We started our final day in Victoria by walking around Canada’s oldest Chinatown. There were the typical shops filled with cheap knickknacks. It was most fun to just squeeze down the narrow alleyways and admire the brickwork of the buildings.
We tooled around the tourist part of downtown Victoria and stopped in at a bookstore followed by a macaron shoppe. Both places were greeted by our kids with enthusiasm.
On our drive back to the ferry terminal- we stopped at The Butchart Gardens. I always wanted to visit this place, but never made the time to do so. Unfortunately, because it is autumn- the garden was rather lackluster. I’m sure it is far more vibrant and lovely in the spring and summer when the rose garden is in full bloom.
I did enjoy walking through the Japanese Garden and the Italian Garden. The time of year was good for the fact that it wasn’t crowded. Perhaps one day I shall see it in the spring time. But it has taken me until ages 44 to go my first time, so there may not be a second time. Especially since there is so much more of the world to explore.
At the end of the day we got lucky and made it on a ferry an hour earlier than planned. All of our walking had made us very tired, so that hour made all the difference in our trip. I do look forward to visiting Victoria once again some day. I have always enjoyed traveling there.
On Sunday we booked High Tea at The Empress in Victoria for the family. Over the decades of traveling to Victoria- I’ve always wanted to see the inside of The Empress. My wife and I wanted to make this trip to Victoria special for our daughters. Our sixteen year old had never been here, and our eighteen year old needed a way to celebrate her high school graduation.
Walking into The Empress is overwhelming and intimidating. Every bit about it was elegant. From the piano player to the china with which our tea was served- posh is the word that comes to mind.
We did our part by dressing in our Sunday Best. The kids behaved in their best possible manners as well. We got some great photos with beautiful smiles.
My wife and I chose a Rose tea that was a favorite of Princess Diana. Our children each chose a flavour that matched their palette. The food which was served was decadent and delectable. We were presented with fabulous tea sandwiches and desserts.
This trip was probably the most extravagant experience we have ever shared as a family. From staying in the penthouse suite to experiencing a high tea- this weekend getaway was a one of a kind local journey.
Moments like these matter most to us. My wife and I hope that our children will talk about this in years to come.
We arrived in Victoria, BC at 9:55 Saturday morning. We were all extremely hungry, so we lined up at Jam Cafe and waited an hour to get in for some of the most amazing brunch meals ever. Seriously, I had an eggs Benedict on top of deep fried chicken- my belly was in love. My espresso was perfect and well needed to get me through the day.
Afterwards we headed for a walk towards the Royal BC Museum. We took a couple of tourist photos along the way including in front of the parliament building and The Empress hotel. We also had some fun with our photos.
After a three hour wander through the museum, we headed to our hotel- Victoria Regent Hotel, turns out we got upgraded to a penthouse suite on the top floor! The kids love it. We watched the sun set over the harbour and caught a sea plane landing from overhead.
As night fell, we enjoyed the views of the lights and my daughter and I decided to head out for an evening on the town and took some more tourist pictures. Lots of walking had us passing out early and ready for another day of adventure.
The family was woken up by 4:30am and we were on the road 45 minutes later. We had packed up the night before in order to get those few minutes more of sleep. It was an early morning in order to maximize our weekend away.
It was a rainy drive to the ferry terminal. Knowing it was a going to be a busy weekend, we decided to book a reservation on the ferry so as not to wait. We had about 30 minutes to sit and wait prior to boarding. The rain eased off as we departed for the waters.
My wife and youngest children brought the Nintendo Switch to keep themselves occupied during our hour and a half sailing. I chose to take a nap and our oldest read a book.
As you can see from the picture of the family- the ferry was fairly empty. Departing at 45% capacity due to COVID precautions. It’s one of the only times I’ve enjoyed the ferry ride. I’m not a big fan of crowds or people being near me. I was far more comfortable taking my brief nap.
The sun attempted to break through the clouds on our journey across the water. We passed a few other ferries along the way with a few toots from the horn of the vessels.
Our day was truly about to begin once we docked. A list of activities were planned for our brief time away this weekend. I’m looking to the time spent with the family.
