...and sometimes other things

Old Mike and Old Phil

Our world then was both wide and narrow—wide in the immensity of sea and mountain; narrow in that the boat was very small, and we lived and camped, explored and swam in a little realm of our own making.

M. Wylie (Capi) Blanchet: The Curve of Time

If you’ve read The Curve of Time, and you certainly should have, you will know about Melanie Cove.

Every summer Capi, her five children, and their dog headed north from Sidney, BC on their 25 foot boat. They would always stop at Melanie Cove to visit their friend Old Mike who lived at the head of the cove.

Mike’s cabin was just above water level.
We believe that this flat area was the cabin site. Faint traces of terraced gardens and an orchard remain.

A trail ran from Mike’s cabin to the home of a Frenchman, Old Phil, on neighboring Laura Cove. It’s still there, but sometimes takes a bit of “trail yoga” to negotiate.

You’re looking back over one hundred years when you see these cuts in an old stump. Loggers put boards into the slots so they could stand at the right height to fell the tree with their hand saws.
There’s the trail, beyond the fallen trees.
Woodpeckers have been methodically working.
Mary Anne practices trail yoga.
Pizza, anyone? I think I once ate something like this at a charity dinner hosted by friends Helen and George.
I included this photo for my European friends who rarely get a chance to see trees like this at home.

After about a mile and a few hundred feet of elevation gain, we came to beautiful Laura Cove.

Old Phil left his mark at his cabin site: groundcovers. We saw Bishop’s Weed, English Ivy and a couple of others.

And now, the Stupid Steve story…

We first visited Melanie Cove aboard Fiona Bean not long after we took an interest in boating. We had each read The Curve of Time once but didn’t fully understand the profound changes that have taken place in this area over the past hundred years; how quickly trees grow and how quickly structures decay.

We had read about the Blanchet family’s visits to Old Mike at Melanie Cove. Our guidebook said that traces of the cabin could still be seen. So, having found the trailhead, off we went looking for the remains of a cabin.

We had no idea where we were headed, how long the trail was, or even if we were on the right path. All we knew was that there were a lot of fallen trees to climb over or squeeze under. And that there were no signs of a cabin.

After about a mile or so, we gave up and turned around. As we approached the shoreline, it suddenly became clear. Mike would never build a cabin a mile from the water since water was his highway. Who would build their home a mile into dense forest when there were supplies to be unloaded and carried?

Looking around with new eyes, it was easy to see where a clearing was made and the ground leveled. The eroding outlines of terraces and gardens were faintly visible. Then the clincher: old, moss-covered apple trees still hanging on in the overgrown orchard.

All of this less than a five minute walk from where we beached our dinghy!

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