Port Townsend Part #2

Our first full day in Port Townsend, we decided to hang around town and visit the farmers market and Aldridge’s (very fancy, very $$$ specialty store) until the marine science centre opened at noon. We did miss the Rhododendron Festival Parade down main street, but there wasn’t enough time to get everything in I guess!

touch pools at the marine science centre

The farmer’s market was very well appointed and we ended up buying some salad greens to go with the truly ridiculous seafood I bought at the grocery store the day previous, and we stopped off at Aldridge’s to buy some very $$ garlic vinaigrette that I didn’t like *too oily, not at all vinegary enough!

Then it was time to head to the marine science centre plus museum, and also to visit the venerable grounds of Fort Worden.

So cool!

I loved the science centre, and a highlight was the octopus ‘Sylvia’ who was zooming around his aquarium tank. I have never seen such an active octopod! Go Sylvia!

Prickly urchins in the touch pool

Then we checked out the small marine science museum, and walked to the Fort Worden lighthouse, a few clicks away, but it was a nice day and finally warm and sunny, so we figured why not walk it out?

Then we went back to the car and drove closer to the parade grounds of Fort Worden, and parked to walk the trails to the artillery batteries, of which there are many. I do not like them, I think that they are dank, creepy and disturbing. Ian loved them. I just wanted to sit in the sun and snooze, hahaha.

It was a lovely day of being outside, in the sunshine. We haven’t strung together two nice days at all since, or before, so I think we were truly fortunate that one weekend.

And for dinner, we made shrimps and fish salad, and enjoyed a few bottles of beer out on the beach. Did I mention that the beaches were basically across the street from main street/the hotel? It was SO nice.

Next up: We take part in a historical Rhody Festival event: Rhody run 10k!

Life is too short: Horses go to the beach day!

We’re reclaiming our terrible year(s) and doing everything we can, right now! Life is so fleeting, so tenuous, so delicate and so fragile so why not do everything you can, all at once?

That is literally my life’s motto, so my friends and I who have all endured some truly sucky times these past few years decided to take our horses to the beach!

And boy, it was exciting! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We went late because we were anticipated to have an absolutely miserable day (atomspheric river??) with pelting rain but we lucked out and it didn’t even rain on us! Grey but not that cold. How amazing is that!

Some photos…Enjoy! We did end up getting caught by the tides and one of our member’s horses was kind of having a freak out about having to go in the crashing waves to get back to the horse trailer, so we had to backtrack and then kind of dramatically crash over some rocks to jump to the main pathway, safe from the waves. All good though.

Oats with big bro Donato!
The gang ๐Ÿ™‚

And off to the Big Smoke (Kelowna)

Which actually wasn’t smoky really, but as the wildfires gathered strength I heard it got much, much worse. We did get incredibly lucky on this trip on the whole!

We drove through Vernon and it was wall-to-wall cars from Vernon to Kelowna and Kelowna was just terrible. Gridlock traffic the entire way. WTF??

Winery tasting with the family

We couldn’t check in to our hotel (damned Kelowna hotels, we stayed at the Prestige Beach location and I kind of hate it…) until after 4pm so we had hours to kill with Gidget. I decided I wanted to check out Gellatly’s Nut Farm which is also a beach and provincial/historical park. We couldn’t walk Gidget through the nut orchards because they apparently were worried that some dumbass child would mistake a dog shit for a nut (which then I think, they had it coming…) so we took turns cruising through the orchard and I found a hazelnut and a walnut! The walnut was interesting, all green and the nut inside the ‘fruit’. I had Ian dig it out and it stained his fingers for a week!!!

Summertime and the living is easy

We had dinner at my folks place, went for a swim and the next day met them in the morning for a swim and a nice visit to a winery close to their house.

That’s a big beer

We then staggered around in the heat downtown which was tougher than I thought, I felt so hot and dehydrated?!

Summerhill Winery’s pyramid of mystery

Back to my parents for dinner, birthday cake and a swim (which was awesome!), a walk to their beach locally and then back to the hotel. The next day we were up bright and early to drive to stay a night in Vancouver, where we ran the sea wall (yes!!) and had Moroccan dinner, which was very cool, and then back home- holidays all over!

I miss being on vacation….

An amazing weekend!

The weather was INCREDIBLE last week and this weekend. Wow. After my extensive complaining that April was the new February (no joke, I realized I had been writing ‘Feb’ on all my journal entries for Oats?? I guess it really did feel like Feb?), we had a real turnaround with a heat wave and I loved it!!

So glorious…

Sadly, like all things ephemeral and temporary, it will not last, but man…Wasn’t it glorious? Weather up to 20 degrees (15 where I live on the water always), and it was just stunning. It was easy to forget we are still in the middle of a pandemic that is getting worse before it gets better- my vaccine time is NOT going to be soon, sadly- it was just so nice to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.

I enjoyed the sunlight perhaps a bit tooooo much- my face was sun-shocked and red and tight but not sunburned after my extravagances this weekend. Even with sunscreen! Ha! I guess it had been that long since it was so sunny and warm, my poor skin didn’t know what to do.

We took drinks to the beach and sat for a few hours and watched otters play in the seaweed beds, hunting. We people-watched, admired the sunlight, the water, and listened to music. It was perfect.

On Saturday my husband joined me on the track!! I know! He never does, so we hoofed it over there after I rode Oats (lightly- he is very hot with his shedding fur coat and is not acclimatized at all), and worked on rehabbing both of us for running again. Me due to injury, him due to not running over the winter. It was hot and really nice out.

That afternoon we hit the beach again! It was glorious.

Sunday I went for a brief run, then headed back to the stables to ride and medicate Oats, and then we set up a work party for Sunday so after our ride I worked in the fields cutting back blackberries, dumping and scrubbing water tubs, and checking fence lines, picking rocks and fallen branches. Hot work and damn those blackberries are terrible. But, good to get it done and such a lovely weekend to do it on eh? Hard to believe it was April.

The good times never last though, and this fine, fine weather will be going on Thursday. Back to cold and rain. I am already sad to see it go….

Happy Easter weekend!

I did have a pretty fine weekend, all things considering COVID…and my injury, ugh.

We had our dressage lesson on Thursday, then on Friday it was Oaty’s day off, so my husband and I went on a hike to a local area (Cowichan) and got snacks at Tim Hortons after.

Cowichan River Trail

Saturday I rode, and it was….eh. I was really hoping to recreate the nice canter I had on Thursday in my lesson. WRONG. It was crummy, ha. Fortunately, the next day was another opportunity and I let things go by then.

Hiking with Gidget

Since we’re not allowed to visit family or friends, or eat indoor at restaurants, our entertainment options these years remain very limited. Sooooo we decorated our Easter gingerbread house, and dyed fake eggs that my husband picked up at the buck store. Fun! The eggs were kind of lame though and barely dyed, taking on a barely-there pastel effort, compared with the very vibrant dyes. Oh well!

Tucker as the Easter bunny with my loot!

Sunday we did our egg hunt and my husband hid 40 foil eggs! Yes! I missed a few hahah but in the end got them all. It was finally a pretty nice day for riding, and we worked on some calm lateral work at the walk, and a nice contact in the trot, and called it a day walking around the outdoor. In the afternoon we took a couple of beers to the beach and listened to music, which was pretty chill and nice.

The eggs could have dyed better…

Monday I had off but my husband didn’t, so off to the barn it is! I worked on some similar things to Sunday, remembering to keep my expectations in check- and Oats was pretty good! Left the shitty canter alone, ha. I headed to the beach after riding with my dog and we enjoyed the chilly sunshine that day too.

Then it was back to work, and a jump lesson, and then a truly horrible ride (yesterday) where Oats lost his brains again and had shit fits at every single corner of the indoor….I guess forgetting that absolutely nothing had changed in the less than 24 hours since we had our jump lesson the evening previously? I really got on his case for that. He is WAY too old for his BS shenanigans?! Plus the temperature had dropped quite dramatically and it was COLD at the barn, and a lot of the horses went crazy. I guess it was too tempting?? He was fidgety and nutty in the crossties, so I kind of figured he was reacting to the weather or something yesterday…HORSES! God. Let’s hope today is much, much better.

So easy to root for

So I know I grouched mightily about how miserable my ‘summer’ has been but you know what, I finally have something fun to talk about!!

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My dear pony is sound again, so I took Monday off work to join a few friends for a beach ride!! I had this idea last week, when I was moping around because Oats was lame with an abscess…I just was DYING to do something fun with him, you know??