Living in the countryside has its advantages. My commute to and from work can be long and tiresome. I try and use that time to decompress and leave the workload behind me. Driving home from a night shift lately has been rather pleasant.
I enjoy the sunrise in the autumn much more than any other time of year. The sun is at a slightly different angle as well as a bit later to rise. A misty morning makes the light of day shimmer with a hazy aura. As if the trees are glowing and preparing to change colors.
Having trees all around my neighborhood makes for a peaceful autumn morning. A freshness is in the air. One that you cannot experience in the suburbs or city. It clears my head and relaxes me on a daily basis. My own little zen experience.
An autumn morning drive fills me with contentment. This world is a pretty place.
When you live in an amazing province in one of the greatest countries, it’s hard to not be proud. With today being BC Day it’s just one more reason to celebrate living here.
I love sharing my adventures around the province here on my blog. With thousands of photos and hundreds of stories told, I didn’t know what to share. Instead I’ll be watching my friends as their share their photos and follies on Instagram.
So get out there and enjoy this wonderful province of ours. It’s no wonder they call it Beautiful British Columbia.
Today my wife and I set out early to go kayaking at Hayward Lake. About a 45 minute drive from our home just north of Mission, BC. It was a good thing we left when we did. The park gates get closed for parking once the lot and overflow is full. Which happened today within an hour after they opened this morning. The beach and park was busy, but not crowded. COVID precautions seemed to be adhered to.
The paddle on the lake was really calm. We first headed up towards the BC Hydro dam before venturing out into the lake. It was really neat to check out that aspect of the lake. Not many people ventured that way, so it was extra quiet.
After our kayak, but before we departed, my wife and I went on a short walk along the trails. We ended up at the Powerhouse and read up on hydro electricity. Nothing like getting educated while exercising.
Exploring parts of BC has been a ton of fun over the past few years. This year especially with the lack of opportunities to leave the province and country. I’m also enjoying the quality time I get to spend with my wife. It feels as if we are dating once more on the cheap- like when we first met and had no money.
We still have no money, but our belts aren’t as tight as they once were. So exploring the Lower Mainland is a great way to see parts of our community and spend money locally.
Yesterday we took advantage of the overcast weather and headed on a hike around Weaver Lake. It was a good thing that it wasn’t sunny.
My friend was adamant that it was a 12km hike. My wife was saying that people do the hike in three hours. Neither sounded appealing to me. Especially since each of us were breaking a sweat within the first kilometer.
The trail was overgrown in some parts, and difficult to maneuver in other parts. I was glad that there were orange markers set up in trees along the path. There was also milepost markers every 500 meters telling us the distance traveled.
As we hit the 6 km marker we were at 2 hours and 45 minutes. We rounded the corner and we were at the base of the campgrounds. Turns out the trail was roughly 6 kilometers. I was overjoyed the it was over.
Honestly, it was a more challenging hike than I expected. Lots of rough terrain and constantly up and down the hillsides. Well worth it for the views. I’m glad it was shorter (distance wise) than we expected. The kids were happy as well.
I am so happy that my wife had us pick up a couple of kayaks last summer. We go a lot of use out of them last year, and we don’t want the momentum to stop this year. My wife joined a kayaking group on Facebook and there have been some great locations shared. Today, we drove about thirty minutes away from our home to enjoy a spot.
I want to start off by saying, it took me longer to get the kayaks ready today. That was because our fourteen year old son wanted to learn how to strap the kayaks to the car and he did the majority of it. There is a bit of an art to getting kayaks tied down, so I was glad to share the knowledge with him. I also enjoyed just chatting with Theory. He’s a bright kid who is always curious about how the world works.
Onto my wife and I and our afternoon. We found the small boat launch with ease. There was a few people around fishing, but no boats on the river. So we unloaded quickly, sunscreen and bug spray was applied and into the water we went.
My wife described the water as “Glass” and she was right. It was one of the smoothest paddles I have ever experienced. The water levels were so high, that at times we were not just going through tall grasses, but literally floating through the trees. It was calm and amazing.
