Posted by on Dec 29, 2017 in British Columbia, Canada, Gallery, Travel | 30 comments

Just off the southeast coast of Vancouver Island lie the Gulf Islands, an archipelago of more than 200 craggy and wild isles. Many are little more than rocky prominences; a few are large enough to be quite civilized, in the unique Pacific Northwest style of artistic hippie chic, mossy forest trails, exquisite coastline, and a thriving local food scene.

The second week in October, we boarded the tiny ferry in Crofton to spend a few days on Salt Spring Island, the largest isle in the clutch of Gulf Islands. This was the smallest ferry we’ve taken our trailer on. Note: Do not trust the ferry workers to know how much room you need to maneuver your rig. Because you might, hypothetically speaking, rip the end cap off of your slide cover roller.

The little ferry to Salt Spring Island from the Crofton ferry landing

Other than that hypothetical end cap getting ripped off and having to borrow a rickety ladder to extend our slide (and retract it), we thoroughly enjoyed our stay on Salt Spring Island.

Colorful Ganges Harbour on Salt Spring Island

We spent our days trekking the beautiful shoreline at Ruckle Provincial Park and the rugged trails on Mt. Erskine, one of the most fun trails we’ve hiked. It offers not only spectacular views, but also a treasure hunt of fairy doors hidden in moss-covered rocks along the way.

Historic farm at Ruckle Provincial Park

Hiking at Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring Island

Hiking the shoreline trails at Ruckle Provincial Park

On the rugged trails at Mt. Erskine Provincial Park

Fairy doors are hidden along the trail on Mt. Erskine

A treasure hunt for fairy doors

A raven door! (Well, maybe it’s a crow door)

We found a half-dozen doors along the trail, and there are more we didn’t find

At the top of Mt. Erskine

Whimsy is most definitely a defining characteristic of Salt Spring Island.

Strolling the streets of downtown Ganges

Café Talia is a cozy place for coffee

A colorful garden shop on the island

The delightful Vesuvius Café, with wonderful coffee, soups, and baked goodies

In the village of Fulford Harbour

A seaside home in Vesuvius Village

I’m looking over my shoulder from West Texas right now, wistfully longing for the farmers’ markets of the Pacific Northwest. The Saturday Market on Salt Spring Island is especially fine.

The colorful Saturday Market on Salt Spring Island

Heyday Farm, offering an abundance of organic veggies

Eco-friendly packaging for organic tomatoes at the market

Fall harvest time at the Saturday Market

Small Earth Farm; one of many small local farm stands

An excellent taco stand at the market. Apparently we have a thing for tacos.

Yummy pork tacos with local greens, pickled red onions, and chipotle aoili

Those pear almond tarts were wickedly good. I wish I had one now.

Salt Spring goat cheese, offering all kinds of flavors (lemon was our favorite)

A shopping bag’s Philosophy of Life

That way to Salt Spring Winery

At lovely Salt Spring Vineyard and tasting room

Blackberry wine in the garden (and a brownie, because of course wine + chocolate is best)

Beer tasting at Salt Spring Island Ales; the Earl Grey IPA was excellent

About the campground:

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Mowhinna Creek Campground. Our site was large and private, with full hookups and internet. Best of all, it’s just a few miles from Ganges, the central happening place on the island (including the Saturday Market).

Fall colors at Mowhinna Creek Campground

Our site at the campground was spacious, private, and beautiful. And they loaned us a ladder.

Next Up: Exploring Victoria, BC: And Vancouver Island Wrap-Up