Thursday, 29 September 2016

The four Cs

After a good night's sleep we got up and ready for a day of exploring. The four Cs as I called it, Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland and Campbell River, beckoned. It would take two days to do the four... But first; coffee on the beach...
 
Beautiful Miracle Beach
 
First to Cumberland. We drove down the slow road and then took the turn off into town. We found a suitable place to park the car and set off on foot. As luck would have it, the township was just then in the process of repaving the high street. This is not a bad thing; this means that the township is keen on rejuvenating the place, a good sign. Cumberland has all the makings of a great attraction, albeit in a few years time. We strolled along for about 30 minutes and moved on.
 
Courtenay was next. We had seen a few condos in town that struck our fancy and found them easily. And then once we got there we found them too close to the highway and without good access to the shops and such. My goodness, we are so picky, but hey this will probably be our last home, so we had better be picky.
 
We then went on to Comox and Goose Spit park, a wonderful place with a wide beach and a great place to wile away an afternoon with some good food and wine. Just plain beautiful sand and a fantastic driftwood sea wall. Wow! What a perfect picnic spot. Comox seems a bit more upscale. The real estate looks expensive. Some of the older homes are very well kept and there are quite a few places under complete renovation. We will be spending the autumn months doing research on the island's real estate market to see how quickly or slowly properties get sold here...
 
Goose Spit
Another Beglaw moment
Vancouver Island has plenty of deer
 
By now we were ready for a bite and we stopped in Courtenay along the river for some lunch. Across the river some people were enjoying the waterfront and soaking up the last rays of summer. Well served with the day's activities we returned to our campsite and settled in for the night...
 
The view from our lunch spot
 
The next morning we had a plan to go to Campbell River and Elk Falls Provincial park. Campbell River has some beautiful green spaces within the city's reach. A lot of opportunity for great hikes. We cruised through town and found Elk Falls Provincial park.
 
Elk Falls Provincial park is 1,807 hectares in size and is located at the east end of John Hart Lake on the northwest side of the city of Campbell River. The park was established in 1940 to protect the waterfall and canyon. In 1947 the John Hart dam and generating station was completed, followed by two other dams upstream, Strathcona and Ladore. Most of the water that used to flow over the falls is now diverted for power production. A suspension bridge over the canyon was completed in 2015, and provides a good view of Elk Falls. At certain times the water in the river is diverted to power the generators that supply electricity to the region. At these times the falls supposedly go down to a trickle. There are signs posted in the park explaining that when the water is "turned back on" there will be a surge in the flow of the river and the falls. Thus it would be a good idea not to get too close to the edge of the babbling brook that is supposed to be a river. A siren will sound before this happens...
 
A river runs through these
 
We walked up to the falls and the suspension bridge. Along the way there are large culverts that carry water to the turbines that produce the electricity. Shelagh, having vertigo, could not even look at the bridge so I ventured on by myself. The bridge is 65 meters long and 64 meters high above the canyon. It has a very steep descent and ascent, and a metal corrugated deck that is quite see-through. I looked down through the deck a few times and figured that Shelagh was quite right to stay put. At the other side is a platform leading to nowhere. I took some pictures and crossed the bridge again, keeping my eyes focused on my destination. Then once again on the other side I took the stairs down to a viewing platform and took some more pictures. I climbed the stairs back up and found Shelagh patiently waiting for me on a bench. We hiked back to the parking lot and got into the car for our trek to Campbell River.
 
 
It is said that this bridge can support 20 elephants
 
Campbell River is a pretty town with everything you could possibly want available. We had lunch in Robert V. Ostler park within the city and watched a father and son play in the jungle gym area. The sun was warm and the weather comfortable. There are plenty of shops and eateries in town, and we found this is a very livable place but a bit far from the Nanaimo ferry terminals. We headed home to our tent and I started working on the kindling for the fire. A lazy rest of the day followed with a visit to the beach, dinner, a comfy fire and bed. The next day was time to break camp and head home to the busy lower mainland.
 
 
Up early, no coffee, no breakfast. Shelagh went to the showers while I took down the tent and started getting things stowed. We each have our jobs both when camping and living together. We are like a well lubed machine when things need to get done, and we were ready for the road in no time...
 
We planned on taking the ferry from Dukes Point, south of Nanaimo, to Tsawwassen. Driving on highway 19, the inland island highway, we cruised along at the speed limit of 120 kmh and saw the sign near Nanaimo stating that the ferry was 87% full, we had 29 km to go, yikes. If we miss this ship we will have a 2.5 hour wait! Shelagh, who is a very law abiding citizen, suggested I step on it and don't spare the horses... We creeped up to ten km over the speed limit. When we got to the terminal the ship was already loading, we paid our fare and got in line. Seeing all these cars roll onto the ship while our line is not even close to moving sure puts some weight in your stomach. Then suddenly the car ahead of us started moving and we followed. When we got near the front of our line the attendant put up his hand and stopped us in our tracks. We waited and waited, Shelagh was praying... Then suddenly he pointed at us and gave us the go ahead! Two more cars eventually followed us onto the ship. We were boarded!
 
 
We celebrated our good fortune with eggs benny and coffee in the ship's restaurant and had a pleasant sailing home bound. The ferries' restaurants used to be just alright, but now they are run by White Spot, the Bread Garden and Starbucks. What an improvement! The two hour crossing went without any problems and we were soon home. Back in our pretty house, unpacked and ready for my shower and three loads of laundry, a house husband's work is never done...
 
Now we ponder, island life suits us, but where on the island will be our next home? Stay tuned for that...

 

5 comments:

  1. What wonderful stories and pictures you shared. Thank you for this. The island looks brautiful and if you go live there, we might have to come visit....

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  2. It is so beautiful on the island. I spent only one week there back on '75 and loved it. We will get back there someday and spend more time.

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  3. Talk about just making it onto the ferry.

    The island is beautiful and I can see how it will suit you. However it is more expensive to travel from there as you two like to do. So many things to ponder and decisions to be made.

    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

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  4. Thanks for the "foot" shout out!!!

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