<center><img src=http://www.virtualtourist.com/p/.60292/M_1004919652-0.gif></center> <p>
<b><H3><font color="green">November 4, 2001.
<p> Ann and I left our Island and Virtual Tourist behind in the middle of June and flew off to London. After spending a week taking in the sites, we then spent several weeks in Spain, landing in Sevilla, then visiting numerous cities before leaving from Madrid in late July. Though this is considered the "High Season" in Spain, it is really too hot, as high as 45 degrees in Cordoba.
Since then, until today, little or no time at all has been spent at Virtual Tourist. Nearly all this afternoon, I've been "cleaning" pages which have lost pictures, I'm sure all of you have been through that exercise.
We were very taken with London and the surrounding area and, of course, enchanted by Spain and the many people we met there. Our thanks to Alex and Erika (erikajj) and (Lady Travel), fellow VT'ers who we joined for an experience in Valdelavilla. See my page on SPAIN which explains what we did there.
Maybe someday, I'll do a page or two on this most enjoyable trip.
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<center><B>MUSIC PROVIDED BY YAKACIK, A VT MEMBER WHO LIVES IN TURKEY. HIS PAGES ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.</B></cENTER>
<center><B>PLEASE VISIT HIS PAGES ~ </b><a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.122374/?s=220460292><IMG SRC="http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/t/3dflagsdotcom_turke_2faws.gif"border="0"></A> <b>click flag</b></CENTER>
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<center><b><font color="RED">IN HONOUR OF CAPTAIN VANCOUVER</font></b></center>
<center><font color="GREEN"size=+1><b>DUNCAN, B.C. CANADA</b></font></center>
<center><font color="GOLD"size=+1><b>VANCOUVER ISLAND PARADISE</b></font></center>
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<center><font color="royalblue"size=+1>~* FLAGS OF THE WORLD *~</font></center>
<center><font color="blue"size=+2><b><i>GETTING HERE</i></b></center>
<center><a href="http://www.bcferries.com"><img src="http://www.bcferries.com/fleet/images/pic-queen_of_nanaimo.jpg"></a></center>
That time of year when everything goes to sleep, though on Vancouver Island, winters are generally fairly mild, the dormancy and falling of leaves lets you know that your woodshed had best be well stocked.
Springtime is when the vivid colors return, a time when people seem to move a little faster. It also means servicing your lawnmowers and getting out there into the fresh air, away from the virtual world and back to the real one. It means getting back to the:
archery, cycling, canoeing, white water rafting, tubing, kayaking, golf, stream, river and deep sea fishing, clams, oysters, shrimp, catfish, halibut, flounder, salmon, steelhead, brown and rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, cod, dungeness and rock crab, scuba diving, sailing, powerboating, surfing,windsurfing, hiking, camping, more golf, hunting, four-wheeling, all winter sports, cross country, snowboarding, county fairs, jazz festivals, country western festivals, winery, lakes, lakes, and more lakes, waterfalls, ferries to everywhere and nowhere, and more.....................</font>
Kms from Nanaimo: 50
Kms from Victoria: 60
Totem Pole Tour<center><img src=http://www.britishcolumbia.com/images/cities/214.1.jpg></center>
Native Heritage Center
<b>Visit the Train Museum</b>
- Known as the City of Totems, this one-square mile city serves a regional population of over 70,000.
It was the building of the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway (running from Victoria north to Courtenay) that resulted in the creation of Duncan. Nearby stations were found to be inconvenient, and when Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada's first prime minister, arrived in 1886 on Vancouver Island to mark completion of the railroad, a reception was planned on the farm of William C. Duncan. The following year, Duncan's Station was built. The site was given the name Alderlea, but eventually evolved into Duncan. The city was incorporated in 1912.
Duncan became the supply and commercial center for the Cowichan Valley, servicing the area's forestry industry. In 1900, ore was found on nearby Mt. Sicker, further boosting the area as a commercial center.
