June 17-24 2006: Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast

June 22: Powell River to Sechelt

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Another ferry ride today, about 50 minutes to cross over to the south Sunshine Coast. Away from the north Sunshine Coast, a.k.a “The Gateway to Desolation Sound.” Funny how everybody wants to be the “the heart” or “the capital” of something, and if you can't be that you are “the gateway” to somewhere that is. Tourism marketing run amok!

Onramp to the ferry from North to South Sunshine Coast

Bikes on the ferry

We saw a group of 5 cyclists on the ferry, I am pretty sure I saw them yesterday as well, on the road to Lund. Brought back lots of memories, seeing bikes parked on the ferry! It sure made me want to do some more bike touring. It is such a great way to really see a place, being forced to go at a certain, slow pace, stopping frequently for breaks. And you take every hill personally! Although since I do cycle so much I am keenly aware of hills and take note of them. Yesterday, I rode the same road that we drove in the morning, and scoped out all the hills on the way. Once again, I thought they looked much worse from the vehicle than when I actually tackled them. I thought one or two of the climbs from Powell river to Lund were going to be killers, really steep, but once I got into them they were fine. I have certainly done much worse! I have to remember not to get psyched out by the appearance of hills from a car, as I remember noting on our trip last summer.

The scenery the entire ferry ride was stunning!

Just off the ferry, we turned in towards Egmont and hiked in to Skookumchuck rapids. That was a really nice hike – a beautiful trail! The rapids are caused by tidal flow, and can reach speeds of 18 knots! Unfortunately when we got there it was pretty slack, but still it was worth the hike just for the trail in by itself. The trail leads through a recovering forest, which looks to have been replanted perhaps 30 or 40 years ago or so. There are signs up explaining that we are standing in a “tree nursery.” I suppose calling it a “tree graveyard” is not quite as pleasant! There are also a few signs up describing how the natives, who lived here for 8000 years, also harvested these trees, using bark for clothes, hats, wood for baskets and canoes, etc. Yet somehow resisted the temptation to cut them all down as fast as possible. Huhn.

I love clearcuts and giant mines!

Cheryl at the Skookumchuck rapids.  Slack tide...

This is what the rapids look like when the tide is moving

We have been very lucky with the weather and today was no exception! Nice and sunny, pretty warm. It seemed to get warmer once we got near Sechelt, very summer-like. It sort of started to feel and look a bit different as we approached – a bit drier looking. It does not look so much like a rainforest.

The hike to the narrows was well worth it for its own sake

Me at a little lake on the trail to Skookumchuck narrows

The town of Sechelt is really nice! I had no idea what to expect. I did not know it was located essentially on an isthmus which separates a large, narrow inlet from Georgia Straight. This makes for a lot of waterfront!

Campsite at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park

We are staying in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, on the inlet. By the time we got here, around 4, we were a bit tired from the long hike into Skookumchuck rapids, so we decided just to take it easy. We went down to the beach and read for a while. The water seemed pretty warm, quite tempting, although it is salty so you need to shower off after swimming in it. Maybe tomorrow if we get warmed up I'll hit the beach for a dip.

It is so nice here that we decided to stay for 2 nights. That has really worked well for us on this trip, staying 2 nights in a place so we can “rest” and explore the area with a full day, no travel. Takes the pressure off trying to find a place to stay, which could be tough on a Friday in late June on the Sunshine Coast!


Hornby Island
Hornby Camping
Sechelt Camping