Drift log on rocks and windblown trees Cox Bay

To the West Again

In mid-October we spent nearly a week near Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This visit was originally scheduled for March, but we postponed it when everything shut down.

Small Amanita muscaria mushrooms near the pond with Hosta leaves in background
I said goodbye to the garden and these cute mushrooms and headed west!

The autumn weather was a delightful mix of mist, fog, a bit of drizzle, a little rain, and a couple of glorious sunny days. Perfect for walking on sandy beaches, exploring sea-worn rocks, and immersive forest bathing.

Nelly en route to Tofino, Oct. 2020
Nelly the Newfoundland en route; I couldn’t resist getting a photo with this sign, since people often say she looks like a bear.

I’ve realized that trying to take pictures during a walk often spoils the walk. I’m too taken up finding good picture opportunities to appreciate the overall scene. So I took almost no photos until the last full day of our stay, when I raced around some photogenic rock formations near where we were staying. The combination of mussel- and barnacle-encrusted bedrock, rounded boulders, smooth sand, eroding mussel shells, and plants making their living on the edge was irresistible.

Tide pool Cox Bay mussels and barnacles October 2020
Stone, sand, mussels, and barnacles
Tide pool sea anemones, mussels, and barnacles Cox Bay October 2020
A gang of sea anemones
Black basalt boulder Cox Bay October 2020
A big basalt boulder looking like a Work of Art
Surge channel Cox Bay
A narrow surge channel going up into the trees
Mussel shells Cox Bay
Mussel shells. There are small beaches of “sand” made of pulverized shells, which are also used as path surfacing in places.
Mussel shells and beach grass Cox Bay
Shells and beach grass
Maianthemum dilatatum and withered grass Cox Bay
Beach grass, false lily of the valley (Maianthemum dilatatum), and (maybe) some sort of sedge
View between rock masses Cox Bay
An intriguing gap at low tide
Wave-worn rock and finely ground shells Cox Bay
Bedrock worn smooth, pulverized shells, and the water that did the job
Wild strawberry plants growing on rocks Cox Bay
Wild strawberry plants rooted in cracks in the rock
Water-worn boulders and bedrock Cox Bay
Bedrock, boulders, and sand

And here are three phone photos from a coastal rainforest boardwalk loop trail in Pacific Rim National Park. It’s one of my favourites (although Nelly the Newfoundland wasn’t too keen on all the stairs!)

Coastal rainforest with woodpecker tree
Towering cedars and firs, with a dead trunk thoroughly bored by woodpeckers.
Big Boletus mushroom and Deer Fern (Struthiopteris spicant)
A great big Boletus mushroom among Deer Ferns (Struthiopteris spicant). (Apologies for the fuzziness of the photo.)
Yellow heart-shaped leaf of Maianthemum dilatatum and cedar trunk
Yellow leaf of false lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum dilatatum)

I love Tofino!


    1. Thanks, Pat. “Forest bathing” is an idea that started in Japan, I believe. The west coast is perfect for it, especially in the remaining old growth forests. I felt we were immersed in the forest environment, and the boardwalks made it an easy walk (lots of stairs, though). Nelly is a splendid example of the Newf breed (and a sweetie, too).

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  1. I don’t take a phone on walks for the exact reason you mentioned. Dear Husband is more restrained. He can tuck his phone in his pocket while we stroll and not have the urge to use it. I am glad you had your phone for the cool anemone picture and that woodpecker tree. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. (Nelly is BEAUTIFUL!)

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    1. I decided to go out specifically to get photos, and especially wanted some of all those mussel shells and the nearby rocks. I succumbed to the urge to take pictures with my phone on the one forest walk–had to get one of that dead tree! And Nelly attracted attention everywhere we went, as per usual.


    1. Thanks, Neil. Yes, the place we stayed in was full, and restaurants were fully booked too. Distancing wasn’t a problem on the beaches. Trails in the national park that couldn’t be one way were still closed. In town, most people were wearing masks, and eateries had distancing protocols. Most visitors seemed to be from BC, but I did see license plates from Washington, California, and even New York. Tofino is Canada’s Cape Cod, you might say.

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  2. I love Tofino and the surrounding area. What a great getaway for you. I too love your dog. My granddaughter has a Newfoundland dog. The picture of her by the bear sign is perfect!!

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  3. I tend to schedule ‘photo shoots’ when I’m out and about, then the rest of the time is mine … you got some great shots, and who can resist a giant floofy ‘bear’ like that? : )

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