While the ore ran out, forestry has continued as the economic backbone of the Duncan area, but tourism has also boomed. In the mid 1980s the Totem Pole Project was born, a venture between the Cowichan Indian Band and the city. Celebrating the resurgence in native art, the project has seen nearly 80 totem poles erected, many visible along the Trans Canada Highway. A self-guided tour (follow the yellow footprints) is one way to see many of the poles. Volunteers from the Cowichan Valley Volunteer Society provide free interpretive tours.
Downtown Duncan is also home to a restored 1912 train station, now home to the Cowichan Valley Museum and its collection of heritage items. Just a short drive away is the Cowichan Valley Community Center, its front adorned with the largest hockey stick in the world. A little further north on the highway is Somenos Marsh, home to a number of species of birds.
Outdoor enthusiasts won't want to miss the trip up nearby Mt. Prevost. The road to the trailheads is rough, but the chance to see the incredible view is well worth the effort.
Just south of Duncan is the 28-mile long Cowichan River. Situated along its shores is the Native Heritage Center, a hugely popular destination that focuses on First Nations. Owned by the Cowichan Band, the center's mandate is to promote Native culture through education, art and entertainment.
This Native Band is extremely wealthy, they own and lease much of the major commercial property in Duncan. When an adult Male member of the band achieves adulthood, he is given land and a nice house for nothing. School dropout rate is extremely high as is unemployment.
Further west along the river, the Cowichan River Footpath is a 30-kilometer trail through the river valley. If you're not into long hikes, shorter trails offer easier going. The river is also great for fishing and kayaking. Tubing down the river in the summer is a popular favorite.
The <B>COWICHAN RIVER</b> runs adjacent to our property, across the street, down the trail and the best swimming hole on the river awaits you. It is interesting when the salmon are running. You know that they are on the move when the seagulls are flying over your house.
<center><b>HOME TO GARRY OAKS</b></center>
These slow-growing trees are becoming rare and have been the subject of concern in the local community. This is not a Greenpeace movement, it is the local people who are up in arms over the destruction of ancient trees destined to be lost forever.
<b><u>IF YOU GO</u></b>
If you're driving from the south, Duncan is about one hour out of Victoria on the Trans Canada Highway. From the north, it is about a 30-minute drive from Nanaimo.
Scheduled airline connections are out of Vancouver to Nanaimo or Victoria.
<center><font color="RED"><B>Picturesque Cowichan</b></font></center>
<center><font color="red"><b>(Mill Bay, Cobble Hill & Shawnigan Lake)</b></font></center>
Kms from Nanaimo: 75
Kms from Victoria: 90
Cowichan Lake for Fly Fishing
Drive around Cowichan Lake
to Honeymoon Bay, Youbou
and access to
Carmanah Pacific Park
- Comprising the communities of Mill Bay, Cobble Hill and Shawnigan Lake, South Cowichan is your first major stop when heading north out of Victoria.
Mill Bay, a seaside village, was the site of one of the first sawmills (built in 1861) on Vancouver Island. The village offers a huge array of shops and services, including a full-service marina for moorage, fishing supplies, gas and launch. Go off the Tans Canada Highway onto Mill Bay Road, and you will enjoy a scenic drive along the oceanfront where you'll find warm-water beaches, perfect for a swim or beachcombing. There's also a ferry connection across Saanich Inlet to Brentwood, near Victoria.
Shawnigan Lake is west off the Trans Canada, about 10 minutes from Mill Bay. The lake is the area's biggest tourism draw, great for swimming, fishing, sailing and canoeing. Take a leisurely drive around its shore.You'll find a number of spots for a picnic.
If you should blow in on a Sunday, try one of our several churches.
The village was not much more than a logging camp until the Esquimalt & Nanaimo (E&N) Railway went through in 1884. Sir John A. Macdonald, then Prime Minister of Canada, arrived in 1886 to drive the last spike, a spot marked by a stone cairn. A short hike will take you to this historic spot. The railway also crosses the Kinsol Trestle, one of the largest and highest wooden trestle bridges in the world. The railway spurred the construction of a hotel that catered to the fishermen who came to try their luck in the lake. The railway made the trip from Victoria 'easy', and weekends saw trainloads of city dwellers descending on the sleepy village. Shawnigan Lake is also home to the internationally-respected Shawnigan Lake School, a private facility catering to students from around the world.
