At either end of the series of Pacific beaches lie the lively small towns of Tofino and Ucluelet. The former has become a tree-hugging, eco-everything base camp for whalewatching, ocean kayaking, wilderness education and exploration. Bed and breakfasts, gift shops, gourmet restaurants and multi-million dollar homes rub shoulders with hostels, youth culture and surf schools. In fact, the tides, winds & coldwater waves of Long Beach and Chesterman Beach draw surfer dudes from Australia and Hawaii to test their skills against BC's rip and curl.
Wetsuits, boots and gloves are required year round. Winter storms are so ferocious along this coast that they have become a selling point for winter tourism. No snow here - simply enormous waves and the awesome force of nature.
When we were not running with Ozzie, our Cairn Terrier, on the wet and spring-rainy beaches, we stayed warm and woodsy in a comfortable vacation cottage, called "Shipwreck", at the Gold Coast Retreat. We especially loved the Finnish-style sauna and yes, since it's been a very long time, the sound of frogs every evening. Fresh air, exercise and sweet rest.