Photography courtesy of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort-Tofino Image by: Photography courtesy of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort-Tofino
I'm slung in a rock-climbing harness and hanging off the face of a cliff. The view across Bedwell Sound is exhilarating as I reach the top and look out at the shore on the opposite side of the valley.
It was the lure of British Columbia's remote Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve and the intriguing idea of "glamping" (glamorous, or upscale, camping) that drew me to Clayoquot Wilderness Resort's Outpost. I started out at the seaside town of Tofino, where a picturesque boat ride across to Clayoquot Reserve ends at the Bedwell River Valley. A short journey to camp by horse-drawn wagon reveals an enclave of stunning white canvas tents on raised wooden platforms and joined together by cedar boardwalks.
There are also a number of tents furnished with antiques, some for games, private dining and even a business centre with Wi-Fi. In this camp, based on the camps of the late 19th century, visitors get a glimpse of how the wealthy experienced the great outdoors more than 100 years ago.
Surrounded by B.C.'s temperate rainforest, the outpost is built on an old logging site that owners John and Adele Caton are restoring. John shows me how they are reviving salmon spawning areas under the resort's Environmental Legacy Program. He adds that guests are encouraged to learn about the local ecology. The eco-program and outdoor activities are a big draw for families, and the Catons have added a number of tents to accommodate them.
My glamping experience begins with a personalized yoga class. Afterward I don a plush robe and head through the woods to a tent by the river for a massage. Then I slip into the hot tub for a soak. With a glass of sparkling wine, surrounded by nature's pristine beauty, I completely forget about the outhouse and the need for 13 dogs on continuous patrol for ever-present bears. I end the day curled up on one of the outdoor couches, sipping cognac under the glittering stars by a gorgeous stone fireplace.
As luxurious as the resort is, the adventure activities are the real attraction. An expert team of guides plans itineraries to suit each guest. Mine included feeding eagles, whale-watching and rock-climbing. A cliff face is the last place I ever imagined myself, but an expert guide and the unique bird's-eye view of Canada's virgin rainforest was an opportunity I knew I couldn't miss.
Good to know:
• Clayoquot Wilderness Resort's Outpost at Bedwell River.
• Long Beach Lodge cottages offer hot tubs and fireplaces in forest settings on the beach.
• Stay at Wickaninnish Inn and drop in on Henry Nolla's Carving Shed on the beach to see what masterpieces resident carvers are working on.
• Travel BC offers an online Camping and RV Park Guide.
• Ranching in Alberta's Cowboy Trail
• Manitoban sweat lodge ceremony
• Which is best? Planes, trains or automobiles
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