Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Coastal Walking Trails in the Comox Valley- Royston Seaside Trail – Part 2

By Keith and Heather Nicol
Our destination was the lookout platform in Royston
    When we posted information on the Royston Seaside Trail – Part 1 ( we noted that an extension of the trail traversed south toward Marine Drive in Royston. So on August 29 we decided to check that out. You can access this trail from a parking lot at the end of Hilton Road (49 39.143 N, 124 57.180 W).  This trail starts off with a broad easy walking surface for the first couple of hundred meters before branching off toward the beach. The main trail does carry on to Lince Road for another 200 meters or so but if you don`t mind walking along high tide line you can follow it along the shore to Marine Drive in Royston.

Keith walking along the beach with the Royston wrecks in the background

     The beach portion is about 0.8 km and leads to a lookout platform. This section is across a mix of surfaces like sandy beach with small gravel sections and even some flattish bedrock. You have to cross over 2 trees that lie across the trail and there are a couple of short sections which involve traversing around basketball size boulders. You can see the Royston wrecks, Goose Spit and across the Salish Sea to the Sunshine Coast and Texada Island.  As you get closer to Marine Drive you can scramble up on short trails to a picnic site in Royston (49 38.948 N, 124.56.791 W or 49 38.941 N, 124.56.774 W are easier access points).  Once on Marine Drive continue a short distance to the lookout platform at 49 38.914 N, 124 56.656 W).  The total distance 1 way is about 1 km and you can then traverse back along the same trail to your car. Be aware that under some conditions like strong SE winds and high tides that the beach portion might be difficult or impossible to negotiate.If readers know of other coastal walking trails in the Comox Valley let us know at 
Heather at one of the access points to Marine Drive from the beach trail

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Sunnydale Golf Course in Courtenay will appeal to a wide range of golfers

By Keith and Heather Nicol
The course features long straight fairways
       We recently played Sunnydale Golf and Country Club in 2 stages-the front nine on Saturday, August 19 and the back nine on Wednesday, August 23. This had to do with other commitments plus the fact that we wanted to check out the course at different times of the day. On Saturday we were joined by our son, Michael who was visiting from Vancouver. The weather was stellar for golf for our 9:00 start and we were pleased that even though it was a weekend the course was relatively easy to get on and play moved along smoothly and we completed our round in 1 hour and 45 minutes. 
You get scenic mountain views on several holes

     The Sunnydale Golf Course is the oldest course in the Comox Valley and evidently it opened in 1923! The course features glimpses of the Beaufort Mountains through the tall trees. The flat course has mostly straight holes with moderately wide fairways so will suit a wide variety of golfers. There is little water that comes into play but there are a number of sand traps so you need to be careful with shot placement, especially depending on where the pin is located. But what we really noticed was the smallish “upside down bowl” shaped greens which made approach shots and putting challenging at times.   On Saturday we noticed that the greens were especially demanding since they were very fast. For some reason on Wednesday they mercifully had slowed down (not sure why) and approach shots seemed to stick much better. Given the very dry conditions this summer we were very pleased with the condition of the course. Everything was quite green including the fairways.
Michael putting for par on the ninth hole with the clubhouse behind
   Sunnydale will appeal to a wide range of golfers especially since they now have a shorter tee option which can makethe course significantly shorter.  This might appeal to juniors, ladies, seniors or anyone just getting into the game. The front nine is much longer than the back (3206 yds vs 2796 yds off the white tees) so needless to say we enjoyed the back nine much more since we scored so much better.  On Wednesday afternoon we teed off at 5:00 pm and basically had the back nine to ourselves which was a nice bonus. Add to that the late afternoon light streaming through the trees and it made for a fine round of golf. Sunnydale is a full service golf course with driving range, putting green, proshop, restaurant and bar and you can store your own power cart on site! Sunnydale Golf and Country Club is located just north of Courtenay just off the North Island Highway. For more information see: or ph 250-334-3232. 
We loved the late afternoon light streaming through the trees

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Coastal Walking trails in the Comox Valley: Royston Seaside Trail - Part 1

by Keith and Heather Nicol

The Royston wrecks are easily seen from this trail
      Coastal walking trails that have been sign posted and maintained are rare in the Comox Valley so the Royston Seaside Trail is worth knowing about. It is well marked and compacted and so is suited to walking or cycling.  To find the start we recommend going to Hilton Road in Royston (49 39.143 N , 124 57.180 W) where there is a large parking area and even a picnic table. This location also has a side trail where you can view the “Royston wrecks”. For more on the history of the Royston wrecks see a previous blog:  The trail winds past houses on the left and the Comox Estuary on the right. The trail is just 1 km long and is suited to a wide range of people since it is wide and well surfaced with pea size gravels.  It ends at Chinook Road (49 39.464 N, 124 57.798 W) and you could start the trail at this point but the parking area is very small there so the Hilton Road location is preferred.  The trail also has numerous interpretative signs which add to the enjoyment of the walk.  It is too bad this trail doesn’t connect to the Courtenay trailway since it would make a fine longer cycling or walking route. 
There are several interpretative signs along the trail

