Road Trip #2: Elk Falls and Sayward
Vancouver Island is 460km (284 mi) long, and is about 32,000 square kilometres. (In comparison, Wales is about 21,000 square km.) Most of its 800,000 or so residents live in the southern half of the island. We've lived here for 16 years and have never traveled far "up Island" as the locals say.
Before I was asked to go to Mexico with the school, Tim and I planned a little vacation up Island. After I returned from my trip, I spent one day doing laundry and catching up before we left again. I did not drive!
Our first stop was just before the town of Campbell River, to visit Elk Falls. Thundering water rushes and falls steeply, creating a mist that one could almost shower under. Elk Falls is also the site of a hydro-electric project providing electricity for the Island. I was amazed to see that the pipes carrying water from the lake above the falls to the hydro plant were made of wood! Long boards are banded every 6-8 inches with metal cords for 1.8 kilometres. Completed in 1947, the pipes are going to be replaced soon with an underground system.
There is a wonderful trail system along the Campbell River, including a suspension bridge for viewing Elk Falls and a dizzying platform that extends over the falls. Skunk cabbage is in bloom these days, brightly visible and unmistakably odorous, as well.
A few salmon berry bushes showed early blooms and unfurling leaves.
Robins are everywhere these days. They run around in packs, landing to feed wherever they can before heading further north.
As we followed the trail downwards, turbulent water quieted to calm.
We spent one night in the town of Campbell River, and enjoyed a very good Greek meal at a local restaurant. The next day was rainy. We drove to Sayward and Kelsey Bay, two adjoining very small communities where logging and fishing are the main industries.
Three of these little yellow tugboats pushed heavy logs and log booms around in the water, reminding me of dogs corralling sheep. They spun and twirled, danced and bobbed expertly.
A friend recommended the Cable House Cafe, a unique building wrapped in old logging cables. We stopped to take a closer look at the building, but the cafe was still closed for the season.
There is so much abandoned equipment in the forests here - even in remote, boat access only, areas. On our boat travels, we often find the forest swallowing up tractors, cables, spare parts and more. It's probably more economical to leave stuff from a logging show there than to pack it out. I console myself with the fact that most of it is metal and wood and will eventually break down, unlike plastic.
Our next stop was Port McNeill, where we stayed 3 nights in a lovely AirBnB overlooking the water. We watched ferries go back and forth (this one needs a clean-up) and admired the snowy mountain peaks of the mainland Coast range.
In my next post I'll tell you about two very different islands we visited, via the ferry seen above.
Meanwhile, here's a bit of forsythia in the rain, from my garden today.
How is spring coming along in your corner?