With Easter comes the tradition of visiting Tofino, British Columbia and the Middle Beach Lodge. And with this adventure comes the risk of strong weather…
Picture at left – A six foot two Blogger stands in a fresh fall of snow… in Spring
And not the kind of strong weather we associate with a mid-March West Coast; lashing waves, wicked winds, driving rains that feel like tornado driven acupuncture needles…
But winter weather; snow, sleet and horizontal hail the size of rosary beads… less forgiving as well.
But this is Spring – albeit early Spring. And the fact that Easter is at an unusually early juncture for this year; March the 23rd… and apparently it has not been this early since 1066 or something. The next time Easter will be this early will be in the year 2030… and hopefully by then I will be piloting a Hover-Honda between Victoria and Tofino…
Because this year, our little Honda Civic was a little life saver on the winding stretch between the West Coast and civilization. It was snowing. A lot.
Between the Tofino-Ucluelet junction at the Pacific Rim highway and Sutton Pass some 1400 feet above Sea Level and 25km from Port Alberni – this neck of the woods can be mighty unpredictable this time of year. And so it was.
Our little Honda sedan cruised confidently through a moderate snowfall, somewhat effortlessly, up to the summit – by which time there were 4’ snow drifts on the sides of the road (about 1’ of fresh powder) and maybe 1/2” of snow on the highway.
With the Honda wearing a fairly healthy pair of All Season Radials (read SUMMER TIRES), it is risky business to attempt this kind of hill climb. But we did it.
And it wasn’t blind driving. Oh no. I was watching the oncoming traffic for signs of a more intense conflagration… i.e. bloated snowmen mobiles… but this was not the case. The cars coming towards us were dusted lightly. So we pushed on and we were rewarded with clearing skies as we passed over the peak.
We arrived in Port Alberni within 45 minutes of the alpine experience and decompressed at Tim Horton’s with Maple dips, black coffee and some much maligned roll-up cups
The rest of the trip was uneventful except, ironically, for one mini-van driving bonehead that we encountered on the approach to the Langford turn-off (near the proposed Spencer exchange and Thetis Lake) who was dodging between lanes and cutting off drivers more unpredictably than a pin ball. He cut in front of us so close and so swiftly as to cause a minor shock wave as he blocked the wind in our path.
This is why people kill each other on our highways.
Anyway – it was a wonderfully romantic weekend at Tofino. We re-experienced the joys of married life – communing with other romantics, people watching, weather watching… and hoping for safe travel in the future.