Saturday, March 31, 2018

"Gumboot Girls" by Jane Wilde and Lou Allison you ever feel out of step with time? My grandmother said I was born a generation too late because I enjoyed visiting her on the farm so much. But it took me thirty-five years to get in the spirit of the hippie back to land movement.

I enjoy books about women who live in remote locations. I found such a book in a BC Ferries gift shop. Gumboot Girls: Adventure, Love and Survival on British Columbia’s North Coast is a collection of thirty-four short memoirs that was compiled by Jane Wilde and edited by Lou Allison (Caitlan Press, 2014).

Jane was among many adventurous women who came to Coastal BC in the 60s and 70s. This book highlights the lives of fifteen women who landed on the remote islands of Haida Gwaii (known then as the Queen Charlottes). Nineteen of the women made their homes in or near Prince Rupert on the mainland.

Prince Rupert waterfront cafe in 1994.
From all across Canada, the United States, and even France they came. Many were drawn north because of the desire to live a self-sufficient lifestyle away from the pressures of society.

Some of the women followed men avoiding the draft and Vietnam War, some followed family and friends who had gone before them, and some came just for the experience of a lifetime.

Most lived in abandoned cabins or built their own during a time when restrictions were minimal or not enforced. Gardens were planted, chickens and goats raised, food canned for winter. For money, some fished with their men, worked seasonally in canneries, or took traditional nursing or teaching jobs. But getting to work was anything but traditional. Life on the north coast required boating skills and crossing dangerous waters in all kinds of weather.

Prince Rupert fishing boats in 1994.
Living near like-minded people resulted in communal activities and support. It was a time of free love, living simply off the land, and few responsibilities (except for their own survival). Fresh seafood that we consider expensive delicacies was free for the taking.

Some of the women stayed, but most moved on to finish their education or return to larger cities. Even so, their north coast experience shaped their futures and those adventurous years were never forgotten.

The Gumboot Girls stay in contact and have occasional book readings. Find out more here:

Caitlin Press - Gumboot Girls
Facebook - Gumboot Girls - Gumboot Girls
Goodreads - Gumboot Girls

These were my formative years too. But it took me a much longer time break my bonds with city life and follow my dreams to Coastal BC. What were these years like for you? -- Margy

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Fl(y)ing in the Pattern

Piper Arrow 997 outside her hangar at BLI.
On the first day of spring, Wayne and I decided to celebrate with a spring fling up in the air in our Piper Arrow 997.  We joked and called it our spring fl(y)ing.

We headed over to 997's hangar at Bellingham International Airport (BLI) and pulled her out to enjoy an afternoon with a mix of sun and cloud with us.

The calendar may have said it was the first day of spring, but the weather wasn't so sure.

We decided to do some pattern work and practice take-offs and landings.

On our base leg at Bellingham International Airport on the first day of spring.

Come along with us and fly around the pattern.

After several circuits, we landed and returned to the hangar.

Final approach for our last landing.
Getting up in the air on such a wonderful day gave us hope that sunnier skies and better weather are just around the corner.

And when that happens, you know where we'll be, flying the skies of the Pacific Northwest.

You can fly along with us here at Margy Meanders by clicking "Flying" in the sidebar. And you can read more about our aviation adventures in Wayne's book Flying the Pacific Northwest. It can be found in print and e-book formats at most online book sellers including -- Margy

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Cranberry Pineapple Bread

We've been doing better with our meals at the cabin. To keep from eating out too much when we're in town, I got breakfast foods to eat at the condo.

I made homemade Cranberry Pineapple Bread to go with our bowls of fresh fruit using a recipe from Leigh Anne Wilkes at Your Homebased Mom. It was originally for muffins, but I chose to bake it in a loaf pan.

Cranberry Pineapple Bread


Chopping cooked fresh pineapple.
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple
Combining dry ingredients.
1 cup whole fresh cranberries chopped
   or rehydrated dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)


Rehydrate dried cranberries with hot water if you are using them rather than fresh ones.

Grease a loaf pan (unless you are making muffins) and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Stir in pineapple, cranberries and nuts.
In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

In a separate bowl combine egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla.

Blend the flour and wet ingredients until well moistened.

Gently stir in crushed pineapple, cranberries and chopped nuts. (I cooked fresh pineapple in water then chopped it to make my own crushed pineapple.)

Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for one hour in an oven preheated to 350 degrees or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy right away warm with lots of butter, then toast some the next morning for breakfast. -- Margy

Saturday, March 3, 2018

"Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart" by Carrot Quinn

My reading this month has taken me on quite the adventures, from outer space, to life on a small island, to a thru-hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Carrot Quinn was living in a little trailer surrounded by the bustle of city life in Portland, Oregon. She was a self professed internet addict, making a meager living online and dog walking. Her life felt aimless. Then she discovered the online trail journals of people thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexican to the Canadian borders.

With little experience and preparation she embarked on her quest to complete the 2660 mile grueling hike following a narrow band of dirt through scorching desert, rolling foothills, and the formidable Sierra Nevada range. Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail is the account of Carrot's physical, mental and emotional journey in 2013.

A section of the Sunshine Coast Trail.
Quinn's book is self published. It didn't have the publisher polish of books like Wild by Cheryl Strayed or A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, yet it was a compelling read for me. You can feel the pain of Carrot's blisters, the pervasive thirst between water stops, the days of hunger followed by binging in nearby towns, the desire to connect with other hikers, and the glee at finding "trail magic" left by volunteers including snacks, drinks and even hot meals.

Just a little warning. Carrot is straight forward and blunt at times about her personal and trail life. I didn't find it off-putting but some might.

Reading books like this has inspired my husband to try hiking the Sunshine Coast Trail here in Powell River, BC. He's researched gear and is starting to put together what he'll need for a summer adventure. There are many entry and exit points along the Sunshine Coast Trail, so he's going to start small and complete the 180 kilometres (112 miles) a section at a time.

Margy (me) checking out backpacks.
I don't hike well, so I'll be Wayne's ground support. I'll drop him off and pick him up farther along. I may camp out with my truck while I wait for him to arrive. If I get into better shape by July, I may even try an easy leg.

If you are interested in the Pacific Crest Trail, here are some references:

Pacific Crest Trail Website
The Pacific Crest Trail Association Facebook

A clerk at REI shows Wayne a new tent.
For the Sunshine Coast Trail check out:

Sunshine Coast Trail Website
Sunshine Coast Trail Facebook
Tourism Powell River
Terracentric Coastal Adventures
The Sunshine Coast Trail by Eagle Walz

Have you tried any overnight hiking? What have your experiences been like? -- Margy