Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vancouver Island

Time just kinda of got away from me on the old blog, probably a good thing after all. As always, I like to share the details of my so called adventures. And more than anything capture it somewhere, so that in six months from now when my fading memory fades a little more, I've got this to fall back on.

A vacation idea was hatched back in the spring by the wife and I. We wanted to see the coast and we also wanted to see a bit of Canada. We had only been to Canada once a few years back on a ski trip to Nelson. Our experience up there had been favorable and the people nice, this trip would be much the same. The route and plan morphed several times and really was quite liquid the entire 10 days. It was nice to roll from day to day, sort of a throw back to our backpacking trip through Australia and Indonesia. But this time with two toddlers.

We busted west from Missoula, the white Highlander blasted constant Disney movies from its seams as we bounced across eastern Washington. Rural highways spilled forth in front of us as we hit the North Cascades Highway, a very scenic drive indeed. Our day ended in Anacortes where a very last minute reservation on the ferry saved my ass.

Early morning toddler meltdowns in dirty motels never seem as romantic as they should. But you survive, throw some more crackers in the backseat and things will settle down. Hot coffee while waiting near the ocean....the vacation started, I think. We sailed across to Victoria in a little over 2 hours, stopping once on Orcas island to let on some more passengers. The scenery overlooking the many islands was stunning. Many more people on the islands than I would have guessed.

We offloaded somewhere north of Victoria, heading down into the city we tried our hand at bit the touristy stuff. Realizing quickly that the toddlers did not have the attention span or energy to deal with much, we quickly audibled to leave the city center. One parking ticket later and we were on our way. Near Sooke we found a nice sandy beach, where across the Straight of Juan de Fuca you could see the majestic glacier laden Olympic Mountains in Washington. There were even some great flats where we tried to catch some crabs. That night we ended up in a fantastic campground, Goldstream Provincial Park. The sites were some of the best I have seen for a developed campground, plenty of space and private. The next morning we walked among some humungous trees.

We spent the next two days camping and exploring the areas around China Beach. The west coast of the island is excellent, massive trees and rainforest. The beaches in this area were equally impressive, with white sand, huge driftwood and the emerald forest flowing right down to the ocean. We had one day of rain, holing up in a Port Renfrew coffee shop for the morning before we got the courage to hike in the rain down to Sombrio Beach. The beach was full of surfers, all apparently warm enough in their head to toe wetsuits. We checked out some salmon jumping at the mouth of a river/ocean and saw a big salmon fish camp, apparently the thing to do in Refrew.

Driving NE across the island we ended up near Qualicum Beach for a night. The east side of the island near there was quite developed, surprising again for some reason. We beat feet back towards the west side of the island. I found one of my most favorite campsites ever in Ucluelet, Wya Point Campground. Sites were nestled into the forest right on the beach line. The cove was made of tiny smooth multi-colored pebbles. And the rocky point made for stellar tide pool searching in the early mornings. Up to the north we checked out Tofino and spent some time on a beautiful sandy beach with surprising warm waters in the shallows. Both towns had great seafood, weird huh? We rallied back across the island and caught a ferry for Vancouver. One night in a dirty motel and we pushed on. All in all we camped 7 of the 9 days and covered 1600 miles. Great, great trip.

Well, if you happen to still be reading this, thanks! I do appreciate my readers and any comments.

No comments: