BLOG #42, SERIES #8
WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
THREE WEEKS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA #3
LUND, THE SUNSHINE COAST, AND DESOLATION SOUND
October 18, 2017
Today, I pick up at the tail end of our campmeeting sojourn in Hope, on the banks of the mighty Fraser River (see blogs for September 20 and 27).
When we left there, with Byron and Kim Palmer (nephew and niece), we still had to deal with the suffocatingly dense smoke from those several hundred fires. Our destination for Day 1 of our nine-day exploration of Vancouver Island was the old town of Lund, on the mainland of a delightful region called the Sunshine Coast. This area is so-called because it has become such a recreation paradise, boasting Canada’s mildest climate. We soon discovered that Canada, with a land mass as large as the U.S., but only one-tenth the population, has had to make do with far-fewer roads than we do and far more ferry boats and seaplanes to compensate.
Actually, the large ferry boats were a joy to ride on, most with
plenty of seating, food-service, and deck space to watch the abundant water life. But the catch is that they are not cheap to travel on.
The Sunshine Coast is only 93 miles long, but thanks to the two ferry boat crossings (besides the wait at each port), it is anything but a quick trip. We waited two hours for ferry #1 and later an hour and a half for ferry #2. But had there been a road around, it would have taken us at least as long. Reason being, there are almost uncountable thousands of miles of island after island after island to deal with.
One of the great serendipities of Canadian life and travel has to do with the vast wilderness areas devoid of people and roads. For starters, let’s take the tiny fishing village called Lund, first settled in 1899. The last road (Highway 101) sputters out of existence just a few miles north of town. Now take out your B.C. map and you’ll see nothing but wilderness, with little settlements here and there reachable only by boat or seaplane. There are no roads until you get to Prince Rupert, not far from Ketchikan, Alaska.
We stayed in the historic Lund Hotel. For a very good reason: it’s the only hotel in town! The old-timey rooms have been remodeled and are most pleasant to stay in. Dinner was on the deck overlooking the harbor. Sunset was spectacular! Took us a while to digest the reality of no through-traffic. Also, during the two days we stayed there, we met travelers from all around the world, and almost everyone seemed delighted to talk with us.
Next morning early, we found our way to the dining area again for
a wonderful breakfast—especially the French toast! Then it was time to board our boat for a five and a half hour cruise of Desolation Sound. Canada has wonderful provincial parks, and Desolation Sound Marine Park is the largest of British Columbia’s 50 marine parks. There are no roads, it’s all wild and totally undeveloped. On board, we shared the day with a delightful boat captain and his wife, a land-developer and his wife from Victoria; a Turkish-German BASF engineer, with his Swedish wife, and nine-month-old Matthew who was our pet for the day; and another Canadian couple. The scenery was spectacular—would have been much more so had it not been for the smoke. On-board lunch was beautifully prepared and delicious.
In the serenity of the evening, another delicious diner on the veranda, strolls along the beach and wharf, admiring one of the most beautiful yachts we’d ever seen, listening to a woman playing her bagpipe not far from a home-made-donut shop. And what a sunset! The end of a perfect day. New friendships, wilderness scenery, abundant wildlife, delicious food, bagpipe music, and a quiet night—what more could one ask for?