We spent a good two hours just casually enjoying the views. We saw Canada Geese, ducks and a couple of cranes. It was quiet and peaceful as we wandered out.
By the time we returned, there were four more kayakers hitting the water. There’s something about kayaking that brought up conversations with strangers. We chitchatted with a few people as we packed up, because another couple of groups showed up. This spot is appealing right now because of the high water level and calmness. In a couple of weeks, the water will drop and the river will have an entirely different feel.
Chances are my wife and I will go back in a couple of weeks to see the change. But until then, there is so much more of British Columbia to explore. If you missed my Instagram video, here is a quick shot of a couple of cranes that we saw:
The weather over the next few days, and leading into November, is supposed to be beautiful. Maybe not with the warmth of a summer day; but rather a mid-day sunshine while wearing your favorite sweater and sunglasses kind of day. Plenty of opportunities to enjoy the changing colours of nature to be had if one so chooses.
I plan on taking it easy during my free time. I’ll probably chill out a bit more on my deck and stare out into the yard, admiring the tranquility that we are surrounded by. The brisk air keeps many people quieter as they begin to warm themselves more frequently indoors. The woodland animals are slowly preparing to migrate and hibernate. Slowly the sounds outside quieten to a faint whisper.
Our last day at Twenty Mile Bay started like every other day. It was warm and sunny out.
First thing after breakfast, my buddy and I hit the lake on the kayaks. It was calm and glass like on the water.
Later in the afternoon, I went out kayaking with my wife. We were out for about an hour or so on the water. As we returned the water began to get choppy. It was still warm out, so I grabbed a camping chair and sat with my feet in the water.
Then the wind picked up. My wife brought out our kite- nicknamed “Mighty Kitey“. We bought this kite on our honeymoon back in 2001. My wife gets great joy proving that she can keep it flying longer than I can. The wind continued on into the night sending a warm breeze through our campsite all night long.
Right before dinner, our daughter suffered a terrible accident. She took a sip of her soda that was poured into a glass with a straw. Immediately she spat it out. A wasp had climbed into her drinking straw and drowned. She had a mouthful of pop and a dead wasp in her mouth. As she spit it out, the dead wasp happened to sting her inner lip.
An old trick I learned came into action. We cut a fresh onion and she placed it behind her lip where she got stung. The juices from the onion helped to nullify the venom in her mouth. Within a few minutes the swelling was down and she was only left with some bad breath.
Crazy end to our lovely camping trip, that’s for sure.
Last week I mentioned how we bought a couple of kayaks. (Read about it here: Ack Ack Kayak.) On Saturday this week, my wife and I finally took them out for the inaugural testing.
After a bunch of online searching to find a good first spot to kayak, we ended up at Blackie Spit down at Crescent Beach in White Rock. I woke up early and secured the kayaks to the roof of my Rogue. But it wouldn’t be for another couple of hours before we would depart. We made it to White Rock by 12:15pm and hit the water pretty soon after. I was shocked at how few people were at the beach today.
My wife and I paddled around the harbor and pier. Our two youngest came to the beach with us and found themselves a spot to hang out. After an hour or so on the water, my wife and I met up with our kids and they took a turn on the water. Once they were done, my wife and I paddled back to a spot closer to my car and the kids walked over.
Once at the car, everyone pitched in to get the kayaks on the roof and secured up. The parking lot was getting busy and people were filling up every available spot. I figured we should get going home so that someone else could take my spot.
All-in-all it was a fantastic day. I hope to explore more places while out on the kayaks. For now though, I’m kinda stiff and sore using muscles I had no idea I had.
On Friday night my wife and I often take our children to a thing called “Dry Land Training” at our speed skating coach’s home. This involves a 30 minute drive followed by a two hour training session. Sometimes my wife and I stay to chat with other parents. Other times we go grocery shopping up the road. Last night we went for a walk at one of the local parks.
This is a typical park setting. With signage and info about the land. It was a beautiful stroll through extremely well kept trails. But there was one thing that made this park stand out amongst other trails in BC.
Birds. Lots of birds. And birdhouses!
