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Galiano May DayGo to Slide Show

It's the long island

Do it once - it was fun.  Do it twice - perhaps you have a pattern.  Do it 5 times, you have a tradition.  The May day long weekend retreat is now a full on tradition - we compare memories from which year had which hike, who attended or which food we made.   Some years are rich Salt Spring Island (2001) Mudge Island (2004) ) some years are leaner (the Sunshine coast (2002), Pender Island (2003), Port Renfrew (2005) ) - this year the pendulm had swung back to rich and we were off to Galiano Island.

Hiking In Dionisio Park

What can make a long weekend better?  Why not make it a long, long weekend - take Friday off too!  Six of us got the idea to extend the weekend and we took the early ferry to the island.  We couldn't take occupation of our home until 4pm so we found a great afternoon hike to fill up the time. 

Locked Off Road
Dionisio Park is a large marine park on the north end of the Island and quite frankly a jewel.  The hard part is getting to it.  There are roughly two routes in by land and both go over private land.  We walked down what seemed like 2 km of good road (ironically some of the best road in the gulf islands) that has been closed for years and is being slowly overgrown.  A rights dispute (the Islands Trust limiting development) has left the road and the dreams of the people who put it in left to languish.

Once you get into the park, it's a wonderful beach experience.  The rocks around this part of the gulf Island are a softer sand stone that weathers into beautiful patterns. 

JHN_6085_Reds And Purples In TriangleReds And Blush PillowsArbutus Near Muddy Bay

Some Pea
May is a great time for wild flowers.  Our weekend was preceded by a few weeks of great weather so the flowers were out and bold. 

HoneysuckleNootka Rose

Yellow Monkey FlowerYellow Monkey Flower And Sea Blush

My favorite part of the park is Dionisio point - the furthers point of the park.  This small near island is near idyllic - wild flowers grow between oaks, Douglas fir and Arbutus.  It's the best encapsulated piece of paradise I've seen in the Gulf Islands.

Camas Under TreesHelen Under Large TreeStone Crop In Forest

Hard Time at the Resort

We had to draw out hike short so we could get to our resort before the late part arrived.  (How else do you get the best bedrooms?)  The Bodega Beach Resort has too many amenities to list, but the swimming hole, hot tub and beach front access were big hits.

Eric Splashing Into PoolHot Tub At Sunset


While Galiano has a few restaurants, eating out is expensive, a lot of work and not really what a long weekend retreat is about.  We worked out a menu ahead of time, purchased ingredients (My once annual trip to Costco as well as a $200+ trip to the Market on Granville Island) and then rotate chefs through the weekend.  Everyone works hard on their meal and we are never short of things to eat.  Eric was our drinks maestro and we this year we discovered the bacon wrapped smokie.

Still Life Table SettingBob And Andrea CookingDavid And Mark Cooking LunchSeafood Plated

Key Limes Making DrinksBacon Wrapped Smokie

The Rocks in Front

Purple Sea Star Coming Out Of Shadow
The resort is right on the beach and has a small rocky prominence that makes for good exploring at low tide.  On Saturday we went out for a walk to poke around and find out about the neighbors.  I'm a big fan of tide pools and while these ones don't compare with Mudge Island, they are still nice to see.   What did impress me was the big wild life in the area.  We often saw more than one Bald Eagle, I saw my first Turkey Vulture of the season and we watched while a river otter came ashore to hunt.  There were always seals just off the beach.

Helen On Beach In Front Of HouseBald EagleSea Star Tide Pool
  Turkey Vulture Circling

Hiking Bodega Ridge

Bodega ridge is a short hike - less than half an hour to wonderful views.  If such a hike existed in Vancouver it would be busier than most malls on boxing day.  Today we were the only car in the parking lot.

Field In TreesManzanita Bark
The walk up is quite pleasant - it starts in forest but very quickly opens up to thinner trees and then ultimatly open ridge.

Small Purple Flower

View From Ridge

On Rocky Bluff
The views really do go on and on.  You can see the mainland and much of Saltspring as well as the smaller islands going up to Nanaimo.

Hiking and Kayaking In Montegue Harbour

Andrea had arranged Kayak rental for two days of our weekend and this was our second day.  We got two cars full of people to the park and half went for a paddle while the other half went for hike.  An hour and a half later, we swapped.

Mark And Eric In Eroded Rock
I've done the shore walk a few times now and it's still a good use of an hour.  The tide was low so walking on the rocks wasn't a problem and actually quite fun.


The shell beaches are always good from that tropical feel and the large ocean marsh is fun to poke around.

Beach In The TropicsUs By Salt Water Marsh
Helen And The Sail Boat
Almost like clockwork - almost like we planned it - we got back to the beach to see the other group kayaking in.

Andrea Making ASplashDavid And Karen Coming In

After a brief bit of instruction to Eric, we got in the water and started kayaking.  We paddled pretty much the same course as the first group - up to a group of rocks where the seals like to haul out.  This was Helen's first time in a single, Eric's first time paddling and my first time in Bob's sports car of a boat so we were all a little slower than we wanted to be.

Mark And Eric Kayaking ByHelen Paddling

Large Eroded Rock
The coast of Galiano is ringed by stone carved out by the ocean and the elements. 

The seals were out and for the most part didn't care as we paddled by. 

