Spring has only barely begun in Vancouver, but I have been eager to put the skis away and get out the bikes for a family tour. I even convinced Christian that he should do the same, but I was only successful because the weather looked a lot better in the Gulf Islands than over Garibaldi park. We were set to spend a night on Pender and two on Saturna Island.
The weekend started out with a bit of a ferry faff. It was very busy at the Tsawwassan ferry terminal on Friday morning, and only 2 of the 4 families made it onto the Pender ferry before it was sold out. The two other families were rerouted via Swatz Bay. After a few frantic phone calls we settle in on the busy ferry and our little holiday could begin.
We spend the first night at Shingle Bay campsite on Pender. It is a short ride of around 5km from the ferry, but there were lots of hills on the way as per tradition onthe Gulf Islands. It is a lovely "walk-in" campsite with around 10 tent sites, a pit toilet, a small river, a meadow and a beach. We got a few rain showers after setting up the tents, but nothing to really be bothered by. The kids spend the rest of the day playing in the small river delta on the beach. Close to dinner time the last two families arrived and we all add dinner more or less together. After another couple of hours playing on the beach and few cups of hot chocolate, it was bedtime.
Saturday started out with an Easter egg hunt. Michelle and Jen brought small plastic eggs and filled them with berries. The kids were ecstatically hunting down the eggs, some with more skill and determination than other, but everyone had a great time. At the end we were all rewarded with an Easter cookie. We then quickly packed down the tents and biked to the Pender farmer's marked. We made it there with an hour to spare, but a lot of the booths were already close to empty. We still managed to scrape together a lunch, while the kids did some dancing.
We took the afternoon ferry to Saturna Island, had a stop at the locale general store to stock up on food and water, and headed to Narvaez Bay campsite. The campsite is in a very beautiful spot, but the beach is a little less accessible here. Still the kids spend most of the evening playing on the rocky point by the water. We all had dinner overlooking the point as the sun slowly went behind the hills.
On Sunday we all split up. I biked with Anne and Christian back towards the ferry as they were returning to work Monday. We went on a little detour along East point road, but didn't make it very far until it was time to turn around. Before heading back to the ferry we had an ice-cream stop at the general store, where we were joined by Jen and Jon. Luckily Jen offered to tow F back to the campsite for me. Back at the campsite we hiked the short distance to Echo Bay. There were lots of little rocky outcrops that the kids enjoyed climbing, and a nice view towards Mt. Baker.
Monday we just slowly packed up while the kids played around the campsite. To lighten my load up the big hill, we convinced the kids that they should walk. It took awhile, a lot of encouragement and singing, but we all made it up the hill to the road. I quickly took off, while the other families were faffing around with unhappy kids. I knew I was going to be slow having to tow F and most of our stuff. We all made it to the ferry with plenty of time to spare, so we spend a few hours in "The Bus" cafe. The kids all loved hanging out on the second floor of the bus, playing with busses, drawing and making puzzles. And I loved the apple crisp.
As we rolled our bikes onto the ferry the first drops of rain started to fall and soon it was raining properly. We felt really lucky that weather had stayed good all weekend, since spring has not really arrived in Vancouver this year. The kids all had such a good time playing all weekend long, and I really could not imaging a better way to spend Easter!
Say Nuth Khaw Yum
Discovery Islands Bike loop
East Coast Trail
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Digging a snowcave
Make a kid towing harness