Honestly, I am exhausted from travel planning. So when I received a message from May, a woman that read my post on Vancouver Island from one of the Facebook groups I belong to, she offered to show me around the area where she lives. I welcomed it! (Bty, I do talk and Facetime before I meet anyone). I have the great pleasure of meeting and creating new friendships as I travel. I enjoy hearing other people's life stories, and I always learn and enrich my own story by learning from different people's experiences.
I realize that I don't have enough time to travel further north, so exploring the Comox Valley is a good choice since, on my way to Strathcona Provincial Park, I only stop for a short stop at Mount Washington. By the way, Mount Washington is not the tallest mountain on Vancouver Island. It is, however, the tallest mountain accessible by car. Mount Golden Hinde is the highest on the island.
The last two nights, I found a camping spot at Elk Falls Campground. They have many first come, first serve sites, which allows me to not worry about where I will stay for the night. I take my time having a relaxing morning. Learning how to relax is becoming an easier task. :)
I take May's recommendation and take the scenic route 19A to her house, stopping at a few viewpoints. I stop at Miracle Beach Park and walk on the beach. In front of me is a view of the mountains that captured my heart just the day before, wrapping me with hugs of passion and love. Yesterday, I was so close to them, it felt like I could almost touch them.
I am glad that May would like us to hike Paradise Meadows, Helen Mackenzie Lake, and Battleship Lake Loop, since I saved them on AllTrails as a hiking option. It is just about a five and a half-mile hike through a beautiful, peaceful meadow and woods. Most of the trail in this section is on a boardwalk, making it easy to look around, rather than focusing on each step as we enter the woods. To my surprise, there are still patches of snow on the ground.
Since I am stopping for one night, it is much easier for me to keep sleeping in my car as I park in May's driveway. In the morning, I enjoy breakfast with a mountain view from her patio. I have only a few hours before I need to be on the road again. We hop in May's car for a driving tour, or should I say, I am on a town trolley tour since it is so wonderful to see and learn about the area as we stop at Wharf Comox, Goose Spit, Point Holmes, Kin Beach, and Little River, where a Bald Eagle is soaring the skies before diving in the sea to catch his meal.
Thank you, May, for taking the time to show me around. We say our goodbyes with a warm hug, and I am off again to explore new places before returning to Ramona's home for another two nights. I keep traveling on Rt 19A since I want to drive along the shoreline. I stop at Qualicum Beach and sit on a rock, looking into the horizon, when an intriguing feeling enters my thinking as I think about my kayaking with the Whales. I realize I am taking away from myself the intimacy and the uniqueness of each place I see and experience. One place cannot top another! Hiking down the Grand Canyon was an experience like no other. The beauty and the colors I saw as I hiked to the bottom or climbed back up to the rim can only be felt at the Grand Canyon. Zion, in the wintertime, covered with snow was literally breathtaking. I want to remember my reaction as the view unfolded while driving into the park. My first time seeing the rugged Oregon Coast, I want to keep the excitement and the joy that went through my bones. So no, I don't want to choose a favorite; I want them all to stand alone. They all gave me a different feeling in my body, each firing up a different kind of emotion. Each place stole my heart and gave me an experience of a lifetime. A gift of beauty and serenity!
I am so happy with my new revelation as I head to my next stop, Parksville Beach and Englishman Falls Provincial Park, so I can be captivated by another unique waterfall. The Upper Falls pick up powerful speed just as they get to the edge of the rock, with roaring water falling, creating stripes of a white path as they free-fall into a quiet river at their feet.
I am back at Maple Bay, feeling like I am returning home. I know it because I would spend more time with Ramona and Darlene, which gives me a feeling of family. It will be hard to say goodbye to Ramona, with no doubt her wisdom, love, and support contributed to many wonderful lessons in my journey of self-healing. Until next time, Ramona. I love you, my friend!