Thursday, August 21, 2014

Exploring on Newcastle Island -- 8/19/2014

As we sit in the cockpit of Willie's Tug on Newcastle Island east of Nanaimo, we see the small ferry bringing group after group of campers onto the island, each child loaded with a backpack and tote bag.  Yes, this seems to be a favorite place for tent campers and it reminds us of when we did the same thing as young people.  

Today we do a bit more exploring of the island and note there are many trails -- a long one around the perimeter and choices of side trails cutting through the wooded area to cross the island and/or lead back to the docks.  We hear the drums in the distance and enjoy their cadence.  

The drums sound louder as we head down the trail.  We meet some children and their chaperon and ask if they are a church group camping.  "No," a little girl says, "we are a community group, but we don't live here.  We live at another town."  We smile and tell them to have fun.

A sight to behold is many, many tents on the nicely groomed grounds.  We would like to think they are First Nation youth carrying on the history and customs of the People.  There is dancing and singing.

Another group plays a form of Hide and Seek, and we hear, "Bark like a dog" and the response is the hidden ones sounding their barks.

Continuing the perimeter walk, we stop to admire the awesome beauty in the wood fence, low tide shoreline of stones and rocks.

...and the trees.

Wait!  What have we here?  

Years ago when our children were preteen, Herb and I were on a car trip with Roxie and Patrice, when we came upon a park that was a trail head. We took off down a path and I'm not sure who selected the turns, but we walked and walked until we  wondered if we would ever get to the end.  Should we turn back now, or are we almost there?  Who knows?  So we continued on.

Upon arriving back at the trail head, we THEN see the board with diagrams of all the trails, and the one we took was called Footpath "A."  The perimeter.  Others were name Footpath "B," Footpath "C," etc.  So we laughed and called it a "Footpath-a."

Now when I see this letter on the ground today, we think it is very funny that we may be on another Footpath-a.

 We do cut through the wooded area to reach the other side of the island where Herb had seen a pulpwood display.  Knowing my love of trees and my background in the sawmill industry (just ask me), he can't wait to show this to me. 

I copy the history from an interpretive panel:

"Pulp stones are 1800 kg rock wheels revolving more than 200 times per minute were once the important grinding elements in the pulp and paper industry.  Great care and careful selection of the sandstone used for these grinders was required, as strength and abrasive properties were paramount for the efficient reduction of logs to wood fibre.  From 1923 to 1932 the McDonald Cut-stone Company established a pulp stone operation on this site.  The finished stones were shipped to mills across North America."

"To cut a pulpstone, a large cylindrical cutter rotated for three hours to reach a depth of approximately 1.5m.  Then after a small blast of gunpowder broke the stone loose, it was lifted out by a derrick.  The rough pulpstone in front of you has reached this stage.

Rough pulpstones were then smoothed on a lathe and prepared for shipment.  They looked much like the finished pulpstone here, which was donated by the Coats family of Gabriola Island."

In the late afternoon we get a visit from Ron, a fellow boater on Hinano I, who came to visit Dr. Jake and ask us a few questions about Golden Retrievers.  He is the proud owner of a new puppy, a gift from his wife, Julie.  He finds out we can spend hours talking about Dr. Jake. 

One of our newest stories is how Jake kept the raccoons off our boat last night. Around midnight we hear him bark -- he never barks unless there is a reason. Herb gets up to check on him and sees the raccoons on the dock.  They swam from the bay, climbed up onto the dock, but Jake won't let them on our boat or pass our boat to get to land.  He essentially has them 'treed.'  

Finally they are brave enough to run past and escape.  Thank you, Jake!

Dr. Jake meets a few friend to run and play with, but first he needs to get his petting from the owner.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Tuesday, August 19 2014

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