Editor’s note: Last month we published the experiences of ladies attending their first annual course at Copper Ridge. This month we continue with the adventures they had while exploring the great outdoors. We hope this will whet your appetite to go to the registration page and book your next retreat!
Our first excursion day arrived and we made a list of what we would like to do. A quick search generated a list of 25 activities in and around the Squamish and Howe Sound area as well as in Vancouver. We spent the remaining excursion days and sports times exploring the area near CRCC. In doing so, we discovered an amazing brook that was so charming we visited it multiple times and prayed there. The contrast between the hot sun (it averaged a pleasant 24 degrees Celsius for most of our excursions) and the cool, clear water of the brook made it obvious that the first health spa was indeed created in nature. One participant from Alberta exclaimed that the brook changed her entire opinion of an annual course in a natural environment. She, like me, was a self-proclaimed city girl – until then. We also went to the beach, visited Alice Lake and went kayaking, hiked to both Shannon Falls and Brandy Wine Falls, and drove up to Whistler. A day was spent in Vancouver visiting Stanley Park, Granville Island and English Bay. We ventured further, visiting Bowen Island on another day. On the Feast of Our Lady on September 8, we visited Our Lady of Copper Ridge (the name we gave to the beautiful statue and semi-grotto of Our Lady some few meters from the entrance gate to the centre. Some of us even drove to visit Our Lady of Peace at a Dominican Monastery with views comparable to those at CRCC. One definitely needs a vehicle to visit all these sites. We were ready for that too. A rented 8-seater van and a 5-seater car belonging to one of us made for amazing road trips as we sang, “In the jungle…A-weema-weh!”
There are bears in the Copper Ridge area so we were sure to take a rattle with us on walks to warn them of our approach (although our crescendo of excited banter was probably an adequate substitute for the rattle). While we avoided going on such walks alone, most of us wanted to see a bear and talked about it often. Talk of seeing bears became a conversational theme in the halls, arousing laughter and jocular trepidation. On our last day, we finally saw one! A freshly-weaned cub scavenging on the other side of a river. We could watch safely and for as long as we wanted. It was another Copper Ridge dream come true.
When it was time to leave – 48 hours away from leaving to be exact – the weather changed dramatically, a thick haze from California wildfires covering our view of the mountains and the water. The temperature dropped and suddenly we were thrust into an autumn that no one expected, given the weather only hours before. Undeterred, we kept on enjoying the vicinity and it became increasingly clear that this dramatic change in weather was also a gift. Otherwise, it would have been almost too challenging to have departed from the paradise of Copper Ridge Conference Centre.
By I.K. Ero