Fenton & White Wend Their Way Home

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THE JOURNEY HOME TOOK US THROUGH THE LAND OF TALL TREES ONCE MORE

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We were so glad to see the Tofino/Ucluelet area, and we hope to some day return to explore more of this magical landscape.  Sadly, all  trips eventually must come to an end and it was time to check out of our loft and point the car eastward.  We returned along highway 4 and stopped two hours into the drive to stretch our legs.

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THE CATHEDRAL GROVE TRAIL IS A WONDERFUL STAND OF DOUGLAS FIR TREES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL SMALL

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The Cathedral Grove Hiking Trail is a short level walk that allows you to stroll among the giants.

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BOARD FENCES GUIDE YOU ALONG THE INTERPRETIVE TRAIL

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It was a sunny day,  but in the shade of the trees there was a chill and  we put on sweaters and a light coat to keep the cold away.  This area is a bit more mountainous than the far west coast and the temperatures here are noticeably cooler.  The foliage is no longer dense rainforest, but thinner patches of fern and plants that grow in more acidic soil.

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THE SUN PEEKS THROUGH TO THE FOREST FLOOR

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THE TREES GO WAY UP

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So how tall are the trees in Cathedral Grove?  Well the biggest one is actually taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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NATURE MAKES MAN-MADE STRUCTURES LOOK LESS IMPRESSIVE

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LOOKING UP AT THE TALLEST TREE IN THE FOREST CAN PUT A KINK IN YOUR NECK

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There are some unique features to this trail, including a tree that had a small, naturally occurring hollow where the base of the tree was starting to deteriorate.  Someone lit a fire near the base, which damaged the tree in an unusual way.  The flames got into the sap and burned out a section of the inside of the tree, but the top of the tree is still alive … and the bottom … the roots in the soil didn’t burn, so the tree still stands.

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PETE STANDS INSIDE THE HOLLOW TREE IN CATHEDRAL GROVE

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THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN WITH A FLASH INSIDE THE TREE.  YOU CAN SEE THE SCORCH MARKS FROM THE FIRE

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THE UPPER SECTION OF THE TREE IS ALIVE AND HEALTHY

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The interpretive signs explained that the two primary enemies of trees this size are fire and wind.  In fact during windy days, it is not advisable to walk on the trail as it is possible that a tree with shallow roots may come crashing down.  There were a few cedars among the Douglas Fir and we discovered that when a tree falls, that there is a natural preservative in the sap in the wood that can sustain the structure of the log for up to 1000 years before it starts to decay.  Bugs and birds slowly chip away at the surface and over many centuries, the wood begins to crumble providing a fertile environment for new trees to grow out of .  This fallen tree is known as a nurse log, as it nurtures younger trees.  Only one in a thousand trees that grow on a nurse log survive.

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FENTON AND WHITE BID FAREWELL TO THE FORESTS

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We drove another 90 minutes and checked into our hotel in Nanaimo.  Our plan was to relax for the evening.  We arrived early enough to go and see a movie at a local theatre and then picked up take-out Thai food and lounged about in our room, reflecting on our Vancouver Island adventure.

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OUR FINAL FULL DAY MADE FOR A GLOOMY CROSSING FROM NANAIMO TO VANCOUVER

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We rose early the next day and took a ferry from Nanaimo to North Vancouver.   This is a large ferry with multiple indoor passenger decks and outdoor viewing decks similar in size to the ferry we had crossed over to Victoria on.  The crossing takes 95 minutes and the ferries run every two and a half hours.  The fare was close to $90 for the car and two passengers.  The picture above shows the rainy weather and gloomy skies, but by accident we captured a young couple embracing on the edge of the car deck in the lower right corner of this shot.

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A FEW LAST VISITS TO FIT IN BEFORE DEPARTING

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After turning back the car in Vancouver and checking into our hotel, we fit in one additional afternoon and evening visit.  This is a photo of the afternoon visit with friends Brian and Cori at the Craft Beer Market where we drank beer and ate a lot of nachos … just like we used to do in my university days.

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WE ARE SO LUCKY TO LIVE IN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY

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The following morning, we took the sky train to the airport and flew back to Toronto.  When we look back on this trip, we will think of friends, gorgeous gardens,  fine food and drink, tall trees, endless beaches, and sea lions and whales.  We are lucky to live in such a beautiful and varied country and it is humbling to see places that make us understand how small we are in a larger world.  We hope that you have enjoyed traveling with us through these blogs, and we encourage you to get out and explore the beauty of Canada.  It is truly an extraordinary place.

Gratefully yours …

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Fenton & White

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Fenton & White (& White) Watch Whales

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ON TODAY’S JOURNEY FENTON AND WHITE WERE JOINED BY ANOTHER WHITE … MY NIECE

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The plan for the day was to pick up my niece Rachel who works at a hostel in Ucluelet and go whale watching.  We ate an early breakfast, hopped in the car, picked Rachel up and then headed north to Tofino.  We chose Remote Passages Marine Excursions for our tour based on their stellar reputation on TripAdvisor.  The full day adventure to the Meares Island Hot Springs was all sold out, so we decided on a 2 1/2 hour whale watching tour that left later in the afternoon.  That gave us a bit of time to visit, go to a few more beaches and get a bite of lunch.

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OUR FIRST STOP WAS TONQUIN BEACH

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Tonquin Beach is a nice easy 3 kilometre hike from a parking lot just a few minutes drive from the core of Tofino.  The trail meanders through the rainforest, and an easy descent of just over 90 stairs takes you to a sheltered beach.

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DURING LOW TIDE THE BEACH HAS GIANT PUDDLES LEFT IN THE SAND

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THERE IS A HEALTHY COLONY OF BARNACLES ON THE ROCKS IN THIS SHELTERED HARBOUR

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We spent about 30 minutes wandering around the small cove, and then made our way back to the car and since we had time, headed south to one of Pacific Rim National Reserve’s crown jewels … Long Beach.  The beach is over 16 kilometres long with huge stretches of uninterrupted  sand.  Unlike many other beaches around the world,  this area is protected from development since it falls within the boundaries of the National Park, meaning there are no piers or other commercial operations along the shore.

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LONG BEACH LIVES UP TO ITS NAME

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The beach is a popular destination for surfers from across North America (and even, from around the world).  The Pacific shelf drops steeply a few hundred feet off the shore creating perfect wave conditions year-round.  The water is cool, but with a wet suit … the surfers manage to keep warm.

