First off, I want to thank you for the love you gave my awesome guest posters while we were gone. I hope you liked that series, because I think we’ll need to bring it back! I’m also still blushing at your kinds words on my Getting Older, Can I Do This Gracefully? post. It was a toughie to write (vanity much?), and I certainly wasn’t fishing for compliments, but you made this almost-40-year-old *choke* feel great. Check out the post if you haven’t already, it also has a pretty sweet $100 giveaway of fancy-pants skin products!
Now on to our Canadian Adventure! We had The.Best.Time. Between the hiking, biking, and skiing, I accused Mr. Sugarplum of taking me to Fat Camp. Which I might have believed had it not been for all the food we inhaled. Sorry Canada, there’s nothing left. We ate it all.
Tofino (and neighboring Ucluelet) are two gems secluded on the
West Coast of Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia,
Canada. Being at the very tip of a peninsula, on the western most part of North America, feels as if you’re at the edge of the world. It’s no easy journey to get here, but that’s half the fun! After flying to Vancouver, you ferry to Vancouver Island, then drive west until the road ends. The lakes, rivers and little stores along the two-lane road only add to the anticipation.
We stopped a few times to gape at the Birch forests, crawling with moss.
There was some jigging.
We found this at the end of that unmarked trail.
We finally arrived at the damp and forested wonderland, and hit the first trailhead we saw. This area boasts one of British Columbia’s
most prized nature reserves, Pacific Rim National Park.
I’ll take this house, please. Thanks!
The actual town of Tofino has a population of less than 2,000, most of which is perched at the tip of the peninsula with ocean on one side, and harbor on the other. Don’t let the isolated rustic fool you. The accommodations are luxurious, and the restaurants first-class. I had the best meal of my life here! (I’m still dreaming of you, my little halibut.) I asked our bartender about it all one night, and his reply was, “If you’re the best at what you do, and could do it anywhere, wouldn’t you choose the end of the road? The most beautiful place?”
The quiet seclusion of Tofino makes it a favorite for celebrities, most of whom arrive by sea plane.
Summer is their biggest season, but winter storm watching is becoming a huge draw. I’d love to sit in the big lodge of our hotel, watching gale force winds, hail and 20-foot swells. We didn’t have any such storms during our visit, but we did see thousands of birds making their annual migration. They flew in huge flocks, changing formations constantly.
|The colored dots on the rocks are people. That shows you the scale of this place!|
Twenty-thousand whales migrate through these waters each year, too. We were a little late for them, but did see seals and otters.
We came across this eagle family and watched them for ages. I can’t describe the feeling of seeing them swoop through the air, calling to each other. I had tears in my eyes….this city girl needs to get out more I guess!
It’s amazing I wasn’t blubbering when we came around the corner and saw a dozen eagles perched on this little island! (They are the dark figures on the tops of the trees.)
I kept forgetting to take pictures, but managed this one when they flew over so close we could hear their wings. Am I the only one amazed by this?!
True to the Pacific Northwest, it was gray and cloudy a good part of the time. I actually loved the moody, mysterious vibe, but when the sun did peek out, we were able to see the true colors of the crystal blue water, dark rocks, bleached logs and green trees.
All the trails are well-marked and easy to navigate, most had benches along the way. Since we were there in such an off-season, we practically had the place to ourselves (not to mention half-off on the hotel!)
After long hikes, food is
my reward always necessary! I didn’t take any pictures at the restaurants where we had dinner (SoBo, Shelter, and Long Beach Lodge, all amazing and could easily be the trendiest spots in New York or San Francisco), but did grab this one of our favorite lunch spot, TacoFino. It was hard not to rub my face in the fresh fish tacos.
We spent most of our time sitting in our room staring out at the ocean, or exploring. Mr. Sugarplum loved the rainforest trails.
I loved how they led to secluded beaches, each more magical than the next.
Piece of driftwood, anyone?
On our last day, we got cocky and climbed out to some huge rocks as the tide was coming in. (The tide is pretty important here, since it can trap you if you’re caught out during high tide.) The formation of these rocks created a blowhole that forced the waves 30-feet in the air! One of which nailed me and the camera. Oops, no more pictures for awhile.
We hiked out to the other side of this rock for the sunset (with no working camera, waaah!), but was able to capture the end of it from our room. Yep, this is our view from the Long Beach Lodge.
And as if Tofino isn’t magic enough, what if I tell you New Moon was shot on this beach!? (I swear I didn’t know that when we booked the trip!) All the scenes on
what’s-his-name Jacob’s reservation were here.
We said good-bye to Tofino after three nights, and headed back east across Vancouver Island. We stopped at Cathedral Grove, a forest of 800-year old Douglas fir trees.
Now I see where trees get the nickname “Mighty.”
Snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, cold water, crisp clean air, and my sweetie….it was perfect!
Now it’s time to head back to the big city….Vancouver and Victoria is up next. Click here to read more of our professed love of Canada, and here and here for our reasons, means and tips for taking budget, kid-free trips!