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By Chiaria Spagnoli Gabardi
Glamping, short for ‘glamorous camping’, is a hot trend amongst Boho travellers thanks to its focus on true luxury in the natural environment and invigorating outdoor activities such as hiking, boating and shooting wild animals–with a camera, of course!Glamping first appeared in African safaris, where designer tents – complete with electricity, real beds, toilets and running water – started to become popular with those who desired a luxurious outdoor ambiance with all the conveniences of modern life, including wifi, clean sheets, plush bedding, serviced restaurants and even Jacuzzis.
I lucky enough to spend some time in the enchanting Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, located in the wild west of Vancouver Island, in Canada’s leafy costal province of British Columbia.
Our very glamorous tent came complete with a generous king sized bed, antique dresser and side tables, oil lamp lighting, a bathroom (with a flush toilet!), indoor and outdoor shower, and get this–even heated flooring!
But the best part, of course, was the natural environment enveloping the camp. The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Area is one of the few living examples of a temperate rainforest left in the world, and is protected under the supervision of a United Nations Mandated Governance program, and the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is part of the BC Sustainable Tourism Collective. However, it was not always so–in fact, the area was almost completely destroyed.
In the late 1980s, MacMillan Bloedel Corporation was granted a permit to log part of the Sound. The logging company mainly supplies to makers of tissues and toilet paper–did you know that Kleenex, Charmin and other soft brand tissues use old growth trees so that you can use them as toilet paper? In fact, unless you are using recycled TP and tissues, you can pretty much be sure this is the case.
Of course, when Canadians found out about MacMillan Bloedel’s plans to turn ancient trees into tissue, they were furious and opposed the logging contract with peaceful protests and road blockages led by the First Nations people of Canada. These lasted for fourteen years, but when 800 protestors were (sometimes brutally) arrested in 1993, the issue was given mass media coverage, and all 127 unanimous recommendations made by the scientific panel on Clayoquot Sound were accepted by the Forests Minister of British Columbia and the Environment Minister on behalf of the NDP government.
It should be noted that Greenpeace played a significant role in these protests, instigating a boycott of BC forest products in order to apply pressure on the industry. The result was that the clear-cuts were reduced to four hectares, and Eco-Based Planning has now allowed for tourists to enjoy the beauty of this unique forest via glamping.
But the camp isn’t just eco-friendly; it’s also ethical, in that it supports Canada’s First Nations people, who are very much responsible for having preserved this treasure. The First Nations are employed here to escort guests on unforgettable hikes through the ‘Wild Side’ trail and Flores Island, where flora and fauna abound. Bring your binoculars, and you may get lucky and see a Black Oystercatcher or Tufted Puffin. Whale watching is also a popular activity on the coast–British Columbia is known for having strong Orca populations, but there are Grey Whales here too.
If animals are not your thing, there are several short classes are also offered to guests who wish to rediscover the fascination of craftsmanship and old-fashioned leisure activities, such as pottery and archery.
After burning all your energies in these adventurous recreations, you may find refreshment in the resort’s coastal cuisine: the cookhouse boasts an open showpiece kitchen, with an absolutely massive double-sided fieldstone fireplace and outdoor lounge. Executive Chef Ryan Orr prepares critically acclaimed natural cuisine that is fresh and whole-food-oriented, sourced only from local suppliers, with menus to suit vegans, vegetarians, fruitarians, low carb, high carb and high protein eaters. There’s no such thing as a ‘picky eater’ for Orr!
Being this involved in the heart of nature–smelling it, feeling it, and even eating it– is a truly spiritual experience, and I was very glad that thanks to the efforts of theFirst Nations people of Canada, Canadian protestors and Greenpeace, Clayoquot Sound and its stunning Wilderness Resort exist today.
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All images courtesy of Wild Retreat.com