Thursday June 23rd 2022
Tofino is a small district on Vancouver Island, off Canada’s west coast. It sprawls on a peninsula within Clayoquot Sound, characterised by wild natural scenery including lakes, inlets and ancient rainforest. Sandy beaches with year-round surfing facilities include Cox Bay, Chesterman Beach and popular Long Beach, part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The relaxed town of Tofino sits on the peninsula’s tip and is just over 250 kilometers (157 miles) from our site near Chemainus, it will also get Miss Laurie finally to to see the Pacific Ocean, one of destinations we have just never got to yet, it was on our plan way back in January 2020 when we were just about the same distance from San Diego California.
The village was cute and well manicured, lots of whale watching tours, but the big pass time in the area is surfing, we stopped for lunch at the Shelter restaurant, which overlooks the harbour, almost every direction you look could be a picture for a postcard. But as much fun as the village was, we were looking forward to getting to the beach area.
Today is to be the first day of nearly a week of warmer temperatures and sunshine, that is forecast for our area and we decided to make this trip now before the summer crowds start in July and August. The drive will take us first north to Parkville then west on Hwy 4 to the west coast of Vancouver Island. The drive west across the island was amazing with snow capped mountains, rivers, lakes and old growth rain forests, just a two lane road that was full of twists and turns. We had planned to be on the road at seven in the morning, but it was closer to eight before we actually made it, traffic to Nanaimo and from Nanaimo to Parkville on the highway was busy but once we turned west on Highway 4 it was just patchy, it seems everyone in British Columbia is in a rush, as we were passed by many many people while driving at the posted limits. The road was posted at 80 km/h (50 mph) but was peppered with yellow 50 km/h (30 mph) for multiple curves. The scenery was outstanding with snow peaked mountains and cold green lakes, it was one of the prettiest stretches of road we have traveled in some time.
The highlight of the day was our time on Long Beach, a strip of beach nearly 16 kilometers (10 miles) long that was where I got most of my 9000 steps yesterday, we were there at low tide, so the beach area was huge, the temperature was only 15°C (59°F) but the warmth of the sun made it a great day for a walk, not really a sun bathing day. Long Beach is the largest and longest beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It is located on Wickaninnish Bay between Tofino and Ucluelet and is adjoined by campgrounds and picnic areas.
Here are some photos I took as we walked along the beach. These we all just taken with my phone.
Around a few small islands there were some tidal pools, where we snapped a few of the local residents, waiting for the return of the ocean water with the return of the tide 2.2 meters (7.25 feet) today. Miss Laurie even rescued one poor star fish from the nearby beach, back to a close by tidal pool.
Ucluelet is a district municipality on the Ucluelet Peninsula on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Ucluelet means “people of the safe harbour” in the indigenous Nuu-chah-nulth language. As of 2016, its population was 1,717, a 5.5% increase from 1,627 in 2011. A bit of a tongue twister to pronounce so it is just called Ukee by most of the locals. We actually thought it had as much character as Tofino, at more reasonable pricing, the coast line was a different as possible from sand to rugged rock, each beautiful in their own way
Amphitrite Point has the only active lighthouse in the Tofino-Ucluelet area accessible by automobile, with the only other local lighthouse being on Lennard Island, viewable only by air or boat. The Amphitrite Point Light is located at the southern end of the Ucluelet Peninsula and the north side of the Barkley Sound, approximately 3 kilometers south of downtown Ucluelet and 40 kilometers south of Tofino, British Columbia. The lighthouse tower is closed to the public but the grounds are open as part of the Lighthouse Loop section of the Wild Pacific Trail. In addition to hiking the trail to view the lighthouse, visitors can park at the end of Coast Guard Road and walk directly to the lighthouse in 2–3 minutes. Amphitrite Point, much like the rest of the Ucluelet Peninsula, is subjected to frequent winter storms and has an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb) with approximately 3.3 meters (130 inches) of annual rainfall. The next active lighthouse to the north of Amphitrite Point Light is the Lennard Island Lighthouse off of Chesterman Beach; the next active lighthouse to the south is the Cape Beale Light station on the south side of Barkley Sound.
The first lighthouse at this site was a small wooden tower built in 1906. This lighthouse was destroyed in bad weather in 1914, and the current concrete lighthouse opened in March 1915. Amphitrite Point is exposed to frequent gale-force winds, tidal waves and is also in a tsunami inundation zone, so the current lighthouse (built in 1915) derives its peculiar shape and construction from being designed to withstand strong westerly storms coming off the Pacific Ocean. It was staffed by Canadian Coast Guard lighthouse keepers from 1915 until 1988, when it was automated.
We had planned to stop at an old growth forest walk on highway 4 on our return, but as we approached Miss Laurie suggested that this may not be the time to enjoy this hike, because it was near six in the afternoon and we had walked a lot more on the beach earlier, so we have put this off for another road trip, but here is a tease.
Cathedral Grove – MacMillan Provincial Park is located at the western end of Cameron Lake, only minutes from Qualicum Beach and Parksville on Highway 4, just beyond Coombs. Parking is free, but space may become limited during peak visitation in the summer and on weekends. There is no dedicated RV parking, so to ensure a space, RV drivers may wish to visit during off-peak times.