Westcoast BACKPACKERS News September 2000 top article


Get Relaxed,

Get Wild

          By Wade Shatford

Explore the..Secrets of the Sound


Gateway to
Clayoquot Sound
on the West Coast
of Vancouver Island.

Whale watching, hotsprings and I mean holy cow they got some big trees out here. But Tough City is under attack. Tough City is tough on the wallet. Forty bucks a night for a campsite with a minimum three-day reservation. The motels? $90 a room an d they're booked anyway. The resorts? Hey Rockerfeller, yer  kidding right?
So where does a backpacker stay in Tofino?
That's are easy one. Whaler's On The Point Guesthouse-HI probably Canada's most beautiful hostel. Happy first anniversary Rob! Starting at $22 a night for HI members and situated in the heart of Tofino, Whalers HI just can't beat.
Rob Cooper, the owner\operator of Whalers HI, still manages to crack a smile as he transforms into an octopus behind the front counter. The phone rings, a series of guests file by with questions and compliments, Rob juggles papers and notes, keys and money ,everything finding its proper place, but all the while I can see he's thinking, 'Fit you in on the August long weekend, you gotta be dreamin' Wade...' Come to think of it, what am I thinking? Tofino on a long weekend? Am I nuts?
But don't worry Rob, I've got a plan. When all the tourists turn right, I'm turning left. I've heard about a couple little gems in Clayoquot Sound, diamonds in the rough. Now the only question that remains is, do i want to get Relaxed? Or do I want to get Wild?

Get Wild
The Hummingbird Hostel, Flores Island
You just can't get anymore West Coast Backpacker than the Hummingbird Hostel. Here's the news...
You catch a water taxi from Tofino to Flores Island at the 1st St Dock, leaving daily at 10:30 AM and 4:PM. Smilin' Felix Thomas of Cougar Island Water Taxi offers the best deal, $12 one way on the Rocky Pass, and the scenery on this thirty-minute boat trip north up Clayoquot Sound is worth the price alone Since you've phoned ahead for a reservation, Yukimasa Ota , Hummingbird's manager, will be waiting for you on the dock. Your eyes go from his welcoming smile to the beautifully restored 1904 house that will be your home base for the next few days. Right on the water, with a big front balcony, the Hummingbird Hostel is a great place to begin.
You're here to Walk the Wild Side. Flores Island and it's never been commercially logged. Its beaches are wild and wildlife is abundant. The Ahousaht nation built the stunning Wild Side Heritage Trail a few years back and I have no problem saying that it's the best hike I've ever done on the west Coast.(See the Hike of the Month for details.)And what a pleasure to have the warmth of Hummingbird hostel as a start and a finish.
"I don't do this for the money,' Yuki smiles, 'I do it for the travellers.'
Yuki spends his winters in Japan, working in an automotive factory, and in the summer comes back to Flores to run the Hummingbird Hostel. It's been a slow summer, but with the good fall weather arriving perhaps us backpackers can persuade Yuki to do another season. The property that the Hummingbird is on is for sale and the hostel's future is in question.
The hostel is situated on an old government dock that has passed into private hands. The evidence of many years of hard work lies scattered around, making the hostel's yard appear as if a Maritime museum exploded. If the junk bothers you, just walk fifty meters up the trail behind the hostel. You'll find nothin' but old growth forest for miles around.
If the Wild Side hike is too much, there's a ninety minute muddy hike to Whitesand Cove that gives you a good idea of what you'll see along Flores' shores. The beaches are simply incredible.
Hummingbird is a hiker's haven. There are 20 beds each going for $15 a night, a full kitchen and laundry, and the hostel is adjacent to the Ahousat General Store and Restaurant, so all you'll really need to bring is your hiking boots and a good book.
I wake up early one morning and sat on the front porch to watch the hummingbirds come to the feeders.

Since 2001 November

Hostel price changed to $20-$25 per person,

Sea Bus and water taxi fare changed to $16 per person, each way (2007).