Sunday, November 10, 2019

Playing tourist on the Pacific side of Vancouver Island

We're visiting daughter #1 in Victoria, British Columbia and are spending Remembrance Day weekend on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This remote and sparsely populated area is as beautiful as it is low key—perfect to unwind.

We're staying in Ucluelet (population 1717) on the edge of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. This wild and undeveloped park is perfect for hiking, sea kayaking and surfing for those so inclined. We're far less motivated in that department; we're happy to let the day take us where it wants and simply enjoy the sights. Every now and then there's nothing better than going with the flow instead of making plans.

This is the view (literally) from our hotel room in Ucluelet:


And zoomed in:


This is where we are:

Map data © 2016 Google

I don't know if this part of Vancouver Island is a hot spot for crows, but they are everywhere, always watching and observing:


Aside from Ucluelet, the only other community of any size on this side of Vancouver Island is Tofino (population 1932). This is one of Canada's most popular surfing destinations. In fact, it seems there are as almost as many surf shops in Tofino as there are coffee houses.

Tofino is located at the northern tip of the Esowista Peninsula and is surrounded by water on both sides: Tofino Inlet to the east and the Pacific to the west, with nothing but open ocean until you get to the Aleutian Islands 1,200 miles away and Japan another 2,800 miles beyond that.

The road (British Columbia Highway 4) literally ends at the public dock in Tofino. If you want to explore further, you need to go by boat or by floatplane.



I haven't seen as much fall color here as we did at Finnerty Gardens in Victoria the other day, but there are still beacons of yellow and red here and there:



Because of the extreme amount of rainfall this area gets—an average of 128 inches a year—there's moss growing everywhere:




As it turns out, they're anything but rare on Vancouver Island, but I hadn't seen toadstools (Amanita muscaria) since I was a kid—and I was excited as a kid when we spotted these right in downtown Tofino:


We'd hoped to watch the sunset at MacKenzie Beach, a repeat of September 2016, but the weather had a mind of its own:


Honestly, though, I enjoy a foggy beach as much as a sunny one. 


Tomorrow we'll head on to Campbell River on the eastern side of Vancouver Island. More from there.


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12 comments:

  1. That looks amazing. I wonder if they can use a pie shop? :)

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    1. Pie shop? ALWAYS! We did have truly excellent coffee and cookies at a coffee shop in Tofino.

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  2. It is lovely, I have family in Tofino. Best thing about Tofino is the total lack of any 'chain' store. No starbucks, safeway, fast food franchises....it means the small business owner has a real chance of making a go of it. Makes for a lovely little town. (the one exception i think is the pharmacy)

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    1. Wow, family in Tofino? You are so lucky, being able to visit them anytime.

      Yes, no chain stores. Such a wonderful small town, with people who are still friendly in spite of all the tourists. Although, in the grand scheme of things, there aren't THAT many tourists in Tofino since it's so far off the beaten path.

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  3. What an absolutely beautiful skyline. I love the steely gaze of the crow too.

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    1. Those crows! They seem to follow you. Well, they probably do, looking for food.

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  4. There is a lovely board walk along the coast to the lighthouse in Ucleulet. Tofino is wonderful in the Fall. Pretty much have the place to yourself. Looks like you are having beautiful weather to sight see.

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    1. Yes! We did the lighthouse loop trail in Ucluelet on our last day there. Beauty wherever you look.

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  5. What a beautiful place. 120-something inches of rain a year is mind-boggling. That's 10 year's worth for us.

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    1. I can't wrap my mind around it either. I'm not sure if I'd *enjoy* all that rainfall... I definitely didn't hear anybody talking about drought :-).

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  6. Those bright toadstools evoke German storybooks for me -- they seemed to be tucked somewhere in all the illustrations.

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    1. I agree! The toadstools were straight out of a fairytale. They're so perfect, you *want* to pick them.

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