Workaway #4

[Matilda]

For the past 10 days, we’ve been on another Workaway experience – this time in Black Creek (near Saratoga Beach). We’ve been staying with a lovely family and helping out with gardening, painting and cooking, among other little things. So far we are 4 for 4 on great Workaways and we’re hoping to keep a good streak going! For me it’s been really nice to be so close to the sea again as that is what I love the most. You can take the girl away from the coast, but you can’t take the coast out of the girl! That’s how the saying goes, right?

Black Creek is a small town with a grocery store, a gas station, a couple of liquor stores and one pizza place. It’s a 20 minute (or so) drive from Campbell River if you go north, or Courtenay if you go south. While being here we’ve been lucky enough to see several bald eagles which is so cool! They are so majestic. Seeing one soar just above you is an experience that pauses time for a little bit and puts you in the now.

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The sunsets here are pretty ridiculous! We’ve enjoyed buying ice cream at the Pacific Playground Resort before heading down to the water to watch for wildlife. Other than eagles, we’ve seen plenty of blue herons, a couple of sea lions, and jumping fish.  No whales, though… maybe one day…

We’ve also made a couple of four legged friends while being here. There’s Dharma, the black labrador, and Smudge, the one eyed cat. Dharma loves people, sticks and swimming. Smudge loves sleeping.

On one of our days off we went on a day trip to Elk Falls, which is a provincial park just outside Campbell River. Elk Falls was probably the coolest waterfall we’ve seen so far on this trip AND there was a suspension bridge going across the canyon! I much preferred this bridge to the Capilano one as it wasn’t as busy. The park has a looped trail that goes past the much smaller Deer Falls, as well as the medium-sized-but-not-as-cool Moose Falls. There is, however, a really nice body of water called the Dolphin Pool just beneath Moose Falls. The water is really clear and blue, and, if the weather allows it, we’d love to go back for a swim.

We’ve also tried out busking in Campbell River. There’s a farmers market on Sundays so we went in to try our luck. When we arrived there were already a couple of acts busking in the parking lot outside the market so we had to start out a little further away next to the road. The traffic meant that not a lot of people could hear us and therefore did not stop to listen. We did however meet a really nice musician named Max who gave us a lot of useful tips regarding busking and stayed to listen to us play. When a spot opened up down by the market, we went and made a few more dollars. At the end of the day, we had made $80. All of which will go straight to gas…

We’re now about to head out on a 6 day roadtrip to Tofino and back. We can’t wait to see some of the western parts of the island!

Just a few more pictures from our stay in Black Creek:

 

See you on the other side of Tofino?

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Roadtrip to Vancouver Island: Day Three in Short

02/06/2018

  • Pemberton –> Squamish
  • Made our first stop in Whistler where a half marathon was happening. The weather wasn’t great so we soon continued on towards Squamish.
  • Quick stop at Alice Lake to meet some baby geese.
  • Made it to Squamish!!!
  • Short hike up to Shannon Falls which is an awesome spot.
  • Walked around downtown Squamish.
  • Moa wanted to take a look at Stawamus Chief climbing and ended up bouldering with a couple of dudes she met in the parking lot.
  • Matilda went swimming in Browning Lake.
  • Moa also wanted to swim so we both went back to the lake after her bouldering session.
  • Found our overnight home on a patch of gravel next to the highway.

 

In pictures:

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Roadtrip to Vancouver Island: Day Two in Short

01/06/2018

  • Kamloops –> Pemberton
  • We drove through Gold Rush Country which had awesome views of canyons and wild west looking nature!
  • We made it to Lillooet.
  • We barely made it out of Lillooet because of steep roads and a one wheel drive car. Seriously, we almost got stuck in the mountains.
  • We ended up going to Nairn Falls provincial park outside Pemberton as we were headed for Whistler but we (and the car) were too tired to continue.
  • Park operator charged us 22 CAD for parking overnight. Oh well.

 

In pictures:

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A Hike to Wapta Falls

[Matilda]

I know what you’re thinking right now. ANOTHER blog post? You probably figured you’d have to wait at least a few weeks for the next one! Even though I did tell you there’d be one this week. I mean, sure, I did say it would be Moa posting… She still might. People have walked the moon!

