Vancouver Island Adventures

Sunset @ Courtenay Marina

You can already imagine by the infrequency of my blog posts lately, that I must be having a fantastic time on Vancouver Island in British Columbia with my two sisters Faye and Betty (and her family).  We’ve had a blast in the past week!  When I first arrived, Faye and I toured around the Comox Valley for a few days while waiting for Betty to start her holidays, stopping in at some thrift stores and The Freakin’ Coffeeshop http://freakincoffeeshop.com/ for a ‘world famous’ cinnamon bun.  Betty had prepared all month, by cooking my favourites:  delicious Barley Soup, Sheppards’ Pie, and Cabbage ‘Rolls’.

Betty’s Barley Soup

Last Friday night we were in full VA-CA mode!!  Let me tell you abit about our adventures:

In Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley, there are berries, berries, everywhere!  Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries:  wild, organic, pick-your-own, or store-bought.  Plus cherries, apricots and veggies like new potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuces.  We enjoyed a Queen’s feast!  Faye and I stopped in at Best Berry Farms for certified organic fruit and Shamrock Lavender Farm http://www.shamrockfarm.ca/lav.html for a ‘Happy Vacation’ gift for Betty.

Comox Valley Deer

While driving around, we saw dozens of Vancouver Island Black Tailed Deer just calmly sauntering around without a care in the world, munching on grass on residential lawns or roadways.  A sign on the roadside “Expect Deer on our Roads” said it all.  These deer are unlike our Ontario White Tailed Deer (who dart out frantically in front of cars or away from people) :  the Comox Valley Deer live in harmony with the humans of the area, unafraid of anyone.  There are also many majestic Bald Eagles, especially in the Comox Bay estuary.

Comox Glacier *

We went up to the quaint town of Cumberland which is nestled at the base of the amazing Comox Glacier in the Vancouver Island Mountain range a few kilometers/miles from my sister’s place in Courtenay.  We visited my niece Brodie, who is a very talented singer/songwriter  just about to release her first CD  http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/brodie.dawson  and http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_1084611?utm_campaign=opengraph&utm_content=song&utm_medium=link&utm_source=facebook#!/brodiedawson

Brodie Dawson

We ate a tasty pizza from a new family run pizza restaurant in Cumberland www.riderspizza.com  before heading back down to the city.  The Comox Valley is an amazing place:  you can ski in the mountains at Mount Washington or hike right there in the  incredible Strathcona Park and a half an hour later you can be on the beach with a breathtaking view of the Comox Glacier to the west or the mainland Rocky Mountains to the east!  Like I said, AMAZING!!

Nymph Falls on the Puntledge River

Across the street from my sister Betty’s partner Rob’s house is the Puntledge River where glacial water flows quickly from Comox Lake to the ocean.  Brave people on inflatable tubes and rafts ride the white water  current down the river all day long..  We walked the trail beside the river and watched several ‘tubers’ having a blast.

Seal Bay Park

We ventured up Island to Campbell River, first stopping at Seal Bay Park for a little 3 km hike.  EVERYTHING is bigger in British Columbia!  Some of the old growth Douglas Fir trees are bigger around than my car!  We travelled along the road weaving beside the inside passage of the Strait of Georgia and stopped to view the Cedar tree Chainsaw Art displaying incredible statues carved with a chainsaw.  Then we arrived at Rob’s sail boat at the marina in Campbell River and stayed for a little visit on board.  Campbell River, at the 50th Parallel,  is a Native Community, like many other places on Vancouver Island.  The Native influence is everywhere.   Of course, we HAD to stop at the Thrift Store before heading back.

The 50th Parallel
Campbell River, BC

Chainsaw Art

We arrived back in Courtenay at 5 p.m. rush hour traffic………… or “Rush Minute” as Betty calls it since nobody rushes around for anything! LOL

Old Growth Douglas Fir stump

On my last full day, we went on a road trip (!!) to Victoria at the southern tip of the Island to pick up relatives arriving on the Clipper Ferry from Seattle, Washington, USA.  Normally a 2 hour drive, it took us over 8 hours!.  What a beautiful drive!  Ocean on one side and mountains on the other side!  The usual 45 minute drive to Parksville actually took us 5 hours because we stopped at every Thrift Store along the way as well as a bakery and a garage sale.  LOL!  We brought along a picnic lunch and ate at the Parksville beach.

Totem pole @ Malahat Summit

Almost at Victoria, we drove through the Malahat, a 25 km (16 mile)  mountain route which connects ‘Vic’ with the rest of Vancouver Island.  This section of the TransCanada Highway # 1  has sharp, winding curves which climb up and down the mountain pass through rugged, steep slopes.  There are several scenic rest-stop viewing areas with unbelievable vistas of the Saanich Peninsula, Saltspring Island, and Mount Baker in Washington State.  The ferry was on time and after a quick visit with my nephew Curt in Victoria, we drove back up to the Comox Valley, arriving home after 10 p.m.  Thanks goes to my sister Faye who did all the driving!!

