Nearly Done!

July 13th, 2017 , 19:56

Up early, 6am MT so 5am Pacific which is where we were headed, and left at 7am. Had done all the check out stuff the night before so ready to go. We were hoping to avoid the construction, but they had started early at the blasting area and we stopped for about 10 or 15 minutes – so not bad. The rest of the construction area we just drove through!

We did some stopping along the way. First stop was Rockgarden which was lovely. As it was early we chatted to each other so didn’t see much wildlife (there were warning signs about bears everywhere and we were the only people there) but did see woodpeckers, probably the three-toed woodpecker, and some sort of small rodent, probably a pika. Haven’t had a chance to look them up! It is a beautiful walk, with some scrambling over rocks. Descriptions online said easy walk, the display board at the site said ‘difficult wear appropriate mountain hiking boots’, and the truth is somewhere in between. I did well in trainers and Joe in his hiking sandals, but there were stretches of scrambling!

After pulling out of Rockgarden, a truck going the other way flashed his lights at us. So I was slowing down and trying to find out why – was looking at my lights, checking the car, looking around. I was just about to start speeding up again when I saw why he’d flashed – the bear digging around at the side of the road! Black bear, just looking for breakfast. As it was so close to the edge of the road I didn’t stop, but slowed way down so Joe could get some hasty photos – and I’ve finally seen a wild bear!

We then went to the Giant Cedars boardwalk and walked along under the giant rainforest trees. Really lovely. We did run into a couple of other people on the boardwalk, but it was still quiet. Didn’t see anything under the trees, no bears or voles (there were signs about voles) and could hear birds, but didn’t see any. Joe got lots of good photos of the light, the trees, and the boardwalk!

We then got to the Skunk Cabbage boardwalk and Joe said he wanted to see what a skunk cabbage is, so I did a quick turn into the area. I thought it was just a short boardwalk out to some cabbages, so left my binoculars in the car. We stopped by the info board as there was a laminated sheet attached to it and a warning sign below – warning of a bear in the area. This was new; the other signs just had ‘bear country here’s how to behave’ but this was a sheet saying a bear was definitely in the area. At the start of the walk there was a white board with ‘post your recent sightings!’ and the last one was at 20:30 the night before – “still eating”. Hmmmm. And again we were the only people there. So we went in talking and singing.

Turns out the skunk cabbage boardwalk is a long walk – we took a bit over half an hour going relatively quickly. Well quicker than we’d normally go on such a walk. Because bear. We got to the boardwalk and started along only to come across a rather recent pile of scat and crushed vegetation either side of the boardwalk. But Joe said he wanted to see skunk cabbage (and also said ‘so this is proof that bear’s do not shit in the woods!) so we had a very loud discussion about bears and how they should just trundle right along because humans were there and carried on. And the boardwalk is brilliant – lots of skunk cabbage which is July isn’t particularly impressive, but also loads of birds (they do tagging here and have tagged around 50 different species) and other plants and creatures. The bear was obviously stocking up on all the berries in the marsh, loads of berries there. And of course I didn’t have my binoculars to see any of the birds flying around! We also startled something swimming in the water which dove with a flick of tail – too small to be a beaver, not a bird, so maybe a rodent? Perhaps a small otter? If they’re in that area. But not enough of a look to tell! There was one bird actually slightly under the boardwalk (and guess what we started singing) which we startled and it got caught by the grass/weeds trying to fly away so was making a racket flapping and crashing about. We may have jumped and squeaked when it did. But the skunk cabbage walk comes highly recommended! Even though we never saw the bear.

Then we just got in the car and headed toward Vancouver! We had decided to drive as far as we could, then stop for the night. We stopped at Joe Schmucks Roadhouse in Sicamous for brunch. Really good food and fun signs – “I dream of the day a chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.” Also seen along the road was an Authentic Canadian Cantonese restaurant. We’re unsure exactly what they were serving, maybe maple syrup in all the sauces? We stopped in Chilliwack for the night and had dinner at a steakhouse, which was very good. Joe finished the meal with a 12 year old Canadian whisky which he learned was a rye. Said he enjoyed it. Saw a sign as we were leaving the steakhouse – “Instant human: just add coffee” – which we had to agree with. Tomorrow we fly home.

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