Little Qualicum Falls and Englishman River Falls offer well-maintained trails, Rathtrevor Provincial Park offers a 5 km riverside walk and for more intrepid explorers there is a five-hour journey deep below the surface at Horne Lake Caves which includes a seven-storey underground waterfall called the Rain Barrel. For those of us less brave there is Milner Gardens to explore which is rated one of the ten best public gardens in Canada – sadly for me who loves to visit any garden it was only open Thurs – Sun in October. Oh well, another excuse to re-visit the Island. Continue reading Englishman River Falls
On to Coombs and our next B&B which was very close to the Country Market and its famous goats on the roof– also the best ice cream on the island, but ask for a child’s portion because they are huge! Our comfortable B&B was a smallholding in Coombs which had three gorgeous looking alpacas named Willie, Alonso and Jack. There are often other wildlife visitors to the farm including black bears and deer. Unfortunately we didn’t see a bear, but we did see a visiting stag and several deer that I almost ran over as we drove out one evening to visit Parksville. Continue reading Canadian ‘Riviera’
We didn’t want to leave the Pacific Rim side of the Island and could easily have spent another week here, especially as the weather was being so good to us. There was just enough time to squeeze in a little more after breakfast.
A hike down the Schooner trail was a good wake-up hike as it leads through a lovely mature rainforest with moss-draped trees and a golden light filtering through: the boardwalk with its series of steps and ramps leads to the very scenic Schooner Cove.
This is at the northern end of the very long aptly named Long Beach. By the time we’d walked back to the car our knees had definitely had a thorough work-out and reminded me about it for the rest of the day!
Driving back across the Island towards Coombs we stopped at the famous Cathedral Grove where you can wander around a trail through large Douglas Fir and Red Cedar trees. The trees are massive in MacMillan Park and some are over 800 years old with The Big Tree in Cathedral Grove being 76 m tall (which is 20 m taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa) and 9 m in diameter. It is an opportunity to see a west coast rainforest, but I must admit walking through forests is not my most favourite thing, although I do seem to do an awful lot of it and I much prefer the ones that lead to a beach!