Travel Journal: Vancouver Island

Because of the generosity of my parents and my sister, who volunteered to take care of my children, I was able to get away on an 8 day adventure with my husband last week. Thank you, Mom & Dad, and Andrea & Craig. I am so grateful.

The trip was A M A Z I N G and I wanted to share some of the highlights in the hope of spreading some of the positive energy I got from the experience.

Travel Highlights

Friday | Flight lands in Victoria, in BC Canada. We rent a car and hop on the ferry to Salt Spring Island and fell in love with the adirondack chairs overlooking the harbor.

Saturday | We wander Salt Spring. The weather is summer-like gorgeous. We spend quite a lot of the afternoon and evening on the deck at M.O.B.Y's Pub, people-watching and watching the sun go down.

Sunday | We ferry onto Vancouver Island and go on a ziplining adventure on our way to Tofino, our destination for the next five nights. Tofino is at the end of the road as far north as you can drive on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Monday | We walk the beach, enjoying the summery sunshine, and marveling over the cool bits of driftwood.

Tuesday | We canoe to Meares Island to walk the boardwalk to see 1000 year old trees that were saved from logging by the First Nations tribe that counts our guide as a member. I am left blinking away tears as she shares some local history. This tour was the top highlight of our trip.

Wednesday | We get back on the water to kayak the inlet, circling tiny islands and riding the swells of the ocean.

Thursday | We sleep in and eat a late brunch. Then we discover a secret cove, and a carving shed that carries the magical energy of it's artist history. We walk on the beach in the misty rain.

Friday | We say a fond farewell to Tofino (we will be back!) and take the long drive back to Victoria. We visit the world famous Butchart Gardens before checking into our downtown hotel. We sample cocktails at the world-famous Clive Bar.

Saturday | We fly home to the kids who were waiting on the curb at my parents house. The hugs and smiles were the best I've ever gotten.

Best Restaurants

Shelter in Tofino.
Wolf in the Fog in Tofino.
M.O.B.Y's Pub in Ganges on Salt Spring Island.

More memories to capture

I don't want to forget...  Sitting in the adirondak chair overlooking the Ganges Harbor, watching the sea planes come and go across the blue sky and the bluer water. I was so grateful in that moment to be in that spot, with my journal and pencil in hand.

I don't want to forget...  Talking to the shopkeeper at the tiny art supply store on Salt Spring Island, watching her demonstrate the properties of a new kind of graphite pencil on the bottom of a page where she had drawn an absolutely gorgeous fairy with delicate, drooping wings, which she dismissed as nothing, just “playing around.” My thought: The talent bar on this island must be high. That quickly proved true.

I don't want to forget...  Seeing the quote on the wall at the art supply shop, which went something like this: “The only thing sadder than work left unfinished is the work that was never started at all.” Yes.

I don't want to forget...  Being shown around the gardens of our hotel by the head gardener, Susan, impressed by her utter competence and depth of knowledge, and passion, for her work. She told me about the habits of each and every plant, it’s name, it’s needs, and why she grew it, which was usually either for the bedding flower gardens, or the kitchens, unless it was for the bees. (She apologized for a sprawling flowered plant that partially obstructed our path, saying that she couldn’t bear to take it out or cut it back, because the bees liked it so much. If only we all made decisions primarily because of their impact on the local bees…)

I don't want to forget...  Listening to Tsimka (or canoe tour gide) sing while guiding us in the canoe that her father carved.

I don't want to forget...  Hearing Tsimka praise Jeff’s observant eyes — he kept noticing interesting details I would have totally missed — and learning that it is high praise among the First Nations to call someone “observant.” He totally deserves that label.

I don't want to forget...  Hearing the musical sound of the smooth round pebbles being pulled up and down over each other in the surf of South Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

I don't want to forget...  Watching my husband examine the sick dog at the carving shed on Chesterman Beach. Feeling proud of him and grateful to be married to such a gentle, caring and observant man.

A few more favorite photos:

Stay tuned for more travel posts this week:

Thursday: The Textures of Tofino

Friday: Cool Things I learned about Canada

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