Rarely do I mount a summit − whether it be a 50-metre ascent to a hill over-looking a town, or a 1000-metre ascent to the zenith of a mountain – without feeling a resounding sense of gained perspective, both physically and cognitively.
Anirban and Jesum, two friends I had met through the Victoria Outdoor Club (a group of naturalists and hikers keen to get out and enjoy the trails of southern Vancouver Island), picked me up early Saturday morning and we journeyed out to the foot of Mount Manuel Quimper, some 25 kilometres east of Victoria.
On reaching the peak, after an hour of two of hiking through salal bushes and arbutus trees, we slouched down in the sun beside an old fire tower and took in the view. It was the first time I had seen Victoria from above since moving to the city a month back; it was, well and truly, an anticipated sight. Living beneath a concrete skyline, or, for that matter, tucked amongst the boulders of a valley floor, can only sustain me for so long. I am always amazed when I hear of a friend or family member who ‘hasn’t had the time’ to explore their surroundings. For me, to breathe I must see where I reside.
At a little over 520 metres above sea level, the view from Mount Manuel Quimper was expansive. A think canopy of cloud spread out to the east, drowning Victoria, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the rough terrain of the North American coastline. Clearer skies to the south, said by Anirban to be a rarity, unveiled the Olympic Peninsula and its troop of snow-drenched mountains, whilst to the west, the Island shoreline veered off into the horizon.