Sombrio Diaries: 2016 Edition

“All is silver: the heavy surface of the sea,

Swelling slowly as if considering spilling over”

– Elizabeth Bishop, “At the Fishhouses”

Sitting under a hot midnight sun in Dawson City it’s almost hard to imagine the sky darkening enough to see silver-tipped and midnight blue waves. Or ocean at all, really. This beach has become an annual recluse where every year the gang and I look forward to escaping the stress of exams and summer plans, to drinking beer in the sunshine and cooling off in frigid Pacific waves, and to hanging around a campfire all night with the best people.This year we spent a great sunny weekend doing just that!

24th April 2016

With exams over, house (partly) packed, and the sunshine out, we were finally off for our Sombrio trip! Well, sort of… as usual, mishaps occurred and while munching on Tim Hortons we realized supplies were forgotten, unavailable, or not bought at all.

I have such beautiful friends! Hehe

So Aly, Brooke, and Kieren went back to Victoria to get stuff, and Fred and I sipped tall foggy glasses of locally brewed beer at the Axe and Barrel (instead of getting the firewood and liquor like we were supposed to – whoops!).


After a few hours of Talking Heads, The Strokes, and “the car song” (which I will never be able to get out of my head) we were bumping down the ridiculously pot-holed dirt road to the parking lot of the Sombrio trailhead and trekking all the way down to our favourite spot at the end of the beach. The sound of the waves and glimpses of sparkling blue between tall pines hinted at our arrival right before the full force of the salty air hit us.


Ilia and Corey met up with us minutes after we’d reached our spot and, after setting up camp, we all settled in around a flickering campfire to watch the sun transform bluegreen water to fiery orange and pink. Only Fred and I stayed awake long enough to watch it change to silvery edged navy.


A great view from Corey’s hammock


25th April 2016

We were lucky enough this time around to avoid the stormy weather and were woken up by warm sunlight heating the tent, as well as the chipper voices of Emily, Jericho, and Victoria, who’d driven up early to come meet us.


We all lazed around on the beach for a bit, enjoying the warm sunshine before heading off to explore the beach.


Again, because we had “new people” – as in, friends who hadn’t seen the beach yet – we walked along the Juan de Fuca trail a little bit to see the hidden waterfall cave, the little inlet with a waterfall thundering straight into the ocean, and the rocks at the end of the point which were being enveloped by heavy foaming waves. A few of us were even silly enough to stand close enough to get a soaker. Totally worth it.


Em and Jericho

After that, we all dissolved into various activities, reading with beer or cider in hand while sunbathing, “baseball” with crude stick and rock, soccer, or searching through rock pools before the tide came crashing in again. In the evening we discovered the ocean had delivered up tiny little blue jellyfish that edged the tidelines like sea-glass. Until you got up close and they looked more like tiny blue condoms.


We spent another night drinking in the scent of cuban cigar and campfire smoke, salty sea air, and bad boxed wine. Again, the couples were pretty lame and went off to bed early so only four of us stayed up to attempt finishing all the wine.


26th April 2016

When I got up the next morning only Emily and Jericho were up as Jericho had gone for a surf in the glassy waves further along the beach – though I did hear quiet murmurs from other tents. Still in that half-awake hypnotic phase of waking up, I watched and listened to the endless waves surging and crashing while Emily quietly read her book next to me until the others woke up.


Ilia and Corey had things to do back in town so the remaining few sleepy heads were rudely awoken and made to pose for the annual group shot before the pair went on their way.


A few of us went to explore the new treasures of the rock pools, and Jericho put a name to the pretty luminaria, reflective seaweed that looks as if it’s being lit up from within by blue and green electric lights.


Em and Jericho wanted to get on their way too so Al, Vic, Brooke, and I squealed all the way in and out of the water before they left.


Our car, the cool car of course, were the last to pack up and leave for another summer, stopping in at the Cold Shoulder on our way to a hot dinner and hot showers!



I don’t know if the nostalgia of the poem, the film photos, or the lovely golden light is evident in this post, but writing this has certainly been a nostalgic process for me. These are such great memories that makes me miss and look forward to seeing everyone so much! Thanks for such a lovely time guys and I can’t wait to do it again! xx


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