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SURFERS HEAD OUT INTO THE WATERS FROM LONG BEACH

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WAVES VARY IN HEIGHT, BUT LONG STEADY CURLS OF 10 FOOT HIGH TIDAL WAVES MAKE FOR PERFECT CONDITIONS FOR LONG RIDES ON YOUR SURF BOARD

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We weren’t quite up for surfing, but we did take off our shoes and walk along the shore as the tide gently started coming in.

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PETE PUTS HIS FEET IN THE PACIFIC

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It was time to make our way back to Tofino and grab a bite of lunch.  Going out on the open ocean is fun, but even on a calm day the rise and fall of the water can be as much as 10 feet between the trough and the crest of each gentle wave.  Having a light meal in your stomach before heading out (at least 30 minutes before you go) will help avoid sea sickness.

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SAFETY IS A TOP PRIORITY AT REMOTE PASSAGES MARINE EXCURSIONS

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We were heading out on a 12 person zodiac for a journey that would take us through Clayoquot Sound and a few miles out into the open ocean.  The company asks that you arrive 30 minutes before the tour to sign waivers, listen to a brief safety lecture and get fitted for your full body flotation suit.  You are told that if you fall in the water, you must pull on the black straps on your legs and pull up the hood and tie it around your chin.  The jacket is designed to keep you afloat, while at the same time allowing certain areas to fill with water that keep you upright and protect the areas where your core body heat is.  The bright orange colour is to make you easy to spot amongst the waves.

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WE DEPART CLAYOQUOT SOUND

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Our boat was called the Sea Raven.  It had seating for 4 along each side, and two rows of 2 in the front.  At the back of the boat were two 200 horsepower motors.  At first we gently cruised past the docks, but once we got into more open water, the guide  revved up the motors … and were were going between 50 and 60 kilometres an hour.  It was exhilarating.

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AS WE ROUNDED THE BEND, THE LAND FELL AWAY AND WE HEADED OUT INTO OPEN OCEAN

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OUR FIRST DESINTATION WAS SEAL ISLAND

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It took us close to 30 minutes to reach a small outcrop of rock known locally as Seal Island.  If you look at the bottom of the island, you will see there are a number of seals bathing in the sun.

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SEALS AND PUPS RELAX ON A SUNNY DAY

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SOME OF THESE SEALS SEEMED CURIOUS WHAT THE STRANGE CREATURE WAS FLOATING BESIDE THEM IN THE WATER … IT WAS OF COURSE … US.

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Remote Passages is a responsible company that takes the safety of the marine life very seriously.  There are strict limits on how close you can get to the animals, and how you approach the wildlife in the water (particularly the whales).  A steady hand and a telephoto lense will get you the best pictures, but sometimes it is hard to take a picture as you simply want to use your eyes and take in the full scope of everything going on around you.

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NOT FAR AWAY, ANOTHER ROCK OUTCROP IS FILLED WITH SEA LIONS

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After watching the seals for 15 minutes, we made our way over to another rocky outcrop where the sea lions hang out.  This resident colony of “stellar” sea lions turned into the star attraction of the tour.

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AT FIRST A FEW CURIOUS SEA LIONS WANTED TO SEE WHO WE WERE

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THEN THEY TOLD A FEW OF THEIR FRIENDS WHO CAME TO CHECK US OUT
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The guide was being really respectful, but these curious animals got quite close to us.  Eventually the guide simply turned off the boat and let them come up to say hello.  Usually only a few of the sea lions show an interest, but the day was sunny and bright and the sea lions were in a playful mood.  Below is a video taken by my niece of the animals surfacing and splashing around about 20 feet from our boat.  Make sure your sound is up on your computer and click on the speaker icon at the bottom of the photo screen after clicking on the play button.    You may notice the rise and fall of the boat.  We were a fair ways out to sea and these rock outcrops have no land nearby.  Needless to say … it was pretty exciting.

SEA LIONS SPLASH AND PLAY TO THE DELIGHT OF FENTON & WHITE & WHITE

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THIS OTTER (IN THE CENTRE IN PROFILE) FLOATS IN KELP BEDS IN WATER 100 FEET IN DEPTH

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Remember how I talked about how long those kelp strands can get?  Well, we were in a depth of about 110 feet of water.  In this area, the sea otters have a nursery.  They live in and amongst the sea kelp, holding onto the floating bulbs, resting on their backs, and nursing the young otters on their bellies.  There were too many otters to count.

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IN THIS PICTURE, ALTHOUGH TRICKY TO SEE, THERE ARE AROUND 25 OTTERS, SOME ON THEIR BACKS FLOATING WITH PUPS ON THEIR TUMMIES.  THE FELLOW IN THE MIDDLE SMILED FOR OUR PHOTO

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The funny thing about going whale watching is that one is only allowed to get so close to the whales … and of course mostly what you see is a tail fin (if you are lucky) or the hump.  On the day we were out, the water was filled with spawn from the herring and we encountered a total of 5 gray whales feeding on the nutrient rich eggs.  The first two whales were surface feeding, which meant they kept their tails below the water, and simply raised their head, sieving the food through their baleen, which is like a giant mesh that filters the food from the water.

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THIS IS A BLURRY PICTURE OF THE HEAD OF A GRAY WHALE FEEDING.

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If you look below, you will see a clearer picture at a distance.  You can actually see that the mouth of the whale is open and it is feeding right at the surface.

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A GRAY WHALE FEEDS AT THE SURFACE

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THESE GRAY WHALES WERE 40 FEET LONG

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These pictures don’t really communicate the scope of the whale, but in the above picture, just below the land on the right side, you can see the head of the whale.  Behind it, you can see the ripple of the upper body, which extends for 40 feet.  It is little wonder that sailors who saw only the top of the head and the ripple behind thought that some sort of snake-like sea monster lurked below the surface.  We moved to another cove where the whales were diving.  They stubbornly refused to show off their tale flukes, but we did see them spouting after they dove to the bottom for food.

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A WHALE SPOUT IN THE DISTANCE

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THIS FIN BELONGS TO A SUN FISH THAT ACCORDING TO OUR GUIDE WAS FAR CLOSER TO SHORE THAN USUAL

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As we went along, the guide would show us other creatures both in the water and in the air.  The above Sun Fish is an unusual creature and it is usually many miles out to sea where it feeds on jellyfish eggs.  It played near the surface, putting on a show for us.  The guide said it was only the second one he had seen this year.

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SOMETIMES … YOU SEEM PRETTY FAR OUT FROM SHORE

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The water is deep, the sea rolls gently up and down and in the heat … we were all starting to feel a little like landlubbers.  We were fine when the boat was traveling at speed, but when it stopped in one position for 15 minutes or so … and the day was hot … well, let’s just say that after two and a half hours (for we spent extra time on the water, making the tour closer to 3 hours) we were ready to head back to shore.

