Tuesday August 21, 2018 – approx. 371 km today – approx. 3.130 km total
It’s been almost two weeks now that I’ve been on my roadtrip together with my loyal 4-wheeled traveling partner, my Hyundai Tucson SUV, and today we broke the 3.000 km mark together! He has always been there supporting me on my trip, he serves me as a transport medium, a safe shelter, and a sleeping place. Only all that makes the entire trip possible – thank you so much!
Today, I drove from the Pine Point Recreation Site where I spent the night all the way back to the east coast of Vancouver Island and once more to Ucluelet and Tofino on the west coast. It was necessary to cross the islands twice since there are almost no roads along the west coast of Vancouver Island. I passed Duncan, where I filled up some supplies in the local Walmart and used their washrooms, Nanaimo, the other big city on Vancouver Island, and Port Albani in the island’s interior. On the way, I visited the Little Qualicum Falls Provincal Park where I walked for about an hour along the trail taking pictures of the falls. I also stopped for a short stroll through the ancient rain forest at Cathedral Grove in the McMillan Provincial Park and had lunch on the shore of the Cameron Lake. The entire drive over the island along the different lakes and through the mountains was really beautiful – I enjoyed that a lot!
Arriving to Ucluelet after a long drive through the mountains of Vancouver Island, I walked along the Wild Pacific Trail and even watched some young deer on the parking lot and a white-tailed eagle. The trail is really beautiful and I got the idea to do the other part of it along the west coast of the Ucluelet peninsula tomorrow – let’s see…
Later, I drove all the way to Tofino, but stopped for a short information inquiry about campsite in the Pacific Rim Visitors Center. Like some other campers before me, I got the same information: If all the campgrounds are full, the only option we have to spend the night are two forest roads, one called the West Coast Landfill. Since those roads are property of British Columbia, anyone is allowed to use them – also for overnight camping. This general rule was of course a valuable information for this night and also for all the upcoming nights! So far, I always struggled with the problem that most of the campgrounds are already full when I stop there for the night at around 5 or 6 pm. And actually that’s a shame since sunset is at around 8:30 pm and until then I can easily go on driving and visiting places. I don’t really want to be on the campgrounds early just to reserve myself a spot. And calling in is sometimes not even possible or at least kills some part of the spontaneity: Sometimes, I decide late to change plans and that would not be possible with a certain campground reserved in advance.
On my way to Tofino, I passed the famous surf spot Long Beach and figured that there are quite well-maintained washrooms and even an outdoor shower for the people visiting the beach. So, I had an idea of how my night and the next morning could look like: Stay for free on that place mentioned by the ranger in the Visitors Center and come here for breakfast in the morning and for having a shower ;-).
Tofino itself is mostly a tourist spot. A lot of accomodation, restaurants, and small shops for souvenirs, and beach accessories – nothing that is particularly interesting to me. However, there were some nice views on the harbor and the surrouding small islands. Since it was quite late already and the light was not that good anymore, I decided to come here tomorrow again. Anyways, the sun had suddenly disappeared behind some fog or haze so my plan to watch the sunset here did not even work out.
For dinner, I drove back to Chesterman Beach. There I prepared myself pasta sitting right on the beach and enjoyed the upcoming darkness and the almost full moon rising over the beach. Who actually needs a campground where you’re sitting hidden under trees if you can have dinner in such a scenery? And I was not even the only one here… There were some other groups, some of them even had a campfire set up.
Eventually, I made my way to the West Coast Landfill road to stay the night there. What I found there was again a surprise: It almost appeared to be a campground! There were at least 15 other vehicles, some of them even large RVs obviously preparing to spend the night here. I even had a hard job to find a reasonable spot to park without blocking the entire road. So from now on, I know how to escape the problem with overfilled campgrounds and even save the money for something I don’t really need – thanks to my loyal traveling partner, my Hyundai Tuscon SUV ;-).