Just over a week ago, I headed out from my little island paradise to the little island paradise across the bay - Salt Spring Island. My daughter and her friend had cycled and ferried there from the mainland for a long weekend camping trip, so it provided an opportunity for family time, a birthday celebration, and a day's outing in a beautiful location.
I caught an early afternoon ferry, and waved goodbye to Crofton.
|Bye Bye Crofton!|
It was a breezy day,
And there were lots of colourful sailboats in the bay.
I headed down to Fulford Harbour and met up with the 'kids' and we proceeded to Ruckle Park. Ruckle Park has, for years, been one of my most favourite parks in the whole wide world - though I have never camped there! When I first saw it, eons ago, it was a no-facilities camping spot for backpackers - no running water, no toilets, no nothing except endless low bluffs of ocean-washed rock and wind-swept grasses which popped out of the forest after a short hike in. It is still endless bluffs of ocean-washed rock and wind-swept grasses, but now sports piped drinking water, toilets, tent platforms, picnic tables, and even park-provided wheel barrows (!) with which to haul your gear.
And yet, it has retained its beauty, its solitude, its remarkable ability to clear all the cobwebs from the mind and set the spirit free. I think it is where I would like my ashes released one day.
|Ruckle Park, Salt Spring Island|
Despite the fact that the kids got the second-to-last campsite available, there was no noise from other campers, and very few were even visible. I think most who camp here spend their days hiking, cycling, and exploring. While the kids set up their tents, my camera and I wandered around trying to capture the magic.
|Camping at Ruckle Park|
A ferry passes by.
|A good day for sailing|
|I hope that camper|
doesn't sleep walk!
|Rock carved by sand and surf|
What blog would be complete without a doggy photo? This little eleven week old guy was on his first camping trip. I didn't bother to tell the owners that he shouldn't be out in public places until he has completed his puppy shots at 16 weeks. I'm just happy to see people including their dogs on family outings and socializing them from a young age. But you can see by the second photo how very tiny he is!
These young girls mesmerized me, with their straw hats and happy laughter, presenting images reminiscent of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (and subsequent television show) Little House on the Prairie. I couldn't locate the girls' parents in order to ask permission, so shot only a few photos from a distance with the zoom. (Note: it is perfectly legal to photograph anyone in a public place, but I am always reluctant to capture images of children without parental permission).
|The girls of summer|
(c) Jean Ballard 2012
Once the tents were pitched, I took some photos of Janice and Tim, and post this one with their permission:
|Home for the weekend|
Then we hiked back out, piled into my van, and headed up island to Ganges, a picturesque island centre of little shops and restaurants, marinas and markets. While J and T headed off to get some groceries, the camera and I captured colourful memories.
|and colourful places|
Then off to another marina just north of Ganges, where we stopped at a pub for dinner. Seafood, of course!
|and cooked ones....|
|and bowls of steamed mussels.|
Back down island to return the kids to the trailhead, and I was on my way home. Night was falling, and I zigged when I should have zagged, got lost, missed the ferry, and just made the last one back. Crofton from the sea at night is just a few dots of light; the flood of lights from the pulp mill beside it makes the town seem minute.
|The mill at night|
|Crofton at night|
It was a great day on a great little island.