Pacific Rim National Park

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!

Waves and winter sun at South Beach

West Coast Visit

The final week of November seemed like a good time for a quick visit to the west coast of Vancouver Island, a magical realm that includes the villages of Tofino and Ucluelet, and between them the Pacific National Park Reserve. I had hoped to go last July, but that didn’t work out.

Late November isn’t as warm as July, but it was just as bright and sunny, with nippy nights and daytime temperatures reaching 8 C (46 F). Amazingly, there wasn’t much wind, which meant no wind chill.

Nelly the Newfoundland dog
Our dog Nelly, ready for a walk on the beach
Totem pole near the Kwisitis Visitor Centre
Totem pole near the Kwisitis Visitor Centre and trails to South Beach and Florencia Bay.
On the boardwalk, Nuu-chah-nulth Trail to Florencia Bay
The Nuu-chah-nulth Trail to Florencia Bay is 2 km of boardwalk, with lots of stairs and a few places where boards are missing or shaky. Much better than slogging through mud, though!
Deer fern (Blechnum spicant)
Deer fern (Blechnum spicant)
A tapestry of plants near the boardwalk: lichen (?), salal, cedar seedlings, etc.
A tapestry of plants seen from the boardwalk.
South Beach, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
South Beach, which has fine gravel (or coarse sand) and is one of the best places for wave-watching.
Breaking waves at South Beach
Waves like these.
Waves and rippled sand at Cox Bay, near Tofino
Waves at Cox Bay near Tofino. This is a popular beach with surfers, year round. There were quite a few people out surfing while we were there. The horizon right here is a breaking wave!
Rocks, trees, and sand, south end Cox Bay
Rocks, trees, and sand at the north end of Cox Bay. At high tide, waves roar through that gap!
Nelly the beach dog at Florencia Bay
Nelly at Florencia Bay, intent on picnic food.
Path to sunset at Pettinger Point near Tofino
Path to the perfect sunset viewing spot at Pettinger Point near Cox Bay.
Sunset seen from Pettinger Point, Nov. 27, 2019.
Tropical colours, but the temperature was about 5 C (41 F)
Afterglow through trees
Wintry afterglow through the trees.

For professional quality photos of the Tofino area, including lots of wildlife, especially eagles and bears, visit Wayne Barnes’s blog at: https://tofinophotography.wordpress.com/

Back from the Rim

I didn’t post last weekend because I was in Tofino, walking endless beaches

Long Beach at low tide -- endless sands.

Long Beach at low tide — endless sands.

Watching waves break — again and again and again and again…

Waves at South Beach, Pacific Rim National Park

Waves at South Beach, Pacific Rim National Park

Finding interesting random patterns

Seagrass and Feather

Seagrass and Feather

Looking at plants without having to think about watering or weeding.

Ferns growing on underside of fallen tree's roots

Ferns growing on underside of fallen tree’s roots

Finding wave-polished stones

Stones polished by wave action at South Beach, Pacific Rim National Park

Stones polished by wave action at South Beach, Pacific Rim National Park

Watching people trying to surf (sorry, no pictures) and deciding that surfing must be hard work. And of course enjoying great meals, shopping for frivolous items and all the other good vacation stuff.  Tofino is only 300 km. (about 150 miles) from Victoria, but feels like a different planet.

And now back to work and the dessicated garden…