Friday, January 16, 2009

Ucluelet & Tofino - Jan 11-12, 2009

I've been living on the west coast for a couple of year's now, and I never get tired of looking at the ocean. However, I know that it isn't the direct ocean...I usually see Howe Sound or the Georgia Strait. Sure, they are salt water and sure they are part of the Pacific Ocean, but they aren't really "open ocean waters". Vancouver Island protects the Sunshine Coast and provides a natural buffer to the waves, winds, and storms that move across the Pacific Ocean. This weekend, I visited the true west coast and saw the wild Pacific Ocean up close.

The first picture is Long Beach which is between Tofino and Ucluelet. The sand is smooth and easy to walk on. The waves crash onto the shore and are mesmorizing in their rhythm. Surfers were out enjoying the day.

Tofino and Ucluelet are on the west coast of Vancouver Island. At this latitude, there is nothing except open ocean between us and the west coast of Russia. Winter is storm watching season, although everything was calm during this visit. These photos are both in Ucluelet. Huge black boulders line this part of coastline. I'm not sure if they are lava from and old volcano or just boulders from ice age retreating glaciers. Either way, they are a spectacular sight. It becomes an adventure weaving around and over the rocks to get to the water. Waves crash as the floor of the coastline changes over the contour of the rocks.

On other rocky outcrops, mature trees find bits of soil on which to grow. What you can't see is that just behind me is a forest. Sorry...the ocean seems to have gotten all the camera attention. This area receives over 3.2 meters or 10 feet of rain each year. It is a rain forest and the mix of plant life is amazing. Be sure to hike the Pacific Rim Trail to see old growth forest and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Langdale Trail - Jan 2, 2009

Holiday travels have kept me away from hiking the Sunshine Coast. Over the past 2 weeks, we have received a meter of snow which is very, very abnormal for this area. Usually you have to hike up into the mountains to see that much snow. Just when we were getting a bit of melting and transportation was starting to get back to normal, we received another 4" on New Year's Day. Sunshine filled the sky today and beckoned me out for a much needed hike.

I am lucky to live 1 block from a wonderful trail. The Langdale Trail starts at the end of Wharf Road and heads into the forest. Just as I was starting in, a teenage mountain biker came riding out so I was pretty sure the trail would be passable. This was the only person I saw for the whole trek...a great time to get away by myself.

The sounds of the forest are always different and always amazing. Today water was the key sound. The tall trees dripped both water and snow as the sun reached the upper branches. It was a good day to wear a hat! Interestingly, snow covered the ground completely at the lowest elevations. As I hiked higher, melting snow flowed into streams covering the entire path. The sound of fresh, clean water making its way over rocks, leaves and branches is always refreshing and pure.

It was a great day to be out and I definitely won't wait so long for my next trek.