|Travel & Adventure Guides
BY MARION HARRISON
A veteran adventurer of the great outdoors kicks back and enjoys Nature's fury from her comfy cabin for two
Few people hope for bad weather on their holidays. My husband Peter and I, however, wished for it last Christmas as we headed to Vancouver Island.
Our destination was Tofino, which lies just outside
the northern boundary of Pacific Rim National Park
Reserve. With the open Pacific on one side and
rain forest providing a windbreak on the other,
the West Coast is hit by a dozen spectacular winter
storms each month between December and March, and
as a change of pace, we planned to spend a week
there watching them.
In summer, Tofino's resident population
of 1,400 swells to 22,000, whipping up
a sea of visitors in search of surf, forests,
whale-watching and village charm. But
at Christmas, the town is quiet and the beaches
are empty, save for a handful of foul-weather junkies
waiting for a storm.
Over the first three days, we were plagued by
blue, cloudless skies and warm temperatures. We
passed the time kayaking across Clayoquot Sound
to Meares Island, where a boardwalk winds through
pristine forest, past oceans of spongy moss and
great cedars. We walked sandy shores, explored
tide pools and marvelled at the old-growth forest,
nourished by two to three metres of annual rainfall.
On our fourth day, we awoke to ebony skies that
promised rain. A deep, low-pressure system was
on its way from the southeast, and by noon, it
had us ducking into a steamy bakery to escape the
drizzle, then dashing from gallery to gallery as
it unleashed a torrential downpour.
By night, we got what we came for: the Pacific's
unrelenting fury, ferocious winds, driving rain
and a pounding surf. Sipping wine and curled up
fireside under our down duvet, we watched through
the front window of our beach cabin as the waves
thrashed the rugged coast. At times during the
night, we awoke to the sound of rain beating against
the window panes. The next morning, temperatures
fell, turning the rain into sloppy, wet snow.
The skies cleared on our final day and we bundled
up for one last beach walk and felt invigorated
by the crisp ocean air.
Our tempest in Tofino — as Shakespeare wrote — such
stuff as dreams are made of.
How many countries (other than Canada) have you visited?