Years ago I saw a picture of Vancouver Island, in the picture there was a wild coastal beach with tide pools that had deep purple starfish. I am not sure why, but it it stuck with me. I wanted to visit this place one day and walk on rugged, driftwood covered beaches where purple starfish lived.
And the good news is that Vancouver Island lived up to all my expectations, the bad news was that I did not see purple starfish until our last day on the island near the ferry terminal….but again, I am jumping ahead.
In Vancouver we met a waitress who told us about Tofino, a surf town on Vancouver Island. Having grown up in Orange County, CA, surf towns were a part of my life, and I always feel at home in them. After a fast ferry ride from Vancouver, we drove to Tofino and found a beautiful (but pricey) campground on the beach, it was so relaxed we stayed for days.
We did not take a lot of pictures in Tofino even though it was a lovely place, I think it was because we were really focused on relaxing after so many long days of driving from Prince Rupert to Vancouver. However, Tofino did have beautiful beaches, surfers, waves and a charming town surrounded by small tree covered islands with deep blue green ocean inlets filled with pods of orcas and fishing boats. We spent our days exploring the empty beaches, hiking the coast and catching up on sleeping and reading. It was heaven.
Since we usually plan our itinerary just a few days in advance (I like just going with the flow of travel and not having too many plans,) we decided where to go to next on a whim. I looked at a map and found some dirt logging roads that led to a lake, and since it was Saturday, the loggers would more than likely not be driving it. I convinced Sam that was where we should go to next, so he aired down our tires and we set off. Along the way we saw black bears along the road and feeding in rivers, beautiful forests (and the ravages of logging…) and we ended up at a magical camp spot on Lake Cowichan, called Caycuse Campground.
Finding this unexpectedly magical campground is what I love about travel. I have found that when I trust my “gut” on where to go, it often turns out to be some of our most authentic and enjoyable experiences. I did not read a guide book to find this place, we took the road less traveled and were lucky enough to stumble on a little piece of paradise that was a perfect fit for us. I hope we continue to have the courage to do this once we get into Mexico and beyond because this is what I dreamed about when we set out for this trip, the unexpected gift of finding a place that you will never forget.