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Fortunately it resolved by Wednesday, I rode on Tuesday and I was able to have my jump lesson on Saturday even! And then on Monday it was the big ride ๐Ÿ™‚ Even better, the weather finally cooperated and it was sunny for once. We actually had a pretty lousy weekend for sun- 16 deg and raining for pretty much all of Saturday, which was great (NOT) because I had invited friends over for a small patio party…That turned out to be indoors wearing jeans and sweaters because it is so cold here now!

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Oats trying to exit stage left…ย 

And then finally Monday was nice! So we did it!

And the horses were pretty well behaved too, considering how busy the beach was. Boats, trucks, RV’s tents, beach umbrellas, kids, babies, toys, dogs, bikes, kites, beach blankets…You name it, it was there and flapping around!

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Luckily the horses were very well behaved about all of it and we had a nice time ๐Ÿ™‚

It just felt SO GOOD to be able to go and DO something with my horse since it’s been such a lame and boring summer, with the occasional absolute disaster.

The Juan de Fuca Trail- China Beach to Bear Beach

So every Sunday my husband and I do ‘Sunday Funday’ and pick a location to do a mega run/hike/trail run at. We have gone up island to Duncan to run Maple Mountain, Mt. Tzouhalem, to Courtenay/Comox to run to Cumberland, and locally, the Galloping Goose in Sooke to the Malahat run. We have been all over!

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You cross a lot of small creeks/waterfalls.

Last weekend I ran solo, a few loops of Elk Lake, which is a pleasant solo run because you can run to your car to get water (there are no water fountains open anymore because of COVID19 and I guess no hand sanitizer in the washrooms/outhouses anymore either, to my extreme displeasure).

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It got hot, but it was ok.

This weekend we went somewhere a little different- the trek out to the Juan de Fuca trail! We are very familiar with the 1 beach- China beach, but we wanted to trail run from China beach to Bear Beach. It’s not that far- about 7km- but can be quite wet, muddy and rugged. And boy, it was!

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We ran the 2km to China beach and it was PACKED with people. Every available square spot to park in was taken. People were crawling everywhere. I really didn’t like that- it’s just too busy now, the new Thetis Lake or East Sooke Park or something?

So it was a lot of stop and go.

We got to the beach and it had a ton of people on it too. A nice day (rare for us, we don’t really get nice weather anymore in the summer) and I guess literally everyone wanted in.

So we went down the beach and picked up the Bear beach trail and continued that way. It had far fewer people, but for a quite narrow and technical trail, it was very busy with camp hikers coming back. One guy even gave us licorice, haha. Of course I accepted it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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We splashed, climbed and scrambled our way to Bear beach, which was completely deserted. So that was worth it! It was a gorgeous day. I picked a bunch of Salmon berries, we enjoyed our Lara bars (protein ones, I don’t like the blueberry-lemon, ick I think it tastes like lemon Pledge, but the Apple Cobbler are good), and took some photos, and then ran back. On our way back we saw a mink!!! Just a zip of brown and he was gone, into the rocks to the ocean. Wish I could have seen him up close and for longer.

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The cliffside was really cool!ย 

It was WET! My legs got covered in mud, hahah. Big splashes everywhere!! I gave in and gave up and just went for it hahahahhaha.

By the end of the run, even my toenails had mud embedded in them, hahaha. A good adventure and a lovely day, to make up for how miserable and craptacular I was feeling on Saturday.

I miss you when I blink

So this was a loong and very fun weekend for me! The only (big, ugh) fly in the ointment? I’m still very injured – and I can’t run at all without shooting shin pain stabbing me every step. It aches every day, all day. It stabs when I try to run. I am not loving it.

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Ugh this sucks.

I did get to enjoy a lot of amazing friend time this weekend (spent the ENTIRE day on the beach, paddleboarding!!) and had a blast!

I also treated myself to a new swimsuit top, RockTape for my injury, flower headbands (what can I say, the filmย Midsomar inspired me…), and happy hour and a movie with my husband, AND I finally went to Red Barn and he made me a sandwich in the last 5 minutes of his time there. Success! I had many lovely rides, and even when I knew I wanted to get in a fight with Oats about contact (ugh, he was so heavy!) I pulled out an older trick I used (towel under the arm used to stabilize contact) and we had some truly excellent rides. His trot is to die for!