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ANOTHER BOAT SAYS HELLO AS WE HEAD FOR HOME

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WHEN TRAVELING AT SPEED, IT IS IMPORTANT TO HOLD ONTO YOUR HAT

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We got back late in the afternoon, and after we were out of our safety suits, the tour operator offered us cups of soothing warm peppermint tea to calm sea-tossed stomachs.  It was a lovely touch and a wonderful way to end our adventure.

We highly recommend this company.  The guides were knowledgeable, respectful of the wildlife and we saw amazing things.

Next time … the road home.  Until then, here’s a tip of the flipper from …

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Fenton & White Go Wild

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THE WILD PACIFIC TRAIL IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR HIKING PATHS IN THE UCLUELET/TOFINO AREA

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After a refreshing nap, it was was time to take on The Wild Pacific Trail. This amazing stretch of pathways is split into sections that are easily accessed by roadside trail heads with large parking lots.

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THE AMPHITRITE LIGHTHOUSE IS AT THE CENTRE OF A 2.6 KILOMETRE LOOP

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The first section of trail is a 2.6 kilometre circle called the Lighthouse Loop and Terrace Beach Interpretive Trail.  This is a stand-alone section that features graveled paths that hug the shoreline with stunning views of Barkley Sound.  Waves crash along the rocky shores and one can hear the pound of the surf around every corner.

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AT SOME OF THE SMALLER INLETS THE WATERS SEEM RELATIVELY CALM

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AS YOU WALK FURTHER AROUND THE CAPE, VIEWS OF DISTANT ROCKY ISLANDS EMERGE

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GNARLED PETRIFIED TREES SEEM LIKE SLEEPING SENTIENT BEINGS WAITING FOR AN INNOCENT HIKER TO STROLL BY

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THE SURF CRASHES INTO THE ROCKY SHORES WITH A THUNDEROUS ROAR

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THE MIGHTY PACIFIC EXERTS A POWERFUL FORCE, EVEN ON A CALM DAY

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SEA CAVES ARE FORMED AS THE WATER ERODES THE CLIFFS BELOW

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We took close to a hundred pictures along this trail.  Every turn, there was another stunning view.  We encountered a few more hikers on this path, but during the quieter fall months we only saw a couple of people every 5 minutes at stunning vistas where they had stopped to rest and take in the views below.  We spent close to 90 minutes strolling this spectacular route.  When you loop back to the car, you have the choice of driving to another parking area further along the road, or walking along bike paths to another section which is separated from the Lighthouse Loop by 1.5 kilometres of private properties.  We chose to drive further down.  Between kilometres 3 and 4 of the trail (once you pick it up again) is a descent to Big Beach which features a shipwreck and a large open beach area near the water.  This parking lot seemed crowded, and we had enjoyed our solitary beach time earlier in the morning, so we continued down the road another kilometre to the Brown’s Beach parking lot.

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THE WILD PACIFIC TRAIL HAS WILDLIFE IN MANY FORMS

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It is said that in the right season, you can see Orcas in the waters off the shores, and in the woods, you may encounter other animals.  During our time on the trails we saw a few otters in the water, and on the way the wildest animals we saw were dogs on leashes … well … that isn’t strictly true … we did encounter a few other animals.

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THIS BANANA SLUG IS 8 INCHES LONG

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Banana slugs are common in the rainforest.  We saw a number of them in different shades and colours.  They slowly plod along, feeding on the leaves of the rainforest plants.  The above banana slug had a mottled surface to help disguise it from predators when it was on the forest floor.  He had taken a trip to the edge of the path … perhaps to get a better view of the hikers traveling in the vicinity.

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DEER ARE COMMON IN THE PARK

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There were also many deer roaming freely in the area.  They seemed happy to simply ignore us as we passed by.

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THE TRAIL FROM BROWN’S BEACH TO THE ROCKY BLUFFS TRAVELS 3.5 KILOMETRES UP AND DOWN ALONG THE COAST

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The second large segment of the trail is one-way, so however far you travel in one direction, you will have to return back an equal distance to get to the car.  Along the route are a series or “artist loops”.  These little side trails go out to viewing platforms that look onto unique vistas of the coast, providing perfect places for painters, hikers or simply those who wish to stare out at the ocean and meditate.

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THE SUN CASTS A STUNNING PATH OF LIGHT ACROSS THE OCEAN

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THIS RUGGED COAST WAS CREATED THROUGH VOLCANIC ACTIVITY AND TECTONIC PLATE MOVEMENT MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO

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THIS SMALL PLATFORM IS CALLED THE CROWSNEST … BUILT LIKE THE SPOTTER’S CAGE ON A SHIP

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THE OCEAN WAVES CHANGE IN INTENSITY AND SIZE EVERY MOMENT

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The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world with immense tidal power and large shifts in the patterns of the water.  It is easy to simply stare out at the waves for hours and listen to the surf crashing into the rocks below.  We spent three hours strolling along the coast, never making it to the Ancient Cedars section or the bluffs.  It wasn’t about the distance, it was that we kept stopping to admire the view for 10 minutes at a time at many of the viewpoints.  One could wander the trail for a full day.  We were starting to tire and the afternoon mists were starting to descend, so we headed back to our car via the bike path (a slightly shorter route).  We passed by a number of houses including the unique abode below.

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A HOUSE BOAT … OR IS THAT … A BOAT HOUSE?

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FALL COLOURS SHOW OFF AS WE HEAD BACK TO THE CAR

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It had been a wonderful day of hiking.  We were feeling relaxed and although we were planning on barbecuing, we opted instead for a cooked chicken and salad from the local grocery store and settled in for a quiet evening.

In the next blog … otters and sea lions and whales … oh my.

With wild abandon …

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Fenton & White

 

Fenton & White Browse The Beaches

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VISITORS ARE WELCOMED TO TREATY LANDS … WHAT A GIFT TO BE ABLE TO SEE THE WONDERS OF THE COVES AND BAYS OF THIS SECTION OF THE ISLAND

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For our first full day in the park the plan was to prioritize a few hiking trails and take in the gorgeous scenery.  We were told by a young local that when you look out from the west coast of Vancouver Island  … the ocean seems to go on forever.  You can see the earth’s curvature on a clear day.  This young man also said that the next large body of land looking straight west is Japan over 7400 kilometres away.  On our hike we couldn’t see Japan (must have been the curvature of the earth … or perhaps … that 7400 kilometre distance) but the ocean does indeed stretch as far as the eye can see … if the weather is clear.  We decided to try a trail that was a 5 minute drive from our accommodation.  It isn’t well signed from the road which meant that it was considerably less busy than some of the other trails in the area.

