Gold River and Tahsis

July 6th 9 pm sitting in Vincent with rain on the roof.

Just across from my campsite

Just across from my campsite

It is quiet here. So quiet. I can’t hear road sounds at all. There is no one but me and some evening birds murmuring their sleepy songs. I am parked in an unsupervised, uninhabited campground just outside of Tahsis. It is called the Leiner River Campsite. I assume that it must be on the banks of the Leiner River but my map isn’t making any claims about the name. Across a small road from here there are two small sets of rapids, at this point probably not deep enough to navigate a canoe through but it bears signs that it could be much faster and more aggressive in the spring. I stopped at the Tahsis Info Centre and asked where I could go to have cell phone (no cell phone here), wireless for the computer (the library but it is not open so I can’t sign on) and a place that I can camp free. Out came the maps and here I am. One out of three isn’t bad.

Last night I stayed at Karen and Harvey Henderson’s again for the night. It felt so comfortable that I really did feel like I was coming home. I told Karen I was going to bed early but as much resolve as I felt when I said it, I could have stayed up all night talking to her. It was raining and a thunder storm was working its way up to something interesting. I did fall asleep before it got good but woke up around 2 am to see a great light show. The thunder sounded like it was somewhere in the distance. In the morning we heard on the radio that many areas on the Island were without power so I guess we missed the best of it. While we were eating breakfast Holly told me that it didn’t seem right, my gps has a name, my van too, but my poor computer remains nameless. I asked her what she would name a really sweet, tiny computer that has been a great help to me on this journey. She thought about it for a moment. “Adelle” she said. Clever. I didn’t ask her how it should be spelled…perhaps she meant A Dell but Adelle it is. I love it…and I think she loves it too. The keys are just quivering as we write this.

Holly looking over my shoulder

Holly looking over my shoulder

It was raining and gloomy when I left. I felt like clinging to Karen and pleading with her not to let me go. As usual, I was having moving day jitters only this time I had no couch surfing place to go and no real plan. I was hoping to meet Anne Cameron in Tahsis but I am not good at meeting famous people. What do you say? How do you try to appear as though you are not fawning and grovelling when in fact you are.

I took my usual strategy to fear. Drive. I hopped in Vincent who had been washed clean of the dust we had collected on the logging road the day before. After the rain the logging roads I was headed for today would be anything but dusty. Once I was rolling I felt better. Somehow just moving helps calm those butterfly wings. The rain was steady but watching the clouds play tag around the high peaks and in amongst the tall trees was captivating. I found myself being drawn into the changing sky and forgetting to watch my speed. Several times I pulled over to let a car or truck pass and often I wished I could just stop in the middle of the road to take a picture. When ever there was a pull off spot I did but after looking at them I not surprised that the camera could not capture the life of what I was seeing. I wonder if an artist could do it better.

clouds-playing-over-lake

I drove into Campbell River to get something for dinner and to find water. I had forgotten to fill up my jug at Karen’s. I got what I needed and then I was lost again in that town. Is it just me? Last time I visited there I thought it was Karma’s fault but today I got lost all by myself, without her. I had stopped at the Info Centre to get a map and I still got lost. Maybe it is because of the way the coast line curves around and the way the streets have to accommodate it…who knows. Oh well. I found highway 28 and headed out following a sign that said Gold River and Tahsis thata way.

Me in Strathcona Park with the Elk

Me in Strathcona Park with the Elk

Going into Gold River I didn’t have a couch surfer or guide. I did stop at the Tourist Info Centre and met woman who was very enthusiastic about the community but I didn’t get a feel for it. They have no museum and so even that didn’t help. I decided that I really like couch surfing because I find things that you don’t find as a tourist. The Info person reassured me about taking the gravel road the 70 some km to Tahsis. Everyone does it she told me, so off I went.

gold-river

Compared to the gravel roads I took yesterday, it was much easier going. I even got up to 60k and a few times, 70. There were some impressive curves, turns that I couldn’t imagine a logging truck negotiating and a few areas where the road dropped sickeningly off to one side. Today I was pressing the inner and high wall. Tomorrow the drop will be my companion. Ewwww. I am going to get some sleep tonight. A couple of times I saw boulders on the road that had obviously fallen off of the rock face. It gave me pause for thought and I kept moving.

It actually took me almost 2 hours to make the trip. In my defense, I did stop whenever possible to take pictures and I probably wasn’t going the speed limit (oh those Sunday drivers). I didn’t meet many vehicles and the ones who ended up behind me didn’t get too frustrated as I pulled over. When I arrived I went straight to the Info Centre, chatted with the young woman who worked there and took a tour of their museum. Then I headed for the pay phone and called Anne Cameron. I had her number compliments of Phoebe (Thanks Phoebe)

One side says Welcome to Tahsis, the other says, Last one to leave turn out the lights.

