Having not quite gotten around to doing the post on the post-wedding brunch and particular and Sunday in general, I’m now about to do a small post on the ‘mini-moon’ we took in Powell River. So I’m jumping around — it’s my blog!
In a fit of brillliance that could only have been dreamed up by the non-sick, we decided to go camping. Now camping in May isn’t necessarily a stupid idea, but camping in May on the Wet Coast while sick as little sick dogs was maybe not the all time brightest move.
That said, it was fine.
The first night was great, even — Steve’s mum and dad got him the birthday present of a night in the Rockwater’s ‘Tent Suites’ which was Monday night. He groused a little back in March, but when we arrived Monday night he was all “ok, this is an AWESOME birthday present!” And it was… I’m not sure why I don’t have any photos at my disposal, but I’ll find some ’cause it has to be seen to be believed. There was this great walkway through the forest (like the West Coast Trail except more civilized) that led to the tents, each of which was off on its own for privacy. The ‘tent’ (and I use the word loosely) had its own balcony that looked out on the ocean, complete with loungers. There was a huge bed with a down duvet, a slate tiled shower, heated slate tile floors, and a jaccuzzi tub with jets, bath salts and COLOURS. Yes, the tub was pretty cool. It was a very nice way to wind down our ‘wedding weekend’.
Tuesday morning we took our time getting ready. We packed slowly, taking our time looking for my Grandma’s earring that I’d been wearing since the wedding. Steve, my hero, found it somewhere that I couldn’t see it.
We drove from Halfmoon Bay back to Gibsons to pack the jeep and pick up the dog. We also took a gift certificate we had gotten for Canadian Tire and invested, wisely, in an air mattress with a built-in foot pump. Ahhhhh, bliss! Neither of us had ever camped with an air mattress before and man! was it ever nice.
We booked it to the ferry in Earl’s Cove where we discovered that ferries run even less often than they do between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale. We waited and waited, and I found out that I burn in convertables 🙁
The dog enjoyed the sun while we were waiting for the ferry, but not so much the wind when we were actually driving.
We found our campsite at Willingdon Beach which is the city campground right in the middle of ‘new’ Powell River. It is a great campground and we were, as we requested, Right On The Beach. I can only assume that it was because we told them we were honeymooning that they put us right at the edge next to the trees. It was lovely and private except for the stream of people coming right past our tent to walk the Willingdon Beach Trail first thing in the morning.
We rolled in just as the sun was going down and set up camp… with only a little snapping. We borrowed Mike & Laura’s massive Tent of Doom (the Funhouse 6, I believe). It had windows and doors and was almost the size of our bedroom. It was quite the eddifice compared to our little nylon backpacking tube. We briefly considered digging it a moat.
Once the tent was up, Steve wandered the whole 10 feet to the beach and took pictures of the sunset.
We found dinner at the local Safeway deli. It was… adequate. Very adequate.
This cedar tree was right beside our campsite. It was very unusual and beautiful — like a ‘weeping cedar’.
And that was the end of Tuesday.
The next morning, Steve went and walked the Willingdon Beach Trail. When in Rome, I guess.
The Willingdon Beach Trail is set up as an outdoor forestry museum and has all sorts of bits of machinery along the side of the trail. Including a boat.
You know, I never even managed to walk this trail, though I’d love to. Someday. When I’m not sick.
The only complaint I have about the WB campground is that the website says free showers… and they aren’t. I had to go back for a loonie, and the four minutes purchased by that loonie was simply inadequate. I rinsed in the sink. But I’d go back.
We got underway on Wednesday morning and found the tourist information booth. We left the dog in the jeep in the parking lot.
Angel was eager to get underway, so we left for Lund, which we’d heard was absolutely lovely, and an hour up the road where Highway 101 runs out.
We thought we were going to leave Angel in the jeep while we had a quick lunch at Nancy’s, the locally famous bakery. Note the word ‘thought’ — while we were walking around the top of the building, we heard a suspicious jingle, much like the one that comes from Angel’s dog tags. We called for her, and walked around looking for her, but no little white dog… until we asked a couple coming up the stairs from the restuarant. We asked them if they’d seen her, and they said yes — the little white dog had rushed into the restaurant and was still there, as far as they knew.
We rushed downstairs into the restaurant and there she was, looking from table to table for us while simultaneously licking every inch of floor. Mmm… floor.
