Vancouver Island North

 It’s raining and raining and raining. That’s what it does in the winter time on Vancouver Island. Right now all I can think of is warmth, swimming in the ocean, discovering something new. This past summer we traveled  north to the very end of  Vancouver Island for a three week camping adventure. It seems to me that no matter where you live or where you’re from, travelling north seems to mean the same thing. It means going further, taking more risks, and getting colder.

Our adventure started on Gabriola Island  B.C. and ended (unintentionally ) in Port Hardy B.C . Our goal was to travel  from Gabriola to our end destination of  Alert Bay . Stopping along the way to discover new places and eventually hiking the Cape Scott trail. Everything went almost according to plan. The following is break down of places and  adventures we found.

 

Gabriola

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We began our journey with a rest. Unraveling our bodies on the warm sandstone of Gabriola Island, my home ground. If you have never been to Gabriola  good , please don’t  go there ever. I can’t stand tourists and I go there all the time. The last thing I want while I lay in wave watching bliss is your ass loudly crashing down the trail, proclaiming while you point to a distant rock   “yep I know that’s a orca and not a humpback because of its dorsen fin”. Shut up. And please when you come across me swimming, intermingling with the seaweed, do not ask me how the water is. We all know you are not about to put down your Nordic poles and jump in to join me.

I say this all with love of course. Gabriola is truly a secret paradise; sometimes when you love something that much you want to keep it all to yourself. The Snuneymuxw First Nations were the first to love the island, surely they would have found me just as intrusive,  so who am I to say.20150821_172141

 

We  pitched our tent at our usual spot,  Descanso Bay camp ground . A beautifully wooded campsite, nestled between two bays. Artistic  rock formations and calm clear ocean surround. The site is very well cared for and the outhouses are always clean!  In the spring you may see resident eagles swooping overhead; large fish in their talons  as they work hard to feed their new babes in the nearby nest. If you’re lucky you will be “hooted” to sleep by the owls in the evening.

 

My Husband and I spent the first chunk of our trip on Gabriola, swimming, lounging, exploring, visiting my mother, being in awe. We had a unexpected but very welcome  visit from my cousin and her fur baby, who drove from Victoria to spend a night beneath the stars. Equally welcome, was the delicious  beer that came with her from Driftwood brewery.  A local craft brew that is  as west coast as you can get, we are truly spoiled on the island; local beer, wine and spirits!Drinking in the sandstone

I can’t recall how many days we spent on Gab; doesn’t matter it was amazing, we were sad to leave but very excited to get going. Gabriola is the place to go if you want to unwind. A dream for anyone who owns a kayak or boat. With so many islands nearby to explore; the sandstone cliffs will blow your mind, the wildlife will entertain you and the ocean will heal you. The fresh air will soothe you to the core!

 

City dwellers often ask  “but what’s there to do on Gabriola” ? Nothing, there is nothing to do there, that’s the whole point. People move there to get away from the people who are always doing. Sure it’s available if you want to, heck there is even a golf club, but if you would rather spend your day watching the light change on the leaves, searching for fossils or listening to the trickster raven, you can do that too.

If you do go there, after you have explored all the beaches, canoed the secret coves, walked all the trails and bought all the tie-dye and art you can afford  and still want a “thing” to do, then head to the Surf Lodge Pub and have beer. Then please watch the sun set on the horizon and  tell me how awesome it was.

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MOON OVER THE BRICKYARD

Eventually we said our goodbyes to the beaches, watched my mom paddle across the water, illuminated by the full moon, back to her home. We boarded the ferry and  waited for it to take us to Nanaimo.

