HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOXIE!!!!!
Moxie opened her gift from Kim, Dottie and Tim, answered phone calls from her grandparents and text from her other grandparents (it’s busy turning 8!)
We said good-bye to Andrew, Leanne and the pets (as far as I can tell we have not chicken-napped any foul) and took off down the Pacific Rim Highway.
After a quick photo-op at the infamous goats on the roof
we stopped at the Cathedral Grove Old Growth Forest. I’ve been here a couple times before and have been so excited to bring Rain and Moxie. Leanne had informed them that this had been part of the filming site for Star Wars (the Ewok part) – how cool.
Cathedral Grove is a rare and endangered remnant of an ancient Douglas fir ecosystem on Vancouver Island in British Columbia (BC), Canada. The biggest trees in the Grove are about 800 years old and measure 75 m (250 ft) in height and 9 m (29 ft) in circumference. They are the survivors of a forest fire that ravaged the area some 350 years ago and the even more devastating invasion by Europeans who colonized Vancouver Island from 1849. Although spiritual in meaning, “Cathedral Grove” is a name embedded in a romantic and Eurocentric attitude toward BC nature that does not adequately acknowledge the stewardship of the indigenous peoples, First Nations, who cared for this biological treasure over 1000s of years and preserved it as a big tree heritage for all human beings.
Words can not express how awe-insprining this forest is so instead I’ll post some pictures. (although you really just need to hop on a plane and come visit this place to truly appreciate it’s prominent beauty).
After our visit we got back on the highway and twisted and turned our way to Tofino. We stopped at the visitor’s centre and they gave me some names of hotels etc that had some availability for the night. We lucked out at our first stop, The Sand Dollar Guest House. Blazena was so friendly and welcoming, I knew this was the right spot for us. We got a small apartment-like room with a full kitchen and breakfast food in the fridge. We had arrived just as she was getting the room ready so we drove into town to explore for a bit.
We had a late lunch on a patio followed by a surprise birthday cake for Moxie – she was so incredibly thrilled!!
Afterwards we explored some gift/art shops and I let Moxie pick anything she wanted for her birthday present. We went in and out about 5 stores before landing in a consignment store where Moxie chose a stuffed Monkey. I know we had shook hands on a no more stuffed animal rule but as Moxie reminded me, it is her birthday… hmmm.. good argument so I made an exception.
We picked up a few groceries at the local Co-op for lunch tomorrow and then found a beach like area for a quick peak (and touch) at the Pacific Ocean! Tomorrow we will spend more time exploring the waters but I couldn’t let the day go without at least a peak!
We arrived back at our room at the Sand Dollar to discover that Blazena had thoughtfully put up Happy Birthday signs for Moxie ( amazing!)
A side note: Moxie’s birthday was the first main event we have encountered since the death of her father. Being out of our ordinary routine was extremely helpful and even better we were in such a magical place. The last time I visited the Cathedral Grove, I was with Jason. He had been completely awe-struck by the the forest. His love for nature was something we will all remember. As I was talking about my visit there with their Dad, Moxie turned to me and said,
‘I think Daddy is here with us for my birthday today.’
‘Do you feel him with you?’
‘I think you’re right. He is here with you and he must be so happy you are able to spend your birthday in such a magical place.’
And the Cathedral Grove is truly a magical place. We were able to witness how death cultivates new growth and we read legends of spirits who are living within nature. Their Dad will always be with them; in their hearts, in their souls and in so many memories. He will be with them for birthdays, holidays and every time they need him.