Victoria, BC: Forest Fires and PRIDE

IMG_0651I was sad our long weekend in Victoria, BC, had to come to an end, but I was thrilled at the random, unanticipated occurrences our last day that made it incredibly memorable!

We decided to go for one last walk along the ocean before checking out of our inn so we walked through the James Bay Area to the trails along the water so we could meander down to the lighthouse we spotted our first night.

The sky seemed odd on our walk down and when we came out from under the tree cover along the water, it became even more so. To our left, over the water, everything was a light blue– the water was placid and clear and everything seemed covered in a soft light. To our right, the sky was a very strange rose gold color that made everything appear slightly yellow except the sun– it was bright red. It was almost eerie; I had never seen anything like it, and I didn’t know what would cause such a phenomenon.

I couldn’t stop looking back and forth on our way to the lighthouse, and we were both trying to adjust the white balance on our cameras to make the images turn out right. We finally threw in the towel, and Brian captured some great images that show just how odd the lighting was making everything.

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It took us longer to walk to the lighthouse than anticipated so after grabbing a quick coffee to go at the Breakwater Cafe and Bistro we had to speed walk back to the inn to check out. Thankfully they were nice about it and kept our bags so we could spend a little time walking downtown until our ferry was to leave at 3 p.m.

We finally learned that smoke from some pretty significant forest fires was causing the sky’s odd lighting. There was so much smoke that it had risen up into the atmosphere, blocking out the sun. It was high enough that you couldn’t smell it, but it wasn’t going to blow away any time soon.

When we arrived at the harbor, people were lining up along the streets in lawn chairs and appeared to be preparing for a parade. We stopped a guy who was decked out in a colorful outfit, and he explained the parade route for the PRIDE parade! We had been there several days and never saw or heard anything about it! We were only a few minutes ahead of the start so we found a spot on the side of the road and waited for the parade to begin. The streets quickly lined up with people and although things got off to a late start, we had a blast cheering on the participants and floats!

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We each collected some beads and candy and took a few pictures in the dance party that followed the parade’s conclusion. Afterward we walked across the street for a final meal at a restaurant inside the Robert Batemen Center, we headed back to the inn for our luggage and then boarded our ferry home.

I was immersed in my book, but Brian took some incredible photos from the top of the ship during our 90-minute journey from Victoria’s harbor to Port Angeles, Wash. Victoria, BC, was incredible, and I can’t wait to explore more of Vancouver Island!

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