July 8-15, 2051 - Nanaimo, BC (continued)

We stayed in the campground on Wednesday and Thursday as it was still very smoky.  On Friday it was clearing some so we took the kayaks down to Westwood Lake and spent a lovely morning kayaking around the lake.   

Nancy’s parents celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary on July 10th and we send them our best wishes.

Saturday it rained off and on all day and into Sunday morning – hurrah this should help clear the smoke away.  We had lunch on Sunday with Tim and Carol, who are also friends from the RV Park in Arizona.  Tim and Carol have a beautiful house overlooking the Strait of Georgia and Gabriola Island.  We enjoyed visiting with Tim and Carol and the great views from their living room and deck.

Tuesday morning the sun was shining and the skies were clear – we are so glad the smoke is gone!  We drove to Benson Creek Falls Regional Park on the west side of Mount Benson and hiked to Ammonite Falls.  The scenery was beautiful along the 5 kilometer trail.  We were glad to see the ferns are still green despite the lack of rain this summer.

We were intrigued with this small tree growing out of the top of a large tree stump.

After hiking down some rather steep slopes we came to this really steep area we needed to get down to reach the top of the falls.  We used the rope and eased ourselves down backward and made it with no problem (Nancy was skeptical at first but made it down fine).  We had a really nice view of the top of the falls.

To get to the base of the falls was another steeper drop with ropes – Nancy decided she had enough climbing for one day but, of course, Rex had to go down.  He got a great view of the waterfall – the dry summer has greatly diminished the flow but it is still beautiful.  The Ammonite Falls are named for an extinct group of mollusks that thrived in prehistoric oceans. Their fossils are entombed by the thousands in the cliff and creek bed that form the falls.  You can see the white shells in the charcoal grey walls of the cliff.

What goes down must come back up – Nancy using the rope to climb back up after spending a beautiful break at the falls.  On the way back Rex saw a black bear about a quarter mile across a clearing.   But, unfortunately, it disappeared into the brush before Nancy could find it.   Rex could only get a blurry picture of its rear going into the brush.   That is the first time we have seen a bear while hiking – what a treat!

After resting from our great hike we went out for dinner to celebrate Nancy’s birthday.

Wednesday we went to Parksville, just north of Nanaimo, with David and Colleen.  We stopped at Rathtreyor Provincial Park and walked on the beach picking up clam shells.  Colleen, David and Nancy enjoying the beach.

After picking up a handful of clam and oyster shells we drove into Parksville to view the sand sculptures from the Canadian Open Sand Sculpture Competition.  The competition was held over the weekend but the sculptures are open for public viewing till the middle of August.  The theme this year is heroes and villains.  This sculpture of Einstein was very intriguing – the front was a good likeness of him.

The back side shows the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima – the bomb, a mushroom cloud and ruins.

This beautiful sculpture honoring wildland firefighters was Rex’s favorite.  The detail on the firefighter, his pack and helmet and the mountain was very impressive.  There were little trees all over the mountain and a small farm on the opposite side.

Nancy especially liked the castle in this tribute to Robin Hood.

Spiderman, Batman, the Incredible Hulk and other super heroes were also represented.  All the sculptures were outstanding and the winners will go to the World Competition.  Afterward we had a great lunch in downtown Parksville – another great day!
We continue to enjoy the area around Westwood Lake and have been walking the dogs by the lake most days.  Our campsite is surrounded on one side by blackberry bushes and we are watching the berries and waiting for them to ripen.


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