My feet stumble
on this unfamiliar path.
“Trust me,” you say.
“I will guide you.”
Yesterday was my last day in BC (for awhile anyway), and to curb my tide of sighs Jamjarjude took me and Ralphie out for a drive in the countryside just north of the US border. It’s farmland country here and I became fixated on silos…
…and then JJJ pulled up at Krause’s Berry Farm www.krauseberryfarms.com — “You gotta try their corn pizza and strawberry shortcake,” she said. So, off we went for lunch.
I was sidetracked by their beautiful flower garden which was a sea of blue flowers…
…and then we headed into the shop full of enticing confections.
We stopped into the cafe for our lunch…
…and then we headed over to their winery for a taste of their delicious fruit wines.
I was enamoured of their saddle seats and started wondering how I could use these in an interior design project in England. Yee Haw!
Their wines ranged from strawberry to apple and blueberry…
My favourite was the blueberry dessert wine.
Then it was Ralphie time, so we headed to Redwood Park in Surrey, a 40-acre arboretum which had been planted up with exotic tree species by the twins David and Peter Brown when they were given the land by their father on their 21st birthday in 1893. The twins built a tree house in which they lived until their deaths in 1949 and 1958. They sounded like a forward-thinking, eccentric pair, and I have to thank them for creating this wonderful place.
The old tree house is long gone, but a new one has been built on the original site, although it’s to a different design.
There was a lovely prayer of the woods on a plaque in the middle of the forest…
…and we followed one of the many paths, through meadows and the stands of sequoia redwoods and douglas firs.
It was a lovely way to end my BC sojourn.
It was my sister Jamjarjude’s birthday yesterday and boy, did we celebrate. In fact we started celebrating the night before with a pizza at our favourite pizza place, Riso’s in Lantzville, www.risofoodsinc.com where JJJ had the Marinara pizza and I had the Margharita Ultima, preceded by Cinzano Rosso with lemon and followed by delicious gelato — hazelnut, vanilla and the most ecstatic-making pistachio we’d ever tasted (so heavenly we took a pint home with us).
JJJ’s birthday dawned bright and after pressies…
…where we had the best eggs bennie I’d ever had,
Then, full of our yummy brunch, we headed off to Ladysmith to kayak!
We headed to Sealegs Kayaking, www.sealegskayaking.com …
where the personable Shea fitted us out with our lifejackets and boat shoes and showed us the fundamentals of kayak paddling, all while standing on one foot. 🙂
It was JJJ’s first time (my second), so we rented a double kayak for 2 hours to paddle around the inlet around Ladysmith. The scenery was fantastic — so different when seen up close from the water. We were followed by some curious seals who kept bobby up near the kayak and had bald eagles flying around us much of the way. This is the life, I thought. Being an Canadian is pretty ace sometimes.
We’d worked up a small appetite after our kayaking so we headed along the coast road to Chemainus for an apple and cinnamon muffin and coffee at the Utopia Bakery Cafe which is tucked behind the main street and is a real gem of a find. You can read all about it on www.tripadvisor.ca where it has excellent reviews.
Then, what to do? Oh, we found something amazing to do on the way back to Nanaimo. Part 2 tomorrow!
Jamjarjude, Ralphie and I had just reached the point at Neck Point in Nanaimo. I’d turned to pull at Ralphie’s lead, and JJJ had just sat down on a bench. We’d noticed quite a few boats out in the Georgia Strait just off Neck Point, but we figured it was because it was a lovely day. Then a sound, the most, unearthly barking, honking, blowy kind of sound, shot through the air. I turned to look out at the strait and I saw it. The black triangular fin, The spout of air and water. Orca!
I screamed! I yelled! JJJ! Orca! Orca! We fumbled for our camera phones, all the while watching the water as it breached again and again. Then there was another. It was like having a dozen Christmases at once. I am still speechless with the joy of it.
Unfortunately our photos are terrible. By the time we got the cameras on our phones ready, the orcas had swum farther into the strait. And camera phones are not known for their great zoom facilities. So, all me managed to get were…
They’re there. to the right of the boat. They were so much clearer to the eye. And, before they swum out into the strait they looked like this…
I need an SLR camera. On my Christmas list.
After our delicious lunch at Ottavio’s deli in Oak Bay Village, Victoria — www.ottaviovictoria.com — Jamjarjude, Ralphie and I hopped back in the car and headed back to Nanaimo. But we made a stop at the Goldstream National Park — www.goldstreampark.com — just before we hit the dreaded Malahat (crazy road, crazy drivers) — the main road out of Victoria.
Running through the centre of the park is a salmon-spawning river.
No salmon there this time of the year, but there are signs along the river which explain the whole cycle.
I’d love to go back when the salmon are running, although the salmon also bring out the bears. 🙂
It was a lovely day, and the forest was cool and quiet, the path springy underfoot from bark and moss. We followed the river…
…passing the knarled trunks of dead “wildlife” trees — homes to insects for birds like woodpeckers…
…pass “nurse” trees sprouting octopus-like growth…
…past fallen trees, which Ralphie had to inspect…
…and the stumps of long-gone giants.
The saskatoon berries were starting to ripen… bear candy…
…and plants were unfurling into their full glory on the forest floor.
All along our walk, the river rippled beside us…
…tempting Ralphie for a drink…
…and a Canada goose for a wade.
Eventually we came out of the forest onto a marshland where the streams were full of the honks and squawks of ducks and geese…
…a lovely place for a picnic… some day.
Then we retraced our steps, piled back into the car and headed up to Nanaimo. But our day wasn’t quite finished yet! Jamjarjude made a turn off the highway to Shawnigan Lake. “I know a little place for lunch,” she said.
It was off the beaten track. So unassuming it was easy to drive by. But, oh, what you miss if you drive by! The West Arm Grill — www.westarmgrill.com .
With a view out over the lake from our table by the window…
…and the most delicious spinach salad I’ve ever eaten.
Yes, I do actually eat salad sometimes. (JJJ had the caesar salad which she gave a thumbs up too).
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