–by G.K. Sydney (photos and column)
So, as promised, this is the first installment of the “Missing Sooke” series of adventure tales. We will start by telling you about the first event in the “new plan,” that of visiting a daughter and three grandchildren who live up in the Comox Valley. Wow, what a place.
On the first night, Grandma and Grandpa are treated to mid-island heat. Holy crap, is it hot here! It’s not like this in Sooke! We never get big heat in Sooke! We love it in Sooke! Whoa, stop, not in Sooke now. Suck it up.
So, what do you do when you’re overheated? Well, apparently, in this place, you either hike in the forest or you swim. Within half an hour of arriving, we were off to do both.
Now we have a lot of hikes in Sooke and I love them all. But this was one amazing walk in the park. There were boulders on that mountain that were the size of my house. Leaning at amazing angles, dripping with moss and foliage and altogether beautiful, they towered over us. But, of course, we didn’t just hike. Oh no. We had to go up and then more up and then even higher until we came to – you’ve got it – the magic waterfall. This, we are told by the nine-year-old granddaughter, was where you fill your water bottle with delicious magic waterfall water. Obediently, we all did so. And then began the almost vertical climb down. Piece of cake.
Also, apparently, on a hot evening, you swim. So, off we go directly from the mountain to the beautiful Comox Lake. As we all go running into the water I remember, too late, that this lake is fed by a glacier. Omigod, this is damn cold. Bone-chilling, breath-gasping cold. This must be colder than the ocean. Is that possible? Oh well, we’re not hot anymore. Thanks, kids.
The next day, the adventure meter was turned to high. Apparently, last night’s vertical hike and polar bear swim were just appetizers. So off we go to find the “Medicine Ball Hike” trailhead. Hmmm, driving, driving, but no hiking trail with that name is to be found. No problem, let’s just go to the famous and crazy Puntledge River. Down another trail, through some forest and there’s the river. Down a cliff. No problem, Grandma! Just grab this rope (don’t forget to hang onto your towel, beachbag and snacks at the same time) and drop down. Down a very long way. Down a freaking cliff. Rightyo.
And so we did. Climbed down that rope (Grandpa mumbling and grousing all the way), swung like monkeys onto a rock ledge, dumped the stuff, all of which was in extreme danger of sliding into the water, and went for a swim. Never mind the signs that said “Danger. Fast running water.” Or that other one that said, “A siren will sound if the water begins to rise.” Whaaat? Whose idea was this? But the swim was amazing. The adventure was incredible.
And it didn’t stop there. After a quick run home for supplies, we were off for a beach barbeque. Is there no end to this joy? Apparently not. Grandma and Grandpa might be a tad tired, but who cares? Come on, more fun to be had!
And so we go to the beach. Oh, don’t forget the bbq. And the propane tank. And the blankets, towels, food and yes, get ready for it….the paddleboard! Oh boy!
Well, tough as it sounds (and it was) to get all that stuff to the beach, it was worth it. An evening of barbequing with the kids, playing in the sand, swimming, paddle boarding and watching the BC day fireworks was quite something. And after all that, Grandma still had a few tricks up her sleeve which made those kids stand up and pay attention. Yep, this really happened. Have a look.
Stay on the bus, Gus. Much more adventure to come.
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