First B.C. tree hug

June 18, 2011

9:30 a.m. EDT, 6:30 PMT

The first impression is of great lushness and a limited variety of species growing in profusion out of a loose, petey soil.  Each massive cedar tree has a dark, sheltered circle under it of about 30’ in diameter where the soil is very soft.  It’s nice in the still darkness, out of the rain.  Outside the cedars’ canopies, ferns grow in great profusion.  My next impression is that a large bear could be very close and one wouldn’t see it.  Scent would probably be the best way to detect it.  I can see why people wear bells on their knapsacks and carry pepper spray.

Faced with the challenge of planning wardrobe for my first walk into the unknown, I gravitated to the extreme end of the clothes I packed, with a large all-weather rain parka and hood.  The hood came off right away:  it blocked vision without keeping the rain off my glasses.  Next came the Souwester.  Glasses went into a pocket.

Regrets that I left my rubber boots at home.  They’d be perfect.  Topsiders don’t provide the grip on the soft soil and slopes.  A slip and I came back in to switch to hiking boots, wet or no wet, and sample the coffee.

Overall, the view from the guest-house in Abbotsford is one of green and gray, and striking beauty.  The Fraser River flows strongly to the left.  It’s about a mile wide, and fifty feet from my feet.  The trees tower over the house.  I don’t know what they are.  They have leaves like the eastern white cedar, but flatter, longer, and huge.  They grow in such profusion that the trunks grow together and apart, shooting off branches everywhere, creating the overall monolithic appearance of the triangular shape you see in pictures.  Only where the branches have been trimmed back do you get the tall, straight, hydro-pole shape.

I like the old-growth profusion much better.  Weeping willows don’t get much of a chance in this cover, and are reduced to shrub status, covered with a strange moss on persistent branches.  A flowering shrub on the driveway is rampant with large red flowers.  Don’t have a clue what it is, but it’s very nice in a rain-forest sort of way.

The guest-house is low and rambling with a lower story I haven’t explored yet.  Large windows don’t open.  Patio doors provide the ventilation.   No flow-through ventilation seems to be needed, and not much effort has gone into to energy efficiency in the design.  It seems to be a gentle, lush climate.  Considerable effort has gone into the design of rain gutters and drainage around the garage, however.  It must rain a lot.

The exterior’s designed with rot resistance in mind.  Concrete and aluminum, cedar siding which has either been replaced recently or weathered very well.

It’s just sprinkling, with virtually no wind, but as I watch everything is soaking wet.

First priority for shopping today will be the purchase of rubber boots.

As I sit here in the dining room overlooking the river, the wool shirt and jeans seem way too hot.  Time to get outside again.

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