Walking Amid Giants

Today I want to talk about one of my favourite places to visit - Cathedral Grove.

Cathedral Grove
Photo: Sean Helmn, Local Loves Nanaimo

Yes, it's well-known, yes, it's sometimes touristy, no, that doesn't make me love it any less. If you know A N Y T H I N G about me (ps it's Sean - hi!) you know that I love exploring our luscious green forests on rainy days. To me, it just makes my experience so much more immersive. Does that make sense? If you're currently shaking your head no or thinking "huh?", let me explain.

Photo: Sean Helmn, Local Loves Nanaimo

To me, our forests come alive when it's raining. Instead of just being able to experience our lush lands with my eyes, I can use all of my senses to enjoy our wild west coast. There's just something about a rainfall that enhances the smell of pine, wood, and soil. The air seems more fresh, tickling my nose with a scent I can only describe as the "eau de pnw" (if I could bottle that smell I would). Everything sounds so calming - the sound of rain patter, the quiet babbling of a nearby brooke, the soft sounds of the forest animals scurrying along the forest floor. Everything is just so vivid.

Photo: Sean Helmn, Local Loves Nanaimo

Set against grey skies, those west coast greens pop into beautifully rich and deep shades of hunter, juniper, and emerald.So now that I've professed my love for exploring our forests on rainy days, let me explain why Cathedral Grove is my favourite forest to explore. Imagine all the sights, sounds, and smells that I've described above, and combine that with the 800+ years of history breathing life into Cathedral Grove. That makes for a pretty fantastic experience, no?

Photo: Sean Helmn, Local Loves Nanaimo

It's such an immersive experience that I can almost feel myself being transported back in time. That is until I pass a fellow explorer. Although Cathedral Grove doesn't offer extensive walking trails, it is the perfect spot for a stroll among giants.

You can find Cathedral Grove (aka MacMillan Provincial Park) along highway 4, about a 25-minute drive from downtown Parksville.

This is a guest article by Sean Helmn at Local Loves Nanaimo. Where to next? Learn more: Cathedral Grove (MacMillan Provincial Park)

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No matter what outdoor activity you are planning, be prepared. Follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials. AdventureSmart is a great resource to help you get informed before heading outdoors.

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About the Author

Sean Helmn