Monday, July 30, 2007

Another Glorious Day

I wrote yesterday about our early morning in Sooke Harbor, so there's no need to repeat myself. Except to include another few pictures of the spit that I don't think I used yesterday...

and those darn herons.
So beautiful, so elegant, such efficient fishers! Oh, and breakfast!

We spent our Sunday morning close to home, relaxing and reading on the small lawn outside our room, and taking some pictures

of this beautiful hotel and its bountiful gardens.

Wanting to see more of the coastline while we're here, we stopped by the front desk around noon to pick up our packed lunch, ask for hiking suggestions--and borrow binoculars. I especially wanted to see a few more of those magnificent bald eagles. Our friend at the desk suggested China Beach, a half hour's drive north and west of the hotel, and we followed his suggestion.

A lovely road that hugged the shoreline, passing through sometimes dense forest, sometimes alongside the pebbled beaches with their piles of sun-bleached silver driftwood. The parking area for China Beach had only a few vehicles, even on a Sunday, and we left the car there and walked perhaps a half mile down through

the forest to the beach. We had heard about the previous winter's storm, and saw the evidence of it here in the forest, with many downed trees, splintered or sawed up by rangers to clear the path. A dramatic demonstration of the powerful processes of nature...

And a dramatic arrival at the beach, glimpsed first through the serried ranks of trees,

then spreading out before us in its full, splendid length.

There was a brisk wind, quite cold, we thought, and marveled at the sight of sunbathers in scant costume--some even braving the waters--and kayakers paddling in the breakers. We found a sheltered spot for our packed lunch--this time, a meat pasty (shredded pork) with a rhubarb sauce, apricots again, and cake with chocolate icing. Very nice. Then strolled back and forth along the beach in search of shells (not many) and attractive pebbles (more than plenty) to add to our pebble souvenir collection back in Southern California.

Feeling somewhat chilly, we headed back up the hill for the car (passing along the way a tired old dog for whom we feared the climb had been too much: he simply collapsed on the path, and we feared his heart might have given out. But happily we saw him again later in the parking area, struggling valiantly, and still alive!) Then back on the road, making one excursion to explore a coastal residential area, arriving back at the hotel in time for a good nap. Slipping off where I could offend no other hotel guests with the evidence of my indulgence, I found a pleasant corner to enjoy Sunday cigar--a Cuban El Rey del Mundo, conveniently purchased yesterday in Victoria--in the company of a good book. (No pictures, please!)

Then... dinner! Another splendid feast

prepared by the chefs at Sooke Harbor House, enjoyed with another spectacular view from the hotel dining room.

As the meal ended, a full moon rose majestically above the bay, and we came to the end of another glorious day.

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