Saying Goodbye To Summer At The Gorgeous End Of The World

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Since I left university I’ve grown accustomed to treating September as the best part of August, a sigh that lasts for 30 days. Over the summer, however, I remembered that when kids reach school age, September reverts back to its original bummer state for the parents. That’s me now, with irrational worries pinned to pencil cases and lunch bags cancelling that second bottle of wine. With one in grade 2 and another still a year out from kindergarten, I’m looking at 13 years, maximum insecurity

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And so we packed up those same children and torqued out for one last wandering gallavant, this time to Camp Awesome in Tofino. Joining us were our friends Deana and Jason with their kids.

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We had booked the best campsite the world has ever known (reserve #8 and #9 at Bella Pacifica at least six months in advance). We rolled our Westfalia up to the edge of windswept Mackenzie beach, popped the top and turned it into a Four Seasons.

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The Westy comes equipped with both fire starter and an extinguisher, as well as a sink, stove, cooler and fridge for whenever any adventure needs to b suspended for the sake of expedience (it’s very much a German automobile after all).

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Out past the breakers are a rocky group of islands, their knotted trees gnarled further by the exposure. Beyond, there is nothing, Kamchatka. It is the edge of the continent, the western tip of Canada, the glorious stiff of Vancouver Island.

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It’s a good place, one of the best I’ve known, and always game for a good fire, some quality ballpark franks, and several cold bottles of Blue Buck beer.

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We ate and drank considerably well, taking our meals mostly al fresco in the campsite. We also made sure we paid visits to Sobo and Wildside, and found a kickass taqueria in a bright orange catering truck called Tacofino where they served the best tortilla soup I’ve had anywhere.

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Between meals, I found some speed lines at the skatepark and joined the many hundreds tripping out at the annual lantern festival in the Botanical Gardens. For moments here and there, I think I may have even felt little bits of harmony.

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In the end, though, it was breaking bread at a location I imagined as Gandalf’s Beach House that stole the summer for me. There, looking out across to Meares Island from a cedar deck flowing with fine wine and stocked with fresh corn and local seafood, it was still August.

  • Arrival at Bella Pacifica, Tofino...
  • Jason incoming from Cox Bay
  • Waveless...
  • A wee backside carve
  • Phssst...pop...sizzzz...ballpark franks...
  • Tacofino
  • The menu at Tacofino
  • Tacofino
  • Kaeli Robinsong and Jason Susman of Tacofino
  • Dark, intensely flavoured tortilla soup at Tacofino (food truck in Tofino)
  • Botanical gardens lantern fest pond floaters...
  • Lantern festival in the Botanical Gardens (where Kira et al do the wine fest each June)
  • The Gandalf Beach House
  • Artie Ahier of Sobo pouring at the Gandalf Beach House
  • Wine at the Gandalf Beach House
  • Prawns at the Gandalf Beach House
  • At the beach in front of the Gandalf beach house...
  • At the beach in front of the Gandalf beach house...
  • Cooking and exploring on the beach in front of the Gandalf beach house...
  • Looking out from inside the Westfalia...
  • Fresh Dungeness, prepped and stacked by Jason
  • Mammoth fjord...
  • This is one of my favourite photos. Michelle took it of a tide pool close-up, but it looks like a mammoth fjord....
  • Essential chicken burger to go at Wildside
  • Deana
  • Boards...
  • Me and Bobby Honey
  • My good friend Bobby Honey
  • Bobby Honey
  • A little bit of Lewis Carroll...
  • Sobo Miso | Tofino
  • Good neighbours...
  • With J&D's dog, a rescued Awesome Mutt (a new breed) from Mexico named "Diego".
  • Prepping the Westy for another night at Bella Pacifica
  • The best damn camp site in the world...

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