One day...two seasons!
This morning as we were hanging out in Newman thinking about where to go today, my phone started to ring. I looked at my phone and saw that is was a local number in Courtenay, so I answered the call. CanPar had tracked me down and wanted to know where to deliver the candles from ‘Bees Wax Works’. I asked them if they would deliver to Lighthouse RV park if we gave them our lot number and they said YES they would! Its fantastic! We don’t have to drive all over the Island to pick the candles up. Just to be certain the candles would be delivered to our RV lots, Richard put a number on our picnic table, since our lot # is not very visible on the pedestal post on our RV site.
Let’s hope the CanPar driver finds us, as I did say to leave the parcel on the picnic table.
We headed out this morning around 11:15am to drive up to Merville, which is north of Courtenay along the Coastal Hwy 19a. The weather was sunny and +4C. We haven’t really explored the Merville area of Vancouver Island, so we thought we would see what we could find up there. As we were wandering around on the backroads of Merville and Headquarters (yes, that is the name of the town), I saw a sign for Mount Washington ski area and said to Richard “Its a nice day, why don’t we see if we can go up to the top of Mount Washington today?!”
The first thing we saw on the road up to Mount Washington was this sign:
Winter Tires or Chains were mandatory on the road up to Mount Washington. Oh no! Jerry doesn‘t have snow tires!!!
The next sign we saw was even more daunting!
Chain up Area! Great. I wonder how long the roads will be good and clear going up the mountain?
Richard was a bit nervous about taking Jerry up the mountain, but I said “What’s the worst thing that can happen? The roads start to get bad and we turn around?!” So we proceeded to drive up the mountain. The weather at the bottom of the mountain, at Hwy 19, was +4C. By the time we got to the ski area, the temperature had dropped to -2C, but very sunny.
Mount Washington is on the eastern edge of the Vancouver Island Ranges and is located 25km from the Comox Valley. The elevation at the summit of Mount Washington is 5,210 feet or 1,588 metres. The mountain was named after Rear Admiral John Washington, official Hydrographer, British Royal Navy, by Captain George Richards, while charting the West Coast in the 1860’s. In addition to winter skiing and snowboarding, Mount Washington has many trails for mountain bikers and offers scenic chair lifts and hiking trails for visitors. Mount Washington is home to the Vancouver Island marmot, one of the planets’ most endangered mammals and found only in the wild on Vancouver Island, B.C..
As we climbed towards the parking area at Mountain Washington Alpine Resort, the snow banks on either side of the road got progressively larger and larger.
We finally reached the parking area of the resort and all of the road signs said “LOT FULL”.
We did manage to find a spot to park Jerry fairly close to the resort, to avoid a fairly slippery, long walk to the base of the ski hills.
We found parking close to the resort. Lots of people were sitting in their cars having their lunch. We soon found out why....
Mount Washington Alpine resort. The Beavertails truck in the parking lot reminded us of my condo in Harbour Square, downtown Toronto at the bottom of York Street, with the Beavertails right next to the harbour. Beavertails reminded Richard of Ottawa and the Byward Market, or the Rideau Canal in the winter.
The resort certainly was a busy spot and at $99 an adult for a day pass, certainly not a cheap sport to pursue! A 7 day pass was $554 for an adult. I’m sure most of the locals buy a season pass.
A sign showing all the runs at Mt Washington Alpine Resort. As soon as we passed from the parking lot to the ski area, masks were mandatory and social distancing was being practised.
One of the ski runs at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. There are 1,700 acres to the resort and 505 vertical metres of alpine terrain, with 82 runs, 5 chair lifts, 3 surface tows, 55 km’s of cross-country skiing and 25 km’s of snowshoeing trails, with a dedicated Nordic lodge, Tube Park and Fat Bike trails. In the summertime there is a 2.3 km Eagle’s Flight Zip Tour, lift-accessed mountain biking, quad bungy trampoline, scenic chairlift ride, disc golf, miniature golf, boardwalk chess and checkers, shopping and dining. Mount Washington receives some of the biggest snowfalls in North America, averaging over 11 metres annually. The resort is 1km above sea level and overlooks the Comox Valley, the Strait of Georgia, the Coast Mountains and the Beaufort Range. It took us about 15 minutes to drive up to the resort from the Island Hwy 19. The resort was opened in 1979 by two Campbell River businessmen - Henry Norie, and Alex Linton. Linton an avid skier, marvelled at the height and snowpack of Mt. Washington. Together with his friend Norie, who had a helicopter, the two surveyed the mountain. Sixteen months later, they purchased the land from the forestry company Crown Zellerbach, and hired mountain resort planning company, Ecosign, to master-plan the resort. Construction began in 1977. Mt. Washington, like Whistler Blackcomb, was one of the first master-planned resorts in the province of B.C. In 1989, the founders sold their interests to George Stuart and a group of shareholders who invested in upgrading lifts, adding terrain and base area buildings and investing in infrastructure and roads. Since 2015 the resort has been owned by a Canadian subsidiary of Pacific Group Resorts, Inc.
