Thursday, December 2, 2021

Mom-Day Adventure: Elk-Beaver Lake Park, Saying Hi to Dad

Hello, my friends! I had a much-needed day with my mom today, being out in nature and visiting my dad for the first time in well over a decade. Lest you think I am a terrible daughter, my dad died in 1997. 

Mom came over and we had a cup of tea while she enjoyed my Christmas decorations and attempted to give Vizzini some lovin'. He was having none of it, ungrateful cat. 
"I am not in the mood."

Mom-Sheila-Vizzini selfie!

Knowing we'd be going to Elk-Beaver Lake, I dressed for potential mud and chilliness. 
Fleece-lined tights, thick socks, and a full vintage slip under it all. 

  • Jacket - Burberry, consignment; last worn here in October on my shopping trip with Vero
  • Sweater - Sonia Rykiel, consignment; last seen here in October for another Mom-Day in green satin
  • Skirt - Pink Martini, consignment; last worn here in March with the Ringmaster jacket
  • Boots - Aldo, consignment; last seen here in September for the Mom-Day at Hatley Castle

I was certainly the snazziest person at the lake!
Isn't the jacket amazing? It's a gorgeous yellowy-greeny-bronzy coloured leather. 
I am also loving the sparkly studs up the back of the boots. 

I didn't take the jacket off the whole day, but here you go. 
The sweater is a Classy Designer, Sonia Rykiel (obituary here). 
This sweater is cotton, very fine and has really intricate detail, which you can kind of see on my back. Why have a boring plain black sweater when you can have a designer fancy one? Always Be Upgrading! 

The casual stance. 
It was off and on flashes of sun, so I reveled in being able to wear my sunglasses again. 

Buttoned up. 
This is how most people saw me. 

Masked up. 
Shiny gold stars! Lots of sparkle and shine in today's outfit. 

I was pushing it with just a silk scarf and a leather jacket - I was rather cold by the time we finished our walk. 

  • Scarf - Forele, consignment
  • Gloves - Parkhurst
  • Mask - by Mom

The stuff: 
Comfy boots for walking! They got a little muddy, but they're fine. 

Gold and black bling: 
Including a couple of Mom's pieces. 

  • Belt - Club Monaco, consignment
  • Leather cuff - Guess, thrifted
  • Brass/leather cuff - vintage 70s, Mom's
  • Earrings - Mom's, Fiji
  • Silver/smoky topaz ring - Anneli Neuman, Sweden, vintage fair
  • Silver/onyx ring - Toccara, vintage fair
  • Gold-plated silver ear-cuffs - consignment; purchased here for $6.00

Here's a close-up of the ear-cuffs.
Well, one of them. They are quite secure on my ears (I like the weight), but I was paranoid I'd lose one whenever I had to put on/take off my mask. 

Enough fashion! On to the Mom-Day Adventure. 

More amusing pics of Mom trying to wrangle Vizzini. 
"No one wrangles me unless I want it."

Come on, Vizzini, be nice. Mom gives good kitty massages! 
"Nope nope nope."


We drove north of Victoria and wended our way through the woods to the Beaver Lake side of the two connected lakes of Elk-Beaver Lake Park.
We used to come here a lot when I was a kid, canoeing on the lake and collecting beer bottles in the bottom of the canoe (which were the first money deposited in my very first bank account) from weekend partiers. 

There were tons of people out walking their dogs. 
This fellow was waiting for his owner outside the washrooms. 

Mom was excited to test out her new walking poles. Normally, she would still have been making her way to this point from the car. 
I was startled that she'd made it to the start point so fast! Hold up there, Speedy!

Signs to inform. 
I wanted to see a mink, but we encountered very little wildlife. Boo.

A map of the full connected lakes. The top section is Elk Lake and after the narrows below that is Beaver Lake. I used to sunbathe on the upper left side of Elk Lake - it's a very popular beach in the summer. Elk is also where Canada's Olympic rowing team practices. 
Mom and I drove in and walked the blue section I added above. 

The full path around the lake is just over 11 km/7 miles. 
Both Mom and Dad used to walk and run around the lake - it was my dad's favourite running spot and he actually co-founded a 50K Ultra-Marathon that used to be held there. Mom did her "50 for 50", walking the entire lake SEVEN TIMES for her 50th birthday, but this time, we just did the blue loop I've drawn in above.

Hey, Mom, how are those walking poles working out? 
One guess! That is a happy face. She found these locally - they are fully-adjustable, with little feet, cork handles and straps for the wrist. 

Right away, we came upon the Harriers bench. 
It looks out across the lake - a lovely view all year round. 

