Emma Pierce, the 21-year-old daughter of Indagare member Carroll Pierce traveled with her family and some friends to Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on Vancouver Island near Tofino. Here are her impressions of this magical resort.
After landing in Vancouver we hopped on a seaplane for a 45-minute flight over spectacular views, keeping our eyes peeled for bears in the woods and whales in the water below. Once we arrived at the resort, we were greeted by the ever-friendly staff and rode in a wagon up to the “campsite”… though I don’t know if it is fair to call this camping. The resident dogs followed, as they would throughout our stay on the property, much to our delight.
All accommodations are tucked between trees and connected by elevated boardwalks, giving the impression of a series of tree houses. Though they are referred to as tents, our rooms (the Deluxe Outpost Tents) featured thermostat—controlled propane wood stoves, antique furniture and beds with lush linens and down duvets. We were always comfortable and warm even during chilly nights, though mornings were brisk, especially while walking to the shower house. (Clayoquot has recently built twelve en-suite tents, which have their own private showers.)
If the beautifully rugged scenery is Clayoquot’s top highlight, its food is definitely a close second. Chef Ryan Orr cooks modern, natural cuisine, turning out meals so delectable and popular that Clayoquot has posted recipes on their website. Throughout the day there would always be a sprawling display of freshly baked cookies and candy in large glass jars. Keeping these jars full in such a family-friendly location is a hard task, but the exceptional staff manages it.
There are an abundance of activities on the property and on our first day we went on a whale and bear-watching excursion. We suited up in layers of warm clothing and a bright red full-body lifejacket. (Needless to say, these pictures did not make it on the Christmas card.) We piled into a pontoon boat that was so fast and powerful, we felt like we were on a roller coaster. My sisters and I loved seeing the bears, which were so cute we almost forgot how dangerous they can be. We visited Cow Bay, a feeding ground for grey whales and Seal Rock, home to dozens of seals and a few boisterous sea lions. We also stopped on Flores Island where we hiked and enjoyed its beautiful beaches.
When I felt like unleashing my inner Annie Oakley, I shot rifles at clay pigeons and targets. Later, in an effort to get some tangible results, I spent an afternoon fishing, where we tested our skill (and luck) at catching salmon, sea bass and halibut. The catches were prepared for dinner for us that night, making the always-delicious cuisine even more special! Extra fish was packed, frozen and shipped home to us.
While I maximized my relaxation time by reading by the fire some afternoons, my dad went on long biking trips and my sisters went horseback riding and had a blast jumping into the icy waters. A massage by the fabulous therapist was the ideal culmination of a either relaxing or activity-filled day.