Friday, June 15, 2007

Canada, Day 3

We had debated over the first couple days of the trip whether or not to go all the way out to Pacific Rim National Park. It is a long drive, and there is not much there besides coastal scenery and interesting ecological habitats. I finally decided I would regret it if we didn't, so away we went. It turned out the drive out there was spectacular in its own right, so we were not disappointed. Lake near the coast.

And yes, there was a Lost Shoe Creek #1. All the signs in both directions had different shoes hanging from them.

I decided on this trail because I had heard it was a good area for beachcombing. The loop trail was also supposed to be nice, but it was closed due to storm damage. So it was straight out to the beach for us! This picture is a bit blurry, but if you look closely, you can see Orion has on a little backpack. It had all his sand toys in it, and he was very proud to be wearing it!

First glimpse of the beach through the trees.
The quiet shoreline. We had this beach mostly to ourselves. It was awesome. But beachcombing... umm, it was pretty empty. I guess stuff washes up here after the big winter storms, but at this time of year there wasn't much here, unless you like driftwood, which can be pretty cool I have to admit.
This was the bottom of a tree laying on the beach. These things looked unbelievably like claws.
Cool tree. Reminded me of a dragon.
Neat patterns near the waters edge.

Dadday and Orion playing while I was walking around taking pictures. Let's see what they did...
Ooooh, dribbles!
Messy, sandy boy.

Men hard at work.
Orion wasn't interested in anything but the sand when we first got there. I don't think he realized the puddleish nature of the water further out. You couldn't really see it from where they were sitting. But when I finally lured him out there, oh boy....
Yeah, I guess this beach sees some major storms. There were all kinds of warnings about not swimming there. They said things like, Waves carry entire trees, they will kill you. Seriously, that is what they said.

I love this one!

.On the way back.... This picture is for Rose and Jim, who love ferns and hostas. The entire trail was lined with them.
And this one especially for Rose. Lots of wild horsetail too!
This picture had to be included. Yeah, it is just a bunch of shell fragments, but that was the best we could do and Orion still thought they were the best treasure ever!

We went to another area where they had a Nature Center and restaurant. There was a local school group at this beach, and even more trees than the last one! Crazy.
The view from our table. Not bad.

And on the road back out, this little guy was just munching away at the side of the road. Wish I could have gotten a better shot, but another car came up behind us and we had to move.
Included to show how narrow the road was in spots.

And of course there were more waterfalls on the schedule! This one, Lower Qualicum, was back towards the east coast of the island. Not sure why we were picking up such a glare, but it was pretty nonetheless. Nowhere near as spectacular as Englishman River Falls, but still nice.
Downriver from the falls.

Two shots of Upper Qualicum Falls. We think it was nice haha. There was really no good place to view it from. The canyon was just really steep and they didn't have a great viewing area for it.

We got to this place at about 15 minutes before closing and fully expected not to go in. But this awesome little old man running the place was thrilled to see us and told us to take as long as we wanted. This turned out to be one of our favorite places on the trip, so I am really glad we made it!
This place was full of freeflying butterflies and birds. Some of the most amazing ones I never really captured on film, but hopefully these shots will give you an idea.

Silly piggyback turtles.

Cocoon hatchery.

This was in a separate area where the orchids were. Ron really liked the little fake stream and commented how easy it would be to make one like it.

Back to the butterfly area...

They had a little reptile and insect zoo as well.

Loot from the store! Orion chose a package of plastic turtles.
The famous Coombs store with grass on the roof. There are goats that live up there, but I think they may have been in their pen when we were there. :(
Funny wooden roadsite art.
And then... a big change in plans. We were supposed to go camp up near Strathcona, but Ron was dying for a shower and our campground tonight wasn't going to have one. Tomorrow was originally planned for 3 ferries. I checked the schedule and saw that it was early enough for us to just catch the next ferry in the loop and go on over to the top of the Sunshine Coast. We figured we could get a little motel and have much more mellow day tomorrow. I was bummed to not see the sites a bit further north on the island, but I saw that this plan had great merits too. And what a nice bit of luck lay ahead for us...
Hey look, another ferry.
The view towards the mainland from the ferry terminal. More lovely snowcapped mountains.

Getting on again, hehe.

And getting off...
And here we are in our mini apartment. We could not believe this place. It was literally like a three bedroom suite. We had a kitchen and a separate living room with a couch., then one bedroom had a queen bed and another one had two twins. We really didn't need that much space, but this was the best view and it was still dirt cheap!
Little living room and view out to the straight. We were at the top of the hill.
And... yeah... this is pretty much the evening itinerary around here. The guy next to us has been living here for months. He is on paid travel for his job doing some construction work on one of the islands. Folks just set up chairs in front of their rooms, drink some wine and the owners old golden retriever hangs out. What nice, wonderful people we happened upon.

Those pictures were in order even though the color looks so different. I really need to read the manual and get this camera figured out one day soon! And oh, can't forget about dinner. I had lots of boxed stuff to make for myself, but I ran over across the street for a menu when we first got here to a place they told us would deliver. What a funny restaurant. It had Greek, Italian and Canadian food. Seemed like an odd combo, but hey, maybe it was the product of a mixed family. Ron ordered some special that came with enough lasagna and spaghetti to feed a small army. Thankfully we have the big cooler with us.
Tomorrow... on down the coast....

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