I was fortunate enough to spend last week up in Port McNeill, on the north end of Vancouver Island and with how busy my year had been so far, spending a relaxing week up there was just what the doctor ordered. My girlfriend's dad lives there, in an amazing house right on the water so with the weather looking nice for the Easter weekend, I couldn't wait to get there.
Other than one trip up to Port Hardy when I was a kid to take the ferry to Prince Rupert, I've never had a chance to spend much time up on the north island. You realize how large Vancouver Island is when you drive to Port McNeill. Getting off the ferry in Nanaimo, you've still got a 350km drive to get to the Port McNeill area. With such little population in the north, there's no shortage of wild areas to explore and we took full advantage every day, getting out and taking as many photos as possible.
One trip that I wanted to highlight here on the blog was to an old mine north of town, called Suquash. This former coal mine actually predates the creation of Canada, as it was first established in 1849 by the Hudson's Bay Company. It didn't last long but started back up in 1908 and ran until the start of World War Two. The mine has long since shuttered but the remnants litter the forest at the site so it made for a good chance to get out and explore.
Here's a few photos from our day at the mine.
Jenn's dad owns a helicopter company in Port McNeill(www.westcoasthelicopters.com) so we started off the morning with a nice flight out around the area.
The tallest mountain on the horizon is Mt Waddington, the tallest mountain fully inside British Columbia.
The first thing you notice when you arrive at the Suquash grounds is this old pulley.
Near the pulley, several old coal shovels litter the forest ground.
Years of sea air have heavily corroded the old mining artifacts.
Only the foundation and a couple chimneys are left of this house.
Pieces of an old steam engine.
This is the entrance to the mine shaft. Once running all the way out under the ocean, it is now flooded.
The coal was loaded onto ships down here on the beach. At low tide there is some more mining pieces down here.
We also stopped at nearby Beaver Lake for a nice relaxing stop on the dock.