Cobble Hill, north of Mill Bay, is a sleepy little village, filled with art galleries and antique shops.
South Cowichan is also known for a few small wineries. Some offer tours and wine-tasting.
<b>COWICHAN (North) </b>
- Known as the Gateway to the West Coast, the area comprises the communities of Lake Cowichan, Mesachie Lake, Honeymoon Bay and Youbou.
The villages are strung around the shores of Cowichan Lake, at 30-kilometers long, one of the largest freshwater bodies on Vancouver Island. Called Kaatza 'The Big Lake' by Native Indians, the lake was used extensively early in the century for transporting logs to nearby sawmills. A large mill still exists at Youbou; however, the area's economy is becoming more and more dependent on tourism.
The lake is great for swimming, boating, water-skiing, windsurfing and fishing. In fact, the area boasts some of the best fly fishing in all of Canada.
The best way to experience Lake Cowichan is to take a leisurely drive around its shoreline. Begin at Kaatza Station Museum, on the South Shore Road. Housed in the old Esquimalt & Nanaimo (E&N) railway depot, the museum recalls the area's heritage through murals, photographs and displays.
Continuing along the south shore, your next stop is Mesachie Lake. Along the road and in the village you will find 33 species of trees imported from around the world during the 1940s. Over 230 trees can be found in the community, and a short self-guided tour is a must. Begin at the large 'Trees of Mesachie' map, located behind the village store.
Your next stop is Honeymoon Bay and nearby Gordon Bay Provincial Park, a must see, particularly for its wildflower ecology reserve. If you're there in April, you can see the wildflowers blooming in the second-growth forest.
The pavement turns into a gravel road just past Honeymoon Bay. This section has no services but does contain campsites and boat launches. (A logging road begins here with branches to the Carmanah Valley, Bamfield, Port Alberni, the north end of the West Coast Trail and Pacific Rim National Park.) The gravel road continues around the western most point of Cowichan Lake, turning back into pavement at Youbou. A few kilometers further and you're back in Lake Cowichan village.
Fishing on Lake Cowichan is for trout, with rainbow, cutthroat, bull, kokanee and brown trout up to four pounds. Nearby rivers offer great fishing, too. The Cowichan River is considered one of the best fishing rivers on Vancouver Island. Bring your flyrod!
For some great hiking, the Cowichan River offers a 30-kilometer hiking path. Between Youbou and Lake Cowichan is the Bald Mountain Trails, offering hikes for all types. The Denninger Trail climbs to an old lookout where you are rewarded with excellent views and a great picnic spot. The Beaver Walk is much easier, leading to the recreation site. At the south end of the lake, the Heather Mountain Trail is a three-hour climb to the summit where you'll find wildflowers and great views.
<b>IF YOU GO
From the south, take the Trans Canada Hwy. north from Victoria. Mill Bay is about an hour out of Victoria. From the north, take the Trans Canada Hwy. south from Nanaimo. South Cowichan is about an hour away.
From the south, take the Trans Canada Hwy. north from Victoria. Just north of Duncan, head west on Hwy. 18. From Victoria, the trip is about 1 1/2 hours. From the north, take the Trans Canada Hwy. south from Nanaimo to Hwy. 18. The 73-kilometer trip is just over an hour.
Scheduled airline connections are out of Vancouver to Victoria or Nanaimo airports.
The Esquimalt and Nanaimo (E&N) Railway has daily departures out of Victoria
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We are USA citizens who escaped from California in late 1983 and now live on Vancouver Island in Canada. The air is clean and the water is pure spring water, not chlorinated as it was where we formerly lived.
