crazy.  We were expecting ladders, but man oh!  We got ladders…  The sides of the ravine were nearly cleared bare from the slide, and the ladders were steep and very very tall.  The suspension bridge was pretty amazing, and the view down the creek was really neat.  Across the bridge, the ladders back up were just as intense.  The very last one was shaky on the bottom two-thirds, as it was only secured into the hillside behind it about two-thirds of the way up.  The drop was insane, and a shaky ladder makes for shaky knees once you’re at the top!  We settled our nerves with a chocolate bar…

Logan Creek Ladder and Suspension Bridge

All’s well that ends well, however.  We got to Cullite Creek around 5 pm.  The campsite was gorgeous – definitely my favourite of the trip!  It had a lot of flat, clear tent sites up off the beach.  The beach itself was bordered by beautiful stone cliffs that came straight up out of the water.  It was like a campsite at the bottom of a secret cove.  Someone had built a large firepit (bad someone!) up off of the beach.  I debated making a fire on the beach, but in the end we decided to use what was already there. We picked a prime spot (we were the first to arrive at the site), made a fire and hung out our damp clothes to dry in the wind.

This was one of my favourite evenings of camping as well.  By about 6 pm, more people had started to show up – a group of men from the Calgary area (Marty loved it, as that’s where he lived for the last ten years before moving to Victoria), two women from Vancouver (we’d started the same day as them, and I don’t think I saw them look dirty once on the trail.  It was like magic!), and a couple from Switzerland.  It was a great spot for a large firepit, as we all sat around and talked about the trail, other hikes, sports, news and whatever for the evening.  It was by far the most social night we had on the trail, and it was really fun to make a cup of cocoa and find out about the other people we were sharing the trail with.  The woman from Switzerland told us that her pack had given her blisters on the hip straps, which is insanity!  It made me appreciate having good, lightweight gear for this trip – my pack was 27 or 28 lbs on the first day, including my 2 L. platypus water pack!  I think I would have died if I’d had blisters on my hips…  Not. even. joking.

The guys from Calgary were avid hikers and talked about how much they loved hiking on the beach because it was so different than anything they had access to in the prairies…  It really made me consider how lucky Marty and I are to live on the coast, and how often I take it for granted, especially after living on the gulf islands for almost 20 years.  By the time we’d all made our dinners and eaten, all that was left to do was enjoy the fire and relax for the next upcoming day.  We’d just completed the most intense day we would experience on the trail, and we deserved to have an evening to have fun and chill out!

West Coast Trail – Day 3

Day 3 – Sunday June 3

Tsusiat Falls to Carmanah Creek – 21 km

Day 3 of the WCT was really epic.  The second night, we camped at Tsusiat Falls, from which point there was a 10 km length of trail on which there was no reliable source of fresh water.  We started out the morning hiking along the beach for a couple of kilometers.  The weather was a bit cool, but perfect for slinging the pack on and hitting the trail.  About 1km from the Tsusiat campsite was a fantastic tunnel carved through the rock that we walked underneath.  Nature is truly amazing.

Me at Tsusiat Point

From the beach, we hiked inland to the Nitinat Narrows.  The trail was relatively wide, although there were some steeper uphill and downhill sections than the previous day.  The views from the bluffs were amazing, and there were some sections of the trail where you were right against the side of the hills.

A view of the beach from the bluffs

Nitinat Narrows arrived after about 7 km.  We just called across the narrows to the ferry operator, who boated over to pick us up and shuttle us across.  The Nitinat Narrows is a river section between the ocean and Nitinat Lake – when the tide comes in, the water between the two is a mix of salty and fresh.  We bought a crab from the ferry operator and ate it for a mid-morning lunch.  The guy who cooked it for us told us it’s the only place in the world where they catch dungeness crab in a lake, but I have that as unverified information!  It certainly was delicious, though…

Me pulling apart delicious dungeness crab

Across the narrows, we walked along boardwalk through some pretty swampy areas, reaching Clo-oose in a couple of hours.  The park warden had warned us that there was a cougar in the area between km 34 and 38, so they were asking hikers not to camp in that area.  At km 37, we decided to walk along the beach, to break up the terrain a bit.  It was fine sand, but the tide was going out, so it was packed pretty firmly for the most part.  Just before the trail access at Dare Point, I slipped and fell on the rocks, which sucked.  I added a couple of bruises and got myself pretty wet.  Falling was a bit of a mental shake-up as well.  It’s hard to just pick up and keep going – I found it made me a lot more timid when we walked on rocky beach with lots of seaweed.  Marty also slipped on some boulders just underneath the trail access and broke one of his hiking poles.  Boo.

