Tofino [#10]

by Kaspar Heinrici - posted from home in Amagansett

[click HERE to see full gallery]

Ali discovers the world through the pages of Bon Apetit magazine, so when she came across a spread about the Wolf in the Fog restaurant in Tofino it became a treibtravel stop.  Although "Tofino" might sound like a quaint village in Tuscany it is actually mid island on the west coast of Vancouver BC.  I thought it sounded like a cool place to spend my birthday and some of the longest days of the year. When we were visiting friends in Portland, OR, I spoke with a guy from Finland as I was getting the skin seared off my face in his custom wood fired mobile sauna (as you would only find in Portland).  He mentioned that there was good surf there. In addition to this good news he added that the water was actually warmer near Tofino than the water in Oregon due to upwelling.  In Tofino, it turns out, the North West can get even Northwestier than Oregon and Washington.

We arrived in Sidney Harbor, B.C. covered in a blanket of fog. The landscape was sleepy and mysterious. We were excited to land on Vancouver Island but we still had a five hour drive to reach the Bella Pacifica campgrounds in Tofino.

The Tofino Marina in the Clayoquot Sound. was scattered with red houses, seaplanes, and motor boats. The mountains in the distance were hidden mostly by the fog. I was ready to head off to explore the surfing spots I had heard about and Ali was all set up to explore the sound and see some whales with The Whale Centre group. You can also go bear watching - they come out to feed at the waterfront at low tide.

Ali getting instructions from their guide on where to throw up if you feel seasick - anywhere, just not in the boat.

The skies cleared at the end of the whale watching trip and the sound came into focus. Tofino (on the right). We met up and told each other stories of the day - I caught some of my best rights (waves breaking to the right) and Ali saw Orcas, seals, eagles and managed to keep her lunch down (barely). It was at this point, nearing the end of the 2nd day, we knew we were not ready to leave, so we moved our camping gear to an open site closer to the water and then headed into town to check out the trippy Tofino Botanical Gardens.

June 20, 2017, TUES - "We took a long walk around the botanical garden and indulged in the fantasy and genuine interest for reflecting the heritage of the land. There was a great display about how traditional dug out canoes were built first by selecting the tree and deciding through consultation and prayer if it was the right choice in tree to be sacrificed for the canoe."

This was Ali on MacKenzie beach - near where our campsite was - you could find her there every morning and evening. The tides were dramatic and revealed many interesting sea creatures.

Chesterman Beach - one of the many epic surf spots. It was blown out and windy this day - better for kite boarding.

Put some finishing touches on my Ridge Camp drawings and then threw back a few tacos from Tacofino.


Of course we went skating on National Skate Day (6.21.2017) - there was a great bike bath that connects the campsite to town. That day we were taking it to fill up our growler at the Tofino Brewing Co.

The Bella Pacifica Camground was so beautiful that by the end of our trip we had moved our site twice to stay extra nights. Our picnics were pretty great - we had found a local place, Picnic Charcuterie, for cured meats and supplemented with goodies we had leftover from Washington. Each campsite was different, the one below was the most dramatic, filled with old growth and twisted trees.


Our last day in Tofino was the 21st. Ali was excited to be catching the summer solstice this far north in our trip (don't think she didn't plan that out carefully). The sunset was pretty rad - there were so many beautiful spots to watch it from.

Some of the locals or kids working in Tofino for the summer came down to gather at MacKenzie beach for a solstice bonfire. We lingered for a while to enjoy it from our spot down the beach - at midnight it was still light out.

This was Ali's favorite time of day - I don't know many things that can get her to wake up early with a smile on her face. She would leave the campsite with a blanket, coffee and her book, find a spot on the rocks to the right and spend about an hour there each morning,

....Our next post will be up in a few days - we headed south to Hood River and Central Oregon for some family time and high school reunions. There will be more skateboarding and kite boarding (Kaspar) and cardamom bun eating and river swimming (Ali).