 

 Nanaimo

Nanaimo British Columbia. It’s kind of pretty, it’s kind of not, a grungy downtown core with a bohemian flare. Nanaimo has everything you need in a town. There is theater if you want to see a show, if you crave a fair trade organic Americano they have it too, glittery underwear ? Done! You can get that on every street in downtown Nanaimo. Whether you need art supplies,a book store, heroin or just falafel, Nanaimo will not let you down. Our favourite  stop is The Vault coffee house. It has style, it has funk (good funk) and coffee. Coffee is very important, especially important if you are driving to Campbell river . Once you drive past some kind of invisible existential hipster line on this island, good coffee will become scarce.

Campbell River

Anyhow, we stocked up on coffee and headed for our family in Campbell River . Home to the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw people, Campbell River was once a booming logging town, now, not so much. Slowly the town is transitioning from industrial, to small town community, with patches of urban  sprawl. Spreading like an icky goo around the outskirts of town, there are beautiful walking trails near Campbell River. Quadra Island and many of  Vancouver Islands  most beautiful parks are within reach of Campbell River. My wonderful Aunt and my far out Uncle live in Campbell River,  they love it and I love them, so it must be okay.

We had a great visit, made good use of their washing machine, very important to exploit every shower and washing machine you can when you are living in a tent.

We had originally planned to head to Tahsis that evening,  after missing a few ferries leaving Gabriola, there was no way we would make it that far. Instead we decided upon Buttle Lake . My friend and I discovered Buttle Lake by, let’s say, “miss adventure” the previous spring. I will not go into the details, it was hilarious.

A word of advice if you are heading to the north end of Vancouver Island, it is wise to stock up on food in Campbell River, anything past there is slim pickings.

 

Buttle Lake

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Buttle lake is a small part of  the famous Strathcona Provincial Park . After a bit of a drive from Campbell River, we reached our destination and were pleased to find only a few neighboring campsites occupied. With a dreadfully hot summer, fires were banned across the island. We were surprised to see wood smoke hanging in the air, fires on a hot summer day?  The campers on either side of us all had fires going. Yuck!

I was now more than eager to jump in the cool lake. A short walk through a dazzling  forest trail was all that separated us from the lake, unfortunately there was a bit of an issue. I had heard that the lakes water level dropped in the warmer months but I was utterly shocked to see just how low it had gone. Swimming was out of the question, slightly disappointed, the amazing view made up for my woes.

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The best campsite on the lake is nestled between the trees on what would be an island most of the year, complete with its own outhouse, fire pit and surrounded by gorgeous tall trees. I highly recommend you aim for that spot if you ever head that way.

We made the best of our day hanging out on the spit, my husband set up the tripod and I focused on some yoga.  Low and behold, spots appeared in the distance, growing larger as they headed our way. We had guests, my Aunt and Uncle had found us!  One thing I love about road trips are all of  the visitors you get along the way.

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We spent a few nights at Buttle Lake, enjoying the changing hues on the mountainside in the evening sunset. My wise uncle suggested a visit to Schoen Lake on our way to the end of the island and so, off we went.

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Schoen Lake

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Schoen Mountain

 

We knew nothing about Schoen Lake or where we were going when we set off that day. All we knew was that we were to meet our friends in Port McNeill on August 30th and from there head to Cape Scott. Most of our summer had been spent planning our Cape Scott hike, we did not  focus much on the adventures leading up to it. The drive to Schoen was not overly far but it turned into logging road. It’s not so bad if you have a truck but I would not recommend it if you are in a small car. The area is small and a little rough, the price was great and the campsites where roomy.

 Ancient trees shaded our tent, it was comforting after driving through a logging scar to get there; Schoen Mountain towers over the lake. One could easily spend the day watching the clouds tease their way along the mountain folds, creating shadows, sun bursts and rainbows as they move. We walked down to the river and got cleaned up, a family of squirrels was entertaining us all day, running across the logs, climbing my husband’s leg …ouch !

 

 

 

We had a nice big fire that night, we were finally experiencing some cloud coverage and it was defiantly getting cooler. Clouds had been growing larger the further north we went.

