2016 In Pictures
In 2016 we moved from one extreme to another. We left Vancouver and moved to Maple Bay in the Cowichan Valley. We renovated a home and ignored an acre of lawn. Instead of going for sushi every other night I had to embrace cooking. 2016 was the kind of busy that doesn't let you know that you're busy, until you get a chance to sit still for a minute only to become instantly restless. A lot happened in 2016, here is just a quick glance of some of the adventures.
Whytecliff Park is near Horseshoe Bay, it is a nice city getaway, however once you get there you may notice that everyone in the city had the same idea.
Although we didn't officially move to Maple Bay until late March, the move began in February. The house needed quite a bit of work so for a little while it became our weekend home. We had five bikes between two people that needed to be transported to the Island, so on one weekend I rode to Maple Bay via Saltspring Island. I jumped on the Ferry at Tswwassen, ferried to Long Harbour, biked across the island (with a bike full of random stuff) to Vesuvius ferried to Crofton and road into the Bay. It was the first time I saw the Bay by myself.
My brother got married in March, but not before we took my soon-to-be-sister-in-law on her stag. A backwoods snowshoe on the Sunshine Coast. We trekked up to Edwards Cabin in Tetrahedron Park. No penis shot glasses here, just bags of wine.
In April we climbed Maple Mountain for the first time. Sometimes, my life decisions only make sense on top of mountains -- something about mountain airs makes recklessness make sense.
In May I made it up two more mountains in the Cowichan Valley. Mt Tzouhalem (with the cross) and Mt Provost. These two mountains are across from each other and the viewpoints give opposite perspectives on the valley.
We took an impromptu adventure to Tofino in early June. Before I lived in Vancouver I lived on the Island for seven years and never made it to Tofino. I couldn't be an Island-Idiot anymore, so we jumped in the car and took off. We camped at Mackenzie Beach for two nights and experienced beaches I didn't know the Island even had. We also hiked to a plane crash, more on that here.
I grew up swimming in lakes pretty much exclusively. Lakes and pools. The crazy people in Cowichan swim in everything, including rivers, which are freezing! Never the less, I will have to get thicker skin for river swimming so I can so more snorkelling and crayfish hunting. One of our favourite river swimming spots is the Forestry Pools in Chemainus River Park.
The local pub has a boat dock, but because we live so close (and don't have a boat) we never get to use it. Then we started canoeing. Problem solved.
We went to Australia and lived in a van for three weeks. Van-life was my favourite part of 2016, and I think I could have gone a lot longer if we had more cash and no other life commitments. We drove from Melbourne to Brisbane along the coast moving at whatever pace we wanted.
This is Stoney Hill Regional Park. It is easily assessable, a moderately easy hike with fabulous views of Saltspring Island and Cowichan Bay. Yes, I had to practice using the self-timer on the camera.
Again, I lived on the Island for seven years and I didn't go to Tofino, but I also didn't make it to the Kinsol Trestle in Shawingan. In November that was corrected. More on the Trestle here!
Like a gift or a reward, for the long year of moving, renovations, freelance, and leaps of faith on New Year's Eve Maple Bay rewarded us. We didn't need a reminder of why this move was the right choice but the clouds clustering over Mt Maxwell at sunset was a nice reminder of how good we have it here.
And that was 2016 in a nutshell. 2017 started just the way I wanted it, with me on a boat, drinking champagne, watching other people do the polar bear swim. Perfect.