In the sea, Over the sea, Across the sea

Posted in Uncategorized on September 15, 2012 by carshamus

After breakfast and watching sea otters play and feed in the water at the docks near our motel we took a drive out to Cape Flattery and take a walk down to the lighthouse overlook. The Cape Flattery Trail, favorite destination for eco-tourists and hikers, is located on the tip of the Olympic Peninsula and is one of the most beautiful places on the Makah Indian Reservation.
Just 2 hours away from the city of Port Angeles, Washington, Cape Flattery is well worth the drive. The 3/4 mile trail consists of boardwalk, stone and gravel steps. There are 4 observation decks which offer breath taking views of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and Tatoosh Island.

The drive was scenic lined with gorgeous forest and dotted with little beach stops and towns along the way.
At the base of the trail we watched seals frolic in the water and dive beneath the kelp growing in the water there.
On our return drive we stopped at a beach along the way to look at a large rock coming out of the water with trees growing on it. As we approached the beach we spotted a whale less that 100ft from the shore in the water. We stood and watched him move up and down the same part of coast for quite a while happily feeding on whatever was keeping his attention. With it just being us and the whale was an amazing moment listening to him sigh and groan as he expelled air. Best moment.

The next day we headed down to the dock and after loading up with coffee headed to the Coho Ferry to catch it over to Victoria, Canada. Yes it was time to once again leave the USA and head back to Canada, but just for the day mind you. The ferry was a massive passenger and transport carrier and we had to clear customs before boarding. Once on the vessel we got a table seat and settled in to enjoy the journey and the view.

After an hour and a half crossing the Strait of Juan De Fuca we arrived in the Port of Victoria. We had a great day exploring the downtown area looking at the Parliament buildings and walking around the streets.

We then walked to Chinatown and had a yummy lunch there. This Chinatown is very different to the one in Vancouver. We then walked back towards the dock ready to catch the afternoon ferry back and that is how you do two countries in one day.
Now time to find some seafood for dinner…. Love these seaside towns….

From One Port to Another

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2012 by carshamus

After going down to the Pier for breakfast and enjoying our last views of Vancouver we went and packed up the car and headed outta town. We were headed for the US of A and had a border to cross. It didn’t take us long to get to the border crossing where it took about an forty minutes to get through with many cars waiting as this was a much larger border crossing that we went through in Wyoming.
We then headed to Oak Harbor a beautiful drive past Mt Baker a gorgeous snow capped mountain through farmland. We arrived at the ferry and crossed Punget Sound to Port Townsend on our way to Port Angeles for the night. This was a massive car ferry with four stories of seating and a coffee shop. This was the biggest ferry we had ever been in. I took a stroll up to the top deck and out to the front to take in the view and get some “fresh air.” It is a beautiful area.


After we checked in for the night we headed to a local seafood place and enjoyed a delish meal of salmon chowder, coconut prawns, crab cakes and fresh wild salmon. What a great meal but now it is time to roll into bed and sleep the food off. Happy and full in Washington State.

Vancouver and Sore Feet

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2012 by carshamus

We have spent the last three days in Vancouver and walked our little socks off. We arrived in Vancouver to rain and overcast weather, I think the first rain that they have had in about 6 weeks and we were lucky enough to bring it with us. We first dove up to Cypress High view lookout and took in our first view of Vancouver. AS we drove up the mountain further we came across a movie set in action with burnt out cars and trailers and security looking after the scene. I am not sure what the movie is but it looked interesting with all the cars on their sides and such.

We then headed to Capilano Suspension bridge, a 450-foot long bridge spanning a 230-foot deep canyon, with story centre, totem park, and interactive displays about the flora in the park. Although I did enjoy some parts of this visit the commercialisation, long line ups and high cost of entry did sour this somewhat. Seeing the barn owls up close and the treetop walk was clever, but I am not sure on the crossing of the rocking and rolling suspension bridge with a million other people.

The next day we left our motel in North Vancouver, a lovely place overlooking the water and harbor and close the Lonsdale Pier Market a great place full of eateries and yummy treats. We headed to the “sea bus” to head over the water to the city. We disembarked and started walking, and we walked and walked and then for something different we walked some more. We walked from the terminal around to Stanley Park and their famous Totem Poles. We then kept on walking around to the Lighthouse and one.
We then headed up to the Aquarium and killed a few hours there taking in a Beluga Whale show, such gorgeous and unique animals and I loved watching the sea otters put their food on their stomachs as the swam on their backs and enjoyed their feast. This was a really well put together aquarium with some unique and interesting creatures.


The next day we headed back to the city and took a walk through Gastown, the City’s oldest neighbourhood, which is a unique and quite funky area of town, but don’t stray too far off the beaten track. Chinatown was amazing with so many different foods on display some of which I have no idea what they are. Seeing thousands of dry “shrimp” and ducks hanging in the windows of the butchers and watching the butcher chop up a whole chicken in a few seconds with his massive chopping knife are all fascinating to me.

We then headed to Downtown’s Pacific Centre and did a spot of shopping before heading back on the sea bus.
We really enjoyed our busy time in Vancouver but tomorrow it is back to the US of A………….

