Camping at Little Qualicum Falls

After all that has happened over the past six weeks, I was very happy to have two weeks off to head home (Parksville) as I normally do around this time of year.  Before leaving Kelowna, I had told my buddy I needed a bonfire to be able to torch a box of stuff and packed my tent and sleeping bag in case they were needed.  I tried doing this in Kelowna before bonfire bans went into effect but it didn’t come together in time.

The Tuesday I was home, my buddy and I went for coffee mid-afternoon and again talked about my need to have a bonfire and the possibility of going camping.  By 6pm we confirmed by text messages as I awaited dinner being cooked and by 9pm, we were at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park setting up camp.

Campfire at Little Qualicum Falls About two hours went by while we set up “Refugee Camp Alpha”.  Once camp was ready for us to crawl into bed (later), we poured a couple of rum and cokes and nestled into our camping chairs for me to begin my purge. I was not expecting it to take a few hours to get through my box of items needing purging but it sure felt good doing it!

From checking weather forecasts before we left, we knew it going to be wet.  But we also knew that if we had to, we could either sleep in the truck or pack up early and head home.  For most of the time that we were there, it rained lightly on and off.  It was light enough that we were never very wet for very long because the bonfire would quickly evaporate the dampness in our clothes.  But of course, there was a few absolute downpours that had us running for the trees to shelter us from the rain.

The on and off cleansing of the rain perfectly complimented the purging from the fire and I kept saying, “This is perfect!”

Hammock at Little Qualicum Falls By 2am, my box was empty, we were both a little tipsy and I was euphoric to be where I was, doing what I was doing and of course, who I was doing it with.  We listened to podcasts and CBC radio without this feeling of having to be talking non-stop to one another.

At 3am, a very wet, dirty dog showed up, scaring the crap out of me and would not leave.  We figured Einstein must have escaped from someone’s campsite and were somewhat okay with him hanging out while it was still dark rather then having a run in with another animal.

We finally crawled into bed when the sun was starting to light up the sky around 4am and when we got up at 6:30 (yes, much less then two hours sleep), the dog was still there.  Every time we thought he had finally decided to go home, he’d re-appear.  People tried returning “our dog” a few times before finally phoning the SPCA to come and get it.  Turns out it had escaped around 12:30am from someone’s house across the highway from the campground. Breakfast at Little Qualicum Falls

Because of how gorgeous it was, the campsite was setup and we were both off, we decided to stay a second night.  This meant a trip into town to pickup more supplies.  We went in earlier in the morning to try and get the trip out of the way so we could just relax around the campsite.

The campsite was gorgeous, practically empty (never would have known we were in the middle of four other campers sites) and I was just so much in awe that I was in the forest and out in nature.  Something I have always loved and something that made me realize I really need to get back out into nature more including camping which I know my son really wants to do as well.

After we got back, I just sat in my chair, tending to the fire while my buddy attempted to get more sleep in his tent.  Every once in a while, I would change where I was looking.  From the campfire, to the forest, to the trees overhead and the space in between them and back to the fire again.  All of which heightened my euphoria and was great for meditating!

I was not cold at any point (including at night when I am always cold camping) and other then the second morning when it started pouring at 4am and stopped quite literally, two minutes from us leaving camp, we were relatively warm and dry the entire time we were there.

During the few brief downpours that happened, we were able to seek refuge under certain trees. I was expecting the rain but was pleasantly surprised by what it added to my purging.  The rain did not make me wet or grumpy, instead, it reminded me of being home (which I was) and seemed to help in the cleansing of what I had gone there to purge which was a lot of the past 12 years as was evident interspersed within the papers I was burning.

Gratitude was very present within me during the time I spent camping, purging and just relaxing with my best buddy.

Little Qualicum Falls Gratitude for having had the opportunity to purge and cleanse, the food I was eating, the warmth of the sun, the multitude of uses from the bonfire (meditation, cooking, warmth, dryer) and forest (meditation, poles, lumber, protection, shelter) and the quality time I got to spend with a friend I don’t see often enough.

Neither of us felt the need to talk the entire time together and we both got our time to just sit by ourselves. I could have sat in my camp chair for hours (days really) longer then I did.  The campsite was empty so when I looked out over our campfire, all I saw was forest.

I would like to be doing this more frequently.  If not for the time in the forest, for having a reason to cook bacon and eggs in a wok over a campfire!

What I did on my Summer Vacation

Summer of 2012 is probably the first in 20 years that I have been able to manage in the heat and enjoy my Summer.  It also feels like the one that has whizzed by the fastest.  Even though I have been enjoying it, I am (as always) looking forward to it being Fall – one of my two favourite seasons of the year (the other being Spring).

