|Birds, from top left Ruddy Turnstone (I think), a pair of Wood Ducks, a quartet of American Wigeons with feathers ruffled by the wind, a pair of Buffleheads, and a trio of distant Harlequin Ducks|
We packed lots and lots of gear - rain coats to wear over fleece jackets, cashmere sweaters, silk undershirts (me), rain pants, down vests, and down puffy coats. Hats, scarves, gloves. Good thing it was just the two of us!
On Saturday morning we drove out to Sooke, to the southwest of the Island where the winds blow in freely from the Pacific. We walked along Whiffin Spit, a long, narrow curve of land protecting the Sooke Harbour from the wildest waves. Wind lashed the rain into our mostly covered faces, and blew us along the path. Coming back was a different story as we pressed against the wind to return to our car.
The birds in the photos above didn't seem too bothered by the weather. The ducks bounced on top of the waves. Tim thought the group of four were probably on a double date.
After eating lunch in a local bakery (fresh soup and bread), we drove to China Beach, one of the campgrounds along the Juan de Fuca Trail. After parking, and being surprised at the number of cars in the parking lot, we hiked down to the beach. About a dozen wet-suited surfers bobbed in the churning waves, waiting for that perfect moment to climb onto their boards and ride the ocean. Huge logs were tossed about like toothpicks. I wouldn't have wanted to be out there.
When we returned to Sooke, we checked into our hotel and relaxed in the hot tub. Our concierge advised us to make dinner reservations immediately as they expected a lot of local people that evening because of widespread power outages due to the storm.
Dinner was delicious - a Steak Sandwich (knife and fork variety) with salad and wonderful crispy fries for Tim, and Wild Mushroom Gnocchi with Spinach and Garlic Cream for me. We shared a Chocolate Pate for dessert - rich, intense chocolate ganache with a bit of fruit sauce and whipped cream.
Sunday morning dawned cold and windy. Any clouds in the sky were soon blown away. A bit of snow blew around and settled here and there. We enjoyed the sunshine and blue skies while eating Eggs Benedict for breakfast. Well fortified, we headed out again. No more need for rain gear, but we were very glad for our down winter jackets.
We visited the small, but pretty Ed MacGregor Park in Sooke, where the camellias and rhododendrons are just beginning to bloom. A long boardwalk took us down to the ocean again, and we walked along the Rotary Pier, then back up via another trail. A few brave cherry blossoms shivered in the cold.
Heading home again, we stopped at Matheson Lake for another hike along the lake edge, so different from the sea shore. Ferns in the snow, an old beaver dam, and dry grasses coloured our views.
Home again now, and I feel like I've had the loveliest break. There's something about going away from home to a place where nothing reminds me of things that could be done, and there are no meals to plan or laundry to do. It was just one night, but so refreshing.
Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Maggie of Normandy Life.