The west coast had a continuing theme of forest fire, and British Columbia was no exception. The Province currently has seventy-four large wild fires burning, crews from Ontario and New Zealand have been brought in to help the fight.
From car camping to 300 thread count, I lived in the lap of luxury in Vancouver for a few days, thanks to friends Deryl & Haema, who I know from back home in Ontario. They moved out west some time ago and now call it home. Deryl is an IT whiz, he has bailed me out of a few scenarios, and never with condescension. Vancouver has a plethora of yummy restaurants. We ate like kings – Japanese poutine, sushi, fried cod, authentic Italian gelato and pizza, Jamaican jerk chicken grilled cheese and gourmet chocolates. Oh, and two home-cooked meals – thanks Haema! I’d consider moving here just for the close proximity to Vietnamese coffee. Stanley Park offers an escape from the city, within the city, paths through greenspace and right along the water, which I explored on my rollerblades. My Friday here, had an arts theme. Haema, being a curator for the Victoria Art Gallery, had a good handle on what to check out in the city. I spent the morning at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The afternoon, at a Taj Mahal Photobooth orchestrated by Aradhana Seth, Art Director for Wes Anderson’s film The Darjeeling Limited. The evening, listening to a four-man symphony of crickets in some downtown park.
Vancouver Island served up rain the first two days, but it was sunny side up on the last day of my visit. On the way to Tofino you’ll find Coombs Market with a grass roof that feeds a few real, live, goats. A brilliant tourist hook and the food at the shop is really fresh and delicious. Not far from the market is Cathedral Grove, a small patch of really old Douglas Fir trees. A beautiful, short nature walk, worth stopping for.
I did a whale tour while in Tofino. These things normally not as exciting as advertised. I saw many Gray Whale tails flip out of the water and spouting blow holes, but, not surprisingly, no jumps in the air. You don’t see enough of the beasts, to get an idea of how big they really are. I indulged in several short hikes in Tofino and Pacific Rim Park. The idea of a rainforest makes me think of South America, however there is one here as well, filled with lush foliage and the most beautiful big fat slimy slugs.
Leaving the island I had to pass through Vancouver again to head east. Like an addict, I bought new wheels for my blades, a brand equal to heroin, and skated Stanley Park twice more around.
My second flat tire of the trip happened in Kitsilano. As I waited on hold for CAA, I thought of how I’d have to spend the rest of the evening in a mechanic shop for the tire repair. On the contrary, the CAA experience was nothing short of magic. The phone call, plus wait time, plus permanent tire repair – on the spot, all took under an hour. These guys are good! Thankful that my night was freed up again and I was able to keep dinner plans with Sean, whom I haven’t seen in what feels like a lifetime. He’s another one from back home who moved out west and decided to stay. I hear it’s the enigmatic mountains that lure people in by their heartstrings, and tie them down into their new home.
A weight lifts as I leave inner city driving and return to the mountains via the Sea to Sky highway, through Whistler and up to Mt Robson Park. Breathgiving views and fun winding roads. Mt Robson has an almost three hour roundtrip hike to Lake Kinney. Your eyes are glued to the right watching the crashing Robson River that parallels the path. A pale jade in colour, the water calms as the path progresses, then widens to become Lake Kinney. My view of Mt Robson was obstructed by clouds and its reflection in the water broken by the splatter of raindrops. Still spectacular, but I bet this would be killer on a sunny day. Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all.
Alberta here I come…