Category Archives: Courtenay

When it rains, time for a pour

Fishing north of Courtenay

Salmon fishing in the Pacific, north of Courtenay, B.C.

“Periods of rain.”

Perhaps the three most devastating words ahead of an impending backpack. Other than the single, four-letter epithet: “Rain.”

What to do? You can forge blithely ahead, hoping the forecast is wrong or exaggerated. But extensive experience has shown me that simply “rubbing one’s nose in it” leads more often to misery than delighted surprise. A misery exacerbated when the trip involves a long drive or an expensive flight to get there.

Thus the importance of having a Plan B, especially if you’ve already arrived on the trip’s doorstep. Rather than simply return home, take the opportunity to explore a new area. It might even buy you enough time, if you’ve got some flexibility, to wait out the bad weather, perhaps camped out on a forgiving friend’s or relative’s floor.

This strategy paid off beautifully recently on a backpack along Vancouver Island’s west coast. Where waiting three days resulted in a lovely, largely dry hike, with the bonus of some fine day trips around the north-central part of the island near Courtenay. Of course, there was also the chance to investigate some great places to eat and drink.

More about that in subsequent posts. In the meantime, here are some photos of lovely diversions.

Fishing north of Courtenay (1)

I’d rather be fishing

Nootka Trail 85

Beachcombing on Hornby Island

Nootka Trail 79

Ocean front hiking in Helliwell Provincial Park, Hornby Island

Nootka Trail 83

Tucking into pizza at Hornby Island’s funky Ringside Market

Nootka Trail 72

Great Hornby Island Roasting coffee at Lix in Ringside Market

Nootka Trail 14

From the suspension bridge at Elk Falls Provincial Park, Campbell River

 

Nootka Trail 112

A great rainy day diversion: Campbell River Museum

Nootka Trail 115

Fabulous, fresh fare at Dick’s Fish & Chips in Campbell River

Nootka Trail 61

Spring hiking at Mount Washington ski hill near Courtenay. Okay, the boardwalk is a little buried in snow here

My Best Road Trip Meals of 2012

Billings and Red Lodge, Montana 6800 (1)

Casually elegant Restaurant 415 in Fort Collins, Colorado

Best Supper

There are times on a long road trip when you want to wipe off the grime, comb your hair and go out for a nice dinner—the kind where the chefs have trained in high-end restaurants and where the utensils have some heft and are wrapped in linen, not paper. And you want to do so without breaking the bank. Restaurant 415 in Fort Collins, Colorado delivers all that, in spades. The retro-modern dining space is elegant but relaxed, with subdued lighting on the brushed aluminum tables and the stylish chairs, which have leatherette seat cushions and slightly springy wooden backs.

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