Good morning on the first full day of Spring. We are enjoying a spell of beautiful sunshine with some real warmth pouring down. These clear days mean chilly nights, and a bit of frost, but I won't complain about that.
Tim and I had a week of vacation planned that was curtailed by the global situation we are all in the midst of. We did manage a couple of days away. Vancouver Island is 460 kilometres in length (290 miles). We live in the very south of the island, and we traveled northwards to Port Hardy, very near the northern tip.
We visited San Josef Bay and that took a bit of time. From our hotel we drove 2 hours on an unpaved road that crossed the island from east to west. The road grew rougher as we neared the parking lot for San Josef Bay and we were glad to have a sturdy vehicle (Tahoe) and not my small car.
Before arriving at the park, Tim asked me how many cars did I think would be there. My guess was 2 plus ours, his guess was 1 plus ours. We were surprised to see 6 vehicles in the lot - a popular place in spite of the distance. After putting on our hiking boots and loading our backpacks we set off through the woods. The trail is beautiful, mostly level, with small bridges and boardwalks over soggy areas.
This is a remote area that was used by First Nations peoples for fishing. Two groups of settlers tried to establish communities here in the early 20th century, without success. We followed a small trail to where a homestead once stood. There are a few pieces of rusting metal stove in a clearing, and clumps of snowdrops that bear silent witness to someone planting a bit of familiar beauty in the wild.
The forest trail opens abruptly onto an immense and beautiful wide beach. The tide was falling and white ruffled waves rolled up the shallow sand, then fell gently back. Gulls rose above the blue sea, bright against the dark forest, circling and crying before settling again onto the pale sand.
On a headland to the right, rugged sea stacks, carved out over time by sea and wind, stand like sentinels in rough formation separating two beaches. Exploring them reminded me of wandering through some of Europe's magnificent architecture as they evoked the same sense of awe and of my own smallness.
The irrepressible nature of life is seen on the top of each stack where small trees flourish in spite of the harsh conditions.
Because of the brilliant day, photos were difficult. If you do a search for San Josef Bay online, you'll see some much better ones.
We ate our picnic lunch enjoying the warm sun and stunning view.
Our rambling route back took us to Winter Harbour where tall ships once overwintered and where 7-12 people now live year round. It's a destination for sports fishermen and the population swells during the summer to several hundred, according to the woman who sold us a few snacks at the local store.
Above is the morning view from our hotel room in Port Hardy.
Spring comes later on the north island, but bright robins flitted everywhere, a sure sign of warmer days to come.
Listening to the news reports had us longing to be home, so we cut our trip short and drove home on another beautifully sunny day. I've been working in the garden, taking some solitary walks, and have many plans for things to do here at home.
I've posted two videos of San Josef Bay on Instagram. You don't need to join to view them, and here's a link to my page Lorrie.Orr.Creative.
I hope that you are faring well during these strange days. These are days to think of what's important in life, to gather strength for the days to come, and to lean heavily on God, if you are a person of faith. Check in with your loved ones, and with those around you. I spoke with my neighbour across the fence. She has a compromised immune system, is elderly, and is self-isolating. For now, she says she needs nothing, but is rather bored. If she needs a few groceries we've offered to help. We will get through this. The world may look very different on the other side, but by God's grace we will make it through.