Morning brought more clouds and just as we were finishing packing up  gear and making one last coffee, the rain came. Rain in the rainforest is a whole different thing than rain in the city. It feels good, wholesome, all that surrounds you has gratitude for the rain. We finally received a radio signal, the weather forecast, an extreme rain warning over the next few days, dam! When we hit the highway, we could see thick ominous  looking clouds gathering like giant boulders just waiting for something to set them off.  We talked a lot about where to go next and rolled down the grey highway, our minds a little foggy and our bodies a little sore. The further we got, the less of a plan we made!

Stopping in at Telegraph Cove, we knew full well the camping there  was not great. Telegraph Cove is just so darn cute though, I recommend a visit. I hear they have some of the best eco tourism; bear and whale watching in all of Canada. The weather was getting worse and the day was getting on, we really did not want to but we headed for Port McNeil.

 

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Telagraph Cove

 

 

Cluxewe

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Port McNeill sucks, unfortunately we will have more on that later. We drove into Port McNeill, looking for a place to stay but we just couldn’t do it, no way! Thankfully, someone had recommended that we check out Cluxewe resort  at some point in our travels, so we made a b-line for it, we were glad we did.

Cluxewe resort is stunning, campsites and cabins sit on the ocean’s edge across the water from  Malcom Island , behind the campsites is a beautiful estuary. We felt like we had hit the jackpot. Unfortunately, all the cabins were booked and we were a little bit disappointed that we had not planned it better. The following day was our anniversary, the site we had got was one of the last ones left and was only available for the one night. The weather was forecasting for wind and rain, we did not care, it was so very beautiful. Bald eagles, everywhere you turned, clouds coming in made for a dramatic view. We tied down the tent as best we could, made some dinner and watched the tide pull towards us .

The past few years we’ve been travelling with a three seasons tent that hardly fit the two of us. A great tent, kept us dry in epic rain storms but it was beginning to feel a little claustrophobic, so this spring we had treated ourselves to a slightly larger tent, we were living in luxury, such a thrill to spread out and still have room left over.

We were woken up by the rain as expected, all though the wind was not too bad, we needed to meet our friends in Port McNeill the next day and could not spend another night where we were. As the weather was getting worse by the minute,we had no choice, we headed back to Port McNeill.

 

 Port McNeill

By the time we reached Port McNeill, the rain was pouring, flooding down the streets. Figuring we would make the best of it and procure a hotel, at least we would be dry and cozy on our anniversary. Turns out it’s a bit tricky to get a room. One hotel is run by the coffee shop down the street, the other is run by the pub over yonder and you have to wait for them to open. So we waited, in the truck, in the pouring rain, in our wet dirty clothes, Happy Anniversary.

The town is cute enough, it just kind of sucks, it’s pretty far out; so understandably, it  doesn’t have the best food options. We finally found the man who runs the hotel, he gave us a key and we let ourselves into a nice….not so clean room. The room hadn’t been cleaned yet, so we went back out to the truck and we waited some more. Finally they gave us the thumbs up and we hauled everything into our room. It was clean, aside from the large blood stain they left on the blanket, very nice!  It was actually a pretty little room, with a bit of a view of the harbour, it’s all part of the adventure right?

We headed out to stock up on beer, then proceeded to wash everything  in the bathtub and fill the whole room with clothing and gear. After a mediocre dinner at the pub, we needed to make some decisions. Weather was now forecasted as extreme rain and flood warnings, tomorrow was the day we had spent months planning for. The day we were supposed to start hiking to Cape Scott.

The hike to Nels Bight  is roughly 17km and should take four to eight hours. Being amateurs, we decided to give ourselves more time. We were going to hike the 9Km’s to Fisherman River campsite, spend the night, then finish the hike to Nels Bight the following day.  Hiking into the bush can be challenging, hiking into the bush in extreme weather can make that challenge very uncomfortable. We had been warned that the weather in that area can turn bad very fast, lucky for us, we have smart friends. We received a message from them suggesting we reverse our plan, head to Sointula and Alert Bay first, then Cape Scott.

