July 16-24, 2015, Nanaimo, BC (continued)





Friday we drove south to Jack Point Park where we hiked on the 2.5 km (1.5 mile) trail along a small peninsula to Jack Point.  The trail starts along the Nanaimo River estuary and was bordered with blackberry bushes loaded with green fruit.  A short ways into the hike was this beautiful wood carving beside the trail.











The tide is out along the Nanaimo River Estuary – the largest estuary on Vancouver Island. Nanaimo is across the estuary and our friends, Tim and Carol, live in the hills to the left of Nanaimo.  The estuary is where the Hudson Bay Company and the first European settlers came in search of coal and lumber.  















A wonderful fish was etched into this rock beside the trail - the detail was outstanding.


















After winding our way through the trees for a while we came to where the tide was starting to come in – again with Nanaimo in the background.
















The coast became much more rugged as we neared the point.  We enjoyed watching the waves hitting the rocks.

















We were rewarded with great views from the point - Gabriola Island is the nearest land mass with mainland BC in the background.












The trail continued on around the point and past the Duncan Point Ferry Terminal.  We watched the Queen of Alberni finish loading and depart.

 


The trail then looped around and connected into the main trail and back to the parking lot.  We really enjoyed this beautiful trail but as it is way past lunchtime we are hungry.  We drove into Ladysmith and had a great lunch of bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie at the Fox and Hounds Pub.


Sunday, David and Colleen picked us up and we went to the Cedar Market where we enjoyed looking at all the vendors’ booths and listening to some great Celtic music.  After purchasing some bread, scones, tomatoes, garlic and a purse for Nancy we headed to the Crow and Gate Pub.  This is a great English pub with a beautiful garden where we enjoyed a great meal in the flower garden and then strolled through the vegetable garden.


Monday afternoon we went to David and Colleen’s for David’s birthday party. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed meeting a few of their friends.  Happy Birthday David!






On Wednesday we took a scenic drive south to Cedar by the Sea and Yellow Point.  We drove past a cranberry farm and lots of produce stands.  We also drove through Stz’uminus Nation Reserve which was a drastic change from the surrounding area of nice farms, homes and resorts.  The Reserve had very run down houses with lots of trash and junk in the yards.  On the other side of the reserve was a small development with very nice houses and Elliot’s Beach Park – a very nice small beach.














To the right of the beach was a rocky area we explored and found a few clam and oyster shells.













We enjoyed our drive and seeing more of the countryside.  The drought here is very evident everywhere with brown grass and leaves dropping off trees.  Farmers were baling their wheat for bedding as it is not good for anything else.

When we got home from our drive we picked blackberries around our campsite.  We picked so many that Nancy was able to make a blackberry crisp and then freeze 2 quarts of rhubarb and 3 berry sauce.  We still have a small bowl full left to eat and will have more berries ripe in another day or two.






 
We woke Friday morning to some much needed rain and it rained till mid-morning.  David and Colleen took us northwest of Nanaimo to McMillan Provincial Park near Port Alberni to see Cathedral Grove.  We hiked the short Cathedral Trail which looped through the old growth forest.















It was a beautiful hike among Douglas Fir and Red Cedars – some more than 800 years old.  The four of us posed in front of one of the large Douglas Fir trees. 















The sun broke through the clouds and filtered through the trees to light up this beautiful red tree stump.

















Nancy standing by the largest tree in the grove measuring 76 m (249.4 ft) tall and 9 m (29.6 ft) round which is over 800 years old.





We were very fortunate that it did not rain while we were hiking in this beautiful grove.  We enjoyed this hike very much and never tire of seeing wonderful sights like these giant trees.


















We stopped at the Coombs Old Country Market in the town of Coombs where they have goats on the roof.  This is a wonderful market that sells a variety of specialty foods.  It was very crowded as this is a favorite tourist stop in this area so we didn’t spend a lot of time here.  We were able to buy some spinach fettuccine, spicy sesame linguine and some delicious freshly baked bread.











We couldn’t resist buying a cloth grocery bag to carry our purchases home – look closely and you will see that the goat is doing his business over the edge of the roof!  We are planning a few days in the Port Alberni area later in August and we know we will come back to Cathedral Grove and the market again.





On the way back to Nanaimo we stopped in Lantzville and enjoyed a great lunch at the Lantzville Pub.  The parking lot for the pub was surrounded by blackberry bushes so after lunch we picked blackberries until it started raining again.  We each got about half a small pail full – enough for more blackberry crisp!   We had a wonderful day and again thank David and Colleen for being such great tour guides.







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