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Vancouver Island, BC Canada 3

Good morning Saturday! It's an excellent day for another new adventure. Vancouver Island has many mountains, but the tallest one is Mount Washington (elevation 1,588 m). It is on my way north to Strathcona Provincial Park. I plan to take the Summer Scenic Chairlift Ride. I am not sure what I was thinking, but when I got there, I remembered that no matter how many times I ski and use the chairlift, it always makes me very nervous. This time, no one else can lower or raise the bar when I hold dearly to the sidebar. After all, I didn't come all this way to let another fear hold me back. The feeling of being on top of the world, surrounded by stunning views, is the perfect reward. The view from Mount Washington is an endless sea of mountains, still wearing their white winter coats.

As I left Ramona's house this morning, I recognized a heavy feeling in my heart. I can't pinpoint what it is, but I'm happy to see that I am learning just to let it be and let it rest in my heart, knowing it will pass. I am accepting it as it is! Gee, who is this person? I'm enjoying the changes in me in the last few months. I have had amazing self-growth and starting to be very proud of myself.

I plan to break my drive and stop at Elk Falls Provincial Park. It turns out to be an excellent choice. As I view it from the top when it is still calm and slow, I sense an understanding of the story of this powerful waterfall.

It is time to head to Strathcona Provincial Park and find my campground. I have a reservation at Buttle Lake Campground. Right after leaving Elk Falls, I lose service. The drive starts through a wooded area, but as you get to Upper Campbell River, the drive changes to a blue lake with snowcap mountains and endless blue skies. It's just breathtaking! With a feeling of awe, the remaining heaviness in my heart has totally melted.

Strathcona Provincial Park is a remote wilderness, and the campground is primitive. At this point, I have all I need and the experience to camp off the grid. I actually love when I am disconnected from the outside world. After two weeks of not camping and sleeping in my car, it feels wonderful to be back "home". I love sleeping in my little cocoon! I take my time making breakfast and enjoy slow yoga; after all, I promised myself to slow down.

There is only one road in the park that takes you along Buttle Lake. I plan to stop at different points on my way to Lower Myra Falls. My first stop is to a skinny waterfall, Lupin Falls. It is only a ten-minute hike into the woods. Lupin Falls' beauty rises from its gentle rhythm of flow into a small pool and its wooden surrounding.

It is disappointing that you can't easily find a way to get to the lakeshore. I stop at any opportunity the road lets me. Most of the time, I just get a glimpse of the view through the trees. When I find a spot where I can safely bushwhack to the lake's edge, I go for it. As I sit on the warm rock, I take in the breathtaking view of distance layers of silhouette mountains; as they fold into each other, creating depth and beauty. I let my thoughts rest quietly. I cherish my time with myself; especially when I am in my happy place, where I am fully content. I have the space to reflect on my life both past and present. A few weeks ago, when the ER doctor asked me about my health history, a distant memory returned to visit me. Today I welcome painful memories. They are great teachers and give me a new and healthy perspective.

During the years, my mom got sick and was dying; I developed three ulcers. The doctor recognized the emotional trauma I was in and recommended I see a therapist. Why do I feel this is important for me to remember it now? Because it brings me back to the timid person I was. I wish I could thank this lovely therapist. He guided me and showed me the way to the person I am today. He is the one that instilled in me the idea of small steps towards bravery and self-empowerment. You see, I was so frightened as a child and a teenager and still quite a lot into adulthood, that even picking up a ringing phone at home was terrifying. He guided me and encouraged me slowly to overcome the simple fears I was carrying in my tiny body. Unfortunately, my dad stopped my session too early for me. I have a feeling he was worried I was sharing his abusive behavior. The sad thing is I never really talked about it with my therapist. It was something you didn't share or talk about back then.

Fear is a strong emotion that, in many cases, paralyzes us. It prevents us from achieving many dreams and brings us to our knees with despair. It always stuns me to remember who I was and where I am today. Yes, I still have fears, but I work hard not to let them stop me. I listen to them with an open heart and welcome the challenge to empower myself with every adventure.

All it takes is a fifteen-minute hike down to Lower Myra Falls. I can easily say this is one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have seen so far. The falls cascade to pure, clear water. What incredible beauty! I can't resist and take off my hiking boots; of course, it's freezing cold! I decided that if the lower falls are so stunning, it is worth checking out the Upper Falls.

Well, that was a huge disappointment. First, the drive goes through a working mine, which itself is a disruption in this wilderness beauty. It is a nice walk in the woods, but it is just a waterfall. I am unsure if I am getting to be a snob when it comes to the beauty of nature after experiencing surreal beauty in the last nine months, or if it is being on a high from loving Lower Myra Falls.

It is time to head back to my campsite., I do want to stop again at Auger Point. From this stop, you can get to the lake shore without needing to bushwhack, and it is only a few steps down to a magnificent view. The lake water is so clear and welcoming; I hear it say jump, so I did!!! That was a spontaneous moment and a bit out of character for me. I am hot and sweaty and very dusty. I removed my shoes, emptied my pockets, and jumped head first. Oh my goodness, I lost my breath! The water is terribly cold! I jumped in one more time. That will surely go in my book as one of the wildest and crazy things I have done. Now I feel clean and refreshed, and my clothes also got a quick wash. That was crazy fun!!!

Sometimes I like to check the mileage that I did for the day. I have no idea how I end up doing 9 miles. No wonder my back is hurting again! I am trying to hike less and slow my pace. It seems like a more challenging task than I thought, so I will take the day off and sit at the library at Campbell River to enjoy writing in my journal.

Tomorrow will be an exciting day!

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