It has been an extraordinary year of travel for us, as we spent 5 weeks in Europe exploring the beautiful and history that many of its countries had to offer. Coming home I found myself sitting on the plane making a mental list of “where next?” Exploring Normandy? The Swiss Alps? Eating in Italy? The Turkish Riviera? My wanderlust takes over.
When we arrived back home and settled back into the school year we decided to so something else instead – to buy a new home. While the ground hasn’t been broken, we have not made a financial commitment – one that may keep us more grounded than we’ve come accustomed to – at least for the next couple years.
And this is actually a good thing.
In all our of gallivanting around the world, we haven’t taken a great deal of time to focus on our backyard. Growing up in British Columbia, we have come to expect that the mountain ranges, hills of evergreens, changing maples, streams, rivers, waterfalls, shorelines and ever changing terrains are the norm.
So in light of our short-term travel-light plans we’ve decided to focus on exploring the great things that British Columbia has to offer.
When planning for travels, I will spend copious amounts of time online, researching the best campsites, places to take photos, walks, restaurants, and searching for all the little nuances that make a place unique. And yet, here at home, there are so many of these things I know nothing about. The first of which is Shoreline Trail, in Port Moody.
Some of our closest friends live in Port Moody, but a short jaunt from the inlet. We have been visiting them for years, for dinners and game nights. I’m ashamed to say that we had never really left the house. I could spout excuses about it being late, dark, cold, rainy, snowy, or that I constantly wore the wrong shoes (and all of these would be legitimate in many of the cases), the truth is that I never really cared out what was outside. I’d come to take BC for granted. Trees, water, leaves, trail. Okay. How I became that cavalier about something so incredible is beyond me.
So one night we were headed there for dinner, and I get a text in the early afternoon. “Bring your walking shoes.” So I do as I’m told. We get there, and almost immediately head out. My friend Karen, my friend Sarah, and her daughter Amelia. When we cross the street, we take a quick right, and then left, and we start to follow a trail – into the trees, around the water, and ending at a playground on the beach. The perfect stop for a 2.5 year old. There is a playground. On a beach. Awesome. Around me the leaves are starting to change, many shades of red are mixing in with those that are holding on to their bright green pigments. The sun is reflecting off the water, and slowly preparing to disappear behind the mountains, and the sky is light up with shades of orange and pink. The air is fresh. And the teenagers on the teeter-totter next to us are talking about the Physics of the playground, which has us pretty amused. It’s incredible.
So of course now all I want to know is, “what if we went left?” But it’s dark, and it’s dinner time, and the signs say there is a bear in the area, so going back home seems like the best bet.
So I make a date with Karen. And two weeks later I went back, camera in tow, to find out what happens when we go left. And I am SO glad I did. The trees have now begun to move from red to orange to yellow. The ground is littered with falling leaves, all raked up in files near the homes, and haphazardly spread out on the trails. There has been a lot of fog, but no rain yet, so the leaves are still light and can be kicked up in the air, opposed to slimy and stuck to the ground, which happens when the rain season begins. I can’t help but kick through every pile I walk past, and Karen stops to make it rain red and yellow, if only for a moment.
We cross the street and read down the train and end up in a park. A large open green field, and a pier heading out into the ocean. There is a wedding being shot there as we wander – and no surprise – I wish I shot my wedding photos here too. The shore is lined with picnic tables, trees, and orange leaves scattered. There are benches to sit on and just watch, or listen, to the water and the wind.
I find myself saying “wow” on repeat and having to shake my head. I can’t believe how beautiful it all is.
We follow the shoreline around the inlet. The canopies of trees cover the trails, and the branches bench to create natural archways that are just incredible. I can’t take photos fast enough. Walkers and runners pass us by, the occasional dog and stroller as well. Everyone looks happy. The fresh air is perfect. The clouds are still low, and there is a big of fog left from the morning as we climb stairs and cross the walk ways over the marshy areas.
We finally merge with the bike path that we had walked only 2 weeks earlier. The reds and greens from last time have been replaced with oranges and yellows, and the ground is now painted with the colours of fall.
And I am so excited. I go home and load the pictures to my computer and stare. And share. Looking at these pictures again just now makes me want to step outside and go find the next amazing place. They all seem to be in my backyard. I think I’ve just been blind for too long. I am so thankful to Karen for showing it to me.
British Columbia is so beautiful. And I can’t wait to see more.