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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Newcastle Island

A ten day break to the coast was good for my soul.  Visiting and catching up with my daughter, and spending time with old friends, wonderful weather, good food, and invigorating adventures, have rejuvenated me.

We had an amazing day hike to a small neighbouring island, which is actually one of British Columbia's  provincial parks, and only accessible by boat.  So we had to take the little passenger ferry boat across to the island.

 There are several hiking trails on this Island and we chose to do the hike around the perimeter of the island, which is almost 5 miles.  There are many beautiful beaches along the way.

My friend and I, posing for the camera!

                        Here are my friends and my son leading the way.

                                                  The views were stunning!

 Looking back towards the mainland, we could see the snow capped mountains.

 The trail took us through forests, and up over sandstone cliffs where we had some fantastic view points. We saw eagles, a blue heron, Arbutus, Douglas Fir and Garry oak trees.

We sat and ate our well deserved picnic lunch in this pretty bay.

(My son and husband.)

There is a lot of history on this tiny island, ranging from native fishing sites and burial grounds, to coal mining and quarrying for sandstone.

Back in 1869, the American government was searching for sandstone to build the San Francisco mint. they needed massive blocks of sandstone as well as giant columns for this building. The American builders settled on Newcastle Island stone for its superior qualities. Almost 8,000 tonnes of sandstone were cut and transported, by ship, to San Francisco over a period of 4 years.

The San Francisco mint was to have 8 massive sandstone columns made on Newcastle Island and shipped south to San Francisco. However, in 1872, during the ship transport of 2 of the columns, the ship was caught in a snowstorm and sank off the coast of Vancouver Island. 

                       The old quarry.

Over 100 years later,in 1976, the sunken shipwreck was located by divers, and one of the giant sandstone columns was salvaged and brought back to  Newcastle Island, where today it sits as a memorial to the sunken ship and its crew.

We spent about 4 hours here, on Newcastle island, and it certainly wasn't enough time to fully explore all that this park has to offer. I cant wait to go back again in the summer, and hike some of the other trails on this fantastic island.

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Nicole Beadwright Campanella said...

Wow what a great post. Thanks for sharing all the photos and the history.
Glad you had such a good time.

Lin said...

So beautiful there! Now I wanna go there!!!

Catherine said...

Oh you poor girl ~ enjoying all that lovely weather, beautiful green, blue skies and water and then coming home to snow. Well it's all so sad isn't it? But it sure looks like you had a lovely time!

Freezing rain and snow for the next four days. Blah!!
xo Catherine

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