June 27, 2015
We agreed to get up at 7 am so we could get to Rupert Arm and Varney Bay at around 11 am for the high tide. We wanted to take advantage of the tide, to let it carry us easily toward Varney Bay. I slept at my place to give the cats some company before our long time away, and James stayed at his. Leah, our regular cat sitter, was away, so I had to ask my neighbour, Cathy Anderson, to cat sit for me. I didn’t want to ask Cathy to cat sit for me unless I absolutely needed it, as she won’t accept payment. Cathy does a lot of volunteer work in Port Alice. She has done so much volunteer work over the years that she can’t even remember it all; but, presently, she volunteers at the Port Alice Recycle Centre, The Legion, the Thrift Shop and at the school. She will even help out whenever someone has a personal or health crisis! In fact, she has even won the Governor General’s Award for volunteerism in 1988! I call her the “Guardian Angel of Port Alice,” as she plays a major role in keeping the community going. As payment for her good deeds, every summer I give her some elephant garlic from my garden. She loves to get her garlic! When I give it to her, she has such a beaming look on her face, you’d think I was giving her a bag full of money!
After I had my bath, I called James. He was already up for a while packing up the truck. He had put both kayaks on the truck, the Manitou in the back and the Eskia on the roof. When I saw it, I thought my truck looked like a Christmas tree! We were leaving the Camry behind this time. James had charted out our route very carefully in the hope that we wouldn’t get lost. He even suggested we stop at the side of the road once to check the map and, lo and behold, all cross roads were properly taken!
To get to Varney Bay, turn left from Highway 19 at the Port Alice turnoff to Highway 30, “The Port Alice Road.” Follow it for 10.6 kilometres, until you reach a gravel road crossing the pavement, and take a right onto Hardy Main. Follow the gravel road for 4.5 kilometres until you reach a “Y” in the road. Be careful to stay on the main road, until the “Y.” There is at least a half dozen possible wrong turns you could take that could lead you to nowhere, or worse than nowhere! When you see a sign saying “Varney Main,” take a left. After travelling 1.5 kilometres, take Varney Main West and continue on Varney Main West for 5 kilometres. To get to the log dump campsite, take a right.
At the present time (fall 2016), the log dump is deactivated as a campsite, and we’re not sure why. It might be because the site is considered unsanitary because of a lack of outhouses. While that campsite is closed, the only way to get to Varney Bay is to paddle there from Coal Harbour, on the east side of Holberg Inlet. If you take that route, just make sure you don’t accidentally turn into the Quatsino Narrows thinking it is Varney Bay, or you could be in a real pickle! You can also paddle there from the campsite at the south end of Rupert Arm, but it will be a very long paddle. I just hope the powers that be will see the light and find some way to reopen that campsite lickety split! Among paddling sites on the North Island, Varney Bay is a real gem.
We knew we were driving into the log dump at Rupert Arm—our launch point for Varney Bay—when we saw logs. To our surprise, however, we also saw a bunch of trailers and fifth wheels and a pack of friendly pouches. We talked to a couple of the campers standing on a giant protruding driftwood log jutting out high above the water in front of a boat. They told us that they were trying to make a makeshift dock with some wood they brought, but the plan was thwarted by the arrival of the log boom. They said they were trying to get on their boat using the protruding driftwood and a ladder. I couldn’t envision what they were trying to do, as it was looking rather impossible and pretty dangerous. Perhaps it was a good thing the log boom was there, or they might have ended up needing an ambulance.
Rupert Inlet. The log boom. Protruding driftwood.
We first intended to get on the kayaks right away. Since this seemed to be a busy place, we decided to put up our tent to mark our spot in case someone else came. We then hopped in the kayaks and were off with a favourable tide and wind.
Chloe getting her jacket on.
With the tide and the wind going the same direction we were, it was a deceptively easy trip! Coming back turned out to be a different thing altogether! We paddled past the log boom and into the big water between Rupert Arm and Holberg Inlet. James pointed out an island to me that was supposed to be in front of the Quatsino Narrows and talked again about riding the waves through the Narrows someday.
At first we couldn’t find Varney Bay, as the entrance was camouflaged by the surrounding scenery. We kept paddling and eventually the huge bay made its appearance. We were getting hot under the cloudless sky. Skirting around an island, we found a spot to land so we could cool Chloe down and have a bathroom break. The water where we docked was shallow for a good distance into the bay. After having a drink from our supply of liquids, we waded into the water to cool ourselves to just above our ankles. We then carried Chloe out into the shallow water for a few metres and let her swim back to shore on her own. I was surprised how such a round dog with skinny little legs could swim so well!
