Wow. Another year is coming to a close. A very few brown and withered leaves still cling to the fruit trees out back; with the next hard wind they will all be gone; the trails in my favourite local wild places are getting muddier and muddier; today a sheet of ice was covering a shallow part of the neighbourhood waterway; and winter solstice is a mere fortnight away.
It’s been quite the year, starting with my move to Victoria to be closer to my parents as their health rapidly declined. When they both passed away, within 3 weeks of each other, in April, I was suddenly free (at least of the day to day caregiving). But also emotionally exhausted. And very sad.
In early May I set out on a fairly easy backpacking trip along a section of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT)/Vancouver Island Trail (VISTA) from Goldstream to Lake Cowichan (TransCanadaSectionHikes2018).
Spending time out in the wilderness was a great way to be with my thoughts and feelings – it always is, but especially so in this time of grieving. Unfortunately, towards the end of the trip I developed some intense pain due to nerve impingement in my neck. That put an end to my backpacking ideas for the rest of the summer. Slowly, as the pain eased, I got back out there, day hiking around Victoria and exploring and camping further up island with my van.
For most of August and early September I was on the road, spending just over a week in the Powell River/Texada Island area (I’d never been to Texada before and really enjoyed my time there), then heading inland into the lower Cariboo, eventually dawdling my way east and south to Nelson, where I spent a week celebrating pride and hanging with my friends. Because of the smoke from all the wild fires, I didn’t end up doing that much hiking, but did spend a lot of time reading and thinking as I whiled away the days in some beautiful (though smokey) camping spots.
October brought some lovely sunny days to Vancouver Island, and I headed out on two shorter camping trips that allowed me to do some further exploration of some of the island’s beaches and coastal trails.
Now I am hunkering down here in my parents’ old house until spring. I try to get out hiking at least a couple of times a week. While I sometimes get irritated with how crowded southern Vancouver Island is, one of the real positives of being here in Victoria is that, unlike the Kootenays (or really most of the rest of Canada), there are lots of wonderful snow-free (albeit somewhat muddy) trails to hike throughout the winter season.
Arthritis, especially in my feet and knees, is putting limits on the kinds of future adventures I can imagine for myself. I’m still hoping that come spring I will be able to do something more than just van camping. Rainy days and evenings, I immerse myself in maps and guidebooks, both online and on paper. There are so many trails and routes I still want to explore…But I’m also aware that I need to take things as they are and even if I find I can’t walk (or cycle) for days on end anymore, with the van I can still find my way to some awesome places. Perhaps not as wild as where I can get to on foot, but still wild enough to assuage my soul.
This new blog is a place for me – and for you, if you wish – to keep track of my future trips, regardless of the mod of transport I use. If you are interested in my pre-2018 long distance (and also a few not so long distance) hiking and cycling adventures head over to hikerbiker.org where you will find links to my various trip journals. Over the next while, I’ll fine tune this wordpress site to incorporate those links here as well.