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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Carpe diem!

This morning I was looking at our trail book and decided we would ‘seize the day’ and get out for a hike despite the 100% chance of rain today! As Richard was speaking with our neighbour, while he was emptying our black tank (a once a week job), our neighbour said “you guys get out a lot it appears”. That’s right! We are out rain or shine, grey or sunny! No point in coming all the way to Vancouver Island to sit inside the 4 walls or 3 walls and a windshield, technically of Newman! We could be doing that back home, but it is a lot warmer here for exploration!

Richard spoke with our other neighbour Jim, about when the next propane delivery is to happen in the RV park, since we will need some propane within the next week and don’t want to run out, with colder nights coming next week. He mentioned where we were headed today for our hike and Jim, said we would love the hike today!

So off we headed down Hwy 19, to Hwy 4 and then to Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park, a 29 minute drive from Fanny Bay. The park. which was established in 1940, straddles the Little Qualicum River and incorporates the entire southern shore of Cameron Lake, which is the Lake we stopped at on Monday when we were driving back from Port Alberni.

When we arrived at the park, there was one other car in the parking lot. It’s really nice to be able to hike an entire Provincial Park, knowing we won’t be meeting anyone on the trails. I guess with with rain in the forecast, maybe people don’t want to go hiking?

My All Trails app rated this an ‘easy, out and back‘ trail at only 2.9km, but we hiked off the main trail, did 9 stories, and hiked for about 2 hours. I would say there were definitely parts of the trail that should be rated moderate and not easy!

Getting a bit tricky.

A fairly narrow trail following the river, with elevation.

I actually slipped on this trail, but I ended up sitting right down on a tree root and no harm was done. The trail was very wet and slippery and we were lucky to do half the hike with only a very light rain.

One of my favourite shots today. ‘Nifty 50 lens’. I love the red colour in the forest in December! It so nice to see colours when its so close to Christmas and we are used to no greenery or colour at this time of year hiking back home.

It’s unbelievable to see the massive root structures on these trees and to see the diameter and height they grow to!

Very large 120 foot tree!

We hiked off the main trail and ended up at the campground area. The sites we saw were not serviced, but they were very treed and private, with no one campsite being next to the other. The park has 98 campsites split into two distinct camping areas. I bet this campground is very busy during the summer, as there is a lot of very nice hiking to do right from the campsite.

After hiking off the main trail, we followed the river back down past a set of rapids at the turn of the river.

Rapids coming into the turn in the river. The river is a spawning ground for steelhead and coho salmon and many of the logs and boulders have been placed in the river as part of the ”Watershed Restoration” project in the Little Qualicum River to assist with the salmon’s journey up the river, to their spawning ground.

The turn in the river heading down to the Upper Falls. This was a tricky shot to get and it was only after I put the wide angle lens on my camera, could I partially get the turn in the river.

Little Qualicum River at the bend in the river. Not raining much yet!

The viewing area for the Upper Falls, It was slippery and wet and not really a safe place to be trying to hike up, as it was now pouring rain.

Little Qualicum Falls, Upper Falls

Little Qualicum Falls, Upper Falls

Little Qualicum Falls, Upper Falls. The sound of the water was amazing!

Trying to get the shot of the Upper Falls when its raining and my camera isn’t water proof! Thank god for a great Goretex rain jacket and a warm waterproof wool hat! I also wore my Goretex golf rain pants today since I did not want to be wet!

iPhone picture. Pouring rain and the camera doesn’t capture the Falls very well.

Little Qualicum Falls, Lower Falls. Not as majestic as the Upper Falls, but still pretty nice to see two sets of Falls in one hike.

The hike ended with climbing a few stories of steps! After all of that walking, and then to end on an uphill note!! Challenging to say the least.

We finished our hike around 1pm and thought we would head to ‘Big Foot Burgers’ for lunch. This spot was the burger joint, by the Co-op gas station on Hwy 4, that our golf buddy from Port Alberni that we had met on the weekend had told us about. We had passed it on our way to the Park, so in no time at all, we were there.

Of course...just our luck though, it is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, so no BigFoot Burgers for us today! We will be back though!

We headed into Coombs to see if we could find somewhere for lunch and it was much the same. Lots of places seem to close on Wednesdays around this neck of the woods.

We decided Qualicum Beach would have places to eat since its a hopping little town. Just as we were heading into town though, we saw a sign for another golf course we weren’t aware of! Of course we had to go and do some investigating what this golf course was all about!

The course we had discovered was called Pheasant Glen Golf Resort. The course was designed in 1990 by Doug Carrick and is walkable, set in a tranquil grassy meadow and west coast woodlands. A true Championship golf course! The course looked quite wet though from what we could see, with quite a bit of standing water on some of the fairways. Advance tee time booking for non members is available 5 days in advance and the current rate is $36 for 18 holes. Pull carts are complimentary.

Someone was brave enough to to play today in the rain!

Yes that is standing water on the fairways. We were told to play at least 2 days after it has rained,to not endure a soggy course.

Looks like a great layout with 5 sets of tees on each hole.

Well this new course does sound and look promising, but instead of booking this course, we decided to grab a few more tee times at our favourite little 9 hole course, Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club, because we know it drains well and its a real gem...and I can walk the 9 holes!

We looked around Qualicum Beach, driving around in Jerry. We couldn’t find anywhere to stop for lunch in the rain and we were hungry, so the local Quality Foods grocery store did a great grab and go lunch, and again we ate lunch in Jerry.

After lunch though, we did a more thorough drive around town and found a burger joint called “Q Burger” that we have to check out. It was featured in 2015 on the Food Network’s ”You Gotta Eat Here” with John Catucci. Some of the names of the burgers sound really amazing, so we will go back another day after we’ve had a ton of exercise, to try their burgers!

And home we went in the pouring rain, with the fog starting to sock us in! It is great to get out though as we “Seize The Day“ and make the most of each and every day, getting our steps in and exploring new places!

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