Working within the logging industry (he flies helicopters for them) Mark knows loads of logging roads that are dirt roads and we set out early on a quest to Carmanah Walbran country park. Mark and Dorothy have chosen to talk us to take us there in the hope of us getting a bear sighting and because it’s a park with amazing Sitka Spruse trees in it that are now protected and cannot be felled.
We stop quite a few times along the way at various amazing view points, and at one point because Dorothy spots a bear. Unfortunately we only see it running into the bush at the side of the road – a big furry black bum, unmistakably a bear but not the full thing. That said if we see no more today it’s getting banked!!
One of places we stop is new to them and is a great cliff top clearing where someone had obviously set up camp, maybe even does so on a regular basis. It has a huge stone fire pit (used) and a pile of stakes for cooking smokeys on (that’s kinda hotdog sausages we’re told, not Arbroath smokeys). There’s a view of the Pacific ocean and we can even hear the sea lions barking on the shore.
We arrive at the park after a marathon 3 hours drive and find apart from one other guy, we are the only people there. Awesome! Again we are reminded of how lazy we can be in the UK when it comes to travelling any length of time to get to the amazing outdoors we have available to us. First thing we do is have a picnic lunch. Yummy! Then we set off on our lovely adventure.
The woods are fantastic. There’s duck boards nearly the whole way around to walk on. These not only ensure we don’t damage too much of the vegetation but they also ensure we have something solid to walk on. That’s when they’ve not got beyond repair themselves or been flattened by fallen trees.
There is so much to look at – moss covered trees; really tall creek-in-your-neck trees; huge slugs; fungi of all shapes and sizes … but sadly no bears 🙁
After lots and lots of photo-taking and lots of walking we head back to the car. We haven’t given up hope though and everyone keeps their eyes peeled on the drive home. Which pays off in abundance. Not only do we see a bear and get a couple of piccies before it gets spooked, but we also get a cool photo and water reflection of a blue heron, and a very placid elk by the side of the road.
On the way home once we’re back in coverage Dorothy gets a call from Steven, he’s offering to cook dinner for us all. Spaghetti, hhmm hmmm. We thought we were stopping at the supermarket on the way home and were planning to offer dinner by way of a big thank you, but he’s beat us to it. Unperturbed we arrange to stop at a liquor store instead (you have to buy alcohol in separate shops here) and contribute some wine and beer – we have to at least replenish what we drank last night.
Another wonderful meal and great company we have had a truly great day. Thanks guys. Mark you have a lovely family.