4:30am. What the hell is that sound? My alarm? On a Saturday? Can't be...oh but wait..that's the sound of adventure calling!
What else other than a good adventure would have me waking up at 4:30 am on a Saturday? (that's right nothing). And where was I headed at such an ungodly hour you may ask..well a spot I had been trying to visit since I first decided to move to Vancouver -Tofino! A little seaside surf mecca on the northwestern side of Vancouver Island. Hop a ferry from Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver towards Nanaimo then from there is about a 4 hour drive until you reach paradise.
By the time we got on the ferry it was finally light out and there were some great views as we coasted through into Nanaimo, and from there the drive takes you past some great spots to stop & stretch your legs. Even from the passenger seat I spent most of the drive trying to pick my jaw up off the floor & the scenery surrounding us. The tallest trees I've ever seen, the mountains covered in mystical fog & a peacefulness that you would dream of for your long weekend. With nothing but 3 days, a full gas tank & 3 ladies who just needed a break from reality we had all we need to take on a killer weekend on the island
Arriving into Tofino we were gifted with incredible weather,after leaving some less than desirable Vancouver weather throughout the week the sun decided it was going to make a stunning appearance for us as we rolled in from Nanaimo & made for a good afternoon to spend wandering through the town, getting our bearings & just enjoying the sun we thought was gone forever. We parked ourselves on a bench & soaked in the day before heading back to the hostel to get ready for some much needed dinner. Being a long weekend and the last big hoorah before school starts back in for us Canadians we booked our nights at the hostel well in advance to ensure we were able to get in & man was I happy with our planning ahead. HI-Tofino, Whalers on the Point Guesthouse is in a prime location (right at the water's edge) & was more than I could have hoped for. First & most importantly the staff; UNREAL! Having worked in hospitality for most of my adult life & in hostels I always enjoy meeting staff of a hostel or hotel who genuinely love their job. Which was definitely the case when it came to the staff here. Great attitude, and a serious knowledge for must see's, do's & eats around town the staff at HI-Tofino were definitely some of the best I've encountered. Home to one of the coziest dining/lounge areas there is more than enough space to get your master chef on & have a couple of drinks playing cards with a group or gearing up for some pool for the night. And to make the weekend that much better there happened to be an art showing in the hostel that night. A local surf photographer had a dozen or so pieces up for display/sale making the atmosphere even more social than it would normally be. We poked our heads in for a second but our rumbling stomachs won out & we headed off in search of some great food. And within no time we found it! Shelter about a 10-15 minute walk from the hostel boasts a great atmosphere with a menu full of local produce & home grown favorites to choose from. After stuffing our faces full & indulging in a cheeky drink it was straight to bed for us 3 early risers after that 4:30 wake up call.
Well rested we awoke hoping for sunny skies, but sadly the fog had settled in (standard for Tofino) over night. We hoped it would burn off through the day (..sadly that didn’t happen) but armed with our gear for the day we headed out to take on the pacific Rim National Park. The park itself is made up of 3 separate regions : Long Beach, The Broken Islands Group & the West Coast Trail. We weren’t aiming at tackling long stretches of the trail but we definitely we able to check out a lot of the must see spots along the park throughout the day. From surf watching, to beach walks, rainforest trails & cozy little coves Tofino surprised me at every new turn giving me serious trigger finger (as you can see below) I wanted to capture every single second of every single place we visited for fear I wouldn’t be able to describe the beauty I was experiencing. From Tofino all the way into Ucluelet we definitely saw more than I could have hoped for!
After realizing (fairly late in the day) that the sun was in fact not going to show her bright shiny face we made our way back to Tofino to get changed & head off to curb our taco craving (mine had been building since we arrived) at none other than Tacofino. I had heard so much about this place living in Vancouver but had never gotten around to trying it. But with a restaurant & a food truck back in Van it only made sense to get it from the original in Tofino. Boasting the best fish tacos in BC the line up to get your ariba on was unreal, but we waited. And we waited. Then we ordered & proceeded or wait even more. With my hangry feelings growing stronger by the minute the second I got my order my stomach was never happier than the moment I launched into that burrito & I was definitely not disappointed! With a full & happy stomach we cracked some ciders & dove into a killer game of Cards Against Humanity for our last full night on the island.
Holiday Mondays are genius & I think they should occur more often than they already do in Canada. Sadly, for us we woke up to some heavy rain/drizzle and needed to rework our plans for the day as we were booked back to Vancouver on a late ferry from Nanaimo. After a quick rework & pack up we headed out into the rain & lucked out doing some walks on some of the beaches we missed the day before sans rain. The rain seemed heaviest while in the car (win) and seemed to disappear while out of the car. After a few walks & some more photos taken it was back in the car to tackle half the drive before stopping at Cathedral Grove Forest a spot we saw on our drive in. I had heard that Tofino was home to some incredible forests but I wasn’t expecting the king of all rain forests here at Cathedral Grove. The trees are taller than any I have ever seen & the forest itself gives way to making you feel incredibly tiny in the world. I climbed some trees and we explored the massive forest before getting back in the car & making our way to the ferry to head back to Vancouver.
After 14 months living in Vancouver I’m so stoked to have finally been able to visit Tofino & am gutted that the weekend flew by! This summer flew by just as quickly and I’m trying to fill the remaining nice (not raining) days with adventures to tide me over through the rainiest months of my life that are coming up. September bring on the hikes & the reunions!
Thanks for the killer weekend Tofino. You were epic & more than I hoped for. If I don't get back again this year you definitely gave me enough wicked memories to hold me over until next time ✌️🌊🌄