The Road Less Traveled

by Jackson Chu

Roads stretch for thousands of kilometers across Canada but I have more memories driving a certain 74 km compared to all others – the stretch of gravel logging roads that connects Bamfield to the rest of the world.

The drive usually takes 1.5 to 2 hours between Port Alberni and Bamfield. But instead of 6-lane highways, aggressive drivers, and a yellow line (you know, the one that tells you you’re on the right side of the road?), you get to dodge logging trucks, deer, and the occasional black bear.  Driving on washboards, potholes, and loose gravel is also pretty unforgiving to your car.   Coming out from Bamfield, the locals in Port Alberni can easily recognize that my car has “just come from Bamfield” because it’s covered in dust when it’s dry, or sticky clay mud when it’s been raining.  I’ve used the carwash in Port Alberni quite a few times prior to driving through to Victoria.

Best view on station

Credit: Jackson Chu.

But arriving at the marine station found at the end of this yellow brick road makes it all worth it.  Marine research at the BMSC is inspiring to say the least.  So, consider getting a flat on those logging roads as a rite of passage and an initiation into the Bamfield culture!

One can also get to Bamfield via ship or float plane, but where’s the adventure in that?  Please share your “Bamfield Logging Roads” experiences in the comments section below.

7 thoughts on “The Road Less Traveled

  1. Jackson you’re an artist! When I went to Bamfield, as a Brazilian who never saw a bear in the field, I was excited and attent to see the black ones. However, I couldn’t see any! It was a nice trip. I’ll remember forever of this road.

  2. It was terrible. One time my roommate drove me and I thought I was going to die. I can’t remember his name, but I’m sure his first name started with a J and his last name with a C.

  3. I’ve been down that road on a tour bus, on the trail, as a passenger, and driving. Let me just say, it’s the least terrifying when you are the one driving. Except when you hit a patch of loose gravel at the top of a climb that ends in a curve that overlooks a cliff. I don’t think I’ll ever fully get used to the loud, dusty bumpiness that is the Bamfield road, but the drive definitely means something: I’m going to Bamfield, and it’s going to be awesome.

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