Many years ago, long before I moved to Vancouver Island, and when my sister and mom were still alive and healthy, the three of us used to book a vacation home for a week or so each year somewhere on this island or on one of the nearby Gulf Islands. We spent that week exploring - heading out in the morning with a picnic lunch and a thermos of tea, returning back to our home-away-from-home at the end of the day, eager to plan the next day's route.
Always the route involved visits to parks and beaches, as well as the occasional tourist attraction or market. I didn't take a lot of photos back then - it was before the digital age - but I did collect images in my head. And one of those images was of an oceanside park with craggy hills to climb, tidal pools at low tide, an island with colourful cottages, and a beach full of driftwood logs to sit on, as any good beach should be.
When I first moved to the island, I searched for that beach - I knew we had stayed in Saltair, just north of Crofton, that year, so I checked out several parks in the area, hoping to find it. But to no avail.
It wasn't until this February, when I was doing a home check in Nanaimo for a dog rescue, that I stopped at a park near to the home I was checking, and coincidentally it was the very park that matched the images in my mind: Piper's Lagoon Park, not far from Departure Bay Ferry Terminal in Nanaimo.
It was still as picturesque, as interesting, and as varied as I remembered. With the exception of the addition of some park benches,
|A woman enjoys a few moments of solitude on|
a recent addition to the park.
and a two-headed serpent,
|A shower or water feature to encourage|
sand covered kids to clean off before getting in the car!
it was just how I remembered.
|Hidden coves amid the bluffs|
|Craggy rocks to climb|
|Beautiful driftwood on the beach|
|and colourful cabins across a lagoon|
What memories came flooding back - of my sister and I clambering over the rocks, sitting in low branches of the windswept Garry Oaks, admiring the driftwood shelter likely built by some enterprising kids (and still there today!), watching the boats pass by on their way to the harbour.
I remember, too, getting our feet wet as we tried to navigate our way over to Shack Island, attracted by the colourful cottages. (At low tide this is possible; but neither during our visit back then or my more recent one, was the tide low enough).
Those families, no doubt, have wonderful stories to tell and memories to share. My visit with my mom and my sister many years ago was short but left indelible images in my mind, and I am so glad I found this park again last February.
Had my sister lived, she would have been seventy this week - how fitting it is that the first of my "Throwback Thursday" posts be of memories I shared with her - memories that last.