We were up early next morning to head north from French Creek towards Campbell River, we stopped for breakfast at the Sandbar Café, just north of Qualicum Beach. Catherine remembers this as a gas station from her childhood as she spent many a summer here with her family nearby. Tammy our waitress was full of information for us on local archives, so interesting to get caught up.
While on route we called at Courtney/Comox for a walk down the River Walk to the Estuary. From here we found a campsite at Kitty Coleman Provincial Park where we stayed for two nights. The campsite was right on the water of the Inside Passage. We watched several cruise ships go by, along with some cargo ships and tugs moving cargo.
Next morning, we continued up to Campbell River. We crossed the 50th Parallel as we drove into Campbell River having crossed the 49th Parallel between Ucluelet and Tofino. We spent two fun days and a night with Will & Trudy, visiting Elk Falls and going to Painters Lodge for lunch. We then parted ways as we continued north towards Port Hardy.
First, we checked out the 3-day log carving competition going on in Campbell River from Novice to Pro.
We stopped at Ripple Rock Campground for three nights. It wasn’t planned to stay three nights, but it was so beautiful, we couldn’t resist. This campsite comes highly recommended.
First full day we walked around the marina and campground watching the local wildlife and marine traffic on the inside passage. Second day we hiked the Ripple Rock Trail, this was an 8km/5mile hike which we did with our camp neighbors Phil and Cheryl, this took us 4hrs going up hill down dale all in a forest which had both new and old growth trees. The view at the destination was worth the effort though.
While enjoying this little piece of paradise, we saw many eagles, wood peckers, grey whales, humpbacks, harbour seals and porpoises.
Continuing north we then camped at Alder Bay Resort campground. The wind was very strong off the water but we found a relatively sheltered site where we had dinner and a campfire and watched a nice sun set.
Next morning, we travelled to Port McNeil then caught a ferry over to Malcolm Island and found a campsite at Bere Provincial Park, Regional District of Mount Waddington. Again, we watched cruise ships heading to and from Alaska. We hiked the Beautiful Bay Trail along the north end of the Inside Passage. The hike was somewhat eerie, as many trees had fallen and it was like a tree graveyard. Flip side of the coin, it was magical, as you could almost sense the fairies and elves dancing around you.
The following morning before catching the ferry to Alert Bay we called at the Upper Crust Bakery and picked up some homemade Cinnamon Buns which we had pre-ordered the day before. Victor, the owner originally hails from Chile, you just never know who you will run into. Victor was selling knitted goods from developing nations, so we bought some knitted slipper for the cold nights in the camper, Catherine also got some hand warmers and an over the shoulder water bottle holder for hiking.
From Malcom Island we were able to take a free ferry ride to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island. We stayed on Cormorant Island for approximately 3hrs for a walk around Alert before catching the ferry back to Port McNeil and then onto Port Hardy. Alert has the tallest Totem Pole in the world. Here are some random photos from Alert.
And some miscellaneous Totem Poles found in the 1st Nation Cemetery and other figures:
And you cannot go anywhere without seeing a London Taxi and Double Decker bus.
We spent a sleepless night on the ferry dock at Port Hardy after having dinner in town.