In for a Penny. In for a Pound.

This blog was inspired after reading a post from a fellow blogger and her experience.

She and her husband stopped off at a spot in Vermont, attracted by the appearance of a covered train bridge. Her adventure that followed can be found at A New Day: Living Life Almost Gracefully. I encourage you to give it a read, and you will see the connection.

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The falls above, Ammonite Falls just outside of Nanaimo, B.C., was the reason for the hike. After about 2 kilometers of easy walking through lush forests, and missing the falls on first pass, this is what we came across.

DSC_0998It turned out to be a drop of about of about 150 feet, broken into 4 sections, each with their own set of ropes. To add to the challenge, the ground is a mixture of dirt and lose gravel. Add to that, tree roots ,that were now exposed and begging to be grappled with.

We just looked at one another, well I said what do you think; her answer, please refer to the title of this blog. So with each of us carrying a 35m camera, and I with a side pack over my shoulder we ventured fourth. After all it was all down hill! Fortunately, there was only a couple of others, quite a bit younger I might add, to watch us old people navigate, or should I say feel our way down. So down we went, if it were not for the ropes, our descent would not have been an option.

DSC_0999I went first so as to help Maggie with her foot placement, some of the drops were beyond eyesight. Part way down Maggie was ok with taking the lead. Near the bottom she lost her footing, and did a little spin still holding on to the rope. Other than getting a little dusty and a scraped elbow, all was well.

DSC_0982The descent to the bottom was our reward. Though the flow was greatly reduced due to our dry summer in B.C., it offered up many photo temptations.

I have to say that our ascent was uneventful. Once at the top, we were looking around a bit and noticed a sign that brought a smile to both of us. The sign, being to the right, and somewhat elevated was totally unnoticed prior to going down.

DSC_0994DSC_1003That seemingly uneventful hike presented a formidable challenge, one that was met head on. Some might say that we were foolhardy, I for one was glad we did it, it offered me the option of turning a corner, of accepting the challenge at hand. Now on to the next one. I like SLPMartin’s comment on Pat’s blog about signage being noticed after the risk has been taken. So very ,very true. Cheers.
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Texture all Around Us.

 

DSC_0575 (2)Texture is all around us, some pleasing, others painful to the touch. Some beautiful and intriguing, and some not so.

Texture is not just for the touch, but also the taste. It can make or break a culinary adventure. Sometimes texture can be appreciated by simply looking at it. It can appeal to the senses at a number of levels. Some objects just beg to be touched, but be careful and wise.

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A Collection of Travel Essentials. Maybe.

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As much as you stuff your suitcase with what looks like too much, something is always missed. Maggie and me just returned from a cruise to Alaska. I have to say, I am really glad luggage bags come supplied with wheels. Mine was reasonable, hers……, my hernia should subside by next week!

The pic above is a small but eclectic collection (collage?) of “essentials” that travelled with us. The joke, that all you need to pack is a tooth brush and a change of underwear just doesn’t cut it when going to Alaska. By the way, the tooth brush is mine, the “cravat” is not!

And don’t let the garment industry tell you that clothes can be wrinkle free; that is simply a marketing ploy played to a wont-to-be ironless (and mindless?) public. I folded, rolled, and before that, I ironed. I could have spindled and mutilated, it would not have mattered. If anybody was going to ask, I had a ready answer…. Crinkled cotton. I had more wrinkles than a shar-pei.

I wonder if there are back to nature cruises, you know, sans clothes. Now that would surely lighten my load. Cheers.

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A Post from the Past.

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Browsing through my stats, I noticed that I had published 76 posts in just over 2 years. Not worthy of a medal, but at the same time not too bad for a rookie. It has been fun and a challenge. I thought for this post I would go back to my very first one and reflect on the words and subject chosen.

It was titled New Beginnings, somewhat a heavy start, but yet a very personal one; a bit of a rant/outpouring, a painful bunch of words, I was angry, hurt and confused. But words that seemed necessary at the time. However, it did end on a very positive note, one that is still true to this day.

The words I chose to express my emotions back then are just a snapshot of my state of mind at that moment. I like to think if I were to write on that today it would look quite different. And well it should, or I haven’t learned anything.