The trail access was up a steep scramble with ladders to greet you before getting back on the main path.  Just a taste of what was to come in the next couple of days, especially since the first couple days on the north end of the WCT is pretty easy hiking…  We made good time to Cribs Creek, where we stopped to refill our water bottles and massage our aching feet (I did, anyways…)  At this point, we’d come 17 km.  Our options were to stop and set up camp for the night, or keep going to Carmanah Creek.  The benefits of staying at Cribs was no more hiking after an already-long day…  the benefits of continuing were a reduction in the amount of trail in the days ahead while we still had sunny weather, and…  HAMBURGERS!  Yes, you heard me correctly!  Just past the Carmanah lighthouse is a small farm and cookshack!  Of course, in the end we felt that pushing onward just had too much benefit.  And we were both ready for some tasty beef!

The beach between Cribs Creek and Carmanah Creek was gorgeous.  We got sand, we got rock shelf, we had it all.  As we were trekking along, we noticed a large rock out past the shore…  We debated whether or not there was sea life on it, until we suddenly heard barking and grunting, and looked up to see a hundred sea lion heads looking back at us!  They were pretty far away, but it was still totally amazing.

Sea lion rock

At the end of the beach, we climbed ladders and stairs up to the Carmanah lighthouse.  At the lighthouse, we said hello to the lighthouse keeper, and Marty asked him what the most frequent question he was asked was…  He replied, “It’s usually ‘Do you like living here?’ but we’ve posted answers to the most frequently answered questions on a notice board over there” and pointed at said notice board!  It made us laugh that the lighthouse keepers had a FAQ sheet, but makes sense given that there are some 6-8000 hikers on the trail every year.  We checked out the information, and got an update on the NHL playoffs, down to the names and times of every goal in the series!  We then headed down the other side of the bluff back to the beach.  And we couldn’t get there fast enough!  Hamburgers awaited!

The “restaurant” on the beach is really a large tent set up like a cook-shack with several sets of plastic tables and chairs.  I had to laugh because whenever you sat on a chair, it sank at least 6 inches into the sand… it felt like being at the ‘kids’ table’ at a family get together all over again!  The two lovely women working there dished up enormous burgers with bacon, cheese and mushrooms…  and we pretty much inhaled them.  We had a nice visit and a nice break, but it was all too soon that we had to re-shoulder our packs and trudge our way along an unforgiving pebble beach to Carmanah Creek.  The creek had a decent campsite, but it was cold and windy, and we’d just come 21 km, so we promptly set up our tent, brushed our teeth, put the food into the bear bin and settled in for the night.  My feet have never been so sore in my life!

And so concludes Day 3 of the West Coast Trail.  An epic post for an epic day of hiking!  Keep posted for Day 4 and 5, coming up next!

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Life’s So Delicious!


I was poking around wordpress, as I freqently end up doing before or after writing a post (more on the West Coast Trail to come!), and came across the fantastic foodie blog spoon fork bacon…  Pouring over the many amazing recipes on this site just makes me hungry, and I think I won the lottery when I came across their recipe for Baked Apple Pie Egg Rolls!

Honestly, I love to eat, and I love foodie blogs that feature fantastic photos as well.  This blog really has it all!  Great recipes and gorgeous photos.  I don’t do that much cooking these days, although I am the baker in my house.  M. likes to cook, and while I enjoy it and would say I’m not a bad cook, I’m more than willing to let someone take over the majority of this duty if I don’t have to do it!  The kitchen in our new place is a tiny little galley kitchen, which is really sad and claustrophobic with more than one person in it (I can’t imagine making pastry there…), so it’s not totally conducive to inspiring chef-ery, but I think that these I will have to try out soon!


