It would appear that May is to be my month of island-hopping. That term conjures up Greece in my head, but I’m afraid my activities haven’t been quite so exotic. I live in a seaside town (if you can call Vancouver that), and there are many islands within a couple hours’ ferry ride, if you choose to visit them. And this month, it would seem, I have indeed so chosen.
First came an extended weekend sojourn on Vancouver Island, which holds the rare distinction of being the place of my birth. Visits with family and friends, wanderings around the ever-picturesque Victoria, some delectable meals, (here and here and here and here, along with some homemade goodness) a bit of hard labour, a private celebration, and one deeply disappointing federal election made for an eventful trip.
Next on the agenda was a trip to Bowen Island. This one is only a 15 minute ferry ride to Snug Cove, so it’s a little shocking that I’ve never been before. Sometimes you just need an excuse to get you to do something though, and our excuse came in the form of a writer friend who is hermitting away in a summer cabin (read: no heat), trying to get work done in the silence of the woods. I know you’re thinking that this sounds suspiciously like the setup for The Shining, but it seems to be working well for him, distracting weekend city guests aside.
Having done absolutely no research before heading to Bowen, it came as something of a shock to find that the island is primarily made up of three mountains. In other words, anywhere you’re going, you’re going uphill. I was once again forced to face my pathetic lack of fitness. Our friend and guide, who apparently just runs up all the hills when he’s on his own, was remarkably patient with my (perhaps a touch whiny) attempts to keep up.
When I stopped to catch my breath, I did notice that Bowen is lovely. It rained for most of the time that we were there, but while in Vancouver that would cause six million shades of grey to make you think dark thoughts and dream wistfully of Mexico, on Bowen it carried its own beauty and emphasized the green lushness of the place.
True, the island with its drizzly mist would also make an excellent locale for a horror movie, but then we were staying in an isolated cabin in the woods, so any kind of imagination at all would make you think so. Signs posted warning of a roaming wolf-dog (whatever that is) added to the excitement.
I’m not a big nature person, to be honest, although I do know pretty when I see it. Many years ago I swore off camping, having been turned off by the cold, the lack of running water, and the spiders. I have yet to regret that decision.
The wood cabin in the forest was just on the right side of my camping comfort zone. We had the campfire, the cold, the sleeping bags, and the smores (which, probably due to my childhood boycott, I had never had before. I’m sad to say that I found them overrated) but we also had working taps with warm water and some pretty fabulous baked orange french toast for breakfast. We also saw some deer and wandered around the driftwood at the beach. (The exception to my aversion to being surrounded by nature is my love of the beach and my fascination with animals.)
It wasn’t all roughing it. We went to a lovely restaurant for dinner, and an inviting French bakery for Sunday lunch. We explored some little art galleries and played some board games when it was raining too hard to be out. It was a short but full weekend, and a nice break from the every day.
This weekend coming, we’re going with some New Zealandish friends to stay at a house on Mayne Island. I haven’t been there since I was quite small, so my memories of it are dim. I hold high hopes, however, since so far this island thing has been working well for me. Also, as everybody knows, where there are New Zealanders, there’s bound to be fun.