Monthly Archives: September 2013

Parksville, B.C.

hunter tim parksville

After the rainy drive from Tofino and Ucluelet, we made it all the way back to the east side of Vancouver Island and spent the night at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park just south of Parksville.

Wow – what an amazingly beautiful park! It is 3km south of downtown Parksville and is a highly wooded park that sits right on the ocean. The campsites and facilities are immaculate and there are over 5km of trails to walk, hike or bike.

rathtrevor beach provincial park

Between a morning of homework and some quick rides on the trails, we didn’t manage to leave until just before noon. This was planned to be a quiet day with our only real stop being the Parksville Skate Park as part of Hunter’s new addition to the activity list.

The Parksville Skate Park is part of the main community park, which contains baseball fields, play grounds, fitness park, water park, arboretum, skate park, public beach and boardwalk and more. Pretty impressive for a small town. Hunter’s comment was that “this is like all the parks in Whitehorse put together!” and that pretty much sums it up – definitely something for everyone!

hunter tim parksville skateboard park

 

We highly recommend a pit stop in Parksville. I’m sure it’s quite jam packed in the summer time but off season gives you all the same family friendly experiences with waaay less people!

Wally Creek & Cathedral Trail

wally creek 4

Having had such a great time at our swimming hole (aka Wally Creek) on our way over to Tofino, we were all looking forward to the stop on the way back east across the Island. We we amazed at the difference – the “creek” was up by at least 8 feet!!! What you can see above is the top of the cave that Tim and Hunter jumped off into the water from. It had rained a good 24 hours out of the last 36 so this provided a great opportunity to pause and talk about geography, water run-off and river drainage systems.

lee & hunter cathedral trail

After a supply stop in Port Alberni (Canadian Tire, Walmart and Boston Pizza) we continued on down the road. With a break in the rain timed perfectly, we pulled off and explored the trails of Cathedral Grove. More geography discussions as we learned all about the make-up of forests, ecosystems and being able to recognize different types of trees…

lee & hunter hugging a tree

 

We’re looking forward to more old growth forests in Oregon and California!

Ucluelet Aquarium

Lee & Hunter ucluelet aquarium

We discovered the Ucluelet Aquarium during our October trip to Tofino last year. It is a small but plentiful aquarium focused on the local marine life in the Tofino/Ucluelet area and the best part is that 50% of their space is taken up with touch tanks where you get to touch, feel and pick up the animals.

The staff are incredibly helpful and will answer any questions you have. They often do educational sessions which are great for adults and kids alike.

Tofino – you never disappoint!

tim hunter tofino bike park

Tofino is my happy place… Tim and I first came here 20 years ago on our first cross canada camping adventure. We were driving the ford ranger and pulling a small (relative to what we pull now) gear trailer. It was another fall trip so we spent alot of time camping (tenting!) in the rain. My memories of that first Tofino trip are of tenting at the Green Point Campground, surf kayaking on the beach, being almost permanently damp (ok WET) and of absolutely LOVING the feel and culture of the town.

Things have changed since then – we no longer really fit in the Green Point Campground (Pacific Rim National Park), we live in a trailer these days (yep, I’m getting comfortable admitting that…and am grateful for it on rainy days) and the town has been “discovered” with respect to development so there is alot more here than there was 20 years ago. The fabulous thing is that the town has done a solid job blending development with holding on to the earth/hippy culture (anyone remember the Clayquot Sound protests – that was here 20 years ago).

We have been back a handful of times since that first trip, always in October for my birthday, and it has always been a fabulous experience. Hunter’s first trip here was last year, and he was brought into the fold of magical tofino – surf lessons, beach walks, tidal pool playing etc. etc. etc.

lee & hunter surf boards

The last nine days have been fabulous – for a week that was forecast to rain every day, we had one cloudy day and one full 18 hour period of torrential rains. Pretty good balance for fall weather on the coast. We have made the most of that weather with almost daily surfing at either Cox Beach or South Chesterman, Bike rides to town (on what Hunter terms the most amazing bike path ever!) and plenty of time at both the Tuff City Bike Park and the Tuff City Skate Park.

hunter skate park & shoes

Driving here has allowed Tim to get back to Ocean Kayak surfing. He has humoured all of us by learning to surf with a surf board but in his heart he is a kayak surfer and this is his zen thing. It has been great for him to be able to do that and we look forward to much more of that through this trip. Hunter and I continue to plod through the learning curve (and pummelling that comes with it) and I am confident that we will be competent surfers when our 8 month journey comes to an end.

tim kayak surfing

Tofino is an amazing, family friendly, low key destination. I could write pages and pages of information so if anyone is interested in coming and either camping or hoteling, please drop us a line and I will be happy to answer questions and make recommendations.

The long and winding road to Tofino…

hunter driftwood

The drive from Qualicum Beach to Tofino is only a 2-3 hour drive but it is a super windy one… We had a midway pitstop in Port Alberni where we were please to discover a Canadian Tire (new camper battery) and a Walmart (new transport truck toy set for Hunter with his allowance).

We then  continued on the journey with hopes of a pit stop at the amazing Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park as we’ve been working on identifying trees and the attributes of forests as part of our geography work. Unfortunately we are tooooo big to park in the very small pull offs so we had to keep driving. Hopefully there will be less cars on our way back across the island and we can get in a small hike.

lee hunter falls

About 30km before the Tofino/Ucluelet junction road there is this amazing outcrop of rocks in a river. We discovered it last year when we came in October and were determined to stop again this year, with Tim having a vision of it being a fun swimming hole. At a minimum, the rocks are a great opportunity to take a break from the car and get out and do some scrambling around. Nice round bolders with fairly sticky surfaces makes for a really fun play time. The water temperatures weren’t bad and with the sun beaming down on us, you warmed up quite quickly. Even I got in at the very end…