Daydreaming About Summer Vacation

The unseasonably warm weather of the last week has me thinking about summer traveling. I hope to spend part of the summer in Vancouver for Lighthouse Labs. Once I finish my bootcamp, I would like to explore Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast and/or the Gulf Islands. Locals, please weigh in. Have you been there? What are the highlights?

Chris and I recently got a cute travel map as an anniversary gift from his mom. I’ve pinned all the places in Canada that we’ve visited together and it’s looking pretty lopsided. It would be nice to head east this summer, but life keeps pushing us the other direction and we are opportunistic travellers. I love vacationing near the ocean and think I ought to see the Maritimes, but Vancouver will probably consume our travel budget (and then some).

This is where we've been in Canada. See a trend?
This is where we’ve been in Canada. See the trend?

Last summer, we visited Tofino on Vancouver Island for our anniversary. One of the things I like about traveling around Canada is that it’s all so wild and Tofino is no exception (nickname? Tough City). I’ve never seen a coast line that’s quite so perforated with inlets, sounds and islands. While there, we took a tour with Remote Passages Marine Excursions to a hot spring on an island that could only be reached by boat. Along the way, we saw several gray whales (or the same whale swimming around the boat, according to Chris), one so close I could see barnacles on its knobby spine! Once on the island, we had a short walk through a primordial rainforest to get to where the hot spring dumped into the ocean. We sat in tide pools that were alternately freezing when the tide came in and scalding when it went back out. Okay, not too relaxing, but it made us feel alive. On the boat ride back to Tofino, thick fog rolled in and the Pacific was violent with us. Even if I hadn’t known our boat driver was a local, born and raised, I would have guessed it. He navigated the stormy sea with zen that could only come from surviving that exact scenario or worse over decades (reminded me of Chris driving in a snow storm). Once we got out of the open ocean and back into the calm of the Clayoquot Sound where Tofino is located, the weather cleared up and the views…! I could have cried for joy!

The Clayoquot Sound. "Breathtaking" feels a trite description for this landscape!
The Clayoquot Sound. “Breathtaking” feels a trite description of this landscape!

On a side note, if you ever visit Tofino (I urge you to seriously consider it!) and you would like a less harrowing ocean adventure, many tour companies including Remote Passages offer kayaking trips in the Clayoquot Sound, which is as calm as bath water. Sheltered from the open ocean, if you find your pulse racing, it will be due to shear delight.

I would like to end this post by giving the hard sell to all our friends and family to visit us in Calgary this summer! I promise you will not be disappointed by the likes of UNESCO world heritage sites, poutine and weather in the 20’s (70’s for Fahrenheit users)!