The Trip That Almost Wasn’t…

Taking a road trip to Vancouver Island has been a goal of mine for some time. Finally, this was the year we’d make the trip, and I was so excited!

We set the date for mid-June and I eagerly began my research in early spring. I soon realized an entire island tour wouldn’t fit into sixteen days, so I prioritized and axed the northern bit. Not long after that, I found out my mom’s 90th birthday celebrations fell on the first weekend of our vacation, so I had to snip four days off the trip. Bye-bye, southern rim.

Then catastrophe struck. My little dog broke her leg. Even though she doesn’t actually walk when we hike, she’d have been too uncomfortable in her sling and didn’t even fit into her carry-bag with her cast. So, greatly disappointed, we cancelled our trip.

1506-2 Roxy

Then eureka! Hubby came home one day in June with the incredible news that a rare week’s vacation had come available in August. The trip was back on, only now scaled down to nine days. I revamped my plans yet again and happily contacted the hotels to rebook.

Then another catastrophe struck. A few days before we were to leave, a heavy wooden chair fell sideways and landed on my foot, seriously injuring it. Within moments, it had ballooned to freakish and painful proportions.

1 Foot injury

The doctor told me the next day that there’d be no hiking in my immediate future. Whether the foot was broken or not, I had to stay off it. The X-ray tech thought the foot looked ‘smashed’, but lucky for me, no breaks. Lucky for me? I had days and days of hiking planned, and I wasn’t even supposed to walk.

We decided to take the trip and just make the best of it. By the time we left, the swelling had started to diminish and the bruising was becoming quite flamboyant. Due to nerve damage, the pain wasn’t too severe. I hoped that might work in my favour because, yeah, I intended to ignore my doctor’s ‘no-walking’ orders.

3 Foot injury

We traveled to Vancouver that Friday evening, staying overnight with our youngest son. Bright and early the next morning, we boarded the ferry at Horseshoe Bay.

7 Leaving Horseshoe Bay

It takes less than two hours to cross the Strait of Georgia and we spent it on deck, enjoying the sunshine and scenery.

9 Leaving Horseshoe Bay

13 Ferry to the Island

I had smuggled Roxy up, tucked into her sling, and lucky for us, no one noticed. We soon arrived at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay.

15 Approaching Departure Bay, Nanaimo

We zipped directly up Hwy 19 to the Seal Bay Regional Nature Park, in the Comox Valley. Feeling some trepidation about testing my foot, we picked the Don Apps Trail, an easy loop through a forested section with a brief stretch along the water.

25 Seal Bay Regional Nature Park, Comox

The rocky beach proved a challenge, so we took it slowly. Wearing shoes instead of sandals would’ve been optimal, but continued swelling made that impossible.

28 Seal Bay Regional Nature Park, Comox

32 Seal Bay Regional Nature Park, Comox

The trail was chockfull of ferns. Everywhere. Just gorgeous.

35 Seal Bay Regional Nature Park, Comox

36 Seal Bay Regional Nature Park, Comox

40 Seal Bay Regional Nature Park, Comox

Roxy’s my little travelling gnome and she patiently poses for pictures wherever we go.

45 Seal Bay Regional Nature Park, Comox

47 Roxy, Seal Bay Regional Nature Park, Comox

We spent two nights at my FIL’s charming little house on my SIL’s incredibly lovely property near Courtenay. Roxy was not impressed with the family dogs, and when snarling and snapping didn’t work, the unsociable brat did her best to ignore them.

76 Roxy's not impressed with the other dogs

I thought they were all adorable. Blue, the gentle pitbull, quite liked me too.

73 Blue

Stella, the feisty French bulldog, has no clue she’s small.

74 Stella

Beau, the lovable collie, always wears a delightful smile.

75 Beau &

Using a modicum of reason, I quashed the next day’s hikes on slippery shorelines, and we strolled the length of the Courtenay Riverway Heritage Walk instead.

61 Mouth of Courtenay River

Seals cavorting in the river charmed us, but apparently they take quite the toll on the local salmon.

56 Courtenay Riverway Heritage Walk

Hubby never misses a chance to pick blackberries.

65 Picking blackberries, Courtenay River

66 Blackberries, Courtenay River

We watched small planes land and take off at the Airpark. One of Hubby’s simple pleasures.

71 Courtenay Airpark

That evening we had an early birthday celebration for FIL. SIL put on an amazing meal and I tried lamb for the first time. My nephew assured me it tasted like beef with mint, and he was right. Yummy! It was nice to spend time with family and see our nephews again.


We took Hwy 19A south the next morning, stopping at Royston to view the historic ship graveyard and walk the seaside trail.

89 Royston Seaside Trail 90 Royston historic ship graveyard 94 Royston historic ship graveyard 103 Royston Seaside Trail

We intended to visit the Rosewall Creek Provincial Park, but despite doubling back a few times, we never did find the turnoff. The Qualicum Beach promenade was a perfect spot to stop and stretch our legs.

106 Qualicum Beach promenade 107 Qualicum Beach promenade

From Qualicum Beach, we took Hwy 4 to Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. This is a fairly undemanding loop with lots of great views of the lower and upper falls.

113 Little Qualicum Falls Prov. Park 125 Lower falls, Little Qualicum Falls Prov. Park 143 Little Qualicum Falls Prov. Park 145 Little Qualicum Falls Prov. Park 151 Little Qualicum Falls Prov. Park

The upper falls is actually a series of falls, and we thought they were the most impressive.

131 Upper falls, Little Qualicum Falls Prov. Park 134 Upper falls, Little Qualicum Falls Prov. Park

We had a picnic lunch afterwards and I took the opportunity to elevate and ice my foot. The poor thing wasn’t doing too badly painwise, but it sure ballooned up whenever I walked.

153 Breaking for lunch & icing my foot, Little Qualicum Falls Prov. Park

Our last pitstop, before reaching Tofino for the night, was Sproat Lake. The Mars Martin bomber is moored there, and having seen it in action fighting Kelowna wildfires in 2003, we wanted a closer look at the huge beast.

162 Sproat Lake 163 Sproat Lake Mars Martin bomber

After some backtracking, we found the First Nations petroglyphs adorning a rock wall at the edge of the lake. Time and weather are slowly fading these beauties, so we were glad to have to opportunity to view them.

155 Sproat Lake petroglyphs 157 Sproat Lake petroglyphs

160 Sproat Lake petroglyphs

161 Sproat Lake petroglyphs

Jump to next week’s post with photos and stories from Tofino and the Pacific Rim Park here.


9 thoughts on “The Trip That Almost Wasn’t…

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