 

Sointula Malcom Island

It was a great relief to leave our hotel, it was an even greater relief to see the smiling faces of our good friends Rachel and James. It turns out, they had spent a exhilarating night in the Port McNeill hotel, so we had many laughs to share. I wonder how many great Port McNeill  adventure stories there are to tell?

The one great thing about Port McNeill is that it holds the ferry to Sointula and Alert Bay, so we didn’t have far to go. We shared some breakfast at the diner, grabbed some grocery’s and drove down to the ferry. We were heading to Bere Point campground , one of my favourite places to camp amongst the gulf islands. The campground happens to be home to a whale rubbing beach. Orca whales like to rub their cute little whale bellies on the nice pebbles, so if you are very lucky you, may just witness this adorable act of whale beauty. I have yet to see any whale rubbing, however during this visit,  many whales traveled passed  our campsite . Bere Point  happens to have an exquisite trail called Beautiful Bay Trail . The trail  takes you through the forest along the ocean and has viewing spots along the way.

The four of us set up camp, a cozy spot with a waterfront view. The forest was lush, thick, west coast forest. Giant salal bush’s thrived despite the dry summers heat, I always appreciate camp sites that have let the forest be.

After  a short  walk down the trail, we started on dinner and roughly half way through, the rain came hard again, harder than our tarps could handle. I am fairly sure that every drop of rain we missed out on during this summer’s drought, came down that night. We grabbed our dinner, wood,  lights and loaded it all into a wheel barrow and headed for the covered fire pit down the way.

It rained so heavy, all we could do was laugh. As we watched other campers pull out in droves to get the heck out of there, we were grateful that we were not where we could have been; 9km down the Cape Scott trail at the Fishermen River campsite. Days later when we reached the river campsite and saw what could have been, we were all the much  more grateful.

We managed to have a great night and eventually got some sleep. The next day was cloudy but dry. We explored the island and the pub, admired the adorable homes, did I mention the pub? The pub is great.

The Rub Pub has everything I want in a public house, a reading nook, ocean view and beer. Sointula is truly an island community. The folks are all so friendly and kind ( I made friends with the most pleasant women in the washroom). Driftwood fences and homemade saunas are plentiful, dogs and cows have the right of way on the streets. You can grab a bicycle right off the ferry to use during your visit.

According to our “plan” we would be going to Alert Bay next, staying at their cute campsite at the top of the hill. The weather was problematic the forecast was terrible. Did we want to spend a wet soggy night, and have to pack it all onto our backs the next day?

 

Alert Bay Cormorant Island

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We booked a cabin on a whim or maybe we’re just really smart, cause  it rained a shit storm that day!

Alert Bay Cabins  served us well, nice cabins all in a row, on a hilltop with a  bit of an ocean view. Very clean and  roomy, sweet little patios on the front. We gave our friends some time to explore and we  headed to pay respects to a friend of my fathers who was recently buried on the island.

He was a great man and a good friend to my father, I was glad to have met him and heard his songs. We told him so and wished him good luck on the rest of  his journey. The graveyard sits on a hill looking across to Vancouver Islands grey clouds, grey ocean, it was a grey kind of day, it felt good.

 

The island is small and very easy to explore. Drive anywhere for a ocean view.  U’mista Cultural Society  is a great place to stop in and learn of the local  history.

At the top of the island is the Alert Bay Ecological Park , a boring name for such an extraordinary  place. I would have named it the Alert Bay Super Awesome Park From Another Planet Bog Place. The park  has trails that can take you on a route to view a big tree and or down to the beaches. Right next to the park and connected to the trails in the Alert Bay campground. There is not too much there, a few nice quiet spots and  a real washroom with hot showers and all!

