Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gawd I love this place!

It's the middle of February, a time when much of Canada is still covered with snow and many Canadians are still wearing their woolies.  And here on Vancouver Island, the flowers are popping up, the birds are nesting, the catkins are falling and tree buds are opening, and I am walking my dogs wearing just a light jacket over my short sleeved shirt.

Buds opening on bushes and trees

On Monday, my friend and co-columnist Liz and I took her dog, Sasha, and my dog Eddie for a hike to Crofton Lake and beyond.  I hadn't been there for a while, as neither Charley nor Sadie were able to manage the walk the last year or more.  Having Eddie to hike with brings a big smile back to my face;  hiking on a February morning with the sun shining down and a friend by my side is sheer heaven. 

Liz and Sasha head up the trail

C'mon!  Let's go!
One of the trails to the lake starts just at the top of my road.  It winds uphill for about twenty minutes, but is criss-crossed by many other trails, all of which we want to explore.  Just as we reach the lake, we decide to head northwest along a trail that will lead us to Breen Lake, where I have never been.  It is apparently only a bit further on, but after a few minutes rivulets and mud block the path. We shall save it for another day - I have a meeting to attend in the afternoon and being sucked into swampy ground might be a bad idea. The dogs were game, but we were not.

We don't mind a bit of mud, mom!

Rather than backtrack, we take another trail south to Crofton Lake, and soon catch glimpses of it through the trees.

Crofton Lake through trees

Even where the lake is not visible, the light streaming through the trees is magnificent.

The damp earth steams in the warmth of the sun, and in the distance we see two other hikers along the berm by the lake.

We hear the cry of a woodpecker up high in the trees, and spot an eagle at the top of another.

We watch ducks on the water, and breathe in the fresh air, enjoying the solitude, sunshine, and serenity that nature provides.

Liz and Sasha enjoying the lake

At one end of the lake, we spot an old canoe. Liz tells me it has been at the lake for ages - a man can at times be seen paddling it around the glassy water amid reeds and lilies and waterfowl. I am envious - I wonder if he would mind if I borrowed it one day?

Canoe tucked away

As we slowly descend, I chatter away about trails I want to check out, parks I want to explore. I am high on sunshine, high on spring, high on this beautiful island that I call home.

Crofton Lake: February 13, 2012


charlene and Storm said...

fantastic :)

Jen said...

OH! I needed those photos this morning. :) It has been an incredibly, unbelievably mild winter in Saskatoon this year, but we aren't quite at budding flowers yet. This reminds of me of growing up at Chilliwack- I miss the early springs.

Someday I'll move back to BC, I really think I need to. :)

Jen and the mostly black dog crew

georgia little pea said...

You're so in love with your home and your country. It shows in many of your posts. Lovely :)

An early spring must be very welcome. Isn't it bizarre how you're enjoying balmy February weather while places like Italy are snowbound?

Anonymous said...

It looks like there are lots of really nice places to take dogs in the Crofton area; beaches, lakes, trails.
Canoeing is another fun thing to do with a furry companion.
I am curious,
Can you let Eddie off leash? or will he bolt?

Jean said...

Wendy, I don't let Eddie off leash yet - his hearing is selective (ie, he can hear the cookie jar from across town, but sometimes chooses not to hear me in our own little backyard). He's been with me for only six weeks, and I tend to err on the conservative side when it comes to off leash training. Eddie is also quite skittish with new situations - simply coming across two or more dogs on the seawalk can send him into a panic, even though he customarily walks it just fine and greets dogs one-on-one just fine. He definitely has a tendency to bolt if startled.
Soon we will begin working on recall with a long line in the park. However, for now he stays on a short leash on walks around town, and on a longer or flexi leash on deserted trails.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Lovely post, Jean. The shots with mist are magical. I'm happy that you and Eddie can get out for these hikes. Thinking both of you may be chomping at the bit right now, though. The rain (at least in Vancouver) has been quite dreary, and looks to continue for several more days. Black Jack isn't too impressed although, with my more flexible schedule now, we do manage at least one good walk on most days. I so want that canoe, or at least a row boat, just for some fun exploring False Creek.