Tofino, BC --The art of de-stressing can take many forms. For some, it could mean a spa pamper and steamy cedar hot tub, a private cooking class, an afternoon for snuggles and a snooze, or watching waves - and the world go by - from the meditation deck. For "type A's", stress relief could translate into time to indulge in non-stop activities far from the maddening crowds and city.
Fortunately, heading into the wild doesn't mean leaving luxuries behind when the destination is Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts & Spa. A 30-minute boat ride from the town of Tofino, located on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, transports guests to an ultra-elegant eco-safari style lodge at the mouth of the Bedwell River. Nestled in a nine-mile long fjord and surrounded by mountains, visitors find themselves in the fragile biosphere of Clayoquot Sound - a UNESCO-designated reserve with an abundance of super-natural guided adventures that include:
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: It's an angler's paradise with choices of river, ocean or lake fishing! Clayoquot Sound is home to the largest wild steelhead population in the world and fly-fishing is superb for spring steelhead, fall salmon or cutthroat trout. On the ocean, deep-sea fishing is best from May through August, with ocean fly-fishing at its prime from July through September.
Catches from May through September include Coho (silver salmon) and sea bass, with giant tyee (king salmon) at the height of the summer, and halibut from March through September. All equipment is provided, however lake fishing is accessed by floatplane so transportation surcharges apply.
For young anglers or those who want to stay close to base but have a fish tale or two, the bridge also provides a spot to sit and jig!
Calling All Cowpokes! With a stable of endurance horses and teams of draft horses, all levels of riders can enjoy a day on the trail. Trips include a trek to the edge of Strathcona Provincial Park, watching for bear along the way, a visit to an abandoned town and gold mine, or Bedwell's own "Jurassic Park" - a remote area of deep old-growth forest where hugging trees means reaching around an ancient cedar's 40-ft "waist". Gallops through super-oxygenated forest trails, or leisurely walks along streambeds provide just what every rider is looking for. Riding boots and chaps (slickers too, if weather dictates) are provided for all ages.
Dip, Dip and Swing! The area is a marine playground for paddlers of all abilities who can explore miles of coastline with seals, otters, bear, eagles, puffins and often whales feeding in the shallow bays. Kayakers can take part in whale, porpoise and bear watching; a day trek to Flores Island's Wild Side First Nations Interpretive Trail, where hiking and kayaking are combined along marked trails; and "The Circuit", an option that starts with a wooden parade wagon drawn by draft horses through lush forests and a return kayak trip riding the tide! All instruction and safety gear is provided and no experience is necessary. The Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nations introduced canoeing around Clayoquot Sound, a time-honoured tradition, and a favorite paddle visits a floating artist studio and organic garden, with a picnic lunch at a secluded beach.
Thar' She Blows! Virtually every whale watching expedition produces sightings of grey, humpback or killer (orca) whales from the Resort's dual Merc-powered pontoon boat. A combination whale and bear watch includes a visit to Cow Bay, - the summer feeding ground of grey whales, a trip to 'Seal Rock' to view (and hear!) hundreds of stellar seals and a colony of majestic sealions.
Here a Bear, There a Bear, Everywhere a Bear! During spring and early summer when bears are feasting on the cache of berries, bear watching in the early morning or twilight will usually result in black bear sightings in the undergrowth or at water's edge. However, in late summer and early autumn, the bears put on a twice-daily show with visits to the adjacent hayfield where they snack on tender hay shoots before making their way to the estuary for an entr�e of spawning salmon!
These Boots Were Made for Walking! Secrets of the forest can be discovered with hikes through old-growth forest, lush fern gardens, and abandoned roads. One trek traverses the Resort, crosses a rope suspension bridge and leads guests into Strathcona Provincial Park - a mecca for backcountry and alpine hikers. Another reveals the site of "Bear City", an abandoned mining town that had several "booms" between the Great Yukon Gold Rush and 1939, when workers fled the mines believing it was cursed. A family favourite follows the footsteps of early explorers along the Bedwell River and guests can try "their pan" for gold ore still found in the river's sandy shallows. Or, a day trip to the volcanic shoreline and stunning white sand beaches of Flores Island and world-renowned "Wild Side" First Nation Interpretive Trail is one to be treasured. Whale watching, gourmet beachside lunch, a visit to Nuu-Chah-Nulth Village, and walk along a cedar boardwalk to the natural geo-thermal sulphur Hot Springs Cove, and trails of varying intensity are among the options.
Guests who want to be on their own can plan their own time away with unguided activities such as biking, hiking, paddling, and fishing and the state-of-the-art equipment, available for the taking, includes mountain bikes and helmets; fishing rods, tackle and bait; kayaks, canoes, life preservers, site maps, gold pans, and backpacks
The natural environment is what attracted resort owners to the area in 1997, and is the inspiration behind the creation of an Environmental Legacy Program. Guest participation in each of the five stewardships - salmon habitat restoration, bear mapping, whale feeding and migration study, marine habitat inventory, and raptor rehab and release, are additional opportunities to enhance and enjoy the wild side.
Most packages at Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts & Spa include Vancouver-Tofino return floatplane, airport ground shuttle, horse drawn wagon shuttle, deluxe Outpost accommodations, all gourmet meals, snacks, alcohol, a spa service and activities
Package prices start at $4,750 (Canadian) per person, based on double occupancy. For more information, contact Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts & Spa at 1-888-333-5405, or check out the website at: www.wildretreat.com.
Media Contact: Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Public Relations, 250-592-3838 or 250-882-9199 , [email protected]
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