We spent the afternoon at the park in the rain, exploring the trails. In the evening we began the tiring process of drying things out, packing and repacking. Reconsidering, reorganizing and rethinking all of our belongings we would be carrying along the trail in the morning. Sometimes you wish you could just enjoy the anticipation of adventure and not have to do all the prep work.

We left Alert Bay feeling a little tired but mostly, very excited. The rainy island had been grounding part of me, wished I could have just tuned into the CBC, brewed a big mug of coffee and stayed just a bit longer.

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Leaving Alert Bay

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 Cape Scott (Almost )

Cape Scott park lies on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. The first trails to be used in that area were made by the Kwakwaka’wakw  people. Later Danish settlers attempted to form a community way the heck out there.  Attempts failed and the people left, the area is wild, the forest is dense and very wet. It is amazing to think of all the hardship it must have taken those people to sustain themselves . The Cape Scott trail and the more challenging North Coast trail make up the park. The North Coast which joins the Cape Scott trail is only accessible by water taxi and is a more extreme adventure for sure .

To get to the trail head one must drive to the town of Holberg . There is not much to the town from a tourist point of view. It has the Scarlet Ibis Pub, the first place many people wander to after completing the trail. Unfortunately we  spent way more time in Holberg than we ever intended. Turns out, no matter how much you prepare, there will always be the unexpected.

20150902_125126That last part was foreshadowing; okay, in case you hadn’t picked up on that! We were all a little nervous about leaving the vehicles in the parking lot. There had been many warnings telling us that it was a very bad idea.

A light drizzle had started as we reached the trail head. Ten minutes into the hike and my pack already felt like a ton of awkward bricks. We saw a few groups who were almost done looking   eager to hike the last few minutes to the parking lot. They were not smiling; they reeked of camp smoke and their tired faces made my stomach turn a bit. What were we getting ourselves into? Then I remembered the horrendous weather they must have endured, it also occurred to me that these folks may have completed the entire North Coast Trail about 59 km in 4-7 days of downpour and wind. We trekked on, my very tall husband was always very far ahead of us and  I felt like I was going at a snail’s pace.

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The first part of the trail was very muddy and a bit rough but not to bad. Eventually you find bits of board walk which we thought would be a nice break from the grueling logs and swamp. Turns out the boardwalk is slicker than a skating rink when it rains, it is very hard to steady yourself when you slip with 40 pounds of weight on your back. We could never decide which was worse, the open trail or the slippery wood. The trail itself is beautiful, a very dense old growth forest. Streams going every which way,  there is always drinking water to be had.

We passed the first campsite at Eric’s Lake. It has nice raised tent pads to keep you off the mud. We met a chipper women who was travelling alone, she informed us that Fisherman River was a wonderful place to stay.  We were very pleased to hear this and eager to get there.

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A little behind, we finally reached Fisherman River, we were excited but where was the campsite? We saw a washroom but no site, perhaps it was up ahead. We walked a bit further, luckily  James was having a bad feeling. He felt the sites may have been behind the outhouse (yeah right gross, that would not make any sense) and offered to run back and look, he was right. Behind the outhouse, in a frickin swamp, there were two slippery as heck tent pads.  Great, so one just has to stand in the mud to get their tent up or use their skating skills on the wooden pad, no big deal right?  We managed…

Getting our food into a tree was a technical challenge, as the area was lacking in tree branches of any height. Nothing was as high as we would prefer, just enough off the ground to make us pretty nervous. Seemed more like a yummy piñata for a swamp bear.  We climbed into our damp tent, curled up and immediately heard “something” make some kind of animal type sound only a few feet from our tent. Oh well?

Second day on the trail brought sunshine, a beautiful morning, the sun lifting the dampness from  the trees.  Quickly we got a move on, the forest thinned a bit passed the campsite and took on a more alpine feel, it was great to have the sun on our skin. The further we went the more unbelievable it seemed,  how could there possibly be ocean with white sandy beaches in our near future. Your mind starts to wonder how this could ever be, you are seemingly in the midst of nowhere.

