Nimpkish Lake and the Karmutzen Range

Looking with fresh eyes

Artist Gordon Henschel reflects on reexamining the familiar after time away.

My dad was a great believer in taking a trip away from home once in a while; a break from the usual, so to speak. Even when we were very poor we would take some affordable holiday, such as a canoeing or camping outing or perhaps a short trip with our old truck to someplace a little different. After we returned home we saw our house and yard with fresh and appreciative eyes.

Last winter we drove south for a couple of weeks to Southern California to take a most enjoyable break, while visiting friends who live down there. This was good because, not only did we see a totally different environment, but also another kind of lifestyle. However, you can probably guess what happened to our perception of our good old North Island.

Returning home, the first thing we noticed after crossing the border back into Canada, was how the pace of life slowed down and people seemed to have more time to talk. How do you explain this phenomenon? Is it because the massive population of the U.S. means they have to be more efficient in dealing with large numbers of people and that efficiency means the personal touch goes by the wayside?

Compared to California, B.C. is an empty land. It was so nice to come back to empty highways and miles and miles of miles and miles; back to the green on green of Vancouver Island.

I always enjoy the drive to and from Campbell River but this time, in coming home from far away, I was especially struck by the beauty of Nimpkish Lake. All North Islanders have to drive along this lake on their journey south and, no doubt, all of us take the beauty of this drive for granted.

There are just a few rare places in Canada that have this kind of drive with the Karmutzen Mountains as a backdrop for the lake. Not high, as mountains go, but very immediate; right there, rising straight out of the lake. With snow-capped tops most of the year, they give us post-card pleasure as we drive by.

 

This oil painting of Nimpkish Lake and the Karmutzen Range is from one of my favourite spots along this drive just 11 kms. from home. Am I lucky or what?