Canada - the Great Green North

Ok, time to move along to Canada.  Let’s see, we’d be at Sunday, June 24th at this point.  Left from my uncle’s place in the morning, headed up to the border.  Crossing guard was very pleasant, and could have been a trainee - after she asked me the questions, she turned to look at someone else in the booth, with a “was that enough, should I let him through?” look on her face.  Stopped to exchange some money and buy a book on campgrounds in B.C., then hit the road.  My plan was to stay at least one night in a place called “Porteau Cove”.  I’d learned of this place from Sean Sebastian Smith (for some reason I feel compelled to use all three names every time), a friend of a friend whom I’d been in touch with via e-mail.  It was a nice little campground a little ways north of Vancouver.  Unfortunately, before I could get there I had to pass through the city.  Normally this probably wouldn’t have been too much of a problem - unfortunately this wasn’t a normal day.  One of the two bridges out of the city was closed for the whole weekend.  I learned this just as I pulled up to the bridge.  I then had to drive across the whole city, and work my way through the worst traffic I’d encountered up to that point (and come to think of it, up to this point (July 12th), too).  Eventually I was on the highway again, and I pulled up to the campground.  Many of the campsites were right against the cove itself, but all of these were full, so I pulled into one of the remaining sites.  One nice thing about all of the provincial campgrounds (in B.C. at least) is that they provide you with a reasonable supply of firewood each night.  So I started a fire, had some dinner, and sat around until it started to rain, driving me back into Vacilador.  The next morning it cleared up, and I was able to find a spot right on the shore.  Had a simply amazing view from my campsite.  There are huge tidal changes in the cove, and in the evening the water comes right up to the edge of the site.  Definitely a spot I’d recommend for a night some time (or a few days if you’re up there for SCUBA, Canoeing, or something else to keep you busy, there’s not a lot of hiking opportunities around there).  On Tuesday I headed a bit further north to “the Chief”, a large granite face that had a number of climbers on it.  I started up one trail, and discovered that while I can go quite a long distance on flat ground, my stair-climbing muscles currently wear out MUCH more quickly.  Need to start riding my bike again (which is now an option, since I fixed it while I was at Porteau Cove).  Stopped by one of the little towns, then got a spot in an RV campground with some electricity that night.  The next day I headed into Vancouver (early, to avoid traffic on the bridge) and met up with the aforementioned Sean Sebastian Smith. 

   Sean is one of those lucky people who’s managed to make his life and livelihood overlap.  He works for a mapping company, and he’s _really_ into maps.  I learned a ton from him about the modern mapping process.  He also has a nice little sailboat, which we hung out on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.  Had a good time just hanging out and chatting with him.  Took the boat out on Thursday evening, but the wind was very slight, so the majority (but fortunately not the entirety) of the time was spent under engine power. 

   My original plan had been to head out to Vancouver island for the weekend, then it was pointed out to me that, July 1st being Canada Day (their Independence Day.  Apparently the government lacks confidence in their citizenry’s ability to count to four, so they just have it on the first.  Can’t say as I blame them, really) (hey, I hadn’t gotten in a single dig at Canadians so far, I had to go for the cheap shot), I was looking at a 3-day weekend.  Decided that it would be way too crowded, and decided to just go due North for the weekend, then take the ferry over to the island when the weekend was over.  Decided to watch a  movie before heading out though, so I caught the first showing of Shrek, which resulted in my heading out of the city around 3:00.  At this time I became extremely happy that I’d decided to change my plans, as there seemed to be a delay of a few hours to get on a ferry.  As it was, I got one of the last available spots in one of the larger campgrounds around (I believe it was around 50 sites there).  Spent most of the weekend just kicking back and reading, then on Sunday evening made the acquaintance of Arrington, a fellow at one of the neighboring campsites, and ended up making plans to go fishing on Monday morning with him and his group, Moe and Maureen (just realized that I have no idea what the proper spelling of the name “moe-reen” is.  Hope I was at least close).  A quick trip into town to get a license (he had spare gear) and I was all set.  The next morning we headed further up the road (to what would end up being the furthest north I’d reach on the trip to date) and ended up fishing at a bend in the river.  No luck (although Arrington and Moe both got a few strikes, no one landed anything), but it was still fun.  Don’t think I’ve ever done any river fishing before (if I have it’s been a long time, anyway), usually lake stuff or slow-moving creeks.  Think I like that better, but probably just because I’m more used to it.

   After fishing I headed down to Horseshoe bay to catch the ferry over to Vancouver Island.

To be continued....