Saturday, July 25, 2015

Meeting the Forests of Tofino

A short visit to Vancouver and a couple nights spent with dear friends in Horseshoe Bay was our entrance point to Tofino. The warm welcome of friends and family had set the vibe for the crossing of the Georgia Straight from Horseshoe Bay to Nanimo.

Horseshoe Bay in the evening / photo by Walt Pascoe
Tofino came as a complete surprise to me. I had heard people rant and rave about this place many times before and I now know why. Tofino steals your heart slowly and quietly.

ferry crossing to Nanimo from Horseshoe Bay
First of all, there are the forests. Big, old growth forests that embrace you with their green and melt away all your tensions. Things you thought were urgent and important cease to even exist in these giant cathedrals of green love.

A note on the local bakery bulletin board in Tofino

We hiked many trails while we were there and always there was this deep almost rhythmic silence surrounding us in these ancient forests. The lush green ferns were ginormous and there were twisted and gnarled roots growing in amongst everything. A tangle of growth and life pulsing all around us. It felt so energetic and alive in these forests and we felt so ridiculously insignificant in the life span of these trees.

 And then there were the ravens. They were constantly present in the woods and on the beaches. They are a distinct part of this landscape and their calls and cries are so varied and omnipresent that they began to feel like an important aspect of this place.   


Friday, July 17, 2015

Squamish and The Chief

After a great visit and dinner with my cousin Shannon in Whistler we headed for Squamish. Fortunately for us  this is where my favorite aunt and uncle live and they generously offered to feed and shelter is for a few nights.

 The first day we spent exploring the area around Shannon Falls. I have painted these before and it was a joy to revisit this tall tumbling waterfall.


There is a remarkable looking rock face that is a central landmark in Squamish and it's called The Chief. 

 As a rock lover this mountain is irresistible so Walt and I decided to hike it. It isn't a long hike but a steady and steep climb. The view from the top looks out over Howe's Sound and is well worth the effort!  A well deserved beer at Howe's Sound Brewery with a view of the Chief was an excellent end to our day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Lillooet Highway from Kamloops to Whistler

 A spectacular drive from Kamloops to Whistler begins at Kamloops Lake and then crawlls and winds its way through the Fraser Canyon. Walt and I had Mercan Dede playing as this unearthly landscape unfolded around us in the early morning light. I was filled with emotions as we drove farther away form my two daughters. It is difficult leave your offspring each and every time, no matter how old they are.

The Okanagan Valley

Much time has passed since my last post from our "trip the light" road trip...the landscapes, the people, the stories...I finally stopped trying to write and paint as all our time has been taken up with exploring, travelling and awe. I will pick up the thread again now that the journey home has begun.

When I last posted we had just left Kamloops and gone to the Okanagan where we stayed in a bright and light filled airbnb in Vernon five feet from Lake Okanagan. We loved this place! Although it was very hot we could eat outside under the vine covered pergola and cool off by sitting on the dock. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Kamloops brings another change in landscape. Usually very dry and hot, almost desert like in feel. Tumbleweed and wild sage grow in abundance giving the land a dusty gray green palette. The Thompson River runs through the middle of these unusual land formations that look and feel much like a living being.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Rockies

The drive from Calgary to Kamloops is always an exceptional experience. The mountains begin to loom into view as you leave Calgary and slowly they begin to surround you as you enter Canmore. Their magnificent presence always inspires awe. Every time I drive through the Rockies it as if I have never encountered them before and I am always moved by their very existence. It was a joy to share this with Walt who has never been in their presence before.

 A quick stop in Banff and Lake Louise to breath in the mountain freshness and cooler air. Arriving in late Spring is a good time to view the Rockies as there is still snow on the tops and the rivers and waterfalls are full to bursting with the melting snow.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Across the Prairies

#trip_the_light has been on the road for 10 days now and I am dreadfully behind in my blog posts but wonderfully filled up with painting and writing material for many months to come.

I last posted in Northern Ontario where the beauty was boundless and all encompassing.
I am so in love with the landscape and how it is always changing and revealing different aspects of itself. I am currently reading PrairyErth by William Least Heat-Moon and it is an eloquent and deep exploration of one particular landscape in Kansas. The book is full of delightful quotes but this one struck me in particular was this one:

I like to think of landscape not as a fixed place but as  path that is unwinding before my eyes, under my feet.

To see and know a place is a contemplative act. It means emptying our minds and letting what is there, in all its multiplicity and endless variety, come in. 

-Gretel Ehrlich "Landscape," introduction to Legacy of Light (1987)

This seems to be what we are doing as we travel these marvelous routes and roads and allow the places to speak their own language to us as we pass through them.

A wooden suspension bridge leads the way to Ouimet Canyon.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Trip the Light Travels - Day #3

Today we took a break from driving to more fully absorb the beauty around Lake Superior and the Wawa area. I have crossed Canada so many times and never stopped long enough to fully appreciate this particular area. The ever changing light on the water takes you by surprise throughout the day as you come around different corners on the road.

We stayed in an airbnb log cabin located slightly east of Wawa and on the shore of Lake Superior. Just sleeping beside this large body of water is a gift in itself. Rhythmic waves break along the shoreline and an almost full moon poured its generous light across the water's surface to create a masterpiece of shimmer and sparkle in the dark night.

We visited Old Woman Bay where the photos don't capture it but the water was turquoise. The cliffs are home to peregin falcons and the water is crystal clear. There is something about being in the presence of such clear water and pure air that seems to make you glow from the inside out. It feels right and natural to feel so alive and in synch with the world around you.

Of course we visited the famous Wawa goose in town which commemorates the completion of the Trans Canada Highway from Sault St Marie to Wawa in 1960. Before this time there was no road access to Wawa and this last part of the highway was called the gap. This stretch of road is by far the most awe inspiring part of the drive.

Silver Falls were just down the road from where we we stayed and they were roaring at their absolute height of power from all the Spring rains. Magnificent to see and hear!

I thought Silver Falls was roaring and then we visited High Falls!! I am a huge fan of falling water. I could stand in its presence for hours and loose myself in its powerful movement and sound. It feels so joyful to me!
 An abundance of beauty is to be found here in grand gestures and minuet details. No wonder the Group of Seven were so inspired to paint here. Glen Gould came and stayed regularly in Wawa and claimed to write some of his best music here. The Life Force is potent here.

Long stretches of completely deserted shore line and pristine beaches.