HORNER’S CORNER: Sayonara dear Oceanside

There's a very good reason why people leave this area - to bring other people back

I’m leaving Oceanside.

I never really understood why anyone would ever do that, but now that summer holidays are just about here, I believe I’ve figured it out.

I’ll be leaving the Island and heading north, up through Hope, Yale, Boston Bar, Lytton, Spences Bridge, Clinton, Cache Creek, 100 Mile House and Williams Lake to the outskirts of the place Wells residents call Smelly Quelly.

Once there, I’ll pick up my progeny, spin around and head right back.

So why am I leaving? So I can pick up my boy and return here to show off my favorite places.

Fortunately, despite their best efforts, developers haven’t turned all of Oceanside into a monochromatic eyesore and there’s still lots of natural beauty, if you know where to look for it.

That’s one of the things I like best, showing off my secret, special places to important people in my life, and there’s no shortage of opportunity to do that in Parksville Qualicum Beach. That’s why I’m leaving — so I can come back and show the place off.

True, I plan to stop on the way down to go river rafting in Lytton, but after that, I plan to be a tourist in my own town.

Let’s see — Alex is 15 now, so he is finally old enough to venture right to the very bottom of the hole to see the storied China gallery at the Horne Lake caves. We peered over the multi-storey drop that leads to it a couple of years ago and we’ve both been itching to take that plunge ever since. That’s definitely on the agenda.

Speaking of plunges, we’ll also likely go scuba diving around Nanoose Bay in a return adventure to search for the tentacles of death — a sighting of a giant Pacific octopus, the largest on the planet.

We won’t only go down though. Our plans also include going up. Some time over the next two months we’ll slog, moan and complain our way right to the top of Mount Arrowsmith. I’ve done it once and the view is to die for.

We’ll also take to the air to take care of some family business as we rent an airplane to scatter my brother Mike’s ashes — not a particularly fun task, but there should be a good view.

Then of course there’s the world-class kayaking. I’m thinking we’ll catch a ride out to Lasqueti with our boats and paddle over to Jedediah Island.

Camping? Oh yeah. We’ll set up our tents on numerous beaches before sitting by the campfire, listening to the seals bark and discussing great things.

Pretty much every play or musical performance in the area will see Alex and I in the audience.

We’ll take trips around the area as well — to Cortes Island so we can paddle from Manson’s Landing to Shark Spit on Marina Island and then over to explore mysterious Carrington Lagoon. Without a doubt we’ll also head down to Nanaimo to finally screw up our courage at the Bungy Zone. Like the cave, that’s another attraction he’s finally old enough to enjoy now.

But then it will be back to Parksville Qualicum Beach for fish and chips at the Beach Hut or who knows, maybe we’ll try out that traditional Texas barbecue. Whatever. It’s not like it’s a long walk.

With so much fun and natural beauty in the area, why would I holiday anywhere else?


Neil Horner is assistant editor of The NEWS



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