With reference to my post Window of Opportunity, where tourists felt there were Alligators around Cameron Lake...I direct you to a story in the Parksville Qualicum News entitled "Mystery within Cameron Lake".
Perhaps those tourists weren't far off.
Having grown up near Cameron Lake, I have heard many stories over the years. It can be an eerie, dark Lake, when the weather acts up...the traveler comes upon it rather suddenly, as he journeys along the highway. And there it is...a large, deep body of water between two Mountains...the highway carved out of one steep side, and the railway on the other.
At one end, there is a sandy beach, enticing many people to stop, have a picnic, perhaps swim. But the water is cold, if the swimmer goes out very far...the lake drops off to depths unknown. It is startling to swim there, seeing the pebbles and stringy weeds on the floor of the lake...and then suddenly nothing but inky, black depths of water beneath.
There is a lodge here and campgrounds. Many of the sites have been in the same family for years...there is a great contingent of loyalty towards the Lake by a number of people.
Numerous stories abound about the mysteries of the Lake. Some say the bottom has never been measured...that it has never been found. There are stories of cars disappearing into the depths, never to be seen again. There is the story of the man drowning in one of the adjacent lakes and turning up in Cameron Lake.
And then, there is this story...about a strange creature living in the Lake. I can attest to the wake or wave action...I have witnessed it myself. However, I have always assumed it was a current or something similar; it was a phenomenon that was just there.
The highway that runs along it is narrow and windy, with large overhangs. It can, if you are not used to it, make adrenaline run faster...large semi-trailers moving towards you on this road can make perspiration a permanent friend.
As a child, when we traveled around the Lake, I would hide so that I would not see it. And my granddaughter did the same.
Tell me when we're past the Lake, Nammy...this refrain echoes in my ears from years past, when I drove her along it. She would be huddled in the backseat of the car, in younger years, even under a blanket.
She would get pictures in her mind, she told me then. Pictures of a deep, dark, bottomless hole, where there was no hope. And no one knew what to expect.
I asked her the other day if she still felt the same. She's twelve now, very precocious and wise.
She sits beside me, in the passenger seat, straight and tall and beautiful. She says...Yes, I do...very firmly.
She says...I can't get past it...the Lake frightens me.
Hmmm...this from a young women who has family that lives on Sproat Lake, a larger Lake than Cameron...but not as deep. And, as a result, she lives in the Water in Summer. She is water-wise...she has respect for it in all its moods.
On a sunny day, nothing can parallel the awesome splendour of this sparkling Mountain Lake. The Waters hug Mountain's lap...deep, sapphire blue meeting forest green.
Driving past, it is easy to be mesmerized by the beauty; attention, however, must be given to the highway, as many find to their peril. The highway running along the Lake is the only passage to the West Coast of the Island. As a consequence, it is extremely busy, with everything from RVs, semi-trailers, buses, log trucks, cyclists, motorcycles and cars moving along its narrow surface.
I have traveled this road since childhood. I have seen the Lake in all its moods...swollen and raging, an oily, dark, heavy gray, dashing its Waters across the road, trying to pull the unwary in...
I have watched it on a sunny day in Winter, with a cold North Wind whipping up the Waters to whitecaps...feeling the freshness of this Lake deep within.
I have driven past when families swelled the beach, the laughter of children echoing between the Mountains, clearly enjoying the cold, crisp Waters and the warm Sun.
There are many Lakes on the Island. None stir up emotion in me as much as Cameron Lake. I love it and am wary of it, at the same time.
Perhaps there could be prehistoric Alligators in the Lake...