One of the highlights of the All Saints Homeschooling Camp was the afternoon we spent at Mystic Beach. We had to drive to the trail head, located near China Beach about an hour and a half from downtown Victoria. Though most of us arrived there around the same time, we agreed we’d meet at the beach.
Sunshine and Lily were soon running ahead with their former babysitter and a few other friends. I started out with Jade in the Ergo but a few minutes down the trail, she decided she wanted to walk. One by one our friends passed us until my husband, Jade and I had the forest to ourselves. I debated putting Jade back in the Ergo to go faster, but she was having so much fun climbing over the roots and making her way around trees (and occasionally trying to wander off into the forest until I pointed out the trail to her) that we just kept following her.
We thus arrived at the beach a little while after the rest of our group. The girls were busy digging their feet into the sand at the edge of the waves, while other families were having their lunch or exploring the beach. I handed out sandwiches and oranges and applied sunscreen to the girls. My husband had a nap, Lily buried herself in the sand, and Sunshine joined some friends in building a dam on a tiny stream.
I walked down to the end of the beach, admiring the rock formations in the cliff above us, checking out the mussels clinging to the beach, and trying to get pictures of the seal playing peek-a-boo in the waves with us. I did wade in the water once or twice, just to prove to myself that it was indeed too cold for swimming (which was why I hadn’t bothered to pack our swim suits).
Then I went back to help with the dam-building efforts (which were going considerably better since a dad had joined in and was offering a bit of engineering advice). My husband woke up and Lily unburied herself, so we had some more snacks and water. Sunshine went for a ride on the rope swing, which I’d watched with a worried eye because it seemed very high and dangerous to me. I took pictures and told her to hang on tight.
Then it was time to call it a day and clean up sandy hands and feet…
… and put shoes and socks back on for the hike back to our vehicle. Since I had taken my own advice and actually drank lots of water, I had to make the hike back up to the little house with a view:
My husband started ahead with Lily, because I expected the kids to be going much slower on the return trip. There was one family behind us on the beach when Sunshine and I started up the trail to catch up with them. Then we ran into the family’s grandma, and realized that there’d been some miscommunication about where they were meeting each other. So I sent Sunshine back down to tell them where Grandma was and then we ended up hiking with them and their kids.
Overall, it was a very fun day. The hike from the parking lot to the beach is about 2 km, and includes a suspension bridge and various other little bridges along the way as well as steep stairs down to the beach. The trail, while easy to follow, is quite rooty and bumpy so any kids unable to walk should be in a carrier rather than a stroller. The beach itself offered lots to do, from viewing the sea life to playing in the sand or hiding in the caves or swinging on the rope.