Attentive readers of the Cottage Life series will recall that one of the motivations for acquiring a strip of Howe-Sound waterfront included my discovery that I was raising a city boy who needed a little more exposure to the outdoors. So, last weekend he and I climbed a mountain together.

Actually, it’s the peak at the exact center of this topographical map, an elevation of maybe 150m; hardly a “mountain”.

But it’s not a pushover; first of all, the woods around it are really dense, hard work to get through. Also pleasing to the eye; I was trying to take a picture of sunlit spider webs and missed, but the fern rewarded the effort.

Keats island forest ferns

So bushwhacking through this stuff, at a steep slope, was fairly challenging. Maybe a third of the way up, we were looking at imposing sheer cliffs and my heart sank. Then I spotted a scrambly slope leading up to where there were some more trees growing. This led to another of the same and another of the same, and after a few minutes of scrambling back and forth across the incline I made the mistake of looking over my shoulder and realized that I could reach out and touch the needles on the upper branches of a really big Douglas Fir, and that if I stepped backwards it’d be my last step.

I felt severely guilty about putting the ten-year-old in what was maybe a dangerous situation, but he was cheery, climbing deliberately and with what looked to me like real caution. So we went on.

Looking sideways at big tree trunks, way up

There were a few places along the route where the forest floor was not too precipitously sloped and also not too thickly covered with spiky underbrush; but only a very few.

Here’s the summit; we obviously weren’t the first there.

Summit of the northernmost minor peak on Keats Island

We enhanced the cairn a little bit and stretched out on the mossy stones to rest and enjoy the view.

Enjoying the view from the northernmost minor peak on Keats Island

Coming down was rougher; I looked for an alternate route but we ended up working our way around the peak along the cliff-tops till we hit the gap we’d come up on, and used it to return. Only there’s no avoiding looking down while you’re coming down.

But we made it, and got home in good order. With kids, it’s really tough to know what impression they’ll take away from any shared experience; it’d be nice to think that this will be something he remembers.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Neil (Jul 07 2009, at 18:59)

Every kid should experience bushwhacking in his or her life. Especially in the dense salal of the BC coast.


From: BWJones (Jul 07 2009, at 20:37)

Love the Cottage Life series... Keep it coming.

With respect to raising your kid, these sorts of extra urban experiences are critically important. There is something special about having these experiences that does change you forever, particularly in the formative years. As technology continues to percolate into every aspect of our lives, some time away is strangely rewarding.


From: Will Emerson (Jul 07 2009, at 21:52)

Yes! You can be sure that your son will remember this and it will be a big experience in his life. From my childhood and from sharing my son's, these first-hand experiences together in nature will stay with you both and is -as they say- priceless!


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