After a hectic but ultimately thrilling day seeing Olympic National Park, I had reached the final day of my trip to the Pacific Northwest.
With a 9pm flight out of SeaTac, I had the entire day ahead of me and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Visit Canada. Victoria, British Columbia to be more exact.
To Victoria By Ferry
Prior to July of 2017, I had never visited our neighbors to the north. Now, in the span of less than two months, I had been there twice. Weird how these things happen.
From Port Angeles, it is super easy to get to Victoria. You hop on a ferry (RIP Derek Sheppard) which costs $37 round trip. Not shabby at all.
I had also never been on a ferry before (shocking that this desert boy doesn’t have much boat experience, right?), so while everyone else huddled inside, I walked all around the deck, enjoying my coffee, bugging people to take my photo, and as millennials now say, “Living my best life.”
There was only one slight issue. I, uhh, didn’t time out my trip correctly at all – or maybe I didn’t understand how ferry’s work.
Gather around, let me explain.
There’s only one ferry. It goes to B.C., then the USA, and then back. It takes 90 minutes each way. The only way to get back is for that ferry to be where you are.
So the night before, I looked at the schedule and saw that it left the U.S. at 8am. Great! Perfect! I also saw a trip at 12:30(ish). I said, perfect that’ll give me a couple hours to casually walk around the city.
IT WAS LEAVING FROM THE USA AT THAT TIME! I had read the wrong side. I learned this all when I was ON THE FERRY going to Victoria.
So after a 20-second internal freakout, I took it in stride (for those who don’t know me, I don’t ever freak out, my mom says it’s both a positive trait and a defect).
This, however, meant that I would now get back to the red, white, and blue after 4:30pm and still have three hours to drive in rush hour. I pushed that idea out of my head, knowing that I had no power to control it unless I hopped on the next ferry and missed Victoria completely.
By Bus and By Land
Now back to the actual trip, I bought a day pass on a jump on-jump off upper-decker bus tour to see the city. For someone who isn’t going to be there very long, I highly recommend this. Plus, I had done zero research on this portion of the trip (obviously per my ferry blunder) and was flying blind.
Let me tell you, Victoria is awesome. It’s very temperate and doesn’t see crazy winters or hot summers. I might just have to start calling it heaven on earth.
As the bus tour continued through the city, I hopped off at the harbor and grabbed some lunch and enjoyed the ocean breeze (not technically the ocean but you follow). While it had been really foggy in the morning, some of it had worn off with a rising sun and I got a beautiful view of Mt. Baker seemingly towering over the bay.
After lunch, I felt that I deserved a drink. Or two. Maybe three. I’m not really sure but I was in Canada, the exchange rate meant everything was 20% off, so I splurged. I found a nice Canadian pub and relaxed for the first time all trip.
After six days of non-stop action, it was great to finally take a breath and do nothing.
Post drinks and food, I decided to walk the rest of the way back to the ferry and see the Fairmont Empress Hotel and surrounding flowers, as they’re both impressive. Additionally, I wanted to enjoy the last day of vacation in weather that wasn’t 115 degrees.
Returning To The Desert
Moving ahead, once I got back to the USA, I realized that 1) my car was a mess after living out of it for six days and it’d require some serious work once I go to the airport and dropped it off and 2) that rush hour in Port Angeles is like 1 mile long so it wouldn’t be a challenge *thank god*.
Luckily, everything went well and I had no complications driving to or in the airport. I was finally headed home – not that I really wanted to return to the scorching hot desert.
Alas, that was where I was headed.
After a week of seeing some of the most beautiful scenery our country has to offer, experiencing what it’s like to plan a trip on short notice, learning about myself – in both hectic and calm situations, and being on my own, it’s honestly one of the best things I’ve done.
I understand most people don’t have the time or money to decide on a whim to go tour the PNW which makes me even more grateful to have been able to do this.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
Thanks for following along in this mini-series and I hope you all enjoyed it and hopefully I’ve inspired you to get outside yourself and see some new views!
If you missed any part of the mini-series, here they all are:
- Part 1: Seattle and North Cascades
- Part 2: Hiking Lake of the Angels
- Part 3: Exploring Olympic National Park