A November getaway with three lovelies from the island - Mary, Katie and Breanna. It was mostly dark inside the cabin, which created the perfect opportunity to showcase the photos in black and white.
December 23rd finally arrived - winter vacation was finally here! For the next 11 days, we were going to be islanders.
There was hardly any planning that went into this trip, compared to all of our previous roadtrips. All we knew was that we wanted to spend Christmas with Jake in Conuma River/Gold River and then head up to Port Hardy and drive all the way down to Port Renfrew. After packing our CRV full of the essentials, we headed to the Conuma River Hatchery where Jake was stationed. It made me so happy to see the boys (Aaron, Jake, Matt and Tom) just having the best time hanging out with each other and making epic meals. Somehow bacon was a necessary component of nearly every meal - I wonder why... We continued our tradition of having breakfast pizza and mimosas on Christmas Day and Jake prepared a beautiful turkey (Sam, we missed you big time!). After a decent amount of time spent partying, we parted ways with Jake in Gold River and Tom, and headed towards Port Hardy. The roads weren't great with a recent snowfall, but everything looked so beautiful sprinkled in white.
On the way to Port Hardy on December 27th, we did a quick stop in Campbell River to check out one of my favourite second hand stores - Pier Street Trading post. I always find the most fun little gadgets and this time, I convinced myself to get a film camera and a Kodak Instant camera. Next stop was Telegraph Cove, and unfortunately everything was closed. This is definitely a spot that I would love to visit again in the summer, just to go whale watching or kayaking.
Soon after we arrived in Port Hardy and booked a room at the Quarter Deck Inn. We were able to get a room with a beautiful view and breakfast for a fairly decent price. Initially we had planned to go to Tofino and Ucluelet on our way down to Port Renfrew, but because we were already so far up north on the island, we decided to checkout Cape Scott area instead. I am soooo happy we did this, because San Josef was my favourite location we visited. Another interesting stop on the way to San Josef was the Bernt Ronning Garden in Holberg.
San Josef - what a beauty! It was a quick hike (45mins) down to beach with our gear and we had the beach all to ourselves. Everything was wet and tempers were stirring. We set up camp, as the cold crept up really fast. If we weren't prepared to build a fire, then we definitely would have had to go back to the car. For the first in a really long time, I also felt scared. Wolves are super active in the winter, and there were so many signs warning hikers of wolves. Being so secluded, I had to constantly reassure myself that because I was with two physically strong individuals, that we would be ok.
At night the weather got so cold, that the sand froze solid. All the moisture on our tent crystallized. Understandably, getting out of the sleeping bag the next morning was quite the challenge! Sunrise was at 8:30am and as I unzipped the tent door, I felt so lucky to be on this trip. Warmth was rolling in and as the sun peaked through the mountains, the frozen sand started to shimmer. By noon everything was warmed up and hikers started wandering in.
We didn't want to leave San Josef, but we made plans to go to a cabaret New Years Eve show in Victoria with Breanna + Kendall and their friends. I wish I took photos in Victoria, because it's such a beautiful city, but I was too busy stuffing my face with chinese food in China Town. The event we went to was better than expected and I was stoked to ring in the new year with my favourite adventure buddies.
On January 1st, I made plans to meet up with Mary in Sombrio. She was surfing/camping with her sister and I wasn't about to shy away from spending more time on beautiful Canadian beaches. We ordered takeout from Ocean Garden (chinese food) and took it down to the beach to have a sunset picnic. When the sun finally went down, we retreated to a cabin (Fern Gully) in Jordan River. It was one of our coziest spots we stayed at during the trip and I was able to fall asleep watching the Wolf Moon move across the sky.
January 2 - the last day of the trip. We got back in our car on the search for a breakfast spot near Port Renfrew. We drove around looking for any open cafes, and finally came across the Port Renfrew Pub, which had the most delicious french toast I've had in a long time! With a good meal in our bellies we decided to hike around. I've gotten so many recommendations from friends on facebook to checkout Botanical beach, but unfortunately, low tide was at night. With that being said, it was still a beautiful hike, watching the waves crash across the rocks. Another spot I have to re-visit in the summer! As we got back into the car, the timing felt right to head back home to Vancouver. It was the perfect trip to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018.
The adventure trio - Aaron, Thanu and Matt
I feel like I start every blog post by saying that all the locations we've been to this year are amazing, but Tofino really is extra special. Surfing, tidal pool explorations, Tacofino and hammock camping. Need I say more?