We called her out and tied her up outside. Bad dog! Bad! Actually she was really cute, and we brought out our (justifyable famous) lunch and ate with her.
Then we walked around Lund. It didn’t take long. Lund is small and pretty, and perhaps if we’d been more energetic we’d have rented kayaks or taken the Water Taxi over to Savary Island or some other adventure. As it was, we just looked at the waterfront and a very nice art shop under the Lund Hotel.
Then we went home. I mean, back to Powell River. We went and had rather good and cheap chicken wings at a little pub that was right on the edge of Powell Lake. We tied Angel up.
After dinner, we scooted back to the historic part of Powell River in order to join a walking tour that we had been told would leave at 7pm. The guide never showed up, so we self-guided ourselves around according to the brochure. It was quite like old times (I used to be a tour guide).
The old houses were lovely — old Powell River was a town built, and planned, by the Pulp Mill for its employees. Somewhat surprisingly, they did a fantastic job and the little old town is really quite wonderful. Except, perhaps, for its view of… the pulp mill.
We cruised around deciding which house(s) we’d like to buy… property in Powell River is relatively inexpensive, and Powell River itself is a very nice town, but it really does feel much more isolated than Gibsons.
But look at the houses!
We settled on this as the house to buy:
Or this one:
They were built for management — typical, huh?
There were three churches in a block, but two were no longer churches. We then decided that it would be amazing to live in a church.
We got back to the campsite and Steve went down to the beach to photograph the sunset. There was also this crane — I mean HERON — which we had seen briefly the night before. He really liked the little bit of beach beside the tent and every so often I’d look up to see Steve stalking the crane. I mean heron.
Sometimes he was more sucessful than others.
And it was the end of Wednesday.
Thursday Steve tried to get me to walk the trail with him. It didn’t work.
By this time we were feeling significantly better, so we decided to try a little hike. And by little, we mean very small. Tiny. We hiked up ‘Mount Valentine’ which is such an easy hike that they even give you stairs. We reached the top pretty easily and enjoyed lunch and views that were amazing.
There was a big bug and some very ambitious ants, so we left and wandered around the top of the hill, which was exquisite. The area was developed for Mill employees to have a picnic and recreation spot, so there were lovely steps and stone benches, as well as some newer picnic tables. Did I mention there were stairs to the top? Nice.
This is new Powell River. It is wonderfully far from old Powell River.
We went down and looked at ‘The Hulks’, which is a man-made breakwater for the Mill’s logs.
They are beautiful and shockingly ugly at the same time.
We went to the Cranberry Pottery and bought souveniers, since apparently this is The Place To Buy Souveniers. Actually, their stuff is lovely. I really liked some neat… well, I thought they were ginger jars, but apparently they were urns for ashes. And they came made to order! Ew.
Then it was off to try out the new jeep: I found some logging roads in the hopes of getting it into fourwheel drive. Steve napped. The worst potholes I’d just about ever seen, and Steve… slept. Like a baby.
We — ok, I — found a beautiful lake, which I woke Steve up for.
By this time Steve was mostly awake, so I celebrated by driving through a big puddle.
We went back home and had icecream from Dairy Queen. Ahhh, Dairy Queen.
Steve took more sunset pictures and stalked the crane some more. Um… heron. We shared our (fitfully burning) fire with a very nice couple from Edmonton who were tenting, like us. You know, there were tons of people there in campers and the only really friendly ones showed up in a tent. Coincidence? I think not.
And that was Thursday.
Friday we went home to Gibsons, and ate yummy breakfast while waiting, again, for the ferry. This guy ran the snack shack and was friendly.
He offered that we could go pet his horse and miniature mules (yes, miniature mules). They were all very friendly and cute and dirty, and we pet them and fed them grass, which they appreciated for just long enough for someone else to come by and bring them grass.
The shack-guy also said that to stop wasps from coming into the house, hang up a bag full of water just outside the door. He swore by it, though I have yet to try it out. While we were there, tons of locals came by and chatted about all kinds of stuff. It felt very comfortably rural.
In short, we enjoyed Powell River very much. It never actually rained on us (though we put the top on the jeep for precautionary purposes), we did in fact get better rather than sicker, we read books and lounged and napped on our air mattress and generally had exactly the downtime we needed after the civilized chaos of the wedding.