August 25, 2015
When we woke, we had a wander around Goldstream Park. It’s a good mix of trails with easy gravel and really rugged so whatever you’re looking for, you can find it there and so close to downtown Victoria. We broke camp as some of our neighbours stopped by to visit. Children especially love the dogs and a few were chatting away as their mother was trying to feed them breakfast. I even had one offer to help me carry supplies to the car.
We were soon back on the highway. I accidentally sort of broke the no chain rule by stopping at Serious Coffee but I figure it’s a regional thing so it’s ok. The brioche that I had with it may have been a bit of overkill though. It was mighty tasty…
We were driving along the highway when I decided to stop and the dogs let the dogs play in the amazingly blue waters of Cameron Lake. It was so pretty and even though we were right next to the highway, you could barely hear the traffic.
A few hours later we cruised into Tofino. I parked the car just off the beach and we walked to a local seafood joint called Wildfire Grill. After grilling (get it?) the locals in line, I ordered the fish tacos which were the best I had ever had. And after talking with a few more locals, they pointed me to the nearby Tofino Chocolate. As if I needed to be told where to find chocolate. They also sell ice cream and gelato. What better way to wash down tacos than with salted caramel gelato?
We were on our way to the beach when we were waylaid by a group of surfers. They mobbed the dogs as we walked by them and we ended up standing there talking for a long time. Many of them had left their dogs back wherever home was and they were getting their dog fix.
I had often been told about the beach in Tofino and when got there, we could see that it was pretty. And it was the farthest point west in Canada that you could drive to so it made sense that we would go there. After we walked around a bit and sat watching the waves, we jumped back in the car.
I had tried to get a site in Pacific Rim National Park but it was full. The park staff had recommended a private campground which was back the way we came so that was the way we headed.
On a whim, we stopped at Combers Beach and am I ever glad we did. There was not a soul to be seen as I let the dogs play in the waves that washed relentlessly onto the shore. As I walked along edge of the ocean with the dogs, we just enjoyed the simple pleasure of being together on the sand. Our westward trek had been halted by the frigid waters of the Pacific Ocean and we stayed to watch the sun set over the waves. There was a slight feeling of sadness, that our journey westward had ended, that now every kilometre we drove would take us that much closer to home, that now the trip was winding down and coming to an end. But we weren’t done yet.
When we started to walk back to the car, a small problem became apparent: I had walked so far that a small outlet we had crossed was now much deeper and to avoid swimming I had to backtrack a bit. The dogs are all excellent swimmers but being this close to the ocean, I was worried about them getting swept out in the current. We finally found a spot that was shallow enough to wade across and then the only obstacle left was a tumble of trees blocking the beach. I dropped the leashes to let them find their own way through the twisted pile of logs. Leo jumped on top and walked across. So did Jack. Piper? No no no. She was completely out of sight when I heard a splash then looked to see her swimming around the trees. None of them bothered to crawl under the trees which to me looked like the most obvious path.
We got back to the car and started to make our way to Secret Beach Campground.
Now it was almost 10:00 pm by the time we got there and no one was working but they have a sign that basically says go pick a site and let us know. Problem is there are no lights and no signs saying where the sites are. I used my investigative skills and found two campgrounds down the road. One had some empty sites but was mostly trailers. The other seemed to be fairly empty but from what I could see the sites were not that great. Didn’t matter. Just a place to lay our heads so I picked a site near the top, went back to the office, and then back to set up the tent.
The dogs were getting really comfortable with the tent since I barely had it up and they were trying to get in. I was so tired that I didn’t even eat anything before falling asleep.