Photos from July 2015 road-trip 
Denis O'Brien

Tour of N end of Vancouver Island 

Nanaimo - Port Hardy - Holberg - Ucleulet - Tofino - Nanaimo


This year all of BC has been hot, dry, and on fire, including Vancouver Island.  But in mid-July a line of storms blew in off the Pacific and helped snuff the early summer forest fires, thereby providing a window of opportunity to see the Island before the late summer fires start.  I've seen the lower end, but not the remote upper end, the tip of which is N of the 50th parallel -- it is still quite light at 10 pm. My cottage is just about where the "N" in "CANADA" is on the map.  I caught the 5:30am ferry from Tsawwassen to Nanaimo, and was in Port Hardy by 1 pm. (BC is not really purple, btw.  It's sort of burnt umber.)

Clear cut

 The north of Van Island is, essentially, one big clear-cut.  These photos emphasize the logging process/results and sole pub.  I did over 200 miles on logging roads, which are well maintained but a little bit on the narrow side when the trucks roll by.  If you've never been run off a road by a logging truck, keep it that way for as long as you can.


Clear cut operation in progress, if you call this "progress."




Logs lifted off of logging truck (orange, barely visible behind the flat-bed) and dropped into 
the inlet at Holberg, a logging camp.  Note clear cut in background.


Logs are then formed into a large raft by these wee tug boats 
that don't even have a ladies' room.

The ferry passed a raft of logs crossing Georgia Strait 
on the way back to the mainland.

Old and new clear cuts literally as far as you can see 
in every direction, except out to sea.



The Scarlet Ibis Pub & Restaurant, Holberg, BC
Pretty basic, but a pint of pale ale was only $4.85.  
Would have been $7.50 in Vancouver.


The "town" dock.


These ghost stumps from the first clear cuts over a century ago were everywhere,
 some over 6 feet in diameter, spaced  100 feet apart or so, they would have been
 over 1000 years old when cut down.  What majestic places the original forests
 must have been. 




Why do they put it in quotation marks?
It was not an exaggeration.  Even scarier were the ones that said

 "Truckers, steep gradient regulations in effect.  
Private vehicles stay out, your insurance is not valid." 

 'course ya' just had to go up and find out why, eh?


One of the highest roads I climbed up to -- almost 2000 feet. 
Coming down was almost as difficult as going up.



The ends of the inlets and the banks of the lakes were often clogged with 
millions of downed trees.  Enough firewood to heat every house 
in Vancouver for a decade. 


Three Island Mountain Lake


That is all timber along the far bank of Benson Lake



Wild things 

Given the very severe destruction of ecosystems by clear cutting, it's not surprising that the wildlife was not exactly abundant.  
Very few birds, a couple deer, and just one BigFoot was about all I saw.  Lots of flowers, but not much diversity. 



The only deer I saw.



Sharp-tailed grouse, hen & chick





BigFoot caught taking a whizz along a logging road.


Three Island Mountain Lake

Graduates from the local tadpole academy -- 1000's of them.


The local tadpole academy.  Best swimming hole ever.

Spotted sandpiper




Taken from first night's camp site.


Vancouver from the Georgia Strait

Ha, ha, ha.  Had you goin' on that BigFoot thing, didn't I???
(Don't tell the National Enquirer, 'cause I just sold them that "exclusive BigFoot photo" for $60,000.)




Copyright, 2005- 2015, Denis O'Brien ~ All rights reserved.