Part 22: Tofino, BC to Bellingham, WA


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The Trip

We spent the night in Tofino in a motel. This was a good choice as every camp site for 30 miles was filled and there was no place to even park. Tofino, it seems, is a very popular tourist destination on the Pacific shores. We had dinner at Shelter Restaurant and it was wonderful. From Tofino, we planned to head south to Ucluelet, but later changed our plans.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

South of Tofino is a place called "Long Beach". We stopped for a quick look and found a nice wide beach that was strewn with huge driftwood logs.

Oh, yeah. You're laughing now, but wait until your lilly white cheeks hit that cold surf.

On the way to Ucluelet, Kathleen decided that she would rather ride the steam train back at Port Alberni. The train runs at 1400hrs, so we headed directly to Alberni only to find that they don't run on Tuesday. Oh well, it was a nice try. We re-supplied in Port Alberni and then headed north to Stamp River Falls and camped there. Above is a shot of Stamp River above the falls. The temperature of the water was moderate, so we donned our suits and went for a dip and drank beer with the locals.

Back in the 1950s a fish ladder was constructed to allow salmon to more effectively pass above the falls during spawning season.

The falls are not that big, but it would be a big challenge if you were a fish attempting to head up-river.

Kathleen ponders something deep at the fish ladder. From Stamp River Falls, we decided to head north on the forest roads to Comox. It took awhile to find the correct trail, but we finally managed to locate it. We traveled about 50 km before we encountered a locked gate and were forced to retrace our path back to Port Alberni. Forest fires in the area caused the closure. Early in the trip were were defeated by snow; later in the trip we were defeated by fire. Interesting dichotomy.

On our return trip on the forest road, we determined the full story of this car. About 20 km north of this car, we found a small tire that had self-destructed. Apparently, what happened was the tire fell apart and the driver was forced to drive on the rim. The front right wheel eventually fell off forcing him to abandon the vehicle. What was left was later vandalized and this is what you see today. Nobody has come to claim the hulk. From Alberni, we headed east to the Georgia Strait.

We were told that we should go to Rathtrevor Beach, so that is where we went. The place was packed but we were able to get a spot in the overflow area. As it turns out, unlike the normal camping sites, we had flush toilets and free hot showers. It was a nice consolation prize. After we set up, we hiked down to the beach. The shot above shows that kids can make a toy out of anything.

The tide was way out when we got to the beach and the shallow bay resulted in a long run-out to reach the water.

Several of the "kids" made a large sand castle on the beach.

There were many brightly colored kites being flown at the beach. We spent the night at Rathtrevor and it was nice. The following morning we left Rathtrevor to go to the Caves at Horne Lake. We assessed the situation and decided that the "self guided" tour was in order. Since we had head lamps, we decided to head underground. When we finished at the cave, we headed over to Horne Lake to check things out.

This is a shot looking east at Horne Lake. To the east, there were large cliffs that show significant uplifting. The cliffs are limestone and are the home of the caves.

Heading south from Parksville, we encountered a bad accident near Cowichan Lake. Look closely and you will see that the air bag on the vehicle on the left has deployed. The ambulance left the scene shortly before our arrival, heading north toward the medical facility with at least one victim on board, condition unknown.

We headed south toward Victoria and Buchart Gardens. The tickets were pricey, but the gardens were worth it. Above is a shot of the entry area to the gardens.

One of the many photographic areas in the gardens. The blooms produced a riot of colors and textures.

There was a bronze boar in the common area of the gardens. The snout has been polished by the hands of visitors.

The private gardens of Mrs. Buchart.

Very odd flowers, I think they are called "Love Lies Bleeding".

Everything was in bloom in the gardens. I think we arrived at just the right time.

The rose garden had many varieties that were in bloom at once. I am not sure how they prevent them from cross pollinating

Many of the blooms were in great shape and were very fragrant.

There were a number of types of red roses that were in bloom at the same time.

The collage of colors was bright and very pleasing.

I did not realize how dirty this sphere was until I uploaded the photo and was able to view it on a large screen. But, nevertheless, a reflection in a chrome sphere was interesting.

A view of the Buchart home, now converted into a restaurant. We ate dinner at the restaurant on the patio overlooking the main lawns and it was first-rate. She had trout, I had lamb and we washed it down with a bottle of Pinot Gris. A welcome treat with great service and an even greater view.

After dinner, we continued our hike around and encountered this interesting fountain in the Japanese Garden section of the park.

The Buchart's made their fortune in concrete and had their own private cove on the bay.

The Japanese Garden had nice sculptures. The shadows and dappled sunlight made this a tough scene to shoot. I had to brace my camera on a stone bench to get the shot above at 1/8 second shutter speed.

Some of the flowers were so colorful that it nearly hurts your eyes.

The sunken garden is built over the old limestone quarry.

We were very lucky that the Victoria Symphony was playing at the Gardens while we were there. After we finished dinner, we walked up to hear a few songs.

I had to shoot this shot at very high ISO, but it came out OK. Notice the intensity in her face. She is very beautiful and highly skilled.

Tania Miller was the conductor of the symphony and she did a great job. Above, she addresses the crowd between sets.

We left Buchart Gardens and went to the Island View Park on Georgia Strait. We got one of the last sites available and were later treated to a full moon.

The night on the beach was pleasant and uneventful. Next morning, we boarded the ferry and headed toward Bellingham, WA and our friends George and Randi. We had to pass through customs twice due to heightened security. We never went to secondary inspection, however. The trip over on the ferry was non-stop, so it was about 2 hours and was pretty boring. We spent 2 days in Bellingham catching up with our friends and taking care of chores. Next stop: the Cascade Mountains of Washington.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2009, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.