As a child I grew up going to Pender Island on weekends and holidays. My parents owned five acres on waterfront. I loved waking up early while everyone was still sleeping and walking down to the quiet beach to explore the tidal pools. One of my favourite things to do was climb the ancient maple tree that was covered in moss and ferns. The tree overlooked our trailer and ocean. I was the Queen of the Castle up there. Later on I learned to ride my Honda 50 dirt bike and explore the forest and old logging roads. Some of my best memories growing up were from Pender Island.
My Mum used guided meditation to help me fall asleep. Whenever she asked me to go to my happy place, it was always on Pender, overlooking the ocean.
As an adult, I live in a big house on a small piece of property. It was the opposite of what I wanted. My heart’s desire was to live in a small house on a large piece of property. It burns me that I have to cart in soil to put on top of fill to grow vegetables when I live in one of the most fertile place in B.C.
I realized something was missing.
I wanted my children to experience one of my fondest memories. I wanted a recreational property. A place where we all unplug and spend quality time together. A place where we can invite friends and family to make memories.
We started looking online at properties. Most were accessed by going over the Duffy road (which makes me want to barf every time we drive it). Plus a five hour drive to get to a recreation property was not ideal.
Then my husband found a cabin for sale at Birkenhead Lake Estates. It’s near Poole Creek, accessed up a logging road for 9 km. We drove up to the Estates and fell in love. There was a little cabin built in the late 70’s, 45 minutes from town and on a modest piece of land. It was perfect. We bought the lot in May of 2012.
The renovation process has been an amazing transformation. It’s a labour of the best kind of love. Gone are the single pane windows, shag camouflage carpets, and fake brick walls. We are making it our own and it gives us something to do while we are up there.
We go up year round and explore the “Dark Forest” and forage for mushrooms, swim in the glorious lake, play games, read books, make lots of fires and spend time together.
Some toys have been bought along the way – a boat for wake-boarding, a sled for access in the winter and an ATV to access the surrounding area.
I love having friends and family visit. We eat delicious food and laugh. I love seeing my kids so happy because they have been outside all day, are exhausted but still have enough energy to walk to the dock to watch the stars.
I know I only have a few more years before my kids will choose to spend time with their friends instead of going to the cabin. I know that this time is precious. I remind myself to live in the moment when we are all together. I feel so blessed to have a Happy Place again — not just for me but for those I love.