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Tuesday 31 January 2017

Bodhi goes to another beach

Looking at the weather app last night we were promised four days of sunshine by the weather guessers. We decided to go to Tofino for the day. Up at 08:00 this morning and on the road at 09:30 for the two hour drive to the Pacific coast. Bodhi went from one window to the other untill he got bored and then curled up in his bed to take a nap. We bring his bed along on road trips so he can be comfortable.

I have always loved driving...

Highway 4 going west from Port Alberni starts out nice and smooth with a 90kmh speed limit, but soon the highway narrows and starts its twisty way through the mountains to the coast. Some sharp turns make for fun driving but are not much fun for the passenger. Shelagh clutched the door grip and the centre console with all her might and at times I heard some religious babbling...

The morning sun sure put on a show for us as the bright blue sky, snow capped mountains and white leafless birch trees stood out from the green cedars behind them. Stunning colour, sorry no pictures..

It had been more that 40 years for each of us since we had been to Tofino so we were both curious to see how the town had developed since then. The town has grown considerably and there are plenty of little eateries and pubs to have a good meal at. It being winter many were closed for the season. I can imagine in the warmer months that the tourist industry does well here. We took a 20 minute stroll through town and got back to the car to find a beach.

At the government dock
Tofino waterfront

The coast is pristine and the water is crystal clear. The beaches are fantastic with hard packed sand easy for walking miles and miles. Dogs are allowed on the beach but officially must be on a leash, many people were letting their dogs roam freely though. Perhaps in summer there is tighter control on that issue. I did not see any dog poop on the beach, so that is good.

Bodhi went all out

Long Beach is famous in this area, but we stopped at Chesterman Beach. It has an island in the centre and at low tide you can walk to it. We chatted with a lady who has lived in town for many years. She comes to the beach on sunny days to feel the warmth. Her house is in the shade of many trees and it is cold in winter. Bodhi was completely blown away by the beach and I wish we could let him run freely, but he is not our dog and we had promised that he would never be let off leash while in our care. Still he ran from left to right and back again, prancing on the wet sand with not a care in the world.

Incinerator rock beach

When we got back to the car we decided to drive to Ucluelet, a town south of Tofino. It's a pretty place on the edge of Clayoquot sound. We drove some streets rubbernecking at houses and wondering what living here would be like. But with a two hour drive to the nearest larger town makes this location too remote for us. We stopped at the local grocery store and picked up a couple of sandwiches for lunch. We brought water and kibble for Bodhi to eat and drink. Then it was time to hit the road again and return to Port Alberni. A lovely day for a drive and a walk on the beach.


Monday 30 January 2017

Hole in the Wall Trail

Just east of the Port Alberni visitor's centre lies the entrance to the "Hole in the Wall Trail". Make sure you are eastbound on highway 4 and pull over onto the large-ish shoulder along the road just past the Coombs Country Candy Store and park the car. Follow the trail 'till you get to a fork in the path and keep right, then after a while you'll encounter another fork in the path and here you keep left. It's only a 15 minute walk to the hole in the wall.

Westbound on Hwy 4 just past the Coobs Country Candy store
Second growth forest
Keep left
The path becomes a creek here
The Hole in the Wall

A long time ago, by North American standards, a pipeline was built to carry water to the settlement of Port Alberni. The pipeline was made of yellow cedar wrapped in wire, much like the early sewer pipes in Seattle WA. When they came upon a mass of rock a hole had to be drilled through it to let the pipeline continue its natural flow. A bit of the pipeline can still be seen.

Remains of the old pipeline

For many years this place was forgotten, and even today many locals don't know of its existence. It's a short hike, with a few up and down bits, but in winter the trail becomes a creek in some places. Just past the hole in the wall is a little beach area where some very patient people have built some inukshuks. A beautiful place to do some reflecting...


Back tracking a bit along the trail, where the second fork was, you can take the other path to the Sherwood waterfall. We could not get close enough to it because the path was too slippery with mud but I managed to get a picture from the top of it. If you continue along this path you will be connected to the Rogers Creek Trail system. All good fun, and a very popular spot in the warmer months...

Keep right now
Sherwood falls
Back to the car


Sunday 29 January 2017

Little Qualicum Falls

The morning dawned overcast and foggy. Not a normal combination in the lower mainland, usually fog is replaced with sunshine. But this is Vancouver Island and the weather is what it is and we cannot control it so after breakfast we headed out to Little Qualicum Falls with our wee friend Bodhi. From the house in Port Alberni it's roughly a 30 minute drive, no big deal. The drive was uneventful and we were soon parked at the falls ready for our walk. With the spring runoff beginning the Qualicum river is starting to swell and the falls were roaring. You could hear them from the parking lot. I have a lot of pictures to share, they, after all, speak volumes...

No shortage of picnic tables
Shelagh and Bodhi
The spring runoff has begun
Roaring waters

Bodhi is full of excitement when we open the car door and he is eager to take us on a trek every time. We started up to the upper falls and slowly made our way around the park. For a Saturday it was not very busy, it is winter after all and the park is mostly used by locals... Along the way we passed a man taking pictures with a very large camera. On the back of his teeshirt were the following words...

I'd rather be in the mountains

thinking of God

than be in a church

thinking of the mountains

And then the sun came out
Do you REALLY need to be told?

A wonderful morning with our pooch. And a calm drive back home to lunch. Life is good.