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THE MORNING MIST ADDS A SENSE OF WONDER TO THE FORESTS

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The Willowbrae Trail is a 2.8 kilometre path that starts along a wide gravel road and slowly turns into a narrower path as it wends its way through the trees.  As the bog and peat become more challenging to navigate, the trail turns into boardwalk.  At the 2.5 kilometre mark, there is a junction.  If you go to the left, you can descend a long set of stairs from the head of the cliff down to Half Moon Bay.  If you turn to the right, you walk a short distance and descend a long set of stairs to Florencia Bay.

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AT THE JUNCTION OF THE WILLOWBRAE TRAIL, THE BOARDWALK GIVES A CLUE THAT IF YOU GO LEFT, YOU WILL WIND UP AT HALF MOON BAY

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123 STAIRS TAKE YOU SAFELY DOWN THE CLIFF FACE TO THE BEACH

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We are usually early risers so we had made breakfast at the loft and headed out on the trail at around 9 in the morning.  The weather was misty but the sun was shining somewhere above the clouds and the temperature was relatively warm.  We made our way down the many steps to Half Moon Bay and the first thing that struck us when we got to the beach was the simple fact that we were alone.

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THE CRESCENT SHAPE OF HALF MOON BAY IN THE MIST

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We couldn’t see a long way out into the ocean … but we could make out the entire cove, the beautiful sandy beach and there was a certain magic in the air.  The tall trees come down to the water’s edge, and all you can hear is the gentle sound of the surf as the tide slowly comes in.

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PETE STANDS ON THE BEACH ALONE … LIKE A SHIP’S CASTAWAY

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We spent over an hour exploring the tide pools around the beach and slowly walking from one end of the cove to the other.  As we explored, the sun started breaking through and the mist slowly began to rise revealing more of the stunning landscape around us, like a veil being raised from the face of a stunning beauty.

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THE SUN SLOWLY BEGINS TO WARM THE MIST AND CLEAR IT FROM THE FOREST

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PETE TOSSES SHELLS BACK INTO THE SEA

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Peace.  That is the only word that kept coming to mind.  No others around … no cel phones, no computer, no hustle, no worry … just … peace.  Many of the coastal areas are sacred to the local indigenous people and as we sat and watched the waves gently lap at the shore … we got a small understanding of the majesty of nature and the powerful pull of the ocean.

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A NATURAL SETTING WITH LIGHTING DESIGNED BY MOTHER NATURE

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Pictures can not fully capture what happens as the morning sun streams through thinning mist behind the branches of trees almost 100 feet tall.  A single sun beam is broken into several beams that stream in all directions.  What makes it even more magical is that the mist is rising, so the beams waver and seem to play among the branches.

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THE OCEAN KELP IS REMARKABLE

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The beach is strewn with varieties of kelp.  The strands in the pictures above are relatively small.  Later in our trip, we got out onto the ocean waters and were told that they can grow to several hundred feet in length.  These snaky looking vines have bulbs at the ends that float at the surface (and along the length of the stalk) to allow the kelp to draw energy from the sun.  When the tide goes out the stalks are left lying in the sand, but the tubes in the plant maintain their moisture keeping the plant hydrated until the next tide comes in.

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THESE COLOURFUL MARINE PLANTS PUT DOWN ROOTS

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In the top centre section of this photo, you can see something that looks a little bit like brain cells.  This tentacled part of the plant is the root which attaches itself to a solid surface such as a rock so that the plant stays in a fixed position.  When the tide comes in the plant tubes will float and bring the strands of kelp to the surface, but the roots will keep the strand firmly in place so it doesn’t get swept out deep into the ocean.

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WHEN THE TIDE GOES OUT, ANEMONES, MOLLUSKS AND CORRALS ARE EXPOSED

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AND THE BIRDS SWOOP IN AND FEED

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The colourful remnant of a bird’s meal above may be from a painted anemone, or perhaps even a young starfish.  When the tide comes in, it carries a host of plants and animals onto the beach.  As the tide recedes, some of these animals can’t catch a wave and get stranded.  If they have legs (and not all of them do), they must crawl as quickly as they can back towards the receding water’s edge.  Sand pipers are quick to take advantage of the bounty of stranded creatures.  The birds enjoy a daily buffet of sea food on the sand.

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THIS CRAB IS ONLY A SHELL AFTER THE BIRDS HAVE FINISHED THEIR MEAL

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After exploring the cove fully, it was time to go back up all those stairs and explore Florencia Bay.  It took us about 30 minutes to climb the stairs, walk the short distance to the junction point, and take the other fork in the trail which allowed us to descend to a much larger beach.

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FLORENCIA BAY HAS A DIFFERENT CHARACTER

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THE TIDE IS AN EVER PRESENT FORCE ALONG THE BEACHES

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The sky began to clear and we could see further out into the ocean … stretching as far as the eye can see.

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RIVERS OF FRESH WATER MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE OCEAN

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This beach is very wet.  The tide was slowly beginning to come in, and fresh water streams from the cliff at the back of the beach create miniature rivers that flow into the ocean.  At high tide, this beach is almost completely covered with water from both sources.

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THE COASTLINE OF VANCOUVER ISLAND CURVES AROUND TO THE NORTH OF THIS BEACH

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We only saw 3 other people that morning.  I’m sure during high season and later in the day there are larger groups of hikers and beach enthusiasts, but at this time of year …  well, that word again … peace.

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WHAT GOES DOWN, MUST GO UP.

  THERE ARE 173 STAIRS BETWEEN FLORENCIA BEACH AND THE TOP OF THE CLIFF

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We spent a full hour at this beach and as the tide encroached, we decided it was time to head back up all of those stairs to our car and then onward to our loft for a bite of lunch and a nap.  In the afternoon we planned on heading back to the Wild Pacific Trail to see it in the sunshine.  When we had attempted to hike the trail the day before, all we saw was rain and fog.

In the next blog … around every corner a gorgeous, rugged view.  Here’s a wish that reading this blog for a few minutes allows you to escape from the hustle and bustle of your life and feel … peace.

