It almost became a misadventure but Loytää prevailed. We decided that even though there was some rain forecast we were hardy enough to try a hike today. We really wanted to hike up to the headlands that look down on Surge Narrows where the currents rush through. On a summer day I’m sure we would see paddlers there playing in the current. We were doubtful there would be any today, but the hike sounded like a good one.
The drive there, by Google Maps, was supposed to be about 30 minutes. I’m sure that was measured on dry summer roads, in a sports car. Not winter roads with a 21′ RV camper driven by a novice driver. It started fine. Temp was 6°C and the roads were just wet – easy peasy. Then the road got a bit hilly. Still good – just took it easy. As we traversed the island, there was clearly less traffic on the road so there was a little more slush. Still not much to worry about – just careful, slow driving. The temp had dropped to 1°C in <10 km. Then we passed the sign that indicated the end of the pavement, and the beginning of gravel road. We paused for a bit to evaluate if we should continue, but it still looked doable, and we were over 1/2 way there. So we ventured forth. A bit hillier and more hardpicked snow on the road, but still doable.
Then we hit the 1-lane bridge and a hill on the other side that indicated a 1-lane road ahead. The hill had hard packed ice and we were stopped in our tracks about 1/2 way up. Could not go up. Started sliding backwards… Oh no, what happens in someone comes over the hill? Then someone did come over the hill. Thankfully he skidded to a stop, and we could pull over to one side to let him pass. Then I had no choice but to back up, over the bridge and continue until there was a place wide enough to turn around.
It only took a 6-point turn and we were headed back. All was going well until we got stuck on another hill, so so close to the top. I had to carefully maneuver to the wrong side of the road, where there was a tiny bit of gravel. WIth just one front wheel getting a bit of grip, and rocking back and forth, I slowly got the van moving uphill. It was a tense 10 minutes, every fearful that we would slide all the way backdown, meet oncoming traffic, or never get out of the situation. There was no cell service, and essentially no traffic on the road. A big sigh of relief when we crested the hill, and an even bigger one when we regained the pavement.
From there on, it was much easier driving, and we were amazed at how quickly conditions and temperatures changed in such a short distance. It was a good learning experience. Loyää, even with good winter tires, is not suited for hilly, snowy, icy roads. Our hike to see Surge Narrows will have to wit until better weather.
But the day was not a total write off. On flatter ground, very near our campsite is Rebecca Spit Prov Park, with a wonderful 4-km loop trail beside the water. Weather was still pretty good – it was cloudy and spitting with a bit of rain, so the mountains were a bit obscured. But the wind was high, creating large whitecaps and waves in the water. The beach has more wood than I’ve seen on any BC beach. Lots of driftwood of all sizes littered the beach. It was high tide so we couldn’t walk on the beach but we enjoyed the energy of the waves and wind along with the constant moving of the large wood collections moving up and down with the waves. It was a great walk, and showed us that a Plan B can be a good thing!
By the time we were done our walk it was raining a lot harder and the mountain views had disappeared. We enjoyed a lunch of hot soup and a sandwich in the van by the water’s edge – staying dry and warm inside. It’s perks like this that make having an RV so much fun. We timed it well. At time of this writing, we are snug inside the van, at our campsite, with the rain pouring down. At least it’s not snow, since we plan to leave tomorrow.