Saturday, September 26, 2020

Come to Powell Lake for Fall Foliage

Leaves turning on Goat Island.
People go east on expensive fall foliage trips. It's a region well known for trees in spectacular hues of yellow, orange, red, purple and brown. Like the Atlantic Provinces, broadleaf trees around Powell Lake change colour.

In front of our cabin, Goat Island has a glorious display of maples, dogwoods and alders. The swaths of colour paint the hillsides along stream carved gullies and slopes.

Have you wondered how this colourful display occurs? Chlorophyll, the pigment that gives leaves their green colour, gets energy from sunlight to transform carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates (sugars and starch). Leaves also have yellow to orange pigments called carotene and xanthophyll, but they are overpowered by chlorophyll most of the year. When fall arrives, things change.

Days are shorter and deciduous trees, ones that lose their leaves, get ready for winter. Chlorophyll, and its green colour, begins to diminish. This allows the yellow and orange colours to become more dominant.

Reds and purples are created when glucose (sugars) are trapped in leaves after photosynthesis stops. Bright sunny days and cool nights in autumn cause leaves to turn the glucose into red to purple colours. A brown colour is from wastes left behind in the leaves.

As winter approaches, leaves begin to fall. Where the stem of a leaf is attached to the tree there is a special layer of cells. This layer gradually breaks down until it can no longer support the weight of the leaf. When storm winds blow, leaves drop. Trees become dormant and live off the food they have stored over the summer. Their stems, twigs and buds are equipped to survive extreme cold until the following spring.

Fallen leaves are not wasted. They become part of the thick humus layer of the forest floor and decay to replenish the soil with nutrients. There also absorb rainfall, hold moisture and become food for organisms that are important to the forest ecosystem.

Here are some resources if you would like more details:

Next year when travel is safer, come to Powell River in Coastal BC to experience fall foliage. People here are friendly, the resorts are uncrowded and the restaurants are great. The opportunities are limitless. You won’t be sorry you chose to head north rather than east. -- Margy

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Coastal BC Birds: Steller's Jay

Steller's Jay
Swinging on the feeder.
This week I heard a familiar cry from the granite cliff next to our float cabin home. It was a Steller's Jay. I discovered their presence in our area in 2017 when one arrived to enjoy some seed at my homemade twirling bird feeder. If one wasn't annoying enough, in 2018 five arrived at once.

Last year I didn't see any before we left for a fall RV trip to Arizona. This year were are staying longer up the lake due to the COVID situation. Yesterday, a single Jay arrived and loudly announced his presence. This morning he played the part of a rooster to wake us up.

Steller's Jays are member of the Corvid family including ravens, crows, and magpies. They can be annoying at times, but they are still a welcome visitor to our off-the-grid home. -- Margy 
P.S. This is the first post I've written with the new version of Blogger. It has been a horrible experience trying to write and edit. If you use Blogger, what has been your experience? Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

September Cruisin'

Crossing the Strait of Georgia.
It's been an unusual year in so many ways. We were self isolating from March through July 15 in our Bellingham condo.

Then we decided it was better to head home to our float cabin on Powell Lake and completed our 14-day quarantine the end of July.

We finally got our Bayliner 2452 in the ocean at Powell River's Westview Harbour in August.

After almost a year stored on land there were a few issues that needed to be resolved.

Moored at the Discovery Harbour Marina dock in Campbell River.

We finally got out for a fair weather cruise on September 3. We decided to visit a few favourite marinas close to home.

A walk to the traditional burial grounds of the Wei Wai Kum First Nation.

Our first stop was Discovery Harbour Marina across the Strait of Georgia in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. To get there, it's easiest to go through Discovery Passage at slack water, either high or low tide. Tidal currents are strong south of nearby Seymour Narrows. Over two days we enjoyed local walks and outdoor dining at the Rip Tide Pub.

Tying up in a prime spot on the Heriot Bay Marina dock.

Next we headed to the Heriot Bay Marina on the east side of Quadra Island. Even though it was Labour Day weekend, there were spots at the dock and outdoor dining space at the Inn's Heron Restaurant. We enjoy eating out and it makes traveling by boat much easier for us.

The Gorge Harbour Marina and Resort is upscale and fun to visit.

Working our way east across the northern end of the Straight of Georgia we stopped in at the Gorge Harbour Marina. We originally planned to be here one night, but wind on the forecast extended our stay and the opportunity for two dinners at the Floathouse Restaurant. Don't have a boat? They offer camping, RV sites and cabins on Cortes Island.

The Squirrel Cover public dock with the store on the far shore.

Our next stop at the Squirrel Cove public dock was brief. Walking to the store I tripped in a pothole. I thought I was okay, but my little finger looked funny. Not ha ha funny, but weird broken funny. We cleaned up my scrapes and motored back to Powell River to get it set. We took a two night break up the lake before resuming our cruise.

My "broken wing" giving a thumbs up to the Refuge Cove Store.

Rather than returning to Squirrel Cove (no I don't hold a grudge), we went to our next planned stop, Refuge Cove. We needed gas, so it made sense to stay for the night. The restaurant didn't open this summer due to COVID-19, but the store had snacks to tide us over.

After Labour Day this popular marina had lots of first come, first serve dock space.

We didn't anticipate the severity of smoke arriving from the fires raging in the United States. It was a good thing we decided to head back to Powell River the next morning. We could see for about a mile, but the next day it was much worse.

Limited visibility traveling through Thulin Passage by the Copeland Islands.

Despite our two interruptions, it was a great September cruisin' excursion. And it will be one we'll remember for years to come.

Have you done any safe and responsible September excursions? -- Margy