On November 1st, Lox and I packed all of our belongings into Cindy Lou Beluga (the name of our van), left our lovely little house in Vancouver, and started our road trip across Canada. Our plan of attack was to first go west to Vancouver Island, and then head all the way to the east coast of Canada, so our first stop was Victoria, BC – just a quick ferry ride away from Vancouver. We had four nights staying with a friend’s parents in Victoria, which gave us a good amount of time to check out the area.
We went to the Royal BC Museum and saw an exhibit on mammoths, wandered around the beautiful Butchart Gardens, saw tortoises and so many butterflies at the Victoria Butterfly Garden, and walked around Beacon Hill Park, eventually hitting Mile 0, where the Trans-Canada Highway begins. We also got to a hockey game – I’m not one for sports, but ice hockey has to be my favourite one to watch. I still have no idea what the rules are, so to me it’s a bunch of people flailing around on ice, occasionally getting into fights, and every so often scoring a goal. It makes no sense to me, and I love it.
We also learned a lesson in driving in unfamiliar areas: after exploring Beacon Hill Park, we headed back to the car and it was nowhere to be seen. We spent a few minutes panicking, until rational brain kicked in to say “it’s probably just parked on a different street”. After a bit of wandering, we found it three blocks away from where we originally thought. Lesson: when you’re unfamiliar with the area, make a note of where you’re parked.
After Victoria, we got in the car and drove a few hours to Ucluelet. There we spent the night in a completely empty campground – I was a little apprehensive about sleeping in such an isolated area, but the view we had was magical and I discovered that sleeping in a van is actually much more comfortable than a tent.
In Ucluelet, we hiked the Wild Pacific Trail (the Lighthouse Loop & the Artist’s Loop – I highly recommend both!) and I was pretty overcome by how beautiful everything was. The weather was cool but clear, and every single view was more beautiful than the last. I’ve never been much of an outdoor person, but spending my time on trails like this just may convert me.
After that, we headed to Tofino, sleeping in the van in a campground again. The stunning weather we had on our hike in Ucluelet didn’t last, so unfortunately we were treated to constant pouring rain. We spent our time there holed up in “Tuff Beans”, where we drank filter coffee & caught up on our internet needs. It was a little disappointing that the weather was so awful because Tofino is a very cute surf town, and I imagine being there in summer would be a much different experience.
We left Tofino for Campbell River, where we stayed in the adorably named “Friendship Inn”, chosen purely because I fell in love with its name. Campbell River is another tiny town that I’m guessing comes to life in summer, but I actually really enjoyed being there in the sleepy off-season. We went hiking in Elk Falls (getting a little lost due to the unmarked trails) and also saw the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge. I didn’t know much about it so had no expectations, so I felt pretty awed when we came upon a huge waterfall. It rivals Huka Falls in its power and definitely beats it in size (though Lox and I are at odds with which is prettier).
Campbell River was the final stop in our Vancouver Island adventure. Now we’re headed back to the mainland to explore more of BC, and then onto the east!