Seal On RockSeal High Up On RockKayaking Past Seal

Road Side Attractions

Similar to Pender Island, this Island has a lot of deer.  Unlike Mudge, you don't trip on them on the way to your car.  There were some nice flowers at the side of the road and one afternoon I pulled over to take a few snaps.
Road Side PoppyPurple With Pink BehindSoft Pink LupinePink And Yellow Lupine
  Packing Up

Even four days, it's never enough.  Hikes were left undone, area's unexplored and that hot tub always calls for another soak. but we did have to get back.  Packed up, a short ferry ride back and were were home.  Another good weekend - thanks everyone!

Helen On Beach In Front Of House
Person: Helen
Bacon Wrapped Smokie
Tags: food porn
Species: Lonicera ciliosa (orange honeysuckle)
Altitude: 8m (26 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower
Mark And Eric In Eroded Rock
Person: Eric, Mark
Tags: beach, rock
Turkey Vulture Circling
Species: Cathartes aura (Turkey Vulture)
Tags: BC fauna, bird, bird in flight, multiple frame image, triptych
Some Pea
Species: Vicia americana (American vetch)
Altitude: 8m (26 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower
Hot Tub At Sunset
Tags: hot tub, sunset, vista
Road Side Poppy
Species: Eschscholzia californica (California poppy)
Tags: flower
Arbutus Near Muddy Bay
Species: Arbutus menziesii (Arbutus)
Tags: beach
Locked Off Road
Species: Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom)
Tags: flower, hiking, road
Manzanita Bark
Species: Arctostaphylos columbiana (hairy manzanita)
Tags: abstract, tree
Seafood Plated
Tags: food porn, seafood
Soft Pink Lupine
Species: Lupinus polyphyllus (Large-Leaved Lupine)
Altitude: 58m (190 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Key Limes Making Drinks
Tags: produce, reflection, shallow depth of field
Helen And The Sail Boat
Tags: coast, gulf island, sailboat
Tags: plant
Still Life Table Setting
Tags: shallow depth of field
Reds And Blush Pillows
Tags: rock
David And Mark Cooking Lunch
Person: David, Mark
Tags: cooking, lunch
Large Eroded Rock
Tags: gulf island, kayaking, rock
Helen Under Large Tree
Species: Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir)
Tags: gulf island, hiking, tree
Kayaking Past Seal
Species: Phoca vitulina (Harbor Seal)
Tags: marine mammal
Packing Up
Tags: gulf island, packing gear, parking, place to stay
Eric Splashing Into Pool
Tags: pool
Pink And Yellow Lupine
Species: Lupinus polyphyllus (Large-Leaved Lupine)
Altitude: 60m (196 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower, macro
Field In Trees
Tags: field, hiking, trail
Purple With Pink Behind
Species: Lupinus polyphyllus (Large-Leaved Lupine)
Altitude: 62m (203 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower
Yellow Monkey Flower
Species: Mimulus guttatus (common monkey-flower, yellow monkey-flower)
Tags: flower
View From Ridge
Altitude: 245m (803 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: coast, gulf island, panorama, vista
Small Purple Flower
Species: Clarkia amoena (farewell to spring)
Altitude: 218m (715 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Seal On Rock
Species: Phoca vitulina (Harbor Seal)
Tags: marine mammal
Yellow Monkey Flower And Sea Blush
Species: Mimulus guttatus (common monkey-flower, yellow monkey-flower), Plectritis congesta (seablush)
Tags: flowers, gulf island
On Rocky Bluff
Person: Helen, John, Mark
Helen Paddling
Tags: kayaking
Seal High Up On Rock
Species: Phoca vitulina (Harbor Seal)
Tags: BC fauna, coast, marine mammal
Mark And Eric Kayaking By
Tags: kayaking
Purple Sea Star Coming Out Of Shadow
Species: Pisaster ochraceus (Ochre Star)
Tags: sea star, tide pool
Andrea Making ASplash
Person: Andrea, Bob
Tags: gulf island, kayaking
Us By Salt Water Marsh
Person: Eric, Helen, John, Mark
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Sea Star Tide Pool
Tags: gulf island, tide pool
Beach In The Tropics
Person: Eric, Helen, John, Mark
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach
Bald Eagle
Species: Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle)
Tags: bird
Camas Under Trees
Species: Camassia quamash (common camas)
Tags: flowers
JHN_6085_Reds And Purples In Triangle
Tags: gulf island, rock
Bob And Andrea Cooking
Person: Bob
Stone Crop In Forest
Tags: forest, gulf island
Nootka Rose
Species: Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose)
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower
David And Karen Coming In
Person: David, Karen
Tags: gulf island(10), flower(10), kayaking(4), rock(4), shallow depth of field(4), beach(3)
People: Mark(5), Helen(4), Eric(3), John(3), Bob(2), David(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Galiano May Day

Hi there, I'm wondering if Dionisio park is still accessible by foot today. From preliminary research it seems that it is only reachable by boat. Thanks, Peter
Wednesday, May 14th, 2008 at 19:23:44

Hi there, I was reading your information about Galiano island and am hoping you could please clarify some information that you have. The overgrown road that you walked down to get to Dionisio Park is private property and the road was actually paid for by the property owners, not by the government. The road is closed because it is not public property. You are right, the dreams of the property owners have been left to languish.
Saturday, May 25th, 2013 at 14:40:06

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