Both Mom and Dad were members of the Prairie Inn Harriers, the premier running club in Victoria - Mom was a prominent racewalker in her prime (both Mom and Dad competed in the World Masters Games). The Prairie Inn is a popular pub in North Saanich.
My dad's name is on the lower plaque. The upper one says, "In fond memory of our club members who left us too soon in life. They contributed to our club and will never be forgotten."

Looking across the lake. 
I went in closer to see what the pen on the right was. 

A turtle nesting area! I want turtles! 
I scanned the ground really thoroughly, but it must not be turtle season. 

Looking back to the car-park. 
The water was very still - we had a beautiful day for December. 

Bits of blue sky to the north. 
The far section of the yellow-y trees along the shore is the public beach section of Beaver Lake. I remember my Dad carrying our bright red canoe down to the shore from our Volkswagon bus - this would have been in the mid-70s.  

I love the starkness of the bare branches. 
These ones are covered in lichens. 

The path is lined on either side, offering glimpses of the water and the far shore. 
I remembered the red canoe cutting through the water, Mom and Dad paddling, Dave and I in our orange life-jackets in the middle with the beer bottles. 

I zoomed in on this tiny island. 
I see ducks! 

A perfect reflection. 
So pretty. 

Get ready for loads of pictures of classic west coast flora. 
The paths are mostly dirt with fine pebble gravel added periodically to keep them from getting too muddy. There is an equestrian centre out in the woods, and although we saw hoof-prints, we didn't see any horses (I was really hoping - I love horses). 

Oh my, these trees are tall. 
It's dizzying. 

There are loads of little paths that you can follow down to the water's edge. 
This path leads out to another bench. 

There's a big island right where the two lakes join - that's it on the left, out in the water. 
This was a lovely side-trip. 

Mom waited for me back at the main path. 
I thought you might like to see the scale for the actual sizes of all these trees! 

I was checking all these little harbours for minks. 
Or turtles, or frogs. Apparently, in spring, the noise from the frogs is raucous. 

Most of the trees are Douglas fir, pine and cedars. 
I saw a lot of maple leaves on the ground too, so those are also around. 
Another detour out to look back. The reflection is amazing. 

A cedar log that's been left to go back to the earth. 
Something that changed into something else. 

Trees were not removed for the path. 
That is a defiant tree. My path! 

I glimpsed a darkness in the woods, and it freaked me out, as I couldn't tell what it was. 
I zoomed in and took a picture, hoping I'd be able to figure it out at home when I uploaded my pics. It looks like a primordial forest god gazing at me...but it's the bottom of a tree that's fallen over, twisted roots in the air.

The undergrowth is varied, with a lot of salal and ferns and ivies climbing up the trees. 
We were lucky to have a mostly dry path. 

While Dad is on the fallen runners' bench, after he died we spread his ashes here. 
Shhh, don't tell anyone! It's totally illegal to do that. 

A duck took off in flight as I stood saying hi to Dad. He died of a massive heart attack 6 months to the day after L and I got married - my last pics of him are from my wedding here (I love this one of him and Mom). 
The day we scattered his ashes, a heron flew past - whenever Mom and I see herons, we say hello to him. 

I love that my dad got to stay at his favourite spot. 
And that part of him that still here, but different. 

Mom picked this spot because he always took pictures of the island. 
Today, we joked that if Dad were still alive he'd be all over Instagram (he loved technology) with his pics. He'd probably have a ton of followers.

The bold yellow leaves reminded me of him.
He would have appreciated the bright colour too (check out his crazy running gear here! and yes, that is me!).

This is a nurse stump (she said, remembering nature walks from Brownies and Girl Guides). 
The fallen tree's stump nurtures the new forest growth. 

Such is life. 
From here, we turned back and joined to a wider, less meandering path back. 

We were getting hungry, and Mom was getting tired. 
This was her first major outing with her poles, and while they do help her walk with much less of a limp, they require a lot of focus for placement and balance. We did a total of about 3 kilometers, which is awesome. I'm proud of you, Mom! Enjoy your hot bath tonight! 

More undergrowth. 
Another bold bright yellow amongst the green and browns. 

Classic forest. 
This made me full of gratitude for being so lucky to live where I do. 

Heading back. 
Lots of hoofprints along here. No horses. Sigh. 

I wanted to push my hand into this mossy abundance. 
But my fingers had turned white - so cold! - and I just thought about how it would feel instead. Soft, pliant, wet, alive.

I zoomed in on the far side of the lake again. 
Any second, that man with the red canoe on his head is going to appear from behind the trees. I often think I see Dad when I'm out on my Mental Health Walks, as I used to run into him on his lunchtime runs back in the 90s.

