Living on the coast of British Columbia has its ups and downs. The moment we are ready for ski season, the weather warms up! Thursday afternoon I sat staring blankly at my touring gear. The skis were taunting me, and the thermostat read a number I was not enthused about. I realized it was time to start planning a different style of adventure.
Ferry ticket – check, truck converted to a travel home – check, ipod loaded with new music – check. And so we set sail for Tofino island.
“When all else fails head for the ocean.”
Our alarms rang loudly as 4:30 a.m. suddenly approached. We grabbed the gear and headed for the ferry terminal. Upon loading, the sun began to peer over the horizon. Despite only having 2 days off we were determined to get to our destination and take full advantage. We crawled into the truck to catch some Z’s as the ferry stirred towards Nanaimo B.C.
From home (Squamish) to our end destination Tofino, it’s about 6 hours of travel. The ferry ride and the drive across the island are absolutely breathtaking. As we drove down the windy rainforest road, we found ourselves stopping to admire 300-year-old trees, glistening rivers and mighty mountain peaks off in the distance.
We reached Tofino around noon. Before heading into town we stopped at an area in Pacific Rim National Park called Long Beach – the most beautiful stretch of beach you’ll find anywhere in B.C. Clear ocean waves pounding at the shore with plenty of room to surf.
We stopped for a brief picnic and then continued into the small village we had been longing for. If you’ve never been, Tofino is one of those towns where you instantly feel relaxed. The shops are small and homey – the people friendly and welcoming. There is no shortage of good food or good views. You could spend all day just walking up and down the streets with a cup of coffee. But we came to explore!
The first day we spent hiking about and discovering the diverse beaches and coves. We watched people run and play, children build sand castles; couples trap oysters and peered into water holes to find beautiful creatures lurking. Before sunset we grabbed some “cold ones” and found the perfect spot to time-lapse a classic Tofino sunset.
My husband, Justin, and I are very accustomed to living out of our truck. Whether it is a climbing trip to Moab or just a night out by the river, we love our mobile home. We’ve got it pretty set up for us to cozy up and enjoy a much-needed rest. We found a spot tucked away on a logging road and set in for the night. We knew when we woke the following day, we’d need all our energy for the waves!
Part of this mission was to take one of the new Mountain Hardwear Laminina Z sleeping bags for a test. The Lamina Z is the men’s version and the Laminina Z is designed for women’s bodies. I was given the Laminina Z SPARK bag to venture with. It’s a synthetic bag rated down to 34 F, so good for 3-seasons. The whole idea of the bag is that it can be more lightweaight and compressible because the insulation is thermally mapped so the way Mountain Hardwear puts it is “warmth where you need it, less bulk where you don’t.”
For me the bag was perfect for the overnight conditions we experienced. I felt warm, dry and slept straight through the night. It really was very lightweight and compressible!
The next day surf report looked good and after a breakfast donut we headed to the rental shop!
Justin and I are not avid surfers, in fact, this was Justin’s first official experience surfing. I had been a few times and knew that with Justin’s outdoorsy/athletic background he would love it! We spent about 5 hours in the water getting thrown around and loving every minute of it. The conditions were perfect for beginners and the beach was quiet with little visitors. With salt in our hair and our breath racing to catch up we sat on the beach and reflected on life.
“Life is what you make it” – The classic line we hear every so often but it’s nothing but truth. Doesn’t matter how much time you have, you can always find a way to make it HAPPEN!
I know I will always be a mountain kid – growing up surrounded by the great Rocky Mountains in the East Kootenays of B.C. Even now, most of the activities I do in my day-to-day life consist of getting up into the alpine. It is always nice to take some time to explore unfamiliar terrain and experience something fresh!
The reason I love surfing is for the challenge. I climb, bike, ski and hike and for the most part I have found the progression fairly steady. When it comes to surfing it is always different and more challenging. I love the way I get rag-dolled around in the water. Doesn’t matter how strong you are – the ocean always wins.
That night we headed back towards the ferry. We felt like we had been away for weeks, our muscles were tired and clothes dirty.
Sand had found its way into almost every bag and part of the truck. I felt my head heavy as the boat set off but I was happy to have my new sleeping bag to cozy up in for the ride home… These are the memories you will keep forever, the ones that will follow you into your sleep and the rest of your life.
Sarah Murrell (@mountaindarlin), is a Winter 2014/15 Mountain Hardwear Ambassador. She Grew up in the East Kootenays of British Columbia, now currently located on the coastal shores of Squamish B.C.
She’s a devoted Climber who enjoys writing, skiing, biking and scrambling mountains in her spare time. Currently works as a swim instructor, as well as volunteers with Squamish Search and Rescue. Sarah also started the WWD CLUB blog to help get more women in touch with the outdoor sports world.