Rocks, Roots, and a Rottweiler

Sometimes life goes on so predictably you don’t know what there could possibly be to blog about. Then there are days like today. Just a few hours back I was complaining to myself about exercise taking so much time and robbing me of my afternoon free time… And now, I shall have my hasty wish. I’ve got my feet up for the next while, doctor’s orders, no hikes or bike rides in view!

I decided on a trail ride for this afternoon’s aerobic exercise. I managed all the rocks and roots OK but then I got to the park and a Rottweiler thought I looked like a threat (or maybe a treat?!) He came charging.

I attempted to scramble off to the far side of my bike but was not quick enough. He lunged for my retreating leg. Got a good strong grip on my calf and gave it a hearty jerk. He is a bear of a dog, a neighborhood terror with many complaints on his record…. I had this slow motion sense of disbelief that this was happening to me. Have you ever been there? Then your stunned brain goes for panic, what’s next? Am I a goner? Well these thoughts scarcely had time to form, let alone devise a response when the terror released his grip and ambled off. It was one of those unreal moments. Then I looked down…and saw the ripped open pant leg and the blood. It was real.

The owner (familiar from previous unpleasant encounters) rushed up and commenced to make excuses for the dog and say she was sorry and was I hurt?…She glimpsed blood and wanted to see the damage. I didn’t. I headed off in slight hysteria with a significant dose of adrenalin, to hammer on a friend’s doorbell in anxious desperation. I was neither calm nor controlled about it. I wanted help and in a hurry. Sobbing, hyperventilating, panicked I told her to phone Jim and the police….and poor Jim, he came not knowing what he was going to face. But he acted the part of the hero and got me to the hospital in short order.

I have rarely felt so emotionally overloaded! W
hat a treasure to be ushered into the emergency room by a familiar face; a friend from church was the nurse on duty. A warm blanket, a drink of water, a muffin and slice of cheese and Jim’s reassuring hand made bearable the rest of the procedure: lots of needles (for freezing), a tetanus shot, some hardy scrubbing and syringing, and 8 stitches to hold together various deep puncture wounds… oh and photos by a gracious and non-imposing policeman. The doctor meanwhile was a gentle gem with a charming South African accent. The trauma began to fade away….By the time I was released to hobble home I was beginning to feel like a hero with a story to tell and an opportunity to be pampered (oh brother). Of course now that the freezing is wearing thin I’ve had to go for the Ibuprofen. The kids are all sympathy and insist I keep my leg up. I’m not protesting and that is how this blog has come to be!


[Yeah! for zip-off pants… home again, home again from the Emergency. This was taken before the ‘freezing’ ran out…]


Once upon a sunny April afternoon…

Little Sliammon Lake here I come…

Once upon a sunny April afternoon…

Well, the sun was shining this afternoon, which is not something to be taken for granted, and I had a hankering to see an old trail I haven’t traveled for a long time…

When we first moved to Powell River I couldn’t get enough of heading off into the bush with Louie to discover trails and see where this one or that one led. We rambled happily for hours at a time, discovering, exploring, loving the outdoors…. Living on the edge of wilderness as we do, it took a while to exhaust the possibilities! But after about 3 years of this the trails didn’t seem so new anymore, many of our favorite hikes and haunts got logged (as in trees felled and dragged away!), and….my hip said “enough, slow down.” Old trails were neglected; only ones my ‘beater’ bike could access were considered….]
But today that old trail to Little Sliammon Lake (named after the local “Indian” tirbe) beckoned. Last time I was down it there were tags all in a row along the trail and heading off into the bush, logging markers…it was only a matter of time… so having heard that I could expect to see the results of the logging I set off with Louie and a wee backpack with snack and notebook (just case a creative moment struck), oh, and for the first time, a camera.

Only this time, I got to the trailhead by bike, saving both joints and time ( : The commencement of the trail hadn’t changed, first the muddy, deeply rutted road, then the trail leading up out of mud into moss and tree roots and lichen-licked rock and on into the deep dark forest. Only today, the forest didn’t seem so deep. Firstly, the sun was sh
ining. And secondly, away off through the trees there seemed to be light where there had not been before.

[I must say this took some of the spookiness out of the hike. I remember my first hike in this woods. The cedars are so old and tall that they create a very dark and silent wood, and then any sound you do hear is a heart-thumper: “What was that?!” I well remember stopping in my tracks on one of those early hikes and debating whether to go on into the gloom, or to turn back. Never did figure out what the sound was… But today, no such noises, and the sense of a clearing ahead where sun was shining gave a whole new aspect to the hike.]

And then we came upon it: the logging road in the middle of our ‘wilderness’. (What is it about a road that takes the mystique away from a place?)….. But in exchange for the rudeness of blatantly showing that someone had been here before us, there was the joy of finding sunshine in a dark place!

The trail continued on the perimeter, passing between cut edges of this old giant lying on its side. Are those tears running down. How old was the old giant?

One benefit of all the felled trees is this new but rustic bridge allowing me to keep my feet dry in the this swampy area as we near the lake… And a photo needs somebody in it so Louie had to patiently pose while I got the camera to co-operate. (It’s getting old and finicky.)

And now for a photo in better lighting…

And just beyond the bridge Little Sliammon came into view, looking like a rarer gem then I had remembered it. Amazing what some sunshine will do! The water was still as an old mirror. The little island looked enchanting…

The surface was only still till Louie got in to lap it up and refresh his weary paws…

We had reached our destination, more charming than ever. Funny thing though, it used to be enough to find a lovely place and sit and enjoy it. Now it seems a little lonely, like I’d better hurry home with plans to bring the whole family for a picnic!
A canoe is nestled in the trees beside the trail, wonder if someone would mind our borrowing it? I’d sure like to go explore that wee island. Why are islands so enchanting?

And so we head directly home but this time along the logging road, till the trail runs across it and we cut back into the woods…I stop mid-way on a bright bluff in a rocky, moss-covered clearing to journal a bit and worship a bit and reflect on how things have changed since last I walked this trail… for me and for the trail. It’s been a good way to spend a sunny April afternoon.