Travels, Nature

Vancouver Island vol. 1

It's already more than one month ago that we left for Vancouver Island to celebrate my sister's wedding and have our first Canadian vacation. Since then we have moved into a new place and work has been craybu (that is my new term for 'crazy-busy' which has become my generation's buzzword apparently). I've actually been very dutiful in posting photos to flickr, but what else is a blog for but to share EVEN MORE then social networks already allow you to?

I started working on my photos backwards, daunted by the task of wading through more than 2000 wedding photos gathered from multiple cameras. So here you see our escapade to the west coast of Van. Island - we stayed near Ucluelet (helpfully reduced to 'Ukie' by locals) at a campsite called Wya Point - agreed by all to be the most beautiful campsite anyone has ever stayed at.

Wya Point is located just outside Pacific Rim National Park and it's on Native land. I keep saying that to people expecting them to be more impressed then they are, but anyways. You drive to a certain point and then you have to carry your gear in. Since I'm smart, I booked us campsites back in May and we scored probably the best ones on the whole lot; 30, 31 & 32 are beachfront walk-ins with sunset views over the ocean. 

The presence of nature made our overnight vacation stretched improbably through time so that it seemed as if we were there for days. We also had the most beautiful weather - sunshine and warmth, though the water was deadly cold!

Day one included a hike along the coast, poking starfish in the guts at the Ukie aquarium, setting up tents and relaxing on the beach, and finishing up with ice cream, espresso, and pizza from town before settling in for a gorgeous sunset complete with campfire and marshmallows. In spite of the fact that we had a leaky air mattress, I still had the warmest, most comfortable slumber I've ever had on a camping trip--which I attribute to the calming effect of crashing waves as the tide came closer and closer, then retreated. 

Starry starry night, paint your palette blue and grey.

Day two was watching the sun get higher from the rocky cliffs, cold pizza for breakfast, a beautiful drive into Tofino where we walked around for a while. Justin had the low-down on fish tacos at a stand just outside of Tofino so we went there and found not one but two taco stands; uh oh, I smell a...

TACO RANT!

Finding the concept of standing in the beating sun for 45 minutes to order 2 expensive tacos rather unappealing (Tacofino) , we went for option 2 (Wildside Grill). Now don't be fooled by the website presences; Yes, Tacofino is well-designed and popular and well-regarded; but we all know how I feel about well-designed and popular taco joints. And if you don't, let me make it clear:

I refuse to pay $4 for a tiny taco, no matter who the chef is. People who pay this much are being tricked into raptures of superiority because they can't face the fact that they paid so much for something that is barely average. There are much better and more satisfying tacos out there, for far less money. 

 /end rant

Wildside Grill satisfied our hunger with extremely tasty tacos; gloriously melty poutine & orange soda for a mere fraction of the cost of Tacofino.

A MERE FRACTION!!

After rounding out our stomachs we drove on to Long Beach, which was.... very long. There wasn't much surf action, though the sun was shining and the waves were crashing. It was a little disappointing, actually, after all the hype about Tofino being this surfer's paradise. I saw someone stand up once before crashing into the ocean and walking back to the beach in a defeated posture. 

The beach was beautiful in the way that long, barren, white sandy beaches are. You can appreciate them for their stark lovely existence but they aren't like those great beaches where you discover something new every 2 steps (or get squirted unceremoniously by geoducks).

Around 4pm we had to make our way back through the mountains to Courtenay, but not before stopping at Cathedral Grove, an amazing old-growth stand of Douglas Fir trees with the tallest tree in Canada! 

I thought the magnificence of this trip couldn't get any more magnificent, but I was proved wrong when someone brought up the concept of going to Coombs for ice cream and to show Jed the goats on the roof. 

Goats... ON THE ROOF.

In case you thought I couldn't fit any more photos into this post, when we got back to Courtenay we decided to go for a walk along Fisherman's Wharf in Comox and caught hold of the full moon rising. 

Perfect last night.

Just to recap, all of those events *waves hands vaguely around* happened IN TWO DAYS. Don't you feel like you just took a year-long trek through Canada? I do.  And it was wonderful.