Awesomely Spectacular West Coast Scenery

After a very full and fun day of exploring (see last week), we arrived at the Dolphin Motel, situated just outside of Tofino on the Pacific Rim Hwy, around dinnertime. Although I had notified the motel owner of our check-in time, she’d already charged our credit card and marked us down as a no-show. Luckily, the room hadn’t been reassigned yet. Or maybe not so lucky.

When I’d originally looked at motels last spring, I carefully choose one with reasonable rates, while also seeming to be modestly decent. We’d only be in the room to sleep, leaving first thing the next morning, so price, location and general cleanliness was more important than high-end and fancy. I thought I’d found this in the Dolphin Motel.

211 Dolphin Motel, Tofino

After canceling our June date, I expected to pay more when I rebooked in the high season, but wow, the rate had about doubled. And the pet fee rose from $10 to $25. The total for one night was $195. An acceptable amount perhaps, but what we got was definitely not worth the price.

Our unit was decidedly shabby, outdated and crowded. We feared having to sleep on the flimsy futon in the main room and were relieved to find a bed squeezed into a small back room. Hubby immediately questioned why I’d booked the place and I was confused too. The impression in my head was nothing like the reality facing us. A quick check of their website revealed why. This is how they show their rooms:

213a Dolphin Motel website 4 213b Dolphin Motel website 6

This was our room:

213 Dolphin Motel, Tofino 214 Dolphin Motel, Tofino

Their bedroom:

216a Dolphin Motel website 1

Our bedroom:

216 Dolphin Motel, Tofino

Quite the difference, hey? Maybe other units resemble their website photos, but ours certainly didn’t, and they still charged us top rate. At least the place was clean, and we had a good laugh over the disparity. We quickly settled Roxy in and went in search of food.

An old gent we’d struck up a conversation with at Sproat Lake had recommended eating at Jack’s Waterfront Pub. As it was one of the first restaurants we happened across, we decided to give it a try. The location is lovely, right on the water, with nice views of the harbour.

165 Jack's Waterfront Pub 167 Jack's Waterfront Pub

Hubby and I both ordered beer battered lingcod and fries. The food was typical pub fare, and the service was marginal, although friendly. Despite being almost empty, it took some time before our order was taken and even longer to get the bill once we’d finished eating. Probably just a laid-back place.

After dinner, we returned to the motel to grab Roxy and some jackets, then ventured into Tofino. We were there for the scenery, not the funky shops and eclectic eateries, so aside from a brief drive through town, we didn’t do much sightseeing. Near the town entrance, stands a massive Western Red cedar, locally known as the Eik Cedar, and believed to be 800 to 1000 years old. It’s approximately 170 ft tall and 10 feet wide. Condemned as unsafe in 2001, the city saved it by fitting it with a unique support structure.

170 Eik Cedar, Tofino

Another impressive Western Red cedar is located in front of St. Columba Anglican Church. The tree is thought to predate the church, built in 1913.

171 St. Columba Tree, pre 1913

Somewhere in my research, I’d read that View Point Park was a great spot to watch sunsets. Although the views of Meares Island and Tofino Inlet were excellent, we immediately saw that the buildings to the west would block the sunset.

174 Tofino Inlet from View Point Park, Tofino 177 Meares Island & Tofino Inlet from View Point Park, Tofino

We hustled off on foot in search of a better location, finding one a couple blocks down. While we waited, Hubby got to enjoy lots of floatplane action.

186 Tofino Inlet 188 Tofino Inlet 190 Tofino Inlet

The sunset was pretty, although not outstanding.

193 Tofino Inlet

Not keen to return to our ‘lavish’ accommodations any sooner than we had to, we wandered over to Chesterman Beach, across the highway from the motel, where we found spectacular views aplenty.

201 Chesterman Beach, Tofino 205 Chesterman Beach, Tofino 207 Chesterman Beach, Tofino

Despite the lack of amenities, we both had a good night’s sleep and after a light breakfast in the room, we returned to Chesterman Beach to find it equally picturesque in the daylight.

221 Chesterman Beach, Tofino 222 Chesterman Beach, Tofino 223 Chesterman Beach, Tofino

224 Chesterman Beach, Tofino 228 Chesterman Beach, Tofino

I even got a glimpse of a lighthouse.

237 Chesterman Beach, Tofino

Roxy decided to wear her sweater against the slight early morning chill.

243 Chesterman Beach, Tofino

These signs, posted everywhere, were a grim reminder of a serious and very real danger.

246 Tofino

The swelling had begun moving down the sides of my foot and the bruising was settling into my toes. The pain was manageable with icing and acetaminophen, but wearing flip-flops to the beach that morning hurt unbearably.

219 Foot injury, Day 5

Knowing I’d need better support for the long day of hiking, I put on my trusty old Nikes for the first time. Getting my foot into the shoe hurt like hell, but wearing it was tolerable once I loosened the laces.

250 Schooner Cove Trail, Pacific Rim Park

Our next stop was Schooner Cove Trail, on the north end of Long Beach. Two kilometers round-trip through lush rainforest, this trail has 336 stairs. Yes, I said 336, and I climbed/descended every single one of them.

252 Schooner Cove Trail, Pacific Rim Park 259 Schooner Cove Trail, Pacific Rim Park 287 Schooner Cove Trail, Pacific Rim Park

Of all the trails we took, and there were lots, we both liked Schooner Cove the best, which is almost a shame, because all the rest to come had such a high standard to compare to.

255 Schooner Cove Trail, Pacific Rim Park 266 Schooner Cove Trail, Pacific Rim Park

We saw some massive, tall trees.

249 Schooner Cove Trail, Pacific Rim Park 262 Schooner Cove Trail, Pacific Rim Park 288 Schooner Cove Trail, Pacific Rim Park

The beach was lovely and quiet. Logs scattered helter-skelter at the back of the beach spoke of a very different scenario during winter storms.

271 Schooner Cove, Pacific Rim Park 273 Schooner Cove, Pacific Rim Park 275 Schooner Cove, Pacific Rim Park

With the morning warming up nicely, Roxy switched to a lighter jacket.

276 Schooner Cove, Pacific Rim Park

The Rainforest Trail was our next destination along the Pacific Rim highway. This is actually two one-kilometer loops through old-growth rainforest, neither of which have beach access. Fresh off the spectacular Schooner Cove Trail, and facing at least another 300 stairs (there’s a total of 731 stairs on both loops), we were content to just do Loop B.

292 Rainforest Trail B, Pacific Rim Park 293 Rainforest Trail B, Pacific Rim Park 296 Rainforest Trail B, Pacific Rim Park

It was barely noon and we already had sensory overload. More awesomeness was still to come, and I’ll share some of it with you next week.

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