Malahat Look-out

For this past week, we all stayed at Rob’s beautiful home – he was SO gracious putting up with the “Cluckin’ Triplets” as he called us.  LOL  Thank you SO much, Rob!  The weather was just perfect too with temperatures in the low 20’sC (70F) – and NO humidity or mosquitoes!

I write this as I’m flying over Lake Superior near Thunder Bay, Ontario.  It’s good to get home to see my kids who have been taking care of everything on the home front, but I’ll miss my Sistas Betty and Faye ’till next time………..

Sistas @ Campbell River, BC

* http://www.keira-ann.com

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fred Schueler
    Jul 26, 2012 @ 17:28:39

    I roll in the Island like a Dog in a Salmon:
    What shall I bring you from your heart’s home flying
    As the map-size Maple leaves are falling, brown and gold?

    Vaccinium and moss-beard in the green air swaying?
    Chiton & Kelp in the storm-surge thriving?
    Eagle & Raven in the high wind swinging?
    Afternoon Arbutus undressing in the sun?
    Find me in the second-growth, find me on the trees,
    Find me in the forest, and by ditches & the sea.

    Breathe air that is wetter than Ontario water
    (You grow sweet greenest in the wind-wet winter)

    Sky fragmented by burly green wall-pillars
    (Stand while a Deer’s breath warms your elbow)

    Bedrocked gum boots feel the Mussel-feeding surf
    (You root in misty traces of the storm-wide sea)

    Oh the spring is a sudden soft snake-basking
    (You burst like wide green fireworks from cold-water rhizomes)

    Moss moulders up on my Salmonberry bones
    (And a sword unwinds through your heart also)

    Vaccinium and moss-beard in the green air swaying,
    Chiton & Kelp in the storm-surge thriving,
    Eagle & Raven in the high wind swinging,
    Afternoon Arbutus in the sun undressing,
    Home from Rupert Inlet and from Sayward and from Sooke,
    Home from Port Alberni & Carmanah, & from Coombs,
    Home from Woss & Sombrio and from the Quadra Sand,
    I bring you green fronds springing from the trees & rocks & land.

    (Victoria, Vancouver Island, 19 October 1993 – the species referenced in the riddling stanzas are Polypodium glycyrrhiza, Blechnum spicant, Polypodium scouleri, Equisetum telmateia, and Polystichum munitum)

    Reply

  2. Maureen Sinclair
    Jul 26, 2012 @ 17:43:16

    Sounds like a great trip. Beautiful place, &you got to spend time with your sisters.The pictures are very nice. The one of you 3, awesome, You 3 never change. Glad you enjoyed yourself Linda.,
    Love: Maureen.

    Reply

  3. grammomsblog
    Jul 26, 2012 @ 17:44:51

    Lovely Fred

    Reply

  4. Betty
    Jul 26, 2012 @ 22:58:24

    Such sweet memories… It was soooo…. good to spend time with both of you… and for you to finally meet our dear little Coco… I’m sure when she arrives tomorrow – she’ll be asking “Where’s Aunt Faye”…. Where’s Aunt Linda”….”Where’s Jen”… Such a twerp… Sylvia, Hannah (from New Mexico, USA) and Robyn have gone camping on Denman and Hornby for a couple of days….(we’ll get there one of these days sistas!!)… and Andrei and Jacklyn arrived last night!!…. Today we covered a few of the magical places here in the Comox Valley… Mount Washington… the Puntledge River, Nymph Falls… Comox Lake… Cumberland (although we didn’t stop for their world-famous donut yet!!!)… and the Wave. More adventures to come for these young folks tomorrow… and for a long time after… Rob told me to pass the message along that he LOVED listening to the “mother-clucking” triplets and is still laughing…. I personally, can’t wait for the next cluck-fest!!!… Thank you sisters for gracing us with your presence!!… I love you both so very much…..xo

    Reply

    • grammomsblog
      Jul 27, 2012 @ 10:44:46

      It was great spending time with you, Rob, Coco, Brodie, Curt, and everyone else! I can’t wait to come again – you have such positive energy and are a delight being around. I’ve been refreshed by ‘the Island’!

      Reply

  5. grammomsblog
    Jul 28, 2012 @ 20:36:18

    UPDATE: I forgot to mention the ‘to die for’ amazing food we savoured at the Atlas Cafe in downtown Courtenay – scrumptious ‘Short Rib Braised Beef BAKED BURRITO’ and ‘PEANUT STIRFRY with Chicken’. And OMG, the ‘BELGIUM CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE’…….. I thought I’d gone to heaven!! My mouth is watering as I write this! http://atlascafe.ca/

    Reply

  6. Rod S
    Jul 29, 2012 @ 15:03:20

    So happy to hear you had a perfect trip. But really, did you have any doubt! Reading your blogs makes me lonesome for family even though I just returned from The Brook. Canada is just too damned big… 🙂

    Reply

    • grammomsblog
      Jul 30, 2012 @ 15:18:14

      You’re right Rod – there was never any doubt! When I’m flying across the country it makes you realize how vast Canada is. And I see on FB that you and Kim had a great time back home – how wonderful!

      Reply

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