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09:38 am: To the ends of the earth...
Very well, I must concede the point. I've lived in Washington State my whole life and have always extolled the many natural splendors of my native land--until now. Now I must bow my head to Canada and the denziens of British Columbia, where lies Vancouver Island and beauty unbound. The far side of that great island is fair Lyonesse, is Avalon, is Atlantis come again; here be deep forests primeval, peopled with massive cedar trees and draped in mysterious mosses; here are deep lochs and towering peaks clad in cloth-of-gold and crimson samite. In many ways it was familiar; the rugged coast, the booming surf, the gnarled old firs clinging to etiolated rocks--just like Washington, only more, like Washington pumped up on steroids and airbrushed for some glossy magazine spread. Even the air was sweeter, richer, as though I walked in Narnia when all the land was new.

Okay, okay. You Canadians win. B.C. is indeed SuperNatural...

Tofino is farther away than you think. Think of the farthest place you can get to in one day. It's further than that. And it's on the end of a long, windy, switch-back road of dubious provenance through the most picturesque countryside you can imagine, pursued and confronted by fully-loaded logging trucks and semis barreling around corners at full steam. Once you reach your destination, you will find the surfers and yuppies have already been there, done the summer, spent their bucks and gone back home; the restaurants are empty and the coffee shops have no queues. The art galleries are vacant; you can at your leisure peruse native masks and truly elegant paintings, the best of both ancient and new. My only gripe would be that the groceries don't carry booze; you can only get your hooch at liquor stores or off-sales, which seemed awfully uptight to me, especially at 7:00 in the evening when I desperately needed a drink. A tiny, budget-sized motel room with tissue-paper walls and a brick-hard bed would otherwise be insufferable. In the nick of time an open liquor store was discovered and my husband and I enjoyed a six pack of Granville Island Honey something or other, which was decent, and helped dull the sound of our neighbors snoring away next door.

But that was insignificant to the scenery, which was what we came to enjoy . We walked on a hard-packed pewter beach at dawn, surrounded by pearly mist and the mutterings of ravens--and there are more ravens in Tofino than I've ever seen anywhere before. We hiked through rainforest all dripping and strange, where surely trolls infested the deep ravines where no sunlight ever strayed; we saw sea lions slip through billowing waves, sleek and undulant as the element they ruled.

An excellent time, and I forgive you, my lovely neighbors to the north, for the substandard sausage roll in the ferry terminal; you didn't force me to buy it, after all, much less eat it--but as far as cuisine goes, that last was strictly from hunger.

And if your humble correspondent was in funds or clever enough, she would've had some photographs to show. Hopefully you can imagine it for yourselves...

Or just Google "Tofino". Heh.

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