I am writing this as we anxiously await the outcome of the American election debacle. Like so many, Claire and I have been compelled to follow what is happening south of our border. To witness what we see as the rapid decline of the US over the past 4 years, has been very unsettling. We obsess about the American election and their beyond-the-pale President while the existential crisis facing humanity is ignored. Though not one to worry, the anxiety the above has provoked is wearing on me. To break from the above we thought a blog post was timely.
I’m not too sure how to put this but at both a personal and local level, ‘life is grand’. We are now both retired. The demands and tribulations of work are behind us. Our modest lifestyle precludes financial stress. Our small suite, in our too large home, is lovely and more than adequate for our needs. Our kids are both well. Nina is back at school doing a GIS diploma, regrettably online, but she’s enjoying the challenge and doing very well. Nico is working on his P. Eng. and currently faced with some interesting career opportunities. Otherwise they are both happy, healthy, and engaged citizens. We are lucky to have them both still reasonably close and able to be part of their lives.
Our health, fingers crossed, remains good. The minor aches and pains associated with pursuing our outdoor activities we can bear with. We continue to either hike, bike, run or paddle most every day. Claire decided to take up rock climbing at age 64 which I, after a 38-year hiatus, was keen to get back into. We started at the local climbing gym last winter until Covid shut that down. This summer we have got onto the rock and though I have been tentative in my risk taking we are both enjoying what the sport brings us. Now that the fall rains have started, we are regularly out mushrooming and looking forward to snow in the mountains when we’ll switch to skate skiing and back-country touring.
Though they say, ‘we are all in this together’, for the most part, Covid has had only a modest impact on our lives. Canada has been reasonably cohesive in terms of the response to the pandemic and BC has performed particularly well. On top of that, our little town has been largely spared any community spread and has avoided strict lock downs. Our ability to head out into nature directly from our backyard has been a blessing. At the same time, we are painfully aware that so many people have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. The gratitude and quite frankly, the luck we feel for our own circumstance cannot be understated.
When the pandemic first hit and things shut down we all stayed close to home. Like many, we embarked on some Covid-renovations. I made some much needed upgrades to our front entry and rear patio, among other projects.
Despite all the restrictions of the pandemic, travel within our province slowly opened up as the summer progressed. We managed to get away for some wonderful and varied trips in ‘Beautiful BC’, which we would love to share.
In June we got together with brother Dave and his eldest daughter Kirsten to kayak the wild, ‘wet’ coast of Vancouver Island to the remote Bunsby Island Group. Things did not go as planned. When we arrived at our proposed put in at Fair Harbour we were informed the local First Nations (Kyuquot Checleset) was restricting access to their traditional territory. Disappointed and frustrated but, in the end, understanding, we back-tracked and put in at the village of Zeballos at the head of Esperanza Inlet. Over the next six days we paddled out one coastline of the inlet to the remote Nuchatlitz Prov. Park and then back on the opposite shore.
I had long wanted to visit Tweedsmuir Prov. Park (the largest park in our province) and travel the infamous ‘hill’ down to the coast at Bella Coola in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest so we hooked up the trailer, loaded the e-bikes and canoe then headed north.
After a couple of aborted attempts we finally got a weather window to chopper into Lake Lovelywater in order to climb Alpha Mountain. Nina, NIco and his partner Caila joined us for the three day outing. The helicopter flight in to the lake through a whole in the clouds was super cool. The hike to our basecamp was hard but mercifully short. The climb, at times nerve wracking, but well worth the effort and the flight out, an awesome tour of the Tantalus Range provided free of charge by our pilot, an old buddy.
When I was 17 years old and on the way to the Yukon to ‘find my fortune’, my father, 2 brothers and sister paddled the famous Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit in central BC. I have been waiting ever since to do the same. We were blown away by the beauty of the place.
Given the difficulties much of the world is facing and all the anxieties so many are experiencing we feel incredibly lucky and are so grateful we live where we live and can do what we do. We hope this finds you all well, dealing with the pandemic as best you can and surrounded by the love and support we all need.
Jim and Claire
24 thoughts on “Luck and Gratitude in the Time of Covid”
Thank you SO much for this uplifting update. Itâs come on such a miserable slushy, chilly day and really lifted my spirits.
Overall, though, we two have also been feeling really blessed to be sailing through the past 9 months with (personally) no more than some minor inconveniences to handle.
Being âforcedâ to explore more, and closer to home can hardly be deemed a hardship, given our locale.
Again, youâve managed to provide a dose of âgood feelsâ with your post!
Big virtual hugs,
Carla Wilkie and Peter Fritz
Virtual hugs right back. Looking forward to seeing you guys up at the Callahan for some socially distant skating.
All the best
Dear Lovely Harvies!!! You not only live, but thrive , as only you two can!!! OMG to Claire for taking up climbing!! What s classy dame!!
I have been wondering what you were doing, as I spend long, now very long , weekends in Squamish, doing what walking that I can,, and trying to get up to speed Internet in order to access hospitsl charts, snd comply with thr new snd very counterintuitive. AND bossy computer system necessitated PHSA for whom i still have the good fortune to work,,, in this profession that still gives me so much joy.. Part time while learning the computing,, is all I can manage for now.. but we shall see!!
so thank you for your fulsome and invigoratingbtobthebpointbofvechaustion anecdotes.. will try my i- pad to pick up pictures..once agsin demonstrstjng my lack of technical skills!!!
so,, thank you both, for sharing.. you are all often in my thoughts.
