I arrived home from Salt Spring Island on August 24. I must admit, I did not want to be home but for the sake of keeping appointments home I came.
I only make the absolute necessary appointments and only make commitments to those close to me. Hence, I was home for a day and a half then headed up to the Comox Valley, via Volvo, to help Stewart and Clare with their move. Honestly, I got the better end of the deal. I got to spend lots of time with Juliet and Amelia while Stew and Clare humped their butts with a garage sale, cleaning old quarters, and organizing new abode. Juliet and Amelia came out ahead too. They got new bedding and curtains for their new bedroom. Also, a day at Kye Bay was in order so I ask, how tough was it for their Minnie? It was pure pleasure, I say. I can see why grandmas – in my case they call me Minnie – migrate towards the kids when they find themselves alone and grieving. They add the joy to my life. I love to see their little faces light up. I love to see their excitement and awe at discovering new things.
Back to Victoria for more appointments – home for a day – then off to Whistler for the Labour Day weekend. I left on the Thursday to miss the mad exodus out of Victoria. This is where my friend Cecilia lives. Cecilia, true to form, had the weekend planned. Hiking, hiking and more hiking. I knew this so invested in a pair of hiking boots. Boots for my size 5 feet are not easy to find. As usual I scoured Victoria for just the right boot. Ron always encouraged me to purchase the first pair that fit properly. I would rebut by saying that the next place might have a better pair at a better price. He was usually right and would have been this time too. I found myself returning to MEC to purchase the kids size that fit perfectly. My choice was outstanding for comfort. The first day out no issues, the second day out no issues and the third day, the most grueling, no issues.
Ron bought me hiking boots for a wedding gift in 1997. We were heading to the Queen Charlotte Islands. Not to conjure up a vivid image but one night after receiving my wedding gift, Ron, in an amorous mood crawled into bed. I, responding to this idea ran my foot lovingly up and down his lower leg. He immediately leaped out of bed and said “What was that? “ I said with the straightest face possible “My hiking boots. I just love them so I wore them to bed.”
First hike – well, it was really a walk around Alta Lake to break in my boots. It was warm and beautiful. We took time to visit the cabins of Myrtle and Alex Phillips. The sides of these cabins are adorned with informative and nostalgic pictures of days gone by. We topped off the day with a rest on the floating swim dock before heading back to Cecilia’s. We did 10 kms and that was enough in the heat. After lunch we threw in another walk around Lost Lake. As we walked past the nudie dock we got to see more than expected – wink wink.
Second hike – Winston stayed home for this one. He is not allowed on the chairs or gondolas. Up Blackcomb chair we rode. The scenery is spectacular. We did a loop to take in the wild flowers. They were in full bloom. I was stopping at almost every flower to take pictures. Cecilia laughed and reminded me there were more ahead. This trail was fairly busy but then again it was a long weekend. Next we took the Peak to Peak gondola to Whistler Mountain’s Peak Chair. We were surely on top of the world. We decided to take the High Note trail. This choice did not disappoint us. Breathtaking. Simply and beautifully breathtaking. We met few people on this trail. We stopped for a break where we had a birds eye view of Checkamus Lake in all its splendor. As time was marching on, we decided to shorten our hike and head up and over the peak to Harmony Tea Hut. We found ourselves hiking over blankets of snow, up steep climbs and through bug infested areas. I can still feel the little bug wings in my throat. We decided this was a non talking area – but know me and Cecilia, that is tough to do. The tea hut was not actually open but from there, there was a trail/road back to the Peak Chair. This day we hiked 16 kms then shared a picture of Alexander Keith’s which went down rather smooth and fast.
Third hike – Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. There were six women in our pack today. Winston also hiked with me. This was a 12 km hike that consisted of three glacial lakes. The lake colour was eye catching to say the least. The toughest part of this day was the rockslide rock. They are large rocks that you have to leap from one to another and avoid letting yourself fall into some of the cracks. It was a tough go for Winston but he did it with flying colours. Needless to say, the view at the third lake was stunning. We ate lunch lakeside. While eating and chatting we heard great noises. This is called ‘carving’. Carving is where huge chunks of ice break from the glacier. These carvings tumble and flow down the hill. The noise is a little unnerving to say the least. It is quite a site to watch the ice flow down the mountainside. All the while, we were in no danger as the carvings are only so big and can only slide so far. Granted, if they WERE big enough, they could flow into the lake. We hiked to a comfortable and safe distance below the glacier. Another spectacular perspective of the lake was caught on film – OK digital matter.
At this point, all of us (except Winston) pulled out our phones to capture moments to send to loved ones as soon as we connected to cell service again. It was quite funny as we were all 50 something in age. It was a teenage moment you might say when it came to technology. Funny too!
I would be lying if I said that I was not tired on the return to the car. Winston, at every chance had a lay down. He was pooped too. The slide rocks were the toughest for him on the return. Once they were conquered, he picked up the pace and seemed to catch his second wind. I am glad he was with me as it gave me an opportunity to slow my pace.
It has been quite some time since I hiked. My last hike was to Mt. Albert Edward in the Comox Valley. I had forgotten how beautiful it can be in the alpine terrain. Thank you, Cecilia for this most awesome experience. It has inspired me to do some local hiking this fall. While Winston will not run with me any more, he will walk anywhere with me.
Whistler had its Ron moments. Ron and Cecilia were great friends too. She knew how much Ron would have enjoyed the experience. We shared a few teary moments missing Ron. I walked in silence and thought of Ron constantly. Perhaps being on top of the world, as we were, brought us that much closer to Ron’s world.
Home from Whistler for one day and I am now in Port Townsend. This is the home of the biggest Wooden Boat Festival on the coast. Besides the boat festival, Port Townsend is a Victorian seaside village. Ron and I have come here often since we began boating in 2002. Today was a tough. Again, it was missing Ron and knowing that he would have had such a good time with me. Winston and I walked into town. My little meltdowns were often today. Thank goodness Winston understands. I am sure the strangers who passed must have wondered about the emotional woman in tears. All is good. In honour of Ron, this evening I headed to Safeway. Here they sell a six pack of wine (assorted varieties of your choice) for 10% off. Ron would have been very disappointed in me if I didn’t take advantage of this offer.
I headed to Port Townsend early of the boat festival. Two reasons – I wanted dock space for Winston and I heard that anchoring out could get dicey if the wind picks up. I figured if I am not confident about my anchoring spot I would not leave the boat. If I didn’t leave the boat I would not participate in the festival nor would I sleep at night. I arrived early enough and I have a great spot and it is quiet. The customs officer tells me it is going to be C R A Z Y tomorrow and I was smart coming early. Moorage in the US is considerably less than at home. I am happy with my choice.
Today, friends from Westbay on Ciao are heading over. Friday more friends aboard Ritidian arrive. Friday night or Saturday, Tara, my neighbor will be coming to join me and Winston aboard Ta Daa. She will also accompany me home to Westbay. We are hoping for moderate winds so we can sail together.