Saturna Island

 
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A hidden gem off the inside coast of Vancouver Island's picturesque and fruitful shoreline. 

 
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The red cherry of the cigarette glows with comforting similarity to the soft summer sun dipping towards the horizon. A bead of condensation drips slowly down the can of beer, sliding past the bright contrasting colours as it softly falls towards the parched earth. Dried grass crinkles under my toes and through my soft cotton dress as we lay our dusty legs down in the middle of the pitch.

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Where: Saturna Island | British Columbia | Canada

What to eat: Be sure to stop at Wild Thyme Coffee House - an adorable and delicious coffee shop located in an old double decker bus just up the ferry hill when you arrive on the island. Grab the best London Fog of your life, rather a "Lyall Harbour Fog" from the bus and take a seat upstairs surrounded by tree branches, checkered tablecloths, and fellow island folk. 

For groceries and booze head to the Saturna General Store for all your camping and cabin needs. 

If you're early for the ferry or just craving a sunset beer, head in to the Saturna Lighthouse Pub for a broad selection of brews and the perfect spot to watch the sun dip behind the mountains. 

[Shot] With: Pentax MX | expired film


◖ Tips◗

• Be sure to take a walk (or camp) down at Narvaez Bay. Arbutus trees hang above clear blue waters and tall grassy meadows are dotted with the bright colours of happy campers tucked in their tents. Tall rock walls surround the narrow part of the bay and appear to be a landing zone for whistling bald eagles and jet black ravens alike.

• Not only does the Saturna Island Pub offer many options to quench your thirst, but it also hosts a small campground complete with parking, shower, restrooms, and drinking water.

• Take a scenic drive down to Winter Cove Marine Park to take in the beautiful boats at anchor, the pleasant walk down Boat Pass Trail, and the tumultuous rapids separating Samuel and Saturna Islands. 

• Don't miss a sunset walk to East Point Lighthouse. Watch the last rays light up Tumbo  Island and Cabbage Island across the Tumbo Channel, often filled with adventurous kayakers and families coming in from an evening fish. The old Fog Alarm building stands tall, painted bright white, with a sharp rust coloured red roof... a beacon to be seen from a distance and a place of historical solace for those viewing the site today.


 

'Mirage'

 
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We hit the Twentynine Palms Highway with a full tank of gas and the top cranked down. Ponytails flying in the windy and sandy grins on our faces we made our way up the lolling hill to the elusive 'Mirage' art installation created by Doug Aitken. The house is like nothing you've ever seen before... each side drawing your eye to the glimmering walls like a bird to a shiny object, while simultaneously reflecting every inch of the landscape around you. The soft brown rock perfectly contrasting the clear blue sky. Tentatively padding down the mirrored hallways of the interior, you realize every single wall and ceiling is a mirror reflecting your every move whether it be the twitch of an eye or slight falter in your step. The mirage is endless, changing with every passing moment as new cloud passes in the sky or a green bud begins to bloom. 

 

 
 

Where: 'Mirage' by Doug Aitken | Palm Springs, California | USA

Directions: At the junction of North Palm Canyon Drive and West Racquet Club Road head west to the end of West Racquet Club Road and follow the road straight up to the art installation - it's the big shiny house, can't miss it!

[Shot] With: Nikon F100 | Kodak 400 film

There is a place.

There is a place tucked away in the rolling sand swells of the Californian desert. A place where the sun, stars, and moon all share one vast sky. A place where you open your sleepy eyes and bring into focus shiny purple walls, counters, shag carpet and wigs, in a themed trailer described as waking up 'inside a genie bottle'...

 
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... A place where you can shoot guns and pull arrows into the wee hours of the morning with a beer in your hand and a dart hanging off your lip. A place where the jukebox never quite stops serenading you and each song has the background singer of the "ping ping ping" coming from an ancient arcade machine with any game you will ever dream of playing on it. A place where your screen door opens with a creak and the fake green turf grass scratches the soles of your feet as you place them on the warm ground...

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 ... A place where a single glance to each side fills your vision with a gypsy wagon, vintage airstream (the Land Yacht, of course), a trailer painted to look like a log cabin, and a kidney bean shaped pool complete with retro pool chairs and a scruffy white dog hanging poolside with his eyes closed and belly turned to the sun. 

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A small slice of heaven exists in a themed trailer park (Hicksville Trailer Palace) inside an inconspicuous wooden gate on the side of a dirt road in the middle of the desert. Go find it. 


Where: Hicksville Trailer Palace | Joshua Tree, California | USA

What to eat: Pick up groceries and booze at the Walmart in Yucca Valley on the way into Joshua Tree

With: Nikon F100 | Kodak 400 film

Secret museums and taxidermied deer.

We woke early, with the dull headache that only an evening prior full of tall boy cans of beer, cheap red wine, and one too many American ciggies can deliver. Smiles dawned our faces and giggles escaped our lips as we realized we were waking up in a vintage airstream trailer in the middle of the Joshua Tree desert in a themed trailer park. We pulled our fragile limbs out of bed and to the communal jukebox and plugged in a song. As the sun began to kiss the sky we pulled out onto a sandy desert road with the top down.

 
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 As per a local tip, we headed to the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum. “Hit it in the morning or in the evening, you will cook out there any other time of day”. Let me tell ya, these tender eggs cooked in the early morning sun too. The outdoor museum was incredibly interesting. Eclectic art installation one after another nestled behind seemingly abandoned dirt roads heading to nowhere. It was never ending and beautiful. Pieces of quite literally anything… toilets, scrap metal, tires, TV’s, kegs, toys, keyboards, bikes, wood, clothing, wire, bottles… are placed both thoughtfully and perhaps with little thought at all in creative and bewildering ways to create this deserted field of incredible sculptures.

 
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We wandered between the art installations in silence, often losing sight of each other and only able to find the other when standing completely still and listening for the soft crunch of a leather sole slapping against weathered sand. We both came to a halt at the same time in front of one of the bigger of the art installations: a big round-roofed tin barn with the wildest metal sliding doors you ever will see. The door was slightly open and we took a bold peak inside. Luck was with us. There was a whole art gallery inside this building, unbeknownst to the outside world. We were invited in by one of the foundations members and had the chance to amble through this magnificent tiny indoor museum within the outdoor museum. The treasures are bountiful within those closed metal doors and it was incredibly neat to see the theme of Noah Purifoy’s sculptures reduced to smaller installations and art pieces. We were so grateful to have happened upon the museum at precisely the right moment to let us view not only the vast beauty of the the outdoor sculptures, but also the secret gems within.

 
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As a side note... not much snaps you back into reality and out of an alcohol induced haze quite like staring into the eyes of a dressed up taxidermied deer in a secret tin art gallery nestled in the sandy roads of the Joshua Tree desert. 

 
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Where: Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum | Joshua Tree, California | USA

With: Nikon F100 | Kodak 400 film