I’d researched several places for us to hike while in the Nanaimo area, but we ended up not doing any of them. For a couple of reasons. The first being my escalating foot problems. If the foot injury, multiple blisters and Morton’s Neuroma weren’t bad enough, yet another issue had arisen. This ugly foot picture will help explain.
Note how the big toenail is sitting at a cant, and there’s a half-moon bruise just below the nail and visible bruising under the nail. This is the result of a subungual hematoma lifting the nail from the bed. I’ve had these before, but this particular one was the worst I’ve ever experienced. This painful condition is sometimes called runner’s toes, and is usually caused by improperly fitted shoes putting pressure on the toes while walking/running. In my case, it’s because my toe curls upward. So, yeah, my owie foot suddenly became a whole lot owier.
The other reason for not doing the hikes was the weather. Nanaimo got some badly needed rain overnight, with the possibility of more showers that morning, and I didn’t want to chance slippery trails or sudden downpours. After all the glorious trails we’d already taken on that trip, we weren’t overly disappointed about cancelling these few.
One of the limitations of travelling with a dog is the ability to eat in restaurants. We refused to leave Roxy alone in the car for a single minute, so unless we had accommodations, all our meals were of the picnic or takeout variety. That morning, we had breakfast in the parking lot of the Nanaimo McDonalds. I ate pancakes on my lap. Very gourmet.
The rain continued to hold off, so I checked the GPS for local attractions and came up with Petroglyph Provincial Park. There were several interesting concrete replica castings of petroglyphs; however, the actual sandstone petroglyphs were a bit disappointing. Safeguarded behind a fence, they were covered with leaves and debris, and difficult to see.
The walk through the park was lovely, though. I thoroughly enjoyed the mossy, rocky setting.
Roxy’s pink camo didn’t blend in with her surroundings.
Somehow, as we drove south down Hwy 19A, neither of us noticed we’d completely passed by Ladysmith. Hubby would’ve been content to continue straight through to Chemainus, but after skipping Nanaimo’s activities, I didn’t want to miss Ladysmith too. So we backtracked…and got lost in Ladysmith. We couldn’t locate Holland Creek Trail anywhere, and GPS was no help at all. With Hubby’s mood rapidly deteriorating, and mine on the verge of joining his, we happened across Transfer Beach, which was also on my list of things to do.
This old steam donkey caught Hubby’s attention.
Transfer Beach Park.
From Transfer Beach, we took the Marine Walk.
Because of the summer’s drought, leaves were falling prematurely, and they were some of the biggest I’ve ever seen.
Yet another blackberry snack for Hubby.
Hubby waited patiently while I investigated the beach.
There were some old wrecks to check out, and I found the unusual black sand very curious.
We arrived in Chemainus several hours earlier than planned, so took advantage of the nice weather to stroll some of its charming streets. Chemainus is renown for its outdoor murals, and next week I’ll dedicate an entire post to them, but the town has many other appeals, as well.
When this 500 yr-old Western Red Cedar was felled many years ago, it was over 200 ft high and 11 ft around.
A sampling of the impressive outdoor sculptures.
The Water Wheel
In Search of Snipes 1913
The Older Generation
Spirit of the Earth
Need I even mention, Hubby found blackberries.
A little grassed courtyard, just off Willow Street, was home to all sorts of adorable woodcarvings and topiary shrubs.
Hubby’s aunt lives in Chemainus, and she graciously hosted us for our stay. As pleased as we were to visit her, I think Roxy was even happier for the break from sightseeing.
Cousin D joined us for dinner both evenings, and we had the pleasure of good food and great company. When Aunt S broke out her delicious blackberry wine that first evening, we liked it so much, we drove to Duncan the next day to buy more.
On our way back from Duncan, we met with Cousin D for a lovely stroll along the Crofton Community Seawalk. The weather cooperated with a break from the rain showers.
Black rock, remnants of coking slag from an old smelter, were scattered along the beach. Quite interesting stuff.
The ferry to Saltspring Island crosses at Crofton Harbour.
We hit the road early the next morning, back to Nanaimo, to catch the ferry for the drive home.
Vancouver skyline as we approach Horseshoe Bay.
Nine jam-packed days of incredible sights and experiences, with amazing sunny weather on nearly every one of those days. I’m so thankful we were able to overcome our many obstacles to make this fantastic trip to Vancouver Island. We will return. Click here for a post on the world-renown Chemainus murals. Start from beginning of trip here.