This past weekend we spent on Vancouver Island, in Campbell River with our friends Alex, Fergus and their son Emmet. They had moved up to Campbell River a few months ago, and this was our first chance to go and visit with them.
Friday afternoon we took the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, and from there it was about 1 1/2 hours up the highway to Campbell River. I think it was about 7:30 when we arrived and got settled in. It was a pretty relaxed evening, getting caught up and having a few drinks.
Saturday morning we got a relatively early start, and headed about 1/2 an hour away to a small town called Cumberland for some mountain biking. This was the first real test of our new bikes, and it ended up being a great ride. It was a tough ride up, but the trip back down was amazing. I even pushed myself, and rode some things I normally wouldn't have.
After the ride back down, we were ready for a beverage and some lunch. The town of Cumberland is very cool, and has it's own brewery (like every town does these days, or so it seems...). Alex and Fergus headed back to relieve Alex's sister Carmen, who was looking after Emmet so all four of us could ride.
We sat on the patio, had a taster and some lunch. The food was amazing, and the beer was pretty good too. It was a beautiful day, and we were enjoying the patio. After lunch, we wandered the town and checked out the mini town market. Not a lot going on there, but worth a look.
We got back mid-to-late afternoon, and chilled while Emmet napped. That evening, we headed to Alex's sister's house, to hang with them. They are in the process of converting this amazing house, right on the beach just south of Campbell River. Carmen and Craig are very cool, and we had a great evening. Fire, beach, beverages - good times. Sadly, Alex and Fergus had to take Emmet home fairly early, but we stayed and enjoyed the evening.
The next morning we slept in a bit later. Our ferry back to Vancouver was at 7:30 that evening, so we had a bit of time ahead of us. We decided to leave Campbell River just after lunch, to give us some time to explore on the way back, taking the longer, more scenic ocean road rather than the Island Highway.
That still gave us some time to hang out, and so we took a short drive up to Elk Falls Provincial Park to check it out and do a short walk. The park was only a 20 minute drive away, and we took the slightly longer route to give us a chance to check out Campbell River proper. The drive was nice, and we were there in no time.
We got to the parking lot and got settled for our walk in the woods. It looks like they've been doing quite a bit of work on the park, as much of the infrastructure was brand new. At the start. you cross over a bridge over the water pipes that draw off most of the water from the river to the power station downstream. I'm guessing this is an older one, as the huge wooden pipes look like they've been there a while.
We walked out to the suspension bridge and checked out the view points around the falls. It was pretty nice, and worth the short walk. Emmet was having a fun time playing the forest, so we hung out for a bit before heading back to their place to pack up.
After heading back, we had some lunch, then packed up the car while Alex put Emmet down for his afternoon nap. It had been a good start to the day for him. It was fun to have spent the weekend up there. Beautiful spot for sure. Justine and I had decided to work our way back a bit more slowly along the coast, to enjoy the summer-like day. We started by driving back to a viewpoint just at the south edge of town, which had a great view back over Quadra Island and the mainland.
A few kilometers south of Campbell River he made our first stop at Shelter Point Distillery. They make vodka and whiskey in their amazing distillery. We went in and did some tastings and had a bit of tour. I've never seen a place quite as well set-up. Their stills are spectacular - imported from Scotland, as you might expect.
After a short stop, we continued south. Not long after, we made a stop at Miracle Beach, for some exploring on the sands and in the tide pools. The beach was covered with sand dollars, which was very cool. It also had an amazing view out to the mountains.
We continued south for a while, taking a bit of a side excursion to find 40 Knots Winery. It was a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the visit. They had some nice whites, and had a beautiful tasting room.
After our winery stop, we were actually a little bit tight for time. So we pretty much had to drive straight to the ferry from there. The trip was nice, and before long we were on our way back to Vancouver on the ferry, after an amazing weekend on the Island.