Almost the Whole Pacific Coast - Winter/Spring 2016 travel blog

black bear

grazing bear

light house

sorting lumber

sorting lumber

Port Alice

Port Alice

drive to Port Alice

Telegraph Cove

Telegraph Cove

Telegraph Cove

Telegraph Cove


Telegraph Cove was the northern end of the Vancouver Island telegraph line and had great importance during World War II when Japanese invasion seemed imminent. All the buildings there were taken over by military men making sure that Canada would be safe. After they left many of the old buildings and homes were preserved and turned into a museum/place to overnight. Today it is a major ecotourism site. If we were richer and more ambitious, we could have left there at 6:45am and spent $300 each for a day trip that went looking for grizzlies. Whale watching is also popular from here. We visited the cove in 2005 on a small cruise ship and recognized the last building in the complex which housed a museum devoted to whales and other local marine animals. Skeletons of these behemoths hung from the ceiling. Each vertebra from the whale shark was as big as my fist. In the gift shop staff was working hard unpacking T-shirts, jewelry and crafts produced by First Nations folks nearby. Today the little town was pretty quiet, but they are expecting big doings this holiday weekend.

Nearby we watched a huge lumber sorting operation. Tree trunks are brought here to be evaluated and sorted into groups, which are bundled together to fill customer orders. Although some arrive floating on the water in large corrals or on railroad cars, we've mostly seen them on massive lumber trucks we have been avoiding on the highway bringing logs and taking them out again after they are sorted. Although a lot of the tree's bark falls off in the transportation process, here they were shaved smooth. Giant piles of bark and tree bits are reprocessed to keep as much as possible out of the landfills.

There are very few towns on the Pacific coast that you can get to by road. Port Alice is on a picturesque inlet that extends deep into the island, providing shelter for the boats that make it to the harbor. The town is here because of the lumber industry and a huge processing plant sat quiet and empty at the edge of town. However, the residents of the town were busy doing all sorts of things in town and it didn't have the deserted feeling one industry towns can have when that industry flees. We thought we'd find a restaurant for lunch, but ended up being waited on at the deli counter of the grocery store by a young woman who seemed to be singlehandedly feeding the entire populace. Picnic tables all over town made up for the lack of restaurants. We ate our freshly made sandwiches on the shore closely observed by large black birds that swooped in for leftovers when we were done.

As we drove around we happened upon a black bear feeding on dandelions and other green stuff. The forests are too dense and shady for this sort of vegetation, so that brings bears out to the side of the road in the sunshine. He knew we were there and kept an eye on passing cars, but for the most part lunch was job #1. We saw roadside bears like him on the way to Alaska; watching a wild animal close up never gets old.

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |