#45 – Visit Tofino or Ucluelet

Tree Hugging Capital of the World. The Jewel of Canada’s West Coast. Host to the Rip Curl Pro – Canada’s National Surfing Championships. Famous artist, Roy Henry Vickers. West Coast Foodie Destination… Welcome to Tofino!

To get to Tofino on Vancouver Island, you take Highway 4 that winds and twists for about 130 kms through mountain passes, lakes and narrow passages until you reach the junction; Ucluelet to your left, Tofino to your right. It takes a good 2 hours to get there and in the summer season longer on account of traffic and very few passing lanes. Don’t be in a rush and when you get there, don’t rush!


Ariel View of Tofino picture courtesy of Tourism Tofino

Tofino is located in a geographical region called Clayoquot Sound. The Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations made Clayoquot Sound their home and was a trading post since the late 1850’s. It got it’s name after an inlet was named Tofino to honor a Spanish hydrographer, Vincente Tofiño. He was part of the exploration team by Captains Galiano and Valdez.

Tofino has become a year round tourist destination. In the off season, storm watching is at its prime. Storms rolling in off the Pacific West Coast bring wind, rain and surf. In the summer, population increases 10 fold from the approximate 2,000 local residents.

Some of my girlfriends, “buddies” gave me a get-away weekend to Tofino as a birthday gift. 5 of us climbed into a pick up truck with provisions for the weekend. You know, things like activity cloths with 2 different pairs of footwear, dress cloths with appropriate footwear, lounging cloths with no footwear but warm socks, fun games, food to feed an army and libations.

The principal activity was a 2 hour hike on Meares Island, a 10 minute water taxi ride from the public dock. Meares Island is an introduction to a coastal temperate rainforest and is a Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park. It boasts some of the oldest and widest cedar trees. Some trees are 1000 to 1500 years old and have trunk masses with girths up to 60 feet wide. You initially walk along a funky boardwalk but then it disappears into a beaten trail over and under logs, through trunks and puddles… lots of puddles. I’m glad we brought boots.


Tofino Water Taxi to Meares Island

The weekend was rounded out with lots of laughs, strolls along MacKenzie Beach, refreshing cocktails and appetizers at The Pointe Restaurant in the Wickaninnish Inn, well-known for the scenery and atmosphere and hanging out at the Rhino Coffee House, popular for their coffee and “maple bacon donuts”. The weekend would not have been complete without the drive to and from in the pouring rain.


MacKenzie Beach, The Girls, Splurging at the Wickaninnish Inn

Hello BC describes it best:

“For all this glamour, Tofino remains the rough-and-tumble frontier town it has always been, easygoing, outgoing, enterprising, unpretentious and resolutely friendly. Yet it also boasts swank beachfront resorts, excellent restaurants and a dynamic arts scene rooted in nature and First Nations culture. Welcome to the end of the road.”

Tofino is a destination and a must visit when on Vancouver Island. I am lucky to live in such a wonderful and adventurous province and having dear girlfriends to share it with.


#18 – Visit an Elderly Person

I know why I included this on my list. I miss my parents. They have both passed away and deep down I wanted to be around elderly people. But why do I say “elderly”? I never viewed my parents as elderly, senior maybe. My Mom had a great sense of humour right up until she passed away at 90. She always said that the residents in the Seniors Home were old. I think at the end she was the oldest in age. My Dad was a “bon vivant” and would have given the shirt of his back to someone who needed it. He had friends of all ages and could tell a mean story. He sometimes stretched the truth but that is what made his story telling special.

I had the opportunity to help a friend who volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada. Every Friday afternoon, about 15 active seniors with “early stage” dementia, come to the Community Centre accompanied by a caregiver (spouse, child or friendly neighbour) for an hour and a half. The first 45 minutes are dedicated to exercise. This put me back at the Seniors Home where I had attended the same kind of activities with Mom. After exercises, there are snacks and refreshments followed by games or just plain chit-chat.


I had a great time working on balance exercises, playing games and laughing with complete strangers. Some of the folks were not much older than me and even people of advanced age with diminishing cognition remain fit, vital, interesting and entertaining.

What an eye opener afternoon and it went by so fast. Most go about their business but there are always a few who like to joke around. They enjoy time with the volunteers and really get a kick out of the fitness instructor. And the volunteers do it because it brings them the same enjoyment.

My friend commented, “I don’t know how the caregivers do it every day… I feel honoured to know these folks and to witness their love for one another.”

I don’t pay attention to age. I hang out with people younger and older than me and I enjoy them all. It keeps you young or it grounds you. Today was no exception and I realize the word “elderly” to me, means “Having been around the block”.