Our friends from Ontario were visiting (Anu, Nadia and Russ) from August 7-14, so we already knew we were going to have a sweet time regardless of where we hung out. The week they were visiting, all of Vancouver was covered in smoke from interior BC wildfires, that I had a hard time convincing them that there really were mountains visible from the city. Through the weekend escape to the island, they at least got to see some sky...
The Tofino adventure started on an early Friday morning trying to catch the ferry to Nanaimo at 6:20am (http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/mainland/hbna-current.php). Once we got off the ferry, we grabbed breakfast in Port Alberni at the Boomerang cafe, and then headed towards Cathedral Grove - an ancient Douglas Fir ecosystem with trees that are about 800 years old! Camping reservations were made two months ahead of time, and even then, only the Long Beach Golf Course campground was available. To our surprise, the spot was much better than we originally thought. You could occasionally hear flights landing/taking off, because the airport was next to the campground, but we still had lots of space at the campsite and it was relatively quiet. After setting up camp (2 hammocks + tent), we headed to Chesterman beach. The boys played some frisbee while the girls and I explored the beach. At night we cooked up some of the coho salmon (cedar plank BBQ style) Aaron caught on his trip to Gold River earlier on in the year, and that was some serious next level camp food.
Saturday morning we rolled lazily out of our hammocks and tents, and headed to Schooner Cove. We purposefully chose this beach to check out during low tide, because it's known to have some really cool marine organisms and there are some islands we can walk to while the tide is out. I should also mention that the pathway to the beach was a picturesque walk through the forest with a really, really long boardwalk. On the beach, many of the rocky surfaces were covered in starfish, anemones and barnacles, looking like they belonged in scenes from the Little Mermaid. There were also intermittent pools with sea grass, kelp and weeds with little gobies and other tiny fish swimming around. At every turn, I was reminded of how beautiful Tofino was.
After the morning beach walks, we headed to Tacofino to stuff ourselves full of goodness and it was even better than we imagined (we ended up eating here three times on the weekend - I still think about the Tuna-Ta Tacos and the Pork+kimchi Gringas). The gelato from Chocolate Tofino wasn't bad either! Next up was a surf lesson via Tofino Surf School (https://www.tofinosurfschool.ca/)! It's a locally owned business and Jeffro, the owner, made us feel super ready to catch some waves. Tofino Jorge, our instructor, was another lovable character, and he made sure that we all got up by the third wave at Cox Bay. For some reason I was really nervous about what surfing was going to be like, but I'm so happy that I didn't chicken out. The lesson and the smaller waves really helped us gain some confidence, and now I can't wait to try surfing again!
Sadly Sunday was our final day on the island for this trip. The previous night it rained so hard that our campsite looked flooded and I was really worried about tent leakage. Luckily the hammocks and tent held up and we all had the best sleep. The boys decided to surf again in the morning at Long Beach, while Anu, Nadia and I decided to check out the town one last time, grab breakfast at Schooner Restaurant and chill at the beach. At the end of the day we almost didn't get into the last ferry heading back to Vancouver, which I think is a sign that the next time we visit, we need to stay for longer. A lot longer.
In light of Canada 150 and #the100dayproject, I created a project for Aaron and myself. We want to spend 100 days exploring Canada starting March 19th, 2017 and commit to it with December 31, 2017 as a deadline. I think this is the perfect opportunity for us to continue exploring BC, and maybe even make it up to the Northwest Territories for the Dawson City Music Festival. With my full time work and part time school schedule, this is going to be quite the challenge, but we have 286 days left. This means on average 2.5 days outside for at least 2 hours of hiking/exploring municipal, provincial and national parks per week. The type of activity doesn't matter, as long as we spend time outdoors.
This blog post will be continuously updated to include new locations and photographs. You can also see updates on my instagram (@teagalle). We hope that by committing to a challenge like this, we will push ourselves to take advantage of the many natural features Canada has to offer and also inspire our friends and family to spend more time outdoors.
Day 1// March 19, 2017// Golden Ears Provincial Park: Lower falls trail// + Aaron and Greg
HIGHLIGHT(S): The clouds clearing up at the end of the hike to reveal a rainbow.
Day 2 // March 25, 2017// Crescent beach, Surrey// + Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): Lots of herring eggs had washed up on the beach which was unusual since the herring had previously spawned further away from shore. This meant increased presence of bald eagles, sea gulls and sea lions. We saw at least 30 sea lions peaking their heads up above the water.
