A Day at Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
A few weeks ago, I hopped on a Seair seaplane from Vancouver and visited Salt Spring Island for the first time. The flight went from south terminal of the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) straight to Salt Spring Island, as it is one of the more major Gulf Islands in British Columbia. Even the view from the air of the islands was amazing. Gazing down at the blue waters and green trees that dot both the British Columbia coastline gave me a sense of awe at the stunning natural beauty of this place. Flying and landing by seaplane was also a great experience, from the pleasure of being in the cockpit, and being able to observe the instrument panel, to capturing beautiful shots of the Southern Gulf Islands.
Located between the coast of Canada’s mainland and Vancouver Island, Salt Spring Island is a beautiful place filled to the brim with nature, beauty and friendly people. It is one of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, and has around 10,000 inhabitants. The island can be accessed by both seaplane and ferry. When using the ferry there are three different routes that stop at the island! with an area of 70 square miles (180 square kilometers), the island is extremely small, but incredibly worth the visit. Artists flock to the island haven, with a plethora of studios and galleries spread across its area. The island’s main and largest town is called Ganges, located in the centre of the island. One other interesting fact about the island is that it has its own, unique currency. The Salt Spring dollar is a legal currency, and each denomination features the famous artwork from the island.
I didn’t really have a plan for my day on the island so after my arrival I decided to rent a scooter and just cruise around and explore the island. After picking up the scooter from the Salt Spring rental office, I stumbled upon so many gorgeous site and landscapes while just riding around randomly, it was amazing. most of the roads were empty for miles, with just trees towering overhead and nature on all sides. The first place that I stumbled upon was Stowel Lake, a small lake open to visitors for swimming, sunbathing and more. Later I learned there is also a retreat located nearby, known as the Stowel Lake Farm. With yoga retreats, organic produce and a beautiful renovated setting, this retreat could be the perfect destination for visitors looking to stay longer on the beautiful Salt Springs Island! cruising around some more on the island led me to discover some horses grazing peacefully in a pasture along the road, and I had to stop to take a photo because the scenery was so gorgeous.
After touring the island for a few hours, I saw a sign pointing to Mount Maxwell. Although I had never heard of the mountain before, I decided to follow the sign because sometimes the unknown attractions are the best ones. Before I knew it, I was no longer on a smooth paved road, but rather a muddy gravel one. Although I hadn’t thought of riding my scooter off road, I took the chance when I had it. After a bumpy and muddy adventure through the trees for a few miles I arrived at Mount Maxwell. The mountain is one of the highest points on Salt Spring Island and offers awe inspiring views of both the surrounding island, other islands as well as mainland BC. The viewpoint is actually called Baynes Peak and is part of a provincial park named after the mountain itself: Maxwell Provincial Park.
At the top of the viewing point I met a really friendly couple. The guy was from Los Angeles and is an aspiring musician. He was incredibly friendly. His girlfriend was from Hong Kong and was very open and friendly as well. I took a few shots of them with the mountain’s viewpoint in the background in order to capture just how beautiful both the scenery and the moment were. After enjoying the breathtaking view for a few more minutes, I left the mountain at about 4pm. On my way back to my plane’s departing point I stopped for some sustenance at Embe Bakery, which is located in Ganges. The food there was absolutely delicious, and I enjoyed it wholeheartedly. If you’re ever on Salt Spring Island make sure to check it out!
Overall, I had a great day on Salt Spring Island, from the seaplane to the scooter, to the gorgeous scenery, everything helped me have a perfect excursion. When travelling I love surprises, and I experienced yet another surprise in the discovery of Mount Maxwell, a stunning viewpoint of the other Gulf Islands and the BC shoreline. Immersing myself in the nature of the island was yet another aspect of this short day trip that I enjoyed. I would definitely recommend visiting Salt Spring Island to other travellers; have fun and safe travels!