A Travellerspoint blog

Day 80 - Day 83: July 5 - July 8, 2012

Victoria

sunny 25 °C

Early Thursday morning we left Vancouver and headed toward Tsasswen to catch the ferry to the island! We missed the 10:00am ride by two cars, but the beautiful weather allowed us to stick our feet our the windows and wait until the 11:00am ride, we aren’t in any hurry these days! We were the second car to pull onto the boat, what an exciting experience! There were so many interesting sights to see while on the ferry- lots of people watching, landscape observing, and even some whale / porpoise sightings! This gave us a little taste of what we’re in for during our time along the Pacific Coast, and got us super excited for our whale watching tour coming up soon!

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So anyway… once we got back on land, we explored around Sidney and then hiked up Mt. Work for an awesome view of the coast. We then headed for Sean and Kate McNeil’s place- some friends from back home who offered to house us during our time in Victoria! We spent the evening on the patio with burgers and beers and plenty of good conversation. It didn’t take us long to learn the the McNeils may just be the best tour guides yet this summer. After the BBQ they took us for a drive to the lagoon and then to Bear Mountain, teaching us the history of the area along the way. Sean and Kate spent Friday at work, so we set off on our own to hike Mt. Finlayson....this was an interesting hike to say the least. We got totally lost on a mountain biking trail and were forced to bush-wack our way out (getting stung in the ass by an unknown insect along the way). We took our frustrations out on the samples at Costco, and spent some solid time stocking up on camping supplies and hiking food (and then sniped more samples when the vendors weren’t looking…typical…) When we got back to the McNeil residence, Kate had an entire evening planned for us, that’s when we came up with a new company for her titled ‘Kate McNeil Tours- See Victoria in Two Days!’. The night began at Fishermans Wharf where we had fish and chips at Barbs Place on the docks. From there we checked out the floating homes and then made our way to the cruise ship terminals just on time for the sunset. We walked along the pier as we saw the ships light up and the sun go down. Although we started to get a bit tired- the night with Sean and Kate had just begun. We continued our tour around Victoria with lattes from Moka House and a stop at ‘Mile 0’. We finished the night at Big Bad Johns- a hidden gem of a bar in the city with many rounds of Triple X. This is the place where Emma Allen was assigned the nickname ‘WA’ (weirdo-attractor). Literally every odd individual approached us during the night, asking her about one thing or another, ranging from her camera to her ‘friendly smile’. We started to go with it, and made up ridiculous false stories about how we were going to be the stars of an MTV show called ‘The Traveling Emmas’. We had the weirdos asking for our photos and our autographs….this gave us a good laugh. What a night!

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Exploring Sidney.....found little crabs!

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A local fisher

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Barb's Place

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Floating homes at Fisherman's Warf, Victoria

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Sunset on the pier

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Sunset on the pier

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Cruise ships

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Mile 0

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Triple X at Big Bad Johns

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'The Traveling Emmas' forever in Big Bad Johns!

Day three in Victoria was spent with a hike to the train bridge, a stop at the Malahat lookout, a tour around the Canada Sports Centre Pacific office (Kate’s workplace), a delicious wine-cheese-icecream lunch in Cowichan Bay, a cider tasting at Meridale Cidery, and finished up with a delicious dinner and game of Skip-Bo back at the house. We definitely lived it up in Victoria, thank you so much Sean and Kate for giving us a lovely time here, loaded with great laughs, fantastic food, and silly nights out. We learned lots about this city, and we are totally sold on living here some day! If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll both score a wicked cat like Princess Gordie…. ;)

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Massive maple leaf!

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Sean and Kate on the train bridge

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Wine and cheese on the docks in Cow Bay

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The four of us!

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Ice cream, YUM

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Dinner and Skipbo

Posted by mcmillanallen 23:32 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Day 76 - Day 79: July 1 - July 4, 2012

Vancouver

semi-overcast 15 °C

Although our jobs as WWOOFers have come to an end, we still have a month of adventures to look forward to. We spent the start of the next phase of traveling in Vancouver, where we stayed with Alison- a cousin of Emma McMillans. Alison was so kind to take us in and treat us to a warm cozy house with lots of homemade goodies. She greeted us with huge hugs despite our repulsive appearances and odours (let us remind you that we had just finished a 16km hike…) We spent the evening catching up and watching an old classic VHS.

At last minutes notice, Emma McMillans parents came to visit us in BC. We started off the day with Alisons homemade cinnamon buns (which we consider to be the tastiest treat thus far) and then made our way to the Baden Powell trail near Deep Cove. Although it poured rain, we enjoyed a good hike and followed up with pizza, coffee, and doughnuts at a local cafe- this was a treat day! To finish the day, we searched high and low for the Lululemon outlet store…we felt obligated to buy some things- we didn’t want to come out empty handed after dragging Gordo around with us! We said goodbye to the McMillans after a lovely visit, and went back to Alisons for yet another old classic movie…girls night in!