West Coast Trail – Day 1 and 2

Well, as promised, my post on my recent West Coast Trail hiking adventure.  Marty and I hiked the WCT starting on June 1 and returning home on June 7.  It was physically demanding, mentally exhausting and had some of the most amazing scenery I’ve seen on the coast – and I’ve lived here for almost 20 years now!

Day 1 – Friday June 1

Pachena Bay Trail Head to Darling River – 14 km

Caught the bus heading up to the Bamfield Trail Head at 6am.  The bus ride took about 6.5 hours and it rained almost the entire way.  We completed the trail orientation at the Parks Canada office and were on the trail by 2pm, at which point the weather cleared up so hiking was pretty pleasant.  The trail at the north end is relatively moderate hiking – the paths are pretty wide and the hiking is pretty steady.  There wasn’t a whole lot of up and down, though we did encounter quite a bit of water running in the trail because of the recent rain.  We missed the trail off to the Pachena Lighthouse, but we figured we’d get some good looks at the Carmanah Lighthouse coming up.  We got to Darling River at about 6pm.  The campsite here was across the river, so we pondered for a minute, looked for a good place to use rocks to cross and then decided we’d just have to wade through.  We got our boots just soaked!  And not half an hour later, a group coming behind us did the same thing, but sat down and took their boots of first!  Whoops…  We found a nice spot on the beach with a bit of shelter from the wind and set up our tent for the night.  Aside from wet boots, the first day was a huge success!

Hannah and Marty at the Pachena Trail Head… looking clean!

Trail markers at Michigan Beach

Darling River looking toward the ocean

Day 2 – Saturday June 2

Darling River to Tsusiat Falls – 11 km

We got into a rhythm of getting up around 6am to have breakfast and pack up camp for the day’s hike coming up.  We at oatmeal every morning (nice to have something hot and tasty!) and I usually followed it up with a granola bar or trail mix not too long after we got on the trail for the day.  Our boots were still soaked from the river crossing the evening before – getting in at 6pm hadn’t given us any sunshine to dry them out in… I put on a dry pair of socks, but my feet were still soaked by the time we got to Tsusiat Falls.  At least walking all morning keeps your feet warm!  The hike here was pretty close to the same as the first day.  We spent more time hiking on the beach, which was nice, and got to see a bit of shipwreck debris.  We got a few tastes of the trail to come, as well – a cable car across Klanawa River and some ladders leading down to the beach at Tsusiat.  We had great timing at the cable car, as we arrived just as a German hiker was pulling himself across in the other direction.  We dropped our bags and went to pull the cable to help him across – pulling a cable car by yourself is tough work, and Klanawa River was the longest cable car we’d have to do!  It ended up that he and his friend were travelling together, so they helped pull me and Marty across on our trip, and we returned the favour again for the second German hiker.  The weather was sunny, and we arrived at Tsusiat Falls at about 1 pm.  The falls were amazing after a lot of spring rain – lots of water rushing over them and throwing up a cool mist across the beach.  We go out all our damp gear from the day before and put it out on logs and rocks to dry in the sun, especially our boots!  It was nice to have the afternoon to bum around on the beach and do some busy-work.  We even had time to play some cards!  The evening was warm and lovely, and we watched a pod of grey whales (we assumed – they weren’t orcas or humpback whales) migrating up the coast.  We probably saw about a dozen or so whales over the course of several hours!

Check back soon for more posts on how the hike went!

Rock shelf beach hiking with slippery seaweed

Rusted shipwreck debris on the beach

Big and little sea anemones in a tide pool

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The Shape of Green: Sustainability and Aesthetics

Got back in from hiking the West Coast Trail – what a truly epic adventure! – and was doing some reading now that I have an internet connection again.  I found this truly interesting post by Lance Hosey on Design Observer, especially interesting after just spending an entire week with my life in a 26 lb pack on my back – no phone, no computer, nothing but sun and rain and waves and forest.  I think Hosey makes some pointed observations about the impact that design has on our everyday lives and our footprint for consumption.  The article is lengthy, but touches on a lot of aspects of sustainability and what that really means and looks like – it’s well worth the read.  Let me know what you think!

The Shape of Green: Sustainability and Aesthetics: Places: Design Observer.

P.S.  Another post on the WCT with pics to follow soon!

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