Editor’s Note: Good morning. Marcie Dumais is here with some great tips on keeping the flame of love alive with some great outdoor activities just in time for the warmer weather and Earth Day. Here she is:
Blame it on the rain, but I’m afraid I’ve landed in a big, nasty rut (sometimes you just have to say it like Milli Vinilli). I’m sad to admit but I’ve been jumping from one rut to another this grey, soggy winter. Recipe ruts… where I find myself eating the same old food over and over. Wardrobe ruts… where I find myself wearing the same old saggy tights far too often. Activity ruts… where it feels like “lather, rinse, repeat” day in and day out.
But it’s my relationship rut that has hit me the hardest. I feel like I’ve lost energy for planning anything particularly unique or interesting with the one person that means the most in my life, my husband. You know how it is; you find yourself grocery shopping on date night or on Facebook during a quiet evening at home. Not exactly the best choices for keeping the flame a flickering, if you know what I mean!
I remember a while back hearing a program on the CBC radio about maintaining strong spousal relationships. Paul Simon’s ditty, “Still Crazy After All These Years,” opened and closed the piece. The gist was the importance of engaging in novel activities with your partner. They examined relationships that stood the test of time and attributed their success to the fact that these people were purposely doing something a little different together, something a little crazy, on a regular basis… taking a walk on the wild side, so to speak.
Given that spring is in the air and that I’m more than ready to leap from my rut, I would like to explore some outdoor activities that aim to bring the “crazy” back into your love life.
With April dedicated as Earth month here at Our Big Earth, my thinking is that these adventures should be wild. Wild, as in opportunities to get into this amazing wilderness that surrounds us; wild as in unique and different; wild as in invigorating; and wild as in natural or as low-impact as possible.
We have something really special going on in the Comox Valley in terms of outdoor recreation, particularly at this time of year. We can snowshoe on one day, kayak on the other and hike or bike in between. How genius is that?! This offers outstanding opportunities for wild adventures with your spouse.
As the saying goes: “If you can walk, you can snowshoe.” Snowshoeing can be enjoyed by almost everyone: people seeking a fresh air activity, adventurers wanting a cardio workout and outdoor lovers desiring snow-muffled silence.
Mount Washington is the ideal location for snowshoeing on Vancouver Island. The resort maintains 20 kilometres of trails in serene, alpine meadows. Snowshoe rentals and guided snowshoeing tours are available. You can also rent equipment in Courtenay from Ski Tak Hut.
Fasten on a pair of snowshoes and wander trails at a relaxed pace. Pick out wildlife tracks in the snow and admire huge old-growth trees, while crunching along a well-marked snowshoe loop or floating atop fresh powder. Pack a picnic to have in a quiet spot, or have a casual meal at Raven’s Lodge afterwards.
For a really memorable experience, try the evening snowshoe guided tour and fondue dinner - snowshoe through the alpine meadows, then reward yourself with a three-course fondue dinner.
The Comox Valley Harbour and surrounding waters of Baynes Sound are perfect for beginner kayakers, or those looking for a relaxed paddle. You may have access to your own gear or you can rent it from a local outfitter. Most kayak outlets offer lessons and eco-paddling tours which explore the Comox Valley’s natural and cultural history. Paddlers can view seals and sea lions, ocean birds and the majestic coast mountain range.
Comox Valley Kayaks offers a variety of tours in the summer. Two tours stand out as great date activities for those with kids because the tours aren’t too long or too expensive ($50-$60). Both launch from their shop near the Air Park which is within cycling or transit distance for most of us, so you can reduce your carbon footprint and keep your excursion as green as possible.
The Comox Valley Harbour and Shipwreck Paddle takes you along the shore towards Goose Spit. This area is home to dozens of bald eagles, blue herons, Canadian geese and various ducks. The intertidal life is fascinating. The tour takes you to the Royston Shipwrecks, which happen to be resting in shallow waters for kayakers to paddle up to.
The other tour that caught my eye for a “wild” date activity was the guided sunset paddle. During this tour, you get to enjoy the beauty of the sunset over the mountains and glacier view from the water. It is a relaxed paddle where time is spent simply enjoying the sounds of the ocean birds and seals splashing, as you glide towards the setting sun.
Bike & Hike
The astonishing variety of terrain in and around the Comox Valley makes for a hiker’s paradise. With Strathcona Provincial Park in our backyard, we are close to at least 40 hiking trails, all of which lead to stunning beauty and adventure in an unspoiled wilderness. Even closer to home though, we have excellent hiking opportunities.
A date that we have scheduled in the near future is a bike-and-hike combination. We like the idea of getting our bikes spinning again by planning a moderate cycling route that has a yummy local food stop along the way and nice scenery that leads to a beautiful, forested destination where we can hike.
Seal Bay Regional Nature Park comes to mind – with Becky’s Country Bakery nearby, all our needs will be met. See Our Big Earth’s trail guide to help plan your bike and hike excursion.
My husband and I like to add a bit of fun to our outdoor adventures by each being responsible for bringing a secret snack to share. It is amazing how a piece of dark chocolate tastes out in the wild when you’re not expecting it, or how a sip of Baileys adds to the luxury of your time together.
I feel strongly that the more engaged we are with our environment, the more committed we are to protecting it. I also feel that getting out of the ordinary helps us feel more alive and well in our relationships.
I hope these adventures inspire you to get outside and to reconnect with the love of your life.