The sun finally shone over Vancouver for our last day in the city. We started the day with hair cuts in a sketchy salon, Vancouver- 1, Emmas- 0. We grumbled about our unimpressive haircuts all the way downtown where we were overwhelmed with thousands of pedestrians and intimidating passengers on the SkyTrain, Vancouver- 2, Emmas- 0. We did some unsuccessful shopping on Robson street, and then got rapped about by a street busker for looking lost but cute, Vancouver- 3, Emmas- 0. Finally things started to look up when we discovered Gastown, and better yet- the Old Spaghetti Factory. We ate a delicious dinner of spaghetti and (more) pizza, explored around the waterfront and eventually made it to Stanley Park. We decided that Vancouver is okay, although we definitely prefer the mountains and wilderness!

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What have I got myself into.....

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At least one of us turned out okay!

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Gastown

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The Old Spaghetti Factory

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The Old Spaghetti Factory

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Floating homes, too cool!

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The view of the city from Stanley Park

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We love you Alison!

Although downtown Vancouver was a bit of a bust, we had an amazing time with Alison, Lonny, Lulu, and Gwenie. They were so nice to welcome us and make us feel right at home....if any McMillans are ever in Vancouver or surrounding area, you better visit cousin Alison, you might just get a cinnamon bun out of the deal!

Posted by mcmillanallen 07:50 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Day 69 - Day 76: June 24 - July 1, 2012

Pemberton- Ice Cap Organics

storm 10 °C

Ice Cap Organics was our sixth and last WWOOF location- our journey is all of a sudden winding down!

Ice Cap is an organic vegetable farm located north of Pemberton at the tip of the Sea to Sky highway. They have a beautiful location in the heart of the Pemberton Meadows Valley, surrounded by mountains and the turquoise Lillooet River. They have a 100 person harvest bin program, and sell vegetables at farmers markets in Vancouver. We spent our time helping with harvesting for the markets and preparing the bins, which meant lots of time in the beautiful sun and learning about gardening- we both feel 100% confident about starting our own veggie gardens now!!

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Beets!

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A pro harvester

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Got hungry in the veggie patch....

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The farm!

Aside from working at the farm, our time was filled with explorations around Pemberton, Squamish, and Whistler areas! Our stay in this part of Canada was short, so we knew we couldn't go a day without an adventure of some kind! We nick-named this 'Five Days, Five Hikes' because we made sure to do all of the main hiking trails despite our sore bodies and short time frame. The names of the hikes we did in this five days were Campbell Lakes trail, the Grouse Grind, Tenquille Lake trail, Joffre Lakes trail, and the Stawamus Chief....all back to back! These are totally worth looking up on Google, to get a better idea of how intense this actually was for us. We have surfing in the near future- we need our beach bodies in prime condition! We also like to think of it as training for our upcoming Juan de Fuca trek- 47km...

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Joffre Lakes hike

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Joffre Lakes hike

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Joffre Lakes hike

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Joffre Lakes hike

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The Chief

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The Chief

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View of Squamish from the top

Anyway....

Other than satisfying our new obsession with hiking, we spent our time at strawberry socials, local breweries, hanging out at Mt. Currie Coffee Co. (best coffee joint EVER, ever, ever), battling with mosquitos the size of golf balls, preparing dinners in our trailer with different variations of the in-season vegetables (beets, turnips, garlic scapes, and lettuce), and constantly planning for the last month of our trip across Canada.

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Howesound Brewery

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the 'Spit' in Squamish

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Kite surfers at the Spit

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Doing the dishes with a mosquito net hat ;)

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Our trailer!

The festivities during Canada Day deserve a new paragraph....

Although the weather was the worst so far this summer, we did not let it damper our spirits or enthusiasm toward celebrating this beautiful country! We spent the Saturday touring around Whistler Village, mostly shopping and fantasizing about nice outfits, trying to ignore the terrible weather. On Sunday morning we woke up and decked ourselves out with anything red and white that we packed. We covered our faces with maple leaf tattoos, packed up, and headed to the village for the festivities. In the parking lot we filled our water bottles with special beverages and then caught the tail end of the parade. After the parade we walked around the farmers market, filling up on tons of samples to avoid buying lunch- new genius strategy! When we were full of samples, we continued our window shopping and trying things on (not actually buying anything). This turned into a game, having mini competitions about who could create the best outfit (this ridiculous behaviour may or may not have been a result of our beschwipst systems). We had some good laughs, and then ended up at the Amsterdam Pub for some nachos and celebratory drinks. Not even five minutes after sitting down, we were approached by a group of young people who ended up treating us to our food and an additional multitude of pitchers. After a big group prost, we sang the national anthem with our glasses in the air, and then headed to the Longhorn Saloon to watch the fireworks (Hastings definitely trumps Whistler's fireworks, just for the record). The rest of the night was spent dancing, singing, and general awesomeness at the bar with our new friends. Monday morning's breakfast at the Burnt Stew Cafe in Function Junction consisted of eggs benny, omelettes and coffee- a great way to prepare for our 16km hike up the Black Tusk trail.

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Canada Day in Whistler!

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Looking quite festive...

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Breakfast in Function Junction

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YUM!

All in all, our time spent along the Sea to Sky highway was one for the books to say the least. Thank you to Alisha, Delaney, Ira, and Annicka for hosting us in Pemberton, and for teaching us all about organic farming! Also a huge thanks to our new Australian, local, and stag friends for giving us the time of our lives on Canada Day.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA, WE LOVE YOU!

Posted by mcmillanallen 12:56 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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