Oh no! This hike isn’t even 1 of the 23 on my Mayne Island Hiking Guide! (my goal for this month is to hit all 23 entries from the guide). But I had to do it, and I’m glad I did. It was the first day that the sun had been out since I arrived here 11 days ago, and as soon as I caught a peek of that bright blue sky from my little kitchen/office nook, I threw on some (somewhat) appropriate clothes and ran out the door.
I drove over to Edith Point Road and started the hike, which took me through private land that my hosts had assured me was open to the public. There were some warnings at the start of the trail, which always give me pause…but in this case, the warnings were somewhat comforting because they erased any doubts I had about being allowed to walk on this private land. (yes, I am allowed…but if I die, it’s at my “own risk”)
Throughout this adventure, I of course have been devoting time to trying to figure out why I like some areas more than others. Why I feel an instant sense of connection and “clicking” in some places and next to nothing in others. And I realized the other day that I’m very drawn to places that have a great deal of open space. It may come in the form of fields or bodies of water or even valleys, surrounded on all sides by mountains. But I feel a sense of wonder, awe, and comfort when all alone, teeny tiny, in the middle of openness. Surrendering to, leaning on, and merging with, everything that fills the space.
And, contrary to what I think my assumptions have been, islands don’t necessarily easily provide that sense of openness. I guess I’d thought, at some level, that because an island is a little patch of land in the middle of great, wide, open waters, that being on them…especially small ones… would feel open. But I haven’t always found that to be the case. Sometimes quite the contrary, as islands themselves can sometimes be quite dense and exposure to the water can be hard to find, when much of the shoreline region is private (and not accessible to the general public).
Which is why the Edith Point hike was such a treat. Here I found a glorious version of Mayne Island open space. Even though it’s private land, there are trails throughout that guided me through densely wooded areas perched right atop cliffs overlooking the expansive and silky, silvery Strait of Georgia. As I sat on the rocks above and felt the breeze from all directions, the silence was twice interrupted by sounds of sea lions swimming and sea otters scurrying. It’s a beautiful experience to be near animals when you realize you’re all floating around together in that space.
huge sea lion!! (looking tiny in this photo)
So there I was, making my way around the cliffs above the Strait, determined enough by anticipatory views to push myself through the gripping fears that traveled with every step. Because even though I love that sense of openness, I also have a pretty decent fear of heights – especially walking on narrow trails, with a drop on at least one side. Not to mention when it’s at my “own risk.”
Or maybe…maybe when it IS at my own risk, maybe then I can do it best?
Because there on that curvy trail, I did things that I would’ve never done if anyone were there by my side…or even anywhere else on the trail.
I allowed myself to squat down and use my hands for support on that narrow stretch of rocks, wet and slippery. I gave myself unconscionable amounts of time to decide where my next steps would be before taking them. And I laughed at myself because “no, no”…I am not actually doing that advanced hiking maneuver they call scrambling…
I’m just crawling like a baby through amazing, open space. And I’m really really glad that I did. 🙂