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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Start the car!

I’m sure everyone can remember the IKEA commercial from 2012 that shows the woman at the cash register at IKEA looking at her receipt and then running out to her husband in the car yelling “Start the car!” I had one of those days today!

We woke up early this morning to watch the Inauguration in the U.S. We enjoyed the pomp and circumstance of the day and really enjoyed JLo and Lady Gaga’s performances too!

Now lets hope the vaccine gets rolled out faster in the U.S. and the death toll starts to let up. After reading a stat last evening that the U.S. at 400,000 deaths represents 20% of the world’s deaths, while only having 4.9% of the global population. That is certainly not a good statistic to own. Mask wearing mandated already on all U.S. Federal buildings starting today, is a good start. We all want to be able to travel again, get that border open between Canada and the U.S. and for us and many others, we want to get back to Florida!

Our golf course in Florida was owned by Publix, so for us the grocery store reminds of us Lone Palm Golf Club,our special piece of paradise in Florida.

We had a bit of late start for our trip up to Campbell River, not leaving until 11:30am. We were heading up to Campbell River to pick up the front driver’s side turn signal cover for Jerry, which Richard had found at a wreckers. We easily found FN99 Auto & Truck Parts and for $35 part we were out of there!

Wreckers in Duncan Bay, just north of Campbell River.

Driver’s side turn signal cover.

We headed into Campbell River to find somewhere for lunch. We spotted a Thai food restaurant and Richard went to order us some lunch while I stopped into ‘Quest’ a ladies clothing store, appropriately located at 1060 Shoppers Row, Campbell River. Needless to say there is no where to go shopping in Fanny Bay and in need of some retail therapy, with sales of 60% off on most things, I made out like a bandit and headed back to Jerry with my purchases yelling “Start the car!”.

Owned by Heather Subject and operated since 1988. A great spot with really nice European brands I was familiar with.

I was modelling the new boots and sweater for Richard in Newman tonight. Bogs waterproof boots are perfect for the rainy weather out here and will be great for walks back home in the spring. The sweater is green and very nice too!

We needed to stop at Scotiabank and as we were rounding the corner to head up to our next place to visit, we stumbled onto the Scotiabank in town. Thank goodness I got there before the lineup started!

We had heard that Elk Falls was not to be missed in Campbell River, but the last two times we had visited Campbell River, the rain was so torrential, we were unable to even get out of the car, without getting drenched. The Falls was a quick 7 minute drive from downtown Campbell River and we were so glad we made the trip today!

We parked at Elk Falls Provincial Park and walked down to the Falls through the forest. We thought we would visit the Falls and then do a quick hike through the Old Growth forest. We were wrong! The Falls had 4 different viewing areas and a lot of walking just to get to the viewing platforms and rocky outcrop. We ended up doing almost 7,000 steps and climbing 19 floors just getting to all of the different vantage points around the Falls. It was so stunning that I had to stop taking photos, to just take in the beauty of what I was seeing!

Viewing area 1

Viewing area 3

Viewing area 3.

Viewing area 2

Not sure this is a viewing area, but I went there anyway. I was well back from the edge. Don’t worry!

Viewing area 4 above the Falls.

Elk Falls Provincial Park which was established in December 1940, at 1,055 hectares, has some of the finest year-round salmon fishing in Canada and with the beautiful waterfalls is one of the most popular Provincial parks in B.C. The Park also has a campground and the steelhead salmon run right by the campsites on the Quinsam River from November to March each year. During late spring and through the summer, fishermen head to the tidal waters to fish for chinook or coho salmon. The Park has quite a significant stand of old-growth Coastal Douglas fir and we were able to capture some of these beautiful trees today!

That is one big tree!

Two Coastal Douglas Firs minding the trail. Most of the old growth Coastal Douglas Firs were harvested between 1928-1929. Old-growth forests like the one at Elk Falls account for less than 4% of the area they used to occupy, since logging began about 150 years ago on the Island. We marvel whenever we see these massive tree trunks at their age and stature. They are truly stunning to look at!

To cross to the 2nd viewing area over the Falls we had to cross over the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge. The 60 metre long suspension bridge is one of the highest pedestrian suspension bridges in Canada, hanging 60 metres above the canyon floor. The bridge was completed in 2015 in a partnership between B.C. Parks, BC Hydro, the local community, business and the Rotary Club of Campbell River. The idea to complete the bridge was to bring more bus tours, mobility challenged visitors, more adventurous thrill seeks as well as other new hospitality and business opportunities to service and grow these new markets. Since the bridge opened in May 2015, the parking lot has been full most weekends. It sure wasn’t full today! With only about 5 cars in the parking lot, we were happy it wasn’t very full!

Elk Falls Suspension Bridge. I have to say that when Richard stepped onto the bridge to cross behind me, I felt nauseated. It really felt like the bridge was severely swinging side- to-side and I really didn’t enjoy the walk over to the viewing area. For the return trip I asked Richard to wait until I had reached the far viewing platform, before he started to cross the bridge. Richard doesn’t like heights, so he really was not a fan of the bridge either. We were glad there were not many people around either so we didn’t have a crowd of people moving the bridge!

2nd viewing platform. There certainly were a lot of stairs to climb if you wanted to get different views of the Falls.

Much like Niagara Falls, Elk Falls is managed by B.C. Hydro through the John Hart Generating Station, which manages the flow of water going over the Falls. The John Hart Dam & Powerhouse was first completed in 1947 by the B.C. Power Commission and had a total capacity of 126 mega watts. Due to the seismic risk of an older dam, and lower than optimal power generation, in 2014 contracts were awarded to SNC-Lavalin to design and build a new generating station and two new km long, six meter pen stocks. The new pen stocks and powerhouse are located underground. The $1.1 billion project was completed in 2018 and the new powerhouse has a capacity of 132.2 mega watts. We did not have time to visit the Discovery Centre for the John Hart dam today, but will perhaps another day if we are back to Campbell River.

Tomorrow we have a huge treat! Richard as everyone who knows him will talk to the wall or anyone that walks by. Every time I’m waiting for him inside Newman to come and grab something to take to the car, he’s off talking to someone and I’m left waiting. Well this morning he spoke to Cory an oyster harvester about taking us out on his oyster boat tomorrow to learn how oyster fishing works, as well as to get up close and personal with the sea lions who bark all day long out on the rafts in Fanny Bay. We have to be ready at 8:30am to get on the oyster boat tomorrow! We can’t wait to get out on the water and learn more about what we’ve been seeing from the front of Newman every day since we’ve been here. I guess sometimes its good to get to know people - especially if we get a special treat like we hope to have tomorrow!

Let’s hope the weather is good and we have calm waters tomorrow for our boat ride!

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