Before we’d arrived in Canada we’d discussed the fact we would get need to remember how to cycle in the rain, something we’d forgotten about after getting wet for 35km of the 2,850km we rode in Australia. Saying that, it was pretty warm in British Columbia for our first five days, then we woke up on Wednesday morning to the sound of rain. That’s the Canada we’d been expecting. Fortunately we were pretty sheltered under the trees and the tent wasn’t too wet, but by the time we’d started the ride back to Squamish we were getting pretty wet and quickly grabbed more clothes to wear.
From Whistler we had to retrace our steps back to Squamish and then onwards to Horseshoe Bay. Cycle touring is about getting from A to B, so retracing never quite fits into that plan and it feels like it should be something avoided whenever possible. Ignoring the rain, however, the ride back to Squamish was good fun. We enjoyed swooping down the hills we’d plodded up on Monday and seeing things from a different perspective. It was also a lot quicker to get back to Squamish, but by the time we arrived we were pretty wet and Philippa was getting cold. We huddled outside the supermarket to make use of their free WiFi and found ourselves a hostel for the night. As there wasn’t a drying room we had to make do with our bedroom, which quickly developed a wet dog aroma. Nice.
Thursday was a much brighter day and we carried on our journey back down the Sea to Sky highway. The views on the way back were even more amazing because we were now on the sea side of the highway. We got to Horseshoe Bay and jumped on the ferry to Langdale (not the place in the Lake District) to get on to the Sunshine Coast. This is still part of the mainland, but as there’s no road access everyone has to go on the ferry. We could admire the Sea to Sky highway hugging the cliffs and it looked like how I expect Norway to appear. When disembarking the ferry we were met by Suzie, our WarmShowers host for the night in Gibsons. She was off to a dance class and had come down to the ferry terminal to give us a key for her house. We’re still amazed at the generosity and trust we continue to encounter on our trip. She also told us to stop at Mike’s Place for the gelato, which of course we did and it was really tasty. The evening with Suzie and Jim was great. We watched the hummingbirds in their garden, were given a lovely dinner, introduced to “Walk Off The EarthWalk Off The Earth” band and it was all great.
Today we’ve ridden up the Sunshine Coast. We’ve seen three other cycle tourists today alone (which is two more than we saw in the 2½ months we were in Australia!), had a bald eagle do a fly past for us (but it refused to fly when I was trying to take it’s photo), admired Vancouver Island where we’ll be in a few days and seen lots of trees. It’s all a bit like the scenery in the film Moonrise Kingdom and is very beautiful. We’re camped in Pender Harbour, which is a few kilometres off the highway and is really peaceful, with views of the sea, more soaring eagles and there’s even a heated swimming pool. The best news, however, is that the bears only sniff around the edge of the campsite where the RVs are parked and the camping area is, allegedly, bear free. Whoop.