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  • Jennifer Dowd

An Adventure to Mystic Beach and a Surprise Encounter with Eagles - June 14, 2024

Updated: Jun 16

Sometimes, the best adventures are the ones that don't go as planned. My recent trip to Mystic Beach in Sooke turned out to be one such adventure—an unexpected detour that led to a magical encounter with nature's most majestic creatures.

It was a day I'd been looking forward to for weeks. Mystic Beach, with its stunning cliffs, hidden waterfalls, and the promise of serenity, was calling my name. The trail through the lush forest of Juan de Fuca Provincial Park was supposed to lead me to one of the most beautiful beaches on Vancouver Island. I packed my camera, ready to capture the breathtaking landscapes and perhaps some wildlife along the way. Little did I know, the real highlight of my trip would come from an entirely different direction.

While heading to the trailhead, I took a wrong turn and ended up on an old logging road. At first, I felt annoyed and thought about turning around. However, the wild, unspoiled scenery intrigued me. The road was bumpy and meandering, flanked by thick trees. Just as I was about to turn back and find my way to Mystic Beach, I spotted a large bird soaring high above the trees. Excitement bubbled up inside me as I realized it was an eagle—my first time seeing one in the wild! I quickly parked the car and grabbed my camera, hoping to capture this incredible moment.

As I watched, another eagle appeared, this one different from the first. I couldn't believe my luck—two different types of eagles in one day! I later identified them as a bald eagle and a golden eagle, both regal and awe-inspiring in their own right.

I spent several minutes photographing these magnificent birds, marveling at their grace and power. They seemed almost curious about my presence. In those moments, time stood still. The eagles were more than just birds; they were a reminder of the wild beauty that exists in our world, often just out of sight.

Eventually, the first drops of rain began to fall. By the time I was partially down the Mystic Beach trail, the rain had become a downpour. The trail was a muddy obstacle course, and with a heavy heart, I decided to retreat. Mystic Beach would have to wait for another day.

This unexpected detour not only gifted me a magical encounter with eagles but also reinforced my passion for a particular aspect of photography—black and white photography. There is something profoundly timeless and evocative about capturing nature in monochrome. The absence of color shifts the focus to the raw elements of composition, texture, and light, revealing a world that is often overlooked in the vibrant hues of everyday life. On the way back to the car, I took the opportunity to practice on some foliage, leaves, and tree roots.

"Photographing wildlife is more than just capturing an image; it's about connecting with nature, understanding its rhythms, and preserving fleeting moments of beauty and wonder."

As I drove home, I couldn't help but feel a profound sense of fulfillment. My goal had been to reach Mystic Beach, but the true treasure of the day was the unexpected encounter with the eagles. It was an item off my bucket list and a moment that reaffirmed my love for nature and photography.

This adventure, though not what I had planned, made me realize something important. Being in nature, capturing its magic through my lens, and sharing these experiences is what I am meant to do. There's a world of beauty and wonder waiting to be discovered, often in the most unexpected places. And next time, whether I reach the beach or not, I'll be ready to embrace whatever surprises nature has in store. Until then, I'll keep exploring, keep photographing, and keep chasing the magic of the wild.

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