We weren’t sure up until a couple weeks ago if we were going to be able to head out to the island for the long weekend. Most of the time I love making sure that every second is planned to a T. But Ty has taught me the art of spontaneity which I have embraced in baby steps.
Coordinating a group of 3 guys isn’t the easiest but somehow, everything usually comes together. We had our friend Alex and Ty’s brother Sean come with. All 4 of us packed into my little hatchback – along with Buhda (our rat dog) in the middle.
I’ve come to learn that booking a ferry early is probably a smart idea. We lucked out on our sunshine coast trip having not booked anything but it wasn’t a long weekend and so everything worked out. All sailings from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay were booked when I was looking at the schedules. We ended up having to make the hour long drive down to Tsawwassen to catch the boat from there. The only sailing available Friday morning was departing at 5:15 am so at 3:15 am, all of us groggy zombie-like creatures hobbled down to the car and made our way south! I like an early start anyway. 🙂
We got on the ferry and I couldn’t even move from my spot. Lady Linda and I crashed took a mini nap in the car.
If you had asked me last year to drive to Tofino, I would have tried to think of other ways that didn’t involve a 3-hour drive across island. $100 a person to seaplane out made the drive sound more appealing. Something about long distance driving and being stranded somewhere just puts me in a panic.
We decided to take it slow and stopped at sites along the way. I’d heard a lot about Cathedral Grove and as we entered the park, you could tell what the hype was all about. I thought trees in the parks in Vancouver were huge. These were beasts.
The roads began to wind as we neared Tofino. Clouds began to cover and to my surprise, the island is actually quite hill-y! Ty says that he’s never seen the Tofino area not overcast. I totally packed for the heat and was worried we’d be sweltering sitting at our site. This was opposite from when we were on the sunshine coast a few weeks back. Good thing I brought layers! (Rule of thumb, always bring a light pullover, a warm hoody & a rain shell when travelling. Especially in BC! I decided that I’d be ok with just my Keens and sacrificed looks for warmth and threw on some socks underneath. Had it rain, I probably wouldn’t have been the happiest camper.)
We camped at Green Point Campground located in between Ucluelet & Tofino, conveniently located right off the beach! Our friends had let us know that this was a full facility site with washrooms & showers but I wasn’t expecting it to be well maintained or clean at all. It did make for quite the comfortable camp experience, but to be honest, it sort of takes away from the whole wilderness vibe. We had park rangers and bear patrol constantly roaming the roads beside us and while I totally understand why there is a need for them to be around, it’s just not the same. Nonetheless, still an amazing site!
As we all had an extremely early start, we were all starving by the time we’d arrived so we took a quick drive out to Tofino to look for grub and stock up on supplies. We decided on Sobo. Ty had the chicken enchiladas and I had a fish taco (the fruit salsa was amazing, but I’m not a fan of salmon)
Groceries & booze later, both our Coleman coolers were stuffed. We picked these up at Canadian tire a few years ago and they have been on all our camping trips. They fold up flat when not in use and ice lasts around 2 days in them. Totally recommend picking up a couple of these for your adventures!
Buhda decided she didn’t like our tent and snuck into Alex and Sean’s. You can tell she has comfort in mind – all we had were Therm-a-rests.
As night time rolled around, we made our way down to Long Beach to meet up with everyone else. We were actually part of a group of 59 scattered all across sites! We made our way down the trail towards the water and as the trees cleared, you could see a nice glow from the sunset. Absolutely stunning! Here’s where my packing for the heat failed. It was incredibly windy that night and we were pretty much in pants, layers of hoodies, windbreaker and any other item of clothing I could find to cover up every inch of my body. Shoulda brought the onesies!
Each time we head out on a camp trip, I try to minimise my packing as much as possible. I’ve gotten better. But somehow, I still end up with so much STUFF. Packing just 1 bag is impossible. Also, not a necessity but ever since I came across the Aeropress, the thought of having fresh ground coffee while out in the middle of nowhere just sounds so appealing! If all we’re going to be stuffing our faces with all weekend are processed meat & sugar, the coffee better be good. The only downside is you can really only make 4 cups, and in our case with coffee drinkers who order XL triple-triples, one press is basically half a cup for them.
I picked up this tank last year from Chasing Sunrise. They popped up on my Instagram as a follower one day. Intrigued by what they do, I started following them and their story. Last year we went on our first sunrise hike with them at Mount Seymour which really opened up our thirst to travel more within BC. This shirt inspires me to keep going each day and to not get stuck in this loop that our society has us going in causing worry and stress. We were born to do more than just pay bills and die.
Day 2, we decided to take it easy and mosey on down to Comber’s Beach south from where we were camped.
It’s rare that we ever see Buhda running around. Usually, when she gets a spurt of energy, she might start running down the path on our daily walks. But it usually ends with us panicked that she might run onto the road. Poor girl gets yelled at for just being happy. Ever since bringing her to the beach, we have realised she too loves being out here where she can run wherever the heck she wants without getting in trouble. It’s too bad there aren’t more beaches like this in the city. It’s also too bad that we have a ton of irresponsible dog owners who don’t pick up after their pets.
We walked across Comber’s looking at all the washed up plants and shells.
And then we found this hut!
We spent the next few hours chillin in the sand. I’ve never seen Buhda so comfortable in the sand before. I just had to bury her in it….
Sean set up his crab trap and made his way out to the water to see if he could lure anything in. No bites…
The time flew by as we sat and enjoyed a tiny bit of heat from a wee fire we built. By the time we realised, it was already almost dinner time!
We caved and made our way to Tacofino, a must have! I’ve had tacos from the truck in Vancouver but… when in Tofino I guess.
My goal this trip was to have campfire Poutine on Canada Day. To top it off, Sean’s goal was to catch some crab to put ON the poutine. I’ll be honest, I had zero faith that he was going to pull anything out of that water. But after about a half hour of us standing by this dock, he proved me wrong. We ended up with 5!
I’m not the biggest fan of crab. But being able to catch, clean and cook it all on your own was kind of a neat experience! The killing of it, of course, wasn’t the prettiest :S!
When you’re out in the middle of the forest, you lose track of time. It’s the best feeling ever not being worried about when you have to do something. You eat when you’re hungry. You pee when mother nature tells you-you have to. If you’re tired, go lay down.
By the time dinner was done, it was already 12:30 am! Since the wind had chased us back to camp the night before, we decided to head back down once more. We wandered around in the darkness until we found the others all huddled around the fire again.
We were told that there was bioluminescent plankton in the water. I’d learned about this in school way back when but never ever thought I’d see it. We walked out towards the water in the pitch darkness and as we neared shallow waters, you could hear the pitter patter in our feet. As our feet disturbed the water under our shoes, little sparks would light up. There are some things you just can’t describe in words or show in photos. Not to the same effect. This was one of those things. The photo above was of 4-5 grown men all shuffling their feet in the wet sand, having the time of their lives, just marvelling at what was happening in the water. Super magical experience!
Alas, all great things must come to an end for them to carry on being great. We took another slow day to wander around town and then make our way back across island back to Duke Point to catch our boat back.
I was craving comfort food and thoroughly enjoyed my chicken pot pie from my car on deck. Thank you Whitespot.
Jamie is a Photographer & Local Artisan in Burnaby, BC