After spending three days in the Lake Cowichan region, we're now in Nanaimo, enjoying some spectacularly sunny weather.
Having driven across the mountains from the Pacific Coast, we ended up staying in three different places near Lake Cowichan. We started off at Beaver Lake (no sign of any beaver
), a gentle 30 minute route-march from the town of Lake Cowichan. We went there Saturday night and Craig treated himself to the all-you-can-eat Ribmania at the "Cow Cafe" restaurant. The waitress claimed that she was impressed when Craig tucked into his fourth half-rack of ribs... but we suspect that she was just saying that!
Sunday we travelled around 10 miles west to Gordon Bay. Another BC Provincial Parks campsite, but this one with free showers that were far too hot to use. We were a little disappointed with the lack of marked trails in the park, but we managed to make up our own.
Monday we headed down the Cowichan River valley and did a nice walk down a disused railway line, following the river's course through gorges and past pebbly beaches. We then tried to find a campsite in the village of Youbou on the northside of the
lake, but we could only find one and it didn't meet our increasingly exacting standards, so we returned to the south side of the lake and booked into the municipal campsite at "Lakeview". At $25 for water & electrical hookup, free showers, flush toilets it was one of the best value-for-money campsites that we've found so far. (Mark & Isla - this is the one that we visited with you. We even bagged the same pitch that we used for lunch!
) And better still, there was only one other van in the whole park, on completely the opposite side, so it felt like we had the place to ourselves.
Tuesday we left the Lake and headed down to the east coast. We did a quick walk round the village of Cowichan Bay (nice pier, lots of yachts, floating houses), travelled further north up the coast to Maple Bay (great views across the sea to Salt Spring Island) and then on to Osbourne's Bay (near the town of Crofton) where we stayed the night. Lovely place - shame about the factory in the middle of town.
Yesterday we left Osbourne's Bay and headed north again. We tried - and
failed - to visit a lighthouse (there is clearly a road marked on the map: it's just not there in reality!
). Instead we headed to a place called Yellow Point where we had a nice walk along the beach, and then carried on to Robert's Memorial Park. Great place for a sandwich and to watch the yachts in the gulf. And then we made a quick trip to Holden Lake in the Hemer Provincial Park - somewhat dull to be honest.
And finally, we came into Nanaimo to a lovely campsite next to a lake. The lake was formed at the turn of the 20th century when they flooded the valley, and there are still lots of the old trees sticking out of the water. There's a great 6km lakeside walk, which we did together last night, and Craig did again this morning in his jogging kit!
Tomorrow we're starting our odyssey back to the pacific coast. We're planning to overnight in Port Alberni tomorrow, and then head off to Ucluelet and Torfino so that we can see the Pacific Rim National Park. We'll let you know how we get on...
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