The evening of June 17 we arrived back in Maple Ridge, after dinner with cousin Lily and husband Don in our favourite restaurant in Langley, “Olive Garden“. We always meet here for a meal when they are in the neighbourhood. Good food and great fun as usual! So nice to meet with them 3 days in a row. First at their home in Prince George, the next day for coffee in 100 Mile House, and this evening in Langley, covering a distance of about 750 km.
After dinner we parted ways and we drove to our airbnb “The Running Horse” in Maple Ridge, our home until the 24th. As I had mentioned in part one of the “homeless” blog, this place was fantastic!
On the 20th my brother arrived from The Netherlands.
As he needed a little time to acclimatize we took it easy and stayed close to home the first few days.
On the 21st we drove to Burnaby Mountain and Burnaby Lake. A truly beautiful area. At Burnaby Mountain is a display of the “Playground of the Gods”. Some of the artwork was unfortunately enveloped in scaffolding but the whole display is, and remains, beautiful.
I had been here a few years ago with my sister. Also a beautiful day but much colder as she visited in November.
Between Burnaby Mountain and Burnaby Lake we got lost in spite of the GPS but that didn’t matter. Serendipitously we ended up with a beautiful view over 2 Vancouver bridges: the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge with in the distance the Lions Gate Bridge.
At Burnaby Lake we parked near the Shadbolt Centre for the arts, a very interesting building. After a quick bite in the cafeteria of the art centre we went for a walk on the grounds around the art centre to the lake.
The next day, after breakfast on the airbnb’s deck, we walked along Pitt River, noticing a very ugly, long structure in the water. We were wandering what it was and some other walkers enlightened us. It was a bridge, purchased by someone in the U.S.A. and as he could not “store” it anywhere in the U.S. he had it shipped, piece by piece, to Pitt Meadows where it now spoils the beauty of the river.
In the afternoon we drove towards the Golden Ears Bridge, located between Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. We parked the car somewhere in the neighbourhood and hiked up the bridge. Beautiful view! On the way back “home” we stopped by McDonald’s, an unusual thing for us to do but just for this one time, why not!
On June 23rd we headed to Lynn Canyon Park. Always a nice place to visit, and free, compared with the very expensive Capilano Bridge. Lynn Canyon has a suspension bridge as well. And for the rest it is pure nature. Wonderful!
On the 24th we took the ferry from Tsawwassen to Victoria and met up with the family there. Swimming in the pool of the hotel, nice dinner at the restaurant across the street “Il Covo”. Delicious. View from the hotel was spectacular. You could see the cruise ships, the mountains of Washington State, part of the Inner Harbour and the Johnson Street Bridge. And the evening finished with…a birthday cake. The birthday celebrations are going on and on…..
And then came June 25. Something was awaiting us. We tried to pry it out of the girls but they, amazingly, kept it secret. They would NOT tell where we were going. We tried guessing but did not get anywhere. And then the drive ended at….WildPlay Victoria. What in the world was that? Well, we would soon find out! The kids were harnessed up and we were told that our turn would come soon as well. Leo and I looked at each other, a little uneasily. OMG! We watched the girls go up into the trees, harnessed on to a safety line (2 lines, actually) but they were pretty high up, maneuvering all kind of obstacle courses like plank walks, rope balancing, etc.
And then it was our turn. Harnesses on, safety instructions. How to hook on and off.
And off you go!!! Really! Both of us are scared of heights and see where we were going!
You can do it Leo, you can do it Oma! Everybody was cheering. Ailish went ahead like a monkey in her element, Hari followed, loudly, but almost effortless. We kind of tested the waters very carefully, one step at the time, hearts beating, not daring to look down. Pffff, we did the first part of the course. Up to the next. And on we went. I must admit: I was quite proud of myself finishing 1/3 of the whole course. Hari did 2/3 and Ailish of course finished it all with the grand finale: ending up like a spider in a web! Raj did part of the course as the kid’s run took longer than anticipated and he was keeping an eye on them.
