Hikers are scrambling along the higher slopes of Mount Maxwell and the trails seem to be either steep up or steep down and I am either puffing upwards or picking my way carefully down slippery dirt tracks. The place is beautiful though: big firs and steeply slanting, grassy Garry Oak meadows backed by sheer rock faces half hidden in the vegetation. The view from a rocky knoll looks out over the Burgoyne Valley - the low farm fields that separate the southern mass of mountains from the rest of Saltspring Island. Once these two island parts were wandering islands with their own separate geologies brought here on the Pacific Plate conveyer-belt and plastered together. Even today the residents of that southern mass of mountains can feel themselves to be different from the rest of us. But then, as in geology, many of the people that live on this island are of different origins sometimes uneasily plastered together as Saltspring Islanders.
Later we will have our lunch break in the fields down in the valley, lolling in grasses growing tall as they feel the heat and so rush to seed. We look back at the steep mountain face behind us and marvel how the same island landscape can seem so different simply by changing our point of view.