Friday, January 25, 2013

The Sunshine Coast - Our Journey to Texada Island

Around the beginning of December we start to dream... of green forests and quiet beaches, ocean views and no traffic. We dream of our next trip to Texada Island.

Travelling to Texada Island requires a trip up the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. This road trip is one of my favourites in our province. It involves windy roads, three ferries, great big forests and lots of geocaches! And so much more for the explorer in you.

After getting off the ferry in Langdale we make our way first through Gibsons. Now if you're from Canada you know that Gibsons is home to Molly's Reach of the Beachcomber's TV show that ran from 1972 to 1990. If you have no idea what I'm talking about just click here. It's a Canadian icon and part of our genetic makeup! This great cache (GC137C1) will give you an awesome view of 'the Reach'.

Continuing north we meander through the beautiful little town of Sechelt and then through places with lovely names like Redrooffs Road, Halfmoon Bay and Maderia Park. Just past Maderia Park, to the north, is Mount Daniel. Historically Mount Daniel served as a spot of local aboriginal importance. Young teenage girls were isolated at this spot to assemble rocks in "moon circles" as way of entering puberty. The hike up to to the top of Mount Daniel is about 3km one way. The view is incredible and of course there is a cache there... (GC20PZK). If you have time then make your way up Mount Daniel.

After Mount Daniel we're almost at Egmont and the next ferry to Saltery Bay. But wait... before the ferry, no trip up the Sunshine Coast would be complete without a side trip to the Skookumchuck Narrows. Skookum means 'strong' and chuck means 'water' and that's exactly what you will witness at this incredible display of nature... very strong water. Skookumchuck Narrows forms the entrance of Sechelt Inlet and before broadening into Sechelt Inlet, all of its tidal flow, together with that of Salmon Inlet and Narrows Inlet, must pass through Sechelt Rapids. On a 3 metre tide, 200 billion gallons of water flow through the narrows connecting Sechelt and Jervis Inlet. The difference in water levels between one side of the rapids and the other sometimes exceeds 2 metres in height! There are, of course, a few caches in Skookumchuck Provincial Park including a very educational earthcache (GCMXRA).

Now it's time for the ferry to Saltery Bay (don't you just love that name too?). This ferry is a little cozy one compared to the ferries that cross to Vancouver Island but we just love it. We grab some soup & crackers in the gift shop and settle down by one of the big windows and just soak in the incredible scenery of Nelson Island and Captain Island. It is just spectacular.

Finally we are on the last leg to Powell River. As the crow flies we've only traveled about 144km but really there is no where in British Columbia where you can travel "as the crow flies!" Going around inlets, skirting mountains and the odd ferry trip makes the trip to this point about 6 to 8 hours long, depending on ferry waits and how many geocaches you stop for!

Powell River is a gorgeous little town with beautiful views of Texada Island, Malaspina Strait and Vancouver Island (waaay in the distance). Originally home to world's largest pulp mill, Powell River has grown into a adventurer's playground. From hiking to beachcombing, from geocaching and everything else in between... Powell River is the destination for outdoor enthusiasts!

We spent the night in the cozy Westview Centre Motel which we love. It's clean, very affordable and minutes away from the ferry to Texada (though their driveway is an experience!) and then, the next morning, we treated ourselves to an awesome breakfast at the Marine Inn. There is nothing like a cup of tea, delicious eggs benedict and a view of the ocean all rolled into one!

Finally it's time to take the last ferry to "our island." Yes, we have to admit that Texada Island has become our island. It feels like coming home. We drive up to our 'Retreat' and the weights and worries of reality slip away. We are here once again and it has been worth every mile to get here.

If you'd like more information on exploring Texada Island, check out some of our previous posts.