It feels a bit odd to sit inside on a dark, wet day, taking shelter from the storm (and it’s been quite a storm), and to reflect on a warm and sunny day.
We had such a lovely weekend. Saturday was a bit rainy, and we mostly just bumbled around in the woods. But Sunday was glorious. We packed the kids and their bikes in the truck and headed to Wyndandsea.
If you don’t know what Wyndandsea is, and chances are you don’t, settle in and I will tell you a story.
More than a decade ago, a large piece of property just north of the town of Ucluelet was purchased and under development, poised to become a world-class golf resort. It was to include a course designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, two hotels (or maybe one – reports vary), single- and multi-family homes, staff housing, etc. Hype and excitement prevailed.
But it was never to be. By 2009, construction had halted and Wyndandsea was in receivership. To this day, it is haunted by millions owed to 178 creditors. Originally valued at $630 million dollars, it sold for just $8 million.
If I’d had 8 million dollars, I’d have purchased it. In a heartbeat. The property by itself is spectacular. Construction extended only as far as paving roads, servicing lots and building a sales centre. Now, it sits empty in legal limbo, and is frequented by locals and tourists.
Our day started slowly. Hobbes fussed over his hair. We all piled into the truck. We had helmets and everything.
Paved roads + blockades. It really is a blessing. Seville’s back tire was a bit flat, and she’s not the most enthusiastic rider, but she pushed through and after a couple of laps around the circular drive, she was flying.
At the west edge of the road, you can follow a path down to the sea. There have clearly been a few litterbugs drinking and camping there recently (trash makes me somewhat insane, but there was no garbage bin nearby so I was out of luck) but that happens nearly everywhere here, and it was a minor complaint. The tide was nearly at its highest when we got there, but the rocky shore was nice.
A couple of weeks before his 4th birthday, we put Hobbes on a 2-wheeler and off he went. If he’d stop trying to cut his sister off, he’d just go around in circles forever. She finally got away from him here.
After a few laps, we stopped for snacks. The adventures when we forget snacks are the hardest adventures. I’m getting smarter.
While the kids ate, Layton and I mostly sipped coffee from our Contigos and gazed out at the Pacific. The waves are just so hypnotic.
I didn’t have any sort of a macro lens on me, and considering the spray I thought free-lensing was a terrible idea. I just cleaned my sensor last week, and I don’t want to risk destroying it. But these little mushrooms were CUTE. You can’t really tell, but they’re green.
Seville throws rocks into the sea (or ponds, or off of cliffs, depending on where she is). Hobbes copies everything she does. He even dresses in a Canadian tuxedo if she does.
Down the path and up the hill, you find a lovely little look-out point. Here, I ran into one of the nurses from work, who was looking for (and found) eagles. I spotted one too, when I was sitting down eating and didn’t have my camera handy.
Meanwhile, Layton and Seville discovered a meadow full of clovers. We picked out TWO 4-leafed clovers! They’re pressing between the pages of a book.
Through the woods, you can find the sales centre.
It is a lovely building. There must be a caretaker.
Beyond a torn seam on a throw-pillow, the sales centre is eerily perfect. A towel still lies neatly on the edge of the bathtub. There’s no dust. Someone must come here and clean up regularly.
The golf carts aren’t as well kept and frankly I’m surprised they’re still there.
After poking around for a couple of hours, it was time to go. I snapped this photo of Hobbes, then asked him what was wrong. Turns out, he thought that shed was a bathroom (it’s not). He thought we weren’t going to give him a turn to pee.
12 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, but it was nearly lunch time, so we had to go home. By this time, we no longer had the whole place to ourselves.
I don’t know what we’ll get up to this weekend (I have a Saturday morning shoot, and I work both evenings, but we’re looking for plans for Sunday morning), but judging by the forecast, it’ll be a wet adventure.