I’ll go back to help beyond my list of 60while60.

#36 – “Hit the Bricks” and “BBBB”

Was this on my list? Yes it was – it’s Geocaching. This is the first time I’ve done this and I quickly learned that Geocaching is like Blogging. First you have to go and read the site to understand it, you have to sign up and get an account, there are all kinds of names to describe the caches, different styles and lots of followers.

Geocaching is a sophisticated scavenger hunt or an “updo” to orienteering. You get to use a GPS or you can use the special app on your smart phone. I’m a zero when it comes to navigating so I was very pleased when my husband was interested in joining. He did all the calculations and worked the GPS. I did the finding, he found squat.

We looked for two caches today and it took us 2 hours to find them even with the GPS. The first one, “BBBB” (Ben’s Brickyard Bay Booty) had a coded hint that you had to decrypt.

“Gur onfr bs gur snpr jvaf qur enpr!”

Letter above equals below and vice versa



Even with the hint it was hard to find. I lost my balance and was crouched close to the ground. When I turned to get up, I noticed the blue bottle under the tree trunk. Most of the treasures are dollar store finds but the point is finding it. You can leave something behind and we inserted a pin.


Our second cache was “Hit the Bricks”. At first we figured it would be under the well-known tree in Brickyard Bay and searched there for quite a while.


Then we followed the directions to go over the big rocks and find a crevice. And sure enough hidden behind a piece of wood in the crevice was the box in a green garbage bag.


This was a fun way to spend a drizzly afternoon. It reminded me of when I was a kid. My friends and I would hide treasures and map their hiding places. We would find a special box or tin can and hide personal things, even money. One of our hiding spots got dug up for new construction. We went with shovels and worked for hours trying to find our treasure but it was gone.

Note to self, don’t bury money!

#47 – Bike the Kinsol Trestle

The Kinsol Trestle is part of the Cowichan Valley Trail route and is a spectacular timber rail trestle standing 145 feet tall, 614 feet in length, on a 7degree curve. The Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Province of BC, and the Canadian Government preserved the trestle to connect the trail systems across the river to continue the Trans Canada Trail but more importantly to preserve the history of the mining and logging industries. It stands above the salmon bearing Koksilah River.


Kinsol Trestle Cowichan Valley

Read more about the History of the Kinsol Trestle.


The rail bed is now a compact gravel trail and is perfect for bikers, hikers, runners and equestrians to enjoy, no matter the weather. The trails are endless and you can go in either direction from the trestle. We learned that eventually this trail will hook up to the Galloping Goose trail in Victoria. Another item on my list. We choose the south trail that paralleled Shawnigan Lake. There is nothing better then being able to bike for miles away from traffic, listening to birds, the sounds of the streams, and watching the scenery unfold.

Shawnigan Lake

Shawnigan Lake

We met 2 young gals walking their horses and pet goats named Cloudy and Rainy. The goats responded to commands like “smile”, “show your teeth”, “play shy”. Too funny!


After a pleasant ride along the lake, we enjoyed a beautiful bottle of Rosé and a superb and delicious meal at the Unsworth Winery in Coble Hill. I think the pictures say it all.


#13 – Plant an Herb Garden

I’m not much of a gardener, not like Tante Joséphine. Remember her from #53- Tante Joséphine’s Cookbook? She had a green thumb and her garden was a labour of love and so bountiful. When I grew up, almost everyone owned a garden. I hate to admit this but we use to sneak under the cover of darkness and steal out of a specific garden. Yes, steal… carrots, cucumbers, whatever, from Oscar’s garden. He had the biggest of gardens and we figured he wouldn’t notice. My youngest sister heard of our shenanigans so she and her friends decided to do the same. Except, she got caught. Mrs. Oscar marched up to our house and gave my Mom a tongue lashing for not bringing her daughter up properly. Little did she know that her other daughter had done the same.

But I digress…. I’ve always wanted an herb garden and today I planted one. We love fresh herbs and being able to go outside and cut them from the backyard is a bonus. I planted 2 types of thyme, Culinary and English, 2 types of oregano, Italian and Greek, sage and Mojito mint. You know what that is for!


Our biggest challenge will be to keep the deer out. I “jury rigged” tomatoe trellises with fine plastic mesh to surround each herb. I wish I could grow basil and parsley in big bunches, but that would be a smorgasbord for the deer. We have lots of deer that come and forage on any kind of plant around the house. They’ll eat anything and everything. Apparently, they stay away from herbs. We’ll see.