What do you do during your last month of living somewhere? Well if you're me, then you try to make the most of it! And that is exactly what I did last week when I spent exactly 24 hours on Vancouver Island.
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be invited on a group snowshoe day with BC Adventure girls & made a few new friends, one of those being the lovely Nat! A Toronto native but has called the Island home for the last few years, she and I had been talking about getting together before I left B.C. We'd tried a few times but nothing had come together, until she was gifted with a day off & I was in need of an adventure. So just like that I packed my backpack, headed over to the ferry & met up with her in Victoria. While we'd hoped to get a bright & early start, only one of those things happened - the early bit. Sadly we awoke to some not so lovely rain, but nevertheless we both weren't going to let a little rain stop us.
Rain gear at the ready, snacks packed & off we went with a few stops on the agenda for the day, stop # 1-Sooke Potholes , a regional park outside of the city. As we drove out Nat told me how this spot turns into the cool spot to be during the summer months as the water pools in little rocky basis creating the perfect spot to cool off but when we arrived I couldn't imagine getting anywhere close to the basins. With the amount of rain the island has had (not to mention snow) the usually calm "potholes" were now raging! We took a quick look, but then headed up towards the Galloping Goose Trail in search of some waterfalls! The whole park area is lush with amazing forest & dozens of different trails looping up and around the surrounding area. We opted for a bit of a hike in search of waterfalls instead of views as the weather was still pretty misty & cloud covered. We found some awesome ones (we're both avid waterfalls chasers after all) before heading back to the car for a post hike snack & before heading off to stop #2 of the day..
Goldstream Provincial Park ,or as Nat calls it "her backyard". Yep that's right, within a few minutes drive from her place she has a Provincial Park to explore, and one hell of an amazing one if I do say so myself. Home to an incredible forest, an impressive salmon run (at the right time of year) & the highlight of my day (even month at this point). No surprise to anyone here how much I dig a waterfall and would do anything to find one, which is just what we did that day. And so we set our sights on Niagara Falls, no not the overly touristy East Coast ones but the insanely impressive BC version, with not a single other soul around! We may have had to walk (very carefully) through a slightly dark water tunnel? Not too sure what the tunnel was, I just know that we were both beyond thankful to have worn our rain boots for the occasion, as walking against rushing water is best done in knee high wellies!
Once we got through the tunnel (see above) I still couldn't hear the falls, but that quickly changed within a few feet as did the temperature. The closer we got, the more spray I could feel against my face & I couldn't get up closer enough quick enough for my own good. I was in heaven! Shielding my lenses, fingers frozen, feet soaked, but literally the happiest girl on the planet the minute I set my eyes on this beauty. 150 ft up raging from all the rain over the last few days & looking absolutely incredible, the 150 ft drop from the mouth of the falls set water rushing down and filling into the canyon/creek bed below. I could barely tear my eyes away, and the fact that we had this all to ourselves for what could have been hours was the icing on the cake. It's the Canadian gems like this that continually blow my mind.
From here we headed back towards the parking lot, with a quick right onto the trail that would take us to our next equally as impressive, yet somewhat terrifying, destination! A few switchbacks, and a little steep (especially in rain boots) we maneuvered our way up towards the open sky, and to a well known spot at the top of the trail (seriously Instagram is full of shots from this spot) The Goldstream Trestle. The track is called the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway and as of 2015, service along the route has been suspended indefinitely due to sections of track needing repair. It should also be noted that most/all websites will advise you not to cross or walk out on the trestle itself as there are no guardrails, and it’s 150 ft drop into the canyon below. While it is at your own risk, should you decide to venture out on to the trestle or cross it, exercise caution & be smart about it. I’m not usually afraid of heights, and prefer trails that are high to get that wicked view, but even my brain tried to convince me not to cross. But, I took my time, stayed away from the edge (for the most part), and made my way across with Nat. We both conquered a fear and I was happy we did. The views from the top were stunning & the sun came out just as we reached the middle of the tracks giving us a stunning view of Mt. Finlayson.
We snapped some shots, and cheered some other less brave explorers on their quest across the trestle before making our way back down the trail to the car & finally for me off to the ferry back to the mainland. Wet/sore feet, tangled hair, hundreds of photos, sore cheeks from smiling & exactly 24 hours from the time I left my house until the time I returned. Safe to say it was the perfect way to spend a whirlwind day. Ever grateful for my amazing tour guide & the adventure we were able to have before she takes off for South America (totally jealous!) and my adventure off to the U.K this summer. If you find yourself with a day or less on the Island, never fear, you’ll still be able to see some incredible things! This will easily be the highlight of my last month living in BC & a day I needed after feeling beyond lonely in my last few weeks here. Hope to get up to some more adventuring before I take off, so if you’re in the neighborhood, let’s get adventuring!