Beneath the Trees: Salt Spring Island

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After staying in Crofton, BC at the Crofton By the Sea Bed & Breakfast, we hopped on what must be one of BC Ferries’ shortest crossings (a mere 2.8 nautical miles) to spend a few days on beautiful Salt Spring Island.

Our friend met us at the Vesuvius Bay ferry dock, and immediately whisked us away to our first hike, Mount Maxwell! While the view at the top is indeed spectacular, be sure to take a few moments on the hike to absorb the natural beauty you hike through to get there. Just look at the size of these trees; the boys are literally dwarfed!

View from Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring Island. Photo: SYinc

Trees on Salt Spring Island. Photo: SYinc

(And I’m pretty sure this one is an Ent…)

Trees on Salt Spring Island. Photo: SYinc

We took advantage of the local produce for our dinner that night (available from markets in the town of Ganges) and later in our trip gorged on the free tastings at the Salt Spring Island Cheese Farm Shop. It was so hard to choose which one to buy, so we took home three different kinds of goat cheese. And some lavender jam. And some honey. After all, they had let us wander the farm, peruse the many heritage chicken types and pet a baby goat or two. It was only fair.

Chickens at Salt Spring Island Cheese Shop. Photo: SYinc

The next morning, we were up bright and early to head down to the point in Ruckle Provincial Park. The sun glistened off the waves, showering glass-like beads as a large sea lion breached the water again and again, tossing his fish catch into the air as if he were a much smaller housecat, with a mouse. His meal was perfectly timed for our arrival on the point! And as we continued round the park, we met a family of spotted seals who simply blinked their large round eyes at us and waited for us to move along, into the stands of “critically imperiled” Garry Oak, the only species of oak native to BC, and ruddy arbutus trees. This is a special place with many natural treasures.

Garry oak at Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island. Photo: SYinc

We followed the Ruckle Park trails past the point, through the campground on the cliffs, and then down to Grandma’s Beach and into Ruckle Farm itself. The farm is a working farm, but you can peer into the historic buildings, some of which have been left to age with their original furnishings intact. Just beware the large and aggressive turkeys that wander the grounds. And keep an eye out for our favourite cow, the one with the wonky horn:

Cows grazing on Ruckle Farm, Salt Spring Island. Photo: SYinc

We finished our island tour by rounding the northern point, and then headed home, treated to a beautiful Georgia Strait sunset on the ferry back to the mainland.

Sunset over the Georgia Straight from BC Ferries. Photo: SYinc

We love our trips to Salt Spring Island, and can’t wait to go back again.

Location of Salt Spring Island. Click here for full Google Map

Location of Salt Spring Island. Click here for full Google Map

Salt Spring Island is one of BC’s Southern Gulf Islands and is accessible by ferry or seaplane. BC Ferries offers daily sailings from Vancouver (Tsawassen), Victoria and Crofton, and both Salt Spring Air and Harbour Air offer seaplane flights. For more, see Salt Spring Island.