One of the things I love most about Tofino is how remote it is. That first trip in 2010 set me on a course for a lifelong love affair with this far-flung town at the end of the road. This is not a place you wake up one morning and say, “I’m going to go there.” To get there on our second trip, we flew out of SFO to Vancouver at 6:15 a.m., which meant we had to leave our house at 4:15 a.m. Which meant we had to get up at 3 a.m. To say that we didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before would be an understatement. As fate would have it, we were able to book the same room at the Middle Beach Lodge that we stayed at on our previous trip. Unlike with the previous year’s trip, our entire time was spent wandering Tofino, with nothing more to do than relax, hike, eat, drink, and enjoy our time together.
The Journey to Tofino is Part of its Charm | A Special Night at the Tofino Botanical Gardens | Hiking in Pacific Rim National Forest | By Air and By Sea | Becoming One with Nature at Meares Island | A Rainy Afternoon at Chesterman Beach | Saying Goodbye for Now
We returned to Tofino for two weeks in December 2012 to spend Christmas isolated from the rest of the world. Because the waters between the mainland and the island can become choppy, and snow is often a problem on Highway 4 in December, we decided to fly direct from Vancouver to Tofino and we definitely made the right decision. Things were touch and go there for a minute at the smaller regional airport as flights were being canceled all around due to weather issues. We went through a couple of delays and it was a bit of a nail biter, but then they announced the flight to Tofino was boarding. I may have screamed out “It’s a Christmas Miracle!” Okay, I definitely screamed that out. Looking back I’m sure the people whose flights had been canceled just loved me. Oh well.
Rather than stay at one of the resorts, we booked a cabin directly on Chesterman Beach for the entirety of our two weeks. The pictures looked nice, but it was hard to tell exactly how large the space was or what part of the beach the cabin was located. The directions/address were also a little bit fuzzy so we spent a lot of time actually trying to figure out which house was ours. After a false start or two we finally pulled in and we knew immediately that we were going to have a very wonderful stay. And that was before we even walked in the house! Once inside, I don’t know that we could have found a more perfect place for us to spend the holidays. It was small, and cozy, and laid out such that we could be really comfortable for an extended trip. Since we planned to work the first week of our trip, it was nice being able to have enough space to spread out. I also spent time writing, painting, reading, and we watched a ton of TV – plowing through How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.
That first night we went into town, stocked up on food supplies, bought a Christmas tree from the gas station, and then made our way back to settle in. Looking back at the trip, I don’t know that I’ve had a more perfect Christmas in the history of my life. On Christmas Eve we had a special dinner at The Wickaninnish Inn, and then on Christmas morning we Facetime’d with Alan’s family and then cooked up our own feast of prime rib. It was truly a memorable holiday made even more special by the fact that we woke up on our second morning to a dusting of snow. Have you ever seen a beach in the snow? You should. You really, really should.
As much as we loved spending Christmas by ourselves in Tofino in 2012, I couldn’t convince Alan to abandon his family for another holiday, despite the fact that his oldest brother was planning to and Christmas Two had already been scheduled for January. Alas, I *was* able to convince him to spend New Year’s Eve there so we flew out bright and early the morning after Christmas, not realizing that Boxing Day in Canada pretty much means that most businesses – including the rental car agency on the island – are closed. We skipped the ferry and long drive again in favor of the puddle jumper from Vancouver straight to Tofino, where we took a cab in to town, making sure to first stop at Tofino Brewery to pick up some libations. We had hoped to be able to rent the cabin on the beach again, but it wasn’t available by the time we made the decision to return. Instead, we stayed on the harbor in a waterfront condo that was simply stunning. The views out the large glass windows were more than I can describe. We each worked a couple of days, and spent the rest of our time wandering around town, eating as much food as possible, hiking in the forest, and just generally loving every second of our time there. I’m sad to say that was the last time we’ve visited Tofino and with our impending move to Ireland I don’t know when we’ll be able to get back. What’s that saying? Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened? Yeah, I’m just going to have to keep thinking that way.