Warmest Regards,

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Fenton & White

Fenton & White Relax In The Rainforest

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THE FERRY FROM VESUVIUS BAY TO CROFTON WAS THE SMALLEST ON OUR TRIP, WITH A MAXIMUM CAPACITY OF 52 CARS

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It was time to bid farewell to Salt Spring Island and drive 10 minutes to the ferry dock on the northern end of the island.  Our voyage would take us 2.8 nautical miles across Osborne Bay and drop us in Crofton about 90 minutes north of Victoria.  Taking this route shortened the drive to our destination in Ucluelet considerably.  As indicated in the previous posting, there are no toll booths or fees to get off the island.  The crossing only takes 25 minutes and with the rainy weather, we decided to stay in the car.  For a full schedule of crossing times, click on the link for B.C. Ferries 

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LOW HANGING CLOUDS HUG THE SHORELINE

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We disembarked  in Crofton around 9:30 and made our way one hour north to Nanoose Bay along highway 19.  We decided to get a coffee and ensure the car had a full tank of gas before turning off onto highway 4 which would take us the 160 kilometre distance to the west side of Vancouver Island.  This road only has services and amenities at the ends of the route so fueling up is highly recommended.

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THE ROAD TO THE WEST SIDE OF VANCOUVER ISLAND IS MYSTICAL

OR IS THAT MIST-ICAL?

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The road to Ucluelet/Tofino is a driver’s delight.  It is paved the entire way and has curves aplenty.  The speed limit is generally 80 kilometres an hour, but due to three steep passes, several stunning look-outs and the prevalence of fog, mist, rain and in the winter … ice, you can count on taking two, to two and half hours to drive the road.  To add to the challenges there are only small sections of the route that have passing lanes, and if you get behind a big truck going up or down some of the steep grades, your speed will slow to a crawl.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I’ve driven roads with lots of hairpin twists, but this road has bends that take sharp and unexpected turns which force you to slow to 30 kilometres an hour on a regular basis.  Although the drop-offs aren’t alarming, there are certainly sections on the passes where you have a rock face to your left, a drop to a lake on the right, and very little shoulder to move over if the oncoming traffic is a wide vehicle. It is a road filled with blind corners and limited opportunities to pass, so bring your patience and enjoy the ride.

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CAMERON LAKE IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO STOP FOR A PICTURE

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Within 30 minutes of leaving Nanoose Bay, we came to the Cameron Lake lookout.  This 43 metre deep lake is in the traditional territory of the Kwalikum First Nation.  It is like a looking glass, and the colour varies depending on the direction you are facing, the amount of sunlight and the reflections of the trees around it.

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IT IS HARD TO DETERMINE WHERE THE TREES END AND THE LAKE BEGINS

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Cameron Lake is on the edge of MacMillan Provincial Park which is also home to the Cathedral Grove hiking trail featuring trees that are hundreds of feet tall, and hundreds of years old.  The weather was rainy and misty and we decided to continue our journey in the hopes that we could find better weather down the road.  We knew that we would be coming back through this way, and we planned to hike the trail through these amazing giants on the way home.

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THE RUGGED COASTLINE FROM THE WILD PACIFIC TRAIL

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Our original plan was to find lunch, walk the Wild Pacific Trail and then check into our accommodation and watch the sun set on Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve before heading back to our loft for dinner.   We stared out on a trail, but the weather was very wet and there was limited visibility, so instead we went for a longer lunch and then hiked a trail that in many ways was even more magical in the rain.

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THE RAIN FOREST IS LUSH AND GREEN

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When you go to an area where there is a thriving rain forest, you have to expect to run into some rain.  Pacific Rim National Park Reserve receives over 118 inches of rain annually.  Systems sweep across the Pacific Ocean and the western side of Vancouver Island is the first land mass which alters the temperatures of those moist weather fronts and allows them to drop their precipitation as they sweep across.

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THE RAINFOREST TRAIL HAS TWO 1 KILOMETRE LOOPS WHICH ARE MOSTLY MADE UP OF BOARDWALKS

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Right in the middle of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve are two loops of a trail called The Rainforest Trail that take you over, through and under sections of … the rainforest.  These interpretive trails have signs along the way that explain the unique ecology of the area. The fall was the perfect time to walk through the enormous trees as the weather wasn’t too hot and humid.  And even though there was a steady drizzle, under the canopy of the rainforest, only a certain amount of moisture makes it to the forest floor.  Droplets fall from height off the branches but even a steady rain won’t fully penetrate the forest canopy.

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THE TRAILS CAN BE SLIPPERY IN THE RAIN

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The boardwalks are designed as one-way trails, and there are caution signs that warn you that the moist wood can be slippery.  We were surprised how rugged the terrain was.  The trails actually have a LOT of stairs.  We didn’t count, but you can bet that at the end of the day, your fit bit will show that you have taken a lot of steps as you navigate the cedar walk-ways that keep you above the bog and guide you through sloping terrain and shallow ravines filled with dense plant life.

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THE PATH LEADS YOU ON A MAGICAL JOURNEY THROUGH THE FOREST

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IN SOME AREAS YOU HAVE TO DUCK TO GET UNDER FALLEN OLD GROWTH TREES THAT HAVE INTENTIONALLY BEEN LEFT ACROSS THE PATH.

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EVEN WITH A NOTCH CUT INTO THIS TREE, I’M TOO TALL TO WALK BENEATH IT WITHOUT DUCKING.

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PETRIFIED WOOD ON THE FOREST FLOOR GLEAMS

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SOME SECTIONS HAVE BEEN RECENTLY REBUILT WITH NEWER WOOD

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MOSS COATS THE TREE STUMPS CREATING FASCINATING IMAGES.  TO ME, THIS LOOKED LIKE AN OLD MAN WEARING A CLOAK OF MOSS

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THE PATH CLEVERLY CURVES AROUND OLD GROWTH TREES ALLOWING YOU TO GET UP CLOSE TO THESE GENTLE GIANTS

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THIS TREE IS VERY BIG AND VERY OLD

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The trees in this area of the forest are close to 800 years old.  Their trunks are over 20 feet in circumference and they stretch hundreds of feet up into the air.  Pete is standing beneath one of thousands of trees in the forest.  It is humbling to realize how small we truly are compared to the wonders of nature.

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 THE TREES ARE SO TALL, YOU CAN’T EVEN CLEARLY SEE THE TOPS

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IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS PHOTO, SEE IF YOU CAN SPOT THE MUSHROOM-LIKE FUNGUS

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The rainforest is a rich environment for trees, plants, animals … and fungus.  Some of them were immense.