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Coastal Walking trails in the Comox Valley- Pt Holmes to Kye Bay

by Keith and Heather Nicol
Heather walking along the beach at Pt Holmes at low tide
       There are a number of walking trails which hug the shoreline in the Comox Valley and one that we have seen many people on but never walked ourselves until today is the route between Pt Holmes and Kye Bay. For those that read this blog regularly you will know that this is our “go to” place to sea kayak since there is a boat launch and some paddling options depending on the weather and your interest. We often paddle along the Lazo Cliffs to Kye Bay so have seen many people walking the coastline as we paddle. The walk is generally do able by a wide range of people since the walking surface is generally quite good—from sandy beach to smallish cobbles. Also the distance is just 2 km (one way) so that makes it appealing for a variety of walkers as well. We parked just past the boat launch at Pt Holmes and found a short trail to the beach near our car (coordinates 49 41.576 N , 124 52.014 W). After about 600 meters we came to a nice sandy beach and you could make this your destination if that is what you are after (coordinates 49 41.762 N , 124 51.796 W). On this day we were the only people on this stretch of beach so if you want a beach that is way from the crowds check this out. 
The backshore is composed of steep sliffs
 We carried on walking on the nice firm sand and after 1.3 km the shoreline becomes abit rougher and changes direction along the steep cliffs. This change of direction was welcome since we were hiking this route on a warm afternoon and  so this portion was now in the shade which made for cooler walking conditions. If you want to walk the whole route in the sun, aim to do this trail in the morning. After about 2 km the trail arrives at a yellow house and you can walk around the tangle of logs and rip rap to Longview Road. From here you can either reverse your route and return to your car. If you have 2 cars you can park one here at a small parking lot at the end of Longview Road ( 49 42.441 N, 124 51.790 W).  This route has fine views of Denman and Hornby Island as well as toward Powell River across Georgia Strait with the mountains of the coast range beyond.  The back shore is mostly steep cliffs. Allow about 40-50 minutes to make this walk ( 1 way).  The tide was about 2.4 meters at the time we did this walk but only on very high tides with strong SE winds would tides likely become an issue. 
The views of ocean and mountains are impressive

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Testing the Aqua Quest Aquaroo Money Belt

By Keith and Heather Nicol
Daughter Kristie testing the Aquaroo money belt while tubing the Puntledge
     Most of our blog posts deal with places to visit and things to do in the Comox Valley and Vancouver Island.  But we came recently came across some wet weather gear that we have been testing and we want readers to know what we think of it. We have been getting alot of use this summer from the Aqua Quest Aquaroo money belt since we have been doing alot of tubing down the Puntledge River. This presents a potential problem since how do you get your car keys , driver’s licence and perhaps some cash etc down the river in some sort of dry bag. Since you want something that is light and easy to carry the Aqua Quest waist belt fits the bill perfectly as far as we are concerned. It is not bulky and since you wear it around your waist this keeps your hands free. It has a multi layer bagging system and we have used 8 times this summer and everything has  been bone dry when we finished despite getting soaked by waves several times on each trip down the river.  Note that you have to seal each successive layer to get the waterproof result you are looking for. 

Heather on a sea kayak trip to Tree Island taking a phone call
Hiking Mt Washington
    We have also used it on many sea kayak trips this summer and we find it a great spot to hold a cell phone, car keys etc. Although you can stow phone, car keys and driver’s license in a dry bag and put it in a hatch the fact that this is around your waist means it is ready at all times should you need to make an emergency phone call.  
      Obviously you can use this waist belt for lots of other uses even when you don’t plan on getting wet. I now use it cycling for house keys, my phone and some cash and it makes an easy to way to carry some same things when hiking. If you get caught in a downpour then it doesn’t matter since your phone and keys will stay dry. This is a great little item and is worth checking out for these types of applications. We are testing some other Aqua Quest products and will report back on those in future blogs. Another great thing is that Aqua Quest is headquartered in the Comox  Valley. For more information see:

The Aquaroo Money Belt can be used biking as well.