Sunday, July 8, 2007

Day 13: Linnaea Farm, Cortes Island, BC

Original Post:

A quick update while I have Internet access. I'm visiting my friends Nina, Steve, and Heather (McGillicans) at their organic farm school/ school farm. Life is good here. Lots of work to be done....yeah, its a farm, but in good community spirit. Basically everything during the day is food related - growing, processing, or eating. The only exception being swimming in beautiful Gunflint Lake which unlike the ocean around here, is warm enough to swim in.

I cycled up here (passing 50N on the way) from Victoria be way of Saltspring Island, Nanaimo, and Campbell River. It took me 2.5 days to cover the blistering heat (for BC standards). I covered 80km on the first day, limited by ferry schedules and warming my legs back up after several days off in Victoria. After eating dinner at a true English Pub (I had a Cheddar Ploughman and a chocolate porter), I camped at a run down campground nearby because my leg hurt and it was close. Day 2 was my challenging day in that I wanted to see how far I could go. In the end I only made it 140km -head winds in Nanaimo slowed the pace in the morning and I had to sit out the afternoon heat as I started to experience some heat exhaustion. I camped on the ocean (with views of snow capped mountains) at Coleman-Kitty Beach Prov. Park.

Cycling up to Cortes was no problem. Beautiful roads along the coast, winds not horrible. When I got to Cortes though, I was in for a surprise. First, from the island, you can see snow capped mountains on the mainland and Vancouver Island....amazing. Second, there are a few hills on the island....and they are somewhat steep. So what I thought would take 30 minutes to ride at a civilized pace ended up being a 1 hour grueling up and down toil that required many foul words to be said. I also had to push my bike up a hill...something I haven't had to do in years. The worst part was that I couldn't even ride out the hills because the road was incredibly rough and I would get speed in excess of 50 km/h easily due to the steepness of the hills. It was a humbling experience reminding me that the ride to the Yukon will be a challenge and that I need to ship some stuff to Whitehorse to lighten my load.

Back to life on the farm, yesterday I harvested sour cherries (and ate sour cherry jam, sour cherry ice cream, and sour cherry platz) hilled potatoes (putting dirt on top of potato plants to increase tuber production) at the potato co-op (a 25 household potato patch), had a wonderful swim, and cooked a feast of a lasagna for dinner. Today is haying day, so I'll following a tractor with a rake to line the hay up for the bailer, then hauling the bails to the trailer. Its a community work party so every works, then everyone parties. Its a good life.

Tomorrow I'm back on the road again. I was hoping to hike with Erica, but schedules didn't work out. I think I'll be cycling to Tofino, BC before heading to Vancouver for the Folk Music Festival next weekend.

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