Camino Victoria Day 3: Across SaltSpring Island, 23k

Today was the hardest day do far due to the body rebelling, and hills. Oh the hills. Have you ever seen the hill going south out of Ganges? Big. Steep. Goes up for miles. So I planned a route to avoid as much of that hill as possible. The plan was to walk from Vesuvius Ferry Terminal to Fulford Ferry Terminal, avoiding as much uphill and traffic as possible.

Ignore #22-23. I forgot to press stop when we arrived at Fulford Harbour Ferry and we were driven back to Ganges to our hotel.

Having biked SaltSpring Island last month I knew the roads could be busy and the shoulders narrow. Years ago I found a bike route that avoided a few k just out of Vesuvius. A slightly longer route but worth it.

Then the narrow shoulder. We try to walk on the left so we can face death in the eye but sharp corners are a problem where the oncoming cars can’t see you as the come around the tight corner, so sometimes we walk with our backs to traffic to get around a corner.

At the 4-way corner of Lower Ganges Rd and Upper Ganges we take a right and look longingly at the path still under construction and access is blocked to us. But just on the other side of the orange plastic netting is a smooth path, probably just waiting for paving.

Walking towards Ganges

Just past Booth Canal route is a path that takes you right into Ganges. Along the path are benches, quite a few of them. We have been commenting the day before about the lack of benches. Kathy said the parks branch requires a donation not only to cover the cost of a bench but also the maintenance associated with it. We thought what is needed is an endowment the same idea people donate and without money a bench is made but the endowment earns interest and covers the maintenance. On SaltSpring, They seem to have done something similar to this, hence the benches.

Benches galore.

I am reminded of Reg. Reg used to live on Protection Island. I suspect Reg was on some sort of meds and when he forgot to take them he would talk more and more, quicker and quicker until he talked a mile a minute. At some point he sold or forfeit his small house and bought an old fish boat. The wheelhouse had been cut off the deck and lowered by about 3 ft leaving it only 1 or 2 ft of it above the deck. It had no engine and the fish hold had been converted to a living room. After living anchored in the gap for years Reg decided it was time to pick up anchor and move to SaltSpring. He wanted to anchor in Ganges harbor right downtown despite a SaltSpring Islander warning him that’s where all the southeast storms hit.

One day he was gone towed down to SaltSpring by a friend in a 17-ft open boat. It’s a miracle he made it through a False Narrows, or heavens above, Dodd Narrows.

A few years later I went to SaltSpring to the Saturday market and there I spotted Reg decked out in a reflective safety vest carrying a garbage pickup stick and a big garbage bag to which he was depositing garbage. He had a hand made sign in rainbow coloured crayons pinned to his chest which read ‘Ganges street cleaning by donation’.

Reg, last time I saw him on Saltspring about ten years ago. No sign of him today.

He was pleased to see me. “ I needed a job, so I made up my own. I need a schedule so I work Friday, Saturdays and Sundays. People donate to me to keep their town clean. Some people give me $25 every week. Some people give me a five every now and then. Sometimes it’s only $.25. I make a lot of money. These Islanders are like Protection Islanders, they like a clean Island. They put things out on the side of the street that they don’t want. I have three sets of golf clubs, two radios and a chainsaw! I even have a little sailboat tied alongside my boat that I can use as a storage shed.”

One thing I noticed on salt Spring is the signs. They are politely Canadian and very SaltSpring-ish.

Despite the hills, the walk was worth it. The sun shone and the breeze was just the right temperature. I should mention that we avoided the main Ganges to Fulford Rd and veered off it onto Beddis and eventually onto Beaver Point Rd into Fulford. Not much traffic and great scenery. Our hike took us past vineyards, farms, many roadside stands selling garlic, veggies, lamp, chickens, fresh apple juice and plants. We even saw heirloom pumpkins that cost $34!

Gary picked us up at Fulford after an enjoyable 19k. Staying at an AirBnB is a lot different than staying in alberges. First of all, there are glorious sheets on the beds. No bedbugs to worry about. Baths! and washer and dryers. Soft comfortable chair to lounge in. Wifi, and for some reason fireworks in the harbour right in front of the AirBnB!

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