PART 6 - Jul.11th &12th- Day 43 & 44 - Tahsis & Around - Sea Kayak Vancouver Island Circumnavigation
The lodge was empty when I woke up. It must take serious dedication to be up early to go fishing, after a night of heavy drinking.
While I loaded the gear into the kayak, I came across the Mickey Mouse bath toy I had picked up on the beach.. I placed him on the window ledge overlooking the sound.
“Quite a journey you’ve been on” I said to him before closing the door behind me.
After passing by the marina lodge to unload and get a room, I went for a walk into the town. I crossed the bridge over the river, where I stumbled onto the local supermarket and gas station. A sign on the door indicated that they were closed for the day but would open tomorrow between midday and six o clock. A little up the street was the Tahsis Recreation Center, which despite its shabby outward appearance had an indoor swimming pool, a four-lane bowling alley, and a movie theater. Due to covid, however, there had not been any showings in the past two years, but plans seemed in place for a grand reopening on Halloween night. Bingo nights, however, were still happening through Zoom calls.
Back on the main road I soon found myself beyond the town limits, which became a dense woodland where the sun only occasionally pierced through. A side trail from the road led to a short walk to a waterfall, but after walking down the path, I only found a creek with a few rapids.
I saw something much more disturbing on the way back. In the middle of the trail was an enormous excrement pile that I was certain was not there ten minutes prior.
“Mystery solved; I suppose. The bear does poop in the woods.”
On the way back to the marina lodge I noticed a sign for a museum and went to look. There were a few noteworthy items to see.
Near the entrance was an old dugout canoe which to me seemed like the product of very poor craftsmanship. Next to it was the 1957 uniform of the local school’s softball team “The Shamrocks” whose gold and purple red colors reminded me of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. What caught my attention the most however, was a book of photographs from the 1920s that showed a large lumber mill at the waterfront, and the hillsides denuded of any trees. I had just walked past the location of the photo. The mill doesn’t exist anymore, t, and the trees on the hillsides have all grown back. I later checked the historical aerial photos on google earth, and as recently as 1984, most of the surrounding land was still bare and brown.
The next day I had the all-important appointment with the Tahsis supermarket.. I arrived promptly five minutes before opening. My shopping list consisted of the usual items; canned pasta, canned fish, grated cheese, power bars, and anything else that might look interesting. While I perused the aisles looking for things, I noticed a strange sign that read. “We are out of Candied Salmon.”
“What’s candied salmon?” I asked the shopkeeper.
“Oh, it’s a Pacific Northwest delicacy. It’s sort of like beef jerky but made of smoked salmon. Quite good I must say especially when it’s marinated with maple syrup and black pepper. We sell out quickly when we have it. You’ll find it in Tofino. If you’re hungry, we serve a late breakfast.”
“What do you have?”
“Pancakes and maple syrup.”
I could not say no and ordered a set of black berry pancakes. One thing surprised me. The maple syrup he served had a blood red hue, with a rich flavor smoky I had never experienced. I mentioned it to the shopkeeper, who let out a laugh.
“Ah you probably only had American maple syrup or the stuff sold at the airport in the fancy maple shaped bottles. That’s a low-quality sham pushed on tourists. We keep the real Canadian maple syrup in Canada, for Canadians…”
Sea Kayak Vancouver Island Circumnavigation