We've been to Sointula (Finnish for "Place of Harmony") twice before (2007, 2011) and loved it. It is a very laid back place, proud of its Finnish origins (it was started early in the 1900s by a group of Finns as a "co-operative"; the original "co-op" (est. 1909, the first in B.C.) store continues to be the centre of commerce and the social hub of the island. People waive as they drive by, and do indeed, occasionally, stop and offer a ride. The island's public docks are exceptionally well run and pleasant.
We enjoyed drinks and dinner aboard SV Carousel with David and Gillian, and the four of us decided to hike the "Beautiful Bay Trail" together.
The Beautiful Bay trailhead, at Bere Point, is about 4.5 kilometers by paved and gravel road from the docks. The trail is a wild west-coast trail with beautiful views of Queen Charlotte Strait and the mountains across the Strait on the mainland. The trail has two parts: the first 2.5 km goes from Bere Point to Puoli Vali Canyon. We had lunch on the beach at Puoli Vali, watching a humpback whale feed along the kelp beds.
|Lunch at Puoli Vali (Gillian & David from SV Carousel, Michelle in middle)|
|View northwest from Puoli Vali - there is a whale out there...|
|View down from trail ("closed" section)|
|View from Malcom Point (mainland Coast mountains in distance)|
|Gillian exiting the "salal" tunnel (at Malcolm Point)|
Overall, we walked/hiked 19 km, and were gone some 7 hours (including lunch). None of it could be called "strenuous" -- only the length was a bit tiring -- and the trail was always well marked.
A highly recommended hike. (As is Sointula.)