A Travellerspoint blog

April 2014

Alert Bay

A day on Alert Bay

Bekki arrived a few days earlier than me as she went to a Potlatch while I attended our grandson’s birthday party. The Potlatch was in Alert Bay at the Big House there. She really wanted for all of us to go over to visit the Cultural Center and possibly the Big House during our visit.

We went to the ferry crossing at Port McNeil, about 20 minutes from Port Hardy and drove on when it arrived. The ferry ride was uneventful but really cold. We went out onto the deck but couldn’t stay outside for long.

Alert Bay is a small island with a main road that goes to the right and to the left from the dock. To the left is the Big House and Cultural Center and a burial ground is off to the right. We first went to the Cultural Center, the U’mista. Here there is a wonderful exhibit of masks used in the First Nation ceremonies. The exhibit opens with a film of a Potlatch which explained what Bekki had just recently experienced. She had tried to put it into words but was having a difficult time describing. The masks are on display where they are easy to view without glass. Many of the masks were taken by the government when potlatches were banned and have just recently been returned.

Next door to the U’mista are the remains of the Indian school. This school was where the Indian children were sent in order to forget their language and culture. Much the same things happened in the U.S. and we have our own horrible structures. The children were treated poorly here and some abused. Bekki said that part of the ceremony at the potlatch was to help the adults, who’d suffered here as children, to put it behind them. The school is eerie and stands as a huge reminder to the affected adults and to us of what can happen when we step in and try to make an entire culture change to our way of thinking, when we know what is best for a people.IMG_1190.jpg
It was quite cold so we found a place by the water for a picnic inside the car, then after lunch we found a coffee kiosk to warm up.
We drove around the island finding places to shoot photos, and then visited the burial grounds. We couldn’t walk on the grounds as they are sacred, but could view from the street. The burial grounds have quite a few totem poles, some new, some fallen. It was a dark foreboding sky, a good day to visit such solemn places.
As we waited for our ferry eagles flew around us.

Posted by Miss Chris 14:39 Archived in Canada Tagged travel canada bc totem_poles first_nations alert_bay u'mista Comments (2)

Life at Port Hardy

A little of our lives here

overcast 40 °F

Port Hardy is located at the northern end of Vancouver Island. It is about an 8 hour drive from Vancouver or a 1 hour flight. The island is accessible by both plane and ferry.

The Bed and Breakfast, Orange Tabby, is just across the street from the Queen Charlotte Strait. There is a park with a paved walkway that runs for several blocks along the water of Hardy Bay. Eagles fly overhead, landing in the local trees.IMG_1128.jpgIMG_1128.jpg

The purpose for this trip is really for Bekki to complete her dissertation project so my reason for being here is not only to take photos but to care for Emilio while Bekki works.

Tues and Wed was mostly caring for Emilio. The owner of the B & B brought us a stroller and toys for Emilio and the stroller was so great for walking the path along the water. We did a morning walk and an afternoon walk. I’d take Emilio out when he’d be tired and we looked for eagles, birds, otters and seals. We’d come in after he would fall asleepIMG_1097.jpg

Unfortunately I had claims work that needed to be done so that took up the times when Emilio was sleeping. But there are worse places to complete work.

I’d posted photos on facebook for Dale and other family members to see and keep track of what we were doing. Once I’d posted the photos I realized that Dale would really love being here. He did make a comment about driving and while he was kidding I knew he really wanted to come. I looked at United.com and there was a fare, cheaper than either ticket Bekki or I had found. Dale was on his way.

We picked Dale up on Thurs afternoon at the little Port Hardy airport. Such an unexpected way to spend our week and we really were happy for the extra help.

Posted by Miss Chris 09:17 Archived in Canada Tagged birds nature walking canada bc vancouver_island outdoors port_hardy orange_tabby_b&b Comments (0)

Flying Adventures

Getting to Port Hardy

I made my 6:30am flight but had stuff in my hands still packing as I was trying to check in. Once I got down to the gate I opened my carry on and finished packing.

I knew that I had plenty of time between my 3 flights so that getting to the various was not a problem. The problem would be once I got into Vancouver there would only be 1-1/2 hours to go thru customs, pick up my check in bag, get on a shuttle to the next terminal and then catch my flight to Port Hardy.

I got into Vancouver and once I got out of the terminal found a transportation person who told me to go across the street to catch the shuttle. After standing there for a few minutes I asked someone else who didn’t know, asked yet another person who told me I was in the wrong area. Finally I found the right stop and found people who were heading to the same place. I stuck to them like glue!

The plane to Port Hardy was a little tiny commuter plane, like the little puddle jumpers of years ago. 1 row of seats on each side of the plane, so small one can’t stand up inside. The flight crew left the cockpit door open so I could see them flying the plane. Oh, it brought back flying memories!!!
The flight was mostly cloudy but near Port Hardy the skies cleared and I could see the road we drove so many years ago.

As I exited the plane the co-pilot asked how I liked the flight and I told him that I loved it! Love the little planes. When he asked why I told him that many years ago I was flying with a current pilot’s license. He told me to get back flying. Maybe I will someday!!

Bekki and Emilio picked me up at the airport. We made a couple of stops then went to the Bed and Breakfast place where Bekki got us a room. We thought that we’d stay for at least the night. It was a room with a bed, but really sharing a downstairs apartment. Off of the entry hall are bedrooms to the right and straight ahead and to the left a laundry then living room, dining room and kitchen.

I still had food that I’d brought and Bekki had a few things so we lit candles, opened wine that I brought, ate dinner and just enjoyed our being in Canada.

