A Brush with Henschel: Hardy Bay has an incredible variety of scenery

Port Hardy is not only a very pretty place but has an incredible variety of scenery.

Port Hardy is not only a very pretty place but has an incredible variety of scenery within a small area. Thus it is, when I go there to paint I have two dilemmas facing me, probably because I often combine my trip there with a few chores. The chores mean that I have to go into town, which means that I am constantly running into people I haven’t seen for some time and we need to catch up with the latest in each other’s lives. As a result, I’ve run out of time to paint.

The other dilemma is deciding what to paint. I can go down to Tsulquate Park and paint the variety of views from there, or I can go over to the Government wharf with its views of various water craft and a great view of Hardy Bay to the east. The views from within Hardy Bay, looking out are different again. Here are a number of vantage points that offer great views of all the action going on in this busy harbour.

If there is a stiff wind from the west you can retreat up the Quatse, the river that runs into Hardy Bay. What a wonderful twisty stream with all sorts of little coves and crannies in which to hide from the wind and enjoy the creatures that inhabit this waterway. You can get many vantage points along here simply by driving, with permission, into the beautiful Quatse campground.

You can see my predicament of having to make a choice of a painting spot because, if you are a keen walker, all of the above are within walking distance of Port Hardy. One sunny day early in July I found myself in this quandary. I usually look for a spot where there won’t be a lot of people looking over my shoulder a lot of people and this ruled out Tsulquate Park where, on this sunny day, the flow of traffic was like the Stanley Park Seawall. Because there was little wind from the ocean I wanted to be on its shore somewhere so I parked my car at the end of the street that runs past the post office, found a trail through the thick brush and ran smack dab into a foursome sharing a case of beer. It was 10 a.m.

They were friendly (“Hey, buddy, would you like a beer?), but I wanted to paint a picture, not the town. I thanked them and said I was looking for a second cup of coffee. As I was leaving one of them sympathized, “Coffee! That stuff will kill you”!

I was heading out of town past the Hardy Bay Marina, The Quarterdeck and the Glen Lyon when the eagles stopped me.

I spotted them on top of the light post that sits in front of the Port Hardy Seaplane base. They were buddies plunked side by side on the lighting standard, surveying the bay with an eagle eye (what else?). I took some photos of them while they tolerated my presence, up to a point, before they sailed off to circle the bay.

There were quite a number of them and obviously had a brood because many of them had an unkempt, straggly grey look that the young must wear for a couple of years before they gain their majestic white head and dark body.

As I went back to my van I noticed what a nice view this place offered, had a sandwich and, finally, the second cup of coffee from my thermos before I settled into the long sea grass that lined the shore.

I was far enough down from the walkway above for anyone to take notice of me, so that was nice. A log presented itself as a chair and the salmonberries above me were not to be ignored as a dessert before I began the painting shown here.

I was glad I had taken the time to search for today’s ‘perfect spot’.

Folks, I will be away to my old stomping grounds in Manitoba for three weeks.

I will be taking a break from writing and will get back to you in October, hopefully with some fall colours from “Friendly Manitoba”!

e-mail: gordon@cablerocket.com. website: www.henschel.ca.

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