There’s a place far from here, beyond the seas and over countless mountain ranges where time has little meaning. A place wild at heart, unfamiliar and remote in the truest sense. Friends of Passenger AJ Roulstone and Christine set out in search of a place beyond the everyday.
There’s this island that had been on our bucket list for years and years, eluding us time after time. We had never managed to muster what was needed to find ourselves there, often flocking to warmer, familiar climates. It seemed just that little bit too far, just a touch too wild. Until now...
A last minute window of opportunity had presented itself. With little preparation but full commitment - We were finally heading to the island of Haida Gwaii.
Of course it wasn’t going to fall in our laps, at the offset there was a problem with our first ferry booking. This meant a 23 hour drive to an alternative ferry terminal, and we’d need to leave right about now if we were going to make it.
We threw our essentials in the truck, basic camp gear, surfboards and tunes for the journey. We hit the road as ready as we’d ever be.
We live in Tofino, paradise. But to escape is to venture into the unfamiliar, and we were longing to escape the crowds. Maybe Haida would be like Tofino 60 years ago before it was really discovered. We’d find out soon enough.
This is the essence of what Escapism to us. Getting away from it all, no set plans, leaving behind everything, bringing only what is needed and adventuring into the great unknown.
We arrived at blue hour and drove around for a while to size up a place to rest our heads. It turns out that when you’re this far off the beaten track, everyone just camps where they like. We found a nice spot, nestled beside a jurassic tree-lined rockface and pored over some maps until our eyes got heavy.
At first light, we rustled some food and set out in search of swell and a place to pitch up for a few nights. We hiked through wild and stunning landscapes, often stopping to stare silently into the vastness. We soaked it all up, this is what we came for.
Arriving at a soft sandy beach, Christine set a crab trap with hopes of catching a meal the following day. We watched clouds roll in and with them fresh rain. We took refuge in our tent and reflected on the journey so far.
The weather broke and clouds parted just enough for a deep golden sunset to shine through.
“We stoked up a fire and warmed ourselves through, enjoying a cold one with some hard earned supper. We didn’t see another soul for a few days.”
In the days to come we drove further north along winding gravel roads, deeper into ancient forests. Trees drenched in moss, branches overhead weighed down by the years of fungi growth.
As we creeped out from under dense canopies, the road led us to a hidden shoreline. Turns out, If you have a 4x4 you can drive right along the shore here. This would be the place we called home, for the time being at least.
We found a beautiful little wave. No wind, clean and most importantly for us, empty. Never once on this whole trip had anywhere seemed spoilt or crowded and this was as close to perfect as we could have imagined.
We stayed here for a time. On days the ocean was flat, we explored the island and were amazed time and time again at the sheer untouched beauty of this island.
We hiked the Sleeping Beauty trails, a network of trails that leads to numerous different peaks along a mountain ridge. We took a wrong turn, adding at least 4 hours onto the route.
Exhausted and a tad dehydrated we pressed on, determined to make the summit. We could see snow atop a ridge ahead so weaved that way in order to fill our depleted water bottles. We made it to the top of Mt Raymond and the views were out of this world. We sat together and stared out over the vista, it’s these moments that stay with you.
The feeling of freedom had overtaken us, we camped wherever seemed appealing to us night after night. Usually somewhere right along our own stretch of beach to the sounds of waves lapping the shore.
As we headed back to our home and everyday lives, we spoke about how differently time passes in places beyond the everyday. We know we’ll be back soon enough, to the land that time forgot.