If you follow us on any regular basis, you know we love to travel to somewhere warm in December. Well… not this year. We flew to Tofino, British Columbia, Canada on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The flight was about an hour long on an eight-passenger plane. The flight was smooth except just before we landed at the Long Beach airport. The winds were strong, but I took comfort in the fact the pilot had done this hundreds of times….
all was good.
We stayed in the Tin Wis Best Western Resort on McKenzie Beach. Tofino is famous for its many lovely beaches and our hope was to storm watch. When we got to the Tin Wis, we discovered this is the Indigenous phrase for calm waters. The local Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations owns and operates the hotel, which is just over 3 km south of Tofino. The whole stay was lovely!
We are walkers, so that is what we did. Most days we walked between 6 to 14 km and experienced many of the beaches. On Christmas day we walked to Chesterman beach and boy were there ever lots of surfers, boogie boarders and people on stand up boards. They were all in wet suits and you could only see their faces. I love the water but only water that is warm. If you looked out on the ocean you could almost believe you were in Costa Rica or somewhere warm. Looking on the beach though, you see people in toques, scarves and warm winter coats. The temperature on Christmas day was just 1 degree Celsius… not our usual Caribbean experience!
The next day the hotel manager, Ted, graciously gave us a lift to the entrance to Long Beach at the 17 km mark south of Tofino. We told him we would walk back or hitchhike.
Long Beach is about 14 km long and we walked the 2 km of sand back towards town. It was a lovely day with lots of people on the beach and in the water. The waves were quite high with great frequency and it was the best water experience of our stay.
At the top end of Long Beach we found a trail that started at Schooner Cove that was actually a narrow, one km long boardwalk from the beach to the highway through old growth forest. The well-maintained boardwalk took us up and down numerous gullies and alongside some incredible tall and wide trees… great to experience the forest as well as the ocean!
Ted happened to be doing another errand in the hotel van and spotted us about 9 km from town and he picked us up and brought us back to the hotel. We felt we hadn’t walked enough so we went into town, had dinner, a beer and walked back… this was our 14 km day!
Speaking of beer… just over one kilometer from our hotel was the Tofino Brewing Company. That place was lovely and the staff was excellent. Two people of mention are Celline and Dave… yeah to both of them for their welcoming manner. Not to be forgotten of course was the very tasty beer. The Hoppin’ Cretin IPA was our favourite!