Published: April 9th 2009April 8th 2009
Me along the water on Vancouver Island
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we will not find it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
The ferry to Vancouver Island was much larger than I imagined. The ferries I had taken in the US on the East coast were much smaller. This one had a coffee and gift shop onboard and 5 decks for cars. The ride was about an hour and half and I just sat and read my guidebooks and brochures for Vancouver Island. I decided that I would not go directly to Victoria but instead drive up the coast along the ocean first.
I did just that. It was a nice drive and I made a few stops. I was hoping to see some wind surfers along the way as this is a favourite spot, but there was no wind … very calm sunny day. When I finally arrived in Victoria it was very hard to find parking. I finally found a spot outside of the MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) and of course I had to go in again, but I didn’t buy anything … I could just live in that place and dream! I checked
Me with all the statues in Sidney Vancouver Island
into the hostel, wandered around town for a little then settled in the hostel for the evening. Needless to say, I fill most of my spare time reading about ESL and grammar so that was my excitement for this Friday night.
The next day (Saturday April 4th) I took a nice long walk around the city starting at Beacon Hill Park. It is on the edge of the water. The trees and flowers were very beautiful and there were daffodils blooming everywhere. Along the walk I saw the Terry Fox monument (every Canadian’s hero), Mile “0” Marker of the Trans Canada Highway, the parliament buildings, Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown. It is a very pretty city.
While I was at the parliament buildings, a small parade of people came up the street to the front steps of the parliament. It was a demonstration of people who want to end homelessness. If there was one thing that was apparent here in Victoria and Vancouver is that there are quite a few homeless. I had the impression that it was even more than Toronto (per capita), but that was only a sense I had, I have no facts. I stayed to
A nice little stop along the road to enjoy the ocean.
watch and listen to speeches.
The next day it was off to Nanaimo but before I went, I needed to do a hike in East Sooke Regional Park. There was a nice hike up a mountain called Maguire and was rated a Moderate hike so off I went. I realized quickly that I was the only one on this wilderness trail. Thoughts of bears kept going through my head. Were they even out? Were they hibernating still? Do they even hibernate in this part of the world? I realized how little I knew about bears even after my close encounter with a grizzly last year in the Rockies. Oh well, I kept walking. I finally reached the peak and it was beautiful. It looked out over the water and I could see the mountains in the distance. They even had a park bench at the top. As always, it is so amazing to be in that environment alone sitting quietly and listening to the birds and wind in the trees. After I ate my lunch, I actually sat for about half an hour with my eyes closed, not falling asleep and just enjoying the peace. I ran into a
April is the season for Daffodils. This one was in Beacon Park, Victoria
few people on my way back on the trail so it was good to know if I got eaten by a bear now, someone would find my backpack and journal (my most important possession).
Nanaimo was simply a stop over on my way to Tofino. I didn’t really get out and see the city but it seemed quite pretty the little I saw of it. The hostel I stayed at was quite nice as well except for the fact I had to sleep on the floor. Yes, you read that right, I slept on the floor. I went to bed about 9:30pm. I had a top bunk (I have only had it a few times on the whole trip, but thought it would be fine). As soon as I started to crawl up the steps the bed made huge squeaking noises. I thought to myself “Ok, I am moving it quite a bit so once I settle in bed, it will be fine”. Not true. I would simply lift my arm to scratch my nose and the bed would squeak loudly. I know I move a lot in my sleep so this wasn’t going to work … but I
Beacon Park, Victoria
would try. Besides, the office was closed at 9pm so I didn’t know where to go to have my bed changed.
At about 2:30am I woke up to go to the washroom after at least a dozen times being woken up by the bed squeaking. When I left the room I said to myself, “I can’t get back in that bed. I am keeping myself and everyone in this room up.” I walked around but everything was closed. I went down to the lobby and sat on the bench for a bit trying to decide what to do. I was going to sleep on the floor, but it was going to be so uncomfortable. Then the light bulb in my head went on, I would take the cushion I was sitting on and put it on the floor. So that is what I did. The room wasn’t that big so I had to sleep in the middle of suitcases so I wasn’t near the beds where I could be stepped on when someone else got up.
At 6:15am I got up, took the cushion back downstairs and then sat in the lounge (which opened at 6:30am) until 8:00am
Beacon Park, Victoria
when I went back to the room to pack to leave. On the way out, I told the lady at the front desk of my night and told her I would like my money back. She gave it to me. I also found out that there was someone on staff in a room upstairs that could have helped me. That would have been nice to know earlier.
In spite of my state of tiredness, the ride to Tofino was beautiful. The mountains and lakes were fabulous. At one point, I pulled over at a rest stop and there was at least a foot of snow on the ground … I was surprised to see it but it looked breathtaking in the sun. When I arrived in Tofino, I immediately went to the beach to watch the surfers and listen to the waves. I had some fun writing messages in the sand as well. After the beach I decided to do a simple trail. But after 5 minutes into it, I realized that I was just too tired and because I was only wearing my running shoes, it would be dangerous as I am clumsier than I normally would be.
Terry Fox Monument, Victoria
I instead went to the hostel, checked-in and did a little grocery shopping.
That evening, in spite of my extreme tiredness, I decided I better go see the sunset at Chesterman Beach. It was well worth it. It was incredible; the sound of the waves, the sun reflecting off the water was very gorgeous. The moon was even out and was reflecting off the thin layer of the water covering the sand. My last sunset on the west coast over the ocean … it was magical.
Most of my time in Tofino was spent with a laptop and/or book on my lap preparing for my ESL teaching course which starts next week. I did take time out to walk around the town and got my hair done at Scandals. Adrianna (my stylist) was great … I spent all afternoon with her and we had a great time. I came out looking like a new woman. I guess that is appropriate given I am just about to embark on a new life. My next steps: Whistler BC, Sicamous BC, and then I settle in Calgary Alberta. It is almost complete.
There are more photos below