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Transition Day
Preparing for Strathcona
Monday, July 27
After our visit to the Cascades, a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary visit to nearby Vancouver Island came next. Over a two-week period, we hiked, backpacked, beachcombed, scrambled, canoed and sea kayaked - and did a little relative-visiting as well. This particular set of pages covers the first major outing - a multi-day backpacking visit to Marble Meadows, in Strathcona Provincial Park.

Fresh (or perhaps a better word would be bedraggled) from our failed attempt to climb a Cascade Volcano, we stayed overnight at Rosty's place in Seattle, preparing for the next phase of our journey. Arn had arranged for transport from Seattle to Victoria aboard a passenger-only fast catamaran ferry called the Victoria Clipper. It would take us directly from downtown Seattle to downtown Victoria, where we'd pick up a rental car and meet up with Jenn, who had spent the previous weekend visiting friends and family there.
Imperfect Latte
In a final act of generosity (well, two, if you count the excellent lattes he made me and Brian), Rosty drove us down to the ferry entrance at the very fresh time of 6:15 a.m. We said our goodbyes, vowed to conquer Glacier Peak soon, and checked in.
Clipper Station
The check-in and boarding on the Victoria Clipper went smoothly, and by 7:30 a.m., we were steaming away from our downtown Seattle pier. Although it was generally sunny, the weather threw us one last middle-finger, obscuring the nice view of the downtown skyline with some low cloud as we were pulling away. As we began cruising past the many islands of Puget Sound, though, it became mainly sunny - and the forecast told us that it was going to solidly stay that way many days into the future. Finally!
courtesy BConnell
Clipper Docked
Space Needle obscured
Leaving Seattle
We docked at about 10:30 a.m., and we all formed into a slow-moving line that headed into the customs entrance station. officially marking our entrance into Canada. While waiting, we could look over the pleasant little inner harbour, across to the elegant Empress Hotel and surrounding waterfront. Sunny little Victoria seemed quaint - was quaint - compared against the metropolis of Seattle.
Victoria Harbour
Victoria Inner Harbor
Gear stop
The plan for the day was simple - get organized for our Strathcona Park backpack. That meant picking up our rental car, then meeting up with Jenn, then heading into the local Mountain Equipment Co-op to stock up on whatever we needed for the next little while: fuel, a few more dehydrated meals, and various other odds and ends. We then had a very nice lunch at a local cafe where Jenn's niece Madison works.
Jenn and Madison
After lunch, it was time to motor: Victoria is on the far southern tip of Vancouver Island, and Strathcona park is centrally-located, two to three hundred kilometres away. We had booked a motel in the [relatively nearby to the park] community of Campbell River - a full three hour drive to the north.

The drive north from Victoria along the Trans-Canada highway was not overly busy, and we made decent time. We stopped at a Canadian Tire in Duncan to pick up a set of canoe blocks, which we'd be using to strap a rental canoe on top of our car. Why, might you ask, would we need a canoe? Well, because the trailhead for our destination in Stratchcona - the Marble Meadows trail trailhead - is located on the far side of a large lake, and that was pretty much the only reasonable way to get to it. And in doing so, it made the trip more multi-modal, and that's always nice.
The 50th
Continuing north past Nanaimo, the highway opened up and we were able to travel fairly fast, using the newly-designated 120 km/hr (75 mph approx) speed limits along this section. Very nice. We arrived in Campbell River shortly before sunset and checked into our fairly non-descript Travelodge (which interestingly was pretty much right on 50 degrees north latitude - a prominent marker indicating as much was positioned alongside the road outside the motel).

After checking in, we went into the [surprisingly quaint] downtown area for a bit to eat at a local sushi restaurant, then returned to pre-pack our gear for the next day's adventure in Strathcona.
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