May 2012:

Beginning the first week of May, my partner started teaching a 12-week course at SFU in Burnaby.  This meant weekly commutes between White Rock to the in-laws and back home to Kelowna until wrapping up the first week of August.  Some of those trips were overnight and others were a week or longer when our kitties were left to fend for themselves (with visits from friends, our neighbour and an abandoned dog).  Over the Victoria Day long weekend in May, I traveled home to Parksville with my son while my partner worked in White Rock on her dissertation.  Most of May for me was prepping for surgery and getting chores done around the house I would not be able to do once I had my surgery.

June 2012:

On June 1st, I had my surgery and thankfully, it was a great healing experience for me.  I have a lot of gratitude for those who helped my body and I prepare both for the surgery and the recovery in the weeks that followed.  I still cannot believe I had surgery three months ago.  We spent the first week of June in a hotel room while I recovered from surgery closer to my surgeon in Vancouver before returning home for our sons last few weeks of pre-school.

Two weeks into my surgery recovery, I took on the position of Volunteer Coordinator for Okanagan Pride where I was trying to coordinate over 50 volunteers for eight events during Pride week.  Something I really do not recommend any one take on while recovering from surgery.  As much as I was looking forward to what was the biggest and most successful Okanagan Prides ever, I was burnt out long before it started and was looking forward to it being over.

July 2012:

In July, my partner and son were out of town and I was a Bachelor for Two Weeks.  Most of the time I spent in Kelowna by myself but I did take a Road Trip for five nights to my home town of Parksville.  The same nights that my partner was in Paris presenting at a conference, my son was gone to the Rockies with his grandparents (and most of those nights, I was in Parksville).

In early July, I got a lot of work accomplished (noted in Bachelor for Two Weeks) and started working on goals for primarily the Summer of 2012 but also preparing to head into the Fall of 2012.  It took me a few weeks, but I eventually turned what was initially just a quick checklist in Back to Reality, into well thought out SMART goals and a list of tasks that I am tracking on my Dreamboard Goals page.  At the end of July, I wrote and passed two of my Crystal Healing Exams and officially became a Crystal Healing Practitioner.

August 2012:

The first week of August was spent between White Rock and New Westminster.  I have to say that most of the weekend felt like a family vacation which was great!  I published the following blog posts about our adventures while we were on the coast:

Our son attended his first (Grossology) Lego Camp with Bricks for Kidz in Kelowna.  The following week he spent away from us with his grandparents in White Rock where he attended another camp.  As if I was not busy enough coordinating volunteers and volunteering myself for Okanagan Pride week, that same week, we started our canning for the year.  We started canning season with Cherry and Apricot canning and then on to making 46 jars of Canned Peach Salsa.  While recuperating the week after Pride, I landed a job that has me heading Back to Work in September.  I also caught up on work, relaxed and enjoyed the week off while our son was away before picking him up at Britton Creek.  I even spent four hours one morning on the patio of Blenz catching up on reading my Popular Photography magazines.

During the Labour Day weekend, we went to the IPE in Armstrong and also started canning just plain old Canned Peaches.  Because of how much canning we had already done this season, I bought two 12 packs of quart sized canning jars and will need to buy more.  Pears are just coming into season and I am not sure yet if we will can any tomatoes or spaghetti sauces this year.

Summer of Firsts:

Summer 2012 has also been a Summer for a lot of firsts for me thanks to the surgery I waited over six years for:

  • Felt the sun on my back
  • Felt the rain on my chest
  • Went topless in public
  • Enjoyed the Summer heat
  • Bought men’s swim trunks
  • First successful career change
  • Played with my son in the water park
  • True confidence and motivation
  • Living and enjoying life
  • Present in the Here and Now
  • Feel complete and the man I was meant to be

It was not until at least two months post-op that I realized just how much not having had my surgery affected my ability to live a healthy and fulfilling life.  Since surgery on June 1st, I have not just had the desire or dream of doing certain things in life (such as blogging and photography), I am actually doing them as you can see from the progress noted on my Dreamboard Goals page.

Now that Fall is settling in and our Summer is winding down, I really look forward to going back to a somewhat scheduled weekly routine:  my partner and son at school and most of all, my being back at work!  I am looking forward to getting back to Geocaching and finally succeeding in my Weight Loss Journey.

This post marks my first 1,000+ word blog post!  Now to celebrate with my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season!

Pumpkin Spice Latte and Pumpkin Scone

What did you do on your Summer vacation?  Did you go to any fairs?  Take in any parades?