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THE TOP OF THIS SHINY FUNGUS IS OVER 12 INCHES ACROSS

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It appears everything in the rainforest is bigger and more majestic – even the fungus.  We spent over an hour meandering the amazing boardwalks and then decided it was time to check in to our accommodation.  We stayed at a sweet place called The Outside Inn.  Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is home to some of the finest surf beaches in Canada (and some might even say in North America).  The owner of our establishment for the night runs one of the local surfing schools (there are many), and also is the local representative for a brand of wet suits.  At times during our stay here, it seemed like we had accidentally landed in California.  A lot of people called us “dude” and asked if we were going to “hang ten” on the waves.  It is a strange juxtaposition of natural beauty on First Nation lands and the young surfers who come to take advantage of the amazing beaches and great waves.  So in keeping with the surf theme, our abode for the next three nights was the “Wick Loft” … as in … wicked cool … man.

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OUR UNIT WAS ONE OF FOUR IN THIS FUNKY BUILDING.  EACH UNIT HAD A SMALL PORCH WITH A BARBECUE.

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THE MAIN ROOM HAD A SMALL KITCHEN WITH MICROWAVE, FRIDGE AND BASIC DISHES

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THE LIVING ROOM HAD A COMFY COUCH AND A TV

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THE BEDROOM WAS UPSTAIRS IN THE LOFT

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OUR BATHROOM WAS EQUIPPED WITH EPSOM SALTS IN CASE YOU WERE FEELING STIFF AFTER A DAY OF SURFING … ER … HIKING.

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Although it was small, it was also quite inexpensive, and was more than enough room for our needs.  It had a lot of charm and would provide an excellent base for our planned hiking and other adventures in the upcoming days.  We decided to go into town and pick up some fresh chowder and rolls and opened up that Pale Ale from our wine tour the day before.  We settled in for a relaxing evening after a great drive and some stunning sights.

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In our next blog … Surf, Sand and Boss Beaches.  Wishing you a smile … even on those drizzly, rainy days.

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Fenton & White

 

Fenton & White Find Fine Wine On Salt Spring Island

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SUNDAY MORNING ON ST. MARY LAKE IS PEACEFUL

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We had been on the road for a week and we decided that Sunday would be a day of rest … sort of.  The plan was to sleep in, make a late breakfast, take a row boat out onto the lake and then have a bite to eat before being picked up for a 5 hour wine tour of Salt Spring Island.

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MAPLE RIDGE COTTAGES PROVIDE FREE ACCESS TO BOATS, LIFE JACKETS AND PADDLES AND OARS

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The morning was clear and bright and the lake was like a mirror.  A perfect day to get out on the water.

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PETE ROWED US OUT TO THE FAR END OF THE LAKE

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Pete  sat at the back and rowed us out onto the water.  At the end of the lake we switched seats and I rowed back.

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SCOTT ROWS FENTON & WHITE SAFELY BACK TO SHORE

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We were proud of ourselves.  We got to the end of the lake and looped around to our starting point, didn’t get wet, and had a glorious morning paddling around on the still water.  We returned to the cottage in time to make a morning tea and have a light lunch before we were picked up for our wine tour.

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THIS IS JASON OUR TOUR GUIDE

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We chose Western Splendour Tours to take us around the island.  The company offers a variety of types of tours, and we chose the one where they pick you up at your lodging, then drive you around the island to 3 wineries, a cider outlet, a brewery, a cheese shop and on certain days … even a local distillery.  At a little before noon, our guide (and owner of the company) Jason drove up in a large white van.   There were a few things that were special about this tour.  For starters, the van is an older model that has been converted to run on used vegetable oil.  Jason fuels the vehicle with filtered oil  which is recycled from restaurants who give it to him after they have finished frying food in it.  We thought this was pretty cool and also represents the environmentally friendly tone of the entire island.  The other amazing thing about our trip was that the second group scheduled to come with us cancelled at the last minute meaning that Pete and I got a private tour.

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MOUNT MAXWELL LOOMS IN THE DISTANCE AS WE TOUR SALT SPRING ISLAND

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We spent the first fifteen minutes talking and getting to know each other and then Jason showed us a map of the island, identified the areas we would be traveling to, and asked if we had any other particular interests.  On some tours, you can peer into the studios of artisans. For us … this day was about locally made wine (and a bit of food along the way).  Jason took us via a range of main roads and side roads that allowed us to see the island from a different viewpoint.  He was knowledgeable about the area, the residents, the history and the wine we were heading to taste.

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PETE PURCHASES OUR FIRST BOTTLE OF WINE AT MISTAKEN IDENTITY VINEYARDS

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Each location has its own style and charm. The first winery had a modern tasting room and we were offered three 2 ounce samples of wine … a rich full bodied red wine, a medium dry pinot gris and a light rose.  We were also offered a 1 ounce sample of wine not yet bottled, but nearly ready for the season.  Each of the wines had a distinct flavour.  We bought a bottle of the pinot to enjoy later in our trip.

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THE SALT SPRING WILD CIDER SHOP HAS A LARGE INDOOR AND OUTDOOR AREA

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Our next stop was Salt Spring Wild Cider, where we met the owners who were pitting large vats of plums for an upcoming concoction. At this location, we were offered a flight of 5 ciders made from apples, pears, elderberry, apricot and a bonus sample of a tasty ginger cider.

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EACH GLASS CONTAINS 2 OUNCES OF CIDER

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So for those of you who are counting, we had almost 7 ounces of wine at the first location, and now we were adding another 12 ounces of cider.  Fortunately, this location also has a kitchen that makes amazing charcuterie boards that include local meats and cheeses.  If you look closely, you can see the back of the charcuterie board behind the row of cider samples in the picture above.  Although we enjoyed the cider, our tastes run to things that are a little less sweet so we didn’t buy a bottle, but enjoyed the meat and cheese we ordered to pair with our cider.  The costs of the wine samples, the driver and transportation is included in the tour … the food is at your own expense and of course … if you buy a bottle of wine after you taste … well, you pay for that as well.

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SALT SPRING ISLAND VINEYARDS AND TASTING ROOM WAS NEXT ON THE AGENDA

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Doing a wine tour is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. By the time we visited with the owners or staff, listened to them explain how they made their wine and what each wine was made from, and then savoured each sample, it was easy to spend 30 to 45  minutes at each stop.  At the Salt Spring Vineyards and Tasting Room we tried some dessert wines paired with sharp cheese and dark bitter chocolate (included free as part of the tasting).  Because the wines were sweeter, the samples were smaller … but even 1.5 ounces of each was enough to get a distinct sense of the flavour.  We wound up buying a dry sparkling wine here to give to friends.

