Day Thirteen

It was a miracle, my legs were still working! I woke up fearing I’d be stiff as a board but luckily I felt quite spritely!

After another traditional breakfast of rice pudding, I set off on the hilly streets of Port Alberni to get to Bamfield.

It wasn’t long before I got to the gravel roads, these ones where a greyish white colour. This meant that any logging truck that flew past generated a cloud of dust that caused a complete white out. Everytime one came past, I’d have to wait a few minutes to let it clear. It was that or risk being flattened by another which often followed closely behind.

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It almost got too much with the dust. My eyes were stinging, my nose and throat sore. It tasted vile too, maybe needed another minute under the grill and some more seasoning…

The valley opened up and I could see the extent of the logging activity. It was everywhere.  I could see down the valley about 200ft below, there was an adult bear happily going from bush to bush, none the wiser I was watching or bothered by the rumbling from the trucks. I filmed it for a while before it disappeared into the bush. It was amazing observing it for as long as I did. It wasn’t scared off and I was at a safe distance if it felt threatened.

The road was up and down, but my legs were playing ball today. I wasn’t going crazy but wanted to be in Bamfield sooner rather than later.

Some of the road was deep gravel, making it dodgy when descending. I’d find myself nearly wedging the front wheel into a deep rut if I wasn’t careful. There were several times I nearly came off, mainly after I was blinded by dust and couldn’t make out a pothole from a smooth bit of road.

There were lots of trucks along here, I really had to duck into the side of the road when two passed each other at the same time. I was about a foot away from the logs that were loaded onto the truck my side of the road.

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Then it started raining. I was quite happy about it to be honest! It meant the dust was kept down at last.

I came around a corner and saw a bird that looked like a partridge/grouse sat at the side of the road. I stopped right next to it because it didn’t move or flinch. I’d seen some near port Alice and they puffed out when I went past, so I thought it might be injured.

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I approached slowly, it got up and revealed two chicks keeping warm underneath. I filmed them for a bit and clipped back in to head on.
Just as I turned my head, a black furry head was looking at me 5 meters away. It was on its back feet, not fully stood up but looking right at me.

That startled me and I moved to the other side of the road slowly. It was a young bear, cute as can be, looked cuddly and just like you’d imagine a young bear to look. It dropped onto all fours and darted off into the bush. It was incredible. I didn’t feel threatened at all, it was just checking me out while I took photos of the bird. That’s 7 bears now, I really love seeing them. Such beautiful animals, it’s a shame people hunt them. There is absolutely no need, they mind their own business most of the time.

I was still taking in that short moment seeing another bear, it’s inquisitive look, when I saw a snake fly under my front wheel. I’d seen lots of dead ones, but this was the first live one.

I stopped and pedalled back a little to check it out. It was frozen in the road, it’s tongue poking out from time to time, you know, like snakes do! That was cool!

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Three wildlife encounters in the space of 2 miles! I loved that stretch of road.

I pulled into Bamfield at 2:30 and went to the store to get some supplies. All they had was cans of drink or chocolate.

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Town was dead, nobody around and it was raining hard. With that I went back to Pachena Bay campground to set up for the night.

They have me a pitch right on the beach, under trees so I didn’t get wet setting up.

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What an amazing place, my tent opened out onto the beach with driftwood as my seat. The sound of waves gently lapping at the shore 50 metres away was beautiful. A huge long beach with very few other people camping, perfect!

The rain died down so I decided to walk along the beach to take a few snaps. I noticed something big come out of the water and disappear again. At first I thought it was just driftwood. But it happened again and again. Then I saw it, the blow hole! It was a whopping great big grey whale! Everyone there were also fixated on it, pointing to where they saw it appear last.

It would move around, showing off it’s tail, then flap around. It must have been feasting!

It was nearly 100 metres from shore! Everyone was in awe of it. It would dip in and out of the water, sometimes appearing to be on it’s side, other times slapping it’s tail back into the water when it ducked down again.

Just when you thought it was gone, you’d see it’s blow hole again further along. I was stood watching it for about an hour when I realised it wasn’t alone. There must have been 3-4 of them out there, some were a lot smaller but still just as impressive.
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What a day for wildlife!

As I’m out of food, I came back into town to get some supplies for the road tomorrow. I spoke to a few locals about the whales. Some of whom have never seen any there. I’m still blown away by seeing that, two bears, an interesting bird and a snake!

Then I have the beautiful setting I’m camping at. I could spend days here, kayaking, diving, relaxing and hiking the juan de fuca pacific rim trails. Alas I need to head onto Port Renfrew tomorrow, partially back on the road I came in on and out towards Lake Cowichan. The penultimate day, it’s coming to an end soon and I will really miss the challenge despite who much I ache.

Today was 71 miles, 4,600 ft.

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