Forest fire smoke has settled thick, and heavy over the lower half of BC and from the air only mountain peaks are visible, the valleys are hazy and choked. A red sun rises in the morning and in the filtered light everything glows orange. We’ve been keeping the windows closed, sweltering inside, waiting for the wind to change.
To escape the smog we spent the day on Bowen Island, hoping the ocean winds would have cleared the air, but even there the smoke lingers. We explored the Pier, Snug Cove, Artisan Square, Deep Bay, and Crippen Park. It’s an easy day trip from Vancouver, but the longer hikes were off limits to us due to the poor air quality.
The ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Bowen Island takes only twenty minutes, just long enough for a toddler to explore the ferry and be ready to move on to something new. We left the car behind in Horseshoe Bay and walked onto the ferry. Bowen Island is quite small and walkable as long as you don’t mind hills. There is bus service on the island as well as scooter rentals, if you want to explore the west side of the island.
On the Pier we stopped for a snack of smoked salmon toast at Branch and Butter and admired the handcrafted objects for sale. There are kayaks and paddle boards for rent here, and plenty of picnic tables.
A walk uphill took us through snug cove. We looked through the world’s smallest candy store, walked through the old cottages and read about the history of the island, and made friends with a cat. There are a number of cafes and restaurants along the main road, and more under construction.
Artisan Square, further uphill, is home to boutiques, galleries, a coffee shop, and most importantly a chocolatier. We admired the beautiful paintings by Vikki Fuller, but settled for a ‘cruffin’ from Artisan Eats and chocolates from Cocoa West.
A walk through the trails of Crippen Park, a trip to the playground, and treasure hunting on the beach kept us busy all afternoon. At dinner time we stopped at Rustique Bistro. With an enclosed patio featuring a grassy area and toys, it’s the most child friendly restaurant in Snug Cove. After dinner there’s only one thing left to do:
Back to the Pier for some ice cream! And back onto the ferry for an impromptu juggling lesson. Hope you get a chance to visit Bowen Island!