Sunday, August 17, 2008

Beaches and trails



Right after breakfast, we packed our belongings, left the hostel and drove once again to Tofino where we planned to spend the whole day on the beach and the trails. We stopped over at the Pacific Rim Visitors' Centre at the Tofino-Ucluelet junction. If you are travelling to this area, I suggest you stop at the Visitors' Centre to get a map of the area and some useful information about the Pacific Rim National Park.

It was here that we learned that we needed to get a park pass to be able to park anywhere in the national park. For one family, it cost almost $20. This was good until the next day.

We also found out that mussel gathering was not allowed at all in the national park. "It is illegal to collect and remove natural or cultural objects," according to the brochure. Imagine, if we hadn't stopped over at the centre, we could have been charged or fined for breaking the law like collecting shells and sand, and parking illegally.

"How come the group was able to do it at Chesterman?" we wondered. I checked the map; it was outside the reserve.

At the centre, you can also find bear warnings so you can avoid those trails where there was a recent bear activity. Remember, this is black bear country. Wolves and cougar country too.

Our first stop was Wickaninnish Beach, one of a series of beaches comprising the 22-km Long Beach Unit. The beach was vast. In fact, the Long Beach Unit has the most extensive sand dune on Vancouver Island as you can partially see in the picture above. Here are more pictures from Wickaninnish Beach:



We enjoyed walking on the sand.


We proceeded to the South Beach trail, which is 800 m one-way.


Trail to the South Beach. The boardwalk made it an easy hike.


The South Beach was spectacular. Water activities are not recommended in this area because of the potential danger from large waves and strong currents. It was pretty calm when we were there.



There are many large rocks on south Beach.



We all climbed the rocks and watched the waves from the top. I can stay here the whole day!




I love this!!!



And I love these!!! Mussels a-plenty. Yum-yum! South Beach diet.
Oops, not allowed in a national park.



It was fun watching the water rush through this narrow opening.
More mussels on these rocks. Sea anemones too.


From here, we went back to the Wickaninnish Interpretive Centre where we decided to eat lunch at the seaside restaurant.



Nice view. Very good food too. We each ordered a different
dish and passed our plates around to get a taste of
everything.

So this was our morning. The afternoon was longer. I'll blog about it next time.

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