Pulling down my mask quickly for a photo op with the ski hills in the background.
We left the main parking area to drive over to a spot where I could take some photos of the Salish Sea/Strait of Georgia (in the far left of the photo).
Back country skiing with the Salish Sea/Strait of Georgia (in the middle of the photo, in the distance).
After finding nothing worthwhile to eat up at the ski resort, we decided to head back down to the Black Creek area, on the Coastal Hwy to grab a bite to eat for lunch. Since we are going to ‘Ship and Shore’ for dinner in Deep Bay this evening, we wanted to make sure we didn‘t have a very big lunch!
We saw a sign for ‘personal pan pizza’ made fresh at the Black Creek Diner, so we pulled over quickly and ordered a pizza to split for our lunch.
We had to wait 15 minutes for our pizza to be made, so while it was cooking, I walked around Black Creek to see what else looked interesting.
HABIBI! I’m not sure why the truck is painted this way, but it was outside a house converted to a store which looked very psychedelic. Maybe too many wild ‘mushrooms’?
HABIBI was open, but we were not going in for a visit, while we waited for our pizza!
Richard went and collected our pizza and rather than eat in the parking lot of the Diner/gas station, we headed 2 km up the road to Miracle Beach Provincial Park to have a picnic on the Salish Sea.
The day had turned hazy, but at +7C, we didn’t mind sitting on a bench to eat our pizza.
A very small, but delicious personal pan pizza. We asked for no red onion. Oh well. We picked the onions off for the birds to eat.
Sitting on the bench enjoying our pizza we watched a few people out on the sandy area of the beach at low tide.
Miracle Beach Provincial Park is located exactly midway between Courtenay and Campbell River - 22 km from both. Miracle Beach was previously privately owned by Mr. Frank Pottage and in 1950, the B.C. Government purchased 57 hectares of land from Mr. Pottage and the park was established. Additional lands were purchased and donated over the years until 1972, when the park reached its present size of 135 hectares. There are day use trails in the park, a nature house, amphitheatre and store, an adventure playground, hot showers, a large picnic area, 200 non-serviced campsites.
Looking north on Miracle Beach.
I edited this a bit, but I love the leading lines that the waves created in the sand. It was nice to walk on the beach today with hardly anybody around and it felt like spring!
We could walk out quite a ways on Miracle Beach today at low tide.
Free as a bird on the beach.
Of course we had to see some shells if we were on the beach today.
This huge tree was on the shoreline and it must have been must at least 90 feet long!
I see you too!
After walking around Miracle Beach we decided to head back to Fanny Bay so I could get the blog done early today, since we are going out for dinner at Ship and Shore restaurant tonight.
We wondered if we would have a parcel delivery at Newman when we got back to Lighthouse RV park? Did CanPar find us?
Yes! There is our delivery. Finally after a week and a half from Ladysmith, the Bees Wax Works candles showed up!
The beautiful Bees Wax Works candles! Bees Wax Works ship everywhere in Canada, so if you are interested in their products you can check out their website at www.beeswaxworks.ca
We are really eagerly anticipating our dinner tonight at Ship & Shore restaurant. I can’t wait to try their food and I think I’m going to have the fish and chips since it is Friday night and that is their speciality! I will tell you all about it tomorrow!
What an interesting day to experience an alpine ski resort and a beach all in the same day. We had heard that there are people who will go up Mt. Washington to ski in the morning and then go and golf in the afternoon! That sure would be interesting!! Not being a skier, I would prefer to just golf and skip the skiing, but it was nice to see it first hand finally today on a nice day for a drive up the mountain!