Hope to Hell's Gate, a road that takes you on a winding journey of exploration, magnificent scenery, and a chance to experience Hope and Hell all in one road trip.
Just like life, this beautiful drive through the Fraser Canyon, listed as one of the Top 5 Scenic Drives in British Columbia, is full of twists, turns, and tunnels. Taking the Trans-Canada Highway 1 from Hope to Cache Creek began the first leg of our trip to see some of the most magnificent scenery British Columbia has to offer. Our first destination was a stop at Hell's Gate. We opted to not ride the Airtram to Hell.
- The sound of crashing waves
- Peace and quiet
- Fresh marine air
- Sand between my toes
- Nature's Glorious Beauty to remind there is still greatness which surrounds us
- Solitude so I can dream
- And a joyful memory to take with me into the New Year
Upon our arrival, I was pleasantly surprised. We stayed at the Lighthouse Inn, but check in is at their sister property, Inn at Cannon Beach. We were greeted by the same person who helped over the phone, check in was quick and easy, they had warm delicious cookies for guests, and over 400 movies to choose from. The Lighthouse inn is conveniently located in town, everything was within walking distance; the beach, restaurants, shops, grocery store. We had a 1 bedroom suite with a small kitchenette, a large tub (this was a treat for me), a fireplace. Comfy, cozy, clean, and convenient.
A few facts I learned at the Tillamook Diary:
- Tillamook means "Land of many waters."
- The produced 15 gallons of milk a day.
- In the 1800's, butter was the first diary product introduced.
- There are 6,220 gallons of milk in one vat.
- 165 lbs of salt is used for every 53,500 lbs of cheese.
- They cut about a million pounds of cheese in a week.
Now, almost twenty years later, we set on the road from Parksville to Tofino again. Flashbacks of memories hit me as we start the journey. We take Highway 4A out of Parksville and no sooner do we leave Parksville do we come to the small town of Coombs. I remembered from years past the goats on the roof. Only this time the roof was without the goats. They are still there, just not out on this day. Oh well, time to toodle on.
It's 33 km to our next stop... Port Alberni.
The trip years ago was in April and one of the things I remembered most was a river along the highway just before you descend down the mountain range to Tofino. We had stopped suddenly then to see why so many cars were pulled over, it was because the river was roaring over large boulders. It was an amazing site. This time we made a point to watch for this location, we found it, only the river was more somber since the water level was low. Still we pulled over, snapped a few photos, snacked a little, then carried on.
Back on the road to Tofino.
This must visit area is located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island and is a magnificent piece of Mother Nature's artistry. As you turn right on the highway to Tofino, the sides of the road are blanketed with heavy forests of tall trees, These heavily occupied rainforests have withstood time and Mother Nature's stormy abuse. You can't help but be in awe of their strength and their endurance.
We turn left on the road that leads to the entryway to Wickaninnish parking lot. From the parking lot it is a short hike through the brush, which suddenly opens up to a expansive view of the Pacific Ocean. The tide was out and the sandy beach beckoned us to stretch our legs and crashing waves called us to venture closer. With seagulls flying overhead, squawking as they flew, the waves crashing to shore, and the beauty of Mother Nature at her best, we were in heaven. You cannot help but feel at peace in these surroundings. Breathing in deeply, stress vacates the body and soul, leaving you relaxed and quiet.
We strolled closer to the waves, attracted to the surfers trying to catch a wave worth surfing. Camera in hand, I am mesmerized by the beauty of the area, the surfers, and the reflections in the sand. A photographer's paradise.
Businesses catering to the many visitors now swarming this small community are intermingled with its old history. The town had settle into a comfortable accord between maintaining its history, the fishing and marine industries that created the area, and the growing new industry – tourism.
Cathedral Grove's network of trails take visitors on a journey through time and awe-inspiring wonder. Towered by ancient Douglas Fir trees, the oldest around 800 years, we are reminded of the amazing beauty Mother Nature offers and why it is so important to preserve it. If you quiet your mind, you can hear the quiet sounds of this majestic forest as it settles in for the night.
This was our last stop on the Road to Tofino and back again. It made for a long day, but it was worth every minute.
Being an island, the only way to arrive is by plane, boat, or ferry. The Washington State Ferry leaves Anacortes, WA and arrives in Sidney, B.C. This time of year there is only one sailing and you must make reservations. The ferry makes a brief stop at Friday harbor, the last U.S. stop before heading into international waters on the north side of San Juan Island.
Sunshine, pale blue skies, and wispy clouds greet as we cross the imaginary line indicating we are leaving U.S. waters and entering Canada. Sparked with anticipation as we venture closer to our holiday weekend, the island life and small communities beckon us to visit. The first stop as we finally make it through customs is the Sidney Bakery. We needed a sweet treat from this popular bakery to greet us as we start our adventure.
Sidney is located on the northern end of the Saanich Peninsula, so we have to drive south in order to catch Highway 1 north. We don’t make it far on the highway past Victoria before traffic is diverted. An accident involving a tanker truck shut down Highway 1 in both directions, the main arterial for the island. Our 2 1/2 hr drive north now turned into a 5 plus hour drive.
We turn around and catch Highway 14, which takes us along the south end of the island and over to the west coast before we can finally head north again. What is normally a two lane highway use to logging trucks and very little traffic has become the main road for north and southbound traffic diverted from the only major highway on the island.
The drive is scenic as it winds along the coast, the pacific ocean providing an expansive view. We stop in Sooke for a quick lunch and a bathroom break. Luckily we had a full tank of gas because it was the last real stop for miles (or kilometers.) Lines of traffic fill the road as we follow each other on this rural road. We briefly stop at Jordan River to watch the wind surfers. Even though we’re on holiday and flexible, we still have a long drive ahead of us so we only stay for a few minutes. We breezed through Port Renfrew. I wanted to stop but the traffic was moving steadily so we stayed the course.
We finally arrived at our destination, a cute little cottage in Nanoose Bay. It was seven hours later, tired and ready to remove ourselves from the car, we snuggled in for the night. After all we still had more adventures coming.
Then it happens—a Spring day. Birds chirp, bees buzz, the sky is painted in various hues of blue, and the sun spreads light and warmth. We emerge from our winter hibernation and venture outside, shedding our winter gear and ready to hike, bike, walk, or simply sit outside soaking up the long awaited sunshine.
Surrounded by beauty and some of mother nature's best landscapes we are offered some of the most scenic spots to visit, and all right here in our backyard. Mountains, beaches, islands, wildlife, seascapes, trails, forests, it calls to us and we answer with a roaring—yes.
It is days like these that remind us why we live here. Suddenly we go from dull gray to a visual explosion of color and beauty...a true work of art. Trees are blooming, flowers blossom, sunlight shines on the water, the mountains shine in all their glory, and life feels alive again. Out of the darkness of winter comes spring and a blast of light.
Life is full of beauty, gratitude, fresh air, sunshine, and color. Enjoy it, we deserve it after months of gray, dark dullness.
Short Stories of passion, of life, of people.
As I See It
Beautiful Scenic Drives
Couples Who Work And Play Together
On The Job
Places To Stay
Stories From The Front Porch
Washington State Ferries