Nothing beats a road trip with your best friend; nothing.
We’ve had such a great few days exploring the West Coast and I really do not want Gemma to leave on Sunday! I did suggest that she extends her trip a couple of days but my attempts were feeble… mainly because we’ve started planning our Paris (and maybe Germany??) trip for later this year and Gemma is the sensible one ☝️
Sensible, yes… boring? No way! When Gemma finally got the hang of driving on the wrong side of the road (we sat in the car for about 30 minutes figuring PRNDL out) we were well on our way to Ucluelet.
The road is long. Basically you hop on Route 4 until you hit the Tofino-Ucluelet HW so it’s a pretty straightforward drive. That being said, we did have a few err, complications on the way.
After picking up a Timmy’s, and before things started to get sketchy, I suggested a quick stop at Englishman River Falls as I knew Gemma would love to see the suspension bridge. Sadly, I couldn’t navigate us via memory so we had to consult the ever trusty Apple Maps. I’m not sure how I managed to route us in completely the wrong direction but I did and I sure am pleased.
We followed roads that seemed to lead us to the middle of nowhere… round and round these open roads that all looked the same until we came across a carpark.
As soon as we got out of the car the sound of the waterfall was deafening. The usual surge of excitement and adrenaline I feel when seeing something new went right through me on schedule, and I almost ran to the bridge.
I really wasn’t expecting to see the actual falls. When I had visited the park a week before it was beautiful, but this was something else.
On one side of the bridge you had a river which was full of twists and turns down a small valley. The picture doesn’t do it justice but it seemed to go on for miles!
On the other side were the falls. They were magnificent. The water tumbled down ferociously, hitting the jagged rocks and fallen tree trunks with serious force. We stood on the bridge in awe for quite some time enjoying the views and the refreshing spray.
We had our fill then followed the trail down and round to the bottom of the river. The water was so clear and had a stunning emerald tint; you could really see just how deep the river actually was! It would be wonderful to swim in during the summertime but you would have to be a sure swimmer as I imagine the current to be pretty strong.
After catching our breath we took some snaps and headed back up the other side of the cliff and into dense trees. Gemma was yet to experience the mossy wonderlands that I’ve grown so familiar with, and it was amazing to see her walking through the forest for the first time. We stopped at a bench for a breather halfway up and met a beautiful golden retriever. She was super slobbery and my jeans were fully violated, but we had a lovely cuddle until her owner arrived to take her on her way.
Back at the car we decided we really needed to get a wriggle on as we wanted to get to the Airbnb before dark. I can now report that did NOT happen.
The drive through to Port Alberni was great, it was cool for Gemma to see the route although it was so foggy we didn’t really get to experience the mountains or lakes by the roads as much as I would’ve liked.
We stopped and did our first food shop, stocked up on cokes and snacks then got back on the road. It was really raining by this point and we just wanted to get to our new home!
With an hour or so still to go the rain had died down. Thinking this was a good sign, I could feel Gemma start to relax a little. We should not relax at any point whilst driving through the mountains. Bad idea.
All of a sudden we got real cold, the windows started to fog up and our visibility was zero. I looked out of my window (the only one not fogged up) to see a butt tonne of snow on the ground and trees. Gemma could not see out the windscreen so I was navigating, telling her when there was a bend or turn in the road. We were quietly freaking out and trying not to panic about potential ice on the road that we had no chance of seeing.
In the end we wound both our windows down, turned the heat up and I took off my shirt to wipe the windscreen periodically. (Obviously we couldn’t get the defogger to work, we did try that first!)
The next half hour was freaky to say the least. We steadily travelled the road, keeping good speed but proceeding with palpable caution. The rain returned, cars appeared and we just got on with it.
By this point we really were exhausted and the end of the drive was a bit of a blur. We arrived at the Airbnb in pitch black, the pouring rain, and with gale force winds. Our host let us in and left us to it, I think he could tell we were not in the mood for socialising.
We unpacked the food, made pasta for dinner and just chilled the hell out. We were both shattered so hopped off to bed pretty swiftly.
I slept like a baby and woke up boiling in the morning.
Lots of love,