My Heaven-On-Earth Trail

To be sure, heaven on earth can found in hundreds of places here in the Comox Valley. It could be found floating along the gentle current of the Puntledge River, beachcombing an expanse of Williams Beach, sunbathing on the rock of Seal Bay as boisterous marine friends bark the day away. Maybe it’s kayaking just offshore or letting your bike rip after an uphill workout in Cumberland.

But if I had to choose mine, it would be hiking the 8k Helen MaKenzie – Battleship Lake Loop accessible from Mt. Washington’s Raven Lodge. Lakes, streams, meadows, the promise of a wild animal sighting, all on a clear summer sky-blue day — ya, it’s tough to beat. 
 
My first hike there was one of those “it just keeps getting better” experiences. Gentle curving boardwalks through acres of grasslands and wildflowers, gave way to gentle inclines that weave their way through tent platforms and forest. Before long, Battleship Lake appeared as a harbinger of more beautiful watery spectacles that lie ahead. Further on, Helen McKenzie Lake welcomed all explorers with gentle rock formations upon which to enjoy a packed lunch or to heat up after a brisk swim. But beware of the gray jays; they tried to snatch our lunch on more than one occasion. A two-hour hike could easily turn into four after resting a good long while with a good book and a towel. 
 
My steps felt lighter than air as we continued traversing babbling brooks, bridges, ponds and forests that often opened up for a rare and beautiful treat of the greater Strathcona Provincial Park. I must admit, the hike was over before I was ready, but the pups, having covered four times the ground that we had, were grateful to see the car. Next time we’ll be adding the Far East trail! An overnight would be a great adventure. 
 
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