I left my heart in Tofino.
Okay, maybe not completely. But everywhere I went in British Columbia, I left a bit of me. And Tofino was definitely one of those places. Especially the entire car ride from Nanaimo to Tofino. It is a long and winding road (cue Sheryl Crow) but it’s probably the most beautiful car ride I have ever been on. Vancouver Island is just completely full of beauty, and the drive across the Island.. it really takes the cake.
We started out by making a stop at a shoulder pull off. My phone tells me it’s “Alberni-Clayoquot” but I really couldn’t tell you where it is. I wish I could. It’s got a little spot where you can attach a padlock, and then you walk out onto these rocks and it’s… stunning. There’s a stream that comes through the rocks, and it comes out and there is this absolutely perfect view of the mountains.
What I loved the absolute most about Tofino was just walking along the beach sticking my toes in the sand of the Pacific Ocean. We were there on a windy day – so the beach was just wind and not very warm, but being able to stick my toes as far West as I could go is pretty cool. Back in 2009 I stuck my toes in the Atlantic, and being able to say I’ve stuck my toes in the sand on both coasts of this country I’m so proud to be from was pretty amazing.
Frank Island was one of our stops in Tofino. The tide had gone out, and we could walk along the ocean floor out to Frank Island. It was this little piece of land and it was super rocky, but had the most gorgeous view. I swear everywhere you look in British Columbia gives you the most gorgeous view. But it’s so great to be able to go on adventures, and seeing everything from different vantage points.
British Columbia is a great place to just open up your eyes. I’ve heard it from so many people before. That BC just changes things and it’s true. I left there feeling different. But a good different. It’s like it opened up my eyes to some things in my life without me even really noticing.
At the end of our day in Tofino, we drove down to Ucluelet and went to check out a cute little lighthouse along the Wild Pacific Trail. There are so many little delights all over the island – you just have to open your eyes. There’s so much to see and so much to do. And it’s not even like big glamourous things – but it’s just embracing nature, and embracing the day that you’re living.
We drove back to Port Alberni for the night (where we ate, and pretty much slept right away) and headed back toward Nanaimo. One of the stops I definitely recommend making (whether it’s on route to Tofino, or on the way back) is Cathedral Grove.
The trees in the grove are absolutely incredible. The tallest trees I think I’ve ever seen in my entire life – and probably the tallest trees I ever will see. It’s an easy walk, and there are two different trails on either side of the “highway”. Definitely see both. There are things on both sides that are great to see and experience. It’s also a perfect stop to stretch your legs.
There was another stop – outside of Port Alberni – that we hit the morning after Tofino. It’s literally called “Hole in the Wall“. And it is literally a hole in the wall. Not in the way people call things a hole in the wall when they’re crappy – this is beautiful. We hung out here for a little bit. There’s a nice gap in the trees to just relax. But be weary of the trek up and down to the hole – depending on how the weather has been, it might be a tad bit muddy.
As you can probably tell, I can’t say nicer things about Vancouver Island. It’s definitely going to be one of those places I’ll go again. Especially because I have a friend out there. But it’s just so relaxing. We were on vacation but it wasn’t super busy – but busy at the same time. I don’t even think that makes sense. I swear. There’s something in the water. What they say is right.
You really are on island time.