Thursday, January 4, 2018

Tofino & Ucluelet

Happy new year! This week my parents and I spent a couple days on the west coast of the Island. I know a lot of people get out that way often, but I hadn't been since kindergarten, so took it all in through new eyes.
We stopped on the way up at Chemainus, a logging town that in the 1980s gained 40-some murals as part of a revitalization project. We seemed to be the only tourists strolling the streets on this winter morning.
We continued to Cathedral Grove for a sushi car picnic and a walk in the old-growth forest, extra pretty with a dusting of snow.
half-priced day-old sushi jackpot
some of these trees are 800 years old!
We wound along the scenic mountain highway to the coast and entered Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. We stopped for a little walk on the Rainforest Trail. Loop B was closed so we took Loop A, a nicely maintained 1-km boardwalk trail through gullies of old-growth cedar, Douglas fir, and hemlock.
We checked into a lovely ocean-view room at Best Western Tin Wis just in time to catch the sunset on Mackenzie Beach.
The next morning we awoke in a cloud of fog to the sound of the waves. As we went about with coffee and breakfast the fog dissipated, leaving a sunny view of the beach.
We checked out and drove into Tofino, a fishing town and outdoor adventuring base which, despite its surf shops and galleries, was less gentrified than I'd expected. We watched the comings and goings of float planes and water taxis, admired Roy Henry Vicker's art in his longhouse gallery, and walked amongst fishing boats at the docks.
We headed back into Pacific Rim National Park to walk Schooner Trail, another boardwalk forest trail leading to Schooner Cove at the north end of Long Beach. The temperate rainforest was at its prettiest with sunlight filtering between the giant cedars and firs.
There's something mystical about these ancient forests. On a quiet walk through the woods I can almost imagine the spirit animals of First Nations art coming to life, shrouded by eerily beautiful curtains of old man's beard or hiding in the hollows beneath buttressed trees where nurse stumps have rotted away. (As an aside, this wonderful book from my childhood came to mind.)
It was high tide at Schooner Cove and blindingly bright. We sat on the logs for a bit, then headed back up the trail.
We stopped next at Long Beach to watch the waves roll in. A handful of surfers were braving the chilly waters.
We continued south down the coast to Ucluelet, another fishing-and-forestry-turned-outdoors-tourism town.
We visited the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse and walked a bit of the Wild Pacific Trail. Aptly named, it was a great show of nature: mighty waves crashing in over the rocks, swirling foaming blue-green sea, and a tremendous roar. Over the cacophony sounded a plaintive fog horn.
We made the 4-hour drive back home in the late afternoon and even caught Ladysmith's Festival of Lights, now celebrating its 30th year, on the way.
was too lazy at this point to get out of the car for a proper photo
Overall we had a great little road trip, thanks in part to catching some elusive west coast sunny winter weather!
next week's forecast -- more typical


  1. I want that sushi in my lifeee! And the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve looks gogreous! It's gonna have to be added to my travel bucket list! <3

    1. Mine's a long list :) You go to all the best places! Which is nice for us who follow vicariously on Travel Tuesdays!

  2. wow... what a beautiful photo diary capturing the wonders of the west coast! we surely don't have the waters or mountains here in Indy.
    ALSO! That sushi spread!

    1. Thanks Sarah. I thought you guys had beautiful photos from Lake Michigan though!


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