Tag Archives: ferry

Gabriola Island, 24 Sep 2016

Ying D. on Gabriola Island:
“We had a very fun weekend touring Gabriola Island. Gabriola, although the flattest of the southern Gulf Islands, is definitely not flat. We had a good workout. You will encounter uphills and downhills throughout your loop of the island. The uphill and downhill are gradual and doable though. Most of the routes are decently paved. A hidden gem we discovered during this trip is Gabbie’s Cider and the orchard. The apples right from the tree and the cider are heavenly! Highly recommended. We also found our spontaneous short ride along Berry Point Rd to Orlebar Point very enjoyable (not part of the loop). It was a very scenic (along the ocean) and smooth (well paved route) ride.”

Orcas Island, 29 Apr 2016

Stephen H. on Orcas Island:
“Three glorious days in the San Juan Islands. Rasham, Ino, and Anna joined me on this no-reservations car camping trip south of the border. Day 1: Hiking to Turtlehead rewarded us with stunning views of the Salish Sea. Day 2: A grand loop up and down Mounts Constitution and Pickett granted us more spectacular views, forest walking, and a visit to a stone tower on the former summit. Day 3: We did a short walk to Cascade Falls before hitting the ferry back to Anacortes. All of these hikes are highly recommended. Our original plan was to camp at Mountain Lake. It was full, so we took a spot at the Midway campground by Cascade Lake, which had flush toilets. One trip highlight: seeing the broken soda fountain overflow with root beer on the ferry over. Another: a barred owl hung out with us at camp for a bit. Also: all the pop music we listened to all weekend.”

Turtlehead (Orcas Knob)

Tetrahedron Park, 20 Nov 2015

Tu Loan in Tetrahedron Park:
“What I learned from this weekend’s callout to Tetrahedron Provincial Park:

1. It’s OK to do a callout to somewhere you’ve never been. Good chance your group has a wealth of experience and can help you figure out how to get where you’re supposed to go!

2. It’s OK to be super early at the ferry… not really, but your group members will not be annoyed with you because you’re doing the callout and they’re grateful for it.

3. It’s OK to park your awesomely reliable car at the first parking lot because you don’t want to damage the shocks on it like you did last time when you had to drive up a rough road. Plus, your gang appreciated the extra 1KM walk after being in transit for a few hours.

4. All is good when you bring food to share! Happy Hour in the backcountry is a sure winning tactic and people will gladly forgive you for the unnecessary early wake-up and extra 1KM hike.

5. Lugging eggs in their original carton will surely impress your group.

6. I should download maps onto my GPS. And learn how to read it properly. But following snowshoe tracks is a sure bet.

7. Cabins are great places to meet other interesting people. It’s kind of like a hostel, but better because you’re in the middle of nowhere and someone worked just as hard to get there as you did!

8. My pot set is perfect for making chocolate fondue!

9. Happy Hour in the backcountry rocks. See #4.

10. Wanderungers are an interesting bunch!! Thank you Erin, Dev, and Lisa Dawn for the great fireside chats about quantum physics, politics, traveling, and food – my favourite topics to talk about (minus the quantum physics).”

Sunshine Coast Trail, 30 Aug 2015

Stephen H. on the Sunshine Coast Trail:
“Nine days into our 10-day, 178-kilometre journey on the Sunshine Coast Trail, I ran out of toilet paper. But there was no way I could hold it until the next outhouse at Rainy Day Lake, so a corner of the Powell River recreation map was sacrificed for the cause.

While the SCT isn’t as difficult as the North Coast Trail, which took me six days to backpack in August, it offers its own special set of challenges. Traversing the Upper Sunshine Coast from Sarah Point to Saltery Bay, the SCT offers no beach hiking, climbs up and over a few mountains, and covers three times as much distance as the NCT.

It’s largely a forest trail — one that visits old-growth groves, clear-cuts, and everything in between. Eleven huts provide shelter along the way, so hikers can plan to spend all but two nights under their roofs. Hotels in Powell River, which is a good place to resupply, often profit from one of the remaining nights, while the other typically involves tent camping near Lois Lake.

Lund Water Taxi provided transportation to the trailhead at Sarah Point. Travelling north to south, we camped at Plummer Creek; slept in a motel in Powell River (and enjoyed an excellent dinner at Costa del Sol restaurant); stayed in the huts at Anthony Island, Fiddlehead Landing, Tin Hat Mountain, Elk Lake, and Walt Hill; tented at Stanley Creek; and spent our final night in the Rainy Day Lake hut. Most of the huts are open-air affairs, but a few are winterized and feature pellet stoves for heat.

Although our thru-hike lasted 10 days — the original plan was 11 days, but August’s big windstorm delayed our water taxi — I recommend 12 days of hiking plus one travel day on the front. If a more leisurely pace is preferable, you could take as long as 14 days.

We found the best views on Manzanita Bluffs, Scout Mountain, Tin Hat Mountain, and Walt Hill. Mount Troubridge is the highest point on the SCT, but its treed summit was foggy during our visit.

