It’s 6.00a.m., my alarm went off and I instantly jumped to my feet with a big smile on my face, whilst doing an arm stretch.
For sometime now I have been yearning to get back to nature and the coast, so I decided to book two days away in a place called Tofino, which is on the west coast of Canada.
I set off in my hire car with my trusty ipod, ready for my journey, driving towards the Lions Gate Bridge, however it was not to be, as it was closed for a bicycle event.
Undeterred by this, I turned the car around and headed in the direction where I thought there was another bridge to cross over to North Vancouver, as I had to drive to Horseshoe Bay to catch the passenger/vehicle ferry over to Nanaimo, an hour and a forty five minute ride.
Well I found my way by following my nose, which happens a lot, and arrived in time for the 8.30a.m. ferry.
The BC ferries that transit both foot and vehicle passengers is huge and very comfortable to travel on.
I exited the ferry, turned the music up and I was off ready for my drive to Tofino, stopping along the way to admire a few different locations and sites.
My first stop was Cathedral Grove, which contained some cedar trees that are over 800 years old. I initially did the short track that everyone does and then I crossed over to the other side of the road and walked the longer track that ends up passing by Cameron Lake, I found this side more beautiful and interesting. The trees are enormously round and so tall and the green vegetation of ferns and moss on the forest floor is just stunning.
I had the most magnificent weather, there was not a cloud in the sky and when I looked into Cameron Lake, it was basically like looking into a mirror.
Back to the car and onwards for my next stop. The scenery whilst driving through the mountains, was just stunning with the green of the forests against the blue sky.
Next stop was a small town called Port Alberni, which known for its fishing. I drove down to the Marina, had a look around and then had some lunch and a coffee. It is a quaint little town.
A short distance out of Port Alberni, I made a quick stop at Sproat Lake the home of the last Martin Mars water bomber and some petroglyphs, although not much is known about who created them or when they were done.
I continued driving another 100 kilometres to a place called Ucluelet, where I drove through the very small town and out to see the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse which turned 100 years old this year, and where the 75 kilometre West Coast Trail passes through to the Pacific Rim National Park.
It is a roughed black rock coastline, where I sat and admired waves crashing against them with a very blue back drop.
No time to rest as the weather Gods had been very kind to me, so it was off to Tofino to check-in to my hotel, the Wickinanninsh Inn and explore what this town had to offer apart from the many beaches along the way.
As I drove through the Pacific Rim National Park area I noticed Tsunami warning signs in case there is an earthquake. I was told that you have to pay for every beach you visit that are in the National Park, one fee does not cover all, however there are beaches that are not contained in the National Park area, that you don’t have to pay to attend.
I reached the resort, where I was greeted by the very friendly staff and what a location to chose to get away for a few days, as it is right on the beach with a rainforest walk only five minutes away. Just a note is it also dog friendly and they even have little timber houses near the entrances to the beach that hold towels to wipe your pooch down with after a walk.
After dropping my bag off, I grabbed my camera and walked the beach, where I took in some solitude and lots of beautiful shots. There were sea etchants, birds, crabs, dogs, waves, rocks and sunshine.
That night I decided to put the fire on in my room, as it was a little cool. I ordered room service, put on a CD by a local musician, whose house is about four doors along, from the resort where I was staying, the angelic, Sarah McLachlan, and I then read a book.
The next morning I was up early as I had booked a tour to go out on a boat and see black bears feeding in their natural habitat on crabs under rocks and salmonberries. En route we saw a pair of bald eagles, some sea otters and the scenery was just beautiful as the sun was rising over the vivid green pine trees.
We were lucky enough to see a mother and her two cubs feeding and in a different location a male, who was lifting the rocks with his paw and getting the crabs.
It was a successful sighting and now it was back to the dock to source a good coffee in town before going to explore the Tofino Botanical Gardens, which is on the water and partly in a rainforest.
Again the weather was great, however in the afternoon the wind kicked up, so it was a good time to do some more reading.
That night I went into town for dinner at the Wolf in the Fog, as it had been given some good reviews and some of my friends in Vancouver had recommended it.
I sat at the bar and talked with the bar staff, a couple from Kanas City and two other gentlemen.
The meal and dessert was delicious and I found out how the restaurant got it’s name. Apparently the owners used to work at the Wickinannish Inn and had pondered over starting their own restaurant, however were having trouble coming up with the name. One night they were out walking on the beach, whilst discussing possible names and saw a wolf in the fog. They took this as a sign and used that as the name of the restaurant, the rest is history.
Well it was time to retire for the night, as I had to drive back to catch a ferry early the next morning ready to start with Dr. John at 1.00p.m.
What a beautiful place where I could reconnect with nature and have some long overdue solitude.
Until next time,