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: Final Day in Short

05/06/2018

  • Nanaimo –> Black Creek
  • Woke up super early to leave our homely parking lot outside Cassidy.
  • Drove to Tim Hortons where Moa continued to sleep in the car and I (Matilda) had breakfast.
  • Made our way further north and our first stop was Rathtrevor Beach. The tide was low so we were able to walk on the sea floor and see lots of cool plants, rocks and crabs.
  • VERY WINDY DAY. The Rocky Mountains don’t have much wind so we had forgotten about coastal weather a little bit.
  • Had lunch in Qualicum Beach which is the most British town we’ve encountered so far in Canada.
  • Made plans to camp out in Kitty Coleman Provincial Park before arriving at our Workaway the next day.
  • Texted Workaway and they said we could come early so we didn’t have to sleep in the car again. Yay!
  • Stopped in Courtenay to look for thrift stores. They have a MASSIVE one called Value Village. Moa was in heaven and found a rain jacket.
  • Drove to Black Creek where we settled in at our new Workaway.
  • Got to sleep in nice and soft beds and shower. Heaven!
  • This was the last day of our roadtrip so the next update will summarise our Workaway experience in Black Creek/Saratoga Beach after we leave.

In pictures:

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Roadtrip to Vancouver Island: Day Five in Short

04/06/2018

  • Squamish –> Vancouver –> Nanaimo
  • Moa started the day with some climbing in Murrin Provinical Park.
  • We drove to Vancouver!
  • We accidentally drove into the city centre of Vancouver.
  • Hung out in beautiful Stanley Park.
  • Visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
  • Treetop Adventure was better than the bridge!
  • Left Capilano at around 7 and made the ferry to Nanaimo that left at 7:40.
  • Looked for Spruston Staging Area to camp overnight but road was closed so we had to find a random parking lot to sleep in. Oh well.

In pictures:

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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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Day Trip to Banff

[Matilda]

Last week we decided to take a little day trip with our favourite German workawayers – Panini and Chippy (aka Annika and Lea). The plan was initially to go to Calgary so that I could pop into the Apple store and get my Macbook battery replaced. As it turns out, Apple doesn’t service this model anymore, so bye bye 3 hour drive to Apple and hello local computer techs who are happy to help!

Our new choice of destination was Banff as we’ve all wanted to go there since we arrived in Canada. The day started bright and early at 7:30 AM and we made a first stop at Lake Louise which is on the way. The lake is still frozen but it’s a beautiful place nonetheless.

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We probably spent around an hour at the lake before continuing our journey. The first thing you see when you come off the exit to Banff is a massive sign and tourists taking pictures with it. Were we going to do things differently? Nope! Cue the tourist pics!

 

The Banff National Park is known for its amazing nature so we had already decided to dedicate the day to hiking. We chose a pretty easy hike that goes all the way up to the summit of Tunnel Mountain. It’s a relatively small mountain but with an amazing view! We did have a little trouble finding the start of the trail and ended up starting our hike a little higher up. I was absolutely fine with missing 500 metres of incline as I hadn’t been feeling well the day before. And it also meant we already had a pretty nice view from the get-go. The hike from start to finish takes a couple of hours and I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

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While at the summit, we were greeted by this cute little chipmunk! It also earned Lea, who is a tiny person, the nickname ‘Chippy’.

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Chippy with chipmunk

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After our hike we checked out downtown Banff and we all agreed that it’s a strange place! While beautiful, Banff is very touristy, and Moa described it very well; “Banff is designed to be what tourists think Canada should look like”. Spot on! My impression of the city centre was that it felt like a Canada theme park. We looked through the local thrift store, and a few souvenir shops, before sitting down to eat some hard earned pizza. After dinner we made our way towards the Bow Falls trail. Trying to find our way there by car had us moving towards a location that on the map was called ‘Surprise Corner’. We though this must be something fantastic. Guess what? The surprise was that it’s just a corner! The road takes a turn! Whaaat! Anyways. We were now on the wrong side of the river so we ended up parking in a residential area and walked across a pedestrian bridge to the trail. It was a nice little walk to the falls and below them is a golf course where we met a herd of elk. Cue pics!

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We spent over an hour down by the falls before finally heading back to the car. We got to drive back with the sun setting over the mountains in front of us which is always breathtaking. I highly recommend it! We didn’t arrive back in Golden until around 10:30 but it was a day well spent! I think we’re all looking to go back and see other parts of the Banff National Park as the lakes melt and nature really wakes up.

Until next time!