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Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Off To The Hidden Forest Lake I GO

'There was a little hidden lake positioned high up and behind my lake. It was a lovely family hike to go up the scraggy trail to this peaceful, hidden lake...'

The forest is inviting me in for a hike...

In my little neck of the woods on my beautiful lake property there is not many places I can to go for a regular walk. My land consists of a rocky point, the cabin and dock area, and a short cliff walk over a hill to the back section of my property I call my back bay. Back there I have a lovely forested land area, with a pretty and raw shoreline, and then from the front the property gently slopes up and into the forest behind and beyond. To the right I have huge rocky cliffs, which I did crawl up many times a day as a youngster, also with forest at the top and beyond. To walk my land, it is a few short minutes from the tip of my rocky point to my back bay.  I have neighbour’s who take themselves off to the roadways attached to our lake and head out for walks that way, and all cabin dwellers have boated to the southwestern tip of the lake where we can take a short, level walk out to visit the ocean. Really, the option here is not walking, but hiking out and up into the surrounding forests. Going for a normal walk is not readily available here. That is not to say there are not road access properties on my lake because at each end and on the opposite side of the lake there are roads coming in. I am speaking of us boat-access-only properties and the remote cabins. We are more the ‘bush’ people at the lake, all nestled in our properties sprinkled around the more remote locations on the lake.  In my younger days, there were several hikes I did, though I will fully admit, I am not doing them now. My favourite hike was one my father, brother and I did when I was fairly young, and then later, my brother and I would do alone on many, many sunny summer afternoons. My Dad would drop us off at the beach below the trail, which was just around the corner from our property, and then we would hike up along a barely recognizable trail. This hike is not quite as available now as it was back then because the Crown Land along that area was sold to a family, a family that today are rather dear friends of mine after all these years, and who currently live full-time on the lake. I really didn’t hike that trail anymore after the property became private. I do know they would let me do the hike behind their property any time I wanted, but this old gal now (me) is not on the remote hiking trails these days!  The hike I speak of was a quite steep hike upwards, and took upwards of 45 minutes or so (if memory serves me) before the land leveled off to reveal a tiny lake. On the topography maps this lake has a name, but it is not the one my Dad ever used, and so I still, to this day, use my father’s name for it, because it is familiar to me. I remember those days when I was young and limber and my brother and I would pack just a water bottle and head up there. It amazes me now how nimble we were, and how familiar we were with the scraggy trails and destination lake there. However, what amazes me also is that we never really were equipped with proper things, even for safety. We were two young kids who were hiking in the wild forests with nothing but a water bottle, although I do recall at some point my Dad gave each of us a small knife to wear on our belts. Usually, this was to whittle some wood, or cut something, but was never meant to be carried as a means of protection.  I can tell you that as kids we learned how to identify bear scat and so we knew we were not alone way up there high above the lake in the bush. I do know, we did see a cougar once, although I don’t remember being too frightened, (it was on the other side of a gully, I thought, far enough away). When I think back on this, it has crossed my mind that the large cat was watching us, or, could even have been stalking us, but we were oblivious to any danger in those days of our youth here. Maybe it was the casual way my parents viewed being out in the bush, and out in Nature. I sometimes wonder if they really were educated in the precautions of living in the wilds of a West Coast forest. We were fairly remote after all. I find this rather funny when you consider back in the city we ate formal dinners in the dining room as a family, and I wore white gloves and a hat to church on special occasions. Here at the lake we were wild and free and all the staunchy and formal rules just did not apply. It was heaven.  The reward of the hike was to get to that beautiful, little lake and get wet, although there were so many dead logs and weeds around its shores, I really never swam in it. I remember it was incredibly beautiful and so peaceful up there. There were blooming lily pads gently floating, and we could also see big turtles sunning on tips of floating logs. The waters always seemed so calm, and there never seemed to be the breezes like on our big lake below. It was like another tiny world hidden away up there.  I have used pieces of the memories of this place in a book I wrote many years ago. One day I will publish and share it. I was inspired by this place and used similarities in my book of this hike and small peaceful lake.  There was a time, I believe it was in the late 60’s or even the 70’s when some ‘Hippies’ arrived at the lake. A handful of them quietly snuck in with a tiny little boat. Their plan was to live at that same little lake high above our lake. They could be seen now and then puttering down our lake all loaded up, and then, I expect, they would hike up the trail with everything, where they had set up their Commune at my little high-up hideaway lake. A lake property owner had spoken to them, and this is how we found out a little more about them. Several property owners had seen the little boat, and the rather ragamuffin-looking group going down the lake. They professed to be firm believers in living off the land, off-grid, and not needing any outside civilization, or anything from the outside world. I guess a boat and motor did not count. Anyway, they set up camp way up there, though I suspect they didn’t manage to live out that first Winter. Although we have fairly mild seasonal Winters here on the West Coast, we can get some very, very cold temperatures for short periods, and snow is still quite common over the Winter months. Consequently, during that first Winter a whole whack of our lake cabins got broken into, including ourselves. Gone was the toilet paper, paper towels, some canned food, and our small, red Coleman gas lamp. They also took my Dad’s little brown battery-operated radio, (I think that bothered my Dad the most, he had that radio for years). Basically, it seemed, the Hippies were not survivalists and they clearly needed supplies. So many cabins got broken into that Winter, many of them within walkable distance from that little lake and their community. They didn’t do much property damage, they just broke into cabins and sheds for things they needed to survive. The whole group of them finally gave up and snuck away, as far as I know, never to be heard of or seen again. The next time we hiked up there we saw the remnants of their camp including our old red Coleman Lamp, (we think).  It has been years since I have gone for a big hike like that, or gone up to that little hidden lake, but I can still enjoy the images and memories I have of those excited afternoon hikes up to that lake with my family. In my now adult brain, I am also very grateful I never ran into trouble with any of the wildlife. Today I go out into the forest with a minimum of the following in a soft backpack, a bottle of water, some tissue, an antihistamine, a bandaid, a compass, a whistle and a Bear Bell, and oh, my cell phone and/or camera to capture Nature in all her glory, (cell phones don’t generally work in some of the areas around our lake). These days I do love the walk from the lake out to the ocean, and I do putter around my property, but take those hikes, and take some sort of a longer walk, I do miss, for the most part. These days I have been seen dancing in the forest, and singing, too, because those big hikes are a little less important on my agenda these days, as I might have slowed down a bit as far as hiking goes.

I apologize that I don't have a lovely photo of the actual lake to show you, but, back then I somehow never had my camera for a picture of the little hidden lake. Just imagine, if you will, a peaceful, calm small body of water, not a breath of wind, the smell of the warm, earthy forest around you, birds chirping, bees buzzing, a couple of sunning turtles perched on a log, and a sprinkling of blooming lily pads and lush green reeds immediately in front of you, and you might feel like you are right there...

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