Victoria, British Columbia: Population = 85,792 (Metro area = 383,360), elevation = 75 feet, Average January low temp = 38.5º, Average July high temp = 74.8º, Average snowfall = 10.35”
From Tacoma, our route leads us across the famous Narrows Bridge, North through Puget Sound. On a map, this area looks like a big chunk of Washington is breaking away from the mainland, leaving behind a maze of water-filled cracks. Up close, there are gigantic tall trees with velvet coatings of moss, rising up out of lush beds of ferns. Long rows of snow covered mountains loom on the horizon. We are driving country roads through small towns.
To get to Victoria, we have to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca on a ferry. The easiest way for us to do that is to spend the night in an overpriced but shabby hotel in Port Angeles and then catch the ferry in the morning. We found some passable BBQ and beers and made the best of it.
The next day, we drove over and got in the “first come, first served” line that boards after the (sold out) reserved ticket holders. No problem getting on. With Gypsy stowed away on the Auto Deck, we went topside to watch the scenery. It was sunny and windy and the ship had a roll that made walking a straight line a challenge. Just 90 minutes later, we were in the harbor at Victoria. This is a busy little harbor, full of water taxis, seaplanes, fishing boats, sailboats, and now, a big ferry.
The weather on Vancouver Island provides for a long, moist growing season, so the profusion of flowers and trees is remarkable. The most famous garden is The Butchart Garden. Robert Butchart once ran a lucrative limestone quarry. When the limestone was exhausted, his wife, Jenny, converted the remaining pit into a floral showcase. Over the last century, the Butchart descendants have maintained and enhanced the gardens. Today, they are a National Historic Site of Canada and host to over a million visitors annually.
And, finally, just because I love flowers, a collage of closeups.
Next up: more of Victoria