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Spotting signs here and there of peoples past, the forest folded in on us again and we began to sense a change in the land, the trail had turned sharply for the first time and we were going downhill. My pack began to tug a bit as I started to think, if I stopped for a rest, I may never get up again; it was so tempting. Up ahead, the trees became sparse, the land was leveling out and we reached Hansen Lagoon . Seeing evidence of manmade structure was hard to wrap my mind around.

The sun was out in it’s full glory and the fresh green grass was begging us to lay down. We put down our packs and read the incredible story of the work that went into that land. I would love to share it but you need to see it for yourself.

Along the trail we had  enjoyed discovering each kilometre marking and trail map. For some reason seeing the “you are here” map at Hansen Lagoon was almost my favourite moment. I knew how far we were going, suddenly seeing us on the map, gave me a sense of complete gratitude.

Hansen Lagoon is a salt marsh that will flood at high tide, lucky for us, the field was dry and easy to navigate. Beyond the lagoon,  another stint in the trees and we would reach the ocean.

 

After resting awhile, the walk seemed more trying, we were so  close. I can only imagine the feeling one would have if you walked that land without the convenience of a map or even a trail and found yourself  on the 2,400 meter white sand beach looking out to nowhere.

When you plan anything with folks you don’t spend a lot of time with there is always a risk that you may not end up getting along.  We were still laughing, helping each other along the way, mostly it was me getting help; I am a little bit wimpy .

As I thought I was maybe hallucinating,  the sound of hard wind in the tree tops or maybe…… the roar of the waves. I was happy that Rachel and James were the people we were about to share this experience with .

You know it’s the sound of the oean but you can’t help but doubt until you see them, the waves through the trees.

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I was thrilled to be on the beach, first things first,coffee time. Our tents went up quickly, a hello at the ranger station and a water finding mission ensued. We noticed the whales right away, they never left the bay throughout our stay. The ranger lady informed us of a wolf who roams the beach early in the day. Of course we wished to see him but there was a surprising amount of campers.

The evening was perfect and to  whomever left their flip flops behind, thanks! I made good use of them. The night was extremely cold and  the wind didn’t seem let up.

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The morning was sunny with icy cold winds, Cape Scott is about 6 km from Nels Bight and we were planning to take a day trip but we decided to stay behind and enjoy the beach while they did the hiking.

We did do a short trek to Experiment Bight, it’s what Hawaii may look like only with different trees. I have never been to Hawaii so I am just making that up. A perfect uneventful day.

 

After walking all that way, it seemed a shame to be leaving in the morning. We enjoyed every minute of it …well, it was pretty darn cold that first night. I was a little worried about the time it would take us to make the hike back, like I said, little bit wimpy; we decided to leave early.

Coffee was made in near darkness, took a while to get going but once we did it felt good to be on the move again. Making good progress, we had time to stop for lunch on the trail. Some time before Eric’s lake, it began to pour, meh! What did we care, we were almost done. Almost back to civilization, to vehicles with heat, to bathtubs and beer. Our friends had a family dinner planned in Parksville, we were free to do as we pleased. Not a clue or a care to where we would go next.

We had counted down the kilometers for hours and now we had made the final one. Neither vehicle had been broken into, triumphant, exhilarated, cold, we started on the long journey to somewhere warm.

Cape Scott trail head

The town of Holberg is 79km down a dusty, bumpy, dirt road and that is where our truck died.

Elated and full of joy, we jumped in the truck, picked up a hitchhiking hiker and pulled out of the parking lot, no sooner the truck died… We cursed and troubled shot, finally it started. As we prepared to say farewell to Holberg, it died again. For real, right outside the Scarlet Ibis pub.

