{Trip Report} Tofino, BC Canada

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

First off, I want to thank you for the love you gave my awesome guest posters while we were gone. I hope you liked that series, because I think we'll need to bring it back! I'm also still blushing at your kinds words on my Getting Older, Can I Do This Gracefully? post. It was a toughie to write (vanity much?), and I certainly wasn't fishing for compliments, but you made this almost-40-year-old *choke* feel great. Check out the post if you haven't already, it also has a pretty sweet $100 giveaway of fancy-pants skin products!

Now on to our Canadian Adventure! We had The.Best.Time. Between the hiking, biking, and skiing, I accused Mr. Sugarplum of taking me to Fat Camp. Which I might have believed had it not been for all the food we inhaled. Sorry Canada, there's nothing left. We ate it all.


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Tofino (and neighboring Ucluelet) are two gems secluded on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Being at the very tip of a peninsula, on the western most part of North America, feels as if you're at the edge of the world. It's no easy journey to get here, but that's half the fun! After flying to Vancouver, you ferry to Vancouver Island, then drive west until the road ends. The lakes, rivers and little stores along the two-lane road only add to the anticipation.

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We stopped a few times to gape at the Birch forests, crawling with moss.

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There was some jigging.

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We found this at the end of that unmarked trail.

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We finally arrived at the damp and forested wonderland, and hit the first trailhead we saw. This area boasts one of British Columbia's most prized nature reserves, Pacific Rim National Park.

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More jigging.

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I'll take this house, please. Thanks!

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The actual town of Tofino has a population of less than 2,000, most of which is perched at the tip of the peninsula with ocean on one side, and harbor on the other. Don't let the isolated rustic fool you. The accommodations are luxurious, and the restaurants first-class. I had the best meal of my life here! (I'm still dreaming of you, my little halibut.) I asked our bartender about it all one night, and his reply was, "If you're the best at what you do, and could do it anywhere, wouldn't you choose the end of the road? The most beautiful place?"

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The quiet seclusion of Tofino makes it a favorite for celebrities, most of whom arrive by sea plane.


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Summer is their biggest season, but winter storm watching is becoming a huge draw. I'd love to sit in the big lodge of our hotel, watching gale force winds, hail and 20-foot swells. We didn't have any such storms during our visit, but we did see thousands of birds making their annual migration. They flew in huge flocks, changing formations constantly.

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The colored dots on the rocks are people. That shows you the scale of this place!
 Twenty-thousand whales migrate through these waters each year, too. We were a little late for them, but did see seals and otters.

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We came across this eagle family and watched them for ages. I can't describe the feeling of seeing them swoop through the air, calling to each other. I had tears in my eyes....this city girl needs to get out more I guess!

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It's amazing I wasn't blubbering when we came around the corner and saw a dozen eagles perched on this little island! (They are the dark figures on the tops of the trees.)

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I kept forgetting to take pictures, but managed this one when they flew over so close we could hear their wings. Am I the only one amazed by this?!

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True to the Pacific Northwest, it was gray and cloudy a good part of the time. I actually loved the moody, mysterious vibe, but when the sun did peek out, we were able to see the true colors of the crystal blue water, dark rocks, bleached logs and green trees.

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All the trails are well-marked and easy to navigate, most had benches along the way. Since we were there in such an off-season, we practically had the place to ourselves (not to mention half-off on the hotel!)

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After long hikes, food is my reward always necessary! I didn't take any pictures at the restaurants where we had dinner (SoBo, Shelter, and Long Beach Lodge, all amazing and could easily be the trendiest spots in New York or San Francisco), but did grab this one of our favorite lunch spot, TacoFino. It was hard not to rub my face in the fresh fish tacos.

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We spent most of our time sitting in our room staring out at the ocean, or exploring. Mr. Sugarplum loved the rainforest trails.

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I loved how they led to secluded beaches, each more magical than the next.

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Piece of driftwood, anyone?

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On our last day, we got cocky and climbed out to some huge rocks as the tide was coming in. (The tide is pretty important here, since it can trap you if you're caught out during high tide.) The formation of these rocks created a blowhole that forced the waves 30-feet in the air! One of which nailed me and the camera. Oops, no more pictures for awhile.

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We hiked out to the other side of this rock for the sunset (with no working camera, waaah!), but was able to capture the end of it from our room. Yep, this is our view from the Long Beach Lodge.

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And as if Tofino isn't magic enough, what if I tell you New Moon was shot on this beach!? (I swear I didn't know that when we booked the trip!) All the scenes on what's-his-name Jacob's reservation were here.

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We said good-bye to Tofino after three nights, and headed back east across Vancouver Island. We stopped at Cathedral Grove, a forest of 800-year old Douglas fir trees.

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Now I see where trees get the nickname "Mighty."

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Snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, cold water, crisp clean air, and my sweetie....it was perfect!


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Now it's time to head back to the big city....Vancouver and Victoria is up next. Click here to read more of our professed love of Canada, and here and here for our reasons, means and tips for taking budget, kid-free trips!

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38 witty retorts:

  1. My natural beauty!
    Thank you for an amazing week...that felt like a month of rejuvination!
    We are learning to live in the moment.

    DJ Sugarplum

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  2. Just STUNNING!! I'm so glad you both had such an incredible time! Tofino looks just magical, definitely on the list to go next. I was totally about to comment about the fact that New Moon was shot there, thought you'd appreciate that, haha!!

    Canada loves you guys, come visit again!!

    p.s. You look great in glasses, love those :)

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  3. p.p.s. I can't believe we were in Victoria at the same time... we could have walked right past each other!

