Earlier this month we were fortunate enough to visit this relatively small, sleepy (although apparently not so in the peak summer months) island with gorgeous coast lines and a provincial park that could go toe to toe with almost any other in BC.
Coming from Kamloops, in the interior of BC, I had an idea what to expect as a good friend of mine frequents the island every year. As cliché as it is though you really do have to experience this place. The island is small, only about 30 square kms, and is home to less than 1,000 people. As tiny as it is it packs a huge visual punch! From a photographer’s perspective it is stunning, particularly the unique coast line features, including rock formations that look like spider webs and a sandy beach -Tribune Bay- that just flat out makes you smile when you stumble out of the trail and catch your first glimpse.
The jewel in our eyes though was Helliwell Provincial Park. Dense forests cut by well used trails lead out to grassy slopes about 100 yards from the ocean, the transition something we had never seen before. One minute you’re in beautiful trees and ferns that almost feels like a movie set because it’s so quiet, and the next you step out to views that make your chest swell.
The ‘town’ is very cute to put it mildly. It’s made up of about 6 businesses with only a few that stay open year round; the Co-op being the hub for food and other essentials. There is a very popular distillery, called the Phrogery, that produces fantastic liquor. I bought their dry gin which is the best I’ve ever had. We were too late to visit much else, however the wineries will be a must on the next visit.
If there was one thing about this little gem in the Gulf island chain that will draw us back it’s that you can actually feel the decompression in your body start to happen on the very first day. The trek isn’t short- about 9 hours from Kamloops and 3 ferries- but it’s a different feel in this part of the province. Gone is the grind of daily life as it quickly gives way to a calm and serenity; that is hard to find and reason enough to head back!
Happy travels 🙂
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