Into the Spirits of Earth Day 2015 Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Travel wrinkles time and brains. We are able to transport ourselves vast distances in hours. Only a few generations of humans have experienced this kind of time travel.

Yesterday morning I woke up in a skyscraper at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. A few hours later I was on a train out of the city where I picked up a bus that took me to a ferry across the Strait of Georgia separating Vancouver city and the North America continental mainland from Vancouver Island on the Pacific Rim.

Another bus ride and I was in downtown Victoria, the garden city and capital of British Columbia. This morning I rented a car and drove 200 miles northwest on Vancouver Island.

At this moment I am gazing out the window at a sandy beach to islands in the Pacific Ocean from the Best Western Tin-Wis Resort, a hotel owned by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations. The view is one of the most serene I have ever seen from a hotel.

Tin Wis means calm waters in the local First Nations’ language. A big Pacific storm is coming onshore tomorrow with strong winds. All I see this evening are calm waters.


Earth Day 2015 Vancouver Island style

Today I propelled myself through time and space across Vancouver Island, British Columbia in a gas guzzling car with some stops to get outside, take in the surroundings of immense Vancouver Island, feel the earth beneath my feet and absorb the earth spirits around me.

Seagulls woke me up this morning. I live in a beach town, but these seagulls were the most persistent squawkers I ever heard.


Victoria at Inner Harbour reminded me of Miami Beach with the Quality Inn Victoria Inner Harbour surrounded by white high-rise residential units and hotels.

A woman on the ferry yesterday asked me if I was going to Vancouver Island for birding. She told me where I could find several nests in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park. I thought of that woman this morning as I watched the seagulls soaring by the hotel windows. I made the effort to walk around Beacon Hill Park. There were so many colors in the park with wildflowers and planted flowers.

Beacon Hill Park

Within minutes of arriving in the park, I saw a great blue heron in flight. The recognizable sound of another bird calling out loudly in Beacon Hill Park caught my attention. I followed the sound.


Peacocks are naturally cute, but not natural to Canada. I wanted to get out of the city and into the wild country.

After 90 minutes of driving I reached Nanaimo where I picked up Highway 4 and headed west. Cathedral Grove is a forest preserve of old growth Douglas firs in the middle of Vancouver Island. Most of Vancouver Island is second and third growth trees after 150 years of commercial logging. The sad aspect of today was hours of driving through dense forests with few trees of any sizable girth. According to a Vancouver Sun article I read in the paper yesterday, some old growth Douglas firs are still being logged on Vancouver Island in the vicinity of Port Alberni, a few miles west of Cathedral Grove.

Douglas fir tree hugger

This tree hugger is embracing the Big Tree in Cathedral Grove, an 800 year old Douglas fir nearly 250 feet tall.

Heading west from Port Alberni to Pacific Rim National Park provided glimpses of wild and unknown country and many areas of logged mountainsides. Logging is plain ugly.

Into the Wilderness

Close to western edge of Vancouver Island revealed mountains beyond mountains with no paved roads into the interior.

Western front

These are untamed lands where wildlife still dominates the land.

Reaching the western shore of Vancouver Island at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve just before the visitor center closed had me hiking a few minutes later with heightened anxiety due to a wolf activity advisory in effect at the beaches. The first suggestion to avoid a wolf encounter is “hike in a group”. Second piece of advice is make noise.

Since I was hiking alone, I sang UB40 Red Red Wine playing in my head from the radio earlier today. My singing voice will scare most anything away.

wildlife warning (2)

Two days ago a gray whale washed up on Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park. A beautiful creature even in death.

Gray whale on beach

This dead gray whale is about 30 feet long. In the cycle of life we are born and we all die.

At the Best Western Tin-Wis I took a walk on the beach before sunset. Once again, I heard a loud bird somewhere nearby. Took me a bit of time to locate the bird.

Tin-Wis bald eagle

I’ve seen three bald eagles since arriving on Vancouver Island yesterday.

bald eagle

Today I was deep into the spirits of Earth Day 2015 Vancouver Island British Columbia.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. Thanks for the info on the sights of Vancouver Island, but, earth day is a bunch of poppycock. It was born out of a perverse culture, founded in communism. We should be in the spirit of who created the earth, not the creation.

  2. Hey Joe,

    I attended my first Earth Day celebration and environmental rally over 30 years ago.

    In my opinion, the perverse culture is the capitalism that still sees timber companies cutting into the last 25% of old growth Douglas firs on Vancouver Island to this day.

    I lived in Humboldt County, California over an 18 year period from 1983 to 2001 during the struggle to preserve the remaining old growth redwood forest from being logged. People lived and died for that struggle and eventually the social action worked to save the largest stand of old growth coastal redwoods in private lumber company lands from being logged.


  3. I was in Tofino last year and absolutely loved it. If you get a chance, go explore the botanical gardens. They have a little bit of everything!

  4. Tofino is a place I had never heard of until a couple weeks ago. There is so much happening here for a town of 2,000 people. Whale watching, bear watching, surfing, fishing, boating, First Nations culture and a festival every other week.

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