Driving

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9, 2012 by carshamus

The day was spent on a drive from Hope to Squamish just below Whistler. Unfortunately there was a bike-a-thon of sorts as we headed into Whistler and with ONLY a few thousand bikers and people with roads blocked off and it impossible to get into Whistler Village, oh well, maybe tomorrow. The drive through the mountains leading down to Whistler was beautiful, a really lovely area. The tunnels were a treat too.

Here’s Hoping

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2012 by carshamus

We woke to an overcast and cloudy day; this weather in the mountains is not treating us well. Fortunately as we headed on down Rogers pass the sky did begin to clear and we were treated to some lovely mountain scenes and even some snow capped ( be it only a little snow) mountains. We went into Mt Revelstoke and took a look around the town, a cute little place. We went into the local gardens in a place called Salmon Arm the westerly end of a large lake in the area. This was a park full dragonflies and really lovely flowers, this was a neat little spot to walk around and take a break from the long drive. The other great thing to this stop was that the jumpers ( these are a pull over for those of you that don’t know – as I was asked in Banff what I was talking about when I said jumper) were finally off.


We continued on toward Hope our destination for the night.
The next morning we headed out early to go to the Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. In the early 1900s, the Canadian Pacific Railway decided a route was necessary to link the Kootenay Region with the BC coast by rail. The railway was built over three mountain ranges. In the Coquihalla Gorge – the river cut a 300 foot deep channel of solid granite. A straight line of tunnels were built through it which are known now as the Othello Tunnels. There are spectacular viewing opportunities available on the trail, through the tunnels and on the bridges. In recent years, the tunnels have become a favourite location for movie producers. Movies such a Rambo – First Blood had scenes shot in this area. The tunnels and the lovely tree lined path heading up to them were an awesome place to explore. We were once again glad to get there early to have the place virtually to ourselves, especially when the tourist buses began arriving on our way out.

We spent the rest of the day taking in the sights of the area. Hope is a really sweet little town and we have really enjoyed the area and time spent here.

Jasper to Golden

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6, 2012 by carshamus

We spent the day around Jasper looking at the lakes and taking in the sights. It was a relaxed day and a good day to have a bit of a rest after such long days. We drove out to Maligne Lake a lovely glacial lake with sweet snow covered mountains surrounding it.

We then decided to go up to the lodge restaurant they had there and partake in the BBQ they had going there for lunch. The smell was just too tempting. This was a lovely time spent looking at the view.
We went into an interesting place called Maligne Canyon and took a walk through a canyon with loud rushing water through the canyon, in the winter it freezes and you can take a walk down to the ice sculpture that the waterfall becomes, now that would be interesting. This was a damp little world full of moss and sweet little toadstools. A little magical area indeed!


The next day we left Jasper in the pouring rain and headed back towards Golden our on the way stop for the night. The weather did clear somewhat but our travel back down the Icefields parkway was not as much better than our trip up, still raining on and off and not a blue sky in sight. WE did get to go in and see Bow Lake this time and have a walk around there but nothing else really to report.

Well there is always HOPE for tomorrow 

Doing the Icefields

Posted in Uncategorized on September 4, 2012 by carshamus

We sadly left Banff after having a really great stay there. We really enjoyed the town and the scenery surrounding it. We headed back to Lake Louise for a last look at this gorgeous place. It was still quite cold here but a lot less crowded now the Labor Day weekend was out of the way. We headed into the Chateau Fairmont and had a coffee and a chocolate croissant to warm up.

As we were heading back out to Lake Louise we came across a sign saying chair lift so we drove in to investigate. This was a ski lift that also was operational in the summer (ish) months so we decided to take a trip up the mountain to look at the views. We took the open chair on the way up which was refreshingly cool to say the least. It was freezing up at the top so we took a walk down to the interpretive centre there and read all the information about the local animals that can be found in the area. There was a really “good” display of stuffed animals there as well. We then took the enclosed gondola back down the mountain.


We then drove down the Icefields Parkway, said to be one of them most beautiful drives in the world. There were some gorgeous overlooks, lakes and glacier views however the weather was not the best and it was pretty overcast with spots of rain along the way. One lovely spot was Peyto Lake (pea-toe) which is a glacier-fed lake and the colour is amazing. We had to dodge the rain on the walk into the lake overlook but the view was worth it.

We then stopped at the Columbia Icefields and walked up to The Athabasca Glacier whichis one of the six principal ‘toes’ of the Columbia Icefield. The glacier currently recedes at a rate of 2–3 metres per year and has receded more than 1.5 km in the past 125 years and lost over half of its volume. The glacier moves down from the icefield at a rate of several centimetres per day. This was a pretty amazing sight being so close to something that is so foreign to us in tropical North Queensland. It was a steep walk up to the glacier and the high altitude makes you quite breathless but again it is such amazing sight it is worth it. The glacier is so huge it is hard to believe that we are only seeing half of what it used to be. There was so much water running off it. This was a very special sight indeed.


We then headed onto Jasper our home for the next two nights……. We didn’t get in until after 7pm so it was a long day…