Tuesday 16 July 2013

Along the Sunshine Coast

We had gorgeous weather during our time in Vancouver in June, so we spontaneously decided to hijack my mom-in-law's car and take a little road trip along the Sunshine Coast north of town. You can only get to the Sunshine Coast by ferry, and the 40 minute sail through the sea and mountains of Horseshoe Bay really puts you in the mood for a holiday and relaxation.

We were planning to go to Powell River, which was about a 130km drive and another ferry ride away. We stopped a couple of times on the way, first for lunch in Sechelt, were we had an awesome, awesome (double awesome is the best!) beef dip sandwich at Pearl's Bakery. I've been wanting to dip a sandwich into hot beef broth ever since I saw Adam Richman do it on TV! It was messy, but the mix of salty beef, soppy baguette and crunchy veggies was really good.

Our second break was at Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park, for a little hike through the BC rain forest to a place were the tidal flow causes rapids in a narrow inlet. During the rising tide, there can be waves several metres high, and during falling tide, giant whirlpools will form. 

We consulted the tide table and hurried through the forest to catch the high tide. We were lucky and were able to watch some impressive swell. The only downside was that I found out that maybe plimsolls are not the best shoes to hike in, as my heels were rubbing and went so sore that I could not even walk back to the car properly. I assumed a gait that might have done a zombie proud. And the blisters were a sight to behold!

After the rapids, it was on to another ferry and over to Saltery Bay. We drove up to Powell River, checked into our hotel with sea view and after dinner on the restaurant's patio, had a little stroll along the beach. There were eagles crying in the evening air, and we watched seals have fun in the shallows. It does not matter where in the world, being by the water always makes me happy, and I felt very calm and content.

The sea indeed offered good viewing, as we were able to watch sea otters playing on the jetty in the marina. Sorry about the fuzzy photo, but the otters were roly-poling and I took it from about 50 metres away.

I also spotted this! A train on the water! I got very excited about it. Then Marco insinuated I was unlearned and asked me if I had never seen a tugboat before. Well, I had. But never one that looked like it was dragging a marine train. Killjoy!

We had a lovely breakfast in the sunshine on the terrace of Nancy's Bakery in Lund, where we also bought some ginormous cinnamon buns for our impending hike. Lund is at the very end (or actually the very beginning) of highway 101, which is also called the Pacific Coastal Highway and runs for 15,200 kilometres all the way down to Chilé. That would be one epic journey to take in a camper van, wouldn't it?

After a quick stop at a typical BC bathroom (drop toilets, they are such and adventure!), we set off on a 13 km hike around Inland Lake. It was sunny, and the path was nice and even, and apart from the occasional fellow hikers or cyclists, we had nature all to ourselves.

There were a lot of amphibian creatures in the clear water of the lake. We saw frogs and tadpoles, and this weird giant mixture of both: 

They were about the size of a hand and looked like huge tadpoles. Does anybody know what they are?

These caterpillars were also out in force. There were so many trees that had cocoon-like webs nestling in their branches, and they were all teeming with these fuzzy guys.

I found this robin. I do not know how it died. It looked like it wasn't hurt externally and was lying just a little away from the path, poor thing. It might have just been old.

I mentioned my pain-inducing plimsolls earlier. In preparation for the lake walk, I had bought big plasters for my heels the night before, and I seemed to be okay. My feet hurt a little, and I was slowing down a bit towards the end, but I only complained quietly and infrequently to my unsympathetic husband. And that while actual blood was soaking my socks! I found this out back at the hotel room, when I took off my confounded shoes. I believe I deserved a moose tracks milkshake with dinner that evening!

On the way back to Vancouver (on a no-hiking, flip-flop wearing day), we stopped in Davis Bay and watched a guy kite-surfing off the wide beach for a while.

Before getting back on the homeward-bound ferry, we stopped and had a coffee and a snack on the pier in Gibsons Landing, a small fishing town, which used to be the setting for the Canadian TV series The Beachcombers. Apparently thousands of people come to visit every year because of that, but when we were there, the town was quiet and sleepy. Thank goodness!

After a few days by the ocean, we had acquired a decent amount of brown skin and felt really laid-back. I love this kind of trip, when you have a car, and a little bit of a plan, but mainly let yourself drift towards whatever takes your fancy. How about you? Have you been on any nice outings recently?
© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).


  1. So beautiful! Looks like the perfect little trip! So glad you had time to explore and relax!

    1. It was, my friend, you know how beautiful Canada is. Much more beautiful than Australia! ;o)

  2. Lovely photos, as usual! :D I'm in awe, and a bit jealous, that you've found so many beautiful places to visit...

    1. Gosh, and that coming from you, who gets to see all those cool places in GA! :o)

  3. these photos are beyond incredible! i'm so jealous of your adventure! i'm craving the northwest SO DARN BAD. we're going to seattle this labor day and i'm so tempted to just ask for an extra week off work so i can copy your exact tour of the coast. i'm taking notes for sure! P.S. how the heck did you get close enough to that snake to take the photo? i started sweating just looking at it. Also, Riding the entire The Pacific Coastal Highway is now on the top of my retirement to-do list.

    1. Thanks so much, Emily! I'd be funny if you went on the same trip, I'd love to see it through somebody else's eyes. But Seattle ain't bad either. Marco and I went there on a day trip once and I wished we'd had more time.

      Those snakes were everywhere along the path, just sunning themselves. This one was the only one trusting enough not to slither away immediately. I think they're garter snakes, they aren't dangerous. I'm not always that fond of getting close to reptiles or insects. :o)

  4. Your photographs are gorgeous! Sounds like it was a great time. Well, except for having the wrong footwear. Yes, you did deserve that delicious looking milkshake. :)

    1. Thanks, I thought so, too. About the milkshake mainly, not my photographs. :o) But thank you for saying that, my lovely!

  5. Replies
    1. And I love that you come to check them out and leave me comments!

  6. I'm like you, calm and peaceful when near water. After visiting the ocean in California last week it really made me want to move there. Your photos are beautiful. I love how you saw so many cool things to photograph. What a great trip!


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