I finally arrived back in Canada: It had been 29 days and over 14,000 kilometres since I had crossed the border into the USA.

I took the Black Ball ferry from Port Angeles in Washington across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and was in Victoria by midday.

My destination was Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. To get there, you head north to Nanaimo then turn west onto Highway 4 to Tofino

The road to Tofino is impressive. Heading west along its length you pass through Cathedral Grove, home to a stand of ancient Douglas fir trees which are similar to the giants found in California’s Redwood forest. Further along, you enter a portion of Pacific Rim National Park, and Long Beach, a West Coast surfers’ mecca. They you arrive in Tofino, a small town located at the end of a spit of land.

The surrounding coast has a rugged beauty: Hardscrabble shorelines of black rock and large wind-bent trees intermingled with long, golden beaches.

I had been here many years earlier and it seemed not to have changed, possibly because it’s quite remote and two-lane road can’t handle a large volume of cars.

Returning along to Nanaimo, I caught the ferry to Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay. From there I rode the Sea to Sky route up past Whistler to Golden and took a room for the night. The Rocky Mountains to the east and the Purcell Mountains to the west surrounded me. It was cold up high, cold enough that the campsites in the national parks were still closed because of snow.

The following morning, I rode up the Icefields Parkway. The route north to Jasper, Alta., is considered one of the most scenic in the world, and it certainly lived up to its reputation.

I rode alongside the Saskatchewan River from Lake Louise up to the Columbia Icefields, then followed the Athabasca River the rest of the way into Jasper. The azure water of these rivers is magical — It’s hard to imagine water this colour.

I stopped to fill up my CamelBak from the water cascading down from Tangle Creek Falls. It was a homecoming of sorts. I had lived and worked in this area for a time as a young man. Just like Tofino, this area was the same as I remember it over 30 years earlier. Time seems to have stood still.

Lake Louise, Jasper and the parkway that connects them are certainly a 10 on my list of routes to ride. I wouldn’t have missed them for the world.

– Michael Jackson is on a two-month motorcycle trip around North America. Track his progress at www.adventuremotorcycleroutes.ca.

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