We're on our 2'nd time around the World but have not had the time or the skill to build all of the pages yet. Just learning to use a computer is as much of a challenge as swimming with piranhas in the waters of the Amazon River or escaping from a hawker in Morocco.
<p>Gidget and Ginger, our dogs, they also live here with the cats, ducks and assorted wild animals. Visit with us at our home by going to the bottom of this page and following the links. Please feel free to join our travel experiences.
I think you will especially enjoy our backyard wildlife refuge. You should find it just a bit unusual. Enjoy the animals as we do.
Looking forward to having you along.
Except for our <b>HOME</b> location, <b>HAWAII</b> and <b>ALASKA</b>, the following links are for <b>COUNTRIES</b> that have completed page content. They are arranged generally following the same order as the VT sites which you are already accustomed to seeing on the right side of all homepages.
We have visited many more countries than those listed here. This will get you off to a good start.
<center><b><FONT COLOR="red"size=+2>CLICK ANY FLAG TO START YOUR JOURNEY</font></b></center>
<center><b>VISIT WITH US ON THE ISLAND ~ <a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/1630/?s=232360292> <img src=http://www.virtualtourist.com/p/.60292/M_985720173-0.gif border="0"></a></center>
<center><B>ROMAN RUINS IN TUNISIA ~ </b><a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/60/?s=406860292><img src="http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/t/3dflagsdotcom_tunis_2faws.gif"border="0"></a></center>
<center><b>BEST OF BRUNEI ~ </b><a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/69/?s=406860292.><img src="http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/b/3dflagsdotcom_bruni_2faws.gif" border="0"></a></center>
<center><b>HOLIDAY IN HONG KONG ~ </B><A HREF=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/73/?s=406860292><img src="http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/c/3dflagsdotcom_chchk_2faws.gif" border="0"></a></center>
<center><b>MAKE IT TO MALAYSIA ~ </b><a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/81/?s=855660292><img src="http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/m/3dflagsdotcom_malay_2faws.gif" border="0"></a></center>
<center><b>PATHWAY TO ARGENTINA ~ </B><A href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/215/?s=406860292><img src=http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/a/3dflagsdotcom_argen_2faws.gif border="0"></a></center>
<center><b>CRUISE SO. AMERICA & TRAVEL BRAZIL ~ </b><a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/9/?s=939060292><img src="http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/b/3dflagsdotcom_brazi_2faws.gif" border="0"></a></center>
<center><B>VISIT THEN CRUISE FROM CHILE ~ </b><a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/218/?s=406860292><img src=http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/c/3dflagsdotcom_chile_2faws.gif border="0"></a></center>
<center><b>PENGUINS FROLIC IN THE FALKLANDS ~ </b><a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/222/?s=406860292><img src=http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/u/3dflagsdotcom_ukfis_2faws.gif border="0"></a></center>
<CENTER><B>SOJOURN IN SURINAME ~ </B><A href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/229/?s=604860292><img src=http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/s/3dflagsdotcom_surin_2faws.gif border="0"></a></center>
<center><B>RELAX IN URUGUAY ~ </b><a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/230/?s=406860292><img src=http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/u/3dflagsdotcom_urugu_2faws.gif border="0"></a></center>
<center><b> VENEZUELA VIA VIRTUAL TOURIST ~ </b><a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/231/?s=138760292><img src="http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/v/3dflagsdotcom_venez_2faws.gif" border="0"><a/></center>
<center><b>CRUISE TO ALASKA'S GLACIERS ~ </b><a href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/.60292/1672/?s=939060292&xxxxxxxxxxx> ~ <img src=http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/u/3dflagsdotcom_us_ak_2faws.gif border="0"><a/></center>
<center><b>BALMY WEATHER IN HAWAII</B> ~ <A href=http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/.60292/1682/?s=368260292><img src=http://www.3dflags.com/assets/3dflags_com/gif/2/u/3dflagsdotcom_us_hi_2faws.gif border="0"></center></a>
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<p>Special thanks to the VT folks who have assisted me in learning how to find my way around.</font></p>
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