“I preferred it to Ace Ventura.”
Twenty minutes later they reached Cathedral Grove parking lot. Eilea sauntered beside Paul and Andrew. “I love this walk. In fact, I love walking through any forest but this is one of my favourites.”
“Here! Let’s try a bubble blowing contest. Watch this.” He blew a big bubble with a second inside it. Andrew was immediately intrigued and wanted to know how to do it.
“Actually, it’s not all that hard.” After explaining the mechanics of it, he invited the others to give it a go after offering everyone a couple of pieces of gum.
Soon, everyone was giving it a try. Amazing how something as simple as blowing a few bubbles could be so much fun. Andrew was by far the most successful managing double bubbles on his very first attempt.
As they walked through the immense trees, she listened to the teen’s remarks but before long, the race was on and they were chasing each other headlong down the path and out of sight. After a comparatively short walk, they’d come full circle standing alongside the vehicles. Everyone seemed to be having fun, and that’s what mattered.
“Shall we get going?” Paul suggested.
“I guess so.” Eilea agreed. “We should make Uclulet in time for a late lunch.” As they drove along the highway, they marveled at the forests, thick with old-growth cedars, fir and hemlock.
“I can’t for the life of me remember who came up with the idea for the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.” Paul inquired. “I guess it doesn’t really matter because it will protect a nationally significant coastal environment.”
“It’s certainly a testimony to surf-swept beaches and marine life,” Eilea marveled.
“Aren’t Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail all part of the Park?” Paul asked.
“They are. Each is accessible through particular routes to protect the environment but still offer activities to participate in and thousands come every year. Listen to me, I sound like a tour guide.” Eilea laughed at herself.
“How long is Long Beach?”
“Twenty kilometers, I know, I’ve walked it several times, and more often than not, seen anemones and small crabs brought in by the tide along the shoreline,” Eilea’s smile was reminiscent. “Someone came up with a description of the winds as “natural theatrics of a shrieking Pacific Wind” and it stuck. I didn’t understand at first. Not until one particular trip when a storm blew in that I’ll always remember as incredible because it was both exhilarating and terrifying.”
“Have you been to the Broken Group Islands?” Paul asked curiously.
“No, I haven’t, not yet.”
“I went a couple of years ago. You probably already know it’s an archipelago made up of over 100 rocky islands and islets accessible only by boat, kayak or canoe. Talk about your craggy shores.”