Like many places around here, Varney Bay is named after a North Island pioneer. Lord Henry Varney left England and arrived in the Quatsino settlement on the steam ship, Mischief, in 1896, with his engraved calling card that identified him as the ‘the Queen’s Messenger’…which is a little curious. As I read through the Quatisino Chronicle, my main source of historical information on this area to date, I saw no record of him delivering any messages directly from the Queen. Perhaps he saw himself as a vehicle of Commonwealth indoctrination. He and his wife, Ethel, took up a 137 acre homestead at the mouth of the Marble River (probably not far from the very spot we were cooling ourselves down) and raised their nine children. There was a boarded up fairly modern house on the shores of Varney Bay, just a little south of us—a sign of a good location for a homestead. Lord Varney home schooled his children with the Bible and harsh lessons in frugality. When he would send a couple of his children out to hunt—by themselves out amongst the bears and the cougars—he would only allow them a couple of shells and they had to come home with dinner. He sounds like quite a character, our Lord of this Neck of the Woods!
Back in the kayaks, we were having some doubts about finding this Marble River estuary. We were told there were rock faces and caves, but, at that point, nothing of a sort seemed to be anywhere near. The surrounding scenery seemed to be a bit too close to the ground to be hiding a canyon. We soldiered on. We noticed a patch of green on the water and were wondering what it was all about. We noticed a current off to the side of the algae and followed it. Until the bay, the tide was carrying us along. As soon as we turned into Varney Bay, the tide was against us, as it, as well as all the other water around, was then flowing toward the Narrows. Adding to that, we had to paddle against the outflow of the Marble River. The arduousness of the paddle slowed down time for us. The water was very shallow in places, and we had to navigate around big rocks. James ended up crashing into one, giving out a yelp! Luckily, there was no hole in the kayak!
Going around a bend in the river brought us into the shadowy world we were looking for. Rock facades appeared out of the vegetation. The river became mysteriously cool, dark and calm. A few wedges of bright sunlight illuminated small sections of the shadowy estuary. Where the light touched the water, it cast rippling reflections onto the rock walls. The odd tree reached down and out, trying to catch the limited bits of sun. For lack of flat ground, the ferns grew sideways on the cliffs. Dripping water made tinkly sounds as it hit the water, then echoed. Here and there, huge spaces were gouged out of the rocks just above the water surface—the handiwork of some intense spring runoff. The musty smell of the forest was intensified by the enclosure. Chloe’s eyed were deliriously wide as her nose stretched far out of her cockpit. It turned out we weren’t alone. We heard a big splash! We discovered we were sharing this hideaway with a seal who seemed to get a kick out of scaring us.
Kayaking in the shadows. Rock face. Emerald hues. Caves. Rippling reflections on rock walls. Eroded rock face. Rock faces gouged out by spring runoff. Chloe stretching her nose out of the cockpit. A vertical forest. The view up.
We came upon some rapids, but passable ones. Without hesitation or even asking if I was willing, James just trudged on through, making it look easy. When it was my turn, I discovered it was not so easy. I had lifted my rudder and tried to go through, but was pushed back down sideways. I ended up having to back up. I put my rudder down and made another run for it, paddling harder than ever. It felt like I was climbing a mountain! James sat safely on the other side, watching and grinning. I think he was thinking I wasn’t going to make it through, but I did! When I made it to calm water he cheered and said, “Aren’t proud of yourself for having done that?” I didn’t see it as that much of an accomplishment, just something that had to be done. Besides I was a farm girl: I was used to dealing with difficult physical limitations without all the fanfare.
We went around a couple of bends and then came to a sharp turn in the river with rapids, a cave, and a swirling current. We weren’t going to be able to get past the rapids, so we decided to make a stop. The shore was steep. It was a complicated maneuver to land. James got off first with ease, but I was still pretty iffy getting out of the boat (you can take the girl out of the prairie, but not the prairie out of the girl). He held the boat and I grabbed a rock and pulled myself out like a sack of potatoes. We tied the kayaks very securely to a small tree on the rocks. If we lost the kayaks, it would be difficult and dangerous to retrieve them in this environment. James kept thinking we should portage and go up further, but we ended up just staying there for no particular reason. Later, when he googled it at home, he figured out Bear Falls might have been not far from there. We walked around on the water-rounded rocks under a sun shining down hot and hard. We were in our own little private oasis, notwithstanding the odd cougar or bear hanging out behind the bushes (occasionally, I honked my bicycle bear horn for security). Not expecting to run into anyone else, we had our picnic and did some sun-bathing—swim suits optional. James, Mr. Fast Twitch Muscle Stunt-man Sprinter Guy and Glutton for Punishment, of course, had to jump in the water for some hooting and hollering. He tried to swim to the next bend, but couldn’t see much. When he swam back he kept challenging me to get in the water. I opted instead to sit in the water and watch the water flow by. We spent a leisurely afternoon in our oasis, until the shadows moved over our picnic spot and it was time to head back.
Rapids. Cave over swirling current. Trees above our oasis.
The trip down river seemed so much shorter than the trip up. Since we didn’t have to fight the current and the tide, we spent much more time looking around. When we got back to the estuary, the water was much lower and we had to navigate carefully around the rocks. Where before there was smooth water, we found rapids—but they were easy to handle because we were travelling with the flow of the river. At the mouth of the estuary, we took a left turn and checked out a little cove, switching boats because the seat of the Eskia was digging into my back. It was hot so we opted to take the shadow route back on the west side of Varney Bay, especially for Chloe’s sake.
On our way back to Rupert Inlet, we were fighting the tide and the wind. Our seemingly minutes long journey going down this route turned into a trip that took possibly hours! After we battled to pass one point of land, we discovered another and then another, all of which seemed to take forever to get to! I had no idea there were so many points between the camp and the estuary! Finally, we had to take a break and get our land legs back, landing on a shadowy shore full of barnacles. It was cold and clammy, and Chloe had a hard time walking on the barnacles. We didn’t stay there more than a few minutes, but I needed to feel ground under my feet to be able to paddle the rest of the way. Getting back to camp, James got out of his kayak, dragged mine up the shore and then helped me out. I walked slowly to the tent, and, in spite of the intense heat inside it, collapsed on the air mattress and immediately fell asleep. James came sometime later and became comatose too.
Coming out of my nap, I heard to the grunting and groaning of a tugboat taking logs away. I got up to take pictures. By the evening, the log boom was gone. We started a fire, visited a bit with our human and doggie neighbours and took numerous pictures of the sunset over Rupert Inlet.
Tugbot at work. Pastel sunset. Rococo sunset. Harmony in red and blue. Sunset with virga. Golden sunset.
June 28, 2015,
After the magnificent trip down the estuary, we were expecting a low-key day. It didn’t turn out that way. Somehow, James, Chloe and I seem to have a real knack for finding adventure. We first contemplated just lazing around all morning. With the water very still and the coming of slack tide around noon, we got lured into cutting across the Rupert Arm Inlet to visit the old Utah Mine site. We talked about my need for a hat and sunglasses. I tried to put a pair of James’s sunglasses over mine, but it didn’t work. I took my glasses off and put on the sunglasses alone. I was surprised that there didn’t seem to be much difference in my vision. As near sighted people get older, their vision improves. I put my prescription glasses in the dry bag and just used the sunglasses. It wasn’t a fashion statement, but it worked. I opted to go without a hat, as none of James’ hats fit my head (hats rarely do) and I have plenty of hair for protection anyway.
While we were getting ready, Chloe waited dutifully by the kayaks across the roadway. She now gets eager to go on a kayak ride like she does a car ride! Even though she seemed to look forward to the ride, she did nothing but whine all the way across. We eventually figured out she was probably too hot, and that we would have to keep wetting her down. We arrived at the north end of the mine and paddled in, out and around the maze of logs and machinery, feeling like kids in an adult sized playground.
Chloe eager to kayak. Utah mine ore conveyer. Utah mine docking pier. Hi Daddy!