All in all, hiking the SCT from end to end was an experience I will never forget. Thanks so much to Jason and Svetlana for joining me on this trek.

See photos from the trip here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shui/sets/72157658135544789

Tin Hat Mountain hut from summit at sunrise

Mt Galiano, 11 Apr 2015

Stephen H. on Mt Galiano:
“Add this hike to your list, Mount Gardner fans. Mount Galiano proved to be an accessible day trip via the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. Dharmesh, Helen, Ivy, Josie, and Susan joined me for a satisfying six-hour loop passing through Bluffs Park on the way there and back. Bald eagles and spectacular views greeted us on top. The ferry schedule gave us time to eat at a cafe and peruse the bookstore afterwards. It was the perfect way to get away for the day.”

Mount Galiano viewpoint

Mt Gardner, 26 Mar 2015

Bob H. on Mt Gardner:
“I had to go to Bowen Island today, so I said, why not do a hike too! It was 14 degrees C and cloudy at the start. Deep in the forest it got down to around 10, but that’s it. It was very comfortable all day. Some mosquitoes were bothering me, but no bites – so that’s good! I had the fortune of having the car today, so we started right at the trail head (126 m). If you hike from the ferry, there is an extra 3 km and 175 m elevation gain. From the trail head, we started up the gravel road and then veered slightly left into the forest. We re-emerged onto the gravel road 1.3 km later and continued up the road for another 1.3 km. We entered the forest again and continued our climb to the summit. The trail is very peaceful, with the sounds of birds and small streams. Just before the approach to the summit, there are ropes for assistance, as it’s a pretty steep section – they help, especially going down. When we got to the top (715 m), we stopped for a break on one of the two helicopter landing pads up there. Unfortunately, there was zero visibility at the summit, so no good photos from the top! There are a number of telecommunications antennae and repeaters up there. We saw only two other people today. The round trip distance was 8 km and the total elevation gain was 690 m.”

Great view from here (550 m)

K2, 20 Feb 2015

Andy G. on K2:
“This was definitely not the lofty summit of a Himalayan giant with a panoramic vista, but a tree-covered knoll with a few small jigsaw-puzzle pieces of a view over Gambier, Keats and Bowen Islands towards Vancouver. How small? Maybe half-a-dozen pieces from a 1000-piece puzzle? Yeah – that’s not much of a view. And the route was not an awe-inspiring valley with glaciers tumbling in all directions, but a path through scrubby second-growth forest.

While K2 was never signposted until after Langdale Falls, the trail was mostly very well marked. Follow purple markers and signs to begin with but navigation becomes a little trickier upon reaching the Sprockids mountain bike park. After the purple came the yellow, followed by blue and red markers when we turned off towards our destination. This brought us to Langdale Falls, a lovely little ponytail of water tumbling about 30 feet. Beyond the falls (where there is no bridge to cross the creek), the trail deteriorated and on more than one occasion we had to stop and make sure we were still on the trail. Hint: if you run out of markers on your side of the tree, stop and look back the way you came to check for markers (they’re now orange or red heading to K2). On our return, we opted to take the YMCA trail (blue markers) and were glad we did as it was much shorter (3 hours up, 1.5 down).

But it wasn’t a trip without its highlights. A sunny ferry ride with gorgeous afternoon light on the mountains of Howe Sound (complete with a sundog reflecting in the sea) and a good group go a long way to making a trip enjoyable. Thanks to Steve for suggesting it (I think…) and to Louise and Susan for good company. The day was topped off with the sight of Mars nestled between Venus and a slim crescent moon on the drive home.”

K2, 20 Feb 2015

Gabriola Island, 16 May 2014

Brenda C. cycling Gabriola Island:
“My original plan was to do a solo cycle tour of Gabriola Island but decided to invite a few people along. In the end I did a solo cycle tour just as originally planned! I am not sure if it was the forecast of rain on Saturday or that it was only 2 days of a long weekend or that my trip included a Friday but nonetheless, I was happy to do the trip on my own.

I cycled from my home near Broadway and Granville and made it to Horseshoe Bay in 1.5 hours. I left extra early as I was not sure how long it would take me. The sun was rising and there were few cars on the road – it was a lovely ride. The 8:30 am ferry brought me to Nanaimo then then it was an easy cycle to Nanaimo Harbour terminal to catch the ferry to Gabriola. On the ferry I ran into the other Wanderung day cyclists who kindly offered that I could join them for the day. I knew I wanted to take my time checking out the island so I passed on the offer. I hope you guys had a great day! By 11:05 I was on the island and in less than 5 minutes I was at Descanso Regional Campground where I set up my tent and checked out the bay at low tide. Descanso is a very nice campground as far as car camping sites go. It is located in a nice forest area and, though there are no waterfront sites, it is a short walk to the water.

