Beaches, Beaches, All Those Beautiful Beaches

Our next stop, as we continued our road trip down the Pacific Rim Highway on Vancouver Island, was the South Beach Trail. This scenic trail starts at Wickaninnish Beach and is only about a kilometre and a half, round trip.

359 Wickaninnish Beach, Pacific Rim Park

317 South Beach Trail. Pacific Rim Park 319 South Beach Trail. Pacific Rim Park 352 South Beach Trail, Pacific Rim Park

We got plenty of sneak peeks of the shoreline along the first section of the trail.

307 Wickaninnish Beach. Pacific Rim Park 313 South Beach Trail. Pacific Rim Park 314 Wickaninnish Beach. Pacific Rim Park 316 South Beach Trail. Pacific Rim Park

South Beach is much smaller than Wickaninnish Beach, and consists mostly of pebbles and seashells.

327 South Beach. Pacific Rim Park 350 South Beach, Pacific Rim Park

Although different, it’s equally beautiful with its large outcroppings of rock.

323 South Beach. Pacific Rim Park 330 South Beach. Pacific Rim Park 351 South Beach, Pacific Rim Park

At the far end of the beach, we met two young women who said they’d come across fresh bear scat and footprints on the other side of the large rocks. Equipped with bear bells and bear spray, we felt confident to go look for ourselves. Sure enough, we soon found plenty of bear scat. Which begs the question: What’s the difference between black bear scat and grizzly bear scat? Black bear scat contains mostly fruit and berries. Grizzly bear scat, on the other hand, is full of little red bear bells. Har-har-har.

This section of beach is full of big rocks and I couldn’t navigate it with my sore foot. So I found a nice log for Roxy and me to sit on while Hubby went in search of bear prints in the sand.

334 South Beach. Pacific Rim Park 342 South Beach. Pacific Rim Park

I took off my shoes to give my feet a break and sat quietly for a while, enjoying the view and the warmth of the sun.

341 South Beach. Pacific Rim Park

339 South Beach. Pacific Rim Park

With dense woods directly behind me, the notion of bears in the vicinity began to weigh on my mind. So I dug out my small canister of pepper spray, just to have it handy, and sang a few songs to amuse myself. I figured just the bad singing alone should scare the bears off. If that didn’t work, my escape route, over all those rocks, would not be a quick one.

336 South Beach. Pacific Rim Park

I soon decided it’d be prudent to take more pictures of the main beach and basically abandoned Hubby on that isolated beach, hoping he wouldn’t become bear bait. It was a great relief when he appeared over the rocks a few minutes later.

348 South Beach, Pacific Rim Park

With no photos of bear prints to be had, we followed the trail back to Wickaninnish Beach. This picturesque beach is expansive, sandy and popular with surfers and kayakers.

353 South Beach Trail, Pacific Rim Park

355 Wickaninnish Beach, Pacific Rim Park 362 Wickaninnish Beach, Pacific Rim Park 363 Wickaninnish Beach, Pacific Rim Park

After all that hiking, Roxy was appreciative of a long drink of water when we got back to the car.

364 Wickaninnish Beach, Pacific Rim Park

Because of the lateness of the day, we made Willowbrae Trail our final stop. This trail is about one and a half kilometres one way.

368 Willowbrae Trail, Pacific Rim Park 371 Willowbrae Trail, Pacific Rim Park 373 Willowbrae Trail, Pacific Rim Park

Stairs were interspersed throughout the trail, but the bulk of them came just before the beach. We counted 174 stairs in that section alone.

398 Willowbrae Trail, Pacific Rim Park

Florencia Bay Beach was totally worth having to climb all those steps on our return. Of all the beaches we saw on this trip, each with its own special appeal, Florencia Bay probably topped our list.

376 Florencia Bay beach, Pacific Rim Park 378 Florencia Bay beach, Pacific Rim Park 382 Florencia Bay beach, Pacific Rim Park

It had the most unique natural sand art we’ve ever seen.

385 Florencia Bay beach, Pacific Rim Park 387 Florencia Bay beach, Pacific Rim Park 390 Florencia Bay beach, Pacific Rim Park

Some interesting log art too.

394 Florencia Bay beach, Pacific Rim Park 395 Florencia Bay beach, Pacific Rim Park

I totally impressed myself with the ease and speed I climbed those 174 stairs back up to the trail. Especially considering we’d already climbed/descended at least a thousand (no exaggerating) stairs already that day. Logging all those boring hours on the recumbent bike had actually paid off.

Plenty of photo ops.

400 Willowbrae Trail, Pacific Rim Park 406 Willowbrae Trail, Pacific Rim Park 411 Willowbrae Trail, Pacific Rim Park

Hubby, having worked several summers at a Vancouver Island logging camp as a teenager, pointed out the numerous springboard notches on the tree stumps.

403 Springboard notches, Willowbrae Trail, Pacific Rim Park 404 Springboard notches, Willowbrae Trail, Pacific Rim Park 413 Springboard notches, Willowbrae Trail, Pacific Rim Park

After our disappointing accommodations in Tofino, we were most pleased with our charming little cabin at Reef Point Cottages in Ucluelet.

416 Reef Point Cottages, Ucluelet 419 Reef Point Cottages, Ucluelet 420 Reef Point Cottages, Ucluelet

I have to give Reef Point Cottages extra kudos. When I cancelled our June reservations, the manager said to ask for her when I rebooked, so I did. She not only didn’t charge the $50 cancellation fee, she gave us the same lower rate we would’ve got in June. Which meant this bright, spacious, modern cabin cost $60 a night less than the dingy motel in Tofino. Incredible.

Even Roxy loved it. After scarfing down a huge (for her) meal, she immediately got comfy.

425 Hungry Roxy 427 Roxy @ Reef Point Cottages, Ucluelet

Being a pet-friendly place, they left doggie treats for Roxy. Cute idea, although we laughed at how the treats were longer than her entire head.

422 Reef Point Cottages, Ucluelet

With Roxy fed and settled in, we headed out to feed ourselves. This adorable guy was eating his dinner right outside our cabin.

431 Deer @ Reef Point Cottages, Ucluelet 433 Deer @ Reef Point Cottages, Ucluelet

He was soon joined by this precious pair.

434 Deer @ Reef Point Cottages, Ucluelet

432 Deer @ Reef Point Cottages, Ucluelet

Moments later, we met them again as they crossed the main road.

437 Deer, Ucluelet 438 Deer, Ucluelet

Having snacked on trail mix all day, I had little appetite, so I chose a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. To my disappointment, it consisted of a single processed cheese slice between two pieces of soggy white toast. Hubby, needing more than trail mix to sustain him, devoured a large plate of Chinese food and proclaimed it excellent.

After retrieving Roxy, we drove around for a while, trying to scope out a good place to watch the sunset. We happened across the public wharf during our search, enabling Hubby to indulge in another of his favourite pastimes – drooling over fancy boats.

440 Public wharf, Ucluelet 441 Public wharf, Ucluelet 442 Public wharf, Ucluelet

This high-in-the-sky sunset shot was the best we could find.

443 Sunset, Ucluelet

We went to bed that night happy and tired, filled with anticipation of the next day’s adventures on the Wild Pacific Trail. Jump to next post here or start from beginning of trip here.

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One thought on “Beaches, Beaches, All Those Beautiful Beaches

  1. Pingback: Awesomely Spectacular West Coast Scenery | joyceholmes

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