Paddling south of the mine, we came upon the artificial cove created to fill the old copper mine site when it was closed nearly 20 years ago. James, the Campbell River native, said it took a long time to fill up. My research tells me it took from May 15th to August 15th in 1996 to be exact. When the mine site was finally filled, it was sealed off from the cove. It was then left to nature—in a very big way as we would soon find out! As we paddled deeper into the man-made cove, we were both looking at a spot with a cliff and tall dark and spooky looking pine trees. A gigantic eagle soared from tree to tree, looking not the least bit intimidated by our presence. We were actually intimidated by his, because of Chloe. An eagle could easily pick up a dog like Chloe. When I first went to a mountain lookout, I had my then 10-year old son with me and I was told, to my amazement, an eagle would be able to pick him up! It seems hard to believe, was probably unlikely (especially since I always kept him close by) but was very possible! James and I have seen footage on TV of an eagle flying while dangling a mountain goat from its claws!
We came up to a spot near the end of the cove with a flat sandy beach under some old twisted pines. As we approached we peered into a small clearing in the bushes and thought we saw a deer. It was certainly the size of a deer. It seemed to move like a deer. It was definitely the colour of a deer. I shouted to James to look. He also thought it was a deer. Then, the creature turned in a way that was very undeerlike. Even without my glasses I could see that it was definitely not a deer, as its tail was way too long and bushy! I yelled “It’s a wolf!” The wolf gave us perturbed look, then walked off on his incredibly long legs.
After the caves at the Marble River Estuary, we weren’t expecting much excitement. We got some anyway.
Sometime after this kayaking trip, I took the ferry to Vancouver. To entertain the passengers, there was a biologist on board giving a talk about sea otters. To get the talk going, she asked members of the audience if they had had any wildlife sightings. People mentioned seeing bears, whales, sea lions, sea otters, eagles, and so on. I then piped up with “wolf.” The biologist looked at me, surprised, and then said, “I’m jealous.” You know you’ve had a rare animal sighting when you can make a biologist envious!
Finding a place to land a good distance from the spot where we saw the wolf, we had a snack on shore and marvelled at what we had just experienced. James and I then switched kayaks for the trek back across Rupert Arm. We paddled alongside the shore to a far point and then decided to make the mad dash across the inlet. James had the more stable kayak and didn’t even use a rudder. I had the more slippery one. We debated about which point to head into the crossing. I wanted to go further south and then let the wind, waves and tide carry us down the shore to the campsite. James wanted to cut diagonally across. I tried to do what he wanted but found my kayak not cooperating with my intentions. My rudder was pushed all the way down, but somehow, I was only managing to go straight across the inlet instead of diagonally. It may have been that way because I was getting knocked around going parallel with the waves. Turning perpendicular into the waves gave me some stability. “Boy are you stubborn!” James said as he followed me straight across. Yes, I’m stubborn, I proudly admit it, but I only draw on that stubbornness when absolutely necessary or for something very important. I wasn’t trying to be stubborn this time. I was also getting frustrated with the roughness of the waves and wanted the uneasy crossing to be over as soon as possible, so I did some sprinting. I was surprised how paddling a certain way and expending a lot of effort turned my kayak into a speed machine. It was easier to do on the Eskia too, because it was the lighter swifter boat.
We had a complicated difficult docking at low tide. James landed first and took out Chloe and all his stuff, then lifted his kayak by himself out of the water. I paddled around to keep from being swept north by the wind and the waves until it was my turn to dock. James held down my kayak so I could lift myself out with relative ease. For nearly 40 years of my life, I have virtually survived by my own means and in some pretty rough conditions! Now, I have a partner who worries about me getting in and out of a kayak! Like I said before, I will enjoy this situation before he sees the light!
We dragged the kayaks onto the grass, sat down and drank some fake beer and then; after creating as much air circulation as possible inside the tent by opening windows, we did some reading on our air mattresses and had a nap.
For the rest of the night we sat around our fire, eating smokies, watching the flames and admiring the sunset at its various stages. James was doing some sorting with our camping gear, so I decided to go to the docking area. I sat on the rocks, meditating and watching the sunset, thinking back to my days at Round Hill Tower in Lac La Biche in the 1980s when I would, after a day in the fire tower, sometimes go down to the lake at Mile 27 in my little Honda Civic (you’d be amazed how that little city car managed in the bush!) and do this very thing. I tried to capture that feeling again, of being alone in my own little bubble—which is quite different from my life now. James can’t seem to figure out why I don’t seem to get “lonely” when he goes a way to work for a couple of weeks or month. I frequently have to remind him that it has been like I’ve been on the TV series Alone for 4 to 6 months at a time for 18 years of my life!
