Whistler, BC (Sep 17/22) – Hobbes is enshrined in routine. Everything has it place. Mental checklists gone through without spoken words. N&J, including Jesse know the drill like the back of their hands/paws… so without much thought and readiness at their fingertips… they embarked on a much needed get-away and hit the road.
Leaving on this trip much later in the fall than originally planned and with the ongoing wildfire situation north & east of Whistler still tenuous, the only real choice was to head west to Vancouver Island via the Sunshine Coast… so off to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal catching the next boat to Langdale. A most gorgeous day to cruise the calm waters of Howe Sound, ‘robin egg’ blue skies & crystal clear water accompanied the threesome to their destination.
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A lightness in the air permeates the meandering roads at this time of year… the highways & byways are so much more quiet once the schools are back in session, the beaches & campgrounds are essentially empty… getting a spot is a breeze.
Stopping at Sargeant Bay Provincial Park was a completely different experience this trip, only one other vehicle in the parking lot (a dog walker), the beach was empty except for a few seabirds not too eager to attract Jesse’s attention. Jesse loved all of it, a chance to create his own path without worrying about hordes of kids mobbing him, picking his way across the multitude of washed up beach logs while keeping a weary eye on the ocean waves. His disdain for water still prominent but less provoking due to the increased stillness surrounding him.
Tonight’s destination is a recreational forest camp near Halfmoon Bay known as Homesite Creek. N&J have passed by the access road to the camp (just off Hwy 101) many times and often wondered where the road may lead… after driving a well cared for gravel road for 6 kms, climbing a somewhat steep elevation they came upon 30+ campsites nestled in the trees, beautifully maintained, and very natural as expected in a ‘rec site’. The real bonus being in late summer… no bugs!!! Unfortunately campfires were still not permitted with the provincial wildfire season still raging, but it was very quiet and a super place to spend the night.
After an early night and peaceful sleep the occupants of Hobbes woke to warm sunshine & clear skies, a start of another day in paradise. Winding their way northbound on Hwy 101 (lots of twist & turns on this stretch) brought them to Madeira Park in Pender Harbour, the quaint little village felt abandoned after the usual hustle & bustle of summer. Meandering around the curvy roads that surround the immense waterway that juts inward from Malaspina Inlet, N&J were gobsmacked at the homes that dotted the waterfront, most with docks & boathouses… a different view from every vantage point looking over the seascape.
Deciding they would like to venture much further northward (the northern tip of the Malaspina Peninsula), N&J caught the BC Ferry to Saltery Bay from Earl’s Cove (near Egmont BC) that would take them to Powell River. Travelling the BC coastal areas usually involves catching a ferry or two, thus requiring spending some down time waiting for the ferry to arrive and then the journey… Hobbes always prepared to provide the necessities of a place to sleep, plenty of food, music and games makes the passage very comfortable.
After doing a walkabout along the older downtown area of Powell River visiting shops & refueling, they headed to Inland Lake Provincial Park (about a 20 minute drive eastward on a well maintained gravel road). The campground was empty except for 2 other campers, surprisingly so since it was free to camp (reduced services available), yet the weather still very warm.
There is a pathway around the lake, including a mountain-hugging boardwalk that offered unseen views of the lake. It was here that N&J including Jesse watched the ‘super huge’ tadpoles surfacing to take in the fresh air before diving deep for 15-20 minutes and repeating the process. These tadpoles were something else, really not tadpoles at all, these creatures were the size of baseballs with long fast tails whipping them from the depths of the lake to the top of the water in record speed and back down again as quickly as they surfaced. The waters clarity making it easy to watch the full mesmerizing feat at hand.
The pathway traversed a major frog crossing along the southern portion of the lake, beautiful frogs making their way between the lake & the lush forest floor, extra care taken to avoid stepping on these delicate creatures. Jesse was entranced by all of this, carefully following the multitude of frogs as they hopped over the pathway ambivalent to the danger of feet and a cat.
Further along the path where the sun was most prevalent and the grass was thick… Jesse discovered Garter snakes sunning themselves in the last rays of the waning sunlight. Jesse did not attack, he did not flinch, not a muscle movement or blink seen, he just studied them in awe steadfastly watching their peculiar movements which were so foreign to him.
There are gorgeous campgrounds in the Powell River area, some on the ocean, others on the many lakes that dot the local landscape. Close to Inland Lake is Haywire Bay Regional Park located on Powell Lake. N&J took a moment to suss out a future spot, although Powell Lake is mostly known for the canoe routes (similar to Bowron Lakes up near Barkerville) it also has some really nice land (car accessible) camping nearby.
Only a few days into the trip it was noticed that Jesse was experiencing difficulty peeing while out for his walkabouts in the forest, taking his time to suss out a spot and seemingly not quite ever satisfied with his digging, something just didn’t feel right to N&J. From past experience they knew how imperative it was to immediately implement the prescribed intervention (smooth muscle relaxant to open up his urethra as well as an antibiotic and pain reliever) kept for this situation after his previous hospital visit in April. Although Jesse was not in noticeable distress, N&J were not taking any chances and immediately broke camp heading for the first of two ferries to get them back to the lower mainland.
After crossing the Powell River to Earl’s Cove ferry gap they bee-lined for Langdale Ferry Terminal for the late night ride back to Horseshoe Bay… then straight to the Mountainside Animal ER Hospital in North Vancouver arriving just after midnight. Jesse was found to have a crystallized ‘stone’ blocking his urethra, so large it could not be passed with a catheter placed into his bladder. Surgery was slated within the hour and much like a c-section his abdomen was opened up and his bladder was entered to remove the stone… Arrrrrrgh!
N&J waiting anxiously camped in the parking lot all night long until the phone call came through just before sunrise that Jesse had fared well and was in recovery. The hours and days dragged on waiting further word, things were touch and go… while a lot of tears flowed and then the good news that Jesse was urinating on his own and the surgery was successful.
Thankfully no damage to Jesse’s kidneys or bladder was noted, his blood test were perfectly normal (WHEW!!!). 2 days later Jesse was back home recuperating with a demonstrably changed diet, no dry kibble anymore (suspected of causing alkaline crystals), changing to a prescription-specific wet food & an implementation of a ‘raw food’ diet. In addition a change in cat litter (Pretty Litter) that can indicate pH levels and infection in Jesse’s urine output by colour, to warn ahead of potential problems. Turns out this litter is less dusty & absorbs odours completely as well 🙂 N&J and Jesse all approve!
On a Personal Note:
It is with great sadness and despair that N&J would like to share on a deeply personal note that J’s 2nd cousin Clorrica had gone missing in the mountains of Whistler on August 23, 2022. An avid hiker & a resident of Whistler since January of 2022, Clorrica had been experiencing significant mental health crisis and was last seen at the Rainbow Mtn trailhead on that afternoon. After a rigorous search (over 3 weeks) involving the RCMP, Search & Rescue (SARS), the Canadian Canine Search Corps (search dogs) for eight full days, helicopters, drones & hundreds of volunteers… her whereabouts still unknown.
UPDATE (Sep 25/22): Clorrica’s remains were found on Rainbow Mountain by an off-duty RCMP officer out for a hike with family. Not the result we had all hoped and prayed for, but hopefully with time will bring some closure for family & friends …RIP Clorrica.
Well after what seems like a few months of trials & tribulations, N&J are keeping their heads down hoping for ‘calmer waters & fair winds’…