In hindsight that was a “good” place. Cell phone reception is not a thing that far out and the pub so graciously provides a pay phone and beer. Rachel and James had BCAA so they called and asked for a tow truck, great easy peasy. It should be here in about two hours, so we waited and waited ECT. Another call was placed …oh yes, should be along soon…Hours passed , call after call, it finally grew dark .

The pub began to shut down and when it did, the last drunk ruffians emerged. Chugging their “to go”  beers, they stumbled to their truck with their 6 packs of “on the way home” beers. They stopped  to find out what the heck we were doing. Upon being informed we were awaiting a tow, the drunkest, loudest, fellow burst into laughter. His eyes twinkled with a cheap beery glow as he proudly proclaimed “why I am the only guy who will tow this far out and I am drunk”.

Drunk he was, but not so drunk  that he couldn’t clearly explain how the towing business works out there. Long story short, it doesn’t work. No one will come down in the dark ever, another call to BCAA “oh yes we actually have not been successful in finding you help”… No shit.

Thank God for Rachel and James, seriously; if you ever go on a trip, take them with you, I will give you their number. They’d been so patient, rescheduled their dog sitter, cancelled their plans and waited with us. Now they’re cramming the two of us into the back of  their tiny car so we could drive the most gut wrenching road of our lives.

It is not that the road is so bad, it was the exhaustion, compounded by the giant redneck trucks, who were drunk! Yes, the trucks were also drunk. The oil pan scraping the ground on every bump,  threatening to leave us stranded. The headlights that  did not light, the glowing eyes in the bush and the fact that we had 79 kilometers to go. I was pretty sure we were going to die.

After a day spent counting down on the trail we were at it again. The collective sigh of relief when we hit pavement could have probably been used to heal sick people.

Thankfully Port hardy is the nearest down I would have fed myself to a bear if we were facing Port McNeill. We checked into the first hotel we saw then for some kind of sick joke we donned our packs and counted down once more. Numbers on doors, looking for the one that matched our key .

 Port Hardy

Port Hardy is great. The wonderful thing about breaking down when we did was that it happened on the Friday of a long weekend so nothing was open  for days.  No wait that was also horrible absolutely horrible. We managed to find a tow truck and my brave husband set off on the long journey back to Holberg.

Port Hardy is the friendliest town on Vancouver Island it has a great little bookshop/coffee house right down the street from  the friendliest hostel on  Vancouver Island the North Cost Trail Backpacker Hostel .

Rachel and James headed home, we checked into the hostel. We had the whole thing to ourselves (insert singing angel choir ) sleep was a big activity, movies on the comfy couch, exploring the quiet fishing town and eating chocolate croissants from the café. Across from the hostel we could watch our poor, dirty truck waiting for the weekend to end.

Days passed in the drizzling rain, the big day came  and went, the truck was still broken. Inertia switch. That’s a thing, it  is in our truck and it was broken. They had to fly a new one in, and of course it kept  getting bumped from the flight, flight after flight. We began to feel we would never leave, we would have to quit our jobs and become Port Hardians. It was not the worst fear to have.

Ironically though we were experiencing the dream vacation we always want. Sleeping in, spending quiet time together, slowly strolling foggy beaches; an accidental second honeymoon.

Finally at the last minute before the shop closed on the fifth fricking day the part  arrived . It was late, the drive to Victoria  is approximately 6 hours so we went with one last countdown, one last grueling ride. The highway speed is 120 km/hr, lights are limited, deer and elk far out number vehicles on  the road. We made it home all in one piece, another sigh of relief.

Often I talk to non campers about our adventures and I hear “your gutsy” or “your reckless.” It has nothing to do with either of those things. It is all about acceptance of  being uncomfortable, being cold and stinky, sleeping on rocks, getting soaked to the bone.All of these thing are uncomfortable, but all so worth it. We explored, adventured, endured, enjoyed, we made a dream of ours happen,  a friendship’s that will last a lifetime and many story’s we will never forget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Vancouver Island North

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