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Our Excellent Adventure

You know how some people have epic adventures cycling through Peru at nosebleed-inducing altitudes, hanging off mountain peaks, or braving primitive conditions in countries most people have never even heard of?  (Sue Slaght, I’m looking at you.)

That’s not us.  Although I love reading about Sue and Dave’s escapades from the safety and comfort of my armchair, Hubby and I prefer our adventures closer to home and with less potential for personal injury.

You’d think that would make for comfortably predictable trips; but sadly, that’s not the case.  I’ve been marooned on an island, robbed twice, and lost in the wilderness with shotgun-toting locals closing in; and that’s all within the province of British Columbia.  I won’t even get into our hotel disasters involving hookers, cows, rappelling nudists, and sticky dick prints.

Granted, none of the above episodes were as dangerous as they sound.  The island stranding was just a mistimed ferry launch (although I still blame Hubby, since he was the one who drove onto the ferry without me).  The robberies were from our vehicle; so despite the annoyance of losing tools, an expensive camera, and a dozen bottles of wine (that really hurt), there was no personal risk involved.

The lost-in-the-wilderness experience wasn’t overtly life-threatening either, although there were some tense moments:

According to our explorer’s map, there’s a teeny-tiny back road between the Okanagan Valley and Kelowna.  So we tried it.  (And Hubby still blames me for our failure, since I was navigating and we ended up on the wrong mountain.  A good marriage is all about give and take:  Give blame and take credit.)

Anyhow…

We drove… and drove.  The road got steeper and narrower and gradually degenerated from gravel to  largish rocks.  Tall trees crowded us on both sides.

We drove some more.  Slowly; since it seemed like a good idea to keep the wheels attached to the vehicle.

A half-ton roared up behind us and dogged our bumper, so we pulled over in a slightly wider part of the road to let him pass.  He gave us a hostile glare as he went by, and we both swallowed hard at the sight of the shotgun hanging in his back window.

Then we realized that the road was widening at semi-regular intervals, allowing access to clearings displaying strikingly, um… verdant… foliage.  That’s when we abandoned the attempt and retraced our route to the main highway, having no desire to get shot by some nutjob guarding his marijuana plantation.

So you can imagine our trepidation this weekend when we decided to search out Rhododendron Lake, a tiny body of water that boasts a rare stand of wild rhododendrons (R. macrophyllum).  The only access is by private logging road; and you’re only allowed in on the few days when the logging company isn’t blasting.  I was really hoping I’d gotten the navigation right this time.

Fortunately I did.  Despite a rough road that brought back worrisome memories, our trip was free from firearms, explosives, or questionable flora.  The lake was a placid silvery pool, and although we met people coming and going on the short hike, we had the whole lake to ourselves while we were there.  And the rhodos were in full bloom – spectacular!

And best of all, we were home in time for dinner.  Now that’s my kind of adventure!

Rhododendrons growing wild in the woods.

 

It’s hard to believe they’re wild!

 

More rhodos all through the woods.

 

Rhododendron Lake

 

Rhododendron Lake is only about 10 km off the main highway between Parksville and Nanaimo; but it’s a slow drive on a rough road. (Click on map to enlarge.)

P.S. Book 13,  “Once Burned, Twice Spy” has finally made it safely through the release process and is available from all retailers, hooray!  I’ll be starting Book 14 soon, so stay tuned to the Books page for progress reports.  🙂

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