When I feel the need to flee the city, unplug, relax, be immersed in the wild and just let myself breathe, there is no better place to travel to than Port Renfrew.
A sweet little hamlet of a little over 200 people surrounded by the rugged beauty of Vancouver Island’s west coast, this part of the world is a pretty magical place. Let me show you a few reasons why:
Beaches with hidden caves and crashing waves..
The magic of old growth forests..
Sweet BC sunsets..
And places to swim..
Who could ask for a better place to recharge your batteries?
Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. — Maya Angelou
I love walking through a fall forest, even when our west coast November rain is pouring down and the trees are shrouded in mist. Actually I sometimes love it even more because the forest leaves are glistening with dewy rain drops and transformed into a mysterious, enchanted forest.
It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon a persons heart, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
Robert Louis Stevenson
I like to hike.
And on a long hiking trail, keeping my energy at an optimum level is important. I bring lots of water, in the summer I pack a hydrating watermelon smoothie and snacks. Lots of yummy snacks.
Here’s one packed full of carbohydrates for quick and easy energy. It also has hemp hearts for a clean protein, good-for-you omega 3 fats and a bit of dark chocolate for anti-oxidants and the yumminess factor.
Chocolate Hemp Energy Bites
2 cups of rolled oats – organic
1 cup organic peanut butter
1/2 cup 80% dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup raw organic honey or maple syrup
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup ground flax
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic pumpkin seeds
Combine ingredients in bowl. Let sit in fridge for 25 minutes. Roll into balls. Coat in hemp hearts.
Growing up in rural Ontario, nature has always been my preferred place to be. When things became too boring inside the house, I headed outdoors with my cats and used my imagination to create fantastic jungle stories where my kittens were fierce lions and tigers and the wild grasses were the deep, dark, exciting jungle. I could play for hours in a abandoned lot covered in wild flowers. And this is how I developed a deep love for nature.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more. – Lord Byron
And because of this life long love of nature, I can’t help but be concerned about wildlife during BC’s monster fires this summer. Their homes are being destroyed and they can’t get away from the smoky air by going inside an air conditioned building the way we can.
I am incredibly saddened that so many beautiful trees and wild animals have been going up in flames this summer with no end in sight. By building bigger and bigger cities with bigger and bigger homes, we are already encroaching so much on the habitat of the beautiful wild things of our planet. If even more of their home burns, what will be left for them?
Even forests near my Vancouver home (a temperate rain forest) are tinder dry with leaves starting to wilt from lack of rain. It’s hard not to have a heavy heart when I see the forest suffering. We are so connected to the earth but I feel like so many of us have become disconnected from that reality. If Mother Nature is in distress, we are all, sooner or later, going to be in distress with her.
If you would like to help out in this desperate situation, local wildlife rescues are being bombarded with displaced and distressed wildlife, two great ones to contribute to are BCSPCA and The Furbearer Defenders.
These fine people need all the help they can get right now.
A friend and I were trekking along a trail on Cypress Mountain yesterday and all of a sudden a blur of shiny black fur lept across the trail, about 25 feet away. “Is that a huge German Shepherd? Where are his owners?” I thought. Then I saw s cute, little, round beach ball of a baby black bear scurrying behind. My brain took a quick second to compute. Bears!!!
My friend and I looked at each other, then hung on to each other, then slowly backed up and finally turned and “calmly” walked away, with our hearts pounding almost out of our chests. We did not want to threaten Mama Bear in any way, shape or form.
Eventually mama and her baby went deep into the forest and we guardedly continued up the mountain. 15 minutes or so later we heard a splashing sound and peeked through the branches to see another big black bear hanging out in a stream. I didn’t stick around to get any photos but this was turning into a bear~y exciting, adrenaline rush of a hike.
I don’t have a lot of one on one experience with bears (we used to drive to the dump when I was growing up in Ontario to watch black bears go through the garbage and I saw a grizzly in Alberta but I was safely locked in my friend’s vehicle) but I remembered a hiker telling me about his close encounter with a grizzly in Alberta and how, after that solo experience, he would only go hiking in groups of six or more as bears won’t bother that many people grouped together. I don’t know if this is true but I believed him and when I spotted a family hiking on the trail just ahead of us. I called to them and we formed a bear-proof pack (there were 6 of us including my dog) and hiked safely together up to the view point and back.
There were no more bear sightings that day. Maybe our little group scared them off or maybe the bears had better things to do deeper in the forest. Either way, we had an awesome day in nature, made a few new hiking friends and walked off the mountain with a good story to tell.