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  4. ha, I thought it looked very Twilight-esque! The pictures with the giant trees are amazing (and all the other gorgeous views)

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  5. Ahhh...I love it. I'm from Port Alberni (you drove through it on your way) but spent a lot of time in Ucluelet and Tofno working and visiting. You showcased the place beautifully!

    I can't believe you're hitting up every place I've lived and most of them are favorite spots. Can't wait to see you recap of Victoria and Vancouver!

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  6. Cassie - these pictures make me so happy. They call me home in a big, heart-swelling kind of way that now I do not have to explain to you :) I love that you and the Mr. stopped in Cathedral Grove. Have you ever?

    It is very good luck to have consorted with eagles in the Haida Gwaii. You were blessed there.

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  7. WOW! This looks so beautiful and romantic. Are the kids with you? If not, I'd call this a second honeymoon. ;-)

    I've been skiing at Whistler, but never had the chance to check out this gorgeous area. Enjoy!!
    Abby

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  8. Wow. Cassie. . these photos are amazing. What a beautiful and serene trip. I am in awe. That sunset photo. Looks like you guys really savored it. Can't wait to see more. Fantastic. Glad you're home safe and sound, though!

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  9. Oh my goodness these photos are breathtaking. Such a beautiful area!

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  10. Beautiful photos, you are going to have frame some of those!!

    You two are too cute :)

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  11. that looks SO amazing! chris and i are hoping one day to take a vacation there.

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  12. What gorgeous pictures! Looks like a wonderful place to escape to.

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  13. GORGEOUS! We JUST moved to the Vancouver area about 2 weeks ago and just want to see every inch of this gorgeous province. We've talked about spending some extended time on the Island this summer or fall - so we'll see. Thanks for the great recap! I am itching to go to the island right now! :)

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  14. I'm so glad you had such a great time. I grew up on Vancouver Island, infact you would have drove through my home town to get to Tofino . . . it's Port Alberni.
    I've been to those places 100 times, but I'd never seen them through someone else's eyes!!! It was so cool to hear you describe them!!!
    Lots of Love
    Ashli

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  15. Oh my gosh it looks GORGEOUS!!! I MUST go, like now, ASAP, someone pack my freaking bags already :D

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  16. What a beautiful trip! I can't get over how gorgeous those forests look!

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  17. Gorgeous photos!!! Glad you enjoyed your time here in Canada!
    xoxo, Sarah

    Please check out my blog!

    http://hellolovelydecor.blogspot.ca/

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  18. Your trip looks amazing so far! beautiful pictures!

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  19. I have a thing for trees, and yep, pretty sure you just added a travel destination to my bucket list. So glad you shared, but most of all, that you had a great vacation!

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  20. Awesome! I will have to show my hubby these photos. He will so want to go!!!

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  21. I just put Tofino at the top of my "Desperately need to go NOW" trip destinations...it's so GORGEOUS! And I really love that it's not a place you go to for the shopping or city life, it's really just breath-taking! I had a little tear for the eagle pictures, too, so don't worry, you're not crazy (yet) (c:

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  22. Love it! We did an Alaskan cruise almost 6 years ago that disembarked from Vancouver. It's absolutely beautiful up there. The sunset picture looks like it could be on a Cialis commercial. All that's missing is the bath tubs. I like it.

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  23. Wow, that scenery is beautiful and those trees are enormous! You looked hot with your tousled hair and glasses. I like!

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  24. My favorite part of the post is the comment by your husband. So sweet :)

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  25. Beyond words! Your hubby's comment MELTS me!!! You are a natural beauty. I loved the pics of you jigging:) You going to frame some of your shots for the house- your pictures came out amazingly well!

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  26. You are so cute, and it looks like a gorgeous place. So glad y'all had fun. But please tell me that there was some alcohol involved and not just wilderness? Maybe a spa? Where's the shopping???

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  27. Welcome back. This is gorgeous!!! Love Mr. Sugarplum's face at the blow hole. :)

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  28. absolutely incredible scenery! Now i want to go!!

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  29. Looks beautiful, the trees are amazing!

    You should do a post on how to pack for a beach vacation as well as a colder area one! :)

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  30. Thanks guys -- I'm glad you love Travel posts, because I love writing them! And Suzy, TWSS!

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  31. Absolutely breathtaking! You have inspired me to add this location to my must travel to places. You are an adorable couple too! Great post.

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  32. LOVED this post! I'm so jealous & your pictures are amazeballs!

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  33. I am adding Tofino to my "Oh! I Want To Go There!" list. And just to make you feel better, I would have been blubbering seeing those eagles fly too. Every fall in the little college town of Auburn, Alabama, at every home football game, a beautiful eagle takes flight during the pre-game ceremonies. She soars over the heads of 86,000+ screaming fans yelling, "WAR-R-R-R-R-R EAGLE and I cry every time.

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  34. What a beautiful place!! Everything is seriously breathtaking. I can't believe your photography skills, too, girl! W.O.W. By the way, it's funny you mentioned New Moon, because that is what I was thinking looking at the pics! Ha! Probably one of the only places on earth that equals Taylor Lautner's good looks. (Did I say that out loud? He is over 18 right?)

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  35. Wow, everything looks so calm and peaceful - fabulous pictures!!!

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  36. Looks like you had a great time - I love your trip reports Cassie! Canada looks amazing - its definitely on my list!!
    Rachie xo

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  37. Glad you like our fair and somewhat "wet" province! Can't wait to see pic of the rest of your trip! And the hotel you ended up choosing!

    My kids want to go to Tofino to go surfing, with wet suits of course!

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Your comments are like crack, or popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. And unfortunately, because of insane amounts of spam, I've had to disable Anonymous comments for awhile. I just didn't need any more information on penis enlargements! But you can always email me! xoxo, cass