But, being a kid, I didn't always want to go. I’d moan that I had something else I wanted to do or complain that my feet hurt. My mind would wander and I’d think about a TV show or something else equally as trivial.
As I got older however, it was the place where dragons lived and adventure awaited. There were cliffs and caves, paths through dew laden ferns that smelled like heaven. Open fields of dwarved trees, hidden beaches and beauty everywhere you dared to look. Raw and beautiful. This place was another land, and as kids, we could be the heroes in it.
My parents discovered this place for themselves early in their lives too. However, coming from New York State they’d seen places like this erased by development over time. Favourite fishing and swimming creeks polluted by industry. Hiking trails marked ‘PRIVATE’ and forests replaced with subdivisions. I remember my dad telling me that his grandparents’ generation was one where development meant progress. It meant people were moving forward. It was a testament to determination and grit. I realize now that they were prodding my brother and I from the comfort of our lazy Saturday mornings, to get out and see it. Not just because it was beautiful, but how long could it last? How could this place, that was so beautiful and untouched, stay untouched? That question bounced around my house a lot growing up.
My bedroom was situated above our kitchen back then, and I remember hearing my parents emotionally talking this question out; they were genuinely concerned. I remember more and more talks. Talks turning into discussions. Discussions into meetings. More people sounding concerned. More people talking about a place they loved as if it were an endangered species. How could they not? One after another the headlands and shores all around were being bought, developed and privatized. More signs saying ‘Private’ or ‘No trespassing’. The race was on. I could see it. I remember the voices of a concerned few, slowly rising into a chorus of dedicated volunteers. Then professionals and even more local people counting themselves in. It was an ecological tide of concern that culminated in the development of the Kingsburg Coastal Conservancy. A community organization dedicated to the preservation of the headlands, beaches and wetlands of Kingsburg and its surrounding areas. All of that to say, after years of fundraising, donations, community, provincial, and national support, Gaff Point received its protected status in 2003.
A lot of things have changed in this area in the last 30 years. But I’ve been out on Gaff Point three times this past week.. And well, I’ll tell you, it's got cliffs and caves. Paths through sleeping ferns that will soon smell like heaven. Open fields of dwarved trees, hidden beaches and beauty everywhere I dared to look. Still raw and beautiful.
In my story, and for your part in it, you will always be the heroes of this place. Thank you Mom and Dad.
Seth: Wandering Jester and devoted friend. Hunting images like game on a landscape. Sharing meals, story and adventure. Weaver of words and kicker of stones.