Sunday, August 30, 2009

Inspiration & Adventure

Inspiration and Adventure. Sometimes inspiration will lead you to do something reckless or fantastic or mundane, but more often than not inspiration leads to adventure.

The idea, the inspiration, to take a walk to the candy store to get the 99 cent grab bag is an adventure. The adventure could be what you find in the candy bag.... will you get a candy necklace? What about a giant sour soother? Or the weird marshmallowy banana? You know whatever you find in that bag is going to taste good. There's choice there. The choice to share that coveted cola bottle candy with your husband, or give your six year old child the creepy fangs that you both like to pretend are your real teeth until you can't stand it anymore and swallow it whole.
Or maybe the walk itself is the adventure. The choice of which path to take, the gravel road past the Sikh Temple, or the paved road with the sidewalk that leads you past a giant hedge with the large barking dog. Will you pass by someone you know? Will you see that your neighbours have left their garbage can out for the last 4 days in a row and you turn to your husband and you both just nod, because you both feel the same way. The garbage can is bloody empty, take it in already.
What if The Adventure leads to inspiration? The walk to the candy store turns into a 1/2 hour walk to the park where you see an old couple on the swings laughing and you wish you had a camera to capture this moment. Or you are walking along the path near the river and you are inspired to jump in clothes and all.

I find that books often give me inspiration. I've been inspired to read new kinds of books. I've been inspired to review books and blog about it. I've been inspired to almost toss a book across the room in a fit of rage (book #3). I've been inspired to research. I've been inspired to start a new hobby. I have been inspired to volunteer. I have been inspired to be a better parent. I have been inspired to try new things. I have been inspired.

I realized this weekend that sometimes the inspiration to begin an adventure will end in a way you didn't imagine.

Inspired by the book Creepers I wanted to go "urban exploring". I didn't want to break into a building or get all decked out in the middle of the night. I wanted to explore something accessible, something that wouldn't get me arrested and that I could bring my family with me.

My inspiration started with my good friend Mr. Google. I new what kind of place I wanted to explore. I didn't care if it didn't fit the exact definition of urban exploring. It was still an adventure. I decided to start my adventure with researching abandoned churches on Vancouver Island. There's something so beautiful about old churches.

I found a few listings for Butter Church in Duncan. The next day, accoutered with our cameras, Hubby, Little Miss and I set out to find Butter church. We couldn't find exact directions to the church just a vague location and a street name. Comiaken Hill, Tzouhalem Rd. Duncan, BC.

Quick Description: The original mission church for the Cowichan Indians built in 1870 but abandoned in 1880 in favour of St Ann's Church. It has remained for over 100 years a haunted structure on the hill, abandoned, deconsecrated and desecrated

Armed with our Vancouver Island map and the (half-assed) directions, we set out to find this old church. Our map didn't have a reference for Comiaken Hill. We found Tzouhalem Rd no problem as we've travelled this road before. We spent 45 minutes just driving back and forth on this road trying to find some indication of where this church may be. One of us had the brilliant idea of looking for St.Ann's Church and then scouting the area near by to see if the old church was near. Looking on the map there wasn't a listing for St.Ann's church (we don't have a laptop so we couldn't google, sigh) But there was a few roads listed nearby that sounded promising (St.Ann's drive) We made several loops in that area through nicely maintained cul-de-sacs.

I was mortified because our old clunker of a car was quite noisy and I'm sure the surrounding neighbourhoods thought we were casing the area.

Another fruitless half hour we resigned ourselves to the fact we may never find this church and "hey it's all about the adventure, right?" But my Hubby, the persevering guy that he is, took it upon himself to ask for directions. Ha! Brilliant!

Parking the car (half on the sidewalk) He approached two women walking their dogs. "hey do you guys live around here?" Not creepy at all, right? Actually it wasn't since we were all there and Little Miss was trying to pet their doggies, and I'm sure all the neighbours were watching and wondering why this piece of shit car was parked in their nice neighbourhood.

He then proceeded to ask them if they knew where the church was and how we could find it.
With some easily explained directions we were on our way again.


We drove by the stairs leading to the church about 10 times earlier that day. We had even spotted people walking up the old stone path.

The old church was so beautiful in it's simplicity, but it was also so sad to see the state of decay. It's truly baffling at the level of disregard people have for property and culture.
We found the church and in doing so found adventure and inspiration. The thrill of the search, the inspiration to capture this beauty and decay on film. The lessons we learned and the lessons we (hopefully) taught Little Miss.


  1. :o That is so beautiful Nikki!! I want to go!!! :) Looks like fun! Miss you!
    Oh and I will tell you all about my adventures...BUT you have to wait until I see you :) hehehe! I am not going to post on my blog anymore about the trip until after I see you hehe because that's how evil I am! :) Oh and yea I won't tell you stuff over the phone either :P hehe
    Oh and I am really glad that you had fun at the concert! :( wish i could've gone... but oh well i guess... NEXT TIME THEY COME! :) hehe

  2. awesome post Nikki, like i said before you should blog more about this kind of stuff, you are good at it. looks like an awesome adventure and the picture looks cool :)

    i realize that you and i are more alike than ever i thought when i read your blogs, lol.