We've all got a place or two on the exploration list that still need to be experienced. Maybe you're waiting for the right friend to take along, the perfect summer day to explore that beach, a cool (but not rainy) day to hike that mountain, or you're just a creature of habit and find yourself on the same trails every time you get out. No one has been everywhere, but to keep the spirit of adventure alive you should seek out a new destination at least once a season. Every corner of the natural world offers something to be discovered, and more so if you've never been there before!
Be somewhere new-to-you and appreciate how ancient the world around you truly is. Touch the eroding cliff sides and know you are the first human to place your hands there. Walk barefoot in the sand knowing you are walking on grains of sand that were once great mountains, volcanic rock, or long extinct shellfish. Feel the bark on a tree, know it was there before you, and will likely remain after you are long gone. Watch the birds soar as they carry out an existence free of stress from over-bearing bosses and rush-hour traffic. Enjoy a sunset and watch the stars come out, reflecting on your true size and importance in the universe. Eat something wild, connect with the ancient version of you that still resides deep in your subconsciousness. Sit silently and meditate. Be somewhere new, and discover something new about yourself.
For me, that place was Mystic Beach on the Juan de Fuca Trail. It is easily accessible, only a 45 minute hike from the parking lot at China Beach. I've been to China Beach plenty of times, and hiked part of the Juan de Fuca trail, so I felt like I had been around that "area" enough to have appreciated it. Blazing a new trail, and being somewhere unexplored was something I had not done for a while, seen just about everything in the Victoria area. I had almost forgot how exciting it feels when you make that last corner, or crest that last hill, and finally see your destination - A gold soaked, sandy coastal beach!
In some ways, I was happy to have never been to Mystic Beach until just then. I needed that experience at that point in time. I needed something new, something exciting, an escape from the normal escapes, a reminder why I love to do what I love to do. It was a prefect day on the beach, with hot sun, a cool breeze and a few smiling groups of campers putting dinner together. At one end of the beach is an amazing rock archway, carved out by a millennia of storms and tides. Inside the archway were countless innukshucks, likely built by the hikers who took on the Juan de Fuca trail this season, and they will likely be washed away by the first winter storm. Which means I'll have to head back again next summer to see the new innukshuck village on the beach!