Friday, September 13, 2013

Interlude 1: Mitzi and Me and a Camera makes three

Gordon Bay Provincial Park

Writing about the heavy stuff in rescue is stressful.  Responding to the backlash, even more so.  Add to that concerns about my mom's health, and an abandoned dog drama that unfolded just across the back lane, and I was about ready to crawl into a hole, pull the dirt over my head, and never be seen or heard from again.

Stick a flower on my grave and let me be!
(c) Jean Ballard 2013

What I needed was a mental health day - a day away from the computer, the neighbourhood, and people.  Those waiting for post three in the series on importing can wait a day or three - my other readers will no doubt welcome an interlude of  photos and fun.

Anxious  Eddie already had plans to spend the day with Gail and Sadie B - we are trying to get him comfortable at their house so he can stay there when I need to go to the mainland.  So Mitzi and I had a girls' day out.  We packed a lunch and the camera gear and headed off to circle around Cowichan Lake.

It has been summertime HOT here this week, and by the time we were ready to leave at 9:30 AM  I was questioning the wisdom of going.

9:30 AM in the shade of the carport
September 12, 2013
But she pointed out there is air conditioning in the car, and the route is shaded with tall, tall trees much of the way, and as long as I wasn't going to go in any shops or restaurants, she'd be just fine.  So off we went.

It was the best decision I'd made all month.

It's a trip I've been meaning to do since moving to the island four years ago - the last time I took that route was probably fifteen or more years ago when my friends Ann and Ken and I camped in a very small, rough, rutted, but beautifully peaceful forestry site down the far end.

The road - gravel and dusty - hasn't changed much.  Nor have the glorious views.  The Provincial Parks and forestry campsites, however, have changed quite a bit.  Still beautiful, and at this time of year still peaceful, but not so rough, rutted, or small!

Can you get me some water from the tap, mom?

Fancy swimming hole compared to years ago!

Our first stop, shown above, was Gordon Bay Provincial Park.  Dogs aren't allowed on the beach until Sept 15th, so stickler for rules that I am, we stayed on the trails and coveted the cool water of the lake from the trail.  It was worth the stop.  We walked some lovely shady trails, and Mitzi made a new friend:

Lovely shady trail

Mitzi meets another happy little rescue dog
(and NOT an import!)

How come they won't let me on the beach, Mama?

Soon we were back in the car and headed further west along the gravel road on the south shore of the lake, tall rainforest or rocky cliffs on one side, water on the other.  The further west we went, the dustier it got.

The greenery was brownery, heavy with the summer's dust, and the leaves dried up and wrinkled like an ancient woman's skin.  Mitzi wasn't too sure what to make of all the leaves!

Are they  'tato chips?  They is thin and crunchy!

They's weird to walk in!

But it was beautiful.  And peaceful.  And nothing, nothing soothes my soul like being out in nature, next to water, with a canine companion.  Mitzi's a great little travel companion - she lies quietly in her crate in the car, doesn't fuss when I constantly stop to take photos (unlike SOME dogs, Eddie, who think they should get out every time the car stops!) , and is more than happy to explore new trails, check out old parks, check out the views.

View heading down south shore road

We made a longer stop at Heather campsite, a forestry site, as we knew my former neighbour was camped there.  The site has expanded from about 10 sites the last time I visited, to 78 now.  It has a host on site from May till the end of September, chopped wood for purchase, picnic tables and fire circles.  And it is still beautiful.  I think we may go camping there next June or September.

Do we know those people?

View from Heather campsite
West end of  Cowichan Lake

Mitzi loves to paddle in the water -
no encouragement needed!

Finally it was time to head back, this time on the north shore of the lake.  The day was getting late, so I just stopped to take this one photo on the route home.

Next time, we'll do the route in the reverse direction - I saw lots of interesting little parks and viewpoints to explore on the north shore too.

Mitzi says we should do it again tomorrow.
Maybe next week, Mitzi, but not tomorrow. I think you're a wee bit exhausted.

Who, me?


Marie said...

What a lovely day you had, exploring old haunts and you highlighted it with beautiful photos, Jean, thanks for sharing.

Mary said...

Great pictures Jean! Glad you had a lovely interlude at the lake.

Dawn said...

So glad to see that Mitzi is doing well. And you really needed a day away from people and problems. As usual, your photos make me yearn for some time on the island.

Caroline said...

what a wonderful day away from it all!
Your pictures are stunning and Mitzi is a great tour guide!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you took the time in this beautiful place to unwind and rest your mind. Mitzi looks like she enjoyed it to and will sleep soundly for the evening.


Dom said...

That lake is beyond gorgeous. Wow.

Cathy said...

Really beautiful:)

georgia little pea said...

Dearest Jean,

I just spent an eternity reading your serious import posts, and the many comments. My eyes are crossed and my head is pounding. You poor thing! Please do not crawl into a hole though. You're tackling a complicated issue with a great deal of common sense ;) I hope there is some civil healthy debate and a good resolution. Sorry I'm not commenting on those posts but I'm in my chill end of the world holiday mode.

As for your girls day out with Mitzi :) that is a sweet spot. I love the last of your dusty road pictures! And the view of the lake from the campsite. Does Eddie know you're already planning the next camping holiday? I guess he must be a pro at it by now.

A sliver of sun this morning! Alas! Too late, we'll be leaving in about 2 hours. Ce la vie. Good luck with post 3 coming up! BTW, I responded to your comment with my thoughts on the subject you know where. Very brave of me, no? :D

HUGS to everyone x

CAPB said...

What lovely photos, Jean! It is a beautiful spot and looks so quiet and peaceful - the perfect place for a restful interlude.