Monday, August 9, 2010

Victoria-Tofino 2010

We just got home from 5 days and nights on Vancouver Island, B.C.
We love being there!
British Columbia is a place with a pace that we enjoy, and some of the most unspoiled coastline I've ever seen. The people are kind, the food is excellent, and the weather is unpredictable.
When we're on vacation, we spend lots of hours exploring on foot.
We took a ferry from Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, B.C. and spent a night there. The first thing we did after clearing customs in Victoria was drive to Sooke Regional Park and take a hike. It's one of our favorite places.
David loves climbing on the rocks and cliffs.

After checking in to our hotel and cleaning up, we walked through town and found a restaurant that was agreeable to all of us: Il Terrazzo. Dinner was delicious, and the walk back to the hotel felt good.

The following morning, Gregg and I got up and took a walk while David slept in a bit. We made the 5-hour drive north to Tofino, a fishing and surfing town on the wild west coast of the island.  As we were making the drive north and west, through mountain and forest areas, past old-growth stands of timber, a river, lakes and rain forest, the temperatures veered wildly, from the 60s to the upper 80s, and back down to the low 70s. It felt like a typical day in menopause, but all three of us were experiencing it!
Our favorite lodge is adjacent to Tofino, the Pacific Rim National Park and Clayoquot Sound; we like to rent a cabin there. These are views of our one-bedroom, one-bath-plus-sleeping-loft cabin. It has a woodstove, a small table and chairs and a galley-style kitchen. David climbs the ladder to get up to the sleeping loft.
Here is Gregg, on the deck of the cabin.
You can see that the weather was misty and gray.
It stayed this way a majority of the time, and one day, it even POURED rain.
Here's a little contrast for you: misty...
and the same view, in the sunshine.
It was sunny like this for about two hours, one day.
I'm not kidding.
The lodge has plenty of slickers and rain boots to lend, in case you forget to bring yours on your vacation in AUGUST.
David and me on the deck of the main lodge, where we gathered with other guests for breakfast each morning and dinner each evening, and heard German and French being spoken, as well as English accents. (The lodge attracts people from all over the world.)
A view of the dining room.
Prior to dinner, appetizers are served. The food is local, delicious and FRESH. We had locally-caught halibut one night, salmon the following evening, and Dungeness crab the next. There were 3 salads, fresh bread and polenta, potatoes or risotto with dinner, each evening - and dessert and coffee. 
Not a good place to be on a diet, but there is plenty to do to get your exercise each day.
Gregg and David playing "Battleship" in a cozy corner of the living room in the main lodge, after dinner. They also played "foosball."
I think they got tired of posing for me.
We hiked for miles on the coast. The beaches are so sandy and pristine that you can go barefoot.
Gregg and David on rocks at Combers Beach.
Vancouver Island is rugged and beautiful. There have been dozens of shipwrecks along this coast, and if you spend any time there, you will know why.
The beauty of sealife in a tide pool.
For some reason, David wanted to disturb this enormous flock of seagulls. He did it on his own, and then talked me into joining him - both of us ran straight into the gathered birds. Gregg took these photos of us.
Doesn't David look a bit like a seagull here?
We rented beach cruiser bikes, and rode along the shore and bike paths, to town and back (about 14 kilometres). We had lunch at a cafe in Tofino. David rode even farther, while Gregg and I took a walk on Chesterman Beach.
Due to forest fires on the mainland, on our first night in Tofino, we saw this dramatic pink sunset.

After three days in Tofino, we made the trip back down to Victoria. Gregg and I walked a few miles around town to stretch our legs, while David went swimming at the hotel.

The next morning when we awoke, the sun was out.
This is a view of Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria, just a few blocks from our hotel.
We love to take the boardwalk and trails from the hotel in James Bay, and walk along the beach paths, around town, up to Beacon Hill Park, to the shopping district, etc.
 This is the view from the Coho ferry as we left Victoria's Inner Harbour and departed for home.

I love B.C., and the city of Victoria! After many years of visiting the city, we are still discovering new places and things to do. It was great to be together as a family, without the distractions of work and daily chores. Being mindful of friends who are living with enormous health issues, of caregivers and those for whom they tenderly care, I felt deeply thankful to be able to enjoy walking and seeing the beauty and variety around me.

Now that we're home, the guys are back at work, and I am washing clothes, cleaning, catching up on correspondence - and looking forward to catching up with all of you!


Elizabeth said...

I'm just dying to take a trip to that part of the world -- it looks so beautiful, and your photos show a happy family! Thank you for sharing them -- I'm wondering when your son is leaving for college?

karen gerstenberger said...

In less than 3 weeks!

ChiTown Girl said...

Wow, what a wonderful trip. I feel like I was there, thanks to your beautiful pictures and your colorful commentary. You're such a wonderful writer!

deb said...

oh, Karen,
living through you a bit here.

when the kid get settled in school I think I might try and get out to Vancouver as I miss my brother and nephew desperately.

here in Mass tonight, getting a daughter settled for U. Another later this week in Montreal.

you are doing this soon?

our time came early because of soccer.
the summer was so so short.

bless you.
love the photos

karen gerstenberger said...

Dear deb,
Yes, in less than 3 weeks! Our neighborhood is changing - one of "the carpool brothers" leaves this weekend, then David, then the other "carpool brother." It will be SO different around here!
Blessings to you as you take these steps with your dear ones. Thank you for thinking of us!

karen gerstenberger said...

ChiTown - thank you - I hope you and Stud are having a great summer, and that you have lots of good days together before school starts.

Mary Potts said...

Karen, these pictures are gorgeous. Makes me want to travel out to the northwest someday! Thank you for sharing them.

rebecca said...

i love this part of the world. thank you for taking me outside of this complicated body and allowing me to remember...running...hiking...
surrounded in beauty and the joy of family.


Karen said...

My one winter trip to BC and Whistler was among the most memorable of my life. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited and it really sends your spirit soaring looking at all of that amazing beauty. Thanks for the travelogue (I love those things) and for sharing your trip with us. You are blessed to live near such amazing natural beauty. It looks all so wonderful. And I am also glad you are all back safe and sound.
Much love, Karen

Busy Bee Suz said...

You just made me a fan!! I want to go!!
Although, the menopausal drive would not be fun. :)
Glad you were able to enjoy this time together, looks like a perfect family vacation.
I would have to fight David for the upper bunk area.
Oh, and the Commissioner of seagulls called and said you guys have broken several bird chasing laws. Prepare for a legal battle.