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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Serendipitous!

Don’t you just love it when you serendipitously, or by chance discover something you were not expecting? We love finding things that way when we travel. Some of our best memories are when we took the road less travelled, or when we wandered down that alleyway in Paris, to discover the little food stand where at 10:30pm at night we had a freshly made delight! It’s not the hum drum, day to day routine that we live for, but these special serendipitous memories! One of us will start the conversation with ”Do you remember that time....?” And we both be drawn back to that special moment in time. I‘m sure you can all relate!



We had one of those amazing serendipitous moments today!


We woke up early today to make our 8:40am tee time. We actually didn’t arrive in a cloud of dust either, for a change. At +5C, we were not cold on the first tee at Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club. Our playing partner today was Harold (Hal) D. Sparrow who we had played with the very first time we played Qualicum Beach back in December. Harold lives near the train station in Qualicum Beach and we remembered him, even though he didn’t remember us, until he saw me swing. Then he said to Richard “I do remember you guys! Your wife had the broken leg!”. Harold we learned today is 84 years old and he drove the ball further than both of us. We inquired about his athletic prowess and it turns out he had played 13 years of pro football for the Western Interprovincial Football Union, in B.C., before the CFL was formed. He had been a punter and running back when he played football. Poor Harold has lung issues now and his lung capacity is at 73%, but he takes a golf cart to play the golf course, gets out 3 times a week and I’m sure he must have shot low 40’s today, beating both me and Richard!



Harold D. Sparrow and Richard on the 7th tee at Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club.


I had a challenging day on the golf course. Some days you can’t win for losing. In fact, how on earth could I even try to play this shot?



My ball. In a tree. 3rd hole. Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course. I changed balls and went back to a ProVI after this hole! My game still didn’t improve!



My face after another double bogey today!


We finished our 9 holes in an hour and a half and since it was still too early for lunch thought we would go to Coombs, ‘Goats on the Roof’ for some grocery shopping. We had only been there once before Christmas and really liked the cross between Trader Joes, a German deli and Whole Foods, which Goats on the Roof reminded us of.



As we went to turn into the Goats on the Roof parking lot, we saw this sign. We wondered why the store would be closed? We both thought there must be a story there. Anyway, we decided to keep driving and see where the road would take us. We had never really driven past Coombs before and didn’t know what we would find. We saw a sign for Errington and knew that Errington was another town we had not explored, so we turned right and drove to Errington.



We found that all Errington had was this General Store and a Post Office, so we kept on driving. We saw some signs to Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, and since it was still too early for lunch, we thought we may as well go and explore the Falls, since we were so close.



Entrance to the park.



We were not sure where to park as we saw cars parked as soon as we drove into the park, but the road kept going, so we decided to drive to the end of the road. We arrived at a huge parking lot, with about 10 cars in it. One of them was very familiar to Richard.



A cream coloured Cadillac deVille like Richard has in Florida. He said this car was newer than his 1994 deVille, as it had the Northstar engine in It.


We headed down the trail and almost immediately we could hear the Falls. The Falls sounded really loud compared to some of the other Falls we have visited in B.C., but we were not sure what to expect of Englishman River Falls.



Trying to take it all in. I had sensory overload. So many little waterfalls to form this big waterfall! I didn’t know where to look!



Englishman River Falls. The name comes from a First Nations legend which mentions the skeleton of a white man found near the falls.



Standing at the bottom of the falls shooting back up into the falls.



I left the path to get closer to the Falls to shoot back up at them.


Sensory overload of the waterfalls.

So many little waterfalls off the big falls.


The Englishman River Falls has an Upper and Lower Falls. Today we only visited the Upper Falls. The Falls are located on the Englishman River and since 2019, new trails have been under development. Salmon spawning can be observed in season, and there is a campground with 107 sites during the summer. The park covers 97 hectares of old-growth and second growth Douglas fir, cedar, hemlock and maple forest.



Massive stumps in the forest off the trail.

Even though these trees are huge, they are still 2nd growth forest. We found the path rockier today as we were closer to Mount Arrowsmith and the Vancouver Island Mountain ranges in elevation.

This tree had a massive base. It is very hard to fathom how big it was, from this photo.

On the map they actually have named these cliffs “Dangerous Cliffs”. How appropriate!



The viewing area for the Falls; if you have a fear of heights and don’t want to venture onto the bridge to stand over top of the falls. This area had picnic tables too, What a lovely spot for lunch!




Standing on the bridge shooting up at the Falls. The bridge did sway a bit when we walked on it, which was a bit disconcerting!


The rapids above the Upper Falls at Englishman River Falls Provincial Park.


We will have to go back to Englishman River Falls when we have not already played 9 holes, and have a proper hike from the Lower Falls up to the Upper Falls. We learned that there is a watershed restoration project underway at Englishman River, in many sites along the River, to recover more Steelhead salmon. The primary objective of the Steelhead recovery action plan is to stabilize and restore wild steelhead stocks and habitats to healthy, self-sustaining levels. Wild stocks in many systems may not recover unless their freshwater productivity can be increased to compensate for reductions in marine survival. Stream channel restoration works by having large woody debris and boulders produce localized streambed scour which helps to develop and maintain critical pool and riffle habitat. In stream wood increases ecosystem productivity by retaining salmon carcasses that provide valuable nutrients to many insects, fish, mammals, birds and even trees. Historically old growth trees would fall into stream and be large enough to resist winter floods, creating quality rearing and holding areas for salmon and steelhead. Since the old growth trees have mostly all been logged, the restoration work of using in stream wood and boulders as protection from predators helps the steelhead and coho juveniles, while they are being reared in the streams.


We thought we might stop into the Errington General Store to see if they had anything that might be suitable for our lunch. There was nothing but pre-made sandwiches and warmed up pizzas, so that was a non starter. Richard was able to find some inexpensive Chardonnay though, so it was worth the stop!


We had seen a little food truck in Coombs we thought we might stop at and it was open today, so we stopped in for a visit.



James Island Grill owned by James Materi and his wife Lisa. James and Lisa previously had a hot dog stand on a beach in Vancouver and decided to move to the Island in November last year. They own a home in Bowser and run this grill stand in Coombs.



Phat tacos was what both of us felt like today. Chicken and all the fixings. Very fresh and in nice corn tortillas. While we were waiting for our tacos, there was a funky looking 2nd hand store right next door to the Grill, so we decided to go in for a gander.



Quite an eclectic store. We didn’t buy anything, but if we ever needed anything, this guy has everything in the store, and well organized too!



Another day...another picnic and no coat either! It was lovely to sit outside and be able to eat on a picnic table in January. Lisa came out to check on us from an appropriately socially distanced manner and gave us a 10% off card for the next time we drop in. We also asked her why the “Goats on the Roof” was closed and she said they close every January apparently and sell off all of their perishable stock before they close for a month.


The weather got up to +8C today and it was lovely and sunny as we took the highway back home to Fanny Bay. I had to do a zoom call at 2pm for an hour and after my call we headed up to Buckley Bay to check out our favourite little Fanny Bay Oysters Seafood shop and gourmet delicacy/fruit and veggie store next door to it. We have decided we are going to try to cook fresh Dungeness Crab for dinner on Saturday night.






The shop even provided us with the instructions on how to cook the crab, so we are definitely doing this on Saturday night!





We were so happy we decided to wander down the road to Coombs and then Errington today. Our serendipitous wanderings definitely did delight us today and I’m sure we will talk the Falls and how we found them in the future with “Remember that day we wanted to go to Goats on the Roof and it was closed?”








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