Posted by Miss Chris 14:44 Archived in Canada Tagged airport family canada vancouver bc airplane port_hardy Comments (0)

Just Trying To Move On Down the Road

delays along the road

We had one last claim in Yreka, all the way to the Oregon border and drove there after Burney Falls. From Yreka we needed to get to Petaluma. The plan was that we’d get to Petaluma by late afternoon, Clayton and Jen would join us with their kids and pizza.

First delay was at a rest stop where we stopped for lunch. We’d just pulled into the stop and 2 of the grandkids and I had gone into the RV to get lunch stuff. One was still in the truck waking up and Dale was nearby.

I was standing at the RV table when a tractor trailer rig came thru, way too fast, pulling into a spot one over from us. The truck proceeded to go thru the parking spot, jumped the curb and hit a light post. The light post was pushed several feet away and the light fixture landed on the freeway. I looked up with the noise of the crash.
The driver of the truck backed up off the curb, got out of the truck and looked at the front, got back in the truck and drove away fast. Good thing no one was in his way.
Everything happened so fast that no one got the truck’a license plate number but I thought to call 911 as he pulled away. A Caltrans worker and I gave a good description to the dispatcher and we were told to wait for the CHP to arrive.

As we were finally sitting down to eat another Cal Trans worker came and told us that because of our quick actions the CHP caught the truck driver. Good!!!

We were about ready to leave when the CHP came to interview us. The officer interviewed the grandkid who saw the entire thing. All 3 kids kept asking the officer all kinds of questions but he was patient with them and let them ask away. We did have to stop them from showing him that they could count to 100 and beyond.

We were probably another hour down the road when a front right tire on the RV blew. We heard a bang; I looked out the side mirror to see tire pieces flying. We stopped and Dale changed the tire; fortunately he brought everything necessary for this event. Unfortunately the spare was not a great tire so we had to slow way down.

We finally made it to Petaluma, kids came and we gathered our wits about us. It was after starting to set up camp that we saw that the bottom of the RV skin was shredded. Fearing that there was damage that we couldn’t see underneath I called in a claim to the insurance.

We pulled out our much needed wine (our Poison) and took a break from our day!

Posted by Miss Chris 14:09 Archived in USA Tagged driving accident rv family_travel tractor_trailer Comments (0)

Up and Around a Waterfall

Nature brings out what is important.

As I’ve written plenty of times before, a great thing about my job is the ability to experience those things off the beaten path.

For the past 2 weeks we’ve had claims northeast of Redding. 2 weeks ago we had claims in Redding then the following day in Mt Shasta and Eureka. Lots of driving! This also meant taking roads we’d never been on before.

On the way to our claims in Fall River Mills we had a clear view of Mt Lassen from Redding. The Mt was so beautiful. We were reminded of our hike up to the top many years ago when our boys were young. When we took the grandkids the path was full of snow and we couldn’t make it to the top.
Before arriving at Fall River Mills we saw a sign with an arrow to Burned Falls to the west. We wondered what in the world was at Burned Falls, but had to put it aside as we need to get on with the work at hand.

We finished our claims quicker than anticipated and started on another new road towards Mr. Shasta. We were driving along and saw a signed for Burned Falls but to the east this time. As it was earlier than we’d thought it would be we thought “why not?”

We took the road to Burned Falls State Park; the campground was not open yet for the season but the hike to the falls was open. The falls are not visible from the rim so one must take a walkway down.

A very short walk down the paved walkway leads to a Y: A lookout to the left and a path down to the right. If visiting 1st go to the lookout for a breathtaking site. There are 2 main falls and then lots of small falls coming thru the rock face of the cliff. The path leads to the bottom of the falls and beyond.IMG_0971.jpg

We went on to take the walk down to the bottom of the falls, stopping along the way to take photos. The sky was not great but I still took a ton of photos.IMG_0941.jpg

This past week I received more claims and at the last minute, as we were driving, I received one in Burney. It was a very long claims day but we thought that we’d stop again in Burney Falls if there was time. We had our 3 younger grandkids with us and thought that it would be a great place for them to do some stretching out.

We did get to Burney Falls late afternoon. I was finishing up some work so Dale went ahead with the kids. When I finally hit the trail I didn’t see anything of Dale and the kids. I figured that this time they took the loop. I just decided that I needed to stretch my legs and go the entire 1.3 mile loop walk as well. The kids, it turned out, ran the loop.

The loop walk is paved from the parking lot to the bottom of the falls then there is a path along the river. One crosses the river over a small bridge, then hikes up other side to a spot higher than the top of the falls, crosses over on another bridge and walks back to the parking lot.IMG_0957.jpg

As I walked I was enjoying the peace of the forest, the falls and the river. I stopped at one point to smell the forest. While I was just in the moment of being alone in the forest I thought of my relatives and friends who I’ve recently seen. Ones who will not, for various medical reasons, have the chance to hike like this.

I thought about the fact that we are all born with genes, and while some are good and some are bad, we have no control over them. And we do not know what turns our life will take even 5 minutes from now. The decisions we make, in good faith, may be bad due to another’s bad decision. So many factors; such is the circle of life. But what I knew in that moment is that I must be grateful for my good health, my ability to hike, the ability to travel, to remember those who are not so fortunate, not take anything for granted.

I smelled the pine trees and the fresh forest. I looked at the moss on the rocks, the waterfalls. I tried to soak in the surroundings for those who won’t be able to.

To my cousins and my friend. Thinking of you and I’m carrying you in my heart.

Posted by Miss Chris 21:45 Tagged hills nature hiking outdoors grandkids california_state_parks burney_falls Comments (0)

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