We woke up at 7:30 and checked out of Wisteria Cottage at 9. It was only an hour back to Schwartz Bay so we arrived with an hour to spare before the 11 am sailing. The waters were calm and the sun was shining for the 50 minute trip to Fulford Harbour on the south end of Salt Spring.With so many Gulf Islands between the mainland and Vancouver Island there are large and small ferries going every whichway on the waterways.
We sailed past tiny Piers Island which is entirely a park now but there are houses on it and they have spent a lot of money on long boardwalks and stairways to get from the house to the water. As we rounded the end of Salt Spring to sail into the channel up to Fulford I spotted a group of people that looked very much like they were doing a beach clean-up. When we drove off the ferry we veered right onto a side road to avoid all the traffic going up island. This took us to the northeast corner of the island and we drove several roads here and there, found a few geocaches and enjoyed some lovely views. We stopped at a tiny beach area at Stowell Lake and saw these cages on the ground weighted down with rocks and each with a piece of paper on top. They are covering endangered Western Painted Turtle nests. So cool. The majority of our hiking around was in Ruckle Provincial Park which encompasses the majority of the fat southeast peninsula of Salt Spring. The road to the day-use picnic area was closed due to roadworks so we drove into the campground and parked near a connecting trail that allowed us to access the day-use road below the construction zone. This entire area was once a farm owned by the Ruckle family. Descendants still farm part of the original parcel. The family settled here in 1872. We climbed this staircase to get to another trail that led us to a geocache hidden on an adjoining finger of land. The stairs look like cement but they are made of huge rectangular rocks. We had to clamber down the rocks because the cache was hidden in an opening between two of the large boulders on the bank.You can see John signing the geocache log paper and if you look up toward the right under the trees you can see the head of a young lady who was relaxing with her book and her old dog in the remote solitude. We left her in peace after we found the cache and completed the circle trail back to where we had parked the truck. Right beside the trail was this massive ant hill. I shudder to think of how many ants reside in there. There were hundreds of them busy bustling about on the outside. There would be thousands more inside.
Back on the main park road we stopped briefly at the signs telling about the Ruckle Farm; most of which is now the park. We drove past this house, which has been beautifully restored, but there were so many trees and bushes between the road and the house we couldn’t get a photo of it.
Our geocache maps marked a spot called Grandmother’s Douglas Fir so we drove down a side road to see what it was. Strangely, it was a Dougland Fir tree, but an absolutely massive one! Obviously photos can’t capture it well, but each of the big branches are the size or regular tree trucks.
Grandmother’s Douglas Fir has quite a lean going on. I wonder how long before the weight at the top uproots her? The short path through the forest to the big tree was very pretty.
We picked up a connecting road to Ganges, the main town on the island and bought some groceries for two dinners and two breakfasts before heading across the island to Vesuvius Bay and our accomdation for the next two nights.
A fawn had decided that it was meal time when mom was right in the middle of the road.John inched the truck ahead to get them moving and as mom wandered off the fawn paused to look up the hill. It had heard the car that was coming around the corner. Thankfully it wasn’t going too fast to stop.
There was a geocache hidden here called ‘Ribbit’. The description said that the ‘frog’ just appeared one night. Some one had painted it on a big rock.And, then there were wild turkeys. Three of them although I only captured two in my photo.We found the Maple Ridge Cottages and check into cottage #2 at 3:30. It was a shorter day after several consecutive long ones so we were happy to sit and enjoy the quiet and the view.