I sometimes miss being alone. I miss being able to hear my own thoughts. I can get tired of the endless distractions of civilized life: the scheduling, the commuting, the multi tasking and the playing phone tag. Curious things can happen in solitude. Once you get adjusted to the idea of being alone, you start to notice more things around you. You notice the wildflower you might not have seen if you were conversing with someone. You notice all the markings of a caterpillar and its unique way of moving. You start to see all the diversity in nature: that it’s not just trees and grass, but a huge plethora of vegetation competing and cooperating for the same space. Not only that, but you may discover, like I did, that plants can “talk.” Very often I will go out to my garden and sit on my lawn chair with no preconceived plan or intention. As I sit there, “taking it all in,” I notice thoughts that creep into my brain that seem to be the quiet voices of the plants trying to communicate their needs to me. They will say things to me like, “Hey lady, we need pruning, or hilling, or watering right now.” Although one can say it is all still my own thoughts, sometimes I can come up with ideas that I never thought of before, or ideas I haven’t thought about in a while, even decades. You might say that is just creativity, but what, really, is creativity? It might be just a nebulous name for some entity we can’t understand yet. I think the First Nations people have come closer to giving that entity a more distinct form in the shape of “spirits” of animals, the land, the sky and the water.
In solitude, you discover that the animals have temperaments, and that you can mentally connect with them, even share a bit of good humour. Although you don’t share a language, you can get a lot of information from their body language, their gestures and the look in their eyes. When you can connect with another creature in this way, it can sometimes make you feel that language is redundant.
In solitude, you realize clouds are not just clouds, and that there is a complex interplay going in the skies too. You become more aware of the moon, the stars and the planets. You can look out in the southwest sky and see Mars hanging there, looking so clear and orange and immediate, that it feels like you’re peeking into your next-door neighbour’s yard! Not only that, but removing people and distraction allows more things to come up from within. The vacuum of solitude leaves more room for ideas to come up from the imagination, which is how I got into writing in the first place.
Lately, I’ve developed a special “thinking technique.” I just ask my brain for an idea or a solution to a problem, release it, and, sometime later, usually when I’m quiet and away from distractions, the answer comes to me as if delivered by another force. I’ve come to recognise a force in my brain that is possibly not my brain. A while back, I disconnected my cable TV and discovered, to my surprise, I was not bored at all! On the contrary, I found myself bombarded with ideas and solutions to problems like crazy! For those of you suffering from writer’s block, just get away from the crowds, shut off all the media, be still, and your writer’s block will probably be dislodged! The cable TV is connected again; but, I limit how much I watch it. After my experience without TV, I notice now, that when I watch it, I feel a little like a zombie, or like I’m being hypnotized, and I find it a little disturbing.
Living in solitude also leaves room for things to come up from the subconscious mind—some of it scary, some of it delightful. You have the time to think about certain assumptions that were false and misleading, and analyze your own responses to others and others’ responses to you. You get less reactionary and more contemplative (simply because there is no one around to react to!). I found I became more aware of my dreams, and at times felt I was getting special messages delivered to me through my dreams—something I might not have noticed while maintaining a “busy” life.
I’ve come to understand the forest as not just a bunch of trees, animals and vegetation, but as a spiritual entity. Even though there may be bears and cougars around that could eat me, there is something about that spiritual entity that is deeply comforting! When I’m alone, I don’t really feel alone at all; in fact, quite the contrary. I become friends with my surroundings, as well as my inner life, my psychic reality and possibly alternate creative realities. I tend to feel alone in places like downtown Vancouver with its many attention grabbers that take me away from my inner self. It’s a good thing I’m living in Port Alice—the next best thing to living in a lookout—and that I have a partner who likes sitting in the bush and watching time go by as much as I do. If I was forced to live in the city again year round, I would probably loose all my marbles! I would have to press the rescue button on the proverbial satellite phone and beg to be dropped somewhere in the middle of nowhere!
In some indigenous cultures, young people have to perform a rite of passage by travelling into the forest or the dessert all alone with only a few tools. It seems like a cruel thing to do; however, if you survive the trip, it can give you an inner strength and awareness that is invaluable! Perhaps experiences of solitude are relevant for all cultures, and could have an effect of curbing crime, depression and relationship dysfunction.
