Vancouver Island: Pacific Rim National Park and Ucluelet

Chesterman Beach

My first morning in Tofino was rainy and so I enjoyed some much needed rest. That afternoon I took black bear cruise but didn't see any bears at all. Even so it was a beautiful cruise. And I had a burrito from Tacofino for dinner again. They really are that good. Then I watched surfers and kite surfers on Chesterman Beach. I could do this everyday, all day, forever.

Tofino Harbor

My second morning in Tofino found me exploring Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park, just a short drive down the road from Tofino. The world was enshrouded by fog and the miles of beach before me were invisible. Crows to walked the beach with me. And a bald eagle circled for a while. And there were wolf tracks. Yes, wolf tracks. I followed those but saw no evidence of the maker of said tracks.

Long Beach
Wolf track. It's about the size of an extra small human hand.

Travelers Six and Twelve joined me. We headed to Ucluelet, south of Pacific Rim National Park. Where sand beaches dominate the northern part of this area, Ucluelet is all jagged, wild rocky coast. It was raining which, given that we are in a rainforest, wasn't a surprise. We hiked the Lighthouse Loop part of the Wild Pacific Trail. This is a pleasant hike even in the rain. It was fun watching the waves slam into rock and set kelp reeling in whirlpools of turbulence. I also photographed more banana slugs, one that was almost a foot long.

This banana slug was almost a foot long.

We had dinner at Fetch at the Black Rock Resort in Ucluelet. The food is very good and the view of the rocky shore fabulous but wear bug repellent. There are mosquitos in the dining room. I got eaten alive by them while trying to eat my own dinner.

The next morning we hiked the Rainforest Trail. It was raining again, or perhaps the forest was just dripping madly from previous precipitation (it is hard to tell) and this mostly boardwalk and wooden stairs hike was slippery but still beautiful. And there were more slugs. A lot more.

Banana slugs. These are between 4 to 7 inches long.

We had lunch at Tacofino. Really, I can't get enough of this place. In fact, I want to go back right now and have a carnitas burrito.

I bid adieu to Travelers Six and Twelve for the moment. I headed out to the Thornton Creek Hatchery. This is a place run by volunteers (please leave them a $10 or $20 tip) where you can see and photograph black bears. It's well known to locals. Ask one for directions. Check the hatchery's website for hours. The road is gated for your protection and only open certain hours. I missed seeing a mother and two cubs up close by minutes. I did finally get to see them far out in the tidal zone flipping rocks over looking for crustaceans. This was a wonderful sight.

Mama bear with two cubs foraging for crustaceans. 

Both the bears and the heron seemed a little perplexed by this encounter.

In the evening the tide had gone out far enough on Chesterman Beach that I could explore tide pools. I watched acorn and goose barnacles feeding, baby dungeness crabs skitter along the bottom of the pools, and tiny sculpin dart from hiding place to hiding place under rocks.