I keep twirling umbrella in my hands, and it seems to be the only colorful thing about this misty day. At one point I even wonder if it was better to stay in that cozy coffee place in Ucluelet I stopped by before my visit to Pacific Rim Reserve. Should have I? Definitely not… I walk on this distinct boardwalk, that at times becomes a mixture of ruggedy land and puddles that I have to walk around and jump over, at least something to entertain myself from this solitary path, between singing tunes in my mind and reading informational signs and biodiversity descriptions along the way. I guess not so many travelers were courageous and crazy enough to go hiking in this weather ))
Ever since I opened travel books on Canada, Vancouver Island definitely stood out with its natural and unprecedented beauty. Nature is, probably, its most important attraction, besides Victoria, the largest city, and it happens to have one of the country’s most beautiful national parks and the it place for surfing in Canada. While quite a few travelers I met along the way were there for this reason, I was there to visit Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Besides being one of the world’s diverse eco-systems, one of the most preserved and pristine places in the world and one of Canada’s most beautiful national parks and reserves, Pacific Rim represents cultural and natural landscape of the area, and at the same time connects all different layers of its story. Its human story, its nature’s story, and so many ways they are interconnected and interweaved through history.
Pacific Rim Reserve consists of different geographically separate areas, The Long Beach, the Brocken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail. During my travels I visited Long Beach area of the reserve, with small towns of Tofino and Ucluelet, each located on the opposite ends of the Long Beach Peninsula of Vancouver Island.
Historically these towns were inhibited by indigenous Nuu-chah-nulth people, nowadays known as First Nations, composed of several individual nations, each with its own birthplace and creation story, who lived in balance and harmony with nature, and relied on it to live a relatively prosperous lifestyle. Gorgeous landscapes of the Pacific Rim coast still remain important to the heritage of Nuu-chah-nulth people, and together, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and First Nations, continue preservation of their shared history, culture, language and traditions.
Kwisitis Visitor Centre introduces First Nations culture, history and ecology of the coast, tells about its human story, its nature, and many ways they are interconnected through history
And this is where I stopped by before going hiking and exploring different trails of the reserve
First Nations culture and traditions are deeply rooted in nature
And no wonder why… There is a Nuu-chah-nulth phrase “Hishuk-ish ts’awalk”
which means “Everything is One”, or everything is sacred and deserves to be treated with respect
While in Pacific Rim Reserve, I explored Nuu-Chah-Nulth Trail, which connects Wickaninnish beach and Florencia Bay, glimpses into original beauty of the area and tells a little bit more about First Nations culture and traditions
Pacific Rim, known as one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet, has even its own rainforest (in Canada!), with some of the tallest trees. Also, there are plenty of informational signs along the way that tell about this reserve’s impressive fauna and flora biodiversity
At times the path becomes like this… and then all of its biodiversity is visible by itself ))
And this… What do I do here? Where are my rubber boots? lol
After rather successfully getting around it, I continued my journey
As an eco-geek as I am, was very pleased that Canada recycles even in national parks, and there are recycle bins along the way.
Also, the hiking trails are well maintained, which definitely makes all the hiking and exploring so much more pleasant and enjoyable, at least for me ))
Although Nuu-Chah-Nulth Trail was quite solitary, there were a few travelers and hikers along the way… oh, here they are! ))
Unlike Renaissance Florence, Florencia Bay happens to be quite the opposite, and was previously known as shipwreck area… Did someone think changing the name would make it better? And are there any ships now? lol
Besides it’s incredibly gorgeous nature, Tofino is known for its surf and whale watching. It is even considered the It place for surfing in Canada, and one of many across the world, with most people traveling there just for this reason. For a rather small town, it has a significant German community, at least from my personal experience. Surprisingly, considering it is not that close and it is a well-off nation )) Also, I might not get what the whole fuss is about whales, especially when everyone kept asking me if I have seen a whale )) To me it was very puzzling, to say the least, considering it is one of the world’s most diverse eco-systems, with its incredibly gorgeous nature and such an impressive biodiversity of many different species. And, frankly speaking, I might have been more glad to see a friendly and cheerful dolphin, especially here ))
There is no frequent public transportation between these towns, only in summer, and all my travels and explorations, between these towns, the reserve itself and hiking trails were made possible by many generous and kind-hearted locals and travelers I met along the way. Talk about eco-travels )) Also, this was my first-time hitchhiking ever, and I kind of assumed it is fun, until I tried it across the pond and in a different country. Turns out Canadians can be very charming, friendly and helpful )) So thanks to everyone who was kind and generous enough to stop and help along the way!!
Wild Pacific Trail is located in Ucluelet, which means “safe harbor” in indigenous language, lovingly referred as “Ukee” by locals, and it might be the One I actually liked the most. This trail was made possible through vision and initiative of Ucluelet’s local “Oyster Jim” and by donations, contributions and help of many locals, travelers and supporters alike. There are even plans to connect Wild Pacific Trail with Pacific Rim Reserve in the future, which will ultimately extend the reserve and make it much more diverse.
I got to experience this trail on a sunny day, and definitely a perfect one for hiking and exploring. So no wonder why there were many wild-for-nature travelers and hikers along the way here ))
This coastline trail is absolutely gorgeous and scenic, to say the least, and every twist and turn offers even a better and a more gorgeous view of the coastline
And then there are a few resting points like these along the way, with amazing panoramic views of the area
creating an atmosphere of Oneness with nature and bliss …
to rest and recharge before continuing hiking and exploring… Did I hear Artist Loop? ))
*Due to the season and weather during which I visited a few of these places, my photography (and, probably, lack of talent and skills lol) in no way reflect all their beauty and colors, as they are so much better in person and in different circumstances. For traveler related information and planning check out Official Parks Canada web site.
All opinions and experiences are, as always, my own.
Liberty, Peace, Love, Bliss…
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