It’s amazing how quickly the weeks go by. There’s so much that happens when you have the time to open yourself to new people and experiences. Currently we’re back in the states down on the south coast of Oregon in a beautiful little campground on bluffs overlooking the ocean. We’ve covered a lot of ground (for us) since last writing at the north end of Vancouver Island. Fortunately we’re here for the week as Lisa is doing her first full work week of the trip.
This view is a 10 minute walk from our campsite.
When last we checked in we were enjoying the cool maritime climate of the Johnstone Strait area. We had a great weekend with our new friends Greg and John who we met on our whale watching excursion. They live out on Malcolm Island and we mostly spent the days on their porch discussing the nature of the universe and watching boats and marine life drift by. My most powerful memory of the weekend was of sitting around their firepit on the bluff with another new friend Craig, listening to a humpback whale and her baby blow just off shore. The town parade they took us to was a treat too. It had about half the town in the parade, lasted about 15 minutes and the anticipated band from Vancouver never arrived! These guys reminded me of an old saying: “You’ll know your friends better in a moment than your acquaintances in a lifetime.”
Greg, Craig and John
One of the many waterfalls in Strathcona Park
During our excursions around Vancouver Island we kept hearing people talk about Strathcona Park as one of the most beautiful spots on the island. We felt obligated to check it out and they weren’t exaggerating. We spent four days of relaxed camping and hiking on the shores of Buttle lake which is nestled amongst the snowcapped central peaks of the island. Although we were loathe to leave, I felt a real need to at least visit the legendary granite cliffs of Squamish so towards the end of the week shoved off for the mainland.
Just made it! Boarded the ferry with 2 inches to spare!
What a shock! After weeks of relatively remote environments, the urban environs of the mainland felt jarring as if they were clawing at our souls. It’s amazing all the “needs” that pop up once you get around shops and stores. We managed to resist, for the most part, and caught the Nanaimo ferry to the mainland and battled our way up the construction choked highway to Squamish. To our dismay the camping scene at the base of the Chief, the major climbing area, was overwhelming with bodies packed in every corner of the campground and parking lot. We paid $9 for a parking spot (read: camping) right above the highway construction zone. Fortunately, it was made worthwhile when the next morning Tod joined a group of Quebecers and spent next two days sampling some of the areas excellent climbing and learning French. Lisa, whose knee is slow in recovering from a spring injury, meanwhile explored the bookstore, farmers market and surrounding area of Squamish with the dogs.
We knew that coming back to the states was going to be a rude awakening as we had many errands to run and miles to make. In preparation for our cultural re-entry we spent the night before crossing the border in a Walmart parking lot, where we dined on McDonald’s and shopped at Home Depot until 10PM. I think we overdid the indulgence a bit as we both felt a bit strung out from the sugar and grease as we rumbled across the border the next day. Fortunately the friendly Border Patrol only confiscated all of our dog food (we had just stocked up) and sent us on our merry way.
Once back in the US we first stopped by the beautiful town of Glacier to visit an old friend of Tod’s; Sally Hewitt. In the small world category Sally went to the same high school as Lisa and actually graduated with her uncle Dave. We had a fun evening of catching up on Jackson Hole days, where Tod, Sally and a bunch of other great people worked, and perusing Sally’s yearbooks.
After that it was mostly business as we ran errands in Bellingham, Seattle and Portland for three days. The best part was we managed to catch Lisa’s sister Kim at home, she’s a flight attendant, so we stayed with her outside of Seattle for two nights and got her to chauffer us around on some of our urban errand running. Thanks again Kim, we wouldn’t have survived without you!
Sisters shopping in Seattle
So that brings us to here. Cape Blanco state park is tucked away just north of the mouth of the Rogue River and is a classic stretch of north pacific coastline. A lighthouse, tall bluffs, whales, seals, seastacks, windswept trees, the works! Today we took a two hour hike in between some of Lisa’s phone calls and tomorrow I’ll ride my bike to town to see if I can post this entry before it get’s to much longer. ‘Til next time!