Waterfalls, Forests, Breakers, Bog, Dog

Published: August 9th 2009
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I’m back in internet territory after two days camping along Hwy 4 which runs west across Vancouver Island to Pacific Rim National Park. Tomorrow I take the ferry from here, Comox, sweet little seaside town, to Powell River on the mainland. Now I’m exhausted, stinky, ready to take a shower and sleep in a bed for a night.

From Nanaimo we headed west on Hwy 4, stopping at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, lovely hiking up and down the river to view the two falls and the deep green water. Then further west to Little Qualicum River Falls PPark, where I had camping reservations. These falls were even more spectacular, more bucolic, more deep green. The campground is spread through deep forest, so well-maintained that it looked like the gravelly dirt had been raked in my campsite. The trails are taken care of beautifully as well, with rock staircases, fencing along the cliffs, viewpoints, several kilometers up and down the river. Somewhere there was swimming as I saw many kids with flotables and swimsuits taking off down the trails, but I never did see the swimming hole. I bet it was great, a place my kids would have remembered forever if they’d come here when they were young. They always loved swimming in rivers. (Me too.)

On Thursday 8/7 we took the road west to Pacific Rim. It’s about 100 miles from the campground (about 162 kilometers). Port Alberni was fogged in in the morning but in the afternoon, on the way out, I could see how charming it is. The road from there is pretty wild, climbing up narrowly through canyons and over summits, dropping down next to lakes and rivers. (So much water in this place!)

Despite the wild ride, the Long Beach section of Pacific Rim is the most accessible part of this park. The other parts are the West Coast trail that follows the coast from 48 miles to the north to here, a challenging trail I used to fantasize about hiking when I was younger and bolder, and south of here an area of islands accessible only by kayak. We hiked to South Beach, watched surfers on Wickaninnish Beach, hiked the Rainforest Trail and the Shorepines Bog Trail, my favorite. I ate lunch in Tofino, way out in the boonies and full of hippies. The halibut was great, everything else so-so.

Dragon at Englishman RiverDragon at Englishman RiverDragon at Englishman River

Perhaps this dragon is the Englishman in question?
we do is affected by one of us, part of my “we,” Molly. She’s been suffering with a “hot spot” since Victoria. A hot spot might be a wound or bite but in her case I think it’s an allergy, since she wants to rub her face on everything (an allergic sign) as well as bite herself on her flank. The spot on her flank got yukky in Victoria, red and gooey. So in Nanaimo, we spent the morning at a vet’s office. If you are ever in Nanaimo BC and you need a vet, go to Island Vet Hospital and ask for Lisa Schmidt. In all my years of having pets and vets, she’s one of the best. She’s young, red-headed, thorough, kind, and made Molly wag her tail even when the hair around her wound was being shaved. Now Molly’s taking antibiotics and omega-3 fatty acids, being dosed with cortico-antibiotic cream, and I’m cleaning her “spot” with anti-microbial solution twice a day. Mainly, though, she’s wearing her conehead again, ALL THE TIME except when we’re hiking and she’s on a leash. On a leash, I can tug her head away when she tries to chew on herself. She’s
Little Qualicum FallsLittle Qualicum FallsLittle Qualicum Falls

Such a lovely hike up and down this river!
not very happy. But as a nice woman said to me, “the animals need us to look out for them” (at least the cats and the dogs), so that’s what I’m doing. She’ll be wearing the cone through most of the week.

Powell River tomorrow.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Little Qualicum Falls tooLittle Qualicum Falls too
Little Qualicum Falls too

lovely, dangerous swimming holes
woods at Little Qualicum Falls Prov Parkwoods at Little Qualicum Falls Prov Park
woods at Little Qualicum Falls Prov Park

This was the view from my campsite table, representative of British Columbia: forest forever!
Canadian SurfersCanadian Surfers
Canadian Surfers

at Wickininnish Beach
Rainforest Trail, Pacific Rim NPRainforest Trail, Pacific Rim NP
Rainforest Trail, Pacific Rim NP

The entire 1-km trail is boardwalk. Consider the labor involved! Easy walking, beautiful views, up and down stairs and up and over gullies.
bog, shorepine bog trailbog, shorepine bog trail
bog, shorepine bog trail

Fascinating bog! In World War 1, this moss--spaghnum moss--was used as a surgical dressing, because it absorbs liquid and resists bacteria.
beautiful spotbeautiful spot
beautiful spot

This spot at a rest stop[ on Hwy 19A between Qualicum Beach and Courtenay I found very peaceful and lovely. It reminds me of Whidbey Island, in looks and smell too.
flowers at rest stopflowers at rest stop
flowers at rest stop

They were blowing in the breeze when I took this photo.

9th August 2009

It's always great to meet a great vet, doctor, car mechanic, nurse, waitress, or park ranger when you're on the road, isn't it?
9th August 2009

Did you get any hot spots?
After all that time on the tails, how are your feet holding up?
10th August 2009

clear water!
Cindy, I have been loving the pictures of water, from Botany Bay to Little Qualicum Falls..............it's so lovely clear!! The waters in the Midwest tend to be brown (they say from minerals), but I always think they're just dirty. And thanks for the gorgeous photos! (And p.s., you had me scratching my head, too, with the Rainier reference.)

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