The Road to Tofino


Friday, September 24th, 2010 — 9:55am PST
Comments 4

This morning we woke up in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Weekend in Tofino, B.C. - September 2010

I’ve driven most freeways, motorways and scenic byways of this province, from Spuzzum to Bella Coola, and I can now add the Pacific Rim Highway to the list. Yesterday the narrow, winding road that is Highway 4 led us down toward Pacific Rim National Park like a glacier-fed creek heading toward the open sea.

Crossing Vancouver Island to reach its Western shore is an experience unlike any other. Just past Coombs and before you hit Port Alberni you’ll find Cathedral Grove, which is reminiscent of driving through Redwood Park in California. The ancient Douglas Firs and Red Cedars, some almost 10 meters in diameter, act as majestic welcome poles as though you’re venturing down the private driveway of the Pacific Ocean.

As previously mentioned, I’ve driven up and down mountain passes and gravel roads that run along rushing rivers. What makes Highway 4 different is really the trees. It wasn’t until I went to Prince George last winter, and Chilliwack Lake in the spring, that I realized I had not laid eyes on an old-growth forest during my adult life.

Now I’ve seen old trees and stood finger tip to finger tip with 8 others to give a Redwood a giant bear-hug while it was measured. However I have no clear memory of seeing an un-touched, un-logged, and completely virgin forest — and when you see one, you’ll know.

Dead trees stick out like massive pins in a lush green cushion. They are worn, grey, cracked, and crooked behemoths. I was told once that it’s almost haunting to witness.

Further down the road, deciduous trees flank the highway when it opens up to let in pockets of sunshine through the clouds. Lush green leaves on the branches watch their yellow and orange counterparts tumble to the ground and crunch under the tires of the passing traffic.

Our tiny car crossed over Lost Shoe Creek #2 and Lost Shoe Creek #1 until we found ourselves rolling down the driveway of The Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino.

Weekend in Tofino, B.C. - September 2010

Guest room tour at The Wick Outdoor art at The Wick Awesome marble carving at The Wick

The Pointe at The Wick

We had great company for dinner at The Pointe restaurant, enjoying a 260 degree view of the coast as we sampled the catch of the day from Tofino, paired with cheese from Cowichan and wine from the Okanagan.

Butter Baked Halibut @ The Pointe @ The Wickaninnish Inn

Retiring to our Northwest-facing room for the evening we turned out the lights and turned on the fireplace. We opened the sliding glass door as nature provided the soundtrack to our evening.

Weekend in Tofino, B.C. - September 2010

The beat of the falling rain was drowned out by the rushing water below our balcony. Every few minutes one wave would have more force than those that came before and it would make a loud “tharump!” as it crashed against the jagged shore.

View from our room at The Wick

After our journey from downtown Vancouver, across the Strait on the ferry, and along a Highway new to us both, we rested our heads just feet away from the crashing waves of the Pacific.

We sat in darkness and watched the water, lit only by moonlight and the intermittent orange glow from a lighthouse in the distance, and fell asleep.

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4 comments

  1. Chloe says:

    The photo with the blue jay is gorgeous.

  2. Anne says:

    I think the blue bird is a Stellar Jay. Keep your eyes peeled for ravens, eagles, deer and bears.

    There is an interesting place to pull off on Hwy 4. There is a river flowing through rock formations. Not sure what the river name is, but you will see other cars pulled off. In the summer there are small pools of water full of tadpoles and sometimes salamanders.

    Don’t forget to go to Coombs on the way home. The general store is interesting and the goats on the roof are funny.

  3. I think that would have been Red Alder that you thought looked like Birch. Vancouver Island does not have Birch trees other that one could buy from a plant nursery to landscape private property. The trees along Highway 4 with the leaves turning yellow and burnt orange are those of the Bigleaf Maple.

  4. Rebecca Bollwitt says:

    @Ronda The bark looked like Birch but you’re right – there are no Birch trees on the Island at all (I looked it up in a book when I got to The Wick too).

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