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.
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.
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.
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.
It takes less than two hours to cross the Strait of Georgia and we spent it on deck, enjoying the sunshine and scenery.
I had smuggled Roxy up, tucked into her sling, and lucky for us, no one noticed. We soon arrived at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay.
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.
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.
The trail was chockfull of ferns. Everywhere. Just gorgeous.
Roxy’s my little travelling gnome and she patiently poses for pictures wherever we go.
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.
I thought they were all adorable. Blue, the gentle pitbull, quite liked me too.
Stella, the feisty French bulldog, has no clue she’s small.
Beau, the lovable collie, always wears a delightful smile.
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.
Seals cavorting in the river charmed us, but apparently they take quite the toll on the local salmon.
Hubby never misses a chance to pick blackberries.
We watched small planes land and take off at the Airpark. One of Hubby’s simple pleasures.
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.
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.
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.
The upper falls is actually a series of falls, and we thought they were the most impressive.
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.
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.
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.
I’ll be back next week with some photos and stories from Tofino and the Pacific Rim Park.