I had a great little travel experience yesterday which I want to share with you. Moa may be off in Skaha but I might have exaggerated a little when I said I was left to my own devices. There ARE other people on the ranch. The other week, two German girls by the name of Annika and Lea arrived. As there is now a car on the property (OUR car! SMELLY but OURS!) we decided we should go on a little field trip (not to be confused with a Field trip). Our destination would be Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park. The snow has really been melting away here in Blaeberry so we figured it would be a nice little hike. Once you leave the highway there is a 2 km drive to the trail and then a 2.4 km hike to the falls.

We set off at around 12:30 once our chores were done at the ranch. The drive to the trailhead is not too long – only about 40 minutes. As we drove into the national park we were informed by signs that visitors now require a park pass which needs to be purchased on the park border. We completely missed the exit and had to find a place to turn around to go back and get a pass. Aren’t we the most upstanding citizens? Anyway, once we got back to the little hut were park passes are distributed, it turned out it was closed and no pass was required. A few minutes later we arrived at the road to Wapta Falls. Which was also closed. Yep, the dirt road going down to the trail was still covered in snow and our hike was now twice as long. Did we let that get us down? Not right away!

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The walk to the trailhead was pretty boring so it was nice when we finally got there. The trail started going steadily upwards around halfway in. With fallen trees all over the place we had to practise some parkour to get by. (We were very graceful and I think Michael Scott would have been proud.) As the trail wasn’t really open for the season yet, I’m sure it’ll be cleaned up and made more accessible eventually.

We were very excited when we heard the roar of the falls which meant we were nearing the end of our 4.4 km hike (which I seriously believe was longer). The first stop is a viewing area high above the falls and the view is absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture that fully conveys this. If you ever go there (or if you’ve already been), you’ll know what I mean! We stopped there to drink some water and enjoy the scenery before following the trail downwards.

It was kind of tricky this time of year as the trail is covered in snow, ice and mud. Snow was definitely the preferable foundation. I would say that probably 70% of the trail down was ice which meant that we spent a lot of time sliding, grabbing trees and trying to find alternative routes in the snow just next to the trail. Every now and then we’d get to some bare ground where non-slippery moss was available. I frickin’ loved that moss… Before you get all the way down beneath the falls, there is another viewing area. It looked like people had been taking shortcuts and made their way down via the very steep bank underneath it. We chose the slightly safer ice trail.

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Getting down took a LOT of effort but we made it! And it was worth it. It was such a cool experience to stand in front of the falls and feel that gentle spray of water. We were also lucky enough to have sunshine most of the time which meant we even got to see a rainbow! A picture says more than a thousand words so let’s have some photos, shall we?

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I don’t know how long we spent down there but as we started hiking back, my shoes were absolutely soaked! They’re not really hiking shoes… The hardest part was definitely the last 2 km back to the car as at that point we were all very hungry and extremely tired of walking on icy snow. But we made it back and pulled into Golden for an A&W meal just before 18:00.

I’d love to go back to Wapta Falls again when it’s warmer and dryer. Someone told me it’s even possible to go swimming underneath them, which would be amazing! So don’t be surprised if you get another blog post about this place before the year is over.

For now, here are some very happy hikers!

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Lea (left) and Annika (right)

Blaeberry in Pictures

[Matilda]

Okay guys, here’s the deal… Moa was supposed to post a little something about her ski trip to Lake Louise but then she bailed to go on a climbing trip for 6 days! How rude. So here I am, left to my own devices in a camper van on the ranch. The light in the tunnel is that we got a car yesterday (thanks to our friend Matt, who couldn’t wait to get rid of it). We’re now officially able to explore the area and visit town without having to bug people (Matt) for rides!

It was also my birthday yesterday and the others surprised me with breakfast in bed and a little song to start the day. Moa and I spent the rest of the day getting the car into a somewhat better shape and in the evening we had drinks and good food around a campfire. Not too shabby!

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Posing with our WorkAway host Leo, the new stinky car, and Pippi the border collie.

Anyway, I figured I’d take this opportunity to share some of my favourite photos that I’ve taken around these parts. My love of photography is really coming back!

Let’s start with some buffalo:

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And now, maybe some winter action…

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Let’s move on to spring, shall we?

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I really shouldn’t forget the very photogenic Pippi:

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And I’m gonna round this off with another buffalo. This guy is called Jack and we kind of love him! He is the only one that will let you pet him for a little bit. Buffalo cuddles, anyone? (EDIT: The photo below was entered in National Geographic’s Travel Photographer of the Year contest. Click on the image to go over there and give it a like!)

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Watch out for an update from Moa at some point next week!