Mom and I got back on the highway and drove to lunch. 
See the two tiny skyscrapers between the trees on the horizon? I live just past those. Far away.

We went to Floyd's for lunch. Mom had fish tacos and a salad. It looked amazing (but messy).
I had the veggie hash (mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers and eggs scrambled over potatoes) and a decadent slice of peanut butter on multi-grain toast. I also bought a jalapeno macaroni and cheese to-go for my dinner, since L is out tonight (it was SO good) and packed it with me. I caught the bus to town and walked home, stopping in a couple of places to pick up some Christmas presents. 

Leaving you all for the weekend with a selfie of me and Mom... 
…and Dad. 

Have a great weekend, my friends! I'll be back on Sunday with tales of adventure. Thank you so much for stopping by. 


  1. Yay, A Sheila & Mum day with some Vizzini cuddles thrown in!
    I love that you've got a place to visit your Dad. It's a lovely selfie of you and your mum on his bench and you really were the snazziest dressed person at the lake (and possibly on the entire island!)
    Elk-Beaver Lake looks such a tranquil and beautiful place to visit, even in the depths of winter.
    Jon lost his dad in the same way (a week before his 21st birthday)and he too was an athlete. xxxx

  2. Lost in a forest, all alone....The Cure...okay, hn, the outfit.....send it all ver Sheila!! It's a perfect outfit! And a gorgeous walk. Doesn't being out in nature always gives you so much energy! I love it!

  3. I love the skirt and the metallic jacket together, such a sparkly way to stay cosy for your walk! It's nice you and your mum could visit that spot that's so special to your family, and that has a little piece of your dad there!

  4. Fantastic fashion and I enjoy that you wore it for a day with your Mom, a hello to your Dad and time in nature! LOL I would have been in work boots, pants and a light weight down jacket. ;) You epitomize what it means to dress for yourself and that clothing impacts mood.

    Couple that with being out in abundant nature AND being with your Mom…it is a recipe for lots of positive endorphins flowing!

    Was also touched by your reminisces about your Dad. Special for you and your Mom to share this time together and with him.

  5. I'm not surprised you were the snazziest person at the lake. That skirt is a delight and the colour of your leather jacket is stunning. There's no reason not to wear colour, or some sparkle and shine, just because you're going on a potentially muddy walk!
    It was an absolute joy to join you and your Mum on your walk around Elk/Beaver Lake Park. What stunning vistas. It does make our nature reserves pale in comparison. How wonderful to have your Dad's name on that bench and that you were able to scatter his ashes in a place he loved.
    We did the same with some of my Dad's ashes and always go and say hello to him when we walk there. Love the selfie at the end!
    Have a great weekend, Sheila xxx

  6. What a lovely post! I miss visiting Vancouver Island so much. Your outfit is stunning, and I love seeing pics of your mom. XO

  7. So great you and your mother had a lovely day together. The photos with Vizzini are funny. That lake looks like a lovely place to visit. I love hiking in nature, it always does one good. This club and the whole Lake Park seems so nice. It must be nice to see your father's name inscribed. I bet the two of them had some lovely moments in that club.
    Your outfit is fabulous. That greenish, bronze jacket is beautiful! That skirt is so pretty and it looks amazing on you. The boots are so cool. You prove that one can be ultra super stylish even while hiking.

  8. Sounds like you had a great day with your Mom; great selfie at the end of your post.

    Super outfit; your jacket is fabulous, unusual colour and love the sheen. Quite unusual.

  9. Heart-touchingly beautiful post and celebration of your father's life + passion for running. I felt there was poetry in many of your lines, including the eloquent description of how you imagined that lush, verdant moss feeling.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

  10. So wonderful that you get to do such amazing things with your mum. You both have the same light up the room smiles.

  11. I really loved walking with you today- it's so nice to see some Canadian nature and to hear about the importance of your dad to this place. He sounded great! Loved that your mum's new poles worked so well for her. Poles are super useful. I like them for when I'm scared climbing down steep fells and mountains.
    Vizzini cracks me up- such a brat!x

  12. So wonderful that you can visit your dad in his favourite place, and remember some happy moments, and so lovely that his name is on the bench!. Those landscapes and massive trees are breathtaking!
    And obviously, I have to ooh and aah over your fabulous outfit, that jacket is Stunning and love your skirt and cool boots, and jewellery!, a marriage made in heaven!

  13. That is such a beautiful resting place for your Dad. I scattered a friend's ashes in his favourite park many years ago and because it's illegal to do that, a few of his friends and I did it at night. It's great that your Mom is still so active and enjoys walking. It will help keep her mobile in the years to come.


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