Thursday August 23, 2018 – approx. 172 km today – approx. 3.553 km total
When waking up this morning, I saw it the first time: Blue sky! Unbelievable, but I haven’t seen blue sky since I’m in the west of Canada, I think. All because of the horrible wildfires and the smoke they produce. Checking the situation in more detail showed that it really seemed to become a very sunny and friendly day. So I followed the yesterday’s advice of the campground manager and right away after getting up and ready drove to the Hornby Island ferry terminal. I was of course the first car there in the line and even had some time to prepare myself a breakfast sitting there on a bench in the sunshine. While waiting, I got to know a Canadian woman who was on her way to Hornby Islands, too. We chattet a bit about the wildfires and some other things while waiting for the ferry to arrive and be ready to board.
On Hornby Island, I first discovered a bit the island by car. I went almost along all available roads – which aren’t that many, hehe – and visited the small harbor on the west side, as well as the coastline of the south-east side. I even went to the interior to the Mt. Geoffrey Nature Park, but since I had the Helliwell Trail in mind, did not do any hikes there.
Finally, I went to the Helliwell Trail and walked along the coast for about an hour and a half. It was a very nicely prepared trail along the cliffs and bluffs with really beautiful views – especially that it was really good weather today! I really enjoyed the walk and was even able to spot some seals in the water just some hundred meters away from the coast – unfortunately too far to take pictures.
After completing the walk, I went to the Tribune Bay Beach which was also recommended to me by the attendee in the Atmosphere shop back there in Vancouver city. There, I chilled a bit on the beach, took a bath in the sea – which was surprisingly warm for being the Pacific Ocean – and just enjoyed some rest.
Eventually, I made my way back to the ferry terminal and took the two ferries back to Vancouver Island. I was surprise that I did not have to pay again. Obviously, the fare was valid for the return trip as well.
Arriving back on Vancouver Island, I right away starteted driving towards the city of Campbell River. The drive was just beautiful since it was still clear and I could even see some mountains in the distance! I have not been able to see them so far because of all the smoke.
In Campbell River, I took a left to continue towards the Strathcona Provincial Park which I wanted to visit as one of my last stops on Vancouver Island before boarding the ferry to Prince Rupert. Just before entering the actual park, I found the Strathcona Dam Recreation Area by chance and took advantage of it to camp the night for free on a spot that was basically equipped the same way as all the provincial park campgrounds I’ve stayed so far.