I am unequivocally in love with BC. I’m never coming home. Never.
Okay, fine, I will
be coming home, but this weekend has seen BC climb rapidly in my heart from “how pretty!” to struggling to pick my jaw up off of the floor. Even now I am having trouble processing the views I saw from Mount Douglas.
In all honesty, I have never seen landscapes like this in my life. Canada has a sheer vastness and openness to it that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. Its skies, lakes, and forests somehow take up even more space than I thought possible.
The original purpose of the trip was actually not an excuse to drool over Vancouver Island, but was organised in an attempt to see the northern lights! There was a recent solar storm that meant Canada was on red alert for the aurora borealis, so I rallied together some other exchange students and we climbed Mount Douglas just in time to see the sun set.
I shouldn’t have to explain that the sunset was also spectacular.
Mount Douglas is definitely a hill, by the way. I feel qualified saying that after this summer but just in case you don’t believe me, it’s 260m. Dumyat back in Stirling is 418m. Tssk. However, from the top of the glorified hill, you can see all the way across to the United States’ Mount Baker and Mount Rainier, and on very clear days, all the way down to Mount St. Helens.
We stuck out the mild cold and shared snacks as we waited for the skies to darken. I can confidently report that knock-off cheetos taste like burnt cheddar (would not recommend) but if you ever get the chance to have red velvet cookies, do it. Mmmmm.
The top of the hill got busier and busier the later it got. There must have been around fifty or more people with us by the time ten o’clock rolled around. Unfortunately, the solar storm had abated when it finally got dark for PST, but I did get a spectacular view of the night sky and saw the moon rise from behind the mountains. One man had even brought his portable trackball telescope and kindly offered to let us look at the moon, which was stunning. The magnification was amazing and could clearly see all the craters. Definitely putting one of them on my wishlist for when I win the lottery!
|Looking north to Cordova Bay
One thing I love about Victoria is the awareness that this is all ancestral, native land. Before you reach the top of Mount Douglas, you pass a sign naming the hill PKOLS, which is its original name in the Saanich dialect. I did some digging and found out that the hill is actually named Douglas after Victoria’s second governor, who was responsible for a lot of treaties between the First People. One treaty in particular was signed at the top of PKOLS, and the Saanich First People who signed it believed they were agreeing to share the land, when in fact it was total surrender of the land… There’s a movement to get the name officially changed back to PKOLS.
I’m really interested in the history behind the First People as I basically don’t know anything about what went on here, so you should expect a post from the Royal BC Museum eventually and perhaps from the First People’s House on campus at UVic sometime in the near future!
I’ve also got several other big trips planned while I’m out here so watch this space!