I love the BC coast. I could not imagine living anywhere else. I love the forest, I love the ocean. I love the great blue skies (when you can see them) and I love the rain that falls... hmmm... that weirdly started to sound like the "Discovery Song"! The last week truly felt like a gift spending time first with my immediate family, and then more of our other family members.
It has been an amazing week since I left work a week ago.
We travelled through Duke Point - what a different ferry experience, especially considering that this is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. It was great. Everything went smoothly coming and going, and we didn't have to pay for any reservation fees. I think we have this down to a fine art.
We stayed two days in Parksville at Beach Acres (love it) and then two days at my coz's place in Nanaimo. Over the last few years, we have worked on a great tradition. To Nanaimo for Easter, and for them to come out our way for Thanksgiving. It has worked out well. It seems like every time we get together, it is getting easier, and more fun.
Wednesday was a good day - we had lunch with my Aunt Sue, and then we checked in at BA. We went for dinner at the British Bobby (interior decor was cool but the fish and chips didn't quite hit the expected mark), and then back for a campfire on the beach. It took a few times to get it going, but it was awesome being on the beach, with a campfire, and having the first marshmellows of the season. I am not sure if we should have introduced s'mores... the boys have a wee addiction to them now...
Thursday was amazing. We did it all. We started at Englishman River Falls and all of us went to the stunning upper falls. C and I hiked around to the lower falls where K and B picked us up. Compared to the unexpected beauty and bounty of the upper falls, the lower falls were a bit anticlimatic. These falls floored me and literally brought a tear to my eye. They are almost shaped like a wide horseshoe, and then they cascade in to a cut in the rock and then travel for about a 100 feet before they start to plunge down again. There was a lot of mist in the air, everything was damp, and the trees reached up to the heavens. It was one of those magical places that catch you off guard.
Next up, Little Qualicum Falls. This time we started at the lower falls, and then C and I walked around to the upper falls. It was really nice, but I think we were a little spoiled having been to Englishman River first. At the upper falls, there was a memorial to a kid that had fallen in to the falls a few years ago - 17 years old. This falls under a 'preventable' accident.. and we do talk to our boys about them. There is something to be said about 'calculated' risks. We had lunch in the parking lot - surrounded by forest, and the sounds of birds.
We hit the highway, followed the shores of Cameron Lake (reminds me of Crescent Lake in the Olympic Forest in WA) and then stopped at Cathedral Grove. It has been a few years since we have stopped here, and it continues to be breathtaking. Seeing the old growth trees, and touching them, and breathing in the rich, fertile soils, it puts things in perspective how tiny each of our individual lives are. We accidentally did the "longer" walk... and all of it was great. I think the kids really enjoyed it too - this is the important stuff for them to remember...
Then we hit Coombs for some snacks, and then to the Community Park near the beach in Parksville, and then back to BA for a swim and hot tub, and then out to Rathtrevor Beach for a walk (love it there...) saw a few eagles and had a up close and personal experience with a few deer, and then we hit Starbucks for some teas and hot chocolates and hit the community beach (reminded me of parking with my gran when we used to visit - we would get coffees and sit near the beach in later years) and then finally home. It was an awesome day.
Then up the coast and back to Nanaimo for a great time with our family. K got to go fishing with the boys on Saturday and the girls took the kids bowling and to the park. We ended up having a crab feast at midnight, and we caught an early ferry home on Sunday. All of it was good. Great experiences, good food, our kids had a lot of fun together... K and I even got to have our coffees together on the beach alone on Friday morning... like our trip to Seattle last November... this was a much needed break and good time for us to be together.