James came up to me a little cautiously. He asked me for permission to join me and permission was granted. We threw stones in the water. As our ripples merged, it created a glittery effect on the water that seemed to go on and on—long after the ripples were done being ripples. We sat quietly, enjoying the light and colour, until Venus dropped down from a sheet of middle cloud, then Jupiter.
Venus and Jupiter. Inky sunset.
June 29, 2015
Our neighbours moved out, leaving their smouldering fire as if they thought it would somehow put itself out! I was shocked, especially when a forest officer drove into the campsite a couple of days before to remind us to put out our campfires and that a fire ban was imminent! As the campfire culprit drove away, he stopped and generously handed us some of his catch of prawns and crab. Thanks for the fish, but not for nearly burning down our forests! With slightly stunned looks, we graciously accepted the offering. We decided to shift camp and use his fire for our crab and prawn feast. We put Chloe on a folding camp chair with an umbrella to block out the sun. James made a bit of garlic butter for the prawns and fried them up. We boiled up the crab and sat breaking them and munching on them for quite some time. It wasn’t just eating, it was playing too. James said you could tell the meat was fresh because it was plump—no shrinkage. We doused the fire completely and took a picture of it for old time’s sake. We partially loaded up the truck, but left the tent up because our comforter was drying on top of it.
Seafood feast. Chloe getting some shade. The fire is out!
Before going back home, we opted for a “short quick trip” across the inlet, which turned out to be a lot more than that. Because of the heat, we rigged up an umbrella on the boat so Chloe could have some shade. It produced a lot of laughs. We headed for what we thought was an island. We paddled straight and steady. After reaching the other side, we saw a couple of quiet coves with clear greenish water. Just when we were about to land, the water started churning up. I got panicky and insisted we go straight back. James said, “Hold on a minute here, I’m not going anywhere without my snack!” so we docked at the cove. James gets lots of “snack attacks”; in fact, he is a virtually non-stop eating machine! It’s a mystery why he stays so slim! I am beginning to think that peoples’ metabolisms are as unique and varied as their personalities.
Chloe kayaking with an umbrella. Now do we look silly or what!
We found a nice log to sit on in front of a massive tree stump. We watched the waves churn about as we ate! We were especially vigilant about keeping Chloe on the leash, after seeing Mr. Wolf and Mr. Eagle yesterday. I took pictures of a giant stump and the sea asparagus on the shore. If you’re ever a contestant on the TV series Alone, you can get your vitamins from sea asparagus. They are OK to eat raw. They are salty and a bit crunchy, reminding me of potato chips. You can also use them to make stir fries, and even pickles. I made a batch of sea asparagus pickles and found them to be quite tasty, though James hasn’t been willing to brave them so far. Oh well, all the more for me! The interesting thing about making stuff from foraged food is that it is hard to eat in the beginning, simply because it is so unfamiliar. Once you make the paradigm shift, you can never go back! Something similar bought in the store just doesn’t have the character and richness as something made with foraged or home grown food. For recipes for sea asparagus pickles and stir fries, check out Google. I found a good pickle recipe at www.westcoastseaweed.com.
Driftwood stump. Sea asparagus. Sea asparagus pickles.
Between watching Alone, and doing my own research, I am amazed at the amount of available food there is in nature. I’ve even seen hungry Alone contestants walk past stuff they could have made a hardy meal out of! You need to know what you’re are doing though, as, in my estimation, about half the stuff that is out in nature is poisonous. It is amazing that animals know what’s safe and what’s not without access to the internet! They have another internet that they use. Maybe some day we humans might have full access to that internet…and then maybe we can clean up the mess we are making of our planet!
When we were done eating, all our cameras out of power, we put them in the dry bag. We realized that Chloe’s umbrella was going to have to be packed up because it would be a hindrance going back through the rough water. Luckily the waves were perpendicular to our direction, so we could cut straight through them to prevent tipping. We were definitely dealing with the “time moving more slowly” effect. We bounced a lot and got splashed a few times. Maintaining a faster steady pace on the rough water was wearing me out. At the end, James got a second wind and sprinted. I had no hopes of beating him, but I was determined to keep up with him. When he turned back to look, he was surprised to find me not far behind. I said I knew he’d be surprised.
After we landed I found a blanket and lay there immobile for quite some time. James came over and gave me a sympathy cuddle and continued to pack up the truck. I joked that he can load up the truck and I’ll supervise and make sure he’s doing a good job.
My truck looking like a Christmas tree!. Road to civilization.