Western Island Reading Break Road Trip
14 November, 2016
I commenced on the Wednesday of reading break and so had four days off following. I spend the next day finishing a bed I'd been building in the back of my SUV, which ended up being sweet. I'm planning on making a post about it soon. Emily also managed to get a few days off work so starting on the Friday we packed up the Forester and headed out!
We spent the first night overlooking the ocean at Jordan River. It was an awesome spot to sleep and eat. It was also the successful first test of the bed! Waking up, opening the hatch and looking out across the swell and surfers was incredible. From there we headed up to China Beach and did a quick hike across to Mystic Beach. All of those beaches along the Juan de Fuca are awesome to take in. Very worth the easy-moderate hill-less wander to access the close ones (not degrading the difficulty of the Juan de Fuca, but as day hikes they're individually pretty tame). After Mystic we headed to Port Renfrew where we made lunch and created a plan to try and get to Port Alberni via a series of logging roads while staying north of Lake Cowichan. It was really nice driving along the river and there was some views that made the entire trip worth it. We got about an hour and a half through one set of roads before getting shut down by slides and flooding (the Alberni Valley has been suffering some major flooding lately), but managed to make it to Honeymoon Bay on Lake Cowichan and then out to Duncan. We picked up some dinner supplies in Port Alberni, then ate at a badly flooded campground on Sproat Lake before getting on the road again.
This is where the built-in bed proved it's worth. I got tired of driving so we just picked the next logging road sign we saw, drove far enough down it that we couldn't hear the traffic, and crawled into the back! Awesome! The next day we hit the road immediately since it was raining and drove to Surfers Junction between Ucluelet and Tofino and ate there beside an info centre. We spent much of our day hiking and viewing sections of the Pacific Coast Trail in Ucluelet. It's incredible. Nothing compares to watching raw west coast waves while standing in the thick treeline. We both felt pretty vitalized after the fresh ocean air. That evening we went to a pub in Tofino to watch UFC 205, and then camped in the lot above Chesterman Beach. We had breakfast back in Port Alberni at a funky new coffee-and-hangout joint called Burdes Beans. It's definitely worth the 30 second detour off the highway! From there we meandered home and called the trip. It was super - a really nice way to get out of town and away from our phones for a few days.