One side says Welcome to Tahsis, the other says, Last one to leave turn out the lights.

Anne told me she was too busy but then she changed her mind and I went up and had tea with her. I tried not to fawn or grovel. She was gracious and invited me in. We talked about everything from feminism, to politics, small town politics. She is on the council in Tahsis and it sounds like a good place to live. I saw pictures of her children and grandchildren. I bragged about mine. We did talk a bit about writing and about some of the writers that she enjoys. I didn’t want to over stay my welcome. She did invite me to park and camp in her drive way and I almost did. The possibility of getting more time to talk to her was very tempting but I was interested in finding this place…to hear the absolute quiet.

Tahsis Valley with clouds

Tahsis Valley with clouds

In meeting Anne I could hear the voice that is in so many of her novels. She is a one of a kind woman who is meeting the world on her terms as her characters do and as we all have to at at some point. Thanks Anne for the opportunity. I did ask her to let me take our picture together. I knew that was pushing it especially because I would have had to take it by holding the camera… She said she doesn’t do that. OK well I probably shouldn’t too. So, I would just like to say, if you have never read an Anne Cameron novel head for the library or local book store and pick one up. Any one will be fine. She has a way of crafting life and families that will make you wonder if you are looking into a mirror.

I left her house and told her I would come back if I didn’t find this campground or if it didn’t suit. As I prepare for bed I feel a little like Nan, sleeping outside for the first time, all alone and in her sleeping bag in the book “The pull of the Moon” by Elizabeth Berg. I don’t think I have every been so alone or experienced so much quiet. It is still not too late. I could fire up Vincent and head back into town. Ann wouldn’t mind. But I think I will stay here and listen to the river ramble over the rocks. Good night. I will send this when I get back to Campbell River tomorrow.

More Official Looking Tahsis Sign

More Official Looking Tahsis Sign

Wow! Look at this. Almost 1500 words. I got carried away again. Is it too much? I forget that you have busy lives and may not have time to read it all. Sorry ’bout that.

Don’t forget to pass it on. Vicki

7 Responses to Gold River and Tahsis

  • Janice says:

    Hey Vicki
    The pictures are amazing…it must be so wonderful to stop and just breathe it all in!
    I was racking my brain to figure out who Ann Cameron was, I am just not good at remembering names, so I googled her….wow what a ton of books, I have only read two. First one was Daughters of Copper Woman and then Selkie . I will have to check out some of her other stuff. Glad you got up the nerve to call her and since I googled her I can picture who you were talking to.
    Hope you are enjoying the quiet and just soaking in as much of the atmosphere as you possibly can.
    and so now that I know the lines…..
    Stay calm, be brave and wait for the signs
    Janice

  • Karen says:

    Was it really 1500 words? Your writing catches me right up and I do not notice length. You have a way with words that makes me feel as though I am riding on the right-hand side. It took me two years not to get lost in Campbell River. Karen

  • Sue says:

    Too busy to read the QAC blog? That’s simply unpossible! It’s such a treat, Vicki. Thanks so much for all of it – sights, sounds, smells, impressions, plans & hopes. It’s almost as good as being there. Sue

  • Vicki says:

    Really Karen…two years. I feel better now. I was lost again yesterday but found my way home. Vincent seems to be able to hone in on the Dairy Queen so we are never really lost.

  • anne cameron says:

    Hi! What is “URI”???? Why does one need one? Where would one keep one?

    Thank you for the card, it arrived today. I’m glad you enjoyed your quiet night at the Leiner river…pity you didn’t get to take the “walk”, the Village has put in a lovely trail, and there are platform viewpoints so people can watch the fish coming up the Leiner to spawn without in any way disturbing the bank or silting the stream

    It’s gorgeous!

    Oh well, next time. Nobody ever comes to Tahsis just once. Everyone comes back. I haven’t won the six four nine so I haven’t bought our barn-shaped house, but do not give up hope…

    and there’s an E on Anne. Didn’t you read Anne Of Green Gables?

  • Tina Collett says:

    Even though, as you say, the real thing is so much more, the pictures are wonderful. They put me right there sitting on a piece of driftwood, smelling the surf and feeling the icy water slice at my toes.
    Your Quest emails are the highlight of my day.
    Onward!!!

  • Vicki says:

    Anne with an E. I was so careful to get it right and then got it wrong. Sigh. I don’t know at this moment what a URI is or where I would keep it. Probably under the bed in Vincent I guess. I did walk a section of the walk…but it was raining and I did promise myself to come back. One night in Tahsis in my life is definitely not enough.

    Thanks to everyone for their comments on the site. I am loving my trip and writing about it helps put it in my memory in a different way than just seeing it. I feel like I am traveling with all of you.

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