Pacific Rim National Park

Near Tofino on the very west coast of Vancouver Island, I stayed at Esowista, a First Nation village, halfway between Tofino and Ecluelet right on the beach at the northern end of Long Beach. I hoped for surf, but it had been flat for about a week. I swam anyway but the water only came up to my waist. I slushed my way to a mini-island where cedars clawed their way between boulders to take root.

On my second day in Pacific Rim National Park, I drove to Ucluelet, on the south-west corner of Vancouver Island where I walked a tiny part of the Wild Pacific Trail. The warning signs weren’t inviting because it’s a seventy-five kilometre hike through rough terrain so not the average trail. I took off along the beginning section with jagged rocks and wild vegetation. Some of the trees had strange root systems that spread out like three giant claws and clung to the earth—a safeguard against the wild winds and rain that pounded the island in the winter when the trail was off limits to even the toughest backpacking hiker.

On my last day of my three-day stay, I was back at the northern end of Pacific-Rim National Park. Along the Beach Combers Trail was vegetation that morphed from tall trees to short bent over spruce crouching from the salt spray during wind swept winters. Through a tree-tunnel was a deserted part of Long Beach where seaweed spewed over the sand.

Next was the Rain Forest Trail with a wooden planked trail. On either side were ferns, skunk cabbage, horses tails, cedars and giant hemlocks.

On the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail I hiked at a leisurely pace due to the many other walkers who stood in awe at many of the sights I now take for granted—beautiful mosses hanging from branches, giant trees that looked like they might house a bear, twisting root systems. Two tall cedars had actually taken over a third tree, entrapping it in between. The three trunks were distinct at the bases but surged into one giant tree some twenty metres up.

I traipsed along the Bog Trail to a sign that had been placed next to the spongy ground covered in an orange moss. I toughed the moss’s springy surface that sprang back into place after I released pressure. According to the signboard, the Nuu-chah-nulth people once used this moss for diapers. At the tail end of these hikes was Long Beach that was my last stop. (featured image)