To go back and review previous posts is a trip down blogging lane. To see the words chosen and wonder why you wrote them that way may never get answered. It’s done, it’s out there. No regrets. Reflecting back on a number of my blogs, that could be said of many of them.

I suppose as we stumble gracefully into our senior years, we tend to wander back more often to what was. Memories good and bad, and why not. It is time to shift gears. Memories can fill your heart with joy, or your eyes with tears. But that is OK, we are equipped to handle it. I am not in a hurry; I haven’t got all day, I have the rest of my life.

People and Faces of Puerto Vallarta. No. 13.

Sad to say, our stay in Puerto Vallarta will come to an end in another week. But before we leave for our next adventure, I want to leave you with a few words and pictures. We found that being  here nearly 4 months has had a very enlightening  affect on both of us. The people of Mexico are not rich by our standards, but they are rich in so many other ways, and are anxious to share this wealth. It never is forced upon you, it just grows, until you come to the realization that something is different in how you feel and view your world around you.

They have so much they want to share; their wares, their stories, their culture, their way of life. But it doesn’t end there, they are also interested in you as a visitor to their country, where you are from, how long staying, what part of town, are you enjoying your stay. They go out of there way to make you welcome and comfortable. You become their friend, their amigo, you find yourself interacting with them. The following pics are just a small example of the opportunities we had to try an capture this.

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This gentleman with a great face was selling hammocks.
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More street music.
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This lady was selling hats, fans, and tiny hand made dolls.

There is a texture here that just has to be experienced, to be absorbed. But that takes time. A couple of weeks here just wets your appetite. Hospitality is spoken here. It is a universal language, one that we all could experience and learn from. I am looking forward to home and our new adventure, and plan on bringing a bit of Mexico with us. We will be back next year. Until then, adios.

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A dancer who will be participating in the 11th Puerto Vallarta Folkloric Dance Festival.

Wanderlust

The Good Earth.

When I was growing up as a pre-teen during the 1950’s in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, one of my chores was to keep our vegetable garden weeded. I hated it. I didn’t like having to get down on my knees to weed. My pants got dirty and wet; and I had to stick my hands into the dirt to get at some of the weeds. Plus I wanted to play.

Rows of vegetables were not too bad. What I really hated was the strawberry patch. No rows, and runners all over the place. To complicate the matter, at least in my mind, I was told that I could not go and play until the job was done. How unfair!

Fast forward to the 1980’s when we acquired our own piece of land and I had to put in a garden to satisfy our family of five. That same dirt became our gold mine. Now these hands were plunged willingly into that soil that over several summers was enriched and nourished, thanks to the local farmers and a sound organic approach.

I soon came to learn what really goes on under the surface. This soil, this dirt, was very much a living thing. I was amazed to find out just how much beneficial bacteria and other living organisms existed just below the surface. With careful tending we were rewarded with its bounty. This is my dirt, my earth.

Now look what is happening to this giver of abundance. It is being ravaged through the use of chemicals thanks to big chemical producing companies and agribusiness that virtually have  a strangle hold on the farmers. They rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and animal drugs. In agribusiness, the thrust is getting the highest possible yields and profits. Nutrient content and flavour take second place. Their bottom line is what is being taken care of, not the consumer. The damage that is being done will take decades to reverse, if it can be at all. The damage is not just to the earth, but also to the product that is grown in it, and ultimately to ourselves. This was my dirt, my earth. The drive is to mass production, not on a wholesome and nourishing product. Thank heavens, not all countries have adopted this approach, for the most part  in Europe and Asia.

The USDA fails to acknowledge that organically grown fruits and vegetables contain more nutritional value and are safer than those grown on mass,  despite independent research that has proven otherwise. One can only wonder just how deep a strangle hold agribusiness has on the powers that be.

Despite all this, there are some things that we as consumers can do. Many large grocery chains are now carrying organic products, if your local grocer is not, ask him why. If he is not, shop elsewhere. With stronger competition, prices for organics have come down. Get to know your local farmers and frequent farmers markets. At the political level, write your member of parliament or congressman, that still is a powerful tool.

It seems to me that with the rising cost of health care, it only makes sense to do our part and eat smart. It is going to take generations maybe centuries to turn this plundering of the earth around. This is still my dirt, our earth.

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