somewhereawesome #15: West coast winter in Tofino

Just after Christmas we went to Tofino, expecting big storms and the rough coast. (winter on the west coast is called “stormwatching season”). Well, things turned out quite different. The only “bad” day was on the first day. On the follwing days we had pure sunshine and bluebird skies, we went surfing all day and took an adventurous hike up to Lone Cone mountain. If we hadn´t brought warm jackets, scarves and beanies, you could have thought that we were in summer mode all over again.

For our four-nights-getaway we had a cozy little cabin, located just a few steps away from Chesterman Beach. We arrived late at night and could hardly find the cabin, because it is quite hidden in the rainforest. Thank you to online maps!

Chesterman Beach in the morning
Chesterman Beach in the morning

The very first thing to do in the morning: go, see the beach. It was sunny with some clouds. We walked around and enjoyed some awesome beach time with coffee and dogs. As the weather changed quickly we drove a few miles south to Wickaninnish Beach to watch some storm scenes. In fact there were some rough waves, strong wind and rain. But the weather remained unstable and changed from rain to sunshine and back to rain within five minutes. Oh what dramatic pictures we got there – nothing more to say!

After taking “some” more pictures we took the “Nuu-chah-nulth trail” that links Wick Beach to Florencia Bay. (This trail is named after Chief Wickaninnish, a leader of the First Nations the “Nuu-Chah-Nulth” people). While walking trough the bushes the sounds of the waves are mostly muffled by the very thick forest on either side of the wooden boardwalk. Even though being so close to the ocean, we only got to hear it a few times. You don´t want to get lost in this mysterious thick jungle. Mostly because it is also home of various animals, such as cougars, deer, wolfs, and black bears with whom the Nuu-chah-nulth share the land. In fact we got to see our very first black bear on our way to Tofino – so apparently even in winter it is quite common to see a bear there. We kept on walking …

We arrived at South Beach, a very beautiful and lonely place with some awesome views of rugged rock formations and foamy waves crashing on the beach. It was really fascinating, like watching “ocean TV” that we kind of forgot about the time. The twilight began and the walk would not end. We were also a little worried how to get back to the car, which was a few miles away. After a while we started be become a little nervous, also because we heard more strange noises in the bushes. We thought of our black bear meeting the previous day and were reminded that they are still out there! What time do cruel animals come out again? For a short time it was not funny at all.

But just before sunset we reached Florencia Bay and fortunately there were still some surfers around. So we went to the beach, watching the sun set and the last surfers in the water and asked two girls, if they could bring us back to our car. It was no problem for the friendly Canadians – so we all (four humans and a fat, slobbering dog) squeezed in an old van and drove back. After exchanging some more horrifying (kind of) stories about other wild animals in the forest we finally arrived at Wick Beach. Yeah!