Instinct. You know something feels different when you see the sign ‘Pacific Rim National Park’. As you turn right at the junction and Long Beach slowly comes into view from that one elevated spot on Highway 4, you just know, this place is like no where else in the world.
One of the first things I like to do at that point is turn on the radio and tune in to our local community station 90.1FM – a must to hear the latest surf, tide and weather report. The amazing variety of music you won’t hear anywhere else is the soundtrack of my 32 km drive to Tofino from the junction. The beautiful cedars tower on either side of the highway, like welcoming arms stretched out to greet me. The road straightens out quite a bit after all the twists and turns of the rocky pass just outside of Port Alberni, giving me a chance to take it all in. This is a great place to keep your eyes open for wildlife: bears, deer, ravens, eagles. The smell of the rainforest is a combination of sweet cedar and sea salt air; already I feel the calming, tranquil affect this place has.
Driving into the small village of Tofino you can’t help but feel a strong sense of community when seeing all the locally owned shops, restaurants and businesses. Whether you’re here to see wildlife, surf, kayak, hike, storm watch, head to the Hot Springs or just sit by a cozy fire—you’re now on Tofino time. It’s about recharging your batteries and taking in the slow, quiet pace that lives at the end of the Canadian highway.