Vancouver Island is a place full of special places. Go in any direction and in short order you will most certainly find a little piece of Heaven to call your own, if only for a few lucky moments. But some places are so special, so uniquely beautiful and breathtaking, that you can’t help but leave a little piece of your heart behind in an effort to someday find your way back. Telegraph Cove is one of those rare places.
A tiny, historic boardwalk community built in the 1920’s to service the telegraph line from Campbell River to the north island sits nestled protectively in a scenic cove overlooking the Johnstone Straight. Once home to a lumber mill and fish cannery, the original homes built by the pioneering and adventurous families who braved the elements, and undoubtedly their own fears, now comprise the world-famous Telegraph Cove Resort. Home to stately eagles and myriad other birds, marine and landlubbers alike, majestic black bears, harbour seals, and river otters, to name just a few, the scenery changes by the minute. A plethora of ecotourism adventures begins at the end of the pier with whale-watching, grizzly bear tours, fishing expeditions, kayaking and scuba diving. Or simply sit and watch nature’s dazzling display unfold in front of you from the comfort of the charming coffee shops or restaurants.
While Telegraph Cove will surely steal your heart, a short jaunt up through Johnstone Straight to Knight Inlet will bring you to a place that will haunt your very soul for evermore.
This pristine, awe-inspiring area is home to the largest population of grizzly bears in the world. Expert guides respectfully offer bear viewing opportunities to people from literally around the globe. Even as someone who loves the descriptive, creative power of the written word, it is truly impossible to explain the feeling of seeing your first grizzly bear. This precious gift, given in friendship by these shy, gentle giants, is bestowed on a very select number of those lucky enough to share in it.
No one really knows why, but grizzlies are far less able to cope with development and changes to their habitat than other types of bears. As you read this, plans for energy projects, commercial logging, trophy hunting, and an ever-increasing rate of human contact is threatening their very existence. It is all of our inherent responsibility to help protect these regal stewards of the forest. Indeed, the entire ecosystem depends on it.
As we sadly bode farewell to our newest furry friends and made our way back to Knight Inlet, the gifts of this day were far from over as a dozen Pacific White-Sided dolphins offered to show us the way home. Full of unadulterated joy, they dazzled everyone with their acrobatics and antics as they lept and flew through the air right beside the boat, often having to slow down so we could catch up with them.
I don’t know what it feels like to be a dolphin, but I can’t remember a time, until this day, that I felt THIS happy!
Some sing about having left their hearts in San Francisco, and I do agree it’s a pretty terrific place. But on this day, Telegraph Cove, Knight Inlet, and Glendale Cove, all tucked away like buried treasure, became a part of my soul. Now back in the familiar setting of my living room, I fondly stare at the pictures and close my eyes and dream about the next time Mother Nature wraps me warmly in her arms as I stand quietly listening to birdsong in Glendale Cove and silently thank her for the beautiful, modest grizzly, so generously sharing a tiny part of her day with me. And that’s where I left my heart.
If you would like to help the bears, and the other wonderful beasties who call this magical place home, here are two really great organizations who are doing all sorts of good things: The Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Pacific Wild.
Thanks for visiting us today, please feel free to join in the conversation by leaving your great comments!
Until next time!