So good to hear from you Lorraine. I can relate to the frustration of trying to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change. Glad to hear your profession still motivates you. Mental health services must be under a lot of strain and the essential nature of your work is, more than ever, appreciated by us all!
All the best
Jim & Claire
Dear Jim and |Claire,
What a wonderful treat to find your email today! It was rather spooky, actually, as I just woke up this am thinking of you and presto there was your email and exciting news! Canât you just hear your dad saying to you when you were age 50, âJim, just how old do you think you are, with all these daredevil schemes?! I really admire your outdoor activities and you are to be commended! And you have the figures to prove it! My two sons are wonderful guys but a little meaty around the middle! Your pictures are breath-taking and I certainly enjoy them.
I must apologize for sending this to you in the old âReplyâ venue but I just am just not techie enough to do otherwise. Also, they seem to want a lot of info before sending a comment and being an old lady, I get nervous about that.
The pic above is of my little GG, Lincoln Thomas, Marty and Wendyâs grandson. He is a delight, his favourite words, âwowâ and âpapaâ, the latter used for his gramps, Marty, but much to Martyâs chagrin he discovered that Lincoln called every bald man,âpapaâ so there you are!
I keep very well and so far have eluded hearing aids or canes and walkers (touch woodâI use my head for that purpose).
We are taken very good care of here at Berwickâno visitors allowed unfortunately but I have my âbubble of fourâ for meals and another âbubble of fourâ I am allowed to play bridge with.
Take care and know you are well loved as you enjoy your very active life.
Love and hugs, GG (the old one)
Great to hear from you Alice and of your two bubbles, of your avoiding walking aids (I expected nothing less!) and of your great grandson. Hope to talk again soon or better still a visit, when visiting is once again an option.
Jim and Claire
Well, this was an unexpected gift in my inbox. Thank you, Jim. It was delightful to read and I loved your photos. Denise
Thanks Denise. I wish it was as delightful to write as to read. I so belabour my writing. I need to do more of it.
This is all so beautiful Jim and Claire. Words feel inadequate!
I’m very moved by your sense of adventure, your courage, your joy, your resilience under pressure, and your eloquence, Jim!
Your spectacular photos lift my spirits.
You are very welcome Ros. Your kind words are much appreciated.
I think we all need some ‘spirit lifting’ these days!
Great blog. Quite a life and marvelous photos. I forwarded it to Ken. Whose footprints – Sasquatch? Just read: In the Valleys of the Noble Beyond. Very good.
On Fri, 13 Nov 2020 at 13:21, OVER THE HILL AND BEYOND wrote:
> Claire & Jim posted: ” I am writing this as we anxiously await the outcome > of the American election debacle. Like so many, Claire and I have been > compelled to follow what is happening south of our border. To witness what > we see as the rapid decline of the US over the past 4 y” >
Thanks Elaine. Just read ´Secret Life of Bees’ and thoroughly enjoyed it. Deserving of all the acclaim.
What an amazing adventure to Lake Lovely Water. Way to go on getting everyone up there safely. Very impressive. Enjoy your travels. I look forward to reading about more.
Thanks Alison. Our ‘limited’ travel opportunities within our province are pretty special!
I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting my own backyard this year. Normally it’s overrun with tourists, so being able to hike and climb in Lake Louise sure is special.
What a great way to spend the summer you guys. We too recently camped at Riske creek on a little road trip through Farwell Canyon to Pavilion. I just can’t get enough of that Fraser River scenery. Looks like we’ll need to put Tweedsmuir (among others) on our to-do list.
As always, thanks for the inspiration.
Roland and Melissa.
Yes, the open, dramatic vistas of that stretch of Fraser River country are beautiful and we (Claire & I) know so little about it. As you pass through those vast ranches – ex. the Douglas Lake Ranch, 160,000 hectares and owned by an American multi-billionaire – I wanted to know more about ranching; the business, culture, ecology, etc. but we hardly saw a soul. Had two quite different interactions with local cowboys – one friendly and informative, the other less so! Access to Crown Land in the area is an on-going problem almost like dealing with FLNRO locally ;). Hope to see you guys soon.
All the best
Amazing scenery Jim! I wished I had that in my backyard!
I remember the rock climbing gripps on your house in Managua, NIcaragua. As a birthday present , I got a rock climbing training from my kids but due to corona, I coud not take it yet.
We are all healthy although I have to take a risk due to my teaching profession. If I don’t have to teach, I am working at home as Rianne does. Can we get used to our retirement after a few years!!
Greetings from the Netherlands!
Glad to hear you guys are both well. If you start going to the climbing gym Nico you’ll need a belayer. Looks like Rianne will need to start climbing too! 😉 Keep well. We hope to see you both someday. Maybe a trip to Canada when you retire??
All our best
Jim & Claire
OK, I am not as good as you with words Jim, but it was a delight to read your adventures and your perspective on life. Loved pretty much all your pictures, no I mean I loved all your pictures. You are both pretty good that’s for sure. Yes you are very lucky and John and I were just saying this morning how very lucky we feel too so boy are we lucky hey!
Always good to hear from you Carole – we don’t expect anything from your husband ;).
Yes, lucky we all are! See you soon.
I just reread your blog this morning. Thanks for sharing your adventures! It was enough to make me forget the grey vista outside my windows this morning. What amazing times you have!
Thanks Arlene. Yes, it has been pretty grim out these days. We’ve been missing our chats and our always eager greetings from Abbey. See you soon.