On top of several pillars in the marsh were numerous birdhouses. Every single one of them occupied with a feathered friend. The houses that were close to the pathways had birds that weren’t scared of people wandering by. This made me happy. They watched and sang as my wife and I meandered along the pathways.
We chatted and strolled holding hands and just enjoying nature. We greeted only a couple of other folks along the way. It was like we had our own little private forest filled with song. It was a nice way to relax on a Friday evening with my wife.
I have a feeling we will visit the Silverdale Creek Wetlands again in the future. I hope that this will get others to visit there as well.
First couple of days at Twenty Mile Bay were beautiful as expected. We set up camp and my wife came up with a genius layout. We used the back of the Rogue as a pantry while we were there.
Once we unloaded, we hit the water. And had a ton of fun. Harrison Lake was as beautiful as it has been every year. My wife and I enjoyed the tubing at Leavenworth so we bought a couple for this camping trip.
We ended with a calm night by the fire. Some toasted marshmallows for a quick sugar rush. Putting a marshmallow between two chocolate chip cookies FTW.
We did enjoy the wind on the second day as it pushed us down the lake into the bay on our inflatables. The kids got their kites out and did their best to sail them as well. Lots of laughs as the wind gusted heavily. We even spotted someone else’s lost kite in the trees.
So far the weather had cooperated. It was a great couple of days to get started.
This was the last weekend before summer ended. A friend of mine from work texted me late Thursday evening and invited me out to his family’s cabin the next day. It sounded like a great little escape.
First we drove for a little over three hours. Then we had to get to the cabin by boat. The lake was calm and the sky was clear. As soon as we arrived, we powered up the solar panel charged batteries. “More than a Feeling” plays over Mountain Radio.
The cabin has been in my coworker’s family since 1969. It has since been through numerous renovations and is decorated in eclectic cabin features. From handmade wooden cabinets to a variety of old couches and chairs. Mismatched blinds and vinyl flooring. Numerous dishes that look like they’ve been scavenged from thrift stores.
All of it beautiful.
We spent the afternoon and evening casually floating around the lake trying to catch fish. I caught a fish. Woohoo! My friend taught me to skin and gut the fish.
As the evening progressed, we drank beers and a Barrel of Sunshine. With no cellular service to distract us we had great conversations about life and family. One night away was the perfect way to enjoy the last weekend of summer.
Last year I took my children to a local water hole to cool off from the summer heat. It was a place that was shared with me about twenty years ago. When I posted photos of us last year, some of my old friends got all excited and were like: “I remember that place!”
After sharing about the rope swing and the shady pool of water, more of my friends asked where it was so that they too could go with their children. There’s no greater feeling of joy than sharing a little piece of paradise with friends. Later, I saw photos of my friends and their children enjoying a cool dip on a hot summer day. Today I brought another friend there to share an afternoon of doing nothing, but having fun. Even our dog cooled off from the summer heat.
The water isn’t chlorinated. There is no payment required to enter. There’s no fancy waterslide or waves. Not everything in life costs money. Today was all about just enjoying life. Taking the time to experience nature and put down our devices can be very fulfilling. My children even made some friends for the day and splashed around having a great time.
Sure my phone came out to grab a few pictures, but hey, that’s what being a parent is all about. I need to get some embarrassing shots for future use as well…
I love finding out about new places to explore locally. A big thanks to all my friends over the years for sharing these places. My children and I look forward to going around to these locations every time.
I don’t think I’ll ever move from my home. We live about 35 minutes away from Vancouver, BC. Our home is older, but has character. We have a large yard and lots of trees for privacy, yet we know all of our neighbors. There are local farms that sell fresh fruits and vegetables within walking distance. My wife and I have years of plans laid out for our home and property. We are here for life.
The rest of BC has so much to offer in the way of sightseeing as well. Recently, I explorered some of Golden, BC- about a seven hour drive from our home that sits close to the Alberta border. Our previous visits to this town had us rushing through without ever taking a second look. This time- I’m glad we stopped. As we walked around the small town we read the plaques giving us tidbits of history and enjoyed the close up views of the mountains and the Kicking Horse River.
My advice when you travel: Take a few moments in an unknown town to see what the locals know all along about what makes their town special.