I spent most of Friday cycling along South Road stopping at beaches, checking out the petroglyphs near the United Church and the tide pools at Drumbeg Provincial Park. Gabriola is a nice island for cycling. There are constant rolling hills but overall, not too many steep climbs (South Road leaving the ferry terminal is probably the toughest climb). I had an early dinner at Silva Bay. I’d recommend the restaurant at the marina: a nice, large patio overlooking the marina; good food with vegetarian and gluten free options and cold beer! Oh, and there’s a liquor store next door if you should want to pick up a few bevvies for watching the sunset later. Just a suggestion! That evening as the sun set I checked out the rock formations at Malaspina Gallery and relaxed on a rocky point as sea lions swam by.

Saturday, after breakfast on the waterfront at Descanso Bay, I packed up camp (the friendly camp hosts allowed me to store my stuff at the office while I cycled the island for the day) then went to the Farmer’s Market. There were lots of edible goodies and talented artists. It’s a good spot to pick up a wedding gift! (Just sayin’…) The forecast for Saturday had been rain: wrong! As one of the other patrons of Mad Rona’s Coffee House said ‘there must be a sun pocket over Gabriola Island.’ It was another gorgeous day. I spent a few hours beachcombing at Sandwell Provincial Park. Over the 2 days I went to almost every beach on Gabriola, except for Whalebone Beach. Well, what did I find at Sandwell? Whalebones!!! Or maybe sea lion bones. Ribs, sternum, vertebrae and flipper bones. I called the visitors centre thinking that this was a unique find but when no one came rushing to see my discovery I realized that I am just a city slicker who should have been a marine biologist! That afternoon I caught the 3:15 ferry back to Nanaimo. It gave me plenty of time to walk along the promenade and enjoy an ice cream before heading to Departure Bay for the 5:20 pm ferry. Just as I boarded the ferry it started to rain. Thankfully, it cleared up by the time I reached Horseshoe Bay which allowed me cycle back home again as the sun set behind me. I was quite proud of myself for making this a fully self propelled trip – okay, I had some help from the ferries!

My recommendations:
– Use a BC Ferries Experience card to save on fares and bicycle charges (I saved over $10)
– Camping at Descanso Regional Park: less than 5 minutes to the ferry terminal
– Check out the Farmer’s Market: High quality artisans and yummy treats
– Great beginner to intermediate cycle trip: there are hills but it’s not too challenging.”

Gabriola Sands Provincial Park

Gabriola Island cycling, 22-23 Jun 2013

Markus cycling on Gabriola Island:
“A fun, if sleep deprived, weekend was had by all. We enjoyed a nice sunny ferry ride out to Nanaimo and found a nice seaside bike route along the way from Departure Bay to the Gabriola Island ferry terminal.

After arriving on Gabriola we had a short easy ride to Descanso Bay regional camp ground and settled in for the night. Saturday was a good mix of sun and cloud as we made our way to the south end of the island. Along the way we stopped in at the Farmers Market, checked out Brickyard Beach, the petroglyphs (which would have been really disappointing but for the spontaneous frisbee match) and stopped at Drumbeg Provincial Park for lunch and enjoyed the neat rock formations, wildlife and gorgeous views. On our way back, we branched off the road to so some exploring of the trail network that run throughout the middle of the island (shout out to Ricki, Jeanette and Mary). Afterwards we stopped in at Robert’s Place for a well deserved meal and then back to the campsite for an evening of campfire and marshmallows.

Sunday greeted us with rain and so, after a short trip to see the Malaspina Gallerys, we made our way to the Ferry and home. Overall, I would say Gabriola is an excellent choice for a first time bike trip to a Gulf Island. Lots of amenities, conveniently located campsite near the ferry terminal, easy ride (Tip: bike the island counter-clockwise.) and lots to see.”

Gambier Lake, 14 Jun 2013

Steve v. at Gambier Lake:
“Gambier Lake is more like a full day trip including 2 ferries, waiting, and a hike. The trail itself is mostly road and seems longer than the stats might suggest. The lake is nondescript, probably not worth the effort compared to other common lower mainland lake hikes. If you do have a burning desire to see Gambier, I suggest Mt. Killam or if you want to see the lake specifically, go with interesting people that you can chat with to fill the monotony as I did.

I went with Tamara and Emeric (who are keen to join up for a Summer of mid-week trips!), and Kristy and Duncan visiting from Australia. Unfortunately Sherron missed the ferry, and most of the day was grey and drizzly (though the sun did poke out at the end). A few take-aways from our trip should you want to do a Gambier trip:

  • Don’t miss the ferry!
  • The ferry to Langdale you only pay for once, but the small boat to Gambier from Langdale you pay for each way ($7 x2).
  • The General Store on the island seems closed (it used to be a big draw).
  • At Langdale, the food booth higher up the parking lot is WAY better.
  • The time estimates in most books for Gambier Lake are not generous, make sure you can get to your ferry by checking your speed often.
  • Big thanks are owed to the Gambier Island Conservancy for their hard work. They are a very good resource to use if hiking there: https://www.gambierc.ca/index.html”

Gambier Lake, June 2013