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SALT SPRING ISLAND VINEYARDS HAS A LOVELY OUTDOOR AREA BY A POND

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Most of the wineries are hobby operations averaging only 3000 bottles per year.  The average size of the vineyards is around 7 acres.  There is pride in keeping the products local, right down to the artwork on the labels which is sourced on Salt Spring Island.  We learned that many of the wines are made with locally grown grapes, but sometimes grapes are imported from other locations in B.C. to create blends.  The taste of grapes is impacted by the soil, so to get an earthier, richer wine, sometimes a blend is necessary.   While we were sampling, Jason would talk with other locals, or wander away and visit with the neighbours. We decided we’d like to meet some of them.  It turns out they were a bit sheepish, and when I pointed the camera their way, all but one ignored me.

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THESE SHEEP ARE RAISED FOR WOOL AND SHEEP’S MILK ON THE ISLAND

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We headed off next to the Garry Oakes Estate Winery.  This was our favourite location.  The wines were much richer and fuller-bodied.  We sampled 4 different wines and came away with a beautiful bottle of pinot noir (another gift for friends).

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THESE GRAPES WERE GROWING NEAR THE ENTRANCE TO ONE OF THE WINERIES

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There is an unwritten rule on Salt Spring Island that there is no use of pesticides, and as much as possible, organic growing practices are used to ensure that all of the food on the island is grown in a responsible and sustainable way.   We were delighted to discover that our next stop was going to be the famous Salt Spring Island Cheese Company that makes a healthy and delicious cheese that is marketed all over Canada and into the U.S.

Cheese

THIS IS A VERY VERY GOOD PLACE IF YOU LOVE CHEESE

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The variety of goat cheeses made by this shop are staggering.  The milk is gathered from local goats (and goats from the mainland, for the demand is so high), cultured and set and then cured for 5 days for a soft chevre, or many weeks for harder cheeses. Before packaging, the cheese is mixed with herbs and light oils.   The terrible/wonderful thing about this place is that you can try samples of as many of the cheeses as you want … for free … and it’s all really, really good.  We escaped after 20 minutes of trying tiny pieces of cheese, only buying one of the many amazing flavours, but it was tempting instead to buy one of each … this place is dangerously delicious.

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OUR FINAL STOP WAS FLIGHTS OF BEER AT THE SALT SPRINGS BREWERY

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The distillery wasn’t available on the day of the tour, and it was probably a good thing.  At this point, we had each had the equivalent of 3/4 of a bottle in wines, 12 ounces of cider, a charcuterie platter and a whole lot of goat cheese (with those other bits of cheese and chocolate at the one winery thrown in for good measure).  So to finish the day, it was time to sample the brewery.  We were offered a flight of 5 two ounce glasses from a menu of 9 beers.  We sipped slowly through each one … and picked up a lovely Golden Ale.

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TREASURES OF THE DAY … THREE BOTTLES OF WINE, ONE BOTTLE OF ALE AND A WONDERFUL CHEESE

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By the time we finished our tour, it was almost 5:30.  Jason drove us back via a scenic route.  We were truly thrilled with our purchases and had enjoyed the afternoon sampling the local wines.  If you decide to go … eat a good meal before you start, and remember the goal of the tour is to taste the wine and to get to know the people who run the wineries, not to slug it back and get tipsy.  The pace is leisurely, and although we had a fair amount in small samples, it was spaced out with food along the way.  It was a luxury to have someone else doing the driving (other couples who weren’t on a tour wound up with one designated driver who didn’t sample, and the other partner who did) so this made for a much more pleasant way to share this experience together.  When we got back to the cabin, we cooked a light dinner with groceries we had bought the day before, watched the sun go down over Lake St. Mary and went to bed early.  This was a wise move as the following day we were going to be heading to Ucluelet which was a ferry ride and a 3 hour drive along winding roads from our little cottage on the lake.

In the next blog … hiking in the rain forests of Pacific Rim National Park.

Until then … imagine you are rowing in a boat on a sunny day on a peaceful lake with …

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 Fenton (background) & White (foreground)

Fenton & White Take In The Tide Pools On Salt Spring Island

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THE JOURNEY FROM SWARTZ BAY TO SALT SPRING ISLAND TAKES ONLY 35 MINUTES

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We had enjoyed our 2 days in Victoria, but now it was time to go someplace a little quieter.  We made an early breakfast, bid farewell to the Helm’s Inn and drove 30 minutes back to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal to catch an early morning boat.  The Salt Spring Island ferry is considerably smaller but it has 8 voyages per day to serve the needs of people wanting to visit.

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THE SALT SPRING ISLAND FERRY IS AN OPEN DECK CAR FERRY

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We traveled to Salt Spring Island on a weekend and got onto the morning sailing we wanted by arriving early, but the ferry did fill up and cars behind us had to wait for the next boat.  Reservations aren’t available, so ensure you get to the ferry terminal at least an hour before the scheduled crossing and if you are taking the last sailing of the day …. give yourself extra time if you want to ensure you make the boat. The vessel has 5 rows which hold 10-15 cars each (depending on the length of the cars).  There are stairs to 2 outdoor viewing levels on each side of the boat and along the edges there are inside galleries with seating, small tables, and washrooms.  Since the ride is so short there are no food amenities provided. The cost for the crossing for 2 of us plus the car was around $60 which is a two-way fare as there are no toll booths as you leave Salt Spring Island.  For more information on prices and schedules click here.

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THE MORNING WAS DEDICATED TO A HIKE IN RUCKLE PROVINICIAL PARK

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We disembarked at Fulford Harbour at around 9:45 in the morning.  It was far too early to check into our accommodation and we were feeling energized by the sunny day and the crisp breeze on the crossing, so we decided to do a leisurely morning hike.  In fact the plan for the day was to do a few hikes in the area and simply get back to nature. Our first stop was a mere 15 minute drive from the ferry dock.  Ruckle Provincial Park has 48 walk-in tent sites with stunning views of Swanson Channel.  There are numerous hiking trails that take you around the perimeter of the park as well as past the historic buildings of the original farm owned by the Ruckle family (who still farm a section of the land).  For scuba divers … the area is rich in underwater coastal sea caves and for those who like to scramble along the shore … the tide pools are filled with natural wonders.

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THE SHORELINE TRAIL STARTS IN THE TREES AND HEADS UP A SHORT SET OF MOSSY STAIRS

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We decided to walk the shoreline trail which ran through the woods before it looped into the tent campground along the water.  The trail circled past the historic properties and wound up back on the road we had come in on, a 5 minute walk from where we had parked the car. The whole loop was about 6 kilometres, and at a leisurely pace took us around 90 minutes.  We were impressed with the size of the camp sites and also the decks for the tents to ensure that campers stayed level and relatively dry.

