Road Trips

The Great Canadian Road Trip: Day 10 of 20

I decided to head back to Tofino on day 10 of my cross Canada roadtrip instead of returning to the mainland.

By Laurie Izzy Wheels.ca

Oct 16, 2015 6 min. read

Article was updated 7 years ago

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One more time

  • Campbell River to Tofino to Nanaimo

  • 475km, 6.5 hours

  • Favourite Song: Walk, Foo Fighters

  • Quote: "We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came." John F. Kennedy

Day 1: Barrie to Lake Superior Provincial Park

Day 2: Agawa Bay to Kakabeka Falls

Day 3: Thunder Bay to Winnipeg

Day 4:   Winnipeg to Moose Jaw

Day 5: Moose Jaw to Banff

Day 6: Calgary to Salmon Arm

Day 7: Salmon Arm to Nanaimo

Day 8: Nanaimo to Tofino

Day 9: Tofino to Campbell River

Return visit to Tofino

Since I had a spare day in my itinerary, I decided to head back to Tofino on day 10 of my cross Canadian road trip instead of returning to the mainland. When I found out there was a vacancy at Green Point Campground while dining on room service with a side order of free Wi-Fi the night before, I decided to leave the world of hotel comforts in exchange for tent life and the beaches of Tofino one more time. After a full 8 hours on the ocean while whale watching outside of Campbell River, I had hoped for a solid night's sleep in my cozy hotel bed, however that was not the case. Instead, I spent much of the night tossing and turning thanks to thoughts about how and when I would be able to relocate to the west coast permanently . Despite my sleepyhead and a scratchy sore throat, I eagerly packed up my duffle bag, stopped for a bagel and coffee from Tim Horton's, and settled behind the wheel of my Chevrolet Cruze for the three hour do-over drive to the other side of Vancouver Island.  Tomorrow, after one more day of hiking the rainforest and one more beach sunset, I'd begin the 5000 kilometre journey back east, starting with a three-day rest stop at a friend's house in Whistler.

Chesterman Beach

I got back to Tofino just after 1pm so I drove past my campground and straight through to Chesterman Beach, a spot I hadn't seen the first time around.   This beach is much different from Long Beach because it's in a residential area, so the shoreline is dotted with beautiful homes and beach houses. It's also the beach where several of the surf shops take eager beginners to learn to ride the low tide waves.

And speaking of low tide, if you time it right, you can walk all the way to the 25 acre, privately owned Frank Island at the far end of the beach (thanks to the sand spit that connects it to the mainland). From there, you can walk up the sand dune and see another spectacular, white sandy beach stretching down the other side of the spit. It was fantastic, and like all the other beaches before this one, I nearly had the place to myself except for the students from the surf school.

Chesterman Beach and Frank Island
I walked the beaches in the hot afternoon sun for a long time. I was thankful that I hadn't seen everything the first time through so I could experience the incredible beauty of this spot for the very first time. After a few hours of lazing on the beach with only my bottled water and a granola bar, my stomach began to rumble, so I said goodbye to the waves and took a short trip into town to look for some fresh fish to have later, and a snack to tide me over.
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Rainforest Trail

With some fruit, cookies, juice, fresh salmon and scallops tucked away in the cooler thanks to the Tofino Co Op Food Store, I made my way back towards the campground to set up my tent and settle in for the night. When I passed the Rainforest Trail sign, I pulled a u-turn, parked the car, stuffed my backpack with a few groceries to nibble on and then went for a hike instead. I couldn't not do a trail that claimed to have over 700 wooden steps perched amidst a coastal rainforest of centuries old giant cedar trees, now could I?

I came across a small group of people from England who greeted me happily as we squeezed past each other on a long set of uphill steps. Once again I answered the same question I'd been asked before, "Are you out here all alone?" When I replied yes, they added, "Aren't you afraid of a bear or cougar getting you?" To which I replied, "It's people I'm more afraid of than the wild life." I'm not sure they got my humour, so I asked them if they would please take a photo of me, to which they happily obliged.

One More Sunset

When I finally pulled in to register at Green Point Campground, the same girl who had checked me in a few days earlier smiled upon my return. "Back already?!" she exclaimed. It felt incredibly wonderful to be recognized, even if it was from someone I'd only met briefly. I was able to purchase a few bundles of firewood, had lots of time to cook and set up the tent before I went down the hill to breathe in one more brilliant Tofino sunset. It didn't disappoint.

I wrote in my journal by the light of my campfire until well past midnight and every once in awhile I would put the pen down and look up. There was a perfect round hole far above my head, made by the tops of the towering trees that enveloped my campsite, and I could see a small piece of the night sky full stars.   I was entirely happy with myself for deciding to return to Tofino for one more night, and was happier still that the sore throat I'd felt earlier that morning had all but disappeared. When I crawled into my tent I could still smell the smoke from the fire and I could hear the faint sound of the waves off in the distance.   As I drifted off to sleep, I wished I hadn't had the extra cup of tea an hour earlier.

One More Sunrise

I woke up at the crack of dawn with a full bladder, so I was compelled to get up earlier than I normally would have. Now wide awake, I decided not to let a perfectly good sunrise go to waste, so I made a coffee and walked down to the beach to enjoy my last few hours by the sea. There wasn't one single person on the beach that morning; just me, the birds, the waves and a wall of clouds that were slowly making their way towards the coast. The rain was coming and I was leaving; perfect timing.

By the time I boarded the ferry in Nanaimo several hours later, I was excited at the thought of spending the next three days with a friend I'd known since I was 19 years old.   As the boat pulled out of Departure Bay, I tried to imagine her reaction when in a few short hours, I would share that I had absolutely, positively decided to move across the country; all I had to do was figure out the where (new town), the how (move all my stuff), the what (would have to purge most of that stuff) and the means (I'd need to find a job). No big deal.

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