We live along the east coast of the Island in an area that is considered to be the central part of the Island (even though it's quite close to the southern end). In late July, we set off in our truck and camper rig to explore the less-travelled roads of southern Vancouver Island.
Our first destination was the Cowichan Valley. We camped for three nights along the south shore of beautiful Lake Cowichan.
|View of Lake Cowichan from our Back Door|
Most of the time we were at Lake Cowichan, it was quite windy. So we did some short hikes and read books on the beach and enjoyed camper cuisine.
|Hiking a Section of the Trans Canada Trail|
On our last day, we drove into the community of Cowichan Lake, and explored some of the rail trails -- old railway lines that have been turned into hiking trails -- that wind through the area. We hiked a section of the Trans Canada Trail.
The Trans Canada Trail is a network of trails that stretches all across Canada, with many parts still under development. Over the years, I have hiked or cycled on several segments of this trail, especially in the Greater Vancouver area, Nanaimo, and in the Kettle Valley.
The section we were on runs between Cowichan Lake and Shawnigan Lake, about 20 kilometers. (We only went about 5 km, then doubled back).
|Old Growth Stump|
There is a nice hiking trail all around the lake. We saw evidence of past logging activity in the form of giant stumps. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, and we enjoyed fishing in our belly boats. As well, there is a swimming beach.
|Lush Vegetation Along the Trail|
Our next stop was Port Refrew. This campground brought on nostalgia, as we camped beside the Gordon River, exactly where I camped nearly 40 years ago when I was setting off to hike the West Coast Trail. The West Coast Trail is a 5-7 day backpacking route through the Pacific Rim Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Is is famous as a world destination for backpacking.
Rob and I spent an afternoon hiking a section of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail starting at Botanical Beach, which is its most westerly trail head. This was a real highlight of the holiday for me. I loved the rock formations, the tidal pools, and the wild beaches. Botanical Beach is reported to be one of the richest areas of marine tide pool life on the west coast of the Island.
Here are two pictures of Rob.
He is hiking over the layers of rock to the tide pools. In the other photo, if you look past the pile of kelp, you will see him sitting on the rocks.
We enjoyed our lunch sitting on the rocks, basking in the sun, and absorbing the sounds and sights of the shore.
|Exploring the Beach|
|Rock Stack, Log, and Tidal Pools|
We finished our hike by doubling back to where we started, and then hiking the Botanical Beach to Botany Bay 2.8 km loop.
After that, it was time for some refreshments. So off we went to the Port Refrew Hotel for a pint and some delicious west coast seafood.
We spent the last few days of the trip at Jordan River, camped right along the beach looking south over the Juan de Fuca Strait at the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Jordan River is a surfer's paradise in the fall and winter when the waves are big. But at the beginning of August, there were no surfers to be seen -- just a lot of seagulls.
We spent an afternoon hiking into Mystic Beach, another famous destination along the Juan de Fuca Strait.
|The Trail is Badly Eroded|
Unfortunately, the hike has become too popular. The trail has been severely eroded, and there were a lot of people along the trail and at the beach. It is a beautiful beach, however. Also, we got to cross a suspension bridge along the trail.
We really loved our beach campsite at Jordan River. There was a quaint coffee shop up the road, and a Little Free Library. That was a good thing because I had read all the books I brought and was in need of more reading material!
|Last Night at Jordan River|