When the balmy days of summer have slipped away and the cool days of fall slip toward winter there’s still a warm welcome for visitors on Quadra Island. In fact if you don’t mind packing a wooly toque and a cosy jacket winter holds many great delights on our evergreen island.
Quadra, and all the surrounding Discovery Islands are famous for their relaxed pace of life and once the hurly burly of summer is a happy memory, this becomes doubly true. Gone are the busy ferry lineups and the moment you board the M.V. Powell River Queen for the crossing from CampbelL River to Quathiaski Cove you know you are heading somewhere very special at a special time of year. There could be a mystical mist hanging over the ocean in October, or a dramatic, blustery chop in November and at any time the clouds may part and the spectacular snow-capped mountains of Vancouver Island and mainland BC reveal themselves in a view that will take your breath away!
Yes rain does fall in the winter this can not be denied, but the green of the forest is nurtured by the rain and embracing it on the warm, wet coast is all part of the experience!
Some of the resort restaurants take a winter hiatus, but there are still lots of great dining options year round and no problem getting a table! The trails and beaches are still all accessible of course and the golf course stays open, the weather may be cooler, but the locals are extra friendly and things are just a bit quieter. All in all Quadra’s ‘off-season’ has plenty to offer.
So what are some of the highlights of a winter visit to Quadra Island? A few of the must do’s? Here’s a quick list of a great way to spend a weekend on beautiful Quadra Island.
– Take a Hike! Quadra Island has many miles of great hiking trails from seaside beaches to mountaintop views. A dedicated crew of locals helps keep the Quadra trails open, there might be a few fallen trees across the path before the big spring cleanup but otherwise all the trails are open at any time of year. Pick up a copy of the local hiking trails map and find the perfect day. A favourite is the walk around Morte Lake a picturesque forest trail that encircles a surprisingly big lake. Trails branch off the Morte Lake trail higher up to Chinese Mountains and Beeches’ Mountain for grand vistas overlooking the ocean and fabulous Rebecca Spit.
– Grab a paddle! On calm fall and winter days the ocean can be glassy smooth and with their winter cloak of snow, the neighbouring Coast Range mountains make a dramatic backdrop to any ocean bound adventure. Bring your own canoe or kayak or check with local outfitters for rentals and a guide, and take a tour around Drew Harbour and Heriot Bay. The lakes at Main Lake Provincial Park are one of Quadra’s best kept secrets and are ideal for a weekend canoe camping trip as well as day excursions on their sheltered waters. You’ll be amazed at the whitesand beaches at Main Lake.
– Watch the storms! It’s great to get outside and hopefully your winter visit will be one of those blue sky affairs, but if the weather decides otherwise and blows in a wild winter storm that’s an experience all to itself! Take a walk at Rebecca Spit and feel the wind in your face and watch the waves pound onto the beach. Listen to the roar of the swaying trees and see eagles soaring on the gales. A great place to storm watch is Quadra’s south end from the Cape Mudge Light Station to Petroglyph Road. Hear the south running waters hit Quadra’s shores all the way up the Salish Sea, a sight to see! Be careful around the water’s edge of course especially at high tide.
– Find a cosy cafe. Between adventures there’s the comfort and hospitality of one of Quadra Island’s lovely cafés and restaurants. Locally roasted coffee and fresh baking at Aroma Café; delicious global cuisine for a sumptuous luncheon at Kameleon; maybe a famous pizza at the Lovin’ Oven or delightful fireside dining at the Heriot Bay Inn?
– That’s Quadra entertainment! When the evening comes check out local events to find live music, presentations, films even workshops to learn a new craft or skill. There’s lots going on at the Quadra Community Centre especially throughout the winter and there’s usually live music at the Heriot Bay Inn on Friday and Saturday nights. Pick up a copy of the local newspaper, the Discovery Islander or check online at http://www.discoveryislander.ca for coming event listings and at http://www.quadrarec.bc.ca for events and workshops in the Community Centre program.