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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Third time’s a charm!

We awoke this morning to a very heavy frost and +3C in Fanny Bay! The frost had started last evening while Richard was out barbecuing our lemon and garlic spatchcock chicken. (YUM YUM!!)

I checked my phone, thinking there would be a frost delay at the golf club and instead, I had an email from Qualicum Memorial Golf Club, that our tee time was cancelled today at 2pm, due to snow! Snow?!! We only had frost. Where was the snow?

We decided to go hiking today instead of golfing, and I packed us a picnic of chicken salad sandwiches, on lovely fresh potato buns and off we went to Horne Lake Caves. We had heard about the hiking trails at the Caves and wanted to see them since it was only a quick 15 minutes away.

As we got up to the main Hwy 19 about a 5 minute drive from our RV park, we encountered snow on the side of the road! Very strange how we must be in a little micro climate that is sheltered somehow, since we just had frost and no snow.

We pulled off the main Hwy 19 onto Horne Lake Road and as we were driving down the road in Jerry the Jeep (with NO snow tires), Richard said, ”this road is sheer ice!” The road, was hilly and without snow tires, it looked like we would go flying off the road, since the road had not been sanded, or we decided to turn around and try our 3rd plan for the day! 3rd time is a charm isn’t it?

Since our golf was cancelled, and our plan to hike Horne Lake Caves was nixed, we elected to go to Spider Lake instead. We had seen a sign for Spider Lake, just as we had gotten off main Hwy 19, so we knew it was close. The road to Spider Lake was sanded and very rutted, but we were able to navigate it, and park at the side entrance to Spider Lake Provincial Park.

Spider Lake was stunning! The park unfortunately is not a park with trails, rather it is a picnic area and has a sandy beach in the summer. I could imagine it being an excellent spot for canoeing, kayaking and swimming. There were many secluded bays on this lake and there are no power boats allowed on the Lake.

I love the reflection of the trees in Spider Lake. The ground was very, very slippery with lots of snow and ice on the trail around the Lake. I had to hold onto Richard until I figured out how to navigate the icy trail.

Vancouver Island Ranges reflected in Spider Lake

The different shades of blue and the beautiful trees reflecting in the Lake. There were so many beautiful photo opportunities that reminded me of picture postcards!

Ice on the berries at Spider Lake. It’s nice to see some colour this time of year!

We found our way to the picnic area of Spider Lake Provincial Park, over a really slippery bridge with two trees that had fallen down on the bridge to the picnic area.

We could hear people speaking, but we couldn’t see anyone, as their voices were echoing across the Lake. Sure enough, we found them!

Fisherman! Spider Lake is apparently stocked with small mouth bass and rainbow trout. What else is there to do on a snowy winter’s day, but fish for dinner! It was so peaceful!

Ice was starting to form on the shore of Spider Lake this morning.

We were looking for trails around Spider Lake, when we bumped into a man walking his dog, who told us that there were no trails around the Lake. So after we had taken some photos, Richard suggested we go and walk the boardwalk at Qualicum Beach.

The name “Qualicum” comes for a Pentlatch language term that means “where the dog salmon (chum salmon) run.“ Qualicum Beach was established in 1943 as a village and as a town in 1983. The first road was built from Nanaimo to Parksville (a sister town just south of Qualicum Beach) in 1886 and extended to Qualicum in 1894. Qualicum Beach is on the Nanaimo lowlands, a narrow plain which lies between the Georgia Basin to the north-east and the Vancouver Island Ranges to the south-west.

The boardwalk is quite long and we were able to walk to the end of the boardwalk, sit on a picnic bench and enjoy our chicken salad sandwiches, watching the birds and the kids playing in the sea.

Many of the benches were decorated with wreaths and boughs for Christmas along the boardwalk.

School’s out so what else do kids do in a beach town but play in the surf with their rubber boots on!

Black oyster catchers grabbing some lunch on the beach.

Black oyster catcher in the surf.

The boardwalk in Qualicum Beach detours around a few local inns and restaurants. The Sand Pebbles Inn had some nice Canadiana chairs outside their rooms, and they must be full for the winter, as they had a ‘NO VACANCY‘ sign outside the Inn. Either that, or they don’t want any guests this time of year!

Looks like a nice spot to relax in the summer by the seaside.

We had not walked the downtown of Qualicum Beach yet, so after walking the boardwalk, we decided to head up to town. I found a great little kitchen store called “What’s Cooking” and left poor Richard out on the sidewalk waiting for me for 20 minutes! I was able to find some lovely champagne flutes, a proper salt/pepper grinder for Newman and a Swedish dish cloth. We didn’t bring any flutes with us and there is no way we are celebrating my impending retirement on January 1st, 2020 with plastic Govino glasses!

The town was bustling with everyone doing their last minute Christmas shopping. It feels very strange this year to have nothing under our Christmas tree and to be in Canada for Christmas.

We decided we would shop the stores in the New Year, given the size of the stores, and the limitations with the number of people allowed inside.

The extremely quaint town of Qualicum Beach.

A unique store, with their display of wooden cats on their fence.

Tomorrow is the big roof repair day for Newman! Let’s hope that replacing the seal around the air conditioning unit works!

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