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I wish some days were longer

After a week of frustration fixing a podcast system glitch, I finally got my latest episode into the ears of eager listeners. I made the mistake of announcing the episode on Instagram before confirming it had actually been published. Exclamations, big panic and several days of laggy tech support followed. But by Friday the show was cruising around the Internet as it should and I could down tools for the weekend. I'm so glad that I could, because Saturday was 100% awesome.

We were up early to grab a Modo and drive out to Langford, aka Big Box Land, aka man's inhumanity to nature. Langford is one of the cities making up 'Greater Victoria' and it's the one that thinks it's in the prairies circa 1995. Sprawling suburbia without the space to properly sprawl, so they just knock down mountains, level it out and build, build, build. Turn the mountains into retaining walls. My only coping mechanism is to think of the Aztec temples that were reclaimed by the jungle. This too shall pass. I hope.

But once you pass by the Costco, the Home Depot, the McDonalds, and the outer ring of gravel pits and mountain crushers, you're back in the forest. And the forest we headed to is Gowland-Tod Provincial Park. We were hiking up to Jocelyn Hill.

From the Caleb-Pike parking lot, it's 4.4km to Jocelyn Hill, with lots of ups and downs, but generally more ups. We made our way along a ridge that offered glorious views of the entire length of Tod Inlet whenever we needed to stop for a rest. It was a clear, sunny day and you could see for miles. The Olympic Mountains were visible past in the deep distance even. It was lovely.

Tod Inlet, with the Olympic Mountains far off in the distance

Tod Inlet

The weather has been pretty warm and dry here, but there were still wildflowers in abundance, and cool green ferns whenever the trail left the ridge and ducked into the forest. Lots of lizards scuttling about in the sun (I hear they're invasive, all escaping from a zoo in Nanaimo and reproducing like rabbit-lizards) and sadly, lots of scotch broom in the open areas (another terribly invasive species introduced by a homesick settler.) But my favourite ever tree, the wild, gangly, orange skinned Arbutus were there in abundance, weaving their odd patterns in and out of the steel-straight Fir trees.

a lovely arbutus tree

Arbutus tree - it's relatively rare to see them growing straight up!

We stopped for lunch at the top of Jocelyn Hill, feet dangling over the ridge, watching swifts playing on the air currents coming up from the water far below. It was glorious.

Mark's legs dangling over a rock ledge on Jocelyn Hill

Instead of retracing our steps back to the car, we took a side loop along Timberman trail. It was deeper into the forest, away from the inlet, and was lovely in its own way. The ferns grew large here. One species had massive fronds, over a foot across, spread out like a delicate, triangular fan, and supported on the slimmest, spaghetti-thin stalk. It seemed impossible to hold the massive fan up, but the stalk did its job.

The loop was a little too long, to be honest, so we arrived at the car completely worn out. Our side-quest was likely 10% too long for us. But we stretched well before driving home and then had two very long showers before an evening spent reading, and reading, and reading some more, before finally admitting that we couldn't keep our eyes open and heading to bed.

If I could manage it, it would still be Saturday. Some days end far too soon.

To Read #

Much of my reading time was spent in my RSS Reader, discovering and absorbing a great many personal blogs. Starting with a few seeds, my blog reading has branched out to more than 100 blogs and personal websites. Far more fun than social media for me.

  • I've been geeking out on freeBSD and getting permission to write about everything and nothing by reading Michal Sapka's blog. Getting some serious PC nostagia reading about Ruben's quest to build a 1990's PC from a collection of old parts, and getting into some deep thoughts via Danny O'Brien. Lots and lots of seeds being collected.

  • The free little library gave up a gem this week. A 2016 edition of The Go Programming Language by Alan Donovan and Brian Kernighan. (That's the same Brian Kernighan from the early C / Unix days, who gave the coolest Unix demo ever at Bell Labs in the 80's.) I love programming books, especially the opinionated ones, written by pioneers in the field. This is as much a 'how to think like a Go programmer' as a book about the language syntax.

  • The free big library had a book that I totally judged by the cover. The Gran Tour: Travels with my Elders recounts a series of organized bus trips to tourist spots in the UK. The author is 32. Nearly all the passengers are well over 65. Hilarity ensues. Warmth, joy and learning too. Ben Aitken is a mighty fine writer.

To Listen #

  • Tidal has been a real bust this week. Way too much 70's Top 40 for my tastes. Kung Foo Fighting? Really? Terry Jacks? Oh dear. It did offer up some Edith Piaf, however, which also got me in the mood for some Sparks. And I read a review of a Sparks concert in Manchester from this very month. So that's a nice circle.

  • And after a solid week of fighting with IP addresses and DNS records, another edition of Rise Up! made it to people's ears. It's a wonderful chat with Maurizio Leo of The Perfect Loaf. We ended up having far more in common than I expected, and we got to take many meanders into the realms of creativity, content, photography and being welcomed into a community. It's a lot of fun.