Thurs. Jul. 21, 2011: Vancouver, BC ~ Ucluelet, Vancouver Island (12:35am)
The morning began with a race to the ferry, where we just missed loading and had to wait 2 hrs for the next one. So, we went for breakfast – a real, actual breakfast with eggs and toast and coffee – in the ferry village of Horseshoe Bay, on a patio overlooking the marina.
A harbour seal quietly splashed around at the dock for our entertainment, and then we boarded and were carried across the windy Strait of Georgia to Nanaimo.
Jer led me to see the goats on the roof at the Old Country Market in Coombs, and then we continued on.
I must admit, I was battling disappointment at my first impression of the island. I had not expected the eastern coast around Nanaimo to be so…flat and populated and generic, so similar to southern Ontario.
My disappointment dissipated when we reached Cathedral Grove at MacMillan Provincial Park. I was a very little being, walking in awe and wonder under the colossal limbs of these noble, primeval trees that towered above me, woven together by vines, mosses and branches that married the foliage in intricate unions that produced for the eye rich abstract tableaus, swaying with the breeze, quietly breathing and metamorphosing throughout the ages.
I took a lot of pictures. We found several geocaches. I really liked this place, and the rain kept away some of the crowds, so there was space and privacy to really talk with my new best friends, these trees.
Via Highway 4, we crossed the island and the scenery grew more “scenic” as we neared the Pacific Coast. The road was winding and nearby cars drove it fast, carrying surf boards. We caught glimpses of water – lakes, ocean, lit like fire by the setting sun, and finally, definitively, we arrived here at the West Coast.
We checked into the West Coast Motel on the harbour, and watched the Eagles play in their nest in a tall, tall tree above the motel. Then we strolled down to the FloatHouse Patio and Grill floating in the harbour for fresh, juicy salmon burgers, a cold pint and good tunes.
After dinner, we drove around the town and down to the lighthouse on the Big Beach. It was a timid countenance that I set foot on the Wild Pacific Trail, after reading the warning signs posted at the trail-head that said there were currently Mountain Lions in the area.
Ucluelet. We made it. Tomorrow, we will reach the farthest point West in our journey, and then we must turn around and begin the slow, eastern return.
It’s beautiful. All of it. Home is so far away, and I’m so glad for that. My only wish is that I had more energy. It’s an exhausting journey. We both want to see as much as possible, which leaves so little time to stop and eat and rest and spend quality time together.
Alas, tomorrow: Pacific Rim and Tofino: the crowning moment of this Odyssey. Hopefully, we can savour it.
The Pacific Ocean is right outside our motel. Pacific Rim's 7 minutes down the road. I think we made it, Jeremy!