Silver Star Mountain

View from the Wedding Reception

View from Silver Star Mountain

Steps: 6,303 , 13,624

By Noah: Due to getting back late, this blog covers two of our days in Vernon, hence the two steps counts. Yesterday, we attended a family wedding surrounded by woodland halfway up a mountain. It was a very peaceful and family oriented atmosphere as it was on the groom’s family’s property and was no different to an English wedding save for the beautiful views you’d never find in the UK. There were the customary speeches, toasts, delicious locally caught salmon, wedding cake and dancing. So far it has been the highlight of our trip and a wonderful reason to come all this way. Today has also focused on family as we enjoyed a forest hike around the foothills of Silver Star Mountain. The scenery was amazing with 360 degree views of uninterrupted woodland with no houses or signs of man to be seen. This marks the halfway point in our Canadian adventure: dividing the city walks and a roadtrip that will take us into Alberta before we fly from Calgary in just over a week…

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Chillin’ Vernon

Beautiful Views

Toasty Fire

Steps: 8,478

By Noah – In all my years of travelling the world, I do not think I’ve had a day quite as relaxing as today. With the family wedding still a day away, and staying too far from the city to walk there, we decided to relax in the Air BnB. Fortunately for us, our house is no ordinary house, featuring a hot tub and fire pit on the upper deck and plenty of space downstairs,we had everything we needed to do nothing for a day. So we’ve spent hours up to our necks in bubbles and foam between meals and as it got darker we lit a fire and watched the stars appear. 

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Greyhound to Vernon

Steps: 7,525

By Noah – Today was a largely uneventful day we spent on buses getting from Vancouver to Vernon. The trip took us through some beautiful valleys and in between giant mountains. 

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Back in Van

Craigdarroch Castle

Back on the Ferry

Steps: 10,914

By Noah – After our excursion to Victoria, we have returned to Vancouver to spend the night in a motel before taking our 7 hour bus journey to Vernon tomorrow. Before setting off on our ferry, we had time to visit ‘Canada’s Castle’, Craigdarroch Castle on the outskirts of Victoria. Despite being only about 20 years older than our own house in England, this Victorian mansion is considered a historic building in a country that celebrated its 150th birthday earlier this year. Needless to say, this house was a typical, Victorian era, Scottish millionaires home with large ornamental drawing rooms and lots of bedrooms. Having seen nothing extraordinary, we returned to our bags before catching the bus to the ferry port. Once we were back in Vancouver, we made the long bus journey back into the city and got off near the motel we were stayng the night in. Tomorrow we will make the short walk to the bus station to get on our bus to Vernon for a family wedding…

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More Waterfront Walks

Houseboats with Seal

More Totem Poles

Steps: 25,779

By Noah – Today was our only full day in the state capital, Victoria. Situated on the tip of the Saanich Peninsula on the west coast of British Columbia, Victoria is quieter and quainter to Vancouver. It certainly doesn’t have the huge towering apartment blocks along its coastline.  Wanting to explore, we decided to take a long walk along the waterfront, past the whale watching tour boats and seaplanes to a park and eventually Fisherman’s Wharf. Along the way, we had around 8 geocaches planned ahead of us and looked forward to a very successful day. However, having already missed one geocache the previous night, we were on a losing streak that never seemed to end. Firstly, in Chinatown, the location was very busy and too risky. Secondly, market square proved to be a major tourist attraction so that failed as well. By then we had made it to the sea and were beginning our walk around the town. Finally, we found a cache but soon rejoined camp ‘Did Not Find’ outside the harbour airport. The sea wall then took us past some very large and expensive hotels before we arrived at a small park where we had lunch and happily found a lobster-shaped cache. We then continued past more luxurious hotels and apartments that overlooked the bay until we reached Fisherman’s Wharf – a collection of floating houseboats, cafés and B&Bs, all moored up. This was a neighbourhood where a seal was more likely to visit your back garden than a cat and many houses had kayaks, rather than cars, as the transport of choice (which definitely appeals to mum!). After another failed cache, we returned to the backpackers through more popular streets lined with trees and bars but not before one last look at the sea. Tomorrow we will return to Vancouver via the ferry for one more night before leaving for Vernon by bus on Thursday…

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Beautiful Ferry Crossing to Victoria

The Ferry

Victoria’s Waterfront

Steps:15,597

By Noah – Today has been a largely uneventful day, in comparison to previous ones. Most of the day was spent travelling to our second destination of Victoria by bus, more bus, ferry and even more bus. However, we have still managed to do lots of steps as you can see above. Now out of our Air BnB house, we are checked into a budget backpackers, bringing back memories of when we travelled round the world, backpacking as we went. (For more information, see our 2011 archives). Tomorrow we will be more active and explore the new city…

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Stanley Park in the sunshine 

Totem poles

Brockton Point

Steps-23,169

By Sam – Thankfully, today’s forecast of rain failed to materialise and we spent a glorious sun-drenched day in Stanley Park. This enormous urban park, almost completely surrounded by water, is forested with about half a million trees many of which we scoured for hidden geocaches! Most impressive is the park’s First Nation art work. The totem poles near Brockton Point get the most attention but to the right is a beautiful statue called ‘Portugese Joe’ which commemorates the connection  between the indigineous nation and the Portugese settlers. There’s also a beautiful bronze statue at the Aquarium created by the famous Haida artist Bill Reid. Called the ‘Killer Whale’ it looks both fierce and protective. Let’s hope we only spot a dolphin or two on our ferry crossing to Victoria tomorrow…

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