A sunny Monday morning, a long winding highway and marshmallow cumulus clouds. Even the drive out to Tofino was breathtaking. Vancouver Island has got to be my favourite place on Earth. There aren't enough adjectives in my vocabulary to describe the intense amazingness that is Tofino.
Long Beach Lodge was spectacular. I fell in love with their famed 'Great Room' which is a dining room/lounge with an unbeatable view of Cox Bay. The lodge has their own private access to the beach and behind that frosted glass door is what I quite literally thought was Heaven (or at least what I think heaven would look like).
Rachel and I stopped by Eagle Aerie Gallery that features Roy Henry Vickers' artwork. The colours are intense, stunning and reflective of Clayquot Sound. You'll see hidden symbolism and animal spirits subtly appearing and disappearing in the background. I currently have two blockmount reproductions of his art; Digging Clams and King Pacific Sunset.
Don't forget to visit Tea Bar. A small but delicious selection of teas in a cozy little corner. My favourite is the Lavender Mint tea.
My favourite place to eat there is The Wildside Grill. It's not a restaurant but it's a small take-out eatery that is supplied with fresh seafood by local fisherman. I highly recommend the Seafood Gumbo. It's well priced and good eats.
Then the highlight of our trip: a trip to Hot Springs Cove with Jamie's Whaling Station. Our guide Marcelle knows a lot about Clayoquot Sound. He'll take the little boat and weave in and out of islands of rocks. We hiked 1.5 Km to the natural hot springs and it was phenomenal. On the way there we saw black bears and on the way back we spotted a Sea Otter, Grey Whale, Dunlins, Dowitchers and Oystercatchers. It was more than I had hoped for.
The local area is a delicate balance of modern colonization and biodiversity. It saddens me to hear that they're going to mine out half of Catface Mountain, that salmon farms are effecting the local wild salmon population, that most of the area has been forested at some point in the last 100 years which leaves very few untouched old-growth forests. It's impossible not to fall in love with the area and it's history.
If you're heading out there please consider dedicating your money, effort or time to preserving those local untouched islands. Check out Friends of Clayoquot Sound to see what you can do to help.