Long Beach, Tofino and the middle of nowhere

Trip Start Sep 09, 2010
Trip End Sep 24, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lots of driving today, again. We got up and in the car fairly early today. Before leaving Ucluelet we visited a couple spots with excellent views we noticed yesterday while looking for a room. Today while we were trying to find one of them we encountered a doe and her fawn eating the plants in the front garden of a house. I stopped the car just outside the house and at first we watched them and took a few photos with the window up, but then decided they probably wouldn't be bothered by the sound of the window opening since they didn't even blink at passing cars. We sat there awhile longer and just watched them, after taking a lot of photos. It was pretty funny as they were tearing the plants and small trees apart. At least they weren't pooping on the lawn.

Just beyond the deer we found our great view that we had been looking for and got out of the car to snap a few shots. Ucluelet is absolutely stunning when you have a view of the water. It is really cool because of the inlet, the town is basically surrounded by water and it does not take long to drive from the inlet to the ocean, just a few minutes by car. The water in the inlet is so calm and still while the ocean waves crash gently against the rocky shore. 

We left Ucluelet and headed towards Tofino. To get there, you must drive through the Pacific Rim National Park, which is amazing. We stopped at Long Beach, which I guess is really what people are talking about when they refer to Tofino as being breathtaking. It was still pretty early in the morning and a bit cool out so we were almost completely alone on the beach. The tide was out a bit and the sun was shining. We walked along the damp sand, watching the birds wade in the tide pools and the surfers ride the rolling white-edged waves.

We came across a very large rock on the beach and next to it was a tree growing out of the sand, and bent right over so its length ran above the sand. It was really weird, and shaped rather suggestively, so I took some photos of it.

Back in the car, we finally got to Tofino. The Tofino Inlet is really pretty but otherwise just any other small town filled with hippies and tourists. We had a delicious lunch in a seafood restaurant overlooking the inlet. There isn't much to do in Tofino itself; I think all the fun is in the National Park. Our parking was only good for two hours anyway so instead of moving the car we decided to head on out of Tofino and make more stops in the national park on our way through it back to Parksville (on the other side of Vancouver Island). We found a turnoff that seemed to go nowhere but actually led us to a quiet section of the inlet. We had a relaxing walk around the area then got back in the car and stopped once more at Long Beach, but on a different section. We paid a lot for the parking pass, which is good all day, so we wanted to make the most of it.

Once we left the national park and turned towards Parksville we noticed another turn off down a gravel road that promised an enticing-sounding beach. The name escapes me now but it was enough to get us down that road. It was a very, very long drive going 20km/h because the rocks were flying everywhere and the road seemed endless. After 15 or 20 km we finally got somewhere. I'm not sure where exactly but it was a new development with only a few rather unattractive summer homes with spectacular views. We were right on the ocean and I sensed we were quite close to Ucluelet. Later when looking at the GPS tracker I learned that we were very close to Ucluelet, but at the time we couldn't figure out how to get there which is unfortunate as I am sure it would have been much faster than taking the gravel road all the way back to where we started it.

Once off the gravel road, another eternity later, we continued on the highway to Parksville. We got stuck in a construction stop where we had to wait for 30 minutes before they opened the road for traffic again.

Our last stop before Parksville was in Cathedral Grove. This section of the highway is really interesting. Suddenly you are surrounded by incredibly tall trees and the sun disappears above their branches. We pulled over in the parking spots alongside the highway and walked along the little paths to check out the forest. The trees are magnificent. The trees are so old and so tall, so when you see one toppled over it is really surprising. They have been here for hundreds of years and then suddenly one just falls down. One massive tree fell quite recently and created quite a mess. A large section of the trail was blocked off because a tree had uprooted and pulled the ground away with it, smashing into a little wooden bridge. So our walk was much shorter than anticipated.

We finally got to the resort in Parksville and walked along the resort's beach briefly then decided to get some dinner. We had found a coupon in one of the ferry brochures for a discount at White Spot so we wanted to use it. We had a nice dinner then just retired to our beautiful room to relax and check out the GPS map from our gravel road journey today.
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