Day 3// March 26, 2017// Sasamat Lake, Port Moody// + Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): This trail was super easy, which meant I could stop often to checkout all the cool fungi and lichen. These photos are from an iPhone + lens attachments.
Day 4// April 1, 2017// Crescent beach, Surrey// + Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): The weather was so nice, we had to go again. This time the tide was out and we saw a dead starry flounder camouflaged in the sand.
Day 5// April 2, 2017// Munro Lake, Burke Mountain, Port Coquitlam// 10:30am -2:30pm, 4 hours//+ Aaron, Zbynek, Hannah
HIGHLIGHT(S): 4 hour hike where we experienced all four seasons.
Day 6// April 7, 2017// Queen Elizabeth Park//+ Mackenzie
HIGHLIGHT(S): Cherry blossom picnic and watercolour
Day 7// April 9, 2017// Chadsey Lake, Sumas Mountain// 10km hike, 5 hours, 11:30am-3:30pm//+ Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): Relatively easy hike, though it did get steep at certain parts. The lake was still frozen when we got there, but there were some beautiful views along the way.
Day 8// April 15, 2017// Crescent beach//+ Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): The sunset
Day 9 // April 16, 2017// Mt. Thom, and Teapot Hill Tail, Cultus Lake//+ Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): Our first campsite of the season was at Cultus Lake this year. Even though we set up our tent, we fell asleep in our hammock. Teapot hill trail at Cultus lake was a special hike because there was a tradition of leaving tea pots on the hill. Aaron and I counted about 30+ teapots and cups along the hike.
Day 10// April 15, 2017// Lindeman Lake//+ Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): Relatively easy hike (45-60mins) with beautiful views of teal water and mountains.
Day 11// April 15, 2017// Earth Day Event at Mahon Park
Day 12// April 28, 2017// White Rock//+ Aaron, Thisuri, Tim
HIGHLIGHT(S): Walking the pier and along the shoreline
Day 13// April 30, 2017// Stave Lake//+ Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): Recording videos of little critters along the hike.
Day 14// May 1, 2017// Tulip Festival, Abbotsford & Blodel Conservatory//+ Thisuri, Tim
HIGHLIGHT(S): All the colours! Conditions were pretty muddy though. Blodel Conservatory was also way better than I expected.
Day 15// May 6, 2017// Van Dusen Botanical Gardens & Chilliwack Lake Rd camping//+ Aaron, Thisuri, Tim, Dan
HIGHLIGHT(S): Finding a sweet spot to set up our hammock camping spot. Our campsite was right next to the road.
Day 16// May 7, 2017// Lindemand Lake, Greendrop Lake//+ Aaron, Thisuri, Tim, Dan
HIGHLIGHT(S): A really fun hike. It was pretty hilarious when Dan fell into the water when we were having lunch at Greendrop lake.
Day 17-20// May 19-22, 2017// Sunshine Coast//+ Aaron, Mike, Breanna, Kendall, Jess and Dave
HIGHLIGHT(S): The entire weekend. Nothing but perfection. Link to blog post - http://thanushieagalle.com/blog/2017/5/24/sunshine-coast
Day 21-22// May 27-28, 2017// Squamish//+ Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): The weekend was dedicated to completing the Tourism Challenge. The hammock site we chose for Saturday night has so far been the worst spot, but on Sunday we were able to relax in a beautiful spot.
Day 24// June 9, 2017// Crescent Beach//+ Aaron
Day 23// June 5, 2017// Crescent Beach//+ Aaron
Day 25// June 11, 2017// Ambleside Farmer's market, Ambleside Beach, Whytecliff Park//+ Jasmine, Milo
HIGHLIGHT(S): Getting sugar cookies and mini doughnuts from the farmer's market and then enjoying it at the beach.
Day 26// June 17, 2017// Beekeeping Field Day in Surrey, Serpentine Wildlife Refuge//+ Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): Enjoying the company of fellow beekeepers during the day and learning about different research that's happening in the honeybee world.
Day 27// July 3, 2017// Mount Seymour//+ Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): The top of the mountain was still covered in snow, so we decided to do a trail a bit further down. One of my favourite moments was coming across a small waterfall.
Day 28// July 8, 2017// Cat Lake Camping//+ Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): Cat Lake campground was full, but as we were walking around in search of a camp spot, a fellow named Jesse and his 3 year old son Porter offered us space at their campsite. The campsite itself was busy, but it was so nice to see/experience strangers being kind to one another.
Day 29// June 9, 2017// Joffre Lakes//+ Aaron
HIGHLIGHT(S): The views! Very crowded, but the views were still amazing.