BC - Vancouver Island Part 3 - Pacific Rim National Park



Kayaking Inspired Gifts - Sales Help Support This Site




Pacific Rim National Park lies along the beautiful western shore of Vancouver Island. With boardwalks through the temperate rain forest and long deserted beaches with the blue Pacific rolling in, we experienced BC at its best.




Day 4 - We had arrived in Ucluelet the day before and gotten an introduction to the area along the Wild Pacific Rim Trail. The day had ended with a spectacular sunset, so we were hoping for a good weather day for a hikes in Pacific Rim National Park. When we awoke a fog made visibility very low. By the time we left Little Harbor Inn Motel, it had risen off the ground and low wispy clouds obscured the mountains across Ucluelet harbor.




We drove north out of town and stopped at the first trail inside the park. A wide smooth gravel trail led through the tall Douglas fir and western red cedar trees. Old stumps resisting decades of rot stood high above the forest floor. Most still showed the notches cut to place the support boards for the sawyers who felled these trees more than fifty years ago. Fungi of all types poked up between the ferns. The forest dripped with the morning's early fog.

The massive trees were too big to get into a single camera shot. I took a picture of the top 50 feet and the bottom 50 feet of one of the 200 foot forest patriarchs. I even tried looking right up one trunk.




The crushed stone trail ended where a boardwalk began. We followed the boardwalk which forked. One way led down to Half Moon beach. The other continued on to Big Beach. As Yogi Berra suggested, we took one - to Half Moon Bay.

We came upon several really large trees. One had a split in it filled with accumulated needles from the canopy overhead. It provided easy access up the tree without any possibility of bark damage. With Julio twenty feet up in the old tree, it really gave the feeling of the size of these old trees.




At the end of the boardwalk, deep in shadow was Half Moon Bay. Shaped like its name sake, this protected little beach faced north along the coast. Gentle waves came around the point and rolled up the sloping beach. The tide was half way out. At high tide there would be no sand showing at all. A large branch hung out over the sand where some water drained from the bank and ran to the sea.

At one end of the crescent beach were tide pools where the waves surged over, splashing foam onto the rocks.




The rocks were covered with seaweed and small kelps, mussels and limpets. We stepped carefully over the slippery rocks, investigating the tidal pools left by the receding tide. Fresh sea water spilled into the pools as the surf rolled up the rocks. In rocky pools that still held water, green anemones waved their tentacles to catch passing food. Orange and purple starfish clung to the sides of the rock, squeezing into the precious remaining space that was kept wet by the waves. We went around the edge of the shore to see where the surf beat against the coast in winter. The jumble of large boulders testified to the violence of the winter storms.



We returned to the fork and took the other option. The trail ended at the southern end of Big Beach, a miles long beach of fine brown sand with an ever so gentle slope to the ocean. Waves rolled in for hundreds of meters - so much different than the steep beaches of the East Coast, where waves curl quickly and break hard. Here the foamy heads of the waves rolled gently into the beach. With the early morning sun behind us, our shadows stretched out over the smooth sand.



The sheet of fresh water flowing over the beach coming out of the forest glinted in the sun and made patterns in the sand as it moved to the salt water in the ocean. The water sheet pulsed as it periodically built up in depth, went turbulent and then returned to its former smooth laminar flow before repeating the cycle all over again. It was a smaller version of the same phenomenon I had witnessed at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado.

A large rock out on the beach was a lonely sentinel looking out to the sea. In the waves Surf Skimmers and auklets were hunting small fish. We returned to the car and were amazed when we realized that we had spent nearly three hours on this tiny trail. The time had gone by so quickly. Half the day was gone and we had three more trails to do.




We headed up the road to Wickanish, a long beach where the Visitor Center for Pacific Rim National Park is located. The center held displays of native people culture, whale bones and ocean life displays. Out on the beach a large group of high school kids off an excursion bus was standing in a huddle on the beach. Large cedar logs covered the high tide line. The native people reserve lay to the south of the Visitor Center with a trail to South Beach, a protected shore where log canoes once launched. On the steep beach of polished stone, we found a bank of foam churned up by the waves from the tannin stained water along the shore. The surf was mild this day, but the rocks and shore spoke of the heavy surf that even this protected beach sees during the winter. On the way out of the area, we stopped at a circular boardwalk trail through a bog. Like many high latitude or high altitude bogs, this one was filled with stunted and twisted trees, thick peat and carnivorous plants.



We finished our day hikes with two boardwalk hikes deep in the uncut rain forest and in a recovering forest. Among giant red cedar and hemlocks, the climax forest under story was sparse in the dark, tall tree dominated section. Over in the cut forest, fir trees flourished on the edge of the clear cut, while more mature trees and finally some giants remained in the stream valley. The feel of the two sections of the forest, so physically close to each other, was so vastly different.
We finished our day by returning to Blueberries for another delicious meal, which I topped with the largest slice of chocolate cake I have ever been served. Fortunately Julio helped out with it, but we still couldn't finish it.

Next ............ kayaking in Ucluelet


Sp






Forum




EVEN THE BEST BOATERS CAN FIND THEMSELVES IN SERIOUS TROUBLE ON THE MILDEST OF DAYS ON THE WATER. PARTICIPATION IN THIS SPORT IS A STRENUOUS ACTIVITY. CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY SUCH ACTIVITY. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT EACH BOATER TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS OR HER OWN SAFETY, AND IS TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSESSING THE DANGER LEVEL AND ACCEPTING THE CONSEQUENCES OF PARTICIPATING IN THIS SPORT.


SeaKayak Chesapeake bay makes no representations and extends no warranties of any type as to the accuracy or completeness of any information or content on this website.This website is for informational purposes only. All of the information provided on this website is provided "AS-IS" and with NO WARRANTIES. No express or implied warranties of any type, including for example implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, are made with respect to the information, or any use of the information, on this site.


Maps and map related products available on this website, including but not limited to imagery, data, and data sources are hereby specifically identified as being unsuitable for use in navigation. By using any of these products or services, you have agreed to these terms, whether or not the map or any other use is labeled “Not for Navigation”.

Copyright on original material by Sea Kayak Chesapeake Bay TM 2001 through 2019. All rights reserved.

S

k