Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mountain Fear

Nanaimo to Ucluelet

Day two.

Recovery from jet lag took place on the Tofino Bus which runs on the sole road across Vancouver Island. Naping was broken by views of the scenery we would be riding through soon and long up hill hauls. There are indeed mountains here as well. Some trepidation sets in as a continuous stream of logging trucks and other articulated trucks run the other way. Not a good prospect.

Tofino is North American twee personified with smatterings of chintz thrown in for good measure. Lying at the top of the Pacific Rim Park is seems to be the last stop and magnet for aging beatniks and hippies fighting the surfer tourers for a bit of space to unload money before heading south ahead of the cold.

Our stay was only long enough to be quizzed on our destination by a surf bum Quebecer settling in for the summer before rolling south towards Ucluelet. The road through the Pacific Rim National Park gave me my first taste of an optical illusion that punctuates the next couple of days. Because of the close high trees and backdrop of mountains, flat and gentle uphills have the appearance of being downhill rolls and I am left wondering why it seems to take so much effort to get anywhere. We stopped momentarily by Long Beach to get a taste of ocean air and then into town.

Ucluelet is a curious little place, evidently once a busy fishing area now aiming to capitalise on quiet tourism and surfing as a source of income. On an evening walk we discovereda mas of empty lots for sale for pospective house builders and in a freshly developed area a collection of tennis courts and a free to use skate park that would put many pay ones to shame.

The imminence of dinner time and cooking found us searching for Methylated Spirits for our Trangias. Such a thing seems not to be heard of in this country and we made do with Fondue Fuel which worked rather well. First night under canvas, OK by me.

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