Friday 31 August 2018

Blue Heron Park

One of the things I love most about living on Vancouver Island is the abundance of parks here, from tiny plots and playgrounds scattered throughout our communities to immense national and provincial parks offering a wide range of terrains and challenges.  I've made it a point this summer to visit as many of them as I can.

Some parks hold a special place in my heart for the memories attached to them, others for feelings their landscape evokes in me. Blue Heron Park in Yellow Point brings me both. 

This little park is not a place for serious hikers.  There are no challenging climbs or long trails through the woods, but what there is in abundance is peace.  Accessed by a narrow road in Yellow Point, the park isn't heavily used.  It has a few parking spaces in a lot at the top, some picnic tables, and a short set of steps down to the beach.  It's the beach that makes visiting this park such a delight.

Like many of the beaches on central Vancouver Island, Blue Heron's beach is mostly shelving rock:  a combination of sedimentary and igneous stone that creates fascinating formations.
You walk the beach over a series of long low shelves of stone, their edges sculpted by the ocean to mimic the waves that shaped them. 
Scattered along the beach are small hummocks of stone that have been cracked through, looking for all the world like fossilized hot cross buns.In some lights the stone glints with bits of mica or quartz, causing its sand-brown surface to sparkle in the mid-day sun.

The beach at Blue Heron Park isn't a spot for shell collecting.  Barnacles, clams, mussels, and oysters do abide near the low tide line but any shells without occupants are quickly pried from the stones by waves and then ground upon the rough surface of the rocks.  As they're pushed up towards the high tide line over time, the shell fragments are ground smaller and smaller until they accumulate into pockets of bright white granules cupped in depressions in the stone.

All beaches in BC are public property below the high tide line. Provided the terrain allows it, you can follow the shoreline for miles on a low tide day.  It's this that makes Blue Heron Park such a gift to me.  Although there are homes built right up to the edge of the park, when I'm on the beach I hear no road traffic, encounter few people, and even on the calmest of days the sound of waves and the the feeling of a breeze coming in across the water accompany me.  It brings me great peace to be there.

If you'd like to visit Blue Heron Park or to learn more about it, you can find information on the Cowichan Valley Regional District website.  In the meantime, here are some more photos to enjoy. 

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