October 11, 2017
Driving back across the island, west to east, through beautiful mountains, we passed several big, pretty lakes. There is a provincial park on the other side of Kennedy Lake. The only way to get there is by boat. I imagined kayaking there for a few days. The highest mountains were lightly covered with snow, and leaves were beginning to change.
We stopped in Coombs to visit the Country Market Brian and Leslie told us about. It has a sod roof where goats graze. It works. Everyone stops here. To my surprise, the store is quite nice, offering all kinds of goods at reasonable prices. Fresh-baked breads, pastries, jams, cookies make your mouth water. There is a good deli, and they make lunches and salads. It is a happening place with all kinds of things.
We passed through Nanaimo in a little rain. Further south, headed toward Victoria, we turned right and headed into Cowichan River Provincial Park. It’s a self-register park, very neatly kept. We drove the loop to select a site, only passing a few campers. We chose a site with some sun coming through the trees. We needed to charge the batteries. Although we had power at Green Point, the circuit breaker shut off in the middle of the night. It was 37 degrees and windy, so we were heating with the heat pump. I flipped the circuit breaker switch back on in the morning, and didn’t noticed the batteries at 50% until we were ready to move. Why they didn’t charge while we were driving I don’t know.
Of course I was interested to see the Cowichan River, so we got on the trail and walked over. It’s a beautiful river in its summer, clear and low form. I was hoping to see salmon, but didn’t. All I saw was one fish show himself, but couldn’t tell what it was. We started along the loop trail when I tweaked my calf muscle. Martha continued on and i hobbled back to camp. I gathered a bunch of sticks and built a fire. We didn’t have any firewood, so when Martha returned, we drove around looking for some. At the boat launch, a young lady was gearing up behind her Jeep Wrangler to go fly fishing. I screeched to a halt in front of her. She said she was new to fly fishing, but she was planning to fish for trout. She didn’t think there were salmon here yet. I thanked her and wished her luck.
A ranger was collecting the registration envelopes, so we stopped to ask about firewood. She had some and would meet us at our campsite. Lonnie is her name. She said she didn’t see many Airstreams, but she loved them. She told us all the Day Use areas to see along the river, about the trails and the Trans-Canada Trail. She told us about the town, Cowichan and where to get groceries. She said the river is closed to fishing except above the falls, and then it is catch-and-release. The park is open all year and really gets busy in summer. It is used mostly by locals, and she rarely sees people from the US. When the rains come, the river will rise 20 feet or more. Steelhead run in December, so people will come to fish for them then. Kayakers love the river. Lonnie was great. Who needs a visitor’s center when you have a Lonnie.