One of the best parts about homeschooling is being able to JUST GO whenever we want to. This priceless gift has allowed us to "Just go" to visit my parents across the country when a seat sale on flights appeared in early March even though we had already visited them in January. It is also how we ended up making the move with about 2 weeks of a decision from Alberta to British Columbia.
Recently, it also allowed us to "just go" when someone posted on Facebook they could no longer use their camping reservation and were reselling their spots at a discount. With only a few days notice, we invited other homeschooling families and added on to our already planned trip to Gabriola Island (read about that trip by clicking here) and made the 2.5 hour drive on Vancouver Island to the small community of Ucluelet -Affectionately called Ukee by locals.
This place is simply unbelievable. I tent camped with the three kids at the WYA resort with my two friends on adjacent sites. This walk in campsite meant we had the joy of wheelbarrow-ing every single item we wanted on our site from the parking lot to our spot.
Because there were at least 4 active bears also on the site, there was conscious effort made to put any scented items (sunscreen, dish soap) and food in the food cache wrapped in LIVE electrical wiring (which the children all delighted in touching at the end of our trip...that's a story for another day- no children were harmed).
The location of the campsite could not have been any more picturesque. With rocks jutting out from the beach into the water and waves crashing into the rocks creating elegant sprays that you couldn't Photoshop even if you tried, I was left completely amazed by the perfection of it all. Evening sunsets painted the sky an unbelievable orange and we got to enjoy every single second of it around campfires set up directly on the beach.
The children did so much exploring. When the tide went out, we were able to get close to the underwater beauty that was now exposed.
When the tide came in, my son discovered his shoes went missing. (oy!- Life lessons)
I couldn't believe how vibrant and large the sea stars and sea urchins were!
We camped for 4 days and it felt like it was 300 too few at this beautiful spot. I resolved to return again next year and maybe every year! With a variety of options for accommodations that ranged from Tent camping with access to communal washrooms, to Yurts with bunk beds and Barbeques, to lodges with private bathrooms and full kitchens, there was something for every level of adventure a person could want.
Although we could have spent every moment content on the campsite, we did go on some exploration outings. The first one was a beautiful walk through the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
This stair-master style trail through a beautiful canopy of really big and old trees, resulted in Jazlyn wanting to be carried...the truth is I wanted to be carried too. I wish I knew more about what trees were what. I have zero forest knowledge and really need to pick up a book about BC Trees.
After our sweaty hike through the forest, we went to Long beach to cool off in the water. We hadn't been able to actually swim at the campsite because the waves appeared too strong for me. This says a lot since I consider myself to be a very strong swimmer and also a bit of a dare devil. But, I draw the line at ocean waves that look like they can slap me into the next week. No thank you!
So, we made a short drive to Long Beach and found a much calmer spot to wave jump. The kids wave jumped for hours, and I even got a chance to do the same. I was grateful I was wearing a wet suit.
Our drive back to the ferry in Nanaimo was broken up by a quick stop at the gigantic ocean front community park in Parksville.
I made a mental note to come back here and spend a few days enjoying the beach side playground that came with food trucks next year. Perhaps this would reduce the chance of my missing my ferry and having to entertain the children for a full 5 hours while we waited for a sailing that had space. (oy-life lessons AGAIN!) I should have taken some mini donuts to go!
When we returned back home in Burnaby, we got notice the Vancouver Aquarium was closing its doors indefinitely. (Thank you Covid-19 :-/ ) I was grateful we had made the effort to visit the catch and release Aquarium in Ucluelet when we arrived. They even directly pump in water from the harbor into and out of their tanks (and they let me charge my phone as we walked around!).
Their mission is to raise awareness about local marine biodiversity and promote respect for the ocean environment. Their list of ongoing projects is quite impressive. They are currently sampling local waters once a month in order to continue monitoring radiation levels. This project is a direct result of concerns about oceanic radioactivity caused by the leaking of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. Wow!
It has been a full week since we got back and I'm mostly recovered. Even though I had invited friends to camp at the resort with us, and it was so helpful to have micro breaks without having to take all the kids with me to the washroom, it was still so much work to be mentally responsible for three kids while tent camping alone. From tent set up and take down, to food packing and lets not talk about the kid that peed in the sleeping bag on the first night. (oy!) Let's just say, camping is so much fun, but also sooo much work. but if given the opportunity, we say yes to life's opportunities.
Sometimes the hardest part is just getting out the door. I'm so grateful we have are blessed with the "Just Go" lifestyle. #NotAllwhoWanderArelost I highly recommend booking your next vacation at the WYA Resort. An amazing spot to get grounded and get connected ...No, they didn't pay me to endorse them.
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