I also harvested, dehydrated and ate seaweed, from the beach near my house on Dallas Rd. Crazy eh?!!! Yum!!! There were, however, two horrifying bugs in it with literal pincers. YIKES. I ran away screaming and Ian had to handle the washing and processing of my harvested seaweed. UGH!!!

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Yummm!!

I also made these delicious blackberry popsicles! SO easy, good for you and delicious! Yeah!! (photos to come, I ate a bunch too quickly) I also included granola. ๐Ÿ™‚

No one does it like you

Wow, so like a week of silence… Life got too busy, work kind of blew up in my face and I couldn’t deal with 1 more thing, at all for the past two weeks. I am hopefully coming out the other end of it, but yeahhh… Not fun. At all.

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Love my boy

Also my allergies went completely off the rails and friends, I amย suffering. Congested, incredible sinus pain, itchy upper palate, allergic coughing, eyes swelling shut and so itchy that I can’t even deal…Oh boy, I love it. Add this to work and I spent most of the week absolutely miserable.

But there is also the good: Weather! We had a crazy turnaround and had highs of 19-20 degrees this week. It feltย incredible and sadly we are back to seasonal (still pretty decent) but on Wednesday it was downright HOT! Woah! I loved it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I went to the beach- 20 degrees, can you believe it?ย 

Horses! Oats has been a total superstar!! Love my boy. We had a gymnastics jump lesson last Thursday (I hate gymnastics, so it was …Not that inspired, ha.) and then we had a really fun jump course on Saturday, with all sorts of crazy jumps! Not high, but definitely getting more consistent at the 2’6” -ish level heights. We also had a cavaletti jump at ‘A’ that really caught us out a few times, as well as a 1-ft circle jump that I biffed HARD by staring at it, hahaha. It was fun though!!

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Got myself a latte at a new coffee shop nearby: Pretty eh?

Sunday I went on a run with a work friend, and then went riding later. Oats has been really good, although I’m noticing his ‘halt’ has turned back into ‘halt and then start flying backwards…’ so we’re working through that this week. Lovely…It’s not a new issue for us, it crops up about once or twice a year, but kind of always bugs me. Oh horses!

This week was totally psycho with work, and by Thursday I was Over.IT. and tired. So tired. I didn’t really want to go have a jump lesson, but I know that when I go, I’m happier. More ‘me’ if that makes sense? So off I went! My allergies were a bit better yesterday, I still can’t wear eye makeup but yeah anyways. My jump lesson was really good! We worked over a small course, with the rocks as a single jump down the centre-line. Hahahha it was hilarious, Oats deked out and went around it the first time, crushing the traffic cone that was designed to guide us. HAHAH silly pony!

We had a blast! He was jumping really well by the end (he did get a bit flat at first, and kind of ‘blahhhhed’ over the first jump) but we had fun and it felt good later! He also kind of tried to half-jump over the rocks and jump off to the side. Oh pony. He’s such a good boy though, and it was a cool and fun lesson. See? I always do feel glad that I went and jumped, even though I spent my week feeling itchy, miserable, tired and stressed out.

My boy is always there for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had aย lovely Thanksgiving weekend. I was a bit bummed at first, because I was DYING to go to the Turkey Trot schooling event at High Point and nobody was going and I didn’t have a ride up there ๐Ÿ˜ฆ so I couldn’t go…But when it dawned rainy and kind of blahh, I was like, ok fine.

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View from the top

At least I had the chance to school Oats at High Point earlier in Sept. Win win!

And then the weather cleared up beautifully- just in time for my husband’s excellent race at the Victoria Marathon (running the half marathon in a shocking 1:29. MAN!!!) I would kill for that time haha.

It was a great day, so I went riding and then we shared some wine at the beach and read and relaxed in the sun. Ah…. Our Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t turkey- I am not a big fan. Instead we had salmon and mussels! Yummy!!

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The Monday I rode Oats in the field very briefly, just to jump a few things and then we went up on a hike to Mt. Finlayson at Finlayson Arm, so Ian could show me his route during the Finlayson Arm 28k. It was….long. But so picturesque!~ His legs were tired and so were mine though, a busy and very physically active weekend. That evening we capped off a great long weekend by making won-ton soup. It was GREAT!

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I wish I could have a three-day weekend every weekend. Man…