Above: Ammonite Falls 📷 Kris Mutafov
By Kris Mutafov
I always hated the rain. It would get my bag wet, it would get my hair wet, my feet wet, and frankly, it would dampen my spirit. So logically, I moved to Nanaimo this September.
I had heard the stories from my roommates before it began; clouds upon rain upon more rain and more clouds. Rinse and repeat, literally. But joyous September sun brought with it much rock climbing, kayaking, and fantastic late summer vibes.
I was oblivious.
Then came October. I remember opening up the seven-day weather forecast on my computer to see little blue drops coming from grey blobs, with no end in sight. There wasn’t any yellow. I closed the laptop and the blinds.
There does come a point however when you have to adapt, and thankfully, humans are adaptable creatures. A friend told me one day that “You don’t wait for the rain to stop for activities here in Nanaimo – you just suck it up, and go out anyway.” I took that mindset to heart, and began making plans a couple weeks in advance. It didn’t matter what the weather was on that day; I would head out anyway. This was the true birth of my
I remember one hike where I brought my SLR camera with me, but for the full three hours I was hiking, the rain didn’t stop pouring for even a brief moment. I came back to the car, drenched, but with a smile on my face.
Embrace the rain–let it soak through all of your layers, until your feet are sloshing around in your boots and your hair resembles a wet dog. Smell the freshness, marvel at the fog as it drifts through huge Douglas Firs, and be ready to forgo any level of dryness. At the end of the day, when you step in your landing, and create a large puddle, you’ll appreciate your couch and dry clothes a whole lot more.
My recommendations for rainy day (heck, sunny day too!) excursions near Nanaimo:
Pipers Lagoon – incredibly accessible beachfront walk down a narrow spit, and there’s an island that’s accessible at low tide with abandoned shacks on it, aptly named “Shack Island”.
Cable Bay Trail – from the end of Nicola Road in Cedar, this gorgeous trail winds its way through nice forest before emerging on the coastline; watch some bald eagles soar, and some seals poke their heads up in the quiet strait.
Westwood Lake – This is a perfect 6 km loop for running or walking, and it has a nice summer lake resort vibe to it. Trail has one steep section but mostly flat. Very accessible. There’s a network of mountain bike trails hidden behind the Southeast side of the lake.
Drumbeg Provincial Park on Gabriola Island – Okay, you’re going to need a car for this one, and taking the ferry costs $27 return, but this place is beautiful, and you’re bound to have it all to yourself. Pristine coastline, and a magical feeling as you sit on the bench and look over small rocky islands. Seals almost guaranteed. Access is left off of Stalker Rd.
Ammonite Falls – One of the most popular hikes in Nanaimo, but for good reason. It’s breathtaking. When it’s raining you have the added bonus of seeing the waterfall when it’s really flowing. The hike down is a bit convoluted, but just follow the signs and you’ll be good. Access is down Jameson Road. Park in the lot down Creekside Place.