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CAMP SITES IN THE TREES HAVE WOODEN PLATFORMS TO KEEP YOUR TENT LEVEL (AND OFF THE GROUND WHEN IT RAINS)

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OTHER TENT SITES GO RIGHT TO THE WATER AND HAVE LARGE AMOUNTS OF SPACE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR NEIGHBOUR

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WEREWOLVES?

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The trail is clearly marked, and in some areas the trees have blazes on them (small sections of bark removed with a colour painted on the trunk to show the way). The above tree had an unusual pattern as the under-skin of the bark was drying and peeling. With our vivid imaginations, we thought it looked like something had been sharpening its claws on the tree. Of course that isn’t true, but if you camp at Ruckle Provincial Park and hear howling in the distance … well, maybe there are werewolves in the woods!

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TIDE POOLS CONTAIN WONDERS FROM THE SEA

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There are many sections along the trail where you can get out on rocks that have pockets that catch water when the tide is out.  These tide pools contain abundant life that includes sea anemones, crabs, snails, fish,  and small coloured corral.

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A CLOSER VIEW OF THE SEA ANEMONES IN ONE OF THE NUMEROUS TIDE POOLS

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There are also small paths along the route that lead off the main trail to scenic viewpoints such as “Grandma’s Beach”.

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WALKING THE SHORE OF GRANDMA’S BEACH

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This tiny half-moon bay has a stony beach with a stunning view out to the inlet.  Although we didn’t see any on the day we were there, it is not uncommon for seals to come in and play in the calm waters of the sheltered harbour.

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MORNING TRANQUILITY CAN BE FOUND LOOKING OUT FROM GRANDMA’S BEACH

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THIS TURKEY GAVE US THE EYE AS WE WANDERED PAST THE HISTORIC RUCKLE FARM BUILDINGS

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Our loop ended near the historic buildings that include the original farm house and buildings where tools were stored … and made.  Livestock still roam the grounds including sheep, cattle, chickens and wild turkeys.

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PETE EXPLORES THE GANGES/FULFORD WEEKEND MARKET

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It was getting near noon and we were getting hungry, so we made our way back to the car and headed into the central town of of Ganges/Fulford.  Salt Spring Island is only 182 square kilometres and most of the land is farmed or used for livestock.  It is home to many significant artists from famed folk musicians Raffi and Valdi, to CBC personality Arthur Black, to the internationally renowned visual artist Robert Batemen.   Local artisans have studios scattered all over the island and touring all of the pottery and painting studios would take days.   On the weekend you can see many artisans all in one place at the weekend market.  Literally hundreds of tents spring up near the harbour with pottery, fresh fruit and vegetables, local wines and other wonderful foods.  It was so busy it took us nearly 20 minutes to find a spot to park (several blocks away from the harbour).  We took a quick browse and decided it was too crowded for our liking.  Instead, we grabbed some sandwiches from a nearby shop with fresh baking and made our way back to a road that would take us to the highest point on the island.

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Maxwell

THE ROAD TO THE TOP OF MOUNT MAXWELL IS … INTERESTING

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With our sandwiches and sodas in hand, we returned to the car and turned back to the route which would take us to the top of Mount Maxwell via Cranberry Road.  At first, things were easy as we transitioned from the paved surface to a wide gravel road, but slowly … the road began to get narrower, bumpier and steeper.  After the fact, we were told that the road is passable in a normal car but that generally it is best for four wheel drive vehicles.  Local car rental agencies will void your insurance claim if you have a problem on this road.  Although it is only 12 kilometres from the turn-off to the viewpoint, we took a long time to get to the top. The grades can reach 16 to 18 percent, the narrow track often only allows for one-way traffic which means if you encounter another vehicle you may have to pull off (if you can), or back up to a wider section. And the pot-holes if it has rained recently … we averaged about 5 kilometres per hour over the last section of the road as we gently bounced from hollow to hollow.  So was it all worth it?  The answer is an unqualified YES.

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THE VIEWS ARE STUNNING FROM THE TOP OF MOUNT MAXWELL

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On a clear day you can view large sections of Salt Spring Island, see Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and even Mount Baker on the mainland.  There are steep cliffs near the viewpoint that have fences to prevent visitors from falling.  We enjoyed the amazing vista, had a relaxing lunch in the sun while sitting 580 metres above the sea below and then made our way slowly back down the road.  It was now around 3 PM, and time to check in to our accommodation at the Maple Ridge Cottages on St. Mary Lake.

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THIS SWEET LITTLE COTTAGE WAS A BARGAIN AND HAD A LOVELY VIEW

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Maple Ridge Cottages are a 20 minute drive north of the Ganges/Fulford township on a side road on St. Mary Lake.  The property only has 5 cottages and the owners Glenn and Elle are wonderful down-to-earth folks who have built a business that makes you feel like you are staying with family.  We were in the Cedar cottage at a price of $110 per night.

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EACH CABIN HAS A DECK, A BARBECUE AND A PICTURE WINDOW WITH VIEWS TO THE LAKE

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Vancouver Trip 2017 280THE BEDROOM IS COZY

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THE MAIN ROOM HAS A COUCH, FIREPLACE, FULL KITCHEN WITH DISHES AND A T.V.

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After a relaxing morning ferry ride, a gentle hike peering in tidal pools, a stroll through the market and a drive up Mount Maxwell, it was time for a nap.  We unpacked, took a snooze break and then got up to go for a late afternoon drive around the island.  We traveled roads that ran along the coastline and after a short time we saw a trail head for a path that was supposed to lead to a quiet bay.  The trail was only a little over a kilometre each way and it was too early for dinner so we decided to stretch our legs.

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 A SET OF STAIRS BROUGHT US OUT TO THIS STONY BEACH AT LOW TIDE

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At the end of the trail we came out to a stony beach with average views along an inlet, but upon closer inspection, the beach had a magical quality … for the shore was 50% stones and 50% shell fragments.

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COLOURFUL BROKEN SHELLS LITTER THE BEACH

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This was a wonderful way to finish off our day.  We slowly walked back to the car, headed to a local shop with a little pizza outlet … got a large Hawaiian thin crust  and a bottle of wine and settled in to watch the light fade over St. Mary Lake.  It was time to rest up to prepare for the next day’s wine tour!

In the next blog … wining and dining on Salt Spring Island.  Until next time here’s a set of silly smiles from …

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Fenton & White (and some guy in the background we don’t know)

or in this case

White & Fenton (and some guy in the background we don’t know)