In order to maintain long-standing Looper traditions, our June Looper walk went ahead as usual on the first Sunday of the month, despite the absence of a core group of regulars, who (as many know) were temporarily AWOL, establishing a Looper outpost in Italy. In an attempt to “connect across space and time,” six of The Absent Eight (as they are henceforth known) strolled through Tuscan hills above San Donato on the Thursday before our walk; Jon has contributed a brief, illustrated account of that expedition, which is included at the end of this posting.
June’s walk took us along the dikes from the north side of the Massey Tunnel, westward to the village of Steveston, an 11 km route that was essentially the reverse of our July 2015 walk, which is described in two previous blog entries: the original walk (from July 5th) and a redux walk (from July 12th). Surprisingly, the river was on our left this time, rather than our right; is this perhaps due to global warming? Speaking of which: we noted that the ongoing work to raise the dikes has progressed (this work is part of Phase 3 of Richmond’s Master Plan for flood control on Lulu Island, which aims “to raise the dikes to 4.7 m CGVD28 to allow for 1 m of sea level rise plus 0.2 m of land subsidence”; for those interested, a good overview of these plans can be found here).
Since this was a “one direction” walk rather than a loop, some car shuffling was required, and three cars ferried the group from our meet-up point at Garry Point Park in Steveston to our starting point: the small parking lot of the Model Airplane Park on Rice Mill Road. After the requisite group photo (above), the group set out beneath cloudy (but not rainy) skies.
A highlight of this particular walk was historic Finn Slough, with its eclectic display of artifacts and various bits of gimcrackery, all rusting and rotting peacefully beside the road for the viewing pleasure of passersby.
Just beyond Finn Slough, blue fences protect all but the most illiterate of walkers from the hazards of the dike-raising worksite (idle on Sundays). At the (roughly) half-way point of our walk, we paused for snacks on benches beside No. 3 Road Fishing Pier, whose washrooms are guarded by a mysterious white-padded figure wielding some sort of water cannon.
Just west of No. 2 Road we admired the wild rose bushes in bloom, busy with bees, and a bed of purple irises and yellow lilies, planted beside Murakami House, part of the fascinating Britannia Shipyards historic site. Inside Murakami House are displays of items which illustrate the lives of the former inhabitants; next door, examples of wood carving, accompanied by an actual carver, were on display. By this time the sun was out, and the sky was blue, with light wind off the water.
Soon afterwards we reached Steveston village, where afters were consumed on the outside (back) patio of the Buck & Ear Bar and Grill, the workplace of Gord’s first cousin once removed (sadly, no one thought to photograph Gord’s first cousin once removed when Gord brought him outside for a viewing). Gord’s first cousin once removed being otherwise occupied, our afters were served by an efficient (and lavishly tattooed) wait-person, who handled the multitudes with aplomb. After our afters, the morning drivers were returned to their parked cars (near the Model Airplane Park), and ordinary (non-Looper) life resumed.
Photos by Michael, David, Fred, Ralph, Gord, Larrie.
Jon’s report from Tuscany:
Because we would be all going our separate ways on the official looping Sunday, the Tuscan contingent did our walk early. On May 30, a beautiful sunny day, six Loopers set out from our villa in San Donato. (Two stayed home to mind the fort.) Our route took us uphill past some vineyards and into rolling hills, sometimes along roads and sometimes trails.
Toward the furthest part of the walk we ascended beside a stream, and knowing we needed to cross, we searched for a good spot. Unable to find an obvious trail, we backtracked a bit and got back on route. On our return home we passed several abandoned buildings including a villa by the stream and a church atop a hill.
Our walk was a little under 12km and took about 4 hours.