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