Tofino | december 2017
It was simultaneously agreed on between James and I that Tofino was the place to go on our next trip. We learned from locals that Tofino has drastically blown up, specifically in the past 2 years, due to rising popularity. We saw why. It’s small and remote, but exciting, and incredibly beautiful. It was not warm, being the first week of December; but with a stroke of luck we had sun 90% of the time.
The Drive In
With limited daylight hours we decided not to make too many stops along the way but I'm happy with the ones we did. Our first was Coombs market: great gift items, fresh baked goods, and not a bad place for lunch. In warmer months they have goats on the roof. You heard right. We visited the goats anyhow in their paddock out back, one whose name is Lollipop. Not far along the way was #CathedralGrove. It was spectacular to see gigantic trees, hundreds of years old and covered in moss. It felt like a fairytale.
James’ cousin Dan has been a local of Tofino for 5 years. He suggested that we meet at #ChestermanBeach to walk his dog Aspen. It became my personal favourite spot on the peninsula. Rhino was our favourite breakfast, coffee and donut stop. Super convenient as it’s in the centre of town; a great breakfast to grab and go. We visited Long Beach, which lives up to it’s name, and found the entrance to the #SchoonerCove trail. We spent Tuesday night at the renowned Wolf in the Fog, chatting through most of dinner with our bartender Charles, who’s also from Montreal. Say hi from us if you go! This place was crowned one of Canada’s top new restaurants. A must in my opinion.
The day started with a surf lesson, thanks to Greg of Pacific Surf Co. He talked us through technique on the beach and was a great guide while in the water. His spirit animal is a Penguin, by the way. James had surfed before, so he did well. I think I did okay for my first time “surfing”. We highly suggest Pacific Surf Co. if you want a lesson! Surfing the Pacific ocean in December (in Canada no less) is freezing, however it’s surprising how fast you warm up. #TonquinTrail is where we ended the daylight hours. The entrance is close to town, a relatively short walk, and a beautiful beach to watch the sunset. That night we ate at Shelter; Very good food, fast service and a lively environment.
Thanks to Ocean Outfitters we caught a boat to Hot Springs Cove. It’s a 1.5 hour ride with some short stops in the water whenever we saw wildlife, or for some history. Most of the whales are gone to Mexico by this time of year, but we caught a glimpse of Orange Crush, a grey whale that’s been hanging out in one of the bays. Beyond that we saw a solitary otter and a few eagles. The hot springs are a 30 minute boardwalk through the trees. If you've never bathed in one before it's shockingly hot! It was recommended to us that we buy water shoes for grip on the rocks and I wish we had. Learn from our mistake if you go. Our ride back to Tofino was via floatplane, care of Atleo Air. This was extra special for me since I grew up flying with my dad. It also saved us a lot of time. Before heading to dinner we stopped for drinks at the Wickaninnish Inn. The Pointe Restaurant inside has a panoramic view of Chesterman, and out-of-this-world truffle fries. We finished the night with Japanese comfort food at Kuma.
The Drive Home
Throughout the trip I was determined to find the best Nanaimo bar on Vancouver Island. We didn’t stop in Nanaimo, which I understand is the likely place to look. Although, I’m happy to say I found and devoured the best Nanaimo bar I’ve ever had. Thanks to Dan, we found it at RedCan Gourmet on Industrial Way. Despite not being open yet, they were nice to enough to serve us, and share a joke.
Hey, what’s in a Nanaimo bar? Bikers and Hookers.
Breakfast on our way back was Barkley Café in Ucluelet, not far from our last beach visit, #HalfmoonBay. It’s a 2km trail, with 200 steps down to the beach (I counted). There was frost in the shade and warm sun hitting the rocks.
All in all, Tofino was simply amazing. The people were helpful and friendly; some odd but loveable characters for flavour. The summer is supposedly packed with tourists, so even though we missed the warmth we were thankful for the ultra quiet sights.
An absolute must visit!
Credit to LXC, Tribe Archipelago which I tweaked.