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Wanda's Adventures: Off to Tofino!

My bonus daughter (and offspring of ATB#1) was working on Vancouver Island and was able to extend her visit a few days. She was keen to see some of the wild Pacific Coast and spend time in nature. We made a plan for me to pick her up in Victoria on Monday morning, spend a few days in Tofino on the west coast. We would camp in Wanda, walk trails, and immerse ourselves in the area before making the return trip to Victoria on Friday. I gave her the task of making decisions regarding stops along the way with a reminder that daylight was short, with sunset before 17:00.

My day started by catching the 09:00 am ferry from Tsawassen (BC Ferry terminal south of Vancouver). Since Wanda is over-height, I pay more but I am much more likely to avoid waits during prime sailings. I choose not to reserve my space and save the surcharge.

My morning ferry ride was glorious! The route across the Salish Sea through Active Pass winds through some of the Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay, south of the capital city of Victoria. For about 10 minutes, a large school of dolphins swam along the port side. I cursed myself for not taking my big camera lens when I left the car deck. It was already past noon. With only a few hours of daylight we needed to do some grocery shopping and there were a couple of stops along the way on the list so we decided that we would be stopping somewhere around Nanaimo before crossing the island. We followed the Malahat Highway north, enjoying quick stops at a couple of the viewpoints along the way.

Duncan, BC Totem Walk

Our first stop was in The City of Totems, Duncan BC which has created a self-guided Totem Tour through the town center. This is a project that has developed (and continues to develop) one of the world's largest outdoor collection of totem poles.

A map of the walk and all the 41 totems can be found on their webpage but the walk is clearly marked by yellow footprints on the sidewalks. Each totem is accompanied by a sign with a transcription of interviews and a bio of each carver.

The peoples of the Northwest coast designed house posts or totem poles which told the family history. The designs include family crests and traditional symbols of the Coast Salish and Kwskwska'wakw people.

Totems are intended to be viewed as a whole, with each carving representing a different part of the story. The first totem we came across was made from a 750 year old log and is the world's widest totem (1.8m). The Cedar Man wears a shield showing wealth; the talking stick includes family crests; and the killer whale represents the spirits of the Great Chiefs.

Richard Hunt: Cedar Man Walking Out of The Log

Another totem I enjoyed was a replica of a memorial pole that told the story of Dzunuk'wa (Wild Woman), a figure of terror, power, and wealth.

Ned Matilpi: Thunderbird With Dzunuk'wa

Ladysmith We stopped for famous cinnamon buns but the Old Time Bakery is closed on Mondays. We were at a higher elevation with snow on the ground. We had only planned to get cinnamon buns, so it was a quick walk to the bakery and back on the road.