At the end Priya and Raj did the WTF jump from a high tree……
What’s To Fear Jump (WTF Jump)
AN UNNERVING PLUNGE FROM 40FT.
That little perch high above the ground – that’s where you’re going. Up that rope ladder and onto the platform, you’re tethered to a jump line and then things get real simple. You go over the edge. Step forward or backward, it doesn’t matter. Either way gravity wins.
All together, it was so much fun. High five Leo. We did it!
On to the next surprise. It had to do something with food because we were all getting hungry. Yes, we turned into the road leading to Thetis Lake. While Ailish parked the van we made our way to the beach…….where another surprise awaited us! A big gathering to celebrate the birthdays! Balloons, a banner, and quite an assortment of food.
Thank you Raj and family, Kiran and family, Norah and family, Joanne, to make this all happen. It was fantastic!
What a day! Truly adventurous and unforgettable!
Next day, June 26, Priya’s birthday, we walked over to the apartment to celebrate her 8th birthday with a birthday family breakfast (Eggs Benedict, her choice!). Of course she got to open birthday gifts too. Then all of us walked her to school. Back at the apartment Leo and I said our good-byes; Hari stayed in Victoria. We started our drive to Courtenay via Nanaimo (visit with friend Joanne), Coombs, Qualicum Bay and Fanny Bay.
One interesting fact is the size of Vancouver Island. We overheard (on another trip) a person telling all kinds of facts to some visitors. Some of the facts were correct, some were wrong. One of those was the comparison he made. He told the tourists that Vancouver Island was the same size as England. He was so wrong. It is a large island but not that large!
At 32,000 sq km/12,355 sq mi Vancouver Island is the largest North American island in the Pacific Ocean, and is one of 6,000 islands in British Columbia. It is 460km/285mi in length and 100km/62mi in width at its widest point, with a coastline length of 3,400km/2,138mi.
Regional Geography | Vancouver Island, BC | Destination BC – Official …
Horizontal Width: 164 km (101 miles) from The Hague, directly east to the German border.
Vertical Length: 262 km (162 miles) from Leeuwarden directly south to Maastricht.
Netherlands Land Statistics – World Atlas
Horizontal Width: 437 km (271 miles) from the far western coastline of Wales, directly east to Ipswich.
Vertical Length: 967 km (600 miles) from the far northern edge of mainland Scotland to the southwestern tip of England, just west of Falmouth.
United Kingdom Land Statistics – World Atlas
June 27, Sunshine Coast
We spent the night in Courtenay (Comox Valley Inn & Suites) and next morning we took the 6:20 am ferry to Powell River, drove from there the short distance to Saltery Bay where we sailed on the 9:25 am ferry to Earls Cove. The Comox to Powell River ferry was a new vessel, the “Salish Orca“. We found somehow, with a bit of asking here and there, our way to the trail leading to the Skookumchuck rapids. About 1 hour hike (one way) over a roots covered path. Once we arrived we soaked up the view of the water, waiting for the best time to watch the tidal flows at their peak, found on the tide table on the internet. It was quite a different experience. Neither one of us had ever seen this kind of tidal pools before. Afterwards we made our way back to the car and drove to our accommodation in Halfmoon Bay (Secret Cove Cottage Suites). Only one very expensive restaurant in the area so we drove to Sechelt for dinner.
We should have spent the night in Sechelt as well! There was not even coffee in our room in Half Moon Bay! A fully equiped kitchenette, a coffee maker, but no coffee. Nothing! Every single place where we stayed in the past month had coffee and tea in the room. The house looked nice, the room was spacious, the frontdoor was see-through glass without curtains. We packed up in the morning and drove to the same restaurant in Sechelt for a delicious, relaxed breakfast. Then a leisurely drive to Langdale, with a stopover in Gibsons, to catch the ferry to Horseshoe Bay, from where we drove north to Whistler. Kiran and Kingston were waiting there for us and treated us to a wonderful e-bike ride around Green Lake. That was a great outing! In the evening dinner with Kiran, Geoff and Kingston at “Mile One” in Pemberton and the night was spent at Mount Currie (The Hitching Post Motel). Yes, coffee in the morning 🙂
After our morning coffee ( 😉 ) we checked out of our motel and drove the few minutes back to Pemberton where we had a delicious family breakfast. With happy bellies we walked into the village where Kingston showed off his skills on his running bike.
After saying goodbye to the kids we drove to Whistler for our next adventure: a flight in a float plane over the Whistler mountains and glaciers. We were a little early so we walked a bit along the shores of Green Lake, where we had cycled the day before. And then it was time to board the plane. Quite a bit smaller than the monsters I usually get to board. The co-pilot’s seat was available and my brother was the lucky one to sit up front! Headphones to hear the pilot pointing out several sights. The pilot had been an arctic pilot for many years before coming down to Whistler. He was extremely knowledgeable and knew how to present it.
I kind of forgot my fright of heights and soaked up the beauty around me. I have no words, really, for what we saw up there. A different world, nature’s extreme beauty, but also scary, because we saw the paths of avalanches and crevasses where one could disappear, never to be found again.|
Two of my ‘gopro’ videos can be seen here: video 1, video 2
We had originally booked a flight with a mountain lake landing and picnic but because the lake was still frozen, this plan fell through so we opted for the 40 minute flight.
We enjoyed every minute of it! After we landed back on Green Lake we drove into Whistler Village to see the mountain bikers. Then south to Horseshoe Bay where we picked up Hari and the 3 of us drove back to Maple Ridge to our next home away from home, a beautiful B&B on the road to the Golden Ears Mountains: “River and Rose B&B“; a jewel of a B&B, right here in Maple Ridge!
June 30 we took it easy. Enjoyed the sun in the gorgeous backyard of the B&B, sat on the bench by the Alouette River, enjoying the sound of the water. Later we had dinner at the “Black Sheep Pub” just down the road and walked on the way back through Maple Ridge Park. We found a nice path, meandering along a stream and surrounded by beautiful trees.
July 1, Canada Day. And not just any Canada Day, no, it is this year Canada’s 150’s birthday. Worth celebrating. As my brother had never experienced a Canada Day celebration we did it “small town” style, even though Maple Ridge is not that small, with its population of 82,256! It just feels like a small town.
We went to Memorial Peace Park in the heart of town where the celebrations took place.
Music, food, face painting, crafts, etc. etc. At noon the dignitaries and Mounties came in. The national anthem was sung, speeches were given. Later on a big birthday cake was served. It was great to watch all the people, young and old, in the spirit of the Canada 150 celebration.
Later in the day we cooled off at the Alouette River, at the bottom of the garden of our B&B. Dinner at the Black Sheep Pub.
Another special day!
July 2 we drove to White Rock. First a small detour, viewing the Golden Ears Bridge from below. Then on to Mission where we had a picnic at the Matsqui Trail, under the shadow of the bridge taking road # 11 from Mission across the Fraser River.
In White Rock we checked into the Ocean Promenade Hotel, right at the beach.
White Rock was fun. Walking on the promenade, watching the people and birds, listening to the variety of languages spoken. Hari was happy to hear Nepali and had a delightful chat with the Nepali family, visiting White Rock. We had a wonderful dinner in the hot sun at the rooftop restaurant of the “The Boathouse Restaurant“. Later in the evening Leo and I finished off a bottle of wine on a patio along the waterside before going back to the hotel.
A great last day of my brother’s vacation with us.
All good things come to an end. We sadly said good-bye to Leo, but not until we had a last walk along the White Rock promenade and a hearty breakfast and a tiny restaurant.
At the airport we had a coffee and checked out Bill Reid’s art work “The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe”. Always a nice distraction.
And then we really had to say good-bye.
Leo, it was wonderful having you here. Thanks for sharing our homelessness, for the laughter, the fun, the treats! Thank you!
2 Days later we moved into our new apartment. Now, 10 weeks later, we are still living in a chaos, still waiting for the floors and kitchen to be finished.
With some melancholy I think back of our 5 weeks of homelessness, of being footloose, of being adventurous…….Those were good times!