Sometimes it’s nice to spend part of your vacation in peaceful contemplation, away from the busy spots. While Cathedral Grove, located on Highway 4 between Parksville and Port Alberni is an iconic stopping point, it can also be very busy, especially during the summer months. If you are heading in that direction, are feeling the need for a little fresh air and a leg stretch, but would like to enjoy a place a little less busy there is a solution just a hop, skip and jump further along the road from Cathedral Grove towards Port Alberni. It’s just a few steps from the parking area at Cathedral Grove so best to park your vehicle there, walk along the highway and duck around the yellow metal gate that will be on your right hand side. Beyond is a lovely quiet gravel road with fairly level, easy walking (or cycling) that goes for miles along the shore of Cameron Lake.
There are a few cottages scattered along the lakefront – not the high-end fancy new ‘cottages’ that developers are putting on the market in popular locations these days, but genuine old-fashioned places that harken back to lazy summer days spent fishing off a dock, reading in the sunshine or enjoying a morning coffee on the deck. These places have their own individual water systems (gravity-fed), and, believe it or not, outhouses! And if outhouses aren’t the hallmark of a ‘real’ cottage, I don’t know what is! Some of these structures are very innovative, with a variety of designs, decorative additions and finishes (the outhouses, I mean, although some of the cottages offer up interesting ‘architecture’ as well!)
Anyhow, back to the walk…. You can go for miles without seeing another soul, especially in the off-season. Lots of pretty views to be enjoyed, and a great place to walk your dog – on leash is a good idea, as there is tons of wildlife in this area, and you don’t want to be losing your pet in unfamiliar territory that stretches for thousands of acres. It’s not a bad idea to take a good loud bear-bell with you, and make sure you know how to deal with bears and cougars if you happen to run across them – not likely, but you never know.
So, if you are heading along Highway 4, there is a little diversion for you – you can walk or cycle for as much or as little as you like, and it won’t be time wasted –enjoy!