Thursday, 20 May 2010

Vancouver Island part III - Courtenay 9-15 April

It’s been awhile and it’s time to try and catch up with our blogs, sorry we’ve been a bit behind, we’ve been busy!

Leaving a sunny Tofino behind, we had our first brush with a bear, I say brush he was just “being” bear-like on the side of the road having come out of the woods for a snack as we whizzed past in Jeremy - it was so exciting :) Unfortunately by the time we had parked up, grabbed the camera and gone back he’d had enough and gone back in the woods. So, ‘stoked’ with our first ever bear sighting (sorry Vinny) we got back on the road heading for Courtenay.

We drove into Courtenay, to the Comox Lake Hostel, where we we’re greeted by Bonnie and her 5 dogs, before we knew it there was a fire going and Tim had a beer in hand, we we’re in for a good stay :) as it got darker the sky was filled with so many stars, it was beautiful to see, I don’t think we’ve ever seen so many stars in the sky and Tim saw a few shooting stars… another first! Later we met Maurice who is 74 years young, he’s planning a trip to (push-)bike around the Netherlands (he has already built a small trailer to attach to his bike). He has so much knowledge and seems to have been everywhere (and can still remember every road). He is an amazing guy; always having another travel story up his sleeve and despite what he might’ve thought we never tired of hearing them... We're proud to say he’s our facebook friend! We also met lovely Helen, she’s from England to, and is staying at the hostel doing yoga and finishing off her log-cabin in the mountains ready for sale (if anyone’s interested, let us know!). Our first night was great but we were kept awake at first by the amazing frog chorus (both in number and volume) from the neighbour’s pond.

I went for a lovely run through the woods in the morning along the Puntledge River with my new running buddies, Lucky, Lady, Blue & Tiga (old man Buster stayed at home) it was lovely especially as these are all bear-attacking-dogs, good dogs to have with you I reckon. Unfortunately the running party would slowly dwindled throughout our stay as the dogs got wise to my morning run rather than their morning walk!!!

We headed off to Mount Washington, they have had 700cm of fresh white snow, finally good snow, unfortunately I think it will be our last boarding for the season, it was lovely, such a nice friendly mountain. Today was their “Dummy Run” which involves different groups making dummies, strapping them onto a skis or snowboard and firing them down to the ski jump to see how far they go - quite a sight…..hope you can see the video! It worth watching till the end, honestly.......

We’ve been having some bank issues so having to get up early to spend over an hour on the phone we tried to resolve credit card and endowment policy problems we had telephonic-exhaustion! We were 50% successful (glass half full). As we we’re up so early, we thought we would head out on a long walk round the lake and river past Nymph Falls, Bonnie wisely only let one dog “Blue” the youngest come with us, which was so nice to have a dog to walk with, we followed the river and had lunch by the falls when I looked up and saw behind Tim’s head a sign saying that there had been a cougar sighting, nothing new really until I saw the date was – it was yesterday!!!
So we carried on our walk (with a bit more caution!) and tried to follow the map, but ended up alongside the 6-lane highway with no bridge and a dog without a lead……back into the woods to try and get back on path, thankfully we came across a very sweet house in the woods (sounds very Disney doesn’t it?) but this house was run by a lovely elderly Dutch couple, Betsy & John and they pointed us in the right direction which happened to be way off the map we had, now by this time Tim’s feet were killing him and Blue looked knackered, but only an hour or so more to get home (after the five and a half we’d already done)….at least it was sunny! When we got back we we’re welcomed by Donna & John (from the previous episode, it was so nice to see them again) a beer and a big bowl of water (thanks Bonnie) for Tim’s feet, that we’re blistered up a treat, poor thing :(

That night we had a great fire, Maurice had been building it for quite some and that evening we lit it and watched it burn baby burn!, we all love fire especially Donna, Tim brought the marshmallows, Bonnie brought her homemade wine and chutney, which is very good, Donna & John brought the hotdogs and chips. Helen & I moved broom. It was a great evening we all moved even more “broom” to burn, it was quite a fire and was still going the following evening when we needed to light up the BBQ. Maurice was telling us all about his travels and we mentioned we’re heading to San Francisco soon… the following morning he presented us with a detailed hand drawn map of San Francisco, right down to where to hire the bikes from and where to stay, it was so very lovely, (thank you again Maurice… its safe in our travel book!).

Having Donna & John at the hostel is so lovely, we want to take them with us, they too have travelled a lot in the states and imparted loads of travel tips and knowledge… and they make us laugh. Donna reminds us of Aunty Angela (which is a big compliment for both of you ;).
Now then, we had mentioned the WWOOFIng thing and while Donna, John & Bonnie were on Quadra Island to see Bonnie’s friend it was mentioned that we may be able to help out, so we could be WWOOFER’s before you know it. Well actually by the time they got back to the hostel we were hired so we’re heading off to Quadra Island to begin WWOOFing for Linda.
On our last morning before we headed off I went out on a Kayaking trip with Donna and Craig on Comox lake it was so still it was like glass. So lovely to be out on the water with the mountains in front of you, and huge trees either side, Donna was as supper canoeist, especially as it was her first time and we even managed to paddle home without hitting anything or going to the wrong beach, much to Craig’s relief! We also got really close to a juvenile bald eagle as we floated past its perch in the tree on the lake. Yet another amazing encounter with nature.

We got back to hostel had a cup of tea, Tim returned from town with new “super feet” insoles and a jaunty cowboy hat, it really suits him, this is what he’s been looking for and at only $6 a bargain. After saying a sorry goodbye to people and dogs, we set off following Donna & John who told us of the best fish and chip place with great wildlife viewing, and they weren’t wrong… drive in and your by the river but instead of where you’d find seagulls in the UK there were loads of bald eagles both young and old. It was awesome and so was the Halibut ;) We’ll really miss the Ottawans and the Comoxians (eh?).

So off we go to our new life on Quadra Island to be WWOOFers for Linda for a while………how very exciting :)


  1. Yey! Bears, cougars, dogs and a little video clip of Katy. What a lovely blog xxx

  2. Wow love the blog, I feel like I'm there with you livin the dream, fantastic!