A Spring Road Trip to Duncan, BC

Yesterday (3/9/20) was a glorious early spring day. Sunrise was brilliant and cloudless to the East.  Pinkish salmon undertones laced with a hint of delicate raspberry suffused the ice crystals on the upper glaciers of Mount Baker.  The reflective undersides of lenticular clouds nestling in the updrafts over the Langford hills to the West reflected the nuances projected from the East.  Perfect road trip weather.

We twizzle twizzaled down the 17 towards Victoria and veered West on the 1 past Thetis Cove, and Esquimalt Harbor, home of the Canadian Forces Maritime Forces Pacific.  Quite the title for a military operation and picturesque to boot.  Not to disrespect the Canadian Fleet in any way shape or form, but the use of Force twice in the title seemed to be a bit of a DRD (Department of Redundancy Department).  Perhaps I read the title wrong…  sIt wouldn’t be the first time. Anyway, all of this highwayish bondage and trafficking was to negotiate our way down the East side of the Sannich Inlet and round the head of the inlet appropriately named Finlayson Arm, probably because it looks like an elbow joint from space.  Those Canadians… discerning lot they are, and they put parks and hiking trails everywhere.  Green space abounds. We made our way through the foothills West of the Inlet through stands of Douglas fir, Hemlock, Alder, mossy alcoves, ferns, salal, and Oregon grape under growth of Vancouver Island.  Along the way cherry, apple, pear, and other fruit bearing trees were in bloom.  We swazzled past Mill Bay and were well on our way to the apex of our road trip:  Duncan, “The City of Totems”.  Its claim to Canadian fame is to have procured over 40 beautifully carved totems that are scattered around the township.  There are walking tours throughout the village with little yellow feet painted on the sidewalks that make it possible for even the most directionally challenged to successfully make their way from one totem to the next. Each totem was touted to have a helpful plaque describing the reasoning behind the type of creatures that were included and the story of why they are located as they are on the totem.

It is a well appointed apex attraction, and after our arrival in Duncan, parking the car on our lovely early spring day we found a few fellow tourists ambling about, drawn to the earthy crossroads of First Nation carvings.  “If you build it they will come”.  They built it and we came…

Enough buffoonery… on with the totems:

And yes, it is spring…
There were more totems, but one can only take so many pictures of totems. If you want to see more, with far better pictures, Google “The Totems of Duncan BC. This is a First Nation long house on the Malahat reservation on the outskirts of Mill Bay
The shell midden in front of the long house demonstrates that the Malahat have been in the area and on this beach for a very long time…
Instead of driving all the way back around the inlet and it’s arm, we decided to take the little Mill Bay Ferry back to Brentwood on the Sannich peninsula, where Sidney is located. It fits 19 cars plus walk-ons…
The view during the ferry crossing from Sannich Inlet looking towards the beginning of Finlayson Arm

And that concludes the road trip to Duncan. We can now state that we’ve done Duncan and Duncan has done us. The ferry crossing was calm with little wind and totally flat seas. We made our way back to Sidney taking twisting backroads and twizzle twazzled our way back to Great Northern. Twas a lovely day…

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