Earlier today, I thought of a clever way to begin this post – trust me, it was literary and smart. Now, however, my phrasing has completely left my head and I’ll just have to start in the usual way I do when I look back on an epic hike: simply raving about how wonderful it was.
Flower Ridge – if I had to pick a favourite hike on Vancouver Island, it would be this one. Hiking it in perfect weather, simply being there, camping beside Paul’s lake, soaking up the late day sun, I realized that the contentment I was feeling was deeper and more real than any I’d felt for a while.
The mountains of Strathcona are different from the Rockies – indeed from any other mountains I know. The Rockies are majestic; they are places of power. They elicit wonderment and gasps – they leave you in awe. They are jaw dropping. They have you saying “wow” over and over again.
The mountains of Strathcona are friendlier. They are, perhaps, a bit more human in scale. When I wander these mountains. valleys and ridges, I feel embraced and welcomed. These are places I want to stay. Rather than being filled with awe in these mountains, I am given to smiles.
And finally, after talking about Flower Ridge for at least three months – and I suspect much longer than that – I was finally able to bring Simon to this place and share it with him. It wasn’t easy, given our frantic schedule. We were originally going to go up for two nights: one day up, one day to the end of the ridge and the top of Central Crags and one day down. We made it work with one overnight: up on Tuesday and then to the end of the ridge – the south summit – on day two, then back to break down camp and hike out that afternoon. I was a long day: 9.5 hours – but worth it. And yes, we are foot and muscle sore with a few scratches here and there, but we made it. Simon did the whole thing without insoles in his boots! He’d taken them out to place in his other boots! Akkk!
He did it anyway. The dogs were awesome – well-behaved and happy, although they were both rather stiff and sore too by the time we got home.
I got to love Flower Ridge again. I got to say good-bye to this special place, to this beautiful Strathcona in the best way I could. Tomorrow, I will hike Forbidden Plateau all day – another good-bye.
But I am also saying hello to another set of mountains – to another wilderness – and to another place of beauty. I am about to embrace another massive change in my life.
For now, with puppies dozing in contentment and the hot sun pouring into the loft, I am reveling in this quiet time while Simon has dinner with his beautiful daughter.
I don’t think my life has ever felt more unpredictable. Well, maybe when I lived in Yorkville Village and then hitchhiked across the country, sleeping in laundromats and telephone booths along the way – never knowing where the next ride would take me – that was maybe a tad more unpredictable. But hey – I survived that too!
This time, the mystery and uncertainty only involve new things – just stuff. The important things are stable (or as stable as anything ever is in this ever-changing universe): my husband, my love